Changing Forward

Grief is an inevitable part of both life and death. Since this website was first launched almost ten years ago, the number of people whose lives have been forever changed by death has increased exponentially. Likely this number will continue to grow. While the fundamental nature of grief remains unchanged, our personal, individual experience of grief has become more layered and more multidimensional because of the frequency, intensity, and alarming regularity with which death occurs in the wounded world in which we live.

Change is the constant of time. The world has changed. We have changed. We feel bewildered, frustrated, and confused by the chaos and uncertainty that shadows our every experience of joy and peace in the world. At this unprecedented time in the history of humankind, we grieve with an overwhelming need for God’s comfort, assurance, and hope.

If you think for a moment about everything that has happened across the globe and in your own life during the past ten years, likely you have observed that grief is the most equal opportunity experience in all of life. To be sure, everyone grieves differently, but at some age, at some time in life, everyone will know the sorrow and pain of grief. We have seen quite clearly that grief is indifferent to our race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Grief is in fact the great leveler of emotions, place, people, and time.

Life-altering events will forever distinguish the year 2020 as an epoch of universal change caused by a healthcare pandemic, social unrest, violence directly attributable to racial inequity, dire weather events, unprecedented natural disasters, and an appalling escalation in hate crimes and random acts of violence.

Now as ever, perhaps even more so, grief has in some way affected us all, either directly or indirectly. There are millions of people around the world whose heart has been broken by death. For those who have not experienced the death of a friend or loved one, the number of deaths regularly reported by the media may be only a sobering statistic. For those who grieve, it is tragic, real, and very personal.

The rolling crises of the last ten years have forced more people to experience grief at an ever earlier age. An entire generation has confronted overwhelming loss prematurely. As a society, we grieve more often and more publicly, often without observing the time-honored traditions of grief.

As an author and lay grief facilitator, I believe that those who seek comfort and inspiration in grief best identify with an authentic point of view. After the death of my beloved husband in 2004, followed closely by the death of my dear father in 2005, I began to write about the practical and spiritual challenges of grief. I immersed myself in trying to understand grief—what it is, how we respond to grief, how we resolve it, and how we incorporate it into our lives. When we do the forensic work of grief understanding, we take the true measure of ourself and find answers to many important questions about life and death that move us beyond the broken heart.

In writing about grief, I share from the heart some of my personal grief experiences and faith challenges to light the way for others who grieve toward hope and new life. Since it was launched almost ten years ago, this website has been redesigned using state of the art communication platforms to optimize accessibility for both individuals and grief groups. The hope is that the resources available to you on this website will comfort your broken heart and lead you toward renewed hope, recovered love, and belief in the future.

Our understanding of grief leads us full circle in life and reminds us that our faith is unshakeable. However we frame the myriad emotions of grief—anger, sadness, loneliness, fear, guilt, to name only a few—over time we realize that grief is not a crisis of faith, it is a matter of faith. Like many, my faith has been tried and tested by death and grief. Our personal walk through the valley of the shadow of death is perhaps the most formidable walk of faith imaginable.

We measure the faith of our grief by who we are becoming. As we struggle, strain, and stretch to overcome our grief, God’s promise is that we will be restored to personal wholeness and live again in fullness of joy, “you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20 NIV).

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