You’ve probably heard the comment that grief is not something you get over but rather something that goes with you. The whole title of this blog, Grieving On, reflects this idea. Over the past few weeks, so many thoughts centered around grief and my own process have pinged in my head and heart. It’s whirling inside me so much that I finally had to just attempt to write it out.
Feeling now a bit more seasoned in my grief, I can see the triggers that stir up the “grief storms,” which include helping lead a grief group where I hear other stories of loss that cause great empathy, to returning to places like Dallas where Josh and I really found our footing in ministry in a whole new way, then trying once again to sort through boxes to give away, sharing my story with new people, and hearing God’s echoing reminder to trust him ever still and remember his faithfulness.
This month, it seems, there are also many "then vs now" articles comparing March 2020 and today. As I look back two years, Covid was ramping up; the world was shutting down and I was just beginning to see the light of hope again after falling into a really dark period of grief.
Life felt so isolating before the shut down, I was struggling with insomnia and a herniated disc due to the previous months of caretaking and I honestly didn’t know what in the world God had for me next. I missed Josh so much I felt I couldn’t breathe. Slowly, I started to hike and found my strength physically but also emotionally. The fog of grief cleared more and more even as the heartache still cut deep. I began to write a list about “who I was now" and prayed for strength . . . I wandered aimless in the grief desert. I am not even sure people knew just how low a point that winter was for me. I am not sure I shared it completely or knew how to. With roots of trusting God still deep within, I stumbled ahead and began to see cracks of light from the dark cloud of grief and heartache.
Fast-forward now 2 years from that time, and I can say the storm clouds have moved on but there is still sorrow within - I expect there might always be. When friends say, “I miss Josh” and I can only respond with “Me too,” but that answer often feels lackluster for the depth of what it means.
Each week, I weave the fabric of new with my old story. I try an remember God’s faithfulness and provision then and now. Last Sunday, I had the opportunity visit a church that we loved in Irving, Tx. The now lead pastor, Barry Jones, was Josh’s advisor and boss and was such a huge influence on Josh and his/our ministry. Hearing him preach was like catching a glimpse of Josh again - even more so as he preached on Deuteronomy (Josh’s favorite book) with the overall message, “Don’t Forget to Remember.” Several things stood out, including the comment that, “Sometimes God will lead us on the wandering way.” The path may not make sense at all, and it probably won’t be a straight line, but God is there in the midst and cares about who we are becoming along the way.
Those who know me, know I love to wander. Wandering on trails or roads, wandering around town, shoe stores, etc. The Tolkien quote, “Not all who wander are lost,” hangs in my bathroom. So yeah, wandering fits. So why should I be surprised that God has me wandering still in life, asking me to trust him in deeper and deeper ways.
So, today, I’ll trust him as I navigate new and old relationships and whatever is next. I’ll trust him as I still ask questions. On this path, I don’t want to forget to remember God’s hope that remained in the darkest times. I don't want to forget to remember how God showed up in creative ways.
It’s hard to imagine what might be happening two years from now but I do know God is still faithful and he is still good - even if typing those words still stings.
Wherever God has you wandering today, I pray you’ll get a glimpse of his love for you.
Hi! It's Jenn Brown, writing my story that is now slightly different as we enter a season of new grief. On September 30, 2019, my dear husband Josh passed away after battling brain cancer.