On the Other Side of Mourning
Have you ever lost something that was important to you? I mean something more than an object. Something that really can’t be replaced.
Something like your joy or peace or desire to serve.
What happens when you lose something like that? How do you feel?
I’ve mentioned before that a couple years ago a Christian counselor told me I needed to take at least a year break from the church I was serving in because of the stress it was causing me. I really struggled with that suggestion. I quit going to counseling because of it, and continued serving in church.
And my stress levels continued to cause increased anxiety until I entered a period of great loss. The loss was so devastating to my spirit that I found myself in a period of mourning.
My season of mourning couldn’t have been any clearer if I had thrown ashes on my head and dressed in sackcloth.
My joy? Gone.
My walk with God? Hindered by the overwhelming emotions.
My serve? Out of guilt and obligation.
And I had tried everything to get out of this ‘funk’.
Prayer. Bible study. Counseling. More involved in serving. Encouraging others. Loving those I didn’t even like. Saying yes when I knew I should be saying no.
I finally hit rock bottom in the most freeing way.
In a final conversation with myself I decided I couldn’t be so miserable any more. God didn’t create me to be in a perpetual state of mourning. This had gone on for too long.
I had punished myself for long enough.
God loved me, forgave me, and had work for me to do. I had to get up and get well.
That has almost been a year and a half ago.
Not an easy year and a half. On the other side of mourning is a lot of anger, hurt feelings, additional loss, a totally different kind of mourning, and then, sometime when you aren’t paying attention, the ashes get swept up.
Then, you find yourself out of town late on a Saturday night for an annual family event. You’ve missed church most years on Sunday after that event. You could have made it this year, but no one sets an alarm and everyone oversleeps. Then when you finally wake up and realize church has already started and you can’t make it, you’re sad that you’ve missed church.
And that thought made me smile.
I was actually SAD that I missed church.
I didn’t feel guilty for missing church; I felt disappointed that we missed out. I wasn’t worried about who had to cover my jobs and what complaints I would hear about. I wasn’t concerned about who might think we were looking for a new church or skipping church because we were mad at someone or weren’t truly Christians.
I was simply sad that we had accidentally overslept and missed church.
It was a huge breakthrough for me.
I’m actually happy again. At work. At home. At church.
That last one was hard to type. I’m afraid to say it.
But this evening as I drove home from work I paused as I heard a song on the radio for the first time in a long while.
“Let me see redemption win
Let me know the struggle ends
That you can mend a heart
That’s frail and torn
I wanna know a song can rise
From the ashes of a broken life
And all that’s dead inside can be reborn
Cause I’m worn”
-Worn by Tenth Avenue North
I have. I used to bawl through this song because it was my prayer, but now it is my praise! God can mend a heart no matter how frail and torn! I am singing again…from my heart not from routine! The ashes are being shaped into something new! And that new? It’s beautiful!
Are you struggling? Do you feel alone? Past the point of redemption?
Friend, God has great plans for your life! He’s not done! He can restore, redeem, and renew whatever is broken or worn out in your life. No, there’s no quick fix, magic pill, but if you ask Him, He will do it!
And I don’t want you to have to do it alone. I’d like to help someone out the way I wish someone could have been able to help me. To help bear the burden. To pray you through. To speak words of encouragement, motivation, and, yes, sometimes tough love.
If now is your rock bottom, here’s your sign and your hand up! If you haven’t hit rock bottom, but you’re close enough to see it, don’t wait! Reach up for help now.
Shared with Motivation Monday
Shared with Motivation Monday