Growing through Grieving
By Kim Erickson
Within days of losing our three-year-old son to strep throat, we received a photograph of a beautiful flower with this verse typed underneath:
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 43:18)
I didn’t know anything about my Bible yet, but each time I looked at that picture and cried out to God, a calm came over me. A deep breath often came next. It became a mantra of sorts. Whenever I felt like I simply couldn’t take any more of this grief, I would repeat these words in my head. Sometimes, when grieving and the looming loss of Austin made me mad, I would almost shout the words and stomp my foot, demanding that God be near to me and save me from being crushed in the pit.
Sometimes people are shocked that I would shout, stomp, or demand anything from God. Perhaps it doesn’t sound very respectful or very “Christian-like.” But it’s the truth. The reason I feel okay about being “real” in my relationship with God is because the Bible says that when we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord of our life, we become a child of God. As believers in Jesus, we are adopted into God’s family. God becomes Heavenly Father to us.
I didn’t understand the gospel at the time I lost Austin. I didn’t know God at all. I only knew about God, and I wasn’t sure the story about Jesus was true. It wasn’t until I began reading my Bible and meeting with other Christian women that I began to understand who God really is, who Jesus is, and what is yet to come. God’s promises became my lifeline in the pit of my grief.
I began a lifelong journey of balancing my grief against my hope in heaven that is found in the Bible. While I discovered so many amazing things in my Bible, the most important during my time of deep grief were two simple things:
• Heaven is a real place.
• God does what He says (in the Scriptures)
He’s going to do.
I learned by reading my Bible that God keeps His promises. Over and over again. From the very beginning, He promised that a Savior would come and rescue mankind from the sin that separated us from Him. God did it: He sent Jesus.
Jesus promised He was preparing the way for us, that we would join Him in heaven. Jesus did it. While these are the most important promises I found in my Bible, these are backed up by hundreds more.
Even though I didn’t understand how a loving God, a Daddy-God, could allow us to lose Austin, I did grow to trust Him. I got to know God through my Bible and my “talking” with Him. As I learned more about God, the sharp edges of my grief began to get smoothed over. The crushing and never-ending burden of missing my little tornado became a bit lighter and easier to walk with through life.
I learned to give some of my deepest pain to my Father God. I began to trust that He loved me, despite the pain He allowed in this life. I began to allow Him to lift the pain from my heart by keeping His promises a part of my daily routine.
If you are in deep grieving right now, please open your Bible and find your Father’s loving arms, hear His comforting voice.
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