Creating JOY in a Season of Grief
I think that first Christmas we were all just so completely numb, and by the second, we were realising that things would just never be the same again.
As I prayed and thought of what I might share at this GriefShare meeting, and the points I wanted to get across, I thought of this simple, easy-to-remember acrostic— J-O-Y. You may have heard of it before (Jesus - Others - You), but for this group of hurting friends, I wanted to put just a little bit of a different spin on it. It's one we all can benefit from this Christmas.
"As we journey with Jesus we are called upon to serve as a life-giving presence in places that suffer heartbreak and despair. Let's keep looking for opportunities to extend the joy, hope and love of Jesus." —Jason Daye
I am reminded of the death of King David's son in 2 Samuel 12. While the child was ill David fasted and prayed. He laid all night on the ground by the child. He did this for seven days the Bible says. Then, the child died and this is what God's Word records:
I love that the first thing David did after cleaning himself up is that he went into the house of the Lord and he worshiped. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness and permission to feel joy and happiness again.
I understand, friend, that this season may be especially difficult for you. I truly do understand. I've been there. But I promise you, it won't always be like this. This season will pass, and although you will still miss your loved one, it will get easier. I promise. You will remember the fond memories. You will smile again. You will laugh again, without guilt, and best of all, you will learn how to create JOY again.
Download the JOY Card
We think of Thanksgiving as the season of thankfulness and Christmas as the season of giving (or getting). But can't we continue to be thankful right on into the Christmas season, and beyond? This Christmas, consider using the JOY Card to continue the thankfulness you started in November and spread that thanks to those who have had a part in your life to get you to where you are today.
Join the movement, download and print the JOY Card and start sending out notes of thanks today. You can purchase a premium pack of 100 dark gray envelopes here and a set of silver and gold metallic markers here (or visit your local craft story) and be on your way to a thankful holiday season that focuses on Jesus and others.
“At times, life’s path seems filled with things that make the going rough, and we wish there were a smoother road, for we feel we’ve had enough. But, if we pause a moment and remember Who’s in charge, the hills that loom ahead of us no longer seem so large, and every rock before us, when we know we’re not alone, becomes, not just a stumbling block, but one more steppingstone.” —Emily Matthews
I will tell you, friend, whatever you are going through today, take notes, because there are a lot of hurting people behind you and your story will be their roadmap. How have you created JOY in a season of grief?
12/3/2019 09:08:49 am
This simple statement: "Jesus has you right where He wants you and none of this catches Him by surprise." makes everything feel possible and filled with hope and joy!
12/3/2019 10:36:14 am
Thank you, Rebecca. Just reminding myself that He is in control, even on the worst of days, makes everything feel possible.
12/3/2019 09:32:16 am
This is such a poignant post. My mother, father, grandmother, our only family dog, and a college friend all passed away in December (though in different years). I can identify with much that you wrote. I love that Christmas is a season of hope--because Jesus came, we have the promise of redemption if we believe on Him, of heaven, of His coming again, of being reunited with our loved ones to an eternal home in heaven some day.
12/3/2019 10:41:29 am
Thank you, Barbara. December is a difficult month for the passing of a loved one. Reminding ourselves that it is also the season of HOPE, because of the birth of Jesus and all that we can have in Him through His gift of promised redemption, is certainly helpful.
12/3/2019 09:54:45 am
Thanks for this wonderful post, Patsy. My stepdad died 4 days before Christmas last year, my uncle shot himself on Thanksgiving (5 days ago), and I had breast cancer this year. From my experience, every word you wrote here is pure truth. I can tell you for sure that God is using all of these things to help me be closer to Him and to bring others closer to Him. He can use anything for good if you let Him. I put your book on my Christmas list and if I don't get it, I'll buy it myself! Either way, I can't wait to read it! :)
12/3/2019 10:49:29 am
Oh, Valerie, I just put you on my prayer list! Any one of these is an awful lot of grief and pain on your plate, but all three in one year. Wow! I love how you write, "God is using all of these things to help me be closer to Him and to bring others closer to Him." That's what it's all about, and He certainly can use these things for our good and His glory, if we will allow Him. I hope you enjoy the book! Thank you!
This was such a moving post, Patsy! I've always loved the acrostic for JOY, Jesus-Others-You, and you used it in such a beautiful way.
12/3/2019 10:51:16 am
Thank you, Jerralea!
12/3/2019 10:12:48 am
Patsy, this has so many beautiful takeaways under each letter. Remembering that "Jesus has you right where He wants you today for a unique purpose—for your good and for His glory," is an anchor when life is confusing. Blessings to you.
12/3/2019 10:52:44 am
Thank you, Debbie. It's so encouraging to be able to bank on that truth!
12/3/2019 10:59:41 am
I so appreciate the ministry of GriefShare. How wonderful that you were able to bring this encouragement to their hearts.
12/3/2019 11:17:58 am
Yes, Michele, it's a great ministry!
12/3/2019 03:45:11 pm
Crying tears for how tragic that must have felt to lose your sister. :( I have two sisters and a brother and so far everyone is still doing well. I have lost other people I love though, including a baby, a month before Christmas. It took me a long time to recover but it helped having a community of other parents to grieve with, who understood my lost. Thanks for sharing, Patsy. You are a blessing.
12/4/2019 12:00:40 pm
Losing a loved one (like your baby) during the holidays is so very difficult. Community certainly helps! I spoke last night to a GriefShare group on how to survive the holidays. It was a beautiful group of hurting people looking for and finding hope in Jesus. So blessed to be able to speak to them!
12/3/2019 04:56:12 pm
GriefShare is a gift.
12/4/2019 12:04:03 pm
It is, Susan!!! I was so blessed to have the opportunity to speak to a local group of them last night!
12/3/2019 05:15:59 pm
12/4/2019 12:04:58 pm
Thank you, Bev!
12/4/2019 11:28:56 am
Thank you so much for allowing God to use you through your grief to help others and bring Him glory at the same time.
12/4/2019 02:31:42 pm
Thank you so much, Karen. It has been a blessing to share!
12/4/2019 11:36:55 am
JESUS in the midst of our Grief is all we need .
12/4/2019 02:42:15 pm
Thank you so much, Diana! My mother is my hero!!! Just last night she asked to attend the GriefShare meeting I was speaking at, and so I took her with me. At the end of the meeting she picked out someone who really need to feel the love of Jesus and she went and had a heart to heart with this lady. It was just the most beautiful thing!!! It was far better than anything I could have said to this precious group of people.
12/4/2019 12:14:40 pm
Beautiful encouragement. God is using you mightily in this. laurensparks.net
12/4/2019 02:42:58 pm
Thank you, Lauren!
12/4/2019 01:13:18 pm
This is a post that needs to be shared globally. Lose can be debilitating. I catches us off guard and knocks off our feet. Yet, God knew and was there all the time. It's a part of the "all things" that he works together for good on our behalf. You put your finger on it when you shared both you and your mother have had opportunities to help people you would not have been able to bless otherwise. We can best relate to those in pain when we have felt it ourselves.
12/4/2019 02:45:27 pm
Heartache has no boundaries. Jesus is the answer. Pain and suffering give us opportunities we otherwise would not have had. God can use all of this for His glory if we allow Him to. Blessings to you!
12/4/2019 01:16:42 pm
Patsy, this was beautiful. After we lost my Nanny Christmas just was not the same. She was the spirit of the family. She planned everything out, the food, the gifts, the decorations. Our first Christmas without her was a mess. We just did not know how to fill her shoes. As time went on though, we learned how to step up and do things they way she would have wanted. I even have some of her decorations decorating my house. I love seeing them and just remembering all our great times together.
12/4/2019 02:48:54 pm
Thank you, Angela! I love that we can hang on to memories. I talked to my mom last night and she said that was one thing she was concerned about when we lost my sister—would the memories fade? Would she forget? They haven't faded. She hasn't forgotten. Memories are such a blessing!!!
12/4/2019 05:17:24 pm
This is definitely a hard time for many...I was sitting in my car the other day feeling overwhelmed with grief when God brought me encouragement through this verse "My soul melts from grief; strengthen me according to thy word" and then He gave me the idea to share scripture every day with everyone (and my siblings) up until Christmas. I guess without even knowing it, I am doing a little J.O.Y myself like you said!
12/4/2019 05:44:13 pm
That is a wonderful idea, Melissa! It is a difficult time of year. As the years go on it gets easier, but like you say, sometimes, out of nowhere, you can just be overwhelmed with grief. Do the J.O.Y.! :) Blessings to you and your family this holiday season!
12/4/2019 06:02:29 pm
Beautifully said. Experiencing grief helps us appreciate joy when we feel it. I'm glad to know about this link up also. Thanks.
12/5/2019 05:56:35 am
Thank you, Aletha! Welcome to the IE Link-up!!! :)
I never knew all this. Thank you for your encouragement. My husband lost a brother a couple years ago to drowning. It was heartbreaking, but God was in it. I love how you said Jesus has you right where He wants you and none of this catches Him by surprise. He truly is the author and finisher of our faith. He knows our whole story.
12/6/2019 06:30:08 am
Thank you, Ellen. I didn't know about Mel's brother. I'm so sorry! Isn't it wonderful when you can look back and see God's hand in things. Even when we can't see, we can be assured that He is working—carefully orchestrating things behind the scenes, for our good and His glory!
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