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Holy Grief

Holy Grief

Deborah M. Jackson, M.Div.

After one year of living life without my mom, some things are coming into clearer focus about my journey. Losing a loved one and how we process the life we had with them, the impact of that relationship, and how to move forward is so personal. At the same time, when God remains at the center of one’s life, and the choices we make entangled deeply in our own spiritual, relational and emotional growth even grief and loss presents added dimension. There is a grief that becomes a holy experience coming out of an undeniable sovereignty and transformative move of the Lord. Caring for my mom was a mixed bag. I never wanted to return home to live. I was vehemently against it. In addition, I loved my mom and she loved me infinitely, but giving up the life I had built for myself was never part of my plan and definitely not something my mom ever wanted or envisioned me doing. It was a “called assignment.” Although called assignments take place in different ways, this one for me was one with such sinking consequences, my human-self did not want to do it. I couldn’t see a good ending. I was afraid of what it meant. I was afraid of what I couldn’t see. I was afraid like never before of the sacrifice and uncertainty. I was afraid of even the thought of losing my mom, but even more, how I may lose her.

My only way forward was to ask the Lord, to tell me specifically if going back home to care for my mom (which meant selling everything I had and walking away from my own plans) was His unequivocal request of me. Without yet sharing what that conversation and experience with the Lord looked like, He answered with a compelling, undeniable yes. What the Lord responded I became anchored and aligned that despite my c𝗈𝗆𝗉𝗅𝖾𝗑 𝖾𝗆𝗈𝗍𝗂𝗈𝗇𝗌, going into deep financial uncertainty, putting my own dreams on hold in the prime of my life, I held onto one certainty – God told me to go home. Listen! There can be no spiritual growth and true Christ-Centered transformation to take place in us without sacrifice and suffering.

In psychology enmeshment is a term often used when identifying unhealthy relational attachments. In these situations persons attach to one another in a way that boundaries are not set and grossly unclear. However, evidence shows in matters of Spiritual Care and formation God can pilot a different path when soul work happens through dark enmeshing places. In this situation the Lord uses intensive, sacrificial, anguishing uncertain circumstances toward healing and transformation. (i.e. The Dark Night of the Soul) The attachment taking place between me and my mom had Holy intention – it became a sacred place with God at the center preparing my mom one way and me another. In order for Gods will to be accomplished, each of us had to give ourselves completely over to the other. Instead of a loss of boundaries similar to enmeshment, it became a divine surrender of wills. Through this God’s perfect will could be accomplished in each of us - me to live and my mom to die.


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