“There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and recovered hope.” George Elliot
Life challenges comes to us often unexpected and it becomes a process in walking in and through seasons of intense difficulty.
Whether it is trauma, death of a loved one, addiction, imprisonment, partner abuse, divorce, rape, health crisis, or some other life event, it becomes a process in finding our way.
I am sure we can all relate to seasons when we were faced with a difficulty so dark, so intense, our whole world seemed to crash.
I can remember such a time with the death of our son. I have never again passed through such a time of sorrowed pained living in having experienced the loss of my son, Lucas.
Life continues moving in the midst of death and loss.
Each of the above life events is a loss. The losses in our lives must be processed by us on an emotional level in order for us to integrate both the dark and light events of our lives as humans.
We must find a way to acknowledge what we experience, where we are in our situation, and to realize the truth of our circumstances, along with acknowledging how we are feeling on an emotional level.
In the acknowledging, there comes a time we must learn to accept the event(s). When accepting losses, the situation as it is, in being able to name what is happening, we come face to face with our reality on an emotional level.
In accepting, there comes a time we learn this process where we must learn to allow our feelings to surface, and this takes us into a journey of enduring extreme deep pain never known prior in our lives.
Losses in our lives must be processed on an emotional level, for if we bury our feelings, or try to deny them or dismiss them, our lives will in some way become stuck.
We will become stuck in the loss and will never move beyond it, and all the emotions and feelings that were never processed, will surface in other ways.
Many times these stuck emotions will surface in self destructive ways.
If we do not allow this process of emotional pruning we will remain in the midst of this loss and will not grow and mature, in, or from it.
Whenever persons do not allow this process, they will in some way become limited in their lives and this inability to acknowledge, accept and allow will hinder the potential they have in fulfilling their God ordained purpose in life.
In Christian circles there is often a denying or rejecting of our human elements in dismissing our emotional responses to life events. When we or others are forcing us to do this, it will negatively affect us, for God created us to be fully expressive in being emotional creations.
God created us to have dark and light emotions in order to be whole persons, in order to be empathetic with others, in order to know compassion, in order to be a people who sincerely love with genuine open hearts.
We find compassion is often birthed out of deep sorrowed emotional experiences in tough life challenges.
How can we know compassion other than through our own suffering?
How can we be caring and authentic other then through our own perseverance in enduring tribulations and trials?
When we process despairing life events and find healing and the path to renewed hope, we know there is indeed a God who sustains us through all seasons by His abundant grace.
No matter what you are going through or have gone through in your past, in order to find healing for those wounds, in order to know hope, you must learn to allow your pained emotions to rise, and you must learn to lean into them, and listen to them tell the story of your own loss and suffering.
Entering into emotional pain is the only way to be in it and it is the only way to move through them, to know hope can be restored.
As Christians who have been gifted with emotional responses and we must learn it is OK to not be OK.
We must come to the place it is OK to feel and express our emotional experiences, as long as we are doing this appropriately, not harming ourselves or another.
In experiencing the pain of our emotional response to difficulties, we touch upon the heart of God in us, becoming one in a holy union with His suffering experienced as a human being carrying the divinity of Christ.
So are we, carriers of the divine nature of this same Christ, where our souls are intertwined in His life blood, and we have become joined with the Triune Godhead, where their love becomes our only solace, bringing comfort and strength.