Day 4: Grief, Faith, and the Psalms

{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, join us with the #thismotherhoodstory as we journal our way through topics surrounding grief and life after loss.}

Thursday, October 12, 2017 – Journal Prompt
In the midst of your pain and loss, where do you find hope? Has faith shaped the way you grieve? Read through Psalm 43, 69, or 77 – what verses stand out to you? Take some time to write out your own Psalm (or poem) of lament.

“You’re so strong! How do you do it? I don’t think I could have handled it…”

I’ve heard this statement in varying forms over the past three years. People tell me I’m strong or brave for having gone through what we’ve gone through; but the truth is, I never feel particularly brave or strong. Mostly, I do it because I have to. There’s no other choice but to take it one day at a time: breathing in, breathing out.

Most days this so-called “strength” looks a lot like weakness. The days and weeks immediately following a loss are rough and emotional. With weeping and frustration, eyes rimmed with shadows, weight gain, weight loss, fatigue, closeness to God, spiritual apathy, anger, joy, laughter, sorrow…. like a ship tossed from wave to wave in heavy seas, my emotions soak and crash against me.

Battered and bruised, my faith takes a beating too.

“Save me, O God!
    For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
    where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
    and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
    my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
    with waiting for my God.”
Psalm 69:1-3 (ESV)

There is nothing I want more than to have a deeper desire for Christ: to be rooted and planted firmly in His life-giving Word. But the truth is that most days, it is a lot easier to lose myself in the fictional worlds of novels than to immerse myself in the truths of Scripture.

Over the past three years, each of my five losses have impacted and pressed upon my faith in a unique way. Some losses have forced me to immediately draw nearer to God, while others have left me feeling spiritually dry and lethargic. The mountain top highs and valley lows are just as present in grief as they are in everyday life. In the midst of the rainstorm, dodging water droplets and muddy puddles, it can be difficult to see that the storm brings life too.

One of my favourite places to turn in the middle of a storm, is the book of Psalms. In a time of loss, the Psalms are both comforting and instructional. Even for those of us who have grown up reading the Psalms, re-reading them through the lens of grief brings a whole new level of understanding to many of the passages. Some of the most powerful Psalms were written in a time of deep anguish. They show us the depth of human despondency and point us to a God who is still worthy of our time, our praise, and our love.

 “I cry aloud to God,
    aloud to God, and he will hear me.
In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord;
    in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying;
    my soul refuses to be comforted.
When I remember God, I moan;
    when I meditate, my spirit faints. Selah”
Psalm 77:1-3 (ESV)

In my grief, these Psalms reach deep into my soul and put words to the depth of my emotions. But while they meet us in that place of pain and agony, they don’t leave us there — they ever push us towards the hope that sustains us in the midst of our sorrow.

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.”
Psalm 43:5

On the days when I am most weary and exhausted by the weight of this loss, I know that there is a God who understands grief and who listens to my cries. It’s okay to come before Him, wounded and hurting. It’s okay to be honest about the depths of your pain. It’s okay to cry out to Him in anger and frustration, grief and sorrow. He doesn’t need perfection or hollow prayers — He just wants you to come as you are.

You may feel as if your faith is on shaky ground right now, or perhaps, non-existent. Take some time to read through Psalm 43, Psalm 69, or Psalm 77 and just let the words sit. Let these verses sink into your grief and permeate your pain. As you feel the freedom to explore the depths of your grief without fear, write out your own Psalm or poem, expressing your sorrow and sharing where your strength comes from.

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{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month! In this week leading up to October 15th, I am partnering with fellow loss mama, and author extraordinaire, Stefanie Tong, to help create discussion and raise awareness about this vitally important topic. Each day, we will be tackling a new journal prompt about grief and life after loss, and we encourage you to join us! Use the #thismotherhoodstory hashtag to share your journal prompts and help us build meaningful conversations about the reality of pregnancy loss! We don’t want you to miss out on any of these posts, so be sure to follow along on my Facebook and Instagram AND on Stefanie’s Facebook and Instagram.}

Missed a Journal Prompt? Find them here:

Day One: A Letter to Your Baby
Day Two: Pregnancy After Loss
Day Three: Postpartum Depression

JournalPromptFaithandPsalms

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Day 7: Your Motherhood Story - ECEmom

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