Grief & Gratitude
I am really dreading the holidays. I am dreading another round of “firsts” without Jeff. It is hard to watch the celebrations and happiness of others without feeling the sting of my own loss. I know there are some of you who feel this too…alone is not easy.
For many families this is the most wonderful time of the year. But for my family, and maybe for yours, the holidays bring a sense of loneliness and the knowledge of that things will no longer be the way they use to be.
If I am honest, I am struggling right now. Struggling to pray. Struggling to trust. Struggling to see God’s goodness.
I often feel myself slipping further and further into the pit without my lifeline…Jeff. We were always each other’s biggest supporters and would encourage and speak truth to each other when the darkness and lies would try to creep in. I think that is what I miss the most with his absence.
You see, I have all of the head knowledge. I know the truth in my head. I know God is faithful. I know He causes all things to work together for the good. I know He will never leave or forsake us, but my grief is so fierce right now that the truth is having difficulty making it to my heart.
It is so easy for me to focus on our loss and the difficulties of our new normal. I sometimes get stuck hearing the lies of the enemy telling me that I am now all alone and questioning who will care for Jon Alex should something happen to me.
At Rising Above, Jeff and I would often preach that the best way to look beyond your circumstances and make it successfully as a special needs family is to have a heart of gratitude and thanks. When we are thankful, it helps us see beyond our trials and our troubles.
I guess it is time I practice what I preach because I do have much to be thankful for…
I am thankful for my different tribes of friends who have brought life to my broken heart.
I am thankful for the members of my family who have faithfully walked with me and helped me do the hard things.
I am thankful for each person who has prayed for us and encouraged us during this season.
I am thankful that because of Jon Alex’s special needs, he does not grieve like the world does and for the joy he brings into my heart with each grin.
I am thankful that my grief is so profound because I had a husband who loved me so deeply.
I am thankful Jeff is no longer suffering and in pain and that his body is now whole and well.
I am thankful for the assurance that Jon Alex and I will be united with Jeff someday in heaven where there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.
I could go on and on.
Each day I wake up and I have a choice. Will I stay in the pit and focus on my hardships or will I will choose to be thankful. Today, I choose to be grateful. I choose to see and acknowledge all of the many ways I am blessed, because I am, and so are you.
And I trust that with each remembrance, God Himself will become my lifeline and He will inch by inch lift me from the pit and set my feet on solid ground. And He will give me a new song to sing.
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me
and He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what He has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.”
– Psalm 40:1-3 (NLT) –