When Grief Feels Like A Forever Good Friday
Sorrow . . . turns out to be not a state but a process,
It needs not a map but a history. _C. S. Lewis
I stumbled onto dry bones. There’s a wasteland of them, and at times they still overwhelm my heart.
Months and even years can pass while I stay far away from the path that leads me there, to the empty place. But one word, one moment, one look can steal my heart away from its present calm and drop me right in the middle of this desolate graveyard.
My family is on a healing journey, and it’s forcing me to open the door to a pain I thought I could escape. It turns out I can’t.
Grief , it seems, can feel like a forever Good Friday. The terror of the night sky that drapes the midday sun —the tears, the guilt, at times the numb indifference— how they rip a heart from top to bottom, all in a singular exhale. Sorrow unmercifully crushes the soft confines of the soul and crumbles hope into a thousand tiny clumps of clay. Right before my eyes.
My soul cries out…
How do I let go?
How can I run away from this place?
Will life ever feel safe again?
What could I have done to prevent this pain?
These are the things that spill through the cracks in my heart.
I wonder if that’s what Mary Magdalene felt on that day —that Good Friday when her world fell apart, when everything that was Truth and Life was lifted on two rough-hewn pieces of timber and there was nothing she could do to stop it? Nothing she could do to silence the sound of nails piercing flesh. Nothing she could do to lift Him up for one more gasp of air. Nothing.
Grief is the emotional realization that life will never be the same from this moment forward. It is the helpless struggle to accept that there is nothing we can change or control. It is our heart’s final surrender to loss. CLICK TO TWEET
Jesus knows the pain of grief and anguish. He knows precisely the darkness of Good Friday —how walking towards God’s plan didn’t quell the agony, didn’t calm the fear, didn’t right the wrongs of injustice, didn’t prevent the exhaustion, the dread, the total destruction of body and soul. Each step He took towards the cross. His death.
And sometimes I can get stuck right there. I don’t want to but I do. I can get stuck in the pain of my present circumstances. I can cling to my sorrows and drag them behind me as my cross. I can crave them as familiar companions to protect my heart from risking again. I can keep them close to numb myself from moving forward into the unknown —alone.
There are three things to remember when your grief seems like a forever Good Friday:
Good Friday visits each of us.
Ann Voskamp declares, Life is loss. Life on this earth will always be accompanied by death —physical death and emotional death.
Jesus knew his Good Friday was coming. He had lived preparing for it His whole life, yet it didn’t make His suffering any easier. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He offered, Not my will, but Yours be done (Matt 26:39, NIV) In surrendering to God’s plan, He tells each of us that we too can surrender to our grief, we can accept the cup of suffering knowing He is with us every step of the way. Understanding that He knows perfectly what it means to be broken. Spilled out. Empty. CLICK TO TWEET
Don’t try to hide from the pain of grief, don’t try to get around it. You will never escape it. Grief is the medicine God uses to heal the loss-disease that infects the most vulnerable places in our hearts. Healing happens in hard places. CLICK TO TWEET
The sky will feel black as night. The thunder will terrify the uncertain tremors in your heart. You will feel as if hope will never rise again…
But it will.
Good Friday’s don’t last forever.
Even in death, God prepares life. As I learn to expose my fragile, wounded self and accept the cold discomfort of living outside my knowing, God is always right here waiting— waiting to comfort me, waiting to hold me, waiting to feel the sorrow with me.
I hear Him as He whispers quietly,
I’m not going anywhere.
You’re safe here. CLICK TO TWEET
I wonder if Jesus whispered those words from the cross to Mary Magdalene that Good Friday? I wonder if He was comforting her as He gave Himself for her? I wonder if she felt His presence with her on her road to Sunday?
Your grief will groan for a season. There is no time schedule, no tempo that is dictated to you, even if others need you to hurry along. God never needs you to hurry along. He waits patiently with you while you heal.
Easter is on the horizon.
Whatever is pressing within us, whatever sorrow has been exposed bone and marrow, grief will always leads us to the tomb. Like Mary Magdalene that Easter morning, in the midst of her pain—searching, seeking her Rabbi, her Friend, her Messiah. She could not have felt, she couldn’t have believed the tomb was empty. She could never have comprehended that Easter had arrived. Death had been defeated. Her salvation had come. A new season with new life and new hope had been born. CLICK TO TWEET
Right in the middle of a graveyard. There— in a sea of dry bones.
And all our present pain, all of our brokenness and suffering, all the losses, perhaps all our darkest moments, become places where we can see Him the clearest. I don’t know about you, but I can. I can see Him around me working and moving. I see Him raising up dry bones in you and me. I see Him moving in our midst —reclaiming hopes and hearts, families and dreams.
He is our Sunday morning. He is our resurrection hope. He’s the healing for our wounded hearts.
Good Fridays can seem like forever…
But Easter Sunday is coming!
About This Community
Don't we all want a little peace? My heart for this community is to provide just that - a needed refuge from all the burdens that weigh us down, some encouragement and inspiration to keep us weary travelers moving forward on our journeys, and some practical advice to help each of us navigate the challenges of life and relationships. Whether in our parenting, our marriages, our faith, or the broken places in our hearts, this place is for anyone who dares to reach beyond the hopelessness that surrounds us and embrace a lifestyle of emotional abundance and peace!
About Peace for a Lifetime
In my book, Peace for a Lifetime, I share the keys to cultivating a life that’s deeply rooted, overflowing, and abundant, the fruit of which is peace. Through personal and professional experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I've discovered how to take the broken pieces of life and find indestructible peace with myself, God and with others. Through my story and other’s stories you’ll realize that you can experience the life for which you long. You can experience abundance beyond anything you can imagine. You can experience peace, not just for today, not just for tomorrow. You can experience peace —for a lifetime!
Peace for a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/155392891