A note from Kelly King: I’m so comforted that when I experience grief, I have the presence of the Lord with me. Yet, I must be intentional about looking for God’s presence. In Kaye Hurta’s continuing series on grief and loss, she helps us see how to open our eyes and hearts to His presence.
Each one of us has experienced loss of some kind—loss of family, friends, hopes, or dreams. I have lost both of my parents and several other friends and family members to death. I lost a child in a failed adoption along with the loss of many dreams and hopes along the way.
In the moments and days following each of my life losses, I had several choices.
- How will I respond to this uninvited guest called grief?
- Will I choose to look for God in my story?
- Will I invite God into the process, or will I let my emotions wall me off from Him?
The grieving women in our lives have similar choices.
Some choices, while normal, are not necessarily helpful—anger or resentment without honestly acknowledging your feelings, shutting God out and relying on Christian platitudes rather than being honest with God about your pain, and self medicating to name just a few.
A couple of years ago I spent a few days in Chinle, Arizona. Chinle is in the heart of a Native American reservation and has both a desert and a canyon landscape. I was privileged to tour Canyon de Chelly which is a national monument on the reservation. It is stunning.
They won’t let you go in alone; you must have a guide to tour the canyon.
The whole of the experience—both the desert and the canyon tour—made me think about the similarities with loss and the grieving process.
- Both are dry and hard places.
- Both can be dangerous.
- You need a guide.
God is an expert guide!
We can choose to fight with Him and with the process. We can choose to freeze or do nothing and deny the impact of the loss. We can choose flight or running from it all.
OR we can choose to face God open-handed with our loss.
- Will we engage with Him in the process?
- Will we choose to remain open-handed toward God?
- Will we choose the tension of holding pain and promise in one hand and invite God into the messy dialogue of our grief?
- Will we look for Him in our story?
Whatever choices WE make, all along the way and at this very moment God is engaging with YOU in your loss. He is leaving fingerprints!
What does that look like? How do we spot God’s fingerprints? Learning to see His fingerprints and activity in our stories is an important tool!
I love this quote from author Shauna Niequist, “When things fall apart, the broken pieces allow all sorts of things to enter, and one of them is the presence of God”
God can use anything to break through our darkness. He is in the song that lifts our day or the rainbow that makes us smile. He is in the kindness of others and in the comfort we’re given. All of these moments are examples of God’s fingerprints in our grief. You see, when God does what God does in this world, He does it through people—people just like you and me who are willing to participate with Him in loving and caring ways. He is in the card, the meal, the phone call, the visit, the prayer. He is reaching out to you and into your grief in so many ways.
So, where is God in your grief?
Take a moment and make a list of the unexpected ways God has made His presence known in your grief. Invite someone else to do the same! You’ll both be glad you did!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.