How to Survive the First Year of Grieving a Loved One

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The Bible has a lot to say about mourning and grieving, but we never seem to see it on the surface. Many passages speak of waiting for God’s timing, trusting in His plan, and turning your eyes away from what is seen. When you first hear these words, they may seem like nothing more than clichés and platitudes, but as you reread them, their deeper meanings will begin to reveal themselves. In this blog post, I want to share with you some of the things that I learned over my first year of grief after losing my father: tips for surviving one year of grieving a loved one.

1) It’s OK to cry every once in a while.

Exodus 23:25 – “If you make me an altar of stones, do not build it of hewn stones; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.” Do not try to hide behind bravado and two-faced words when the grief overcomes you. It is OK to cry, it is OK to mourn, and it is OK to hurt. The Lord sees your tears, and He will comfort you in due time (Psalm 56:11). This passage tells us not to profane the altar by using our tools on it. We are not to pick up where we left off and pretend that nothing has happened; we must deal with what has occurred to move forward (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
When you cry, do so openly; let your tears flow freely without shame or embarrassment because this is when God’s promises of comfort become particularly relevant. It says a lot about how much people care for you if they see you hurting and don’t dismiss it as something insignificant or try to avoid talking about it altogether – remember Jacob, who mourned Rachel all his life? They may even take part in mourning with us through their tears.

2) It’s OK to be angry.

Exodus 32:19 – “And it came about, as soon as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under their feet;” The Bible is full of stories and characters who were so consumed with anger they lost sight of everything else around them. Moses was enraged by what happened in Exodus 32; David let his wrath get the best of him when Bathsheba died in II Samuel 11-12, and Elijah went crazy after Jezebel threatened Naboth (I Kings 18). When we find ourselves dealing with intense feelings like this, it is hard not to become discouraged or feel alone because very few other people understand where we are coming from. Still, God understands us even better than anyone else, and when we cry out to Him, He will hear us.

3) It’s OK to be scared.


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Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” The darkness of our valleys can feel suffocating at times, and it is entirely natural to feel afraid when we are in them. This Psalm reassures us that God is with us even in the scariest of moments and that He will not leave us alone. When you feel frightened or panicked, take a few deep breaths and recite this Psalm – it does help.

4) It’s OK to be angry at God.

Psalm 11: “In the Lord, I put my trust; how can you say to my soul, “Flee as a bird to your mountain?” Psalm 88 is another example of when it is beneficial for us not just to feel anger towards God but express our feelings and even question Him (like Job did). When we deal with profound grief that has made its mark on us in specific ways, this passage teaches us that although we may not understand why something happened, still it wasn’t random or meaningless – remember verse 20? It also tells us that there isn’t anything too trivial for God either so let yourself go wild here. Speak out loud whatever comes into mind – release every bit of frustration, bitterness, and rage. We do not have to feel guilty for facing our anger at God because He understands (Psalm 103:11). When you get done with this passage, take a few moments to meditate on Psalm 27 – it has some very soothing promises just like the other one does.

5) It’s OK to be sad.

Lamentations mourn the fall of Jerusalem and are written by Jeremiah, who was grieving over his people – it makes for some hefty reading. Still, it is so important that we read it nonetheless. In times like these, when we are feeling overwhelmed with sadness, reading Lamentations can help us feel not entirely so alone. Jeremiah expresses all the stages of grief naturally and honestly – anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are all present here. As you read through, take note of which stage(s) you find yourself in and see if anything specific stands out to you. Journaling can also be a great way to process what you are reading.

When I think about the first year of grieving, the word that comes to mind is “hard.” It is hard in so many ways – it is hard to cope with the pain, it is hard to function on a day-to-day basis, and it is hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. But even though it is difficult, we can make it through this year by leaning on God’s Word.


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These five points are just a tiny sampling of what the Bible has to offer us – countless other passages can help us as we journey through our first year of grief. So if you find yourself feeling lost or alone, don’t be afraid to turn to God’s Word for comfort and guidance. He will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:05)

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