What Is Your Picture Of Grief?
From Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy (pp. 81-82), one of the authors writes about a picture that represents her grief. She writes:
After Hope died I felt as if I were hanging in a pit. The only thing keeping me from falling to the depths was my grasp. On the edge of the pit was our Lord, offering His hand but I would not look at Him or reach for Him. I would only hold to the hem of His robe. Some called that faith. I called it desperation. He was all that I had to hold on to.
I hung there for many months before I had the courage to even look at Him. I remember the day clearly that I climbed out of my pit, into His arms and had a good cry. That was the beginning of my letting go.
In the Bible there is a verse that addresses this exact picture. It says, “You have brought my life up from the pit, O Lord” Jonah 2:6. Who brought Jonah up from the pit? God did. And, He can do the same for you!
What picture do you have of your grief? What visual comes to mind? A pit, a black cloud, what? BEFORE YOU READ ON – Draw it.
There are two other pictures from the Bible – the veil and the anchor – both can be ones people use to describe their grief. When the other author of Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy was asked to come up with her own picture of grief, she wrote:
As I prayed, God showed me a picture – that of a veil. My grief over our babies was like a veil that I was wearing. I couldn’t see anything clearly. It covered my vision, clouding how I saw every aspect of my life from my family to my career to my relationships with others. It also affected how others saw me. Most people saw my grief but couldn’t see me within it. I think of the story of Jacob and Leah in Genesis 29. Jacob didn’t see who he was marrying because Leah as wearing a veil. Her veil was not the gauzy netting our modern brides wear but a thicker fabric that she could barely see through.
Still, there was hope for Leah within that veil, hope for future children and the love of her husband. Even so, we have hope within the veil.
In the Bible, there are two verses that talk about “the veil.”
First is Matthew 27: 50-51. Jesus died and tore the veil of the temple so we could ”see.” Jesus gave us direct access to our Father.
The second verse is II Corinthians 3:16: When you turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. We do not want to walk around with our vision clouded by a veil. Because of Jesus, we have a personal connection with God; our veil has been lifted. Allow God to lift the veil of grief from your life so that you may see clearly.
Now let’s look at the anchor picture. In 1997, a senate chaplain offered this prayer:
Thank you, dear God, for the anchor of hope in You that we have from the storms of life. When we lower our anchor, we know it will hold solid in the bedrock of Your faithfulness in spite of the billows of adversity and blasts of conflict. We are able to ride out the storms of difficulty and discouragement because we know You will sustain us. … Throughout this day, may we feel the tug of [Your] anchor and know that indeed we are secure. In the Name of our Lord and Savior. Amen.
Or, see how Gregory M. LaBrake uses an anchor in the following poem:
Give me an anchor firm and strong
On which to rely my whole life long.
Give me but one anchor to hold me in
From sweeping tides of death and sin.
In this world filled with troubles rife
Give me but Jesus – the Anchor of Life!
The Bible speaks of “the anchor” in Hebrews 6:19-20 “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast…” Instead of letting your grief be the anchor that weighs you down, anchor yourself to God so He can help you heal.
Now let’s look at some different grief pictures and what they symbolize:
Pit – Couldn’t climb out
Veil – Couldn’t see through
Anchor – Weighed down
Roller Coaster – Out of Control, up and down
Black & White TV – No color, flat, no clarity, no laughter
Black Hole – Lonely, sad, angry, empty
Sewer Hole – Goes on forever, feeling lost in the darkness
Egg – You are stuck inside, maybe starting to crack, but hard to let people in
Tears (Rain) – Extreme sadness while others smiling and going on with life
Slinky/Spiral – Going round and round, unending
Monster Crushing Buildings – Our world as we know it being destroyed
Whatever is your picture of grief, recognize it, feel it and attempt to move forward from it. Seek help if you need it. Lean on others. Trust God to help you. The journey is not an easy one, but must be taken in order to get to a place of healing.