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What Does Grieving with God Look Like?

What sadness takes you back in time? Maybe it’s the anniversary of a death of a loved one, a divorce, or a natural disaster. Do you know that God is there for you no matter what and grieving with God is super healing.

How do I know?

February 22, 1990, the day I didn’t die. And since then, I’ve learned a lot about grieving with God. Let me show you how you can feel better.

Thank you, Ronak Valobobhai, for sharing your picture!
  • feel what you need to feel when you need to feel it
  • say what you need to say when you need to say it
  • and you do what you need to do when you need to do it

Trust your instincts. ❤️

It brought me to God.

And as I went on walks with Him and talked to Him in my mind, He seemed to be suggesting that I try these simple steps that helped me. So, I wanted to share them with you.

Yup, tell the story to yourself or to a friend. Color it in with as much detail as you can.

I didn’t used to do that. Instead, I tried to get it out of my mind and move on with my life, but then I learned how much grieving heals.

So, each year, I set aside time to think about what happened. 

Even before I went to Mars Hill Graduate School (which is now the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology) to study counseling, I’d check in with myself.

How are you doing?

For a long while, every conversation led me back to the accident in some way. But these days, I hardly ever think about it.

Till the anniversary, then something inside me remembers.

Does that happen to you?

. . . about how screeching brakes jolted me awake.

In Kenya, our truck bounced then rolled down an embankment before emptying us out onto the ground. I’d closed my eyes on a typical afternoon. Now, I opened them to a real-live nightmare. 

Outside the vehicle, I leaned against the back tire. How did I get there? The truck rocked and a voice screamed, “Get out of the way. It’s gonna roll!”

Who was that? 

A few feet away, my tent mate, Kathy, crept away from the truck. It must have been her. She always knew what to do.

With the metallic taste of blood in my mouth, I crawled twenty feet before looking back at my home away from home, crushed like a bug. 

As if on drugs, I felt disconnected from my body when I gazed down. My sarong was gone, but bikini intact. I lifted my head to the sky and acknowledged a drizzle with a shiver that zigzagged down my back. 

In slow motion, I bent my head toward my throbbing hand. Noticing a deep groove across the base, I peered at the muscles and capillaries that reminded me of the transparent layers of a medical book.

One by one, I pulled seven metal bracelets out of the sticky congealing blood on the palm of my hand and set them on the ground. 

That’s when my friend Andrea filled my field of vision.

I jumped. She assessed my injuries and wrapped my hand with a towel. “Don’t worry,” she muttered before running to nurse another,

“It’s only a scratch.” 

“It’s only a scratch,” echoed in that same detached voice that had screamed. It wasn’t Kathy’s, it was mine. 

In shock, I believed Andrea’s words instead of my own eyes.

That’s when four Masai warriors appeared!

This was like a dream come true in the middle of the day that taught me about grieving a traumatic event with God. Weird, huh?
Image by In The Air from Pixabay. 

While you’re telling your story,
don’t forget to do this next step.

As you may be able to tell, one thing that really helps when I’m grieving with God is to write about it. What you’ve just been reading is an excerpt from my book, Mary Me: One Woman’s Incredible Adventure with God.

Writing has always helped me explain things to myself.

There’s something about being able to put words to trauma that helps to make sense of things. 

When I tell God about something like this, explaining it in as much detail as I can–how I hurt, who I’m mad at, and the anguish I carry–something happens.

And it’s not like God didn’t already know. 

But there’s something about the process that brings healing every time I write until there’s nothing left to say.

If you haven’t experienced the healing that comes from this, 
I invite you to try it.

Be messy and disorganized. There’s no need to use punctuation, grammar, or fancy words. Heck, what you write doesn’t even need to make sense to anyone else.

Just go ahead and write until you have nothing left to say.

It’s healing. ❤️

And my heart raced when one tipped his head as if to say, “What’s wrong?” 

I had something he wanted to see!

I beamed, sort of, as I unwrapped the towel.

He hovered nearby, concern etching his face. As I lifted my hand, it flapped open. Wrinkling his whole face, the Masai warrior turned away.

“Some warrior you are,” I screamed as tears filled my eyes. “It’s only a scratch.”

I couldn’t yet feel the physical pain, but his disapproval stung.

That’s when Graeme, my friend, loaded me and Kathy into the back of a stranger’s car, a Good Samaritan who sped us toward the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi. 

At each jostling curve of the ninety-mile ride, we groaned, afraid of what had already happened.

Stop-and-go traffic slowed our pace as we entered the city.

Out the windows, we watched people set fires, break into storefronts, and throw things. What was going on?

“Riots everywhere,” our driver explained. “Someone found the body of the foreign prime minister’s daughter.”

“Don’t stop talking,” Kathy begged, her back wedged up against my side. We didn’t yet know her pelvis was broken. 

But in the backseat of that stranger’s car, no words came.

She and I often withdrew from our group and sang songs while we washed our clothes in a river. So, I eked out a bit of our favorite Eurhythmics song, Sweet Dreams. 

Grieving with God in the mountains.
Thank you, Simon English, for sharing your photo.

I sang about traveling the world looking for the elusive thing that brought happiness without seeing the irony. I’d done what the song said to do, and there I was speeding toward a hospital far away from home.

Each time, I look back on my painful memories. I learn something new. I pray that you will, too.

This next step is hard,
but we can do it together!

Yup, you heard me right. 

And I know it’s hard. We don’t want to hurt.

Am I someone who whips herself as penance? No, but believe it or not, feeling is key.

You will heal when you feel your pain.

Each time I sit with another layer, the details look different. This year I sat with my journal and my Eurythmics CD and remembered . . .

a nurse said, “You might have a concussion,” as she wheeled me to a ward and put me to bed. 

I whimpered like a puppy, unable to sleep as the shock wore off. 

The numbness had hidden the pain. It slowed my response time emotionally as well as physically, my kind of defense mechanism.

Agony now replaced the numbness as I rocked back and forth and moaned.

I tried to remember, then hoped to forget.

. . . but since I was in this one, the pictures affect me differently.

That makes sense, right? Looking at pictures like this trigger our emotions. Believe it or not, they help.

This is the reason I've learned so much about grieving a traumatic event with God, the wreckage of the truck I travelled in.

When you’ve been through trauma,
the pain is personal.
It’s hard to describe it to someone else.

But God understands what it’s like for you.
And He knows how to help you heal.

Time can help, but I’ve seen lots of friends who’ve aimed to bury their heads in the sand instead of grieve. I get it. Grieving is hard. But it brings healing.

Whatever happened to you will never unhappen.

Some people say, “I just put it behind me and never think about it again.”

I don’t want to judge anyone who deals with grief that way, but that didn’t work for me. Of course, I don’t know what it’s like for anyone else, but for me, grieving has healed me.

Another thing that helps is a trusted friend who we can talk to about our feelings and our experience.

God loves us through our friends. ❤️

I know this last step sounds crazy, but before you blow it off, why don’t you try it?

Thankfulness will lighten your load.

Seriously? Yes. Where do you start?

I thank God for my second chance, and I thank Him for teaching me how to cope with grief, for healing me. I thank Him for simple things, like all the todays I wouldn’t have had and for what I get to do.

One of my favorite blessings has got to be the people who make it possible.

Once I start thanking God for the blessings in my life,
it’s hard to stop.

God really does love you. He loves you so much that He wants to heal you in all the ways you need it.

All you have to do is ask. ❤️

My prayer for you is that you will continue your journey of healing. 

I would love for you to join my spiritual adventure team.

Each week, I’ll touch base. In a short email, I’ll share a funny God story or enCOURAGE you with something God’s shown me because He’ll do for you everything He’s done for me . . . if that’s what you want.

And when you sign up, I’ll send you four short videos where I’ll walk you through 7 Quick Steps to Heal all your Emotional Pain. It’s one of the ways God’s helped me find healing for my past.

And you can use it over and over to heal all kinds of things!

God has an awesome plan for you and I want to help you find it. ☺️

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I Bless You in Every Single Way You Need Blessing!

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