I’m a haphazard writer. I’m not very disciplined at writing when I don’t feel like it. But when a fancy hits me, BAM! I write most my blogs in less than 5 minutes and barely edit them. However when I’m without inspiration, silence. Three weeks ago a topic hit me: How badly I want to be able to write about something else, anything else. How I want to move on and write about positive things and cooking and growth and world issues and my children. And yet it seems all I can write about is grief and issues related to divorce and heartbreak.
The thing about being an undisciplined writer is sometimes when the idea presents itself, the time to complete the task does not also magically arrive. So inspiration had struck, but I didn’t get around to writing anything about it. Then, I went to Atlanta for a Shaklee conference and everything changed. I realized that the reason I wasn’t able to write about anything else was that I wasn’t really moving on. Being stuck wasn’t something that was happening to me, it was a choice I was making for myself.
It’s really easy to idolize grief. To let it own you and run your decisions and life. For a season, giving yourself grace and feeling what you need to feel is essential to healing. But then it becomes a habit. And then it becomes chains. And I was chained to my grief. Even though life was moving on and happy things were happening, I still felt stuck. Any small ache or pain in my life threw me right back into the pit of despair. It was as if those slight injuries were equal to the fatal blow that was inflicted on me over a year ago.
When I was going through the thick of things, I thought a lot about what pain does to people. That it really only has two outcomes: making people bitter or making people better. Pain can distort you and fashion you into an ugly person. Or it can mold you into someone who is beautiful. I’ve known people on both sides, and it isn’t the circumstances that dictate their responses. I’ve walked arm and arm with women who’ve lost handfuls of children to miscarriage, who’ve endured years of infertility, who have been sequestered to their room for months or years due to debilitating diseases, who’ve held their children through countless rounds of chemo and radiation, who’ve lost their marriages, who’ve lost all their possessions. And yet these women are gloriously beautiful. You feel their trust in Jesus in every conversation and their light cannot be dampened. And I’ve known people who became bitter at their circumstances; people who essentially followed Job’s wife’s counsel to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).
Grief is impossibly hard. It is a world of its own that is incoherent to those who have not been there. It requires intense tears, sleepless nights, physical pain from grief, and the ability to mourn in sadness and anger. But in every grief-filled situation, there will come a moment when the mourner must get up, wash their face, and worship God (2 Sam. 12:20).
And for me, that moment came while I was in Atlanta, at a conference with the theme of “breakthrough”. During the first session, I wrote in my notebook, “I have never in my life been more in need of a breakthrough.” And with that overwhelmed and broken thought, Jesus met me. I am not miraculously healed and now no longer struggle with sadness, but there has been a shift. A shift towards movement, towards gladness, and towards greater trust in God’s incredible plan.