Exactly a month ago my only sister, Kayla, went to be with God. And it still doesn’t seem real…
In that month I have done the following: Cried; screamed; prayed; went back to work too early while planning her funeral; entertained and comforted too many people; had a panic attack inside her favorite restaurant; buried her; tried to go back to work again; was diagnosed with depression and anxiety due to grief; took a leave of absence from my job; went to therapy. Needless to say, February was the busiest, most painful yet hopeful month of my life.
I will grieve with hope!
When speaking at my sister’s funeral there was one thing I wanted to make sure everyone knew and understood… I will grieve with hope! While saying that sounds good, I really had to do the work of discovering what grief plus hope equals together.
In high school, I loved Algebra and Trigonometry. I loved it because there were always equations (what I saw as mysteries) that had variables that equaled an answer, but it was my job as the student to find an unknown variable.
Months before my sister died God allowed me to see people who had heart-wrenching losses that were still living and loving life. And there is where the equation formed…
Grief + Hope = _______
The Bible teaches us to not grieve as those with no hope! Solving the equation doesn’t mean all my problems are fixed. And it definitely isn’t going to bring Kayla back, but I have to hold onto something. All I have is hope. Now I have to figure out what hope looks like added to grief.
Two questions will always be answered through this journey of grief + hope… What is my hope attached to? And What does this hope look like?
I’m learning through this journey that I must ask myself these questions every day just to function. I pray these questions can help you through your hope journey as well.
What is my hope attached to?
Today my hope is attached to the fact that God did not fail and He is not punishing me. When God decides to take someone dear to our heart we often ask why would He do such a hurtful thing. As Christians we have to realize that while grief is painful, death is not meant as a hurtful or vengeful act from God. It’s quite the opposite. Death is a promised part of life where we meet our Savior and we are free from the pains of the world. For me, that’s where my hope lies because of how much pain I know my sister had been in all 20 years of her life. Yes, grief is painful but God is not hurting us by relieving someone we love of agony. This peice of hope took a long time to grasp. I was fortunate enough to know that Kayla’s day to see Jesus was coming 3 years in advance while she was in hospice care. At the time, it did not feel like a positive thing, but with time, prayer, and hope my perspective has shifted.
Grief + hope is a JOURNEY. And in this journey perspective will keep your heart at peace. I pray that perspective helps you see that the loved one God wanted back with Him is at complete peace and rest. This is God’s will and I pray that #ItisWell with your soul.
What does hope look like?
Today my hope looks like balance!
Even though my hope is in God, my heart is still in pain and my mind is everywhere. That is why I will be in therapy for a very long time. Yes you read that correctly. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and a psychiatrist. I’ll also be at a Broadway show next weekend and a cruise the week after that! It may sound strange, but my life needs balance right now. My life was turned upside down when Kayla took her last breath. In spite of that, I refuse to cry all day or stay in the house the rest of my life.
Between the time of Kayla’s death and funeral, I went to work thinking that staying “productive” was the best thing for me. The first few days were fine and working seemed to help. However, after her burial I couldn’t do anything but cry. The thought of being productive or moving on with my life felt like I was insulting my sister’s memory. I cried frequently and randomly for long periods of time. I knew I was not ok and prayer alone could not fix this.
Before you get upset by my last statement, please remember that faith without works is dead. It’s all about balance! When my doctor evaluated me and said I was depressed and needed time off of work, I knew I had to start living and taking care of myself. Caring for myself included therapy and relaxation. It feels strange and very uncomfortable, but it actually is the will of God for our lives. The bible says that Jesus came that we have life and life more abundantly. In 3 John 1:2 it says “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”
In this grief + hope journey, balance is imperative to your mental health.
I’m only a month into the grief + hope journey, but I pray this helps someone walk the same journey my family and I are walking. Grief is not easy but it is all about perspective and balance! #ItisWell
Please remember that others can benefit from hearing your story.