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Photo of older woman who is holding her head in sadness + graphic with Isaiah 49:13 on it.

Photo: Canva

If you are wondering where I’m getting my series of posts from, it is from my statement regarding who my reader is. It starts with:
“Each older woman is adjusting to the unique changes and challenges…”

Today, we’re working on the final part of that phrase. You will see that the graphic includes the entire phrase for you.

By this point in your life, you have dealt with many losses and griefs.

When you think of the older woman, and I’m usually thinking over 60, stop to think of the griefs and losses she has most likely experienced in her lifetime. Here are a few possibilities.

  • loss of a spouse through death or divorce
  • loss of a child through abortion, miscarriage, stillbirth
  • loss of a child older than newborn through disease or trauma
  • loss of status because of her own job loss or that of her husband causing them to lose their home and/or have to drastically change their lifestyle.
  • loss of parent through death.
  • loss of relationship with child because of estrangement.
  • moves that result in losses of friends that weren’t close enough to maintain the relationships but were still considered to be losses.
  • loss of youthful energy, looks, etc.
  • and I have only scratched the surface of losses over a lifetime.

Obviously, some of these hit harder than others. Some have never affected you while others have hit you deeply.

Is this simple grief that I am struggling with? Or am I stuck in the middle of an idolatrous heart? Has GOD removed one of my idols and I wasn’t aware it was an idol? I’m sure it has been a mix.

Some losses seem much more difficult to bounce back from. It often takes you by surprise. You wonder why a certain loss affects you so deeply but another one you expected to hurt badly, seemed to resolve rather quickly. These are things you have to examine for yourself. Often there are things that are symbolic of others or they are linked in some way. That is why they affect you so much. But it may be that you will need a counselor to help you sort some of that out.

Please don’t hear me say that long grief means you have an idol there. It’s possible. But I’m not the one to judge that.

There have been times when I discovered a certain loss revealed an idolatry in my life that I wasn’t aware of. Don’t hear me saying that if you have a long grief, that means you inappropriately idolized that person or situation. I’m so NOT saying that. I think it is very difficult for another person to know if you are dealing with a personal idol. It is usually something you need to examine honestly for yourself with GOD. But there are symptoms to be aware of. One is a disproportionate anger when a situation or person is removed from the scene.

Obviously, the loss of your spouse will take awhile to recover from. But the loss of a distant relative that you saw rarely? That shouldn’t bring up a lot of anger unless something else is going on. Does that make sense? If being cancelled at work for a day evokes anger or rage that is more appropriate for the loss of a job, I need to look at what is happening in my heart. Why am I so upset? Is there something behind the scenes that is happening that has me stirred up? What is going on?.

No matter what the root of our grief, loss of an idol, loss of a loved one, GOD forgives and GOD heals our grief.

If we are aware of something or someone we have put above GOD, we can find forgiveness from Him for our disordered affections. He will forgive us for failing to love Him fully.

If we are “simply” grieving a loss…which is not simple, He will heal and comfort us. He is our GOOD Shepherd. He comforts and cares for His sheep. Grief is a process. It does take time. It is a wound in our soul. We have to live our lives while it heals. But the healing of grief is rarely complete in this lifetime. The grief, especially of the loss of a close loved one, is not something that at some point will never hurt. There will come a day when the pain will be less acute than it was. We will heal to some degree, but we will rarely heal to the degree that there is no scar, no sign that they were ever there.

And that is a good thing. We rarely want that to be the case, do we? We want it not to be as painful when we think of that person. But we don’t want it to be as painful as it once was.

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:3-4 ESV

Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth;
    break forth, O mountains, into singing!
For the Lord has comforted his people
    and will have compassion on his afflicted.

Isaiah 49:13 ESV