My Authentic Grief

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As I cradled his tiny body to my chest I wept.

It’s been four years since I held my stillborn son in my arms and began the process of grieving. And although that day is the most painful of my life to date, it was in the days and weeks that followed I fully grasped the depth of the hurt caused by the loss of his short life.

In the beginning, my heart raged at God. Our world is broken, but I couldn’t understand how a loving God could allow such wrongness. That was the best word I can find to describe this sort of loss – wrong. It wasn’t how the world should be, it wasn’t how God initially planned. It was just … wrong. And God allowed me to experience it firsthand.

As wave upon wave of grief hit, my anger billowed. And so I prayed and prayed. Angry prayers, prayers of desperation and without apology. God, in His loving way, allowed me to pour out my hurt and my blame, and took it all.

Ann Voskamp writes, “True lament is the bold faith that trusts Perfect Love enough to feel and cry authentic.”

I’ve heard it said that when going through hard times, a Christian should avoid feelings of anger and despair, instead focusing on only the good and trusting God with the rest. And while trusting God is always biblical, pushing aside natural feelings in hard times is not. In Psalm 22:1-2 David laments, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”

In a moment of hurt, David felt abandoned by God and far from Him. A feeling that resonates with many of us at times, I’m sure. But instead of bottling it up and trying to hide or cover up his feelings (Hello, we’re talking about God here. We can’t actually hide anything from Him!), David cried out to God with his hurts, his fears, his anger and his frustration.

The key is he didn’t stop there. He didn’t allow his feeling of abandon – of anger – to be the last word. He goes on to write in verse 19, “But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.” David always knew where his help and strength came from, even in the midst of pain and suffering.

The physical scars from the loss of my son have all been erased by the subsequent pregnancy and birth of my daughter. But forever emblazed on my heart are scars of a different kind. Ones that once burned hot red but now gleam white. The pain never goes away but recedes, and in place, a new understanding and a new strength are born. There are some things from which you don’t fully heal, but through which you grow stronger.

While I couldn’t see it at the time, looking back now I see how God walked me through each season of grief and provided help and hope at each turn.

Some days I am still overcome with the pain of losing my precious firstborn, but through his death I have become stronger and more compassionate, a better wife, mother and friend. Most importantly I see my life through a different lens; with a God-focused, eternal perspective gained through fire. Because of it, I am better equipped to love people and to offer hope that can only come from a God willing to accept my anger, and love me through it.

There are some things from which you don’t fully heal, but through which you grow stronger.Click To Tweet

God can handle our true authentic grief, our questions and our flood of emotions when we're sorting our way through great loss.

Rachel Oliver
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Rachel Oliver

Rachel Oliver is mommy to one sweetheart of a girl and loved by a fabulous guy. Fueled by good chocolate {dark!}, good discussion and Diet Mountain Dew, she spends her days focused on family and encouraging others in the journey of motherhood.
Rachel Oliver
Join me!

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About Rachel Oliver

Rachel Oliver is mommy to one sweetheart of a girl and loved by a fabulous guy. Fueled by good chocolate {dark!}, good discussion and Diet Mountain Dew, she spends her days focused on family and encouraging others in the journey of motherhood.

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