Praying for Those Who are Grieving
This is the fifth blog in our 11:09 Campaign, praying for the Church. This month, we’re praying for those experiencing grief.
“But I don’t want to leave you all,” mom said, as she laid in a hospital bed. She had been laying in this bed for almost a week now. Doctors and nurses had been in and out every couple of hours for days with no positive news. Mom had been fighting a battle with pancreatic cancer for 2 years. Although chemo had ravaged her body in many ways, it had fought cancer hard enough to give her more life than we expected. But, her body could only fight so long before the cancer cells had mutated and learned how to fight the chemo. The drugs weren’t working anymore. We knew this day would come, the doctors had told us this from the start. However, when the day actually came, new levels of pain, fear, and grief set in.
After a week of sleeping in the hospital with no sign of recovery, the time had come to decide whether or not to stop chemo treatment and go into hospice care. Making this decision meant the end of my mom’s life was very near. Mom sat in her hospital bed with our family and a doctor surrounding her. She was crying; She was afraid to leave us. “Will it be painful?” she asked the doctor.
What Grief Looks Like
Life is hard. Whether it’s losing a loved one to cancer, a broken marriage, a career that goes under, or an adult child estranged from his parents, we experience loss in this life. In loss we experience grief. Merriam Webster defines grief as “deep and poignant distress, a cause of suffering, annoyance or trouble, or an unfortunate outcome.” If you are like me, I can relate many different hardships in life to all of these feelings of grief. Grief is heavy, and sometimes, an unpredictable thing. For some, grief looks like sitting in a fetal position on the floor in tears, for others it looks like pouring themselves into house projects. It can look like relying on substances to ease the pain, or asking friends to rally around you when you have no strength. Grief in loss can feel overpowering and long suffering. Because of this, we need something stronger to help us heal, rest, fight, and move through it. The only power strong enough to overcome grief is Jesus.
Where We Can Find Peace
Luke 11:9 says “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you.” In the deeper, longer, waves of grief I’ve experienced, I’ve longed for peace, comfort, strength, and joy. In my experience, these have not been things I could muster up myself, especially in the weakness I felt. This is why I love this scripture. Jesus says, “ask me.” He says, “seek Me and you will find what you truly need.” The Bible communicates repeatedly that real peace, joy, comfort, and strength can be found only in Him. It also says that He wants to give that to us. God wants to provide these things for us, not only in the pits of life; the times of loss and grief, but also, in life’s peaks. All we have to do is ask, seek, and knock.
God has the power to provide what we need in grief. We must ask Him in prayer. We must seek Him and His words in scripture and go to Him above all other sources. He has what we need and He knows how to give it to us, after all, He designed us. The creator knows best how to care for His creation.
Grief is Overwhelming, but Jesus is Stronger
“Mom you have raised us to know Jesus. You have shown us how to love, how to be great friends and daughters, to be leaders, and how to serve others. You have shown us how to lean on Jesus in this life and trust that He will take care of us and guide us,” I said, in tears, reassuring her after she said she was afraid to leave us. Consoling my mom, ensuring her that we would be okay, and that she could let go and stop fighting for life when it’s time, is one of the heaviest, grief inducing moments of my life. Mom came home the next day. She slowly faded over a few days and died in our dining room five days later. Loss is hard. Grief is overwhelming, but Jesus’ power is stronger.
God has given me peace knowing that mom is in heaven with Him. He has brought fruit from her life of following Him. God has comforted me through friends, family and Himself. He has given me strength on the days I needed it and grace on the days I couldn’t do anything. He has grown my compassion and empathy for others’ pain and shown me how to care for others well through my own pain. When it felt bad to experience joy after she died, God told me “it’s okay to feel joy,” and allowed more joy in my life. I’ll never stop experiencing grief of the loss of my mother, but God has filled my life so full with what He promises.
When I ask, seek, and knock, He always delivers; He always opens the door, just like He promises.
Passionate about the church and the people she’s been called to serve, Andrea has spent the entirety of her professional career in ministry. As a director at Mosaic Christian Church, she built the missions program into a sustainable, focused endeavor and developed the Kids Ministry into a thriving environment for children to encounter Jesus. From leading trips across the world to leading pre-k volunteers, Andrea has seen the very real impact of the local church on a given community, and it has only stoked her passion to see God’s lost children come home. In addition the her role at Stadia, she helps lead Gail’s Girl and is intentional about building others up to be all that God designed them to be. If she’s not at hip coffee shop working, you can find her at a spin studio, exploring Baltimore’s freshest restaurants with girlfriends, or in Pennsylvania spending the day with her family.