A while back, I was doing some “grief work” with a woman in our transitional home at Calvary and it reminded me of just how toxic our unresolved feelings about losses can become. Not only for the women coming out of prison, that we work with, but for women in general.
While doing this grief work with her, we visited the grave sites of her grandparents, two babies that she had lost, and her parents, whose graves she had never visited. As we sang Amazing Grace, recited the 23rd Psalm and prayed, her tears fell to the ground like a summer rain storm in Florida.
As women, we frequently “stuff our feelings “and not unlike the women we work with in First Touch Mission, we stay wounded for years, not realizing how we can literally become physically and spiritually sick from the “loss venom” that hasn’t been expelled from our being.
Woman have received the label of “histrionic”, so instead of dealing with our loss by allowing ourselves to grieve, we can become “angry and depressed,” but we keep on “trucking” because of the responsibilities of our day to day busyness. One out of four women in America has been diagnosed with depression and is on psychotropic medication. You know the song “Big Girls Don’t Cry”! Well maybe they should!
Grief is like a deep and festering wound. We put a bandage on the top of the wound, (medication, alcohol, drugs, etc. with no success and many failures. Yet it keeps re-opening, because it hasn’t been properly treated. It hurts to clean a wound out from the bottom up, but that is the only way it will heal.
Loss is not simply the death of someone or something, but it can be the loss of a happy childhood or adulthood, a healthy marriage, educational or career disappointments, physical limitations, emotional traumas, financial security and on and on.
So, let me encourage you to identify all of your losses and then… let them go. Remaining in the pit of despair and in the muck and mire keeps you from receiving the blessing of God. Let go of your grief and allow Him to place your feet on solid ground and give you a new song to sing. (Excerpts from Psalm 40). Acknowledge and release the negative feelings surrounding your loss and keep this prayer on your lips:
Father God. Thank you for always being there for me, no matter what valley I may be walking through. I know that you will never leave me, even in my most difficult circumstances. Sometimes I have been confused or have lacked understanding of why I am going through certain things. I know that I do not have to understand because you are God and You are in control. Help me to trust You in all things and look to You in faith. Please remove my feelings of sorrow and grief. Heal this pain I feel in my heart and in my body and help me to trust You more. Fill my mind with hope and with more of your Spirit. I ask this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Despite how hard it might be, find a need and do something for another. You can’t change history, but you can change another person’s situation from grief to joy. In being the hands &feet of Jesus, you find that joy can once again be yours to have and to hold. I love these lyrics from the Mercy Me song, Hold Fast:
Help is on the way
He’s come to save the day
What I’ve learned in my life
One thing greater than my strife
Is His grasp
So hold fast”