Get Up Off That Bed

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Listening to part of a recent sermon, I heard the phrase “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” John 5:8 (ESV) Jesus gave this instruction to a sick man lying at the pool of Bethesda seeking healing. He had waited there thirty-eight years, unable to beat anybody else to the healing waters when they stirred.

Walking to another preschool room working, after hearing this snippet of the sermon, I began to compare the grief journey to this command. There are times you just need to get up off that bed.

Get up, take – There is no one else who can do the hard work of grief for us. As much as we wish someone would make this difficult, sad part of life just disappear, that is not going to happen. Loss is real. Grief can consume us if we allow it to do so. We must be willing to admit we need help at times. We need to make the effort to look outside ourselves and take the step to get up. Help is available to the grieving. Support groups and friends are there for assistance. Yet, if we fail to get up and take what is offered, we can remain stuck in our grief, unable to move forward toward healing.

Bed – We often just long for a place to rest and lay down. There is nothing wrong with that. Grief can be exhausting. There is a time and place for allowing your body and mind to be still and take a break from the whirl of life around you. Too much of any good thing, though, is harmful. There is a difference between allowing your body and mind to rest and giving into depression and hopelessness. Life has much more to offer than just isolation in a bed.

Walk – Have the courage to take a step forward in your grief. Seek out and then accept the help you find to aid in your journey. Placing one foot in front of the other can be a goal, knowing that there is hope and healing ahead.

As I walk this journey, I get vocal at times. I find it helpful to voice my feelings. There does not necessarily have to be anyone else in the room. Just allowing your own ears to hear your efforts can spur you forward. “You can do this! Get up and go for a walk.” “It’s time to get dressed for work now.” “Wouldn’t he be proud of me if he saw what I could do?” What is it that you want to tell yourself?

One more thought. The man at the Bethesda pool had endured and waited thirty-eight years! What an incredibly long time for him to stay on task and keep trying. While I am grateful that I already see healthy progress in my own grief journey of four years, this larger number inspired me. Do not give up! God does have more for you! If this man had given up, he would have missed out on meeting Jesus and receiving the fullness of life and joy that God had in store for him. God has plans for you! Your loss does not have to define who you are or how you live. Get up off that bed.

Until next time –

Karen

 

Move Forward

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My quiet time study this morning took me to the book of Joshua in the Old Testament. Chapter 3 continues the sequence of events after the godly leader, Moses, had died. God had now placed Joshua in the lead. They had been commanded to move forward. The priests who carried the ark of the Lord led the way as they were instructed to cross the Jordan River. This was a daunting a task, since that time of year found it to be at flood stage. How could they possibly accomplish success in their journey?

We read “Yet as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap a great distance away…. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:11-17 NIV)

God worked a miracle in allowing His people to cross and move forward on dry land when, if left to human abilities, they would surely have been swept away and their journey halted. Friends, those traveling through grief can make progress this very same way!

While we attempt on our own to leave our loss behind, all too often we find ourselves overwhelmed and thwarted in our efforts. There is no escaping the sadness and pain of grief. However, we can learn much from what was accomplished in the scripture I just quoted.

If you look carefully at the verses, the priests’ feet actually touched the water’s edge. They weren’t given the ease of watching God move the waters first before they crossed on dry land. These people had to act in faith as they moved ahead into the messy and flowing waters. Only then was the path cleared.

We too must trust God and place one foot in front of the other even when it looks like we are going to collide with the failure of a dead-end in our lives. Moving forward does not mean we leave behind the memory of our loved ones. The value and joy they brought to our lives are not forgotten nor negated. In fact, as we have faith and place one foot in front of the other, trusting God to make a way for us, we are better able to cherish their memory. Time spent with our loved ones will remain in our hearts and minds and we will eventually be able to enjoy reliving those moments without as much pain.

Focus on how you can move forward in your grief journey today, if only an inch at a time. Little by little, you will look back and realize that with the help of others and through the strength God can provide, you have made progress in your journey.

Until next time –

Karen