When Grief is Hard but God is Greater

I don't write this post for sympathy, I write this to share my heart and hopefully encourage someone else going through the same thing. That's what this life is all about, isn't it? Taking our life lessons and using what God has taught us to encourage another. That's why I'm here.

My loving, wonderful grandmother left this world and crossed over to Glory last Wednesday night and our little world has shifted. We knew it was coming and we prayed that the Lord would take her peacefully and quickly, because we were well aware her poor Earthly body was broken and hurting. I got to say goodbye to her, to sit with her, to soak her in, but it doesn't make it any easier. I held her hand and whispered to her, "it's okay to close your eyes. It's okay to rest." She is healed and whole and we rejoice for that. It doesn't make me miss her less. The world keeps going, but ours has stopped.

Grief, it comes and goes. Some days are completely normal, others are wrapped up in memories of her, thoughts and prayers for my grandfather. Happy tears, sad tears. A cycle.

Someone asked me earlier how I was and I just smiled and said, "I'm doing fine." Because really, I am for the most part. But then, in the same breath, I really wanted to break down and tell her that my mind immediately goes to my dad, to my grandfather. I miss my grandmother, but I hurt for my loved ones who are hurting. I really felt numb and full of emotions all at the same time. Can I answer with, "Well, my heart literally hurts"? Would she look at me bewilderedly? Probably so. Instead, I just smile. It's easier than the truth.

Grief is hard. And frankly, death sucks. I know death isn't the end for us, praise God, but it's all around us all the time. It's one of those taboo things that we know is very real but very distant at the same time...like it won't ever touch you personally.  Until it does. It's inevitable, it's part of life, and everyone goes through it at some point, they say. But does it make it any easier?

Is there a right way to grieve? Is there such a thing as being too emotional? I don't think so. Everyone grieves differently, everyone deals with loss in their own way. There's no universal book on how to get over losing a loved one. It's unchartered territory for my heart and I'm dealing with it the best way I know how--writing and begging the Lord for guidance. 

I'm learning that grief molds us and shapes us, changes us from who we were to who we are now. Someone said this to me and I couldn't find it more true--"where there is deep grief, there is deep love." It changes something within us and we have the choice to make it for the better or for the worse.

I'm one of the rare, lucky ones who made it well into my twenties with all of my grandparents alive and well. It's a beautiful letdown though, because the older I get and the more I get to truly know them, the more I cherish and treasure them. The more I cling to them and try to soak in all the goodness they have to offer before it's too late. If there's one thing in this world that I don't want to have, it's regrets over something as precious as those memories. Life is short and time is precious and the Lord gives us these people to better us, to guide us, to love us. To make an imprint on our life that lasts much longer than their fingerprint here on this Earth.

I'm learning that grief is a journey, not a place to stay. It's a passage of sorts, to get through a loss, to process what happened, to give yourself time to feel. 

My precious grandfather is just heartbroken--after 56 years of marriage, I wouldn't expect any less from him. I can honestly say that watching him grieve and mourn has been the hardest part for me. He is my favorite person in this world, and to see him so devastated has ripped my heart in half. I know it's part of life and that through all the hurt, God has a plan. We're clinging to that for my grandfather. His mercies are new every morning and it's already evident in his life. We press on, just like Paul talks about in Philippians 3: "Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward."

This feeling is hard to describe--I'm selfish and of course, I wish she was still here with us. But she is worshipping in Heaven right now, rejoicing with the angels. That thought just stuns me. She has been ushered into the Heavenly courts and is a new creation, where there is no hurt, no sadness, no pain. I know it's only human nature to mourn the loss of a loved one but it just makes me that much more ready for Heaven. Can you even imagine? 

Grief is hard. Grief changes perspective on life and makes you savor every little second you can. Grief is temporary too, I know that. God is faithful. Through it all, God is faithful. I am so thankful for the hope that the Lord gives us. Through Him, I know that death has no hold over us; that death isn't the end. That the power of the Cross defeated death for you and for me. And how thankful I am for that.

The Lord is continually pouring His goodness over us; He is strong when I am weak, He carries my burdens when the weight becomes too heavy. Sure, sadness is there, but so is hope. This thought lingers in the back of my mind, through the sadness, and through the tears...I will see her again one day. Beautiful hope. And what a reunion that will be. This life and everything in it will pass away, but God's love is constant. And God's promises hold true.

28 comments:

  1. This is so beautifully written and speaks right to my heart this morning. I am certainly praying for you and your family. It's so funny how similar are situations are with grandparents passing away. I too was thankful to make it into my twenties with all four of my grandparents before I lost one. But my goodness is it hard. I love when you say your heart literally hurts, because that is SO true and exactly how it feels. And "I'm learning that grief is a journey, not a place to stay. It's a passage of sorts, to get through a loss, to process what happened, to give yourself time to feel. " SO much goodness in that statement. Sending you lots of love and happy thoughts.

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  2. My heart goes out to you, I lost my dear nan two years ago. It's gets easier over time as memories fill in to replace the grief and sadness.

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  3. I'm so sorry for your loss, but so happy to hear that you have such strong faith in this. xoxo

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  4. My prayers are with you! I'm sorry for the loss of your Grandfather.

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  5. I'm still so very sorry for your loss, sweet lady. It sounds like you had a wonderful relationship with your grandmother. I love and cherish mine as well, I can’t begin to imagine how you’re feeling. But your faith in this hard time is so encouraging, I know God will see you through. You will remain in my prayers.

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  6. I am praying for you, Rachel. This story is so similar to what I experienced in the fall (although no situation or feelings are the same so I don't claim to know how you feel). Just know I am praying for you.

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  7. SO beautifully written, Rachel. I have been praying for you. Praying for peace and comfort for you and your family. xo

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  8. Sweet friend, these words are beautiful. I have not lost a grandparent, but my best friends little brother went to heaven unexpectedly our first week of our Freshman year of high school and I have never hurt so much. Grief effects us all in different ways. I don't think you can be too emotional or cry too much. God is so faithful even in our grieving and mourning. Praying for your heart and your precious grandfather!

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  9. What a sweet and heartfelt post and you are so right, grief is a journey and it is different for all of us. Someone told me after my Mom died 6 years ago that "I would get through it but I would never get over it" and they were exactly right. But, as in all things, life does go on, just as the good Lord planed it.

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  10. I can't imagine what you are going through! I am SO sorry that your sweet grandmother is gone but I'm sure that your family keeps her memory alive and well. She will always be in your heart. Praying for y'all!

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  11. Love love love you Rachel! Ive been thinking about you so much this week and just continuing to lift your family to the Lord, especially your grandfather. This post is beautiful and continuing to think of your grandmother worshiping in heaven is such a wonderful perspective to have. You are such a light to your family!

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  12. This was so beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your loss. I pray the peace that comes only from the Lord will surround you as you family in this very difficult time. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  13. I have had this saved on my bloglovin' feed until I had the chance to really sit-down and read it. I am so glad I finally did. I'm so sorry you are going through this difficult time and I'll be praying for you! My uncle passed away over a year ago, and it still hurts almost everyday. The saving grace is always knowing that he is enjoying a life much bigger and greater than we could ever understand on earth.

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  14. Oh friend, thank you for your sweet words. I know death is a part of life and we all go through it. When you're in the middle of it, it seems a little daunting, but I know that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Can you imagine the glory that they're seeing in heaven? I can't wait.

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  15. You are so right, that kind of peace comes only from the Lord. I am so grateful that His grace and peace are abundant. Thank you so much for reading :)

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  16. Oh Lauren, you are a blessing. Your sweet texts meant so much to me that week. Thank you for the encouragement. The Lord is faithful.

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  17. She's looking down on us now, keeping a close watch on her loved ones! I can't wait to see her again one day.

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  18. Oh how true that is. SO true. And I think the Lord knows that, I think He knows we'll never fully be the same again but that's okay. It makes me lean on Him a little closer. Thank you for reading, sweet Lea. I am headed over to catch up on your blog now!

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  19. Losing a grandparent has been the toughest loss for me so far. We lost my mom's dad in 2013, and although we weren't super close, it was still just a surreal, sad time. Losing my grandmother has hit me harder. The hurt is indescribable. And you are right, The Lord really is SO faithful. He meets us right in that place where we're hurting. Keep my grandfather in your prayers!

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  20. Thank you so much, friend! That means so much to me.

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  21. I covet your prayers! Any loss is hard, that's for sure. It all hits us differently but a loss is a loss, we grieve and we hurt and all we can try to do is live through it!

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  22. I am so blessed and am so close to all of my grandparents. We grew up in the same town as all of them, so they had a very active hand in raising us and still do! It's a feeling that I never expected...it hurts every day but I know that one day, I'll see her again. Treasure the moments you have with your grandparents, sweet Lindsay! They are priceless. Thank you so much for your prayers :)

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  23. Calee, I am so sorry, sweet friend. No one can describe the hurt you go through when you lose a loved one. I am praying for you and hoping that you're coping through this rough time. If you ever need a shoulder to cry on, I'm here for you!

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  24. God's promises make all the difference, don't they? Keep praying for my sweet grandfather. He is still just heartbroken. I pray that his hurt lessens as the days go by!

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  25. Thank you, sweet Antoinette! You are always so encouraging and uplifting!

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  26. You are so sweet, Chelsea. Thanks for the support and condolences.

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  27. I love that thought...memories fill in to replace the grief and sadness. I have seriously started to remember so many little details about her lately. I love all the good times we had together. It makes all the difference!

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  28. Love you, Britt. Thank you for your condolences. Keep on praying, sister! Means the world to me.

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