Last week I had a strange, dull headache around my eyes. It was annoying, but I didn't let it get in my way as I went on with day. But every once in a while I would think to myself what a odd headache. I wonder what is causing it? I figured it would eventually go away, but it didn't.
As I climbed in bed that night I felt the tears creep up on me. As I let them slip out my headache instantly went away! I didn't realize it, but trying not to cry all day long had caused my headache. The constant tension of fighting back my tears actually made my eyes physically hurt. Once I let it out, my headache disappeared.
But I was not relieved. I was discouraged.
In the last six weeks or so I felt that I had finally turned a corner. I was making strides in my healing process. My energy was returning. I was sleeping better. And I no longer dreaded waking up in the morning. Most importantly, I had begun to dream again and think about the future. I felt hopeful and joyful for the first time in almost a year. It felt good to get through a day without breaking down.
Yet here I was again, crying. Was I regressing? Was the relief I felt an illusion or phase? Was I right back to struggling? Had I gotten my hopes up for nothing? I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired I continued to fight my tears. I really thought I was past all this!
I feel so much pressure to be "better" almost a year after my girls' deaths that I find myself rushing myself through my grief. I want people to see the work God has done in my heart and my life, to be an example of Christ's ability and willingness to restore lives and heal unimaginable hurts. And I feel that my tears nullify the change God has brought about in me. That the bad days represent a lack of progress. I am not all better yet, but I desperately want to be.
Or do I?
This is what is so complicated about grief. I will never be all better. At least not in this life. But I will be better. I am already better. God has done a work in me, and still feeling sad, still having hard days, does not negate the healing that has taken place in my heart.
But that magic moment of finally being able to put this all behind me will never come. My hurt will only end when my life ends. In the meantime, God will continue with the work He has begun in me. And just as my healing will never be complete, neither will His work in me. I like knowing that no matter how many tears I cry, or don't cry, God remains faithful, and His work can never be undone.
Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."