GRIEVING WITH HOPE
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 1 Peter 1:3-4 CSB
On November 30, 2019, my oldest son, at age 29, was called to join the cloud of witnesses who have gone ahead to be with Jesus. He lost his fight with muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure. Because God is faithful, I know my son is with Him, and I will see him again. One day, God will wipe away our tears and we will have joy like we’ve never known before.
GRIEVING WITH HOPE IS A PROCESS
We may think that we should get over our grief quickly. But grief is something we have to work through and it cannot be rushed. It would be easy to let depression keep us down, but we can also lament our losses to God.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22 CSB
Give God your burdens
Though you fall, you won’t stay down
His strength sustains you
GRIEVING WITH HOPE: JOURNALING IN PSALMS
The Psalms are full of laments, which usually start with sorrow, but then turn around as the psalmist remembers all that God has done. The Psalm ends with praise to God. A couple of weeks before we lost our son, I began using a new journal as I read through the Psalms. It would become a comfort in the early days after his death. Here is a page I made the morning after my son went to be with the Lord.
The death of his faithful ones is valuable in the Lord’s sight. ~ Psalm 116:15 CSB
For this psalm to show up in my reading the morning after my son’s death had to be God’s perfect timing.
USING A JOURNAL
Using a journal is a good way to meditate on scripture and respond to it with your own thoughts. I highly recommend it. What you use for a journal doesn’t really matter. It can be fancy or just a simple notebook. It can even be a document on your computer, though I like the tangible reminder as I use different materials.
Here I’ve used washi tape and stickers to decorate and divide the page. Choosing which stickers and tape to use, then arranging them on the page is also a part of my devotional time. My creativity can be an act of worship, too.
POETRY HELPS IN GRIEVING WITH HOPE
My first journal ran out of pages on December 26. In my next one, I decided to begin writing a haiku each day based on the Psalms reading scheduled for the day. Here is the first page in that new journal.
I’m sharing these with you, because I would like to encourage you to not only turn to the Psalms for comfort, but to journal your own thoughts in response.
In addition, maybe you could try writing your own haiku. You may say, But I’m not a poet, I can’t do that. Well, I would like to encourage you to try.
Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry, originally about nature, but can be written about any subject. The pattern is three lines with five syllables in the first line, seven in the second and five in the third. I have included some of my own in this post.
WRITE YOUR OWN HAIKU
First, read a Psalm or other Scripture. Then pick out a verse or a few that seem to stand out to you. Write the verses in your journal or just on a piece of paper. After that, take some time to meditate on the psalm particularly on the verses you chose.
Then write out your thoughts as they come to you. That writing can be the basis for your haiku. As you go over your thoughts, see if you can arrange them to fit in the haiku pattern. I sometimes use a separate paper to write out my initial thoughts so I can have a finished haiku in my journal. But you might want to do it all right in your journal.
It’s okay if you don’t write a haiku. The purpose is to allow the Scripture to speak to you and then to respond with your thoughts.
Sometimes I write two stanzas if I have a lot to say, and sometimes only one. It really doesn’t matter. Here’s an example along with the scripture I based it on:
Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I will not be shaken. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before him. God is our refuge. Selah
My soul rests in God
Only He can meet my needs
He hears my heart’s cry
In God I have hope
Because of Him I stand firm
He is trustworthy
GRIEVE AND MOURN, BUT ALWAYS HOPE
May your faithful love rest on us, Lord, for we put our hope in you. Psalm 33:22 CSB
Let your faithful love
Come rest upon us always
Lord, we hope in you
As we grieve and mourn, let us also remember to encourage each other, to look for the joy in life no matter where we go. And to put our hope and trust in the God who loves us. If you create a poem we would love for you to share it in the comments.
Chronic Joy® Content and SEO Coordinator & Writer
Gayl lives in a log home on a hill in Sunset, SC. She and her husband, Steve, raised 7 kids and have 14 grandkids. Some have chronic illnesses and one son is with Jesus. She was a church pianist for many years, and she also homeschooled her kids. Gayl loves to crochet, compose poems, write, art journal and spend time in nature. She is a seeker of truth, looking for beauty in ordinary things. Her desire in life is to glorify God and encourage others. Check out her blog Words, Photos and Art.
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In the Midst of Grief
Mourning Our Losses
Grief is no stranger to those of us affected by chronic illness, pain, and suffering. While there are no rules for grieving chronic loss, there is a road map and there are fellow travelers ahead of and behind us on the journey. Grief often precedes growth.
Step in slowly. Sit with God. Allow yourself time and space to feel and experience your pain. When you’re ready, take up your pen, and explore the precious and life-giving gift of lament.