by Lori Heagney, MS, LCMHC
The river flows without being forced to do so. It goes where it pleases. It carries with it new life. The grief journey is like this. It moves forward at it’s own pace. It’s sometimes heavy and overflowing with tears, at times it rages with strong emotions and memories, but it keeps flowing unless it is dammed up – unless you cut off or suppress the emotions that feed it.
I have learned in my own grief journey that I need to not fight the river. When I allow the current to lead me by not avoiding memories that are painful or sweet, but rather allowing the strong emotions (even anger) to run their course, the Lord takes me where He wants me to go; where His living waters heal my soul, where new life begins.
Trusting God’s sovereignty, that He will use the best and worst of things and situations that happen to us for His perfect purpose for our life, is the only way through the watercourse of life. Turning upstream and fighting the inevitable current of events and emotions, or damming them up through numbness or denial will only hurt yourself. God has a better plan.
So, dear one, I challenge you to embrace where you are right now. Recognize that no matter how painful your loss may be, it is better not to fight against the strong emotions, but allow God to take your hand while you traverse these deep waters. If you have become stuck or feel like you are downing, reach out to a friend, or give us a call. We are here to help. Sometimes the trip down the river is better with a companion to keep you company and help you along the way.
God’s word says, “When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown” (Isaiah 43:2, New Living Translation). He is faithful and true and will bring you through this season of grief. Let yourself float – He’s got you.
*Therapist note: My husband died 4 years ago this month, after a 4-year long battle with aplastic anemia. This journey of healing has strengthened and prepared me to help others forge through the deep waters of grief like no other trial in my life. Although the loss of my husband broke my heart, God continues to mend it back together as I trust Him. I have learned to stop trying to control the process and go along with His healing flow. I now see and embrace how He is using this tragedy for my good and His purpose for my life; to help those He privileges me to come alongside and help in their grief journey.