There are a variety of losses that we experience in life. Grief is simply a response to the losses in life that God uses to heal our hearts. The coronavirus is impacting all of us in a variety of ways. We have all lost a sense of normalcy through “social distancing”. Some of us have lost jobs, lost money due to the stock market, or have loved one who have these losses. Others have lost the blessing of children being in school learning from their teachers. Some have lost health while others have lost loved ones. The list of losses in our lives over the past few weeks is significant.
There are certainly losses that hurt more than other losses. We don’t want to minimize the overwhelming grief that can last a life time when we’ve lost someone we love through death. Our hope in writing this article is give your heart “permission” to grieve your losses – regardless of the size. God is our healer. He heals the smaller losses and the most insurmountable losses.
We pray you invite God to show you your losses and to heal your heart.
I have spent many days at home now wondering if life will ever be back to normal. I reflect on other times when I had “new normals”, such as the death of a child, moving to new cities, children going off to college, empty nest, and enjoying grandchildren. Through all of these seasons in life, we can embrace the good and the bad of experiences and the natural progression of life. They also brought a need for a time to grieve and accept loss so that I could get a bigger picture of how God wants to bring comfort and healing to my soul and allow a deeper meaning and understanding of what he is doing in and around me.
There are two things that were significant in my previous journeys to establish “new normals” and they have been helpful to me over the past several weeks.
- Spending time naming my emotions and allowing myself to grieve was the first step.
- Seeking God in His word created an environment for my heart to feel the nearness and love of God.
Stages of Grief
God created us to grieve. The emotions of grief are not wrong or to be feared, but indicate how our hearts live and have passion, but also how they hurt and experience pain. Research by Kubler Ross provides the natural stages of grief a person goes through when experiencing loss. Understanding these stages can help a person experiencing strong emotions to put a name to them and be an aid to understanding them.
1. Denial and Isolation
Being stuck at home can be a nice reprieve from the busyness of life but it can be a place of loneliness and even more stress if you have children in the home. Just taking time to name your emotions helps to bring you out of denial. Talking to others or God brings connection in relationships.
This can range from confusion and frustration to angry feelings and expressions of that anger. For example, there was a lot of confusion and frustration at the beginning of the pandemic about school closures, the need to socially isolate, food supplies, and overall lack of information. These emotions are not wrong, but should be identified as part of the process your body is experiencing.
Sadness and feelings of being overwhelmed with the changes you are experiencing can be difficult if left unchecked. Reaching out to a friend or just establishing a routine like exercising can be so beneficial. I found this so helpful for myself the past several weeks while the weather has been nice. Walks every afternoon are so uplifting. It has been nice to see others out practicing social distancing, too.
The desire for things to be different and bargaining with God about your circumstances like job loss, financial fears, and loneliness might lead you to ask “what if” questions. “What if God would only give me another job?” If you find yourself asking questions like this, ask God to give you wisdom to turn the question around and ask God, “How are you going to use this change or event in my life?”
This is beginning to finding the new normal and embracing it. No one goes sequentially through the stages, but you will find yourself going in and out of each of them at different times. The important thing that I found is to give myself permission to have these feelings because that is the way God has created me to experience life. Once I name the emotion or stage of grief, I can go to my Heavenly Father with my heart and seek His healing. He desires for me to pour out my heart to Him.
Meditating on Scripture
For me to walk closely with God in a time of grief, I need to mediate on His word. God has so many words of comfort and encouragement for us. Even when I do not feel like I can focus on a Bible verse, I have begun to write out scripture by hand. Yes, the art of writing in long hand can help your heart and mind to heal. You can use colored pens, crayons, or sidewalk chalk, but just begin to spend time each day copying the scripture. Then ask God what He wants to say to you through that verse. I don’t always have an “aha” moment, but committing to spend time each day listening to God’s voice through His word puts my focus on His truths so that I can see how He is working in my situation. This is helping me develop and accept my new normal.
Here is a suggested Scripture writing plan to help get you started.
Day 1 – 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
Day 2 – 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Day 3 – Isaiah 40:27-31
Day 4 – John 14:25-27
Day 5 – John 16:19-24
Day 6 – Psalms 18:1-9
Day 7 – Psalms 18:10-19
Day 8 – Psalms 46:1-5
Day 9 – Psalms 73:21-28
Day 10 – Revelation 21:1-4
Day 11 – Romans 8:16-25
Day 12 – Romans 8:26-35
Day 13 – Romans 8:36-39
Day 14 – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
I hope you will find comfort and strength in the days ahead as you give yourself permission to grieve by identifying and naming your emotions, then seeking God in his word to heal and encourage your heart. A new normal may be a difficult adjustment, but God has an incredible ability and power to take a willing heart into a place of deeper understanding of his nearness and love.