grieving spiritual

Blessed are Those Who Mourn

11:42 AMHeather

My heart is tender toward those who are grieving. Because my own story has been so marred by a profound season of grief. There's a special ache within me when I know that someone else is on that same journey. It's a road that changes you. Challenges you. Refines and defines you.

We are trucking along in life when we get hit square between the eyes. I know that shock. That disbelief. The numbness of the surreal that actually serves you well to get through the unthinkable tasks that loss includes. And then comes the heavy weight of coming to grips with the way your life has been shattered. 

 
Establishing the new norms. Walking through a day feeling okay, when a scent or a sight takes you immediately back to ground zero. And you feel ever on edge of tears. 

To be honest, part of the first aftermath I felt from grief was a deeply calloused heart. Like two little kids comparing scars, I felt sure that my war wound was deeper. Harder. Bigger. Swimming in a sea of martyrdom, I reacted to the stories of others with an internal dialog that said I had it worse. Things were harder for me.

So that fact that I am tender and achy for others who mourn actually is a testimony to the miracle of how God has reshaped me. 

It is no small thing. 

In case you are in the dark trenches of feeling like your grief and loss far outweigh what anyone else faces, let me assure you that God will continually write your story when you allow him. He will transform you in inconceivable ways as you grief forward. As you take baby steps through life. 

It's part of his great exchange. 

He promises us that He is the one who makes testimonies from our tests and triumphs from our trials. 

His word says so.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Isaiah 61:1-3

For those who are poor and lacking and in need, he gives good news.

For those who are brokenhearted, he promises to bind up the wounds and offer you healing.

If you are captive to fear and sadness and bitterness, then he offers freedom instead.

For those who are imprisoned in darkness from the pain of losing a loved one, a marriage, a relationship, a job, a hope or a dream... he says he will give you release.

And for those who mourn, no matter the loss or reason, he promises comfort. 

For ALL who mourn, he gives his comfort.

If you are grieving, he will give you provision. For every step of your journey of grief, he says he will provide for ALL those who grieve.

When your life is in ashes from the fiery trials, he promises to give you a crown of beauty in exchange. 

If you are mourning, he offers instead his oil of gladness.

For those who are overcome with a spirit of despair, he says he will give you a garment of praise.

It's a great exchange.

We bring him our broken, jumbled, horrible messes. We lay them at his feet. We beat against his chest in anger from the losses we bear and cry out to him. And he responds in love as a Perfect Father. We can question him. And he will give answers. There's 66 books of answers and promises that we can use as a knot at the end of our ropes. We fall down before him, just as Mary did when her brother Lazarus was dead, and we mourn and cry and wail and express our sorrow.

And He is the One who cries with us.

Jesus wept. 

Not because he felt great despair and angst at the loss. No, he knew that it would in fact, "not end in death but for the glory of the Lord." 

He wept because he feels our sorrows with us.

If you are wiping tears from your eyes, then be assured that you have a Savior who cries with you. 

And just as death was not the end for Lazarus, it is not the end for us. God offers us a forever with him. He says that the sufferings of this world cannot compare to the glory to come.

When you are drowning in grief and loss and mourning and ashes and despair, captive and heartbroken by circumstances, God says give it to me. Hand it over. Trust me with it.

And be assured that in return, I will indeed offer this good news. I will bind up the broken heart. I will grant you freedom and release. I will pour out comfort and provision along the road of mourning. I will take the ashes and because of my sovereignty, I will bring beauty. I will ultimately right all that is wrong. Offer a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. 

Forever and ever and ever.

I share this today not as a cliche.

But as the truth I've discovered in my own life.

I'm living proof of these promises.

He took my calloused heart of stone from my own suffering and gave me instead a unique ability to ache for those who mourn. 

He is still redeeming my losses by using them for his glory. For his kingdom. And it's a gain I wouldn't have imagined. It's a gain I also wouldn't change.

He took my mess and gave me this message.

For every one of you who mourn today, I want to assure you. I want you to know that its the truest part of my own story.

God is the God of great exchanges.

In his providence and unending love, he took it all upon himself to make us his children. 

And he is Father who cries with us. 

He is also the Almighty God who says I will pour out my blessings on your broken paths.

Just read through Isaiah 61.

And stand firmly on the truth of it.

 

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