Imposter or influencer?
March 25, 2020
The Church is not empty, The Church has been deployed.
April 8, 2020

Grief does not ask for your permission.

With loss occurring almost daily, how do we stay afloat? Grief isn’t exactly trendy. However it is natural and necessary.
Grief is an all-consuming, universal human experience that takes many forms. Parents grieve a child whose life is cut short; children grieve a parent whose memory fades; childless couples grieve what could have been and may never be. The ill and elderly grieve losing health and independence, and unprocessed grief can lead to illness and suffering of its own. And if we’re not the ones grieving, we’re an onlooker to someone else’s grief. 
I lost my mom a little over a year ago to cancer. That word still burns on the tip of my tongue. Being a nurse I have seen a lot, been through the trenches, but nothing prepares you until you experience it on the most personal level. I was not the nicest to my Mom who raised me, and she made sure she raised tough strong daughters. It was rough to say the least. But she lost her mom at a very young age and raised us with the sweat on her brow & the calluses on her hand. Paint stains added character to her favorite neon tropical outfits. I can still smell her dounty scented clothes & having to yell “What did you say?” Her favorite rock & roll song on in the background. The front and back door open with the Wind chimes wrestling in the background, kids laughing in the pool & the neighborhood boys raiding my mom’s fridge. As much as those memories give me a tear down my cheek, and a shaky deep breath, I pray I never lose those memories.
I see a grief counselor and I believe there are two common themes.
1. We all grieve. It is one of the most common experiences that connect us as humans.
2. Each of us grieves in our own unique way. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is one of the biggest gifts we can offer ourselves.
As we navigate through the losses of life, it is important to remember we are not alone. Where there is life, there is loss. Letting grief move through us unchoreographed is key. Our sense of loss doesn’t need to be suppressed.  
The Bible is packed with people being real with God about their circumstances, expressing a whole range of emotions. The writer of Psalm 22 cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” verse 1. Job, who loses everything, doesn’t hold back his grief. He and the psalmists help us find words for our own experience, or even to accept that there often are no words Job 2:13. In such times “the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express” Romans 8:26. It’s not always pretty, but God comes close to those who bring their grief to him rather than suppress it. 
Here are some tips I recommend when grief arises:
Feel your grief. This may manifest through tears, screaming into a pillow, silence & praying.
Grief is a journey, it demands a lot of us, and it comes in waves. Ride the waves. In the presence of grief, the astonishing capacity of one’s love is uncovered. God isn’t immune or indifferent to grief; he’s experienced it at the deepest level possible. And this same God is with us in our grief. He doesn’t always tell us why we’re suffering, but he does offer us himself: “The Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” 2 Corinthians 1:3–4
There’s Hope beyond the pain
Grief doesn’t need to be suppressed, nor does it need to bury us. Job, in the middle of his troubles, makes an incredible profession of faith: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” Job 19:25–26. Jesus, standing in front of Lazarus’s tomb 2,000 years later, brings incredible hope out of deep despair. Psalm 22 ends in victory. There is hope.
If God doesn’t exist, this is the only life we get. Death marks the end, and the loss is permanent. But if he does, then death doesn’t have the last word. Jesus has defeated it. And one day, he will remove it entirely.
On that day, God will personally wipe away all our tears and bury our grief for good. 
Until then I will always miss you mom.  
Till I see you again…
For grief resources here in St Augustine & Jacksonville:
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Written by: Aimee Miller 3.25.2020

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