7 Places to Find Joy in a Season of Grief

7 Places to Find Joy in a Season of Grief

I am well acquainted with grief. By the time I was eighteen years old, I’d lost two of the closest people to me within six months. I lost my 22-month-old son in September 1988. Six months later, my mother passed away. I was divorced in 1996. And in 2013, my oldest brother and I were diagnosed with cancer. My brother eventually succumbed to cancer New Year’s Eve, 2014.

Grief can come from any number of sources: the loss of a child, a parent, or other relatives, divorce, job loss, financial hardship, rejection, abandonment. The overwhelming feelings associated with loss are real, regardless of the source of that grief.

I wasn’t yet a Christian when my son and mother passed away, or when I went through my divorce. I dealt with those losses and their grief the best way I could. As I reflect on those times, I now see the Lord was with me, but I didn’t know it. When my brother and I were diagnosed with cancer, and when my brother subsequently died, I was a Christian, and not only did I know the Lord was with me, I felt His presence, comfort, hope, and peace.

You can find joy in a season of grief. You can laugh, even while you’re crying. You can smile when your world is crumbling around you. How you may ask?

“Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.” (Psalm 126:5)

Here are 7 places to find joy when you’re mourning or grieving:

 

1. In Relationship with Christ

Being a Christian doesn’t shield us from grief, nor does being a Christian prevent us from feeling the unbearable heartache and pain that come from grief. Christians cry, get depressed, and hurt just like everyone else. However, we have a hope that others don’t have. That hope comes from our relationship with Jesus Christ. In seasons of grief, Christians can find joy in Jesus Christ. He is the lifter of our heads. He’s the author and finisher of our faith. He gives us unspeakable joy. He will never leave us nor forsake us, so we can rest in His arms. We can bask in and find joy in His love for us.

 

2. In The Local Church

I like being alone when I’m going through seasons of testing. I don’t want to be around people because I don’t like others seeing how badly I’m hurting. I don’t want people to see me crying and in pain. Quite frankly, I pride myself on being a strong woman. If you’re anything like me, you may shy away from the local church when you’re going through tests and trials. But believers in the local church, who genuinely love you, can be your biggest source of joy. Don’t stop going to church. Go to church, and let the love of God’s people surround you and help you heal.

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.” (Acts 2:28)

 

3. Through Scripture

My father bought my first grown-up Bible in December, 1989. From the moment I opened its pages, I loved what I read, although I didn’t understand it all. Over the past 30 years, I’ve sought the scriptures many times when I experienced grief. Psalm 23

is an excellent source of comfort, as well as Romans 8:28, John 14:16, John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, and Isaiah 40:31.

“A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.” (Proverbs 15:13)

 

4. Spending Time with Loved Ones

As I mentioned earlier, I like being alone when I’m going through hard times. However, being alone can be one of the worst things for us when we’re hurting. Sometimes, we need to seek out loved ones, family, and friends who can make us laugh and remind us of God’s comfort and delivering power. We needn’t shut ourselves off from family and friends. Those who love us genuinely want to see us restored and made whole. Don’t shut them out.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and thought I was dying (don’t laugh, I made the mistake of Googling my type of breast cancer and saw some scary stuff), I enjoyed looking at pictures of my new granddaughter and playing with the babies who attended my church. Interacting with those babies gave me hope and put a smile on my face. Even now, almost six years later, I thank God for all those babies because they helped me fight cancer. However, I wouldn’t have experienced their laughter, innocence, and purity if I’d stopped going to church.

 

5. Getting Out of the House

Grief is hard. I don’t want to downplay the pain you may be experiencing. I know you’ve cried so much, you wonder when you’re going to run out of tears. I know you don’t want to be bothered, don’t want to be around crowds, and probably want to stay in the comfort of your house. But you have to get out. Like I mentioned before, go to church. And not only that, go to dinner with a friend. Go to the movies to see a comedy. Go to a concert. Go to a free museum. If one of your friends has a party, go! See a play. Go to the fair or a carnival.

If you can afford it, visit your favorite vacation spot. A vacation always makes me feel better. Take in the sights, go on a tour. My family and I had a vacation planned when I was diagnosed. My doctor told me not to cancel it, to go and enjoy myself.

Furthermore, when I got a two-week break between chemotherapy treatments, my husband booked a hotel in Baltimore where we hung out. He also took me to a resort on the Maryland Eastern Shore for a quick weekend getaway. And a year after my diagnosis, when all my treatments had ended, and I’d been declared cancer-free, hubby and I took the kids on another cruise, what we named my “Victory Cruise.” So, get out of the house and live. Joy abounds, it’s all around us, we just have to embrace it.

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

 

6. Indulging in Your Favorite Hobby

My favorite hobbies include writing, singing, and reading. I find joy in writing both nonfiction and fiction. It’s easy for me to lose myself when I’m writing. I can zone out and become one with my characters. Singing Christian music brings joy to my heart and soul. And there’s nothing like a good book, especially if the book has clean humor. Don’t neglect your hobbies. Whatever it is that brings you joy, do it. Writers can write through their grief. Singers can sing through their grief. Painters and other artists can create throughout their grief. If you enjoy landscaping, do it through your grief. No matter your hobby, keep doing it. Don’t stop. Your hobby could be what God uses to help you during your season of grief.

 

7. From a Therapist or Counselor

Sometimes, grief is so overwhelming that one must seek the assistance of a therapist or counselor. If this is the case for you, I recommend a licensed, Christian therapist who can help you cope with your grief. A trained grief counselor is equipped to help you process your grief. Don’t be ashamed of needing to seek out a therapist. Speaking with someone who’s able to help you deal with your grief could be a source of unexpected joy in your season of grief. They can help you heal. Don’t forsake counseling or therapy if you need it. Your joy is at stake.

Grief and its associating emotions are real, and all of us will experience them at one point or another. However, because we are Christians, we can still find joy. The Father doesn’t want us miserable. He wants us to have joy to the full, even in times of grief. Press into the Father. Let Him love you through the pain.

 

Aretha Grant serves her local church as a bible teacher and elder. She loves writing and is the author of Overcomer: 25 Keys to Walking VictoriouslyAretha resides in Hagerstown, MD with her husband and two youngest children. You can read Aretha’s blog at www.arethagrant.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images


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