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Part Three: Healing involves choices

I fought it off for months, but it eventually got the best of me.

This past winter was terrible for viruses in our little Ozark town. Sickness invaded churches, schools, and businesses. There was no escape.

Child after child in my daycare went down with stomach bugs and respiratory illnesses. Just as everyone seemed to be getting well, another virus would hit. On and on the cycle continued.

I have a fairly strong immune system, but shortly after Christmas my body couldn’t fight off the constant exposure to the dreaded germs any longer. I was forced to close my daycare and spend a few days in bed.

After the virus had run its course, I felt better—except for one thing.

I struggled to eat. Nothing tasted good, and I just didn’t want to eat.

If I did what I felt like doing, I wouldn’t have eaten.

I had to make a choice—force myself to eat again so my body could fully heal and I could regain my strength.

The same thing is true for our healing after a great loss.

We must choose to take steps to be healed and whole.

Now, I’m not saying you wake up one morning, decide to be healed, and Bam! you’re healed.

Nor am I advocating the belief that those who are grieving should just stop mourning and “get over it.”

I’m not saying that at all.

What I am saying is this:

Healing comes from a series of choices, made day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. 

It’s taking one small step forward at a time.

When I lost my marriage, I didn’t always feel like taking steps toward my healing.

I knew what I needed to do to heal— faithfully attend church with my children, stay in the Word of God, keep close to God in prayer, and stay connected to supportive family and friends.

Some days these choices came easily.

And other days, it was a monumental effort to get out of bed.

I felt like hiding under the covers and never coming out again.

I wanted to shroud myself in the blankets of my grief and give up.

But I didn’t. I knew if I gave up, my life would never be any better. My children needed me to be strong physically, spiritually, and emotionally. If I didn’t heal, how could I help them heal from the trauma of what they had been through?

And so I took those steps forward. Sometimes they were baby steps, like reaching out to a friend when I needed help. Sometimes they were huge leaps of faith, like when I followed God’s leading to move internationally, find a job, and get my children into a new school.

But no matter how big or small, they were choices I had to make to move forward.

If you are wrapped in your grief today, feeling like you’re stuck, I have a suggestion for you.

I encourage you to make a list. Jot down a few things you could do today, tomorrow, and this week to help you move forward in your healing.

It might be as simple as writing an encouraging verse of Scripture on a notecard to carry with you throughout your day. It may be saying “yes” to a friend’s offer of going out for coffee when you’d rather stay home. It might be choosing to dry your own tears and reaching out to someone else who is going through a hard time.

Last week I wrote about the importance of grieving and how if we don’t grieve, we can’t heal. But as important as it is to grieve, it’s also important to make good, healthy choices in the midst of that grief.

Because here’s the thing about grief:

As important as it is, you were never meant to stay there. You feel the pain, cry the tears, and pour out your sorrow to God.

Then you look up. You see that He has still given you life, love, and purpose. And even though it’s hard, you take those steps, make those choices—to get through your grief.

I know it’s hard—oh, how I know. I know how the pain cuts and the heart sinks in despair. I know how it feels to have no hope.

But there is hope, my friend. God will get you through this time of grief and despair. Keep trusting Him.

Take a step, even if it’s just a small one. Small steps, taken one at a time, eventually melt into miles.

They say the journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. And so it is with the journey of healing.

A journey you do not take on your own, but with your Heavenly Father at your side.

 

“O Lord my God, I cried unto thee, and thou has healed me.” (Psalm 30:2)

 

“My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted in me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

Yet the Lord will command his loving-kindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” (Psalm 42: 3,5,8)