Recently, a family member lost a parent, unexpectedly, at a very young age. Young, meaning just a few years older than Lindon and I, and we definitely still consider ourselves ‘young’! Tragic.
A friend of a friend’s son just passed away. One day he was there, and then the next moment, he was gone. Life-altering for the family. So much sadness.
A close friend just lost her Momma to cancer. She died a breathtakingly brief 4 months from diagnosis. Heart-wrenching.
The instances go on and on and I’ve no doubt you’ve got a few heart-breakers of your own.
My broken heart stems from broken relationships. At first glance, this may not appear to be as devastating as a death, but make no mistake, the grief can most certainly mirror the same suffering as from a death. There is tremendous loss, mourning for what once was and grieving for what may never be. Palpable on every level, it can render one useless and unable to function. Breathing can feel like a chore not worth the effort.
And then there’s the guilt. Because no decent person could smile or laugh in the face of such suffering. What kind of person can put the pieces back together and dare to enjoy life when others cannot or expect you not to? Are you an unfeeling monster if you can function in the midst of pain or heal and recover?
My dear friend, no. Strength is not a sign of cruelty or unkindness nor is healing a sign of insensitivity or disregard.
They are indicators of a healthy, God-fearing and trusting faith walk, but to our broken, human selves, these can be difficult concepts to embrace.
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How does one survive heartbreak, and perhaps not only exist, but find joy in the aftermath?
How do you function the day after? And the day after that? And the next week…and month…and year…all the while cognizant of the loss and subject to the emotions that accompany such trauma?
How do you carry on?
The truth? Some don’t. They spiral into the bondage of depression and life passes them by. It’s a brutal existence where pain is continually multiplied, each day feeling worse than the one before, and any hint of joy is quickly silenced with guilt. Darkness creeps in and resides permanently.
For me, that isn’t an option. Wasting the life that God blessed me with would be an insult I’m not inclined to deliver regardless of how I feel. And while I’m very much still working on it all, I’d love to share with you what I’ve learned so far.
There is both purpose in the pain AND purpose in living. From the depths of your despair, it may be impossible to recognize, but purpose will be the catalyst to keep you going. Digging deep and finding such an abstract objective in the wake of tangible tragedy isn’t easy, but it’s necessary.
“I’m almost 60 and haven’t found the purpose for my life yet and you expect me to find purpose while I’m grieving?”
Why, yes. Yes, I most certainly do.
THIS purpose is for survival. It’s to spark that inner fight to claw your way to the surface of life. It’s for every good and important thing that God has created you for. It’s to be present for those who love and depend on you. It’s to strive to bring glory to God’s Kingdom with every breath. It’s to live each day with such humble gratitude that we don’t give ourselves the option to live differently. And it’s to thank God for sending His Son to shed HIS blood for you and for me.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
And while an unpopular and a seemingly harsh point of view, we must put God’s desires ahead of our own, for if we leaned ONLY on how we felt or what we wanted, we might never recover.
Finding My Purpose
The purpose in my pain was to draw me closer to God than ever before. I’ve had to turn the reins over to Him and acknowledge all that wasn’t and isn’t within my control. AND accept it. Sigh…. I’ve turned my trust over so completely that I’ve left myself with no choice but to give Him full authority over my life. Something I might have previously resisted…just a little.
For me, the purpose in living is to share God’s love and Word with all I encounter. To never be too busy to chat or help or serve in whatever capacity required to minister. I’m reminded daily of the responsibility I have to those I love and those who love me – The man who calls me wife, the littles who melt my heart and the God who sacrificed so much on my behalf.
There is enough purpose there to last a lifetime. And it must. It will.
Purpose in Motion
Healing from loss doesn’t happen overnight, but set your sights on the end goal. Even on the days when you struggle to pick your head up off of the pillow or argue with yourself about the need to walk out the front door and face the day, look ahead. And look up. God will NOT let you walk through this battle alone.
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
When purpose eludes you, rest in His. Trust that He’s got your back and the unimaginable will happen. Joy WILL return.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matt 5:4
We may not be able to declutter heartbreak, but we can rid ourselves of the destructive and debilitating after-effects which will steal away God’s blessings and joy.
We’ve all felt the sting of loss, but through the indescribable ache, surrender and commit to beginning a new journey. Make the most of every day God is gracious enough to provide. Die to self and let God’s love, provision, mercy and grace wash over and sustain you. Then you will not only survive, but thrive without hesitation or guilt.
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Rev 21:4
Blessed to be on this crazy life adventure with all of you.