"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
2 Thess. 1:3-4
My mother is a psychologist. A helper. She has counseled countless people, and so many of them are ‘secret’ from anyone because of confidentiality laws. But beyond her paying clients she has also privately counseled many Christians just because… that’s what she does. She listens and she helps (my dad, a minister, does his share of this, too). Thus, I sometimes forget that not everyone has a psychologist in their family, so not everyone grew up with copies of the DSM-IV sitting around, or being gifted the now-defunct board game “Therapy,” and that not everyone knows the terms that we have always thrown around in conversation. Yes, I grew up with words like “behavior modification” (using systems to increase the desired behaviors and/or decrease problem behaviors.), “projection” (assuming other’s view of the world is the same as your own), or “FOO” (family of origin) rolling off my tongue. (You didn't?!?)
I realized this week that a lot of people don’t know about the stages of grief. And I’m around a lot of grieving people this week. So I wanted to throw them out there in case knowing about them might be helpful to anyone going through this process. And it is a PROCESS.
Process (pros-es): n. a continuous action, operation, or series of changes taking place in a definite manner: the process of decay.
So, I hope you take away from that that it's not necessarily going to happen overnight. It may take time. Sometimes it takes a lot of time. I am not saying that it's right to wallow in grief (that would be ‘grieving as the world’ 1 Thess. 4:13), but it’s okay to recognize what’s happening. God gave us emotions, and we are capable of controlling them (Eph. 4:26). Often, if we will be quiet and listen to them, emotions serve as warning signs. Knowing those signs can help you to pray more specifically to God about His help. They can also help you articulate what's on your heart to a caring Christian who can help you, too.
So, without further ado: The Five Stages of Grief. My non-psychologist brain remembers that not everyone goes through these at the same time or in the same stage; apparently there is no real timeline. And isn’t that also a blessing? We can give each other some perspective as we go through this since even those of us mourning the same thing will be in different places in our grief.
Here are the stages of grief, as described by WebMD:
May God bring us swiftly through the stages that leave us so foggy and to a place of acceptance and joy in His care. Lord, keep us ever-mindful that there are "No tears in Heaven."
"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain gladness and joy,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. "
Encouragement Spoken Here
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11