It usually happens in the afternoon and late evening. I get this deep anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach. It is a feeling that makes me wish I could throw up and make it all better. But, it is not my stomach after all. It is something deeper...it probably would be described as anguish, agony, distress, misery, torment. The thesaurus gives other definitions like heartbreak, hurt, and pang but they are not strong enough.
When this feeling starts to overwhelm me I feel like my world is crashing down around me. It is much like an anxiety attack and yet it is worse. Everything in my world seems to be going well and then it will hit me that no, not everything is all right. I have lost something that was incredibly dear to me and there is nothing on earth that will bring him back. I am powerless against death but really I am powerless against God's will. I want desperately to cling to what my life once was but I just can't. There is a feeling of helplessness in all of this. God is drawing me through this valley to challenge me to see a new and different life that He has for me. I would love to follow without questioning but that is much harder to live than it is to write about. God has given us relationships to develop and cherish. When He has given you a relationship that was powered by His love and then takes it away you can't help but feel crushed.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
The problem with grief is that your feelings take a front seat. It is only the Word of God that preserves your soul through the grieving. It is only His Spirit that enables your heart to be at peace with His will. In the first two months (we are on week nine) of grieving I felt a complete dependency on God. I could not see anything else.
Now the grief has changed. It is deep and profound. As I question God I have had to make a conscience choice to abandon my way of life, my hopes, my dreams. After hearing of a man who is still questioning God after losing his wife two years ago I find myself pushing my heart to accept His will because I don't want to be in perpetual grief. I don't want to be stagnant in my faith. I have spoken out loud the simple prayer "Lord give me faith. Give me faith to believe that You are doing this for my good and for Your glory."
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
I am still so attached to this world that this passage sometimes makes me cringe. I don't feel like (notice the feelings again) this is light momentary affliction but according to the scriptures, that I truly believe, this is light and is preparing me for eternity. The lesson learned through this dark valley is that the things that are seen and lived on this earth are temporary and not lasting. In my grieving I am learning to say good-bye not only to my husband of twenty years (a speck of time in light of eternity) but also the life that I had expected to live. I am also saying good-bye to a bit of love that I have for this earth and my own mortal flesh.
In the future I hope to say this lesson was well learned.
Scripture is taken from II Corinthians 4 (ESV)