I touch on grief a lot because it's such a part of the caregiver journey. I've experienced different kinds of grief, of course. With my mom, it was a slow-moving grief as I watched dementia slowly take her mind away. We had always been close friends and worked in ministry together. We visited via the phone almost every day, until she began her decline. I honestly didn't grieve her death as much because I lost her long before she passed.
With my son, it was totally different. One day, he was an active, vibrant drum-playing, fun-loving 24 year old. The next he was nearly a vegetable. It took me a long time to figure out that I was allowed to grieve the loss of my son, even though he was technically still here.
God doesn't condemn grief.
I was reading in John 20, this week. which gives us the account of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. The disciples had watched their hero be brutally murdered on the cross. All their hopes and dreams were dashed. Of course, they had misinterpreted what Jesus had said. They thought He was going to set up an earthly, physical kingdom and they were going to help lead the Revolution. No matter how they thought it was going to play out - His untimely death was devastating.
When Jesus rose from the dead, it says He appeared in the room where they were hiding. They were afraid and confused. Their lives were in danger as they were followers. Jesus just appeared in the room. He offered no condemnation for fear or doubt. He simply said, Peace be with you.
The funny thing is that 8 days later, He found them huddled together in another room with the doors and windows closed. They must have still been scared. This time, doubting Thomas was with them. Again, He just appears in their room, like something out of a sci-fi movie. He greeted them the same way - Peace be with you. He didn't condemn their emotional condition, their thoughts, or their feelings. He just offered peace.
I'm finding that God offers this same condemnation-free peace to caregivers. He doesn't tell us to "get it all together," He just extends His mind-blowing peace. He understands our grief, our great and many losses. Yet He still wants to say this same thing to our hearts that He told His frightened unbelieving disciples. Peace be with you.
Today, I will try to quiet the noise in my heart and head, so I can hear His voice speaking peacefully to my heart. I purpose to accept the unexplainable peace into my heart. Then, I will let it reign, knowing that God is going to carry me through this day, just like He has before. He's not going to condemn me, shun me, or punish me. He's just offering His peace to a volatile heart. I'll accept His invite to rest in Him as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?