The gift of grief

Last November, December & January our family suffered the loss of my niece and two uncles. It felt as if grief wouldn’t stop coming, waves on waves. I didn’t have time to get my mind around one loss before another came along. During this time the word that I connected with the most was heavy. I felt heavy. Life felt heavy. The air around me felt heavy. Everything took enormous effort. Then one morning during this time, God gave me the phrase “the gift of grief”.

That’s confusing right? Gifts are good things. I should know, I’m a gift girl. It’s one of my love languages. I love a nice personalized, thoughtful gift. I don’t need expensive gifts, although I’d never turn my nose up at some nice jewelry. But even my favorite jewelry is personalized. I have a bracelet with 6 discs, each disc has handwriting from my most important people – my husband, my 3 boys, my momma and daddy.

So, if my definition of a gift is good, thoughtful and personalized, grief doesn’t fit the bill. Or does it?

Is it good to grieve? I think it is. God created us with emotions. We have to feel our feelings. We don’t have to be defined by them. We can take them to God and He is faithful to walk with us through them.

Is grief personal? A hearty AMEN to this one! There is no one way to grieve, we all do it differently. There may be stages of grief but there are not steps that we all complete one by one in the same order.

How about thoughtful? Death isn’t thoughtful. It’s quite rude actually – uninvited and unwanted. But grief brings with it lots of thoughts, it causes reflection. It arrives with loads of questions. Most of them start with why and they can drive you crazy.


But we do not want you to be uniformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13

As believers, we are to grieve differently. We are to grieve keeping in mind the hope we have in Jesus. The gift of God’s love, grace, mercy and eternity with Him. We can take the questions that haunt us to God. He is attentive. He is faithful to comfort us and be near. For me, this meant bringing to mind memories, happy and sad. When the memories were sad and regrets started me spiraling, I had to be intentional about thinking about who God is, His character and what He says about me.

Perhaps grief is a gift intended to draw us closer to God. Perhaps grief is a gift to show us God the comforter. Perhaps I’ve learned to rely on God through my grief. I will never choose grief but when it comes I’ll try to use it to remember the life and impact of my loved one and the goodness of God.

Friend, if you’re grieving today, take it to God. He is faithful to comfort you. It’s not a quick process. Stay with Him, keep praying. Please don’t take this to say that you need to grieve alone with just you and God. I had people around me, listening to me, holding me up, loving me through this grief. And it’s ongoing. It does come in waves and on unexpected days. If you are feeling pulled under by your grief, please reach out to both God and people around you or to me. Grief must be witnessed because love must be witnessed.

This Heart of Stone

Guest Post by Mrs. Rachael Scoggin

I’ve told many people now that I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 12 years old, but I didn’t start acting like it until I was 28 and didn’t die in a bus accident. That sounds weird though, huh? Like…what DID I act like for those 16 years in between?

Well…I’m not going to give you all the details because that would just make the devil happy, but I will tell you that I spent the better part of those years grieving the Holy Spirit (and my parents…bless them). How do I know that I was grieving the Holy Spirit? Because. I. Was. Miserable.

In the 36th chapter of Ezekiel, God says to us, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules” (Ezekiel 36:26-27)

Although my 12-year-old self did not fully understand what trading in a heart of stone for a heart of flesh meant in that moment, God did. God knew every teenage-angst-filled choice that was to occur. He knew every loney, lost, and selfish 20-something decision that I would make. He knew I was not going to, as He put it, “walk in [His] statutes” or “obey [His] rules.” (Maybe He meant “hard-headed” instead of “heart of stone.”)

He also knew that He would BE there with me while it was all going down–whether I wanted Him to be there or not! He regularly reminded me that I needed Him–even if I didn’t want to hear it. He often reminded me that my sin was painful, but His burden was light–even if I shrugged off His desire to carry my burden.

He was there to comfort His child in those rare moments that I did decide to turn to Him and ask, if only for a moment or two before turning back to old habits, old behaviors, old sins. Until one day–March 29, 2006 to be exact–I didn’t die in a bus crash. I was a high school soccer coach on my way with a bus full of excited young girls to the first round of the state playoffs that day, until we weren’t.

Our bus crashed killling 2 of my players and resulting in life-altering injuries to many more. I was 28 years old that day. I felt 12. I was scared beyond comprehension. I was in shock. I turned to God and cried out for His help..and He was there. He had always been there. He never left. I just didn’t make a habit of seeking Him. But that day–and every day since–I’ve not let myself forget that He IS THERE…with me.

He will never leave me or forsake me. Since that day, I’ve learned so much about this “heart of flesh” versus the “heart of stone.” This “heart of flesh” causes me to look to Him at the start of each new day and not to the things of this world. This “heart of flesh” calls me to love people right where they are…just for who they ARE…not who I may want them to be. This “heart of flesh” causes me to WANT to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.

And this “heart of flesh” calls me to know Him and be loved by Him and rest in His undeserved grace and in His endless mercy. I am so thankful that His Holy Spirit came to reside in my soul at 12-years old and never left…not even for a second. And I’m thankful that God continues to chip away at that old stone heart and give me more of that heart of flesh He talks about in Ezekiel.

And YOU can rest in the truth that God has a plan to exchange that hard-headed “heart of stone” for a “heart of flesh” if that’s what you seek. All you have to do is know He’s there…and ask!

You Grieve, Girl.

It’s been one year since my sweet momma went to heaven.

One year doesn’t seem real.

Grief is real. It’s raw and hard and neverending. But it’s ok to grieve.

If I’ve learned one thing this year it’s this – people shy away from grief. I get it. I did the same thing. However, this year has taught me that:

It’s ok to cry.

It’s ok to miss them.

It’s ok to talk about them.

It’s ok to talk about them a lot.

It’s ok.

You grieve, girl.

But make sure your grief is healthy.

Don’t turn to the bottle. Turn to God.

Don’t turn to food. Turn to God.

Don’t turn to pills, or anger, or bitterness. Turn to God.

Allow this grief to grow you.

To help you to love deeper.

To help others.

To be empathetic and sympathetic.

So you go on and grieve girl – just make sure you grieve with God.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Eternal Life

💛 Guest post by Mrs. Christle Jenkins

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saint.” Psalm 116:15

When we lose a loved one, we experience grief, sorrow, and pain. It is tough. It is gut wrenching! But what if we could view our loss through God’s eyes?

Death, to God, is not a tragedy when it is one of His children. It is life – eternal life. The moment we take our very first breath in eternity excites our Lord. He rejoices! To Him, it is His child returning home. My Sunday School teacher once said that it is like a parent who has been anxiously waiting for their child to return home from a long trip. When that child is finally home the parent rejoices. Their child is safe at home where they belong.

We are the Lord’s children. He desires for us to be home with Him in Heaven. He rejoices when we are safe in His loving arms. So, when we view the death of a faith believing loved one the way God does we will surely experience the peace that surpasses all understanding.

This is His promise that comes to us through our faith in Him. It does not mean we do not grieve our loss, but with His peace we will not let it overtake us. We can rejoice and be assured that they are with the Father, safe in His loving arms, forever healed, forever whole, and forever happy!

As children of God we know that one day we will step into eternity, free from our sorrow, pain, and grief. Most of our lives will be touched by a loss, but to God His child is home. Knowing that we can find peace.

“He will redeem their life from oppression and violence and precious shall be their blood in His sight.” Psalm 72:14