The past seven years have been full of tragedy, suffering, and loss. I lost a husband to death at 24. I have lost babies to miscarriage and have experienced failed adoption. Most recently my dad passed away in December. And I am currently grieving the loss of the life I knew and loved after a move from Orlando to Houston.
But I am not unique. I know you have experienced your own grief and sadness. That is the story of life on this side of Heaven. When we look at the lives of those and scripture we see clearly these same threads. Even Jesus promised that “in this world you will have trouble.”
But how should we live when we’re in a place of peace? When there’s a season where trouble seems to be at bay? How do we live missionally when tragedy, suffering, and loss are at our neighbor’s door? The following thoughts were impressed in my heart throughout the early days and weeks of grieving my dad’s death.
How to Love Like Jesus:
Act. Do something. Anything. Send a text. Write a card. Drop off a gift on the person's doorstep. But whatever you do, refuse to do nothing. (Usually your initial gut response is the perfect place to start no matter how small it seems.)
Act quickly. I had a wonderful community surrounding me after the passing of my dad but many of them did not act swiftly. It was at least a week before we began receiving meals, cards, etc. That time period of not receiving active visual signs of love and care made an already difficult season more painful.
Act without invitation. Healthy relationships require the individuals involved to express their needs from time to time for the relationship to thrive. Seasons of grief can be the exception to this. Oftentimes the grieving person is not fully aware of or cannot clearly articulate their needs.
Act continually. A grieving person needs a lot of support in the days and weeks following a loss. But oftentimes after the funeral when everyone else's life normalizes, the grieving person often feels forgotten. They are just beginning to adjust to a new normal and will continually need support in the months and years ahead. Something as simple as sending a card once a month or dropping off coffee reminds them they aren't alone.
Romans 12:15 sums these action points up well, “mourn with those who mourn.”
I’d love to hear how you support the grieving or have been supported through grief in the comments below.
(Part 2 coming next month with practical ideas for meeting physical, emotional, and spiritual needs through grief.)
Joy is a Florida girl currently living in Houston with her husband, Jason, and drool covered Bassett Hound, Sam. She has a degree in Church Leadership. She teaches women how to intersect their faith and life through intentional missional living at joybrudolph.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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