As I move forward from one day to the next, I wonder about God’s plans and purposes. Don’t you? I ask Him a lot of questions. I already know many of the answers, but still, they are perplexing. I wonder how He figures I should be the one left behind to deal with bills, car repairs, insurance mix-ups and the neighborhood mountain lion. I think my husband, who worked so hard for years, not to mention giving his life in military service, deserved to receive his reward. I don’t begrudge him that, but I can’t help meditating on what lessons I’ve yet to learn in the aftermath of his leaving. Lessons I probably, in truth, do not want to learn.

If you are in a season of grieving, as I am, I want you to be sure to take time every day to stop and really relax and let whatever questions, comments, complaints, etc. that rise up, be expressed.Tell God how you feel. He knows anyway. You can cry, yell, question, journal, or maybe even use your pillow as a punching bag, but you need an outlet for all that pent-up pain. Don’t stuff it down. If you do suppress it, I promise you that at some point it will explode into existence, and it could hit at a time that is not at all convenient.

This thing called grief is like a monster dressed in pretty clothes. Right when you’re having good memories and feeling the peace of acceptance and progress, some painful thoughts hit like a grenade and bang—-a stomach punch knocks you down. I’ve learned to cry out to God right at that moment for His strength and love to overtake me. He answers so beautifully.

I hope that by sharing some of my journey through grief, it might help you, since several of you have mentioned your own struggles. It’s ironic. I’ve been a grief counselor and know what to expect, but when my own hits, it still packs a punch. Knowledge is not everything. But God gave us emotions and they have a purpose. How could we love someone deeply and not feel any pain when they’re gone? I know I’ll be with him again for eternity, but frankly, right now it doesn’t help a whole lot to know that. It does matter and I look forward to our reunion, but the aloneness of the moment is still very real.

I thank God that He promises to never leave or forsake us. He is a wonderful father, husband and friend. He gives wisdom, comfort and peace. Without that sweet, gentle Spirit flooding my soul over and over, I’m sure I couldn’t do this. It’s a gift that I give thanks for constantly. I’m going to survive, and I’m going to be okay. So are you—so hold fast to His promises and keep trusting. And, since we know the direction our world is headed is menacing—perhaps God’s gift to my husband was to take him before things get worse. It’s something to think about!

“The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away,
and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” (Isa 57:1-2)