Okay, yes, I was a hot emotional unhealthy mess when my bro died. It was two weeks after my divorce was final, a week after my birthday, and I can say in retrospect, two weeks before the ex was remarried. I still looked incredible on the outside, if I do say so myself (and I will); but inside and in the comfort of home, I was unstable and emotional.
I think this is why my sister dragged me to Griefshare. After that first week, I went back. When it was time to greet the others, I said
“I am Elizabeth. Of course, I am Theresa’s sister, and I am grieving the murder of my brother in law. I think I am also grieving my father, my father in law, both of my grandmothers, and my husband. My husband is not dead yet, but we are divorced. That is kinda similar.”
There were chuckles and smiles, and also tears.
But I knew something I had not known – suppressed grief does not go away. There is no value to suppressing grief over anything or anyone who has passed through your life. Grieving is a step in healing – one cannot exist without the other.
My good friend Allison once told me that I walked in grief for my Dad for at least 7 years. Each one of those years felt like I was living, but when I realized how much I was not; when God unveiled that which I could handle anew; I could see the truth in retrospect.
Here is the thing – God never gave me more than I could bear. Because He knew I was not able to bear the full capacity of the grief I felt without first growing closer to Him and then having support, He kept it behind a veil. When I was ready, He put me in the right place at the right time and drew back the veil.
I had a little anger with him about it, too. I wanted to know why he would take almost every strong, safe protecting man from my life. Who does that? I wanted to know why He would let my brother in law die in the manner that he did, and leave my sister without her husband and my niece without her dad. I asked Him too. You can do that you know – ask God what you want to know. He hears and He will answer.
I can say this because I know it. God showed me how when my father died, the service was standing room only. My mother hired an extra limousine to carry all the young men in the neighborhood whose lives he had touched. A Sony executive called us because my Dad was the only one who gave him the time and a chance when he was just a young man. My sister girl, Diane, was ready to come home from Turkey where she was stationed for the service, because he had touched her in this way.
He showed me how a humble man who just loves God can touch the hearts of many and draw them to the light in Him which is Christ. Then I was lead to reflect on the scripture where Jesus says that we will do greater works than He in the earth. God impressed upon me that the works Jesus did are directly related to the Father/Son/Holy Spirit relationship.
Next God broke it down like this for me:
Larry, my brother in law, had been a son to my father who only had daughters. He had watched and learned from my father as well as the other young men, but with a special bond. When Larry gave his life to Christ, he was then bound to do greater works in the earth than even my father. He held onto His salvation and to Christ with every fiber and He exuded Christ in his daily walk.
When Larry died, not only was there standing room only, but the witness of his life had touched people who called from other countries, who worked in the same office as the President of the University, and lived throughout his community, and who had WATCHED his journey to and through salvation. His death was documented on both local and national news, and caused the changing of dangerous policy. People who had seen him at his worst and best times found out something new about God through the light of Christ that lived in his son, Larry.
God reminded me then of His one goal: to redeem us by Jesus saving grace that we may be restored to a right relationship with God and spend eternity in His presence, for which we were created.
I miss my men. It be’s that way when you are accustomed to being a Princess. My mother is not quite aware of what Princess status means. I have been trying to help her with that for 12 years now. She is a lost cause. I have one brother in law now, and my sisters and I call him ‘our husband’. He can’t help but walk closer to Christ because otherwise, he is NOT gonna make it with the demands of these women in this family. He’s so graceful under pressure.
I remember the words of a song we sing at church: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. It comes from the scripture in John 12:32 which says the very same. In context, that particular chapter talks about how Christ has walked among the people, done miracles, performed signs and wonders, and the people STILL don't believe who He is. Yet a little later, in Mark 25, there was a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years. She had not walked with Jesus, but she had heard of Him (because people had talked of Him and lifted Him up) and knew in her being that He was the one who could heal her and make her whole. She pressed through all of the obstacles to get to Him just to touch the HEM of His garment.
12 years is long enough for a healing, and to be made whole.
I thank God that the lives and deaths of the men in my family served a higher purpose, and left a living legacy. So many times, we forget God’s objective in our lives, besides to love us, save us from our own mess, and provide for us. He is trying to get us back home and with a good report.
Alright - I will post again in a couple of days. We can't dialog if you don't leave a comment! Or email me. I have to tell you about so much that has happened during this walk. Just a note: I have not always been virtuous...don't tell anybody. I'll tell you about it in the next post.