Grappling With Grief (Part 1)

 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

Let me say at the outset that the next few posts aren’t intended to be a discourse on how anyone should or shouldn’t grieve or even another explanation of the stages of grief. Rather this is my effort to share how God has walked with me through many valleys of sorrow.

In my more than seventy years on this planet I’ve experienced the literal deaths of family members and beloved pets, rejection, including the death of a marriage through divorce. I’ve lost jobs, failed miserably to fulfill dreams, had a child with cancer, struggled with a mountain of debt and at times begged God to let me die.

As I recount those experiences, in some ways I’m surprised to realize that though I’m the same person experiencing those losses, I grieved them in different ways. As I should have expected, the impact of loss is affected by many factors – i.e. age, station in life, connection with God, etc.

When my divorce was final, I lost much more than a relationship with someone with whom I expected to spend the rest of my life. Yet, in the aftermath of that loss came my greatest gain. I finally realized that God was not only my source of healing from the devastation I was experiencing emotionally and financially, but my Guide and Friend in ways I’d never imagined.

Photo by Ivan Samkov on

In an article I posted in October (Holding Life With Open Hands), I shared how painful it was for my wife and I to put down our Puggle, Lola. The pain of that sudden loss rocked my world and the emptiness I felt was tormenting. Yet, the assurance I had that God was near helped me turn my focus from what I’d lost, to what I had left. My grief was softened and became bearable by my almost overwhelming sense of gratitude to God for His presence with me and the reminder of the eleven+ happy years of memories Lola left us.

As I understand it, grief isn’t governed by how much I know, how disciplined or determined I am in controlling my life or emotions due to my loss, real or perceived. Grief is our personal response to the realization that much of life is beyond our control.

We’ll look at this more closely tomorrow.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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