“You are so strong!” they said.
If they only knew.
I was dying on the inside.
If you too, have wrestled with doubt, asked why a tragedy has struck you or questioned God’s goodness, you’re in good company here. When my son died, I felt crushed, including in my spiritual life. You will find no judgment or shame from my tiny little corner.
I have the right to embrace my spirituality
The Mourner’s Bill of Rights states, “I have the right to embrace my spirituality”. That includes wrestling with it, when what you trusted doesn’t make sense. On one hand, if faith is part of your life, now is a time to try to be around people who understand and support your religious beliefs. Your foundations are likely shaking and they can offer tremendous comfort. But you also must be free to ask your real deep and honest questions - without being dismissed or blamed.
This is where the rule of third’s comes in again (I mentioned it in my other blogs). Real questions can make people uncomfortable so don’t expect more then 1/3 of those who support your beliefs to really be able to help without being critical of your questions and feelings. Those people are pure gold.
Personally, with a master’s degree in theology and I thought I knew how God should act. I believed that since I was doing my part of praying and serving, that God would do his part to keep my family safe and “deliver us from evil”. But when my son was hit and killed by a criminal driver, I was confounded and felt abandoned by God. I began to wrestle with him like Jacob did with the Angel.
Suffering is part of the package
Slowly, I came to realize that the bible says, (are you ready for this), suffering is a necessity and to be embraced, "count it all joy, when you encounter various trials," (James 1:2). Wrestling and doubt can become a gateway for deeper faith and a deeper relationship with a true, good God and to our real selves. It has been a tough journey but I believe that good can emerge even through the thorns of suffering. It is like a tiny rosebud on a stem of terrible thorns. One day, it will bloom in majestic, triumphant beauty.
Comfort or STRENGTHEN?
Some people tried to comfort me with the bible idea that suffering is for enabling a person to comfort others with the comfort you have received, (2 Cor. 1). But I wondered, “Couldn’t God do it himself and leave me out of it?” Then, I learned that this verse is actually poorly translated. Up until the 1700's, the word “comfort” meant, “to strengthen” not our current understanding of “delivering ease”, or making you feel better like a pain-relieving Tylenol. The idea of delivering ease was only added more recently. What the verse actually means is that God is promising strengthening in the midst of our pain so we too can eventually strengthen others to help them to bear up. When I learned that, it made so much more sense, and now I get it.
Rule of thirds
Back to the rule of thirds. You can only expect about 1/3 of your support people to really be of comfort to you. One third may actually be detrimental, offering hurtful comments that show that they just don't "get it". Then there is the other third that does not really help or hurt. Today, I want to be among your positive 1/3 of people of faith who are a support to you.
I would like to be a little bit of a beacon for you. Your suffering is the not the last word on your life. What I discovered is that you will get through and you are not lost or abandoned. My working theory is that there is a big picture, a REALLY big picture. God's eternal purposes for us are so huge that we are confounded by how God could possibly use the worst experiences to transform us into magnificent spiritual beings, who are made kings and priests for all eternity (Rev. 1:6).
Next time, I am excited to blog about the very important last item in the Mourner’s Bill of Rights # 8. “I have the right to search for meaning.” This gives depth and importance to the hardest journey.
Here is the entire Mourner’s Bill of Rights once again, to encourage you on your important journey:
The Mourner's Bill of Rights:
1. I have the right to experience my own personal, unique grief.
2. I have the right to embrace my grief and heal.
3. I have the right to feel many different emotions including surges of grief.
4. I have the right to treasure my memories.
5. I have the right to respect my own physical and emotional limits.
6. I have the right to talk about my grief.
7. I have the right to embrace my spirituality.
8. I have the right to search for meaning.
I hope this has saved you some agony and wondering if you are doing it “right”. There are no shortcuts, and no rules. Your grief journey is important and to be respected, regardless of a society that wants to avoid loss.
If you would like to discuss it or anything else about it, contact me and let’s have a conversation.
BIG HUGS AND ALL MY BEST,
Check out other helpful blog articles including :
plus helpful Renewing Resilience Tips. or scroll down for more
If you are facing loss, get the support you deserve. For additional resources, including a no-obligation introduction coaching session with Helga Bender, MThS, for help, relief and rebuilding life again click here.
Please leave a comment about this blog - whether you liked it or not. Also check out my facebook page - for the latest, or just to say Hi!
© Helga`s Coaching Blog 2016. You are welcome to use excerpts and links, provided full and clear credit is given to Helga Bender and Helga's Coaching Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.