Blog Carnival: Grief

Today is our regularly scheduled Blog Carnvial! (Insert applause here, please.)

This week, it’s being hosted by my favorite British expatriate blogger pastor and friend, Peter Pollock. Please visit the carnival at his site. There’ll be a veritable plethora of fantastic blog posts linked there. It’s a jackpot of blog posts on our chosen topic! And give Peter mad props (nice compliments) on his newly renovated site while you’re there.

This week’s Blog Carnival topic is Grief.

Let me begin with a confession. I already write about grief far too often. Have you been reading my blog? If you have, you’ve probably noticed my spiritual gifting in the area of taking myself (and life and others) too seriously. Because of that, I almost rebelled and wrote about Joy. But alas, we have a carnival on Joy coming up and then, where would I be?

Then, I realized that I have the perfect opportunity to write about something that I probably wouldn’t have thought to write about if this carnival topic hadn’t been chosen…

I’ve been through some pretty sad and serious things in my life. But I never had trouble talking about most of it. When I would go to a women’s retreat or to speak to a group and would be asked to share my testimony or share something difficult that I had been through, I had no trouble with that at all. Others around me would be staring at me with horrified or sad expressions as I shared, but I could just tell it and shrug, like it was no big deal.

Because it wasn’t. Not to me.

I’m sure that people thought I was so strong. Such an overcomer. An inspiration.

Not really.

Last summer, while I was in the mission field, I was given the opportunity to share a bit of my testimony with someone on my mission team and the strangest thing happened. I felt it. For the first time in my life, I felt the full impact of the emotions attached to my life experiences. I felt anger and disillusionment and rejection and vindictiveness and hopelessness and grief.

I’ve often likened the healing process to the peeling of an onion. It happens one layer at a time. Because it’s such a slow process, sometimes it’s hard to notice until you get pretty far into the process. But this experience last summer was like having it all peeled away at once. It was a lightbulb moment.

Now, a few of you might read this and think, “That doesn’t make sense! How come Sarah has struggled for over half of her life with depression if she didn’t feel the emotions of what had happened to her?”

I’ve got two answers to that.

First of all, I think that God was merciful to me. If I had felt all of the emotions at once, I probably would have gone over the edge.

Second of all, instead of dealing with the emotions I did have, I buried them and ignored them. They built up like bricks on my back and pressed me deeper and deeper into depression. They weighed me down and kept me from being free.

So, what was it that finally happened that allowed me to feel?

I think that over time, I surrendered one brick at a time to God until I finally got free enough that He decided to let me feel the emotions so that I could deal with them.

I don’t expect to heal overnight. But that’s okay. My friend, Eliza says that it’s okay to be where you are, as long as you don’t stay there. But even more of an encouragement is what Jesus says: “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT) That’s encouragement enough for me… And for good measure, God reminds me that “weeping (grief) may endure for a night, but rejoicing (joy) comes in the morning!” (Psalm 30:5, NLT)

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. God bless you, Sarah, and hold you up as you heal.

  2. I have the hankie out on this post. Thank you, thank you for sharing you heart. I’ll be praying as God continues to heal you…

    love, Marni

  3. Thank you for sharing Sarah. I’m glad to hear you are recovering from all those emotional bricks. Looking forward to the Joy post!

  4. I’m sorry for the loss and pain in your life.
    Your description of peeling an onion and giving the bricks to God one by one is very similar to my journey through grief. It’s truly a “one day at a time” process, but the sweet thing is that with God’s spirit it can happen!

    Have you read “Peeling the Onion” by Wendy Orr?

  5. He knows exactly when to let us feel. It took me two years after his death to finally grieve for my father, and a lot longer to forgive him — and me. Great post, Sarah.

  6. Good post, Sarah. Let the healing begin. :) I know what you’re talking about though. When those defenses come down for whatever reason, it’s incredible. You never realize all the build-up…

  7. Why has no-one given me mad props on my site redesign yet today? :-)

    God does everything at the right time! I’m glad you’re able to recognize the healing process that you’re going through!

  8. “…it’s okay to be where you are, as long as you don’t stay there.” LOVE it.

    It is all a process isn’t it? Just keep movin’ forward.

  9. Sarah, each time I think I’ve gotten my composure back… I read another one of these amazingly written posts and the tears flow.

    I’m sorry you’ve been hurt, but am so thankful that God has allowed the healing to take place slowly… so that you wouldn’t have more than you could bear at one time.

    I have to say that during such a serious post and topic, the onion reference made me think of Shrek and ogres… hehe

  10. ” … instead of dealing with the emotions I did have, I buried them and ignored them. They built up like bricks on my back and pressed me deeper and deeper into depression. They weighed me down and kept me from being free.” I can totally relate to this Sarah! Thankfully God knows exactly what we need and when we need it and He provides the necessary healing!

  11. Thanks for sharing. I’ve only found you on Twitter the last month or so and went through the last carnival. I have really enjoyed it. Twitter has become my blog connection. I follow and subcribe to several now. Facebook is my “local” social connection. Anyway, keep them coming. Praying God continues to bless as you journey through the process.

  12. Bernadette Pabon says:

    The healing process might feel long but at the end is the reward. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

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