Tag Archives: grief

Death Without a Funeral

26 Oct

rockpile

It’s a death without a funeral.*

There’s been a recent death in my life.  It’s not a person or a pet, but a church.  I have said goodbye to my old church.  This move, orchestrated by God, has caused a loss of community, a loss of purpose, a sense of being displaced, and a sense of identity loss.

Who am I now and where do I belong? It’s like looking to the sky to see God as a cloud leading me somewhere new and on the darkest of nights trusting His pillar of fire to watch over me.

It’s moving on.

A final goodbye.

Don’t look back.

Just keep moving forward.

Leaving this church is one of the most painful experiences of my life.  I came in those doors so wounded and torn up by the world after not going to church for seven years.  I experienced healing, was challenged in my faith, and I grew.  I became strong. 

And because of it, I’m now strong enough to leave.

God is telling me that it is time to move on.  And like Abraham, like Moses, like so many who have gone before, I must follow where my God has called me.  Whatever the reasons for leaving a church—any church—the main reason should and must always be a calling from God.

I wasn’t sure I should blog about this, but as I googled “leaving a church” I didn’t find any helpful information.  I didn’t find people grieving the loss.  I simply found articles with bullet points on knowing when to leave and when to stay.

It goes so far beyond a bullet point.

We want to fancy it up with church talk.  We want to wrap it up in a pretty bow, like because God called us to do it means it isn’t hard.  Because God called us to do it, we didn’t scream our hearts out on the living room floor every day for a week.  We pretend leaving our ministries doesn’t rip us all apart.  We wear these “holy masks” and say everything is just fine.

But everything is not fine.  Goodbyes are hard, particularly this one because, for me, it’s a tearing away.  I feel like I’m losing a piece of myself.  I know the reasons God is moving me, yet I feel like some sort of refugee.  I’m bewildered, don’t know how to fit into the new mold of a new church, and I’m so lost and lonely.

I know I’ll be OK.  I know I’m grieving right now, but just as the dying leaves fall from the trees only to bud in the spring, so will I.  There’s just a long winter of the soul ahead—a time to rest, reflect, and snuggle up with God.  Sometimes a winter has to come to force us to look at the One who truly gives life.  I trust Him to provide what I need in this transition.

I tell myself the truth. Day after day.  And it hurts less and I haven’t cried in a few days now.  I’m finding sustenance and joy in God, almost like I had to become wounded like this to feel Him again.  Almost like my heart had to split wide open with this wound to start beating again.

To quote C.S. Lewis, “There are far better things ahead than what I leave behind.”  I am choosing to run towards the better things ahead. 

And when I need to, I bow my head in grief and scream out to God to ease my pain.  I struggle as I grieve this death, this death without a funeral. 

This is my funeral, my final goodbye, my laying to rest. It’s in these words I find peace and on my blog I place a gravestone.  I build an altar here, dedicate it to God, and remember this holy moment.

*I borrowed the title “Death Without A Funeral” from singer/songwriter Jason Gray.  The song can be found on his latest release, Where the Light Gets In. You can watch a video where Jason talks about “Death Without a Funeral” here or listen to the song itself here.

Choosing to Heal

17 Oct

I’m tucked away in my writing nook on this beautiful fall morning.  My sinuses are rebelling against the rest of my face causing a throbbing effect, but my heart is full.  Well, maybe half-full if I’m going to be honest.

And it has been such a long time since my heart has felt anything but empty.

Recently I said goodbye to someone who is very dear to me. For almost 9 years, she’s walked with me through the darkest of times.  She helped me work through issues and fear and I’m a stronger person today because of how God used her in my life.  We said goodbye on September 29 and I sobbed for the rest of the day.  I randomly cried in the weeks leading up to those final moments together.  And now I feel the ache of her departure from my life.  I miss her warmth, her honesty, and how she encouraged spiritual growth in my life.  Very rarely do people touch in our lives in such a way and there is a hole when they leave.

I have a hole in my heart.

But God–two powerful words–is filling that hole with Himself.  He is calling me nearer to Him and I’m reluctant to bask in His comfort.  I’m angry that He took her away.  I want to live life with open hands, trusting that God will use absolutely everything for my good and for His glory.  I believe this!  Yet it’s hard to accept it.

The hole is slowly filling in because wounds usually heal–sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly and sometimes never at all.  With this type of wound, I have a choice.   I choose to heal.  I choose to care about others knowing that they could one day disappear from my life through death or circumstances.

When I started writing this post, I thought I would tell you about my new house, my new ministry (Share Beauty Project), or offer some scriptural insight.  However, that’s not what I needed to write and I suppose that’s not what you needed to hear.

Let’s give our hurts to God.  Let’s allow Him to heal those holes in our heart.  Through Him, let’s love others, even if it hurts.

God will redeem this

28 Mar

Sometimes life just hurts.  Today is like that.

I waited for almost 40 days to bring home my new shih tzu puppy.  I was ecstatic, proudly showing her photos to anyone who seemed remotely interested. 

I brought her home last Wednesday, and today she is going to a new home with a middle school girl who will give her everything that this dear little puppy needs.

The main reason I had to re-home my puppy is because she was crying and shrieking like a wild banshee for most of the night since BFF Sarah and I brought her home.  Since we live in an apartment, not only were we sleep-deprived, so were our neighbors.  Therefore, with much prayer and trepidation, I gave her up–my puppy, my dream, my much-anticipated birthday present.  But I know that God will use her to bring joy to someone else and she will be a blessing.

Naturally, I am upset…devastated really.  I lost my senior dog in January and now this.  Fortunately, I serve a God who binds up broken hearts, and I know He is holding me close right now.  Please pray for me and Sarah as we grieve the loss, pray for the family who is getting this puppy, and also pray for the puppy herself.

I thought about glossing over this issue, not saying a word, or just hiding my pain.  But I choose to be transparent, to let you see me raw because I so desperately need your prayers.  Also, this is real life; I don’t want to hide my reality. 

As always, thank you for your understanding, faithful prayers, and for standing by me through was seems like a whirlwind.  And I thought 2012 was going to be a better year. But who knows what God is doing with all this?  I do know that He takes ashes and makes beauty, that He redeems all things.

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