DEALING WITH GRIEF 5

ISAAC deals with his grief.

The first time we see ISAAC after Sarah’s death is in Genesis 24:62 — “Isaac came from …” Since he was coming from somewhere, it means he had been MOVING. It’s dangerous to lie for TOO LONG — we must lie for a season so we don’t reopen unhealed wounds, but we must be very CAREFUL not to lie too LONG!

Like the deceptive feeling of warmth that settles over a hypothermic man in a snowstorm, lying too long in the initial stage of grief can invite a spiritual hypothermia. Our spiritual life can die right there. This is the reason that the LORD established a 30-day period for the initial response to bereavement:

Deuteronomy 34:8 And the Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab THIRTY days; then thedays of WEEPING and MOURNING for Moses were ended.

Don’t panic! We’ll see in a few moments that the LORD allows a great deal of time for recovery and healing. This Scripture does not say that all grieving is absolutely FINISHED in thirty days. There is an initial season devoted to HARD grief … but there comes a time to begin moving again. After the initial thirty days of grieving ended, they broke camp and travelled again.

Everything stopped initially. There is a time for introspective, hard grieving, but GOD limits it — He knows if this stage is unchecked, it can DESTROY our faith, our HOPE, and our perspective of GOD. He never expects our healing to be complete in thirty days, but He does ask us to move again because it is very easy for grief to become mired in despair, and despair can bring with it the desire to die.

Job wanted to die. So did Jeremiah. So did Elijah and Jonah. They hurt so badly that they despaired of life, and there was no rebuke from the LORD for these very real emotions. There is nothing wrong with a believer experiencing such pain and grief, that he or she desires to die — however, we can’t stay in that place. He wants us to live again!

Since Isaac “came from the way of the well” (Genesis 24:62), we see that he must have grieved appropriately. He lay down and then he arose and walked.

Accountability.

Please receive this caution — the victim of hard grief is seldom the right person to analyze his or her own progress. If you are mourning deep loss, it’s true that your friends probably don’t understand your pain, but you still need their watchful care.

Be accountable with your grief. You will need different counsel at the different stages of mourning. Some days you will need to be released to grieve. At other times, you will need to try to walk again.

When Isaac began walking again, he didn’t walk aimlessly. Genesis 24:62 says he “returned from going to the well Beer-lahai-roi” (AMP).

Review the history: Hagar, the mother of Isaac’s half-brother, Ishmael, found and named this well. Do you remember Hagar’s grief?

Compelled to bear a son to Abraham in the face of Sarah’s barrenness, she was despised as soon as she conceived. Sarah treated her with harshness and cruelty. Her masters, because of their own lack of faith, used her. When she gave them what they wanted, she was despised.

When Sarah finally conceived and Isaac was born, Hagar’s son, Ishmael, was rejected and driven out of the family. She had a tough lot in life.

The first time that Sarah mistreated Hagar and she fled from Sarah’s presence into the wilderness, Genesis 16:7 tells us that “the LORD found her.” If the LORD found Hagar, it meant that He had noticed that she was gone. He noticed her absence and her loss. He cared about her loss. If He found her, it means that He had been looking for her.

She didn’t know it, but the search was on — and He didn’t give up until He found her by the well of Lahai Roi. She saw Him there, and she said, “This is the well of Him that lives and sees me” (see Genesis 16:13-14). Years later, on the heels of loss, Isaac came from that same well. In a season of death, Isaac clung to the One who lived and saw him.

Credits – Amanda Buys

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DEALING WITH GRIEF 4

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2. Next step, burial place.

The NEXT STEP Abraham did was very significant — he requested a specific BURIAL place for SARAH. It’s extremely IMPORTANT to choose a safe place to bury our PAIN.

Do you bury the LEGACY of the one you’ve lost in: Bitterness? Anger? Despair? Failure? NO!!

ABRAHAM knew it was critical to EXPRESS his grief, and it was critical to choose the RIGHT resting place. He chose “MACHPELAH”, which means “doubling” (there are two caves). In choosing Machpelah, Abraham made two decisions —

(1) he found the proper burial place, and

(2) reacted in a MATURE way.

ABRAHAM experienced loss (subtraction) and he CHOSE doubling — fatness is often cross-referenced in Scripture as anointing. Somehow, he saw a double-anointing in a time of loss. Abraham must have known that someday ministry would emerge from his pain.

In MATURITY, he also chose to leave a legacy, not of grief and pain, but one of HOPE of a future generation, of a nation of believers.

We see this from the “other” meaning of Machpelah, namely “portion/part”. Abraham chooses a MATURE portion, as opposed to an immature portion — his actions reveal his intent, and the reactions of his children prove it.

He must have had an Old Testament revelation of the Apostle Paul’s New Testament exhortation:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fallasleep [in death], that you may not GRIEVE [for them] as the rest do who have NO HOPE [beyondthe grave].

He had HOPE that death wasn’t the end! He knew that GOD would produce GOOD!

Abraham grieved, but he did his grieving in Hebron and Machpelah. Mourn your loss, but be CAREFUL which resting-place you choose for your loss. This principle had so transformed Abraham, that he passed it on to his descendants. In the succeeding generations, Isaac buried Rebekah at Machpelah, and Jacob buried Leah there as well.

Let’s pass this knowledge on to our CHILDRENGRIEF contains the potential for LIFE!

Another principle we learn from ABRAHAM is that loss will be REPLACED. We see this in the life of Job as well. When Job lost his seven children, the LORD added seven more to him, but his first seven were still gone. Job probably never fully recovered from the pain of his loss … the lost person (or dream, or hope) is NOT replaced … however, the VOID created by their loss requires special care. This has nothing to do with forgetting, but with a healthy infilling of GOD and His Provision so we can fully heal.

BEWARE! Our pride can play right into our grief. We don’t want to get over it because we think our GRIEF proves our LOVE. We see Abraham REMARRIED … he grieved, but he left his grief in Machpelah … and then remarried. Oh, he never forgot SARAH! He never GOT OVER the wife of his youth. But he HEALED and the evidence of this was his ability to LOVE AGAIN.

It’s normal to look INWARD and focus on the WOUNDS. GOD certainly allows a season for INTROSPECTIVE, intense grief. However, a sign of health amidst grief is the ability to CARE for others.

👍Abraham demonstrated this when he thought of ISAAC and responded to his need.
👍Isaac had a very special relationship with Sarah.
👍She named him Isaac, which means “laughter”.
👍He was the son of the promise, and he removed the mark of barrenness from her life.
👍His conception and birth introduced her to the radical power of an all-loving GOD.
👍She drove away his older half-brother, Ishmael, so Isaac would never doubt his place as a son.
👍His grief as a son, while certainly different from the grief of a bereaved husband, was severe.

Genesis 24 is the story of Abraham’s search for Isaac’s WIFE. At the Chapter’s end, when Isaac received Rebekah as his wife, he was finally comforted from Sarah’s death. The way Isaac responded until Rebecca became his wife reveals some more insights into a healthy response to loss.

Credits – Amanda Buys

DEALING WITH GRIEF 3 – Initial stage of loss

In the INITIAL stage of loss, we can enter a NUMB state of shock that, surprisingly, contains very LITTLE emotion. Don’t mistake this for FAITH! Some believers enter this state of shock, and they assume that their lack of emotion is some form of faith or trust.

Please hear this! The LORD can and does give strength, and there is a peace and a hope for His children, but it is also appropriate to grieve. Don’t worry if you can’t stop crying, and don’t worry if tears won’t flow early on … don’t panic and fear that you’re either a basket case or that you are stuffing your emotions. Just follow father Abraham’s lead. Stay put and take time to MOURN.

In this early phase of grief, it is very easy to DESPAIR. Some suggestions to guard against this:

✅Trust your relationship with GOD. You will probably think irrational thoughts. Since everything is so bleak, you may wonder if GOD has removed His Hand from your life. Will you ever live again? Take heart in this promise — He isn’t going to betray you. If zeal and passion wane (and they will), trust Him to carry you until you can run again.

✅Keep the size of GOD in perspective. He’s the BEGINNING and the END. If you judge Him only by the present circumstances, you will despair. The shortest moment of time is this present moment, but in grief the present moment seems to last for an eternity.

✅Let others pray for you, even if their prayers don’t seem to help. Let someone else bring you to the Throne of GOD. Rely on someone else’s faith. Give someone the blessing of bearing your burden in love.

✅Create your strategy for recovery and do it by FAITH. You may not want to attend church meetings or social functions (and that’s OKAY), but some things are still necessary for continued health. When a child is very hungry, water doesn’t sound very satisfying, but water is essential for life.

✅Guard against offense. HURTING moments are vulnerable moments. The hard knocks of life demolish our defenses, leaving us raw and exposed. Our skin seems to thin out, and we become much more sensitive to insult or injury. It seems impossible for people to respond to us correctly. We can be hurt if they don’t ask about our welfare, but we can feel they’re too flippant about it if they do.

✅Don’t PANIC. There is a frantic nervous fear that accompanies GRIEFHOLD steady!

✅Stay in the lifeboat. Your job is not to overcome after trauma. Just lie there and BREATHE. Abraham stayed in the lifeboat and he grieved.

A word on REBOUND relationships.

Part of staying PUT is be very careful not to run into another relationship on the “REBOUND”, if you have not PROPERLY dealt with your emotions and GRIEF. It is VERY UNWISE to rush into another relationship! In this emotional state, you are NOT ready!

If you’ve had a very GOOD marriage, and your partner has passed away, the TENDENCY is to try and find a REPLACEMENT as soon as possible, to fill the LONELINESS

BUT stay PUT and WAIT on GOD!

Credits – Amanda Buys

DEALING WITH GRIEF 2

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HEBRON” means “the seat of association, fellowship, or friendship” ( Hebron also means  to connect  both with your past and with the spiritual dimension, as this is where Abraham met the angels.).

Unexpectedly, amidst enemy giants, Sarah died in Kiriath-arba, and yet, the place is also called Hebron. Abraham needed to understand that the LORD provides a SEAT in the midst of enemy strongholds.

This is NOT a seat of DESPAIR or DEFEAT, it is a seat of FELLOWSHIP and association. Oh, how we need the LORD to associate with us in our grief. Thank GOD Kiriath-arba was also Hebron!

Did Abraham know that Kiriath-arba was also Hebron? The fact that the Psalms tells us that the LORD is a “very present HELP in trouble” doesn’t mean our loss or pain is EASY … darkness isn’t darkness unless it’s dark, and the initial stages of grief can be like MIDNIGHT.

Psalms also tells us that “He dwells in thick DARKNESS” because sometimes we can’t see Him in our GRIEF. We reason — “If He were present, this would not have happened!” Whether ABRAHAM felt GOD’s Presence or not, or was seated with GOD or with enemy giants, He did something very WISE

He stayed PUT!

This is very conventional, but very sound advice. Times of grief are not times for DRASTIC decisions. When giants overrun your seat of SECURITY and the routine of your life is shattered by LOSS … don’t MOVE!

It’s not the time to CHANGE churches, careers, faiths, etc. Abraham’s initial response to SARAH’s death is the FIRST step to responding to LOSS Biblically — he stayed put and he GRIEVED — “ … and Abraham came to MOURN for Sarah and to WEEP for her …”

He GRIEVED! He WEPT! He CRIED like a baby!

When Abraham left his native country and was first introduced in Scripture, he was 75 years old:
🙂We can more or less say that they were married for 62 years.
🙂They were sweethearts.
🙂They had lived a long life together.
🙂They endured famines together.
🙂They faced brutal tests of faith together (some of which they passed and some they failed).
🙂They experienced name changes together.
🙂Their dreams were fulfilled together.
🙂The LORD visited them and restored laughter to their lives.
🙂Abraham loved Sarah, and he took time to grieve for her.

There is a time for GRIEF. It is CRITICAL that we do the right things in the right seasons. There can be no denial in a time of GRIEFGRIEVE! It’s dangerous NOT to grieve after loss. Yes, the LORD does bring grief to an end, and He does dry tears, but He doesn’t say “Since you’re a believer, you must be strong, don’t cry”. NO! He says in Revelation 21:4, that He will wipe away all TEARS, but there is never REBUKE for the shedding of tears. Abraham came to WEEP for Sarah.

DEALING WITH GRIEF 1

Psalm 30:5 For His Anger is but for a moment, but His favor is for a lifetime or in His favor is life, WEEPING may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.

Working through GRIEF, and ALLOWING oneself to GRIEVE, is so important!

Is there a BIBLICAL way to GRIEVE? A model we can follow? We don’t want to grieve as “OTHERS WHO HAVE NO HOPE”:

1 Thessalonians 4:13 Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fallasleep [in death], that you may not GRIEVE [for them] as the rest do who have NO HOPE [beyondthe grave].

It is SO important NOT to suppress grief — as we’ve seen, it only FESTERS and can even create HEALTH problems later in life … so how does a man of GOD grieve? How does a woman of FAITH endure loss and trauma?

The first mention of GRIEF in the Bible is after the death of SARAH, the faithful wife of ABRAHAM and mother of ISAAC. The Scriptures give us insights into the response of both HUSBAND and SON that are deeply liberating. They set us up for a healthy, thorough, balanced approach to GRIEF, faith, and HEALING

Those who are experiencing the deep pain of sorrow, grief, and loss are very sensitive and it is easy to unwittingly inflict guilt or condemnation on them. When the Bible addresses the subject of grief, it offers PRINCIPLES rather than formulas.

If your experience is slightly different from what is presented here with Abraham and Isaac, or if your time frames of mourning vary, please be at peace. It’s okay. The principles revealed through ABRAHAM and ISAAC’s response to loss should be very COMFORTING and ENCOURAGING.

The story begins in Genesis 23 … SARAH was 127 years old when she passed away.

ABRAHAM was 137, and ISAAC was 37 at the time of her death. (Keep these figures in mind as we commence, because they will become helpful in assessing the Biblical time frames for mourning and grief recovery.)

Genesis 23:2 And Sarah DIED in Kiriath Arba, that is, HEBRON, in the land of Canaan. AndAbraham went to MOURN for Sarah and to WEEP for her.

“Kiriath” means “CITY OF” and “Arba” was the name of the chief of the GIANTS who dominated the LAND at the time. “Kiriath-arba” was the STRONGHOLD of the giants. We see Abraham and Sarah were in an ENEMY land when she died … Kiriath Arba also means  ‘city of four,’ referring to the legend that the four couples — Adam/Eve, Abraham/Sarah, Isaac/Rebecca, and Jacob/Leah — are buried here.

Sometimes GRIEF strikes when the enemy has you surrounded. In a stronghold of the enemy, Abraham lost his wife and was plunged into the icy grasp of grief.

Grief can follow an EXPECTED loss such as the death of aged grandparents … but it can also SHOCK you with its UNEXPECTED timing. Abraham didn’t expect to lose Sarah. He was ten years older than she was. Today, the life expectancy for the average female is several years longer than that of the average man. Abraham should have died first.

If Kiriath-arba is an unfamiliar term, it’s more likely that you’ve heard of Hebron. Hebron was the mountain that Caleb conquered as an 80 year-old man. It was the mountain where David was first anointed king of Judah.

We’re scarcely into the study of grief, and the Holy Spirit wants to insert HOPE!………..

Credits – Amanda Buys

UNDERSTANDING REJECTION 5

ARRESTED development and self-rejection causes us to be VERY OPINIONATED, and NOT OPEN to anyone else’s  VIEW. Your OPINION (and my perception that I could be WRONG) is a THREAT, and RE-ENFORCES REJECTION!

Because we have REJECTED ourselves, and our value is based on PERFORMANCE in our SHAME-based families … for us to have value, we HAVE to have all the answers. The more OPINIONS we have together with AGGRESSIVENESS, the lower the age of ARRESTED development.

But when I MATURE and walk in HEALING, I am able to act in LOVE:
❤️To see the VALUE of your opinion,
❤️To see from YOUR point of view,
❤️To be FLEXIBLE in my opinions,
❤️And to be okay having SEPARATE opinions!

How many confrontations have you had in your relationships that were not based on fact, but were based on opinions and we escalated and got angry, screamed, and yelled, because we wanted our opinion to be the only opinion in the house. Everybody else had to agree and bow down to our opinion.

Maturity says this — as we grow up and become mature, then I will respect your opinion — this house is big enough for two or more opinions.

Your opinion is not threatening to me because GOD is at work HEALING my rejection — I know who I am — and it is not a matter of life and death.

If you value the opinion of your spouse, and allow yourself to step a few steps back and look at their opinion from their perspective and realize they see things differently than you do — then you as a couple can make a decision based on both their opinion and your opinion. You are then bonding and pulling as a team — your spouse can be valued and so can you.
The more mature we are, the less opinions we will have.

We are more flexible to build relationships and friendships with people, without being intolerable and having to move them to my way of thinking.

Rejection is what you choose to think about.

How am I going to handle rejection? I choose to believe I am on a journey working out my garbage and I am trying to be transparent, which allows me to be real. I realize not everybody is going to like me.

Rejection is NORMAL.
It’s OKAY not to LIKE everyone — this is NORMAL. BUT! I can still have RESPECT for EVERYONE. I can RESPECT you as a PERSON of VALUE.

We cannot be compatible with everyone, but everyone can be viewed as okay. You and I may not get along well — and it is okay. I have respect for you as a person.

A normal balanced person will not reject another person for any reason. We may choose not to be their best buddy, but we can choose to deal with them with respect, dignity and honor for them as a human being.

Rejection-avoidance governs more of our behaviour than what we suspect — i.e. we spend: More time, more energy, more talk, more fear, more adrenaline … in trying to keep from being rejected than if we went into the situation — handled the bit of rejection — and just moved on.

We will spend hours thinking about the “what if” in a situation — worry ourselves to death — put ourselves down — our self-esteem in the toilet — just trying to avoid being rejected!

Credits – Amanda Buys