What if grief is actually a gift?

More often than not, we treat grief like it’s the plague that we think it is.

What if grief is actually a gift?

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I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed this morning, and I came across a picture my sister had posted this morning. One of my other sisters had gotten shirt pillows made for Becca and her kids, with old shirts of Harley’s. It’s no surprise that there were a lot of tears shed over the pillows this morning. Even I had to fight back tears as I looked at the picture.

Can I be honest? I found myself breaking down over the loss of my brother-in-law just yesterday. I thought about my sister and her children as they are still trying to work through their new normal without their favorite man. I imagined what it would be like if Evan were to never come home. I can’t even fathom it. What my sister and her children face every day is heartbreaking.

Yes, Evan being gone for deployment is hard. But, I at least have an ending to look forward to.

My sister doesn’t have that.

She has heaven to look to, which she holds onto with each post that she labels with #onedaycloser. As wondrous and hopeful as heaven is, the grief is still there.

The heartache is still there.

The loss is still felt each and every day.

Grief is so hard.

It is mentally, physically, and emotionally taxing. The amount of tears it produces is exhausting. It leaves a dip pit in the stomach of the one who is grieving.

gift of grief

But what if grief is necessary?

What if grief is a gift from God?

As painful as grief is, it acts as a beautiful gateway into healing though there seems to be very little beauty in all of it.

Yet, more often than we’d like to admit, we treat grief like it’s the plague that we think it is. We think it shows weakness. We fear it because it means facing the loss that we have endured.

Yet, we forget that the very person we try to model our lives after demonstrated grief. In a simple, two word phrase, we read that “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Lazarus, a very dear friend of Jesus, had died. Jesus came to Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus, a few days after the death of his friend. We find that before Jesus performed one of the greatest miracles of the Bible, in bringing Lazarus back to life, He wept.

There have been many speculations about why Jesus wept, and I’d have to say I disagree with many of them.

Couldn’t it just be that Jesus was showing us that it’s okay to grieve? Jesus had lost his best friend to death, the very thing that had become a consequence to the separation between He and all of His creation. Yes, Jesus knew He was about to bring Lazarus back to life, but that doesn’t mean He didn’t love Lazarus enough to grieve over his death.

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Grief is the perfect transition into new life.

Grief allows us to acknowledge the pain we feel, instead of stuffing it inside and pretending it’s not there. Without the transition of grief, we stay lost in the past and refuse to let ourselves come to terms with the loss.

It is gut-wrenchingly painful, but it is necessary. With each tear shed comes healing. The groaning of our souls comes pouring out, and an opening is made for new life. An opening is made for Christ to heal and demonstrate His perfect love.

Though my sister’s regular posts about missing her husband are heart-breaking and produce a lot of tears, I know she is healing.

She is grieving, and it’s okay.

Where there is grief, life and hope follow.

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  • What a great take on grief. As someone who has recently started another path of grieving, one of the deeper ones in life – the death of my Dad a few months back, I have to agree in the healing power and goodness of grief.

    Though I really wish my Dad were here with us, sharing our intertwined lives, watching and helping guide my boys, I also know that his no longer being in my physical life does show the deepness of life at its core. 🙂

    • Oh Kendall, I am so sorry for your loss! I am literally tearing up, because I can’t imagine life without my dad, though I know that it is inevitable.

      I’m thankful that you can hold onto his memories, and that you can celebrate the joys you had with him while he was still with you is a beautiful and wonderful thing!

    • Oh Kendall, I am so sorry for your loss! I am literally tearing up, because I can’t imagine life without my dad, though I know that it is inevitable.

      I’m thankful that you can hold onto his memories, and that you can celebrate the joys you had with him while he was still with you is a beautiful and wonderful thing!

  • What a great take on grief. As someone who has recently started another path of grieving, one of the deeper ones in life – the death of my Dad a few months back, I have to agree in the healing power and goodness of grief.

    Though I really wish my Dad were here with us, sharing our intertwined lives, watching and helping guide my boys, I also know that his no longer being in my physical life does show the deepness of life at its core. 🙂

  • Jen

    I really love this take on grief!! I wish I had this when my Mom passed away but it really does help put some things into perspective.

    • Oh Jen, I am so sorry for the loss of your mother! How long ago did she pass away? I’m so glad this post was able to help some!

      • Jen

        Thank you! She passed away 5 years ago and sometimes it feels like it happened yesterday.

        • I can only imagine. I feel the same way about our Andrew. It’s been almost 5 years since we lost him, and sometimes the pain still feels so fresh. I hear some people say that time heals all wounds. No, time doesn’t heal it; it just makes it a little more bearable. My heart goes out to you and your family. She clearly was a great mom, because she produced an incredible daughter!

          • Jen

            I appreciate that so much! Sending lots of love to you and your family! No one should ever have to lose someone at such a young age. Like you said, it never heals or goes away it just get bearable.

  • Jen

    I really love this take on grief!! I wish I had this when my Mom passed away but it really does help put some things into perspective.