Ask The Preacher's Wife: I Am Angry, Hurt, and Confused! How Can I Keep My Faith In the Midst Of So Much Grief And Pain?

Ask The Preacher's Wife: I Am Angry, Hurt, and Confused! How Can I Keep My Faith In the Midst Of So Much Grief And Pain?

Dear Lady Mel,

I lost my mother to cancer in August 2017. In April 2018, I lost my mentor to cancer. My father is 86 years old, has dementia, and is deteriorating before my eyes. My siblings and I are fighting about his care, and I am struggling to balance his health with my school and work schedule, while taking the time to care for myself.

I’m so tired of hearing “Everything will be OK”. I’m tired of hearing “God has a plan and a purpose”. I’m tired of hearing “I’m going to pray for you”. I’m tired of wearing a mask and smiling, when all I want to do is scream and cry.

I don’t feel like God hears me. How can I be strong in the middle of chaos? I am angry, hurt, and confused. How can I keep my faith in the midst of so much grief and pain?
— Anonymous, NJ

Dear Anonymous,

Sis, the time has come! It’s time for you to GO AWFFFFF!

I need you, as quickly as possible, to identify a safe space. That can be in the confines of your home, with a trusted confidant, in the sanctuary of your church, your bedroom, or perhaps in your parked car. When you get there, LET. IT. OUT!

I want you to cry until your head hurts. Cry until you feel the muscles in your stomach grow tired. Scream and holler until the veins in your neck protrude. Let the tears flow until your eyes are bloodshot and your nose runs like Viola Davis in every single crying scene she performs. Get a pillow and bite it. Punch it. Kick it. Release all of those emotions you have hidden behind the smiles and the “I’m doing great” responses.

Bookmark this page and come back when you’re done!

Hey girl! Welcome back!

I hope you’re feeling a little more relieved! Do that as often as you need to!

Now, let’s start to unpack this!

First, let me acknowledge your anger, your hurt, and your confusion. You have had several significant losses in such a short time, and your feelings are validated and understood. You have every right to feel how you feel, and it is OK! You are in a process of grieving.

The process of grieving is cyclical, meaning there are stages in a cycle that we move through when we experience loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identifies the 6 Stages of Grief as Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance, and Finding Meaning. Because these stages are cyclical, we can experience any stage at any time, and move between the stages in any order. For example, a person can move from Anger to Acceptance, and then back to Anger again. This cycle can last a lifetime, and that’s OK.

If I had a dollar for every time I’ve received a canned “church” response to grief, I’d probably be rich. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that most people are coming from a good place. I also know that most of it is biblical. However, a one-liner based on scripture does not always address the human grief that is happening inside.

Let’s see…

  • “You will see them again”

  • “They’ve joined the heavenly chorus”

  • “Be strong in the Lord”

  • “At least they didn’t suffer”

  • “They are in a better place”

  • “At least they lived a full life”

  • “They are now at peace”

  • “You now have a guardian angel”

  • “Joy comes in the morning” (my fave)

Yeah…all of that is very nice. And actually, it’s all true. Well, I’m not sure about the guardian angel part. I asked The Preacher and he gave me a deep theological answer and really didn’t come to a conclusion. *Rolling eyes*

Anyway, we have created these cookie-cutter responses to grief that sound really good, but don’t address everything that’s happening on the inside.

It’s OK to be angry. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to be hurt and confused. It’s OK to be angry at God.

Have you ever read David’s response to God in the Book of Psalms? Starting around Psalm 140? Yo...David was HOT with God and he made it crystal clear.

David was trapped in a cave and was basically like “God you see me down here struggling in this hot, stank cave, and you’re just gonna let me sit up in here and let my enemies find me and kill me?”

Ok, I’m paraphrasing, but David was angry and terrified. And at the end or beginning of each psalm, David still blessed God for being God!

If you want to scream and cry! Scream and cry! Who gone check you boo?

In my response in Ask The Preacher’s Wife: Can I Love God and Still Be Suicidal, I defined what our faith is. Our faith, is based on the belief that Jesus, the living incarnation of God, came, lived, was crucified, dead, and buried, was resurrected on the 3rd day, and ascended into heaven to sit with God. THAT’S your faith. DASSIT! It’s that cut and dry.

You can absolutely be angry and mad. You can express that anger to God and question God. David did. And in the midst of your anger and pain, you can still acknowledge God as God.

So now what?

Girl, you know I’m glad you asked!

I want you to take the time to do the following three things, which can help you as you move through this difficult period in your life.

1. Find A Therapist

I am always talking about the importance of improving our mental health. Therefore, if you are not currently attending some type of therapy or grief counseling with a trained mental health professional, I want you to find a therapist, and go.

You’ve dealt with a lot of loss in the past few years and the loss of a parent, especially your mother is TRAUMATIC. You are also dealing with watching your dad decline which can bring back the grief of losing your mom and your mentor. That is scary and can be debilitating, and as you expressed, it is impacting your well-being.

2. Find A Group of Trusted Prayer Warriors

I KNOW for certain there are folk in my life who can get a prayer through on my behalf. God has blessed me with family, friends, and mentors, who I can simply text with the words “PRAY FOR ME”, and they will immediately intercede on my behalf.

I want you to pray and ask God to send you a designated group of prayer warriors. I know the feeling of feeling like God is not listening. In those times when you can’t pray for yourself, enlist your prayer warriors who can intercede for you.

3. Praise God in the Midst Of The Storm

Even now, in the midst of it all, think about a time when God made a way for you. (Close your eyes right now and think about it). Now, Praise God for that!

If you can’t think of anything right now because of where you are emotionally (and that’s OK), praise God because God made the heaven and earth, and then took dust to form us. Praise God for that!

If that’s not possible, praise God for sending Jesus, who experienced everything that you are feeling right in this moment.

Now, get a pen and paper, and write them down. When you have days and weeks and when you feel completely lost and angry, come back to this list and recall how God stepped in to assist you! Continue to find something to praise God for, even when it is painful.

I love you. I am interceding on your behalf. I’m looking forward to hearing your testimony!

Peace and Love,

Lady Mel

How do you manage grief? How has your faith helped you to deal with the fear, anger, and confusion that comes with grief? Comment below!

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