by Angela Jones
I wish I didn’t know grief as well as I do but I’m very familiar. I can point to at least six distinct times that I have experienced intense grief in my life—each one a unique experience that I experienced spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Recently, I read an article titled “That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief.” Even before I read the article, seeing the title made me think Oh, of course that’s what I’m feeling. That’s why my shoulders and back hurt; that’s why my mind is racing; that’s why I’m not sleeping well; that’s why I feel nauseated; that’s why I’m short tempered; that’s why I cry easily at both happy things and sad things; that’s why my anxiety and depression are showing up. And I could go on—but these are all ways grief has manifested itself in me from a young age.
The article described different types of grief we are experiencing, both collectively and on an individual level. We all experience grief in different ways. We all reach the stages of grief at different times (and the stages are not linear). Our response to grief is as unique as our personalities.
It’s completely reasonable to be experiencing grief in this season. We are all in a season of loss and everyone is experiencing that in different ways.
Here is what I can share from my experiences: when I am in a “good” place, I often find myself missing the tenderness I feel from the Lord when I can do nothing but rely on Him. When prayer is required to get out of bed, when tears and questions flow, when all my self-reliance is stripped away—that is when I have experienced the Lord’s goodness in such a deep way. My first real conversations with the Lord began at seven when my Papa died. And each experience after that has drawn me into a deeper relationship with Jesus. It’s not easy, but it’s beautiful. It’s a crown of beauty instead of ashes (Isaiah 61:3).
In my most recent experiences of grief I have found profound comfort in Isaiah 61. Maybe you will too. Trust the Lord with your grief. He will meet you where you are.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
And you will be called priests of the Lord,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.
Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
“For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
In my faithfulness I will reward my people
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants will be known among the nations
and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”
I delight greatly in the Lord;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.