Psalm 30:5 — The nights of crying your eyes out give way to days of laughter. (The Message)

Grief. It is the faithful companion to loss. It always comes behind loss, like a shadow that can’t be shaken. Loss is a shock to the system. Grief is a consuming darkness.

Grief has a way of crippling you, of making you believe that you’ll never laugh again, never be happy, never enjoy life. Ever.

Leave it alone long enough and it will take up residence in your heart and mind. Let it live long enough and you’ll forget that it’s not supposed to be there.

Losing Jennifer, then my grandmother and then realizing that my sister was lost to me as well all came within one of week and with each loss came a Costco-sized package of grief. The sadness was blinding. I couldn’t breathe. I could barely do life.

During my season of counseling, I learned that I was also grieving childhood losses that had never been fully resolved. They had left their consuming darkness behind and I had learned to cope, to adjust my vision of life to the dimness, to the lack of light. That explained why I had lived with depression surrounding my world.

It seems odd that the arrival of new grief would force me into a position to deal with long-ago losses. To face hurts that happened when life was different, when I was different. It’s hard to believe that being terribly hurt and broken could be the exact time the Lord wanted to break me down further so I could be stronger. And better. And joyful.

But that’s what He did. I went to counseling every week. And talked. And processed. And talked. And cried. Actually, I cried all the time. For awhile.

But a life of grief is not what Jesus died for. It’s not the backdrop the Lord wants for the life of His children. I had been living a lie. And this new grief brought me to a fresh place of being desperate for Him. And it was that desperation that helped me break free from the bonds of grief that had held me captive for so long.

I was able to let go of old pain and begin to see myself the way He sees me. Precious. Dear. Valuable. Not sad and lost and invisible.

I was able to focus on where Jennifer was — with Him — and not where she wasn’t, which was here. And I could rejoice that my grandmother was for the first time in her life enjoying a happiness she never tasted in her own life and that she would know it forever. And I could hand my sister spiritually to the Lord and release the sadness of not having a relationship with her now.

Breaking free gave me a new freedom to be who the Lord was showing me I was. And to be that woman at all times, with all people, with complete abandon. And to love every minute of it.

At the start of it all, I was weighed down, cast down, broke down. At the end of the process, I was light, free and hopeful. It was a huge change. A great change.

I remember a moment when I realized that I the nights of crying my eyes were ending. There was lightness in my spirit and joy in my heart. I had days of laughter that I had not known before. Those early days had a special sweetness to them.

I knew I was transformed. God was faithful. He had changed me.

Has grief ever consumed you or sadness overtaken your life? Are you in a season of grief or sadness now? Share a bit of your story on how the Lord rescued you. Or leave a prayer request for your current place…it would be my blessing to pray for you.