An Unlikely Match: Grief and Grace
I don’t count it as coincidence that the verse of the day on the Bible app, 2 Corinthians 12:9, came in while I sat it in the pew of my church. I can’t call it chance that this came as I’ve been trying to write a post as I approach a really tough week. The past few days I’ve sat pondering what I have to say about grief and loss. I’ve trashed several rough drafts that just didn’t feel right in an effort to be sincerer in my writing. How many years do you want to read about the anniversary of one of the worst days of my life? As I struggled to write about the complexity of my grief, God placed the real message on my heart.
“And he said unto me, my grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness..”
This whole time I was set on writing about my grief and God urged me to tell you about Him. Believe it or not, so much grace has been discovered at the core of my relationship with grief. Grief is real. Grief swallows you up and spits you back out. It’s one of those things that can make you feel so alone in an overcrowded world. I spent so much time mad at God after my accident nearly 8 years ago that it was hard not to be distant from Him. I thought I was proving a point and all I did was prolong the healing of an extremely deep wound. I felt like tangible grief. I existed like this every day only to be reminded that life continued regardless of how I chose to experience it.
The cruel thing about grief is that it often enjoys the company of an old friend. Last November was a tough one which resulted in loss in various aspects of my life. This time around I decided I needed someone to help carry my burdens. I knew the only person able was the one I’d counted out years before. In a time where I felt like so much was disappearing in front of my eyes, God said choose Him. God said lean on Him. God said not only do I have something for you, but it’s enough. God provided me the comfort that I was desperately after, but couldn’t find elsewhere.
Think about your saddest moments. Think about those battles you’ve won. Think about those scars you carry. Think about those roadblocks thrown your way. Think about that unthinkable loss. Now think about the fact that even with all the unspeakable lows you’ve experienced, you’re still here. Your existence is proof that God’s grace is enough. It’s sustaining. It’s nourishing. It’s forgiving. If you’re still breathing, offer thanks that every trick the devil has thrown your way has ultimately been unsuccessful. I know life gets hard and a relationship with God doesn’t mean you’re exempt from this. This relationship with God just means that you’re not forced to operate with your own strength.
I think it’s unfair to continuously tell you about all that’s went “wrong” in my life and not tell you about the grace I’ve received. I think back to who I was in 2010 and several years following and it’s all God. Honestly, I sometimes feel like I’ve changed and grown so much from last year. This time around I’ve tried to constantly remind myself of God’s promise to me, that He’ll fight for us, we just need to be still (Exodus 14:14). This means that the closer I lean into God and decide to still myself, the more secure I feel in His embrace. God has turned the worst moments in my life into some unforgettable life lessons. I’ve developed so many traits from my dark seasons that make me a bit more prepared when the next giant stands in my way.
His strength is made perfect in weakness. That’s such an invaluable promise. It should reassure you to know that in a world that seems overwhelmed with pain and suffering that He becomes even stronger. It’s a blessing to know that God isn’t like me. It’s nice to know that worldly things I’m bound by have no impact on Him and His capacity to move mountains on the behalf of His children. Sometimes God has to remind us that He is the way maker. We become so full of ourselves to think that we have what it takes to tackle these hurdles on our own. I’ve been there. I tried to do it all on my own. The keyword is TRIED. I came out of that storm more damaged. I came out with mental health issues that I didn’t even want to accept. I came out with broken relationships. I came out with more issues than I had time to address, but God. He still welcomed me in, beaten and bruised, with open arms. I saw His strength once I fully accepted that I was weak.
So as I approach 8 years, I ask that you celebrate with me. Celebrate with me the fact that even with all the punches life has landed right on your face that you’re still standing. You’re still fighting. Celebrate that you turned nothing into something even if your something doesn’t feel like that much at all. In a chapter of my story that brought so much hurt and change, I found myself. I’m not perfect by far, but I know I’m better today because I went through something. I know that I’m here by God’s grace alone and it’s the only thing that has kept me. Celebrate with me that even when the world says no, God is good. Celebrate with me that even when people walk out of your life, God is good. Celebrate with me that even when storms approach, God is good. Celebrate with me that even though you tried to push Him away time and time again, God is still good.