One of my recent household chores was to clean out my pantry. Upon the marriage of my son, I determined there were items on the shelves I no longer needed to keep. Sweets, mixes, and crackers were no longer necessary to keep since my son lives elsewhere now. Nineteen months ago I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance condition. Because of this, there are certain foods that my digestive system will no longer handle so there is no point in keeping them in my pantry. Stocking the pantry with my healthy-for-me foods brought satisfaction as I surveyed my progress.
The grief journey brings about another form of stocking the pantry when it comes to equipping yourself to handle the loss of a loved one. Some things that you participated in are no longer possible or desirable without your special loved one. When conditions change, you find yourself having to make adjustments in stocking the pantry so you can learn to make progress and move forward with life.
Discovering what you now need to successfully maneuver grief is all part of learning, adjusting, and stocking the pantry of your current life. Placing helpful items on your shelves will enable you to continue forward movement and experience healing through a very difficult part of life.
One necessary item you want to possess is faith. When this element is placed in your pantry, you can find strength and hope for the days ahead. Knowing that your life will not always seem so discouraging and lonely is vital to being able to hold your head up and place your foot forward. Faith in God is trusting that He has not forgotten nor forsaken you, even when you fail to feel His presence nearby.
Persistence or tenacity is another helpful item to place upon your shelf when you are stocking the pantry. You will experience days that for some reason are suddenly incredibly difficult. Without the ability to dig in and hold fast you can find yourself sliding backwards into hopelessness. Keep telling yourself that you can do this! Not because you are strong yourself, but because you have a God who is mightier than anything you will encounter along your grief journey. So while you may have a momentary set-back, do not forget to hang in there with persistence – being stubborn enough to never give up.
While stocking the pantry, you will not want to miss placing front and foremost the ability to keep your joy. This is an emotion that is rightfully yours if you know Jesus Christ personally. It is a fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5. While you may not feel happy these days, and understandable so, you must remember that no one, no thing, no event should be able to steal your joy. Go ahead and cry your tears. It is natural and expected to feel sadness and even momentary fear. However, throughout your roller coaster of emotions, do not forsake the right you have to see and taste joy daily.
Joy is different from happiness, which is dependent upon your circumstances. Joy is dependent upon nothing more than knowing Who the source of your joy is – Christ. Having joy does not mean that you must be cheerful and pretend with a false exuberance for life. You are going to have sad days. Some days will be just downright bad and disappointing. Use your pantry ingredients of faith and persistence to hold onto your joy. With it, you will always know that there is hope for tomorrow.
As you work at stocking the pantry, placing faith, persistence, and joy in prominent places, you will find there is also room for other items such as hope, laughter, friendship, and rest. I wish you the best as you learn to reorganize and evaluate those things you need to throw away and embrace those pantry ingredients that are best to keep and enjoy.
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22 (HCSB)
Until next time –
Grief Letters By Karen Bransgrove, Published by WestBow Press. You can order here.
Hardcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869674
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869667
E-Book | 114 pages | ISBN 9781490869650
Also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.