Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

5 stages of grief

Physical pain?

Emotional pain?

Physical pain, while it can be intense, is easier to understand.  I tripped going up a step on Mother’s Day.  My knee is still tender but my toe is no longer black and blue.  It is still swollen but hurts only when I forget and try to bend in downward.

Emotional pain is another story.    The death of my mother was an intense emotional pain, but what about the pain that comes from choices someone else makes that rips your heart out?  I see it so much lately.  People are suffering grief and sadness because of the choices of another.  This ongoing pain takes grief to a whole other level.

 Psalm 34:17-19 (MSG)

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.”

Five stages of grief are denial, bargaining, anger,  downheartedness, and acceptance.  We can move in and out of these stages.  There is no real order.  It just depends on what is happening at the time.  I have listed denial as first because it seems to work that way, but grief doesn’t have to follow any pattern.


In the beginning we may find ourselves not truly dealing with what is going on.  Becoming overwhelmed by the situation and going back and forth from being numb to wondering how we will get through this –  is all part of this step.  Acceptance is a foreign concept here.  Getting through each day is about all you can muster.  It is in this step that we rely on the truth that we know to be true even if we don’t feel it at the time.

What is that truth?  That God is for us.  (Romans 8:31)  He is working in the situation.  (Romans 8:28)  He promises to be right there – never leaving our side.  (Hebrews 13:5)  He will make a way and give to us strength.  (Psalm 18:32, Psalm 27:14, Psalm 28:7  Isaiah 43:16)


It is in this stage that we try to make a deal with God.  If You will save my job, my marriage, my child……. then I will…………………

“What ifs” haunt us.  “If only”  tries to consume our thoughts.  It is in this stage that guilt will try to surface.

In this stage it is vital that we keep before us the truth that God loves us and He sees our heart.   Psalm 56:8 tells us that God bottles our tears.  He sees what is happening to us.  Verse 9 ends with “this I know that God is for me.”  Read all of Psalm 56.   He is in a world of hurt, yet three times he says in God he puts his trust.  When in the bargaining stage remember God is for us.  (Romans 8:31)   He is  an ever-present help in trouble.  (Psalm 46:1)


Anger is a powerful force and it can bring you out of denial into a place of action.  Give yourself permission to work through the anger, for underneath all that anger is the pain.  The Bible doesn’t say we cannot feel anger, but when we are angry – we are not to use that as an excuse to sin. (Ephesians 4:16)  Guard against the temptation to bring hurt to the one who has caused such intense grief.   Remember you will give an account for your choices just as they will answer for theirs.

If the emotional pain is due to death of a loved one, a marriage,  or the future of your child, the anger may come in the form of “where was God?”  Remind yourself again of the truth you know but at the moment may not feel.  (Feelings can lie to us.)  Truth:  God is with you. (Hebrews 13:5)   He will see you through.  He will comfort and strengthen you. (Psalm 23:4)  Peace will come as you trust on and rely on Him.  (Philippians 4:7)


It is in this stage that grief takes you to a deeper level.  It is here that you might find yourself withdrawing from others. It can almost feel as if there is a dullness that has settled over your heart.

Maybe the grief you are dealing with is now a life long reality.  I think of children that have been abused.  Their life and the lives of their families are forever changed.  Dreams of what the future hold have now become nightmares that try to steal their joy.

If your grief is due to a death, you realize that they are not coming back and you wonder how you will live without them.   If it is the death of a marriage or the walking away of a child,  it is here that your heart truly breaks. How will you go on without them?

Again this is where you rely on the foundation of your faith.  God is greater than anything we face and He dwells within us. (1 John 4:4, 4:12)

In God we do trust.   Paul talks of this in 2 Corinthians 1:8-10.  –– we despaired even of life……….but………..we trust in God — Psalm 42 asks the question why are you in despair, O my soul?    Psalm 46 also gives the solution.  Put your hope in God!  We get through this stage by allowing our hope in God to overshadow the despair that presses in on us.  (Psalm 42:5, 11,  43:5, 62:5. 146:5,  1 Peter 1:21)


This is the final stage.  It does not mean that we are ok with what happened but that we accept that it is what it is.  Time does not heal all wounds, but time does help us learn to go on and once again find good in each day.

In acceptance we begin to learn how to do life without the one we loved.  We still miss them and some days are harder than others, but  we recognize that God still has a plan for us. (Jeremiah 29:11)  In acceptance we once again trust God with our future.

Grief takes time and the rate you work through these stages will be different for each person.

“The only people who think there is a time limit for grief, have never lost a piece of their heart.  Take the time you need.”

During each  stage it is important to surround yourself with godly people who will encourage you, pray with you, and support you.

til next time

I would love some feedback on this topic.  I am always looking for ways to help people who are grieving.


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May 29, 2014 - Posted by | ministry, relationships, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Well put outline of grief, Gloria. Grief counselling is very difficult. I have found that no two people can be counselled the same way. The quote near the end is very applicable.

    Comment by meetingintheclouds | May 31, 2014 | Reply

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