Living with Grief Part One

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” 
Matthew 5:4 NIV

The past 6 months have been filled with some incredible joys (birth of our first baby) as well as incredible heartbreak (death of a family member). After a second time of mourning, I decided to write what I was learning about–mourning in a healthy way. So rarely does anyone preach on this, and there are so few resources. Hopefully the following suggestions will prove beneficial when you face a season of grief.

1. Rally the troops- Get everyone you know to pray.  If we truly knew the power of prayer I’m sure we would engage it more.  This is one of those times when prayer reaches into the crevices of the heart in ways we can’t begin to understand.

2. Focus on daily tasks- When bad news is heard, there is a period of shock. It can be difficult knowing how to go on as you mentally process this news. Caring for yourself physically is a tangible first step in the process. Eat enough, drink enough, rest. After hearing difficult news, I knew I had to continue eating and drinking because I was nursing my child. I also found comfort in the normalcy of everyday tasks like doing dishes and laundry – you need to take breaks from the grief while you can. Grief comes in waves; take advantage of the breaks. Also find what you might do to ease the load for the someone else – a meal taken to their home, a quick phone call of encouragement (more on what to say later), pick up the kids at school or run a quick errand.

3. There is no skipping the process- Many well-meaning people will find a ‘silver lining’ and move on. This never actually facilitates the mourning process.  To fully heal, expect to experience these steps: Disbelief and/or Denial, Anger, Depression, and finally Acceptance. You may vacillate between these emotions and the order is different for everyone. There is also no specific time limit to this process.

4.Words heal but they can also hurt- Expect that during a grieving period or perhaps at the funeral someone will say the wrong thing. This is because people care but many struggle to adequately express their own feelings in words. No one can truly understand your loss; it will be different for everyone. The worst culprit is “I know how you feel” or bringing up an example of a minor loss that doesn’t relate. Accept their comments in good faith.  A simple “thank you” will often suffice in response. Someday you will be in their shoes on the outside of a tragedy trying to comfort someone who’s experienced a loss.

Some additional points in the grieving process will be coming in parts two and three of this series. There will be tips on keeping the right mindset as we grieve and allowing God to help us heal.

In him,

Amy Horton


Heart Matters: A Clean Heart

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7, NASB


A Clean Heart

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10, NLT

OLD_HEART_5If you’ve ever met a toddler, then you know we are born into sin. Oh, I joke. But only a little, because as adults we haven’t changed much. We still fight with selfish desire and even know how to throw a grown up tantrum. Did you read yesterday’s Dose?

David, a man after God’s own heart, knew a thing or two about selfish desires. Maybe you know the story about his relationship with Bathsheba, but in case you don’t, I’ll sum it up for you. David had a crush on Bathsheba, which was a bit of a problem because Bathsheba was married to another man named Uriah. That didn’t stop David, who proceeded to commit adultery with her, in which she conceived a child. If that’s not enough drama for you, he then proceeded to have her husband killed. I recommend reading the whole story in 2 Samuel 11.

God was anything but pleased with their behavior, and both David and Bathsheba endured devastating consequences of their actions when their child died. David, his soul crushed with grief and by the weight of his sin, cried out to God with a heart of repentance in Psalm 51. While this story lacks no element of sin and drama, it is also a beautiful picture of God’s redemption. He didn’t choose someone more worthy to take David’s place on the throne, instead He restored a repentant David and He restores us too.

Each and every one of us sin. We often compare our sins to others in an attempt to justify our actions and attitudes. Or we may believe that God gives more weight to some sins than others, but nowhere in scripture is that faulty way of thinking substantiated. Adultery, gossip, addiction, pride, greed: sin is sin. Each of us stand guilty before our Holy God.

Is there sin that has been allowed to reside in your heart for too long? Have you made a choice that you feel is so horrific you haven’t sought forgiveness from God because you can’t even forgive yourself? Friend, 1 John 1:9 tells us, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (NASB).

If you are willing, like David, to confess and repent of your sin, God is waiting to create in you a clean heart and to renew the spirit within you.

Praying for a clean heart,