In a month’s time, I will be leading part of a Griefshare Recovery Support Group. I will be co-leading with a lady and when the group gets big, we will split into two and I will get to lead one of the smaller group.
A background of this group is that it is for people who are grieving the death of a loved one. More information can be found on http://www.griefshare.org
So, I lost my dad in 2009, eve of Easter Sunday. He was killed in a robbery attack. There was a week of agony when we didn’t know what happened to him. The months following, for about 5 months, I was trying to be strong for my family, pushing aside sad emotions in front of them, trying to stand on my faith in God, questioning God’s goodness, questioning the truth of forgiveness, questioning if I am over compassionate, feeling that God is saying He is near me, not being willing to tell others about my family, knowing that the more you talk about it, the more you will get out of the grief. As I begin to talk about his death, how it happened, coming to terms on forgiveness, I receive peace and joy from God. From time to time, when I think about my dad, I would still tear up and sometimes questioned why God didn’t protect him. But the fact is that we live in a fallen, sinful world and people make bad choices and decisions, God is good all the time, Satan is bad all the time, and humans are bad some or most of the time. In this world of badness, we have God, the Hope.
So in preparation for the Griefshare group , I am reading up Grieving God’s way: The path to lasting hope and healing by Margaret Brownley, which was recommended on the website. I downloaded a sample and eventually bought the book. I found it really useful as there are 90 ways of grieving, each day helping us to remember the good things about our loved ones, about God and helping us to walk towards the next day with more joy.
I might share as the days go by..
The nature of griefs sends us into a cave of despair. We have no desire to see or do anything. This is God’s way of protecting us until we are strong enough and courageous enough to face life again.
The tears shed in grief allow for crystal-clear illuminating friends and family through wiser, more loving eyes.
The darkness of grief allows us to follow even the dimmest light of faith to the source of all hope.
The stillness of grief is an invitation to sail into the inner self and explore the harbor of forgotten goals and still-cherished dreams.
The permanence of grief is reassuring. Experiencing grief and seeing others grieve tell us that we will not be forgotten after death. This encourages us to live and relate to others in ways that will have an impact on lives long after we have left this world.
v1. A time to be born and a time to die – Life is short. It’s never the right time for anyone to die. It reminds us to cherish and love family and friends and appreciate them while they are still alive. Especially that the death of my dad was so sudden, it definitely was not a right time for him to die. I remember crying so hard when we collected his ashes and someone commented that he has strong bones, and the thought that went through my head was “Of course, he has strong bones, he hasn’t even experienced any deterioration in his bones. It wasn’t even his time to die yet.”
v2. A time to plant and a time to uproot – “Grief is a time to plant new seeds of change, new seeds of hope”. In my season of grieving, I learnt to plant seeds of vulnerability and seeds of asking for help. It’s not easy for me to reveal my emotions or my needs. I tend and like to put on a strong front. I could be really strong, but I will not show my vulnerability to others. I learnt that it is ok to be vulnerable, it is ok to cry, it is ok to be real. People still love me. 🙂 It was also a time for me to uproot my independency and be real that I am doubting God. A time to uproot false beliefs and a time to plant truth about God.
v3. A time to kill and a time to heal – To kill off part of us that wants to cling onto the past. It will be good if we can turn back the time and make changes to so many things such that the death will not occur. However, if we were to hold onto this thinking, we will never be able to move forward and heal. As we let go of the “what ifs”, “if we could turn back time”, “i wish”, we can move towards healing and receiving joy.
v3. A time to tear down and a time to build – Grief causes us to question God, His character, His plans, His wisdom. Our belief systems are broken down and our faith are rebuilt to be stronger and on more permanent foundations. The death and circumstances of my father’s death shook my foundations and made me question God’s character. If He is good, why did bad things happen? This question is often asked when we experience bad things. It is rather easy to run away and forsake God in our pain. But as we tear down our belief systems, our pain, our grief, and rebuild our foundations of God’s truth and character, our faith is built even stronger.
v4. A time to weep and a time to laugh – The author noted that it is interesting that ‘weep’ precedes ‘laugh’ and that grief is not forever, we will laugh again and feel joy. It is indeed interesting that we will only weep for a moment, and joy comes again. We will weep in the night and joy comes in the morning. How wonderful that when we weep, Jesus weeps with us, and this weeping will not last forever, and we have joy in Jesus.
It’s coincidental that at this point of posting, I had written this on Wednesday or Thursday and kept it in the draft (as always with my other posts, I would let it sit for awhile before I post) and on Friday, we received news about the Aurora shootings. My prayers go out to the families affected.