What loss are you grieving right now? What has the current pandemic taken away from you?
Are you grieving the loss of income? The loss of a job? The loss of a loved one?
Did you have to miss out on a special celebration or a vacation that was cancelled because of the virus? Maybe you’re grieving the loss of friendships (at least temporarily) or the loss of a routine. Perhaps, like me, you are grieving the loss of your time.
The past few weeks my desires have been fighting inside me. There is so much I want to do, so much I want to accomplish, but the new confines of my schedule and responsibilities continue to yank me back down.
Can you relate? I didn’t understand why I was so frustrated, until a friend commented to me: “It sounds like you’re grieving the loss of your time.”
Some of you may be thinking: “Really? Loss of time is all you are grieving right now? You’ve got it pretty good!” In the grand scheme of life, I am fully aware that my losses are very minimal compared to what many of you are going through right now, and I do not want to take that lightly!
At the same time, others of you can identify closely with the loss I am experiencing, but you haven’t identified the loss for what it is. You might even feel guilty that you’re not feeling more grateful.
There is value in identifying losses for what they are, no matter how small.
Maybe someone has told you to “focus on the positive” during this time, and you’ve been feeling guilty for not being more thankful. Have you been feeling irritable and grumpy and you don’t even know why?
Often, unnamed and unidentified grief in your life can result in negative behaviors.
I know for me, when I feel trapped by a schedule or responsibilities that have been imposed on me, I get irritable and grumpy.
There is great benefit to acknowledging and naming the loss in your life right now.
The Bible has a lot to say about loss and grief. In Lamentations chapter 3, the writer (likely the prophet Jeremiah) describes a time of deep turmoil and anguish in his life:
“I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.” Lamentations 3:20-22 (NLT)
There are two things I notice about this passage. First of all, Jeremiah acknowledges what is happening in his life. He states that this is an “awful time” and he will “never forget it”. Secondly, he acknowledges that he is grieving a loss.
In the current pandemic, we are all dealing with loss to some extent, albeit some losses are certainly much greater than others. But don’t let that stop you from naming the loss in your own life.
Don’t belittle your circumstances by convincing yourself that it’s not really a loss. Don’t tell yourself that other people’s troubles are much greater than yours. Allow yourself the time to name what losses you are experiencing right now, whether big or small. It’s okay to grieve! Be sad for a few minutes or hours or however long you need.
While it’s important to take time to grieve the losses in your life, it’s also important not to dwell in that place forever. Look at the second part of the verse in Lamentations 3:
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…”
Yet. Such a tiny word, with such huge significance. “Yet” signifies a transition. It signifies a message of hope. Even though Jeremiah is experiencing “an awful time” right now, there is still hope.
He still dares to hope when he remembers this:
“The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.”
God’s love lasts forever! His faithfulness and his mercies never end. This is such an encouraging truth to hold on to, no matter what type of grief or loss you are experiencing right now.
Don’t minimize your grief. But also, don’t minimize the love and faithfulness of God to bring joy out of sorrow.
If you continue reading the rest of the passage in Lamentations 3, you will learn that God’s faithfulness is great, his mercies are new every morning and God is good to those who depend on him and search for him.
The writer then exhorts us to put our hope in the Lord, to depend on him, and to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
“Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:23-26
I would encourage you to read the entire chapter of Lamentations 3 on your own! So much valuable truth to be found.
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty…”
Habakuk 3:17 (NLT)
Look at the list of terrible things happening at that time in Israel… the fig trees have no blossoms, there are no grapes on the vines, the olive crops have failed, the fields are empty, the flocks and herds have all died. Without olives, grapes and sheep, the entire economy of Israel would collapse and the nation would starve.
What is your list of “even though’s”? What losses are you grieving right now? Stop for a minute to think. Grab a pen and journal and write them down.
Don’t rush through this. Don’t feel guilty about how you’re feeling. Write down all the things that seem bleak and dismal, or even just slightly annoying.
Don’t worry if it seems insignificant. If it’s significant to you, then write it down.
Prayerfully read through your list and talk to God about it. Confess to him how you’re feeling.
Feel free to download my printable pages to help you with this activity! (There’s one for your kids too!) Because… who doesn’t like pretty journal pages? (Also, two framable prints!)
Even though I haven’t seen my friends in three months…
Even though I have to home-school my kids…
Even though my husband took a pay cut…
Even though my house is a mess…
Even though my schedule has been disrupted…
Even though I never get time to myself…
Even though I have to miss out on a special celebration…
Even though I’m frustrated with the government…
Even though I’m worried about the economy…
Even though I’m sad about missing out on family activities we had planned…
Take a minute to read over your list and talk to God about each of the things you mentioned. Tell him exactly how you’re feeling right now. And then come back and keep reading this blog post!
Look at the next verse in Habakkuk 3. “Yet” There’s that word again! Despite what is happening in his nation, Habakkuk states:
“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!”
Notice, he doesn’t say: “I will put on a fake smile and pretend that everything is okay.”
Instead, he says, “I will rejoice… in the Lord! I will be joyful… in the God of my salvation!”
Habakuk’s joy has an object. His joy is not in his circumstances, but in the Lord, the God of his salvation.
What does it look like to rejoice in the Lord and find our joy in God? Move down to the next section of your journal page where it says “YET…”
Make a list of all the good things and positive things happening in your life right now! Here are a few of mine:
Yet… my husband has a job.
Yet… my husband’s job is flexible so he can help with the kids during the day.
Yet… our internet works!
Yet… technology allows us to talk with friends and family.
Yet… we have plenty of food to eat.
Yet… we are all healthy.
Yet… the flowers and trees are blooming.
Yet… I have extra time to spend with my kids.
Take a few minutes to praise God for his faithfulness in your life and thank him for your list of blessings. What do you have to celebrate today?
This is a great activity to do with your kids as well! I have created a printable packet to help you with this activity.
The packet includes:
- Two framable Bible verse quotes
- Two worksheets for you to do the “Even though… Yet!” activity: one for you and one for your kids!