I John 3:18

All original content copyright Jessica Nicole Schafer, 2007-2016.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


Three and a half years. It’s been that long since we lost Her. My Momma.

Has the grief left? No, not at all. (I refuse to believe that “one day” it won’t hurt that I don’t have my Momma here. I don’t see our God as one who sees the need to blot out the memories of our loved ones……if that were so, then what is the point of loving one another now??) Yes, I have laughed since then. I’ve laughed so much that my stomach burned with joy. I’ve felt immense love so much that there are no words to describe- from my amazing husband, son, Daddy, sister, friends, etc. I’ve also still cried. Cried bitter, angry, sad, lonely tears for her.

I’ve mentioned before how many people see grief as something that needs “12 steps” to recover from. Another danger for people experiencing grief is that others see it as a weakness…and will then treat them as a project that needs fixin’. We grow our whole lives being told, “Be strong” when Jesus overcame death with weakness. We say, “Do it yourself!”…when we learn that apart from Him we can do nothing. “Don’t cry”….yet He says he keeps our tears in a bottle. “Don’t depend on anyone”…when we learn from Him to “bear one another’s burdens”.

Grief IS A WEAKNESS. However, what makes us think that being weak is wrong?? We erroneously equate weakness for sin. And it’s not. Sin is making a choice to do the absolute wrong thing. Is grief wrong? NO. Then WHY on earth do we treat hurting people as though they need to “overcome” their grief? Why do we treat them as though they’re stuck in some dark sin? Why on earth do we say things like, “I’ll pray that God gives you strength to get over this, and smile and be happy, even though your loved one is now buried six feet under, and you’ll spend the rest of your life without them”... Sounds ridiculous when you read that out loud, huh?? But let me tell you…..I’ve heard things just like that before, and all too often somebody needing hope whispered to their broken spirit is condescendingly told, “I’ll pray for you”.

Grief brings to the surface an intimate side of us. When we long to have our loved ones back, we are vulnerable. We hurt, and sometimes we have to talk about it. We cry, and sometimes need someone to cry with us. We are often weak from hurting, and the hurt is all we CAN feel. We feel great loss, because great love is there. Weakness is something He was all too familiar with. Heaven help us for ever thinking that as Believers, it is our god-given duty to “be strong” when parts of our very being are dead. Forgive us for belittling those amidst their pain, when bearing their burdens is truly what mirrors Him.

When did we become so arrogant in our faith that we think our grief is something we need to overcome? When Jesus, Himself, missed someone he loved so much, that he brought him back FROM THE DEAD.

I am often appalled at the way we silence someone else’s tears. It sickens me, really. We call them crybabies, we say they just need to get to a “more mature” point, we say we’ll pray they can stop being so sensitive…..when Jesus said we are supposed to be like CHILDREN. What’s the FIRST thing a child does when they are hurting? THEY C R Y!!! They seek comfort. They seek someone’s lap to sit on while they hurt. They want to know they’re not alone. They complain out of their pain. They express a basic, God-given need that we grown-ups often forget….the need for one another. They are honest…so much that they acknowledge the pain within, don’t understand it, but know they need others to lean on. And what do we do? We are there for them (hopefully). But somehow we see grown-ups acting like children, having the audacity to shed a tear because a loved one was ripped out of their lives…..and we tell them to “build a bridge and get over it”. We see someone living with grief that’s too hard to even speak of…..and we choose to ignore them, finding every reason in the book to excuse our unloving responses. God forgive us. Forgive us for only wanting to see Your good side, and ignoring Your sorrowful side.

This God who loves us is not a big fluffy, pink marshmallow of a man who wants nothing for us but rainbows, laughs, riches, and self-righteousness.

He is a paradox. Though He comforts….He causes grief. Though He catches our tears….He causes crying. Though He gives…..he takes away. Though He is present…..He is often absent.

Our tears, our hurts, our broken hearts, our grief…….are all precious to Him. Just as our laughter, joy, prosperity, and smiles may be used to further His Kingdom….. so will our cries, sadness, poverty, broken hearts, and grief. If Jesus’ story is true, then we HAVE to get to a point to live as though we believe this.