Grief, Anger, & God.

I wanted to share a journal entry of mine in case anyone else feels like their relationship with God has been complicated by pain and their faith is tired.

If you’re tired of the cliches and not ready to wrap your resentment in a bow, welcome.

I’ve had an extremely hard time seeing God in the last year or so and this is not the first and probably not the last time I will experience this.

Something in me hurts extra when I feel no doubt that God is there, but He is simply ignoring me.

I’ve experienced so much anger recently. For a while there, there wasn’t any space for God in my anger. I thought there wasn’t enough room for both of them. I thought it couldn’t be true that I was hurting this much and He was still simultaneously good.

I know. I know. That is so unbelievably hard to believe, and I am by no means saying I am past that point.

But I’m past the guilt. I’m past feeling bad and like I need to make my grief prettier and humbler before I can let Him be with me in it. I am past thinking that I have to shriek my anger to allow room for God.

Anger and grief are not the enemy of a relationship with God. Both can exist. As expected, I’m less angry and in less pain since realizing this.

It sounds like the basis of Christianity that we don’t have to have it all together to be accepted by Christ, but receiving that acceptance on a daily basis is a lifelong task.

So here we go.

I am welcoming Jesus into my grief.

I do not have to push Him away in my anger.

The two can coincide.

He is not uncomfortable with it.

He is not unacquainted with it.

He is not upset with me for feeling it.

He allows and encourages me to feel everything I am feeling and to let Him sit with me while I do.

Every bit of how I am feeling is welcome at the foot of the cross.

Every thing I’m feeling is known and understood by Jesus Christ. 

So I will internally kick and scream and beg and ask why. And I will rest as He is with me.

When One Door Closes, It’s Ok To Mourn.

God always provides us with the encouragement we need when we need it.

Over the weekend, a dream of mine was placed on the back burner in a way.

Last week, I was praying about how much I wanted a specific piece of property for my husband and I to build a house on. I prayed that God would open doors and make a way for us to get it…if that was His will. 

Up until that point, we had our eyes on the land for about 3 years. We already own a home that we have to live in for 2 years (for taxing purposes) before we can put it on the market, so the right time to pursue building our next home never came around.

I hadn’t prayed much about my dream to build right there until the week before God showed me it wasn’t His plan for us right now.

Within days of asking for God’s provision, and above all else, His will, we received news that the property had been purchased. 

But that’s the thing about praying for the “maybes” in our lives. Sometimes it gives God the opportunity to tell us “no” when we’re so hung up on hearing “yes”.

I was deeply disappointed. I went back and forth with grieving and feeling guilty for wrapping so much expectation into something so uncertain and circumstantial. 

Little did I realize, every time I thought of the house that my husband and I would have a family in, I was envisioning us being in that spot. More than me being sad over not getting a certain patch of grass, I was sad to lose the dream of having a cul-de-sac home for my kids across the street from their grandparents.

Throughout this year, I’ve been reading a devotional titled “100 days to brave” by Annie F. Downs.

Let’s say I’ve taken the scenic route through a book that could be finished in a little over 3 months. 

But in my struggle of trying to finish one book before starting another, God used a “weakness” of mine to show Himself to me.

On day 25 of the book, He taught me that it’s brave to dream. This prompted me to pray for an open door to start building a house.

Day 26 showed me to not be afraid of praying hard prayers. Looking back on this devotional, I was encouraged to ask God to open the right doors and close the wrong ones. Though I’m sure, I prayed a little more fervently for an open one.

A couple of days later, after being presented with a closed door, I got around to day 27, which by no coincidence was on closed doors. 

Annie writes, “Brave people commit their work to the Lord and trust that His plan for their lives might not look the way they planned. And that’s okay. If you’re looking at a closed door today, then there’s an open one just around the corner.”

I told myself to get over it. It’s not that big of a deal anyway. The loss of the property doesn’t affect the big picture of our life. We can still build or buy a house somewhere else. God has a plan and it’s not my job to figure it out. But grace.

On day 28, I learned that it’s OK to “mourn dreams that have died”. 

Annie F. Downs tells of her yearning for a husband before her 30s, and subconsciously grieving when this did not come to pass. Annie is comforted when her counselor tells her that “The dreams you thought would come true in a certain time frame never did. You saw a life for yourself that you will never have. You can mourn that loss.” 

And so I did. I let myself grieve for a few days…and then I moved on to the doors that are still open for me.

On day 29, we’re told to “Chase the dreams that are still alive.” 

“God loves to put wings on dreams that His kids chase, dreams that can bring Him glory.”

Having little to do with my classic southern dreams of a white house to clean and babies to kiss, while noble and beautiful on their own, I dream of being a writer and an author.

Although I go through times of feeling discouraged and inadequate in this area of my life, I crave it more than any other earthly goal.

Even when faced with closed doors and disappointments, my dreams are still alive and well, and so are yours.