Do you ever feel like you’re on an emotional roller coaster? One moment you’re smiling and happy and the next you’re blindsided with the pain of your loss? That happened to me on Saturday. I was happily organizing the shelves in our garage and was combining the contents of boxes to save space when I innocently opened up a box labeled “kid’s school records”. I was prepared for that and knew I could handle seeing the records if I were careful and didn’t flip through and actually read them! But, what I didn’t expect was to find a doll in that box. Surprised, I pulled out my well-loved and well-worn Raggedy Ann and was suddenly overcome by emotion. Unexpected tears welled up in my eyes and spilled out over my cheeks.
This doll, my sweet Raggedy Ann, was my very first doll, received at the tender age of four. It hadn’t even belonged to my daughter, so why did I have such a strong reaction when I found it? I was blindsided by grief.
As I held her tightly to my chest, my mind went back to the simple, peaceful time before I had known the pain of rejection and loss. My thoughts circled around the innocence of childhood and how back then, everything was easy… and then, of course, they circled around to my loss and the circumstances that have caused me to grieve.
Wow. I hadn’t expected that! I had been having a great morning. I was happy, cheerful and was enjoying the day! There had been no thoughts of sadness and I had been focused on the day. I hadn’t expected to be blindsided. But, occasionally, it happens, doesn’t it?
So, what should we do when we are surprised by our grief?
Turn to God. Always.
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” (Psalm34:17)
God is so faithful! He will always give us exactly what we need in any given situation. Today, while I had that wave of sadness, He comforted me. When I called out to God (yes, as I tightly clutched my childhood doll close), He reminded me that I am loved. My husband, who was out running an errand, called me at that very moment and asked if he could pick up lunch for us! Brought back to the present, by the call and the kindness of my husband, I was reminded of my blessings. I was reminded that when I occasionally still feel low, I need to focus on the good things in life.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians4:8)
At that moment I readjusted my focus. Rather than continuing to dwell on the past and what I had lost, I thanked God for my blessings of today. I purposely acknowledged what I was feeling, but then, sent praises of thanks to my Father for all He has done.
Oh how grateful I am that on my path to healing God is teaching me tangible and useful things to do when I am feeling low: turning to Him in prayer, pouring out my emotions to Him, reading His word, focusing on the good in life, trusting Him and listening for His answers, are all things helping me on this journey through my grief. I can feel His healing and I am so thankful!
I know that there will still be times in the future when my emotions will dip. I know, because I have loved so deeply, that I will again feel the pain of not having that love returned, but I also know that my Father is right by my side. I can count on Him to bring me out of the times when I am blindsided by my grief and into the light of His love.
Focused on Him, Joan
Today’s Questions in The Courage to Heal Series:
Are you ever blindsided by emotions? Have you been experiencing the unsettling feeling of being on an emotional rollercoaster? What has God been teaching you during this time?