Grief Revisited

Grief Revisited

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

PSALM 34:18

An excerpt from The Hope of Restoration blog post on November 22, 2022, by Brittany Tate …

“At my house, November 1 means the Christmas season has officially begun. We pack up Halloween and Fall items and bring out the Christmas trees and Holiday décor. We spend the day rocking Christmas music and spend that night watching Christmas movies and drinking hot chocolate and eggnog. This day marks the beginning of a new season – one of joy and laughter, magic and wonder, a time when we get together with our family and friends, and a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior.

But this year sits a little differently for me. Though our Christmas decorations have been up for weeks now, I find myself mindlessly staring at the fireplace where our stockings hang. There’s an emptiness about our fireplace that I have not experienced in the last few years. An emptiness that marks a despair about this time of year.

The truth is, even though Christmas is a time of joy and celebration of our Savior, for me, it’s also a time of pain. For the last two years, I have faced the significant deaths of loved ones at Christmas. My sister passed away last November of 2021, and my dad passed away the previous December of 2020. And, for the last two years, our fireplace has been adorned with beautiful bouquets of flowers from my dad’s and sister’s funerals.

This year, though, our fireplace sits empty. You would think this emptiness would bring me comfort, signifying the absence of another funeral to face, but somehow it doesn’t. Instead, it marks an emptiness that sits in my soul, knowing the bond that I’ve shared with my loved ones through the years has now been broken. I won’t see them at Christmas. I won’t laugh with them, talk to them, or celebrate with them. I won’t even see their flowers sitting on my fireplace.

Losing a loved one does something to your soul. It creates an emptiness inside of you. A longing to be in the presence of the ones you've loved throughout the years. This emptiness isn’t the finality of your story, though--it's simply a reminder.

It's a reminder that you are not made for this world. It's a reminder that you have a longing in your soul for an eternity for which you have not yet reached. It's a reminder that one day, every tear will be wiped away, and there will be no death, morning, crying, or pain (Revelation 21:4, NIV).”

Grief does something powerful to the soul. At first, it seems to crush it, tearing it down to rubble and ash. The body stays at a standstill while the world keeps turning around. Life goes on, but you can't seem to keep up with it. Eventually, though you begin to learn how to move forward, taking one step at a time. Days, weeks, and months pass by, and though time doesn’t make things easier, you begin to adjust to the new normal. Just as you move on with life, you begin to look back and realize the small sprouts that have begun to bloom from the ashes. You see, grief will crush you, but by the grace of God, you don’t stay crushed. Through His strength, you become stronger. 

As I look back on my seasons of grief, I can’t help but realize the power and strength that was bestowed on me by my Heavenly Father. Through the times I honestly thought I couldn’t go on, He gently swooped me up in his arms and carried me through. 

There will always be an emptiness inside of us, a longing to be with the ones we love. But that emptiness points us to the only One who can give us strength and peace in our darkest hours because our God is, and will always be, close to the brokenhearted. He will rescue those whose spirits are crushed (Psalm 34:18). 

The following words are the ones I spoke at my dad’s funeral. I share them now because the Holy Spirit used them to comfort me when I needed to be comforted the most. They serve as a reminder that no matter what season I walk through, I want to make sure I’m always pointing to Jesus.

An excerpt from my dad’s eulogy, December 11, 2020:

Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be on his shoulders, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

God is our Wonderful Counselor: He is beyond understanding, wonderful beyond words, and He is the only one who can offer us perfect guidance.

He is our Mighty God: He is in control of all things, our hills and our valleys, our times of grief and our times of praise.

He is our Everlasting Father:  He is eternal, and through Him, we have the promise of eternity. Through Him, we know that when we lose our loved ones here on earth, it’s not goodbye but “see you later.”

My son saw me crying the other day, and he asked me why I was sad. I told him it was because I missed Papa. He sat in my lap, and with complete certainty, he said, “You’ll see him again. You just have to wait. It's just like when I miss Daddy when he’s at work. I just have to wait, and then I can see him again.”

He is so right. Our life here on earth is not the end; it’s the beginning of a perfected forever, and we just have to wait for our forever to begin.

He is our Prince of Peace: God gives us peace, not as the world gives us peace but a perfect peace that only comes from Him.

We have witnessed so much of His peace through this process.

It’s not a coincidence that when we were headed to SC after I received the phone call from my mom, my daughter ran into the convenience store to grab a Coke. It was only after she returned to the car she noticed the bottle read, “Share a Coke with Grandpa.”

It's not a coincidence that my one-year-old was upset and crying on our trip here, and my daughter chose to sing “You Are My Sunshine” to get him to calm down—the song my dad sang to me when I was a little girl.

So many more of these occurrences have taken place in the last week. They are extensions of God’s graciousness to us, and in them, we have experienced His peace.




How has God been present in your grief? Share your story in the comments below.


About Brittany:

Brittany Tate Living Truth Collective

Brittany is a wife, mom of five, and owner of Living Truth Collective. She has a sincere passion for equipping women in God’s truth. Her passion for biblical studies and psychology has led her to pursue her Masters in Clinical Mental Health from Liberty University so she can be better equipped to serve others.

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Do you need a reminder that God is close to you in your darkest hours? Our CLOSE bracelet serves as a reminder of God's Truth: "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed." PSALM 34:18

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