In the Midst of Grief • Navigating loss, suffering, and chronic sorrow.

 In the Midst of Grief – Posts, Books & More

Mourning Our Losses

Grief is no stranger to those of us affected by chronic illnessmental illness, pain, and suffering. While there are no rules for grieving chronic loss, there is a road map and there are fellow travelers ahead and behind us on the journey. Grief often precedes growth.

Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. (John 16:22)

MOVING FORWARD WITH GRIEF

“We don’t move on from grief. We move forward with it,” writes Nora McInerny

Jennifer Williamson adds, “When grief is part of your life, you learn how to start all over again – over and over again. And that builds courage …”

Continual, sustained loss (and the grief that follows close on its heels) is one of the most energy-depleting aspects of chronic illness and pain. In the face of constant loss, we begin to ask:  “Who am I?” “What is my purpose?” “Where and how do I find new meaning?”

 

GRIEVING WITH HOPE

God doesn’t condemn our grief and sadness. He knows they are a part of our human experience in this fallen world, but He gently reminds us that through His Son, we grieve with hope.

Grief is a journey requiring steady sips of hope, plates filled with God’s unbroken promises, the comfort of community, replenishing rest, fresh air and sunshine, and the unexpected surprise of a blue-winged butterfly.

In this world, we will experience pain, loss, separation, and death, but a better day is coming, a day when death and brokenness no longer have sway. That is our bright hope as we experience grief and sorrow on this long and winding journey Home.

But in the midst of all this pain, there is a strange, shocking, yet very surprising voice. It is the voice of the One who says: ‘Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.’ That’s the unexpected news: there is a blessing hidden in our grief. Not those who comfort are blessed, but those who mourn! Somehow, in the midst of our tears, a gift is hidden. Somehow in the midst of our mourning, the first steps of the dance take place. Somehow, the cries that well up from our losses belong to our songs of gratitude. Henri J.M. Nouwen

Grief Posts

Acquainted with Grief

Who knows how I really feel? I wish someone else could understand what I am going through! Chronically ill folks question who understands their grief.

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acquainted with grief

What True Comfort Looks Like: It Doesn’t Whitewash Pain

Because we are assured of eternal life in heaven, we can endure anything in this temporal life on earth. When we know our end is glorious, we can joyfully and willingly live for him no matter what our circumstances. This is true comfort, and it is unchanging.

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"When people keep assuring me that I’ll have a positive outcome, it feels like my pain is being dismissed." Vaneetha Rendall Risner

GRIEF BOOKS

A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Mel Lawrenz

"Eva not breathing. Pray." That text message was entrance into the harsh reality of losing his thirty-year-old daughter. Things would never be the same. How could he and his family cope with this devastating loss? In this narrative of grief, Pastor Mel Lawrenz chronicles how his family struggled to survive the sudden death of their chronically ill and beloved daughter. In raw, vivid episodes, he describes the immediacy of the pain and the uncertainty of what comes next.

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100 Names of God

Every Moment Holy, Vol. 2: Death, Grief, and Hope

 Douglas Kaine McKelvey

Volume 2 of Every Moment Holy is a book of liturgies for seasons of dying and grieving — liturgies such as "A Liturgy for the Scattering of Ashes" or "A Liturgy before a Medical Treatment" or "A Liturgy for Embracing both Joy and Sorrow." Here are ways to remind us that our lives are shot through with sacred purpose and eternal hopes even when—especially when—suffering and pain threaten to overwhelm us.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Experiencing Grief

H. Norman Wright

At one time or another, we will all find ourselves facing a dark journey—the passage through grief. Experiencing Grief is written for a person who is in the wake of despair grief leaves. This brief but powerful book will help lead readers out of their grief experience through five stages of grief. At the end of the journey is peace and a seasoned, more mature faith.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

God in the Dark: Through Grief and Beyond

Luci Shaw

God in the Dark is one woman's record of her journey through grief and beyond. Poet Luci Shaw shares this journal of her husband's terminal cancer. It begins with the doctor's first diagnosis and follows her through the early months of her widowhood. In these pages, we see the complexities of a fragile three-way relationship -- between a man, a woman, and God.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows through Loss

Jerry Sittser

Loss came suddenly for Jerry Sittser. In an instant, a tragic car accident claimed three generations of his family: his mother, his wife, and his young daughter. While most of us will not experience such a catastrophic loss in our lifetime, all of us will taste it. And we can, if we choose, know as well the grace that transforms it. A Grace Disguised plumbs the depths of sorrow, whether due to illness, divorce, or the loss of someone we love.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

A Grief Observed

C.S. Lewis

Written after his wife's tragic death as a way of surviving the "mad midnight moment," A Grief Observed is C.S. Lewis's honest reflection on the fundamental issues of life, death, and faith in the midst of loss. This is a beautiful and unflinchingly honest record of how even a stalwart believer can lose all sense of meaning in the universe, and how he can gradually regain his bearings.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Grief's Compass: Walking the Wilderness with Emily Dickinson

Patricia McKernon Runkle

"The Wilderness is new--to you. Master, let me lead you."  Emily Dickinson wrote these words to her mentor shortly after his wife died. In "Grief's Compass," Patricia McKernon Runkle takes Dickinson as her guide after the devastating loss of her brother. As she charts a path through the holy madness of grief and the grace of healing, she finds points on a compass and lines from Dickinson that illuminate them.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love

Katherine Wolf et al.

When all seems lost, where can hope be found? Katherine suffered a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was rushed into surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. Through 40 days on life support and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, Katherine gradually recovered.  Years later, they are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope through their ministry Hope Heals.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy

Angie Smith

In 2008,  Angie and her husband Todd (lead singer of the group Selah) learned through ultrasound that their fourth daughter had conditions making her “incompatible with life.” Advised to terminate the pregnancy, the Smiths chose instead to carry this child and allow room for a miracle. That miracle came the day they met Audrey Caroline and got the chance to love her for the precious two-and-a-half hours she lived on earth.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

A Letter of Consolation

Henri J.M. Nouwen

This book reflects on the spiritual significance of death and life in this moving meditation dedicated to "all those who suffer the pain that death can bring and who search for new life." A long letter to Nouwen’s father after the death of his mother. A book to pass on to anyone who is going through a period of grief after loss.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Letters to Grief

Kate Motaung

Since everyone endures loss in their own way, this collection of nine reflective letters to grief personified is descriptive, not prescriptive. It offers readers encouragement and hope to deal with loss and grief in the midst of their own unique circumstances. Readers are invited to reflect on their personal grief experience by writing in the journaling pages throughout the book.

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100 Names of God

Sacred Tears: Simple Reminders That God Sees You and Loves You

Lindsey Wheeler

This collection of heartfelt essays, eye-catching word art, inspiring Scripture verses, honest prayers, and uplifting photography will meet you in your place of pain, offering solace and refuge for your weary soul. Lovingly written by a pastor’s wife and adoptive mom who lives with chronic pain, Sacred Tears will bring you the blessed respite you’ve been longing for and remind you that you are never alone.

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100 Names of God

Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy

Bill Dunn 

If you've lost a spouse, child, family member, or friend, you've discovered that few people understand the deep hurt you feel. Where do you turn for daily comfort and help? How do you move forward? This book is a helpful 365-day devotional designed to support and uplift you in the first, most difficult year of bereavement.

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A Chronicle of Grief: Finding Life After Traumatic Loss

Turn My Mourning into Dancing

Henri J.M. Nouwen

In times of suffering, simplistic answers ring empty and hollow. But Henri Nouwen, beloved spiritual thinker and author, offers real comfort in the concrete truth of God's constancy. Nouwen suggests that by greeting life's pains with something other than despair, we can find surprising joy in our suffering.

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