Part Four: You won’t always feel this way.
It was a terrifying experience.
Several years ago, I caught a respiratory illness that caused me to have bronchial spasms, cutting off my airway.
These spasms would come out of nowhere. It could happen during the day, in the middle of the night—anytime I coughed. One minute I could breathe, the next I’d be writhing in a panic on the floor, unable to take a breath.
Fortunately, doctors were able to get the spasms under control with a strong steroid. But I still struggled with them for several months.
I had to learn something very important:
Don’t panic when you can’t breathe. Just wait. The air will come again.
I consciously said these words over and over in my mind when the attacks came.
“Don’t panic. Just wait. Just hang on until you can breathe again. It’s going to happen any second now. You will be able to breathe. You won’t always feel this way. It’s going to pass.”
I’m not sure if God allowed me to go through this illness in preparation for the great loss I would soon be facing, but I said nearly those exact words to myself, over and over, as I faced the betrayal that shattered my heart and tore my marriage apart.
I can remember collapsing on the floor by my bed, the weight of my grief washing over me. I would repeat these words silently.
“Kim, don’t panic. Just hang on for a little while longer. It’s going to get better. You’ll be able to breathe again. You won’t always feel this way. It’s going to pass.”
And it did.
Oh, it wasn’t overnight. It took a long, long time.
It took decisions on my part—conscious choices to let go of the past, to pour out my pain to Jesus, and to follow God’s new plan for my life.
At first, my journey of grief was like walking into a long, dark tunnel with not even a glimmer of light at the end.
It was like groping in darkness, feeling my way, just trusting that God would bring light and hope again.
But eventually, the light began to shine. Just tiny pinpricks of light, beckoning me to take another step forward. Assuring me that there was indeed an end to this journey.
Then little by little, life began to get better.
The searing, cutting pain began to lessen.
The grief didn’t strike quite so deep.
The weight on my chest didn’t feel quite as suffocating.
And eventually God brought healing and joy to my heart.
It happened moment by moment, day after day, month after month, year after year, until I felt whole again.
My friend, no matter what kind of loss you’ve experienced—if there’s just one thing I could tell you as you face crippling grief, it is this:
You will not always feel this way.
With God, there is always, always, always hope.
There is no grief too deep that He cannot heal.
There is no situation too far gone that He cannot redeem.
There is no heart so shattered that He cannot put back together.
I know. I’ve been there.
Though you may falter, begin today to take steps toward your healing. Get in God’s Word and hang on to His promises with all your strength. Be fervent in prayer. Faithfully meet with God’s people. (You desperately need the support of a good church family, so if you don’t have one, seek one out.) Do everything you can do to surround yourself with people who love God and will help you on your journey.
And above all, have hope.
This is not the end of your journey.
With God, there is always hope. The storm will not last forever. The sun will shine again.
You will not always feel this way.
“O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou has healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)
“Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.” (Psalm 30:11)
(This concludes the four-part Silver Linings series. If you missed any of the previous articles, you can find the links below.)
To read Part One: It’s okay to protect your wounds so you can heal, click here.
To read Part Two: In order to heal, you must grieve, click here.
To read Part Three: Healing involves choices, click here.