Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dealing with grief

This last week has been one of the toughest of my life. I won’t go into detail, but think back to the last cataclysmic week you had and you can probably identify.

I’m not telling you this because I want sympathy or have a burning desire to bare my soul. 

I’m sharing because going through these hard times has taught me two important lessons: 1) that God is good and 2) that one of the best ways to overcome grief is to help others.

God is good
When things aren’t going well, it’s easy to blame others, and sometimes even God. But the Bible says that He loves us, provides for us, comforts us, heals us and ultimately saves us. He turns our mourning into joy; our filthy rags into robes of righteousness.

During difficult times, it seems easier to bury our heads in the sand or to distract ourselves with the wrong things than to spend time praying, reading the Bible or just spending time resting in His presence. I’m learning that these are the times to press into God and to experience the peace that only He can give.

Psalm 23 is familiar to most people, and it’s no coincidence that it has become such a well-quoted scripture. It has really given me comfort this week to know that God is guiding me and that He has a plan for my future:

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.

He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Serving others
It’s tempting to throw ourselves a huge pity party when bad things happen. I’ve been the life and soul of my own grief gatherings in the past, but I’ve never, ever felt better as a result.

Thinking about others when you’re suffering offers a distraction, but it can also really benefit you and the people around you. I’m sure you know someone who has a financial, practical or emotional need. You might not be able to solve it, but you might have the means to encourage them or alleviate their stress.

If helping others doesn’t come naturally to you or you’re struggling for inspiration, Christian charity Stewardship might be able to help. It is challenging people to ‘do Lent generously’ this year by taking part in 40 simple acts of generosity.

Instead of giving something up for 2013, the 40acts challenge offers suggestions such as donating blood, living on a fiver and becoming a mentor. More than 7,500 people have already signed up to take part, and it’s not too late to join!

Debbie Wright, head of content at Stewardship, says: “Lent marks a pivotal point in the history of the church, when Jesus prepared to give himself up as a sacrifice for all mankind. 

"Traditionally we mark Lent by giving something up, but what if it could be more than that? What if Lent was a preparation for a lifetime of big-heartedness?”

“Small acts of generosity, performed by thousands of Christians across the UK, have the power to make a big change to our communities, to our churches and ultimately, to our world.”

Today is the first day of the 40acts challenge, and the opening task is to make a generosity kit. Find out more and sign up here:

Read more from Joy in the next issue of Sorted magazine - out soon!

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry that you are going through something that sounds bad. Yes, I can identify completely; I had my 'cataclysmic week' a few years ago, and it was very bad.