Today makes six months since my sister passed away. I’m going to try and be as transparent as possible today. This is the longest that I have ever been away from her and the forever part of grief is starting to kick in. Some days I have no idea how I have made it this far. Other days I know it was nothing, but the grace of God that gave me the strength to make it. And then there were dark days where I was mad at God for making seem so strong. The word strong has been like a curse word to me at times. It just does not seem like the appropriate word to use to describe me. I have a strong feeling that it’s because I am the exact opposite.
I am weak.
Those have been the most powerful words that I could utter within the last 6 months. About a month before Kayla died I decided that since God was going to break my heart and take my sister, everything that I felt was His problem. I was going to leave all of my feelings and emotions to Him because this was His doing. In order to do that I had to be vulnerable enough to say “I am weak.” I knew that was something only He could fix. I knew that His word said that in my weakness, His strength was made perfect. The word of God also teaches that God increases strength to those that have no might. In any other situation, I would not be ok with not being strong, but I knew that this journey had nothing to do with being strong. This journey does not require your strength, but it does require endurance.
Grief + Hope=Endurance
My family and I realized yesterday that we have made it through some really hard times in the past year. This conversation made me go back to my original question on why I should be grieving with hope. Maybe that’s what this is all about. This whole journey is about endurance, not strength. Let me just put this out there boldly- telling someone to be strong will not help them grieve. All that does is make them feel worse for feeling weak. Instead, try telling them that they can make it. Because they can. I hear you saying, “But don’t I need to be strong in order to endure?” No! Focus on being humble and submitted to God enough to say “I’m weak and need your strength.” The bible encourages us to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. He comes with the strength so that you can endure.
Warning: I’m about to say something that will mess up someone’s favorite bible verse. Now there is a famous saying in the church that goes “The race is not given to the swift nor the strong, but to those that endure until the end.” While that may be true, it’s not in the bible. The saying comes from two scripture put together. Here’s what the bible actually says about the race, or in our case the journey, and endurance.
11 I returned and saw under the sun that—
The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
-Ecclesiastes 9:11 NKJV
But he who endures to the end shall be saved.
-Matthew 24:13 NKJV
These two scriptures still bless me although they are not what I was taught for years.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 teaches me that:
My race or journey of grief didn’t happen to me only. My family and I are not being punished by God through grief. It was just our time and chance to go through it.
No amount of strength, wisdom, understanding, or skill can make this any less painful or help me avoid it.
Matthew 24:13 just encourages me to endure. In other words, just keep going.
Grief Plus Hope looks like Grace
In the month of July, I could not bring myself to make a post. I was worn out. The entire month of June I did my best to celebrate Kayla. Once I finished her celebration on her birthday, June 25th, I needed a break. And instead of doing things for other people, I took that break. During that time I gave myself the grace to cry more, to sleep more, to laugh more, and most importantly to love myself more. The first step was to release me from my own pressures to post every month. This started as a place for me to heal and if someone else was blessed, it was an extra special bonus. Somewhere in the process, it flipped and became all about blessing others only. I love that God is able to put purpose to my pain, but I refuse to cause me unnecessary stress because I’m ignoring my mental and physical health.
Giving myself the grace to grieve required me to be humble enough to say that I am weak again. James 4:6 reads: But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Now if God who is all-powerful and all-knowing can give me grace why can’t I give myself grace? I decided while in the middle of my grace month that after July I would still apply grace daily. Grieve comes in waves and sometimes the waves hit differently. Our emotions, willingness to do things, temperance, and mental capacity may change for that wave. That does not mean I’ve messed my journey and I’m a failure. That’s the blessing about this journey- I can always get back on track with grace and hope.
I pray that something you read today helped you go a little further in your journey. If you do not know the God that I speak of and would like to invite Him your heart do not hesitate to reach out in the comment section or at firstname.lastname@example.org