Going through grief is excruciating.
Having to go through a grief experience where there is no ability to have closure is terrible.
There have been grief experiences in my life where the grief had a beginning and an end — an opportunity for closure. Then there were other grief experiences that were incredibly painful and felt debilitatingly endless — no opportunity for closure at all. To be honest, in addition to many grief events, I’ve been on two seemingly never ending roller coasters of grief the past 10 years for one situation and 3 1/2 years for the other one…and the heartache of five family members going through cancer at the same time.
I’ve experienced just about every emotion known to mankind and I’ve had to work through these extremely tough thoughts and emotions so they wouldn’t drown me.
I’ve struggled and wrestled spiritually with God with many questions:
“Why would you allow this?”
“Why didn’t You prevent this?”
“Are You there?”
“Do You truly care?”
“Will you please grant my family and me a brand new season…a season of goodness and healing?”
Lots and lots of questions.
Ultimately, God doesn’t owe me answers to any of my questions. God is God…and I am not. He understands the entirety of each situation…He knows the good that will eventually come out of them (Romans 8:28)…and the purpose for each of these situations, too. God understands what He is accomplishing through the tough situations…and in each heart involved in these tough events.
These grief situations seemingly have no closure…and no possibility for closure.
One of these situations caused a dearly loved family member to become an atheist and several family members to drop out of church…which created even more heartfelt, agonizing questions from me to God.
I’ve thought about not only these situations, but all of the situations I’ve experienced in life that I’d label “No Closure Grief Events.” No closure grief events are tough events because it is very difficult to find any closure…the emotions that stem from them can eat you alive. They’re exceptionally tough because it takes a lot of faith to get through them.
Some of the most common No Closure Grief Events are:
- terminal illness, traumatic brain injuries, permanent disability, debilitating autoimmune illnesses, mental illness issues, etc. – (yourself or a loved one)
- guilt and regrets you can’t make right
- unspoken grief events
- a devastating diagnosis
- not getting to say “goodbye” to a loved one who died
- when someone severely violates your trust
- when a loved one attempts or commits suicide…and you can’t get through to them or couldn’t prevent it
- when there is a major betrayal in a relationship
- family, extended family, step-family, marital, or parent/child conflict…and also conflict with any of these that began post-grief
- separation or divorce – especially if it’s not wanted by one spouse…or adultery
- a family member rejecting God or becoming an atheist
- abortion (or grieving a loved one’s choice to get an abortion)
- church hurt or church abuse
- rejection (or abandonment) by a family member or loved one
- situations of assault or abuse – physical, emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual
- an ongoing job issue…or being wrongly fired or laid off
- not getting to say “goodbye” to a loved one who chose to leave
- not getting to confront or make something right with someone who deeply hurt you…or that someone refusing to do the right thing or make amends
- a situation where justice did not prevail
- unfair life events
- when someone mistreats you, attempts to harm your reputation, or lies about you
- any harsh life or justice situation where closure is difficult
So what can you do?
God has been teaching me so much these past few years. I haven’t enjoyed the lessons, but I sure have learned…and applied…some very valuable lessons and truths.
Have there been times I’ve wanted to quit? Oh yeah! Many.
Have I been bitter? For a season, I sure was…Absolutely.
Have I been tempted to be mad at God? Yes. I’m thankful for His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.
Have I wanted to speak publicly about the situations…and share my thoughts, heart, deep hurts, the incredible injustice, and my opinions? Definitely.
I think anytime you (or a loved one) have experienced a major grief event, especially a No Closure Grief Event…emotions are sure to show up. Some emotions may even surprise you.
When there is no closure, the trick – and what is most needed – is to trust God and not our emotions…to believe God is sovereign in spite of what a situation looks like…to fully fall into God’s arms and realize He truly is good…to know and fully trust that God holds everyone accountable and no one gets away with anything – even if it appears there has been zero conviction or consequences.
Maybe you’re going through a “no closure grief event” right now. Maybe you’ve also pleaded with God for answers through many tears…and have even prayed throughout many months or years. Perhaps you feel like giving up.
I highly encourage you to never give up!
I highly encourage you to never fall away from your relationship with God!
One day, God will give you the gift of closure…the Bible promises it.
God doesn’t mind our questions and pleadings…His heart is big enough to take on our woundedness, sufferings, and hardships…and He truly and genuinely cares about every grief event and situation we go through.
We may not be able to find the closure we need, but God created our hearts – He fully knows and loves us. He will be making every wrong right. The situations we go through do not catch God by surprise. And He will never allow us to go through a situation unless He realizes the situation can be turned into something great. It may not happen overnight…it may even take years…but God can turn your worst events into something of great value.
Our job is to praise God through the storms we face…to deepen and prove our salvation is genuine and real…to love and forgive others…to live in peace…to embrace God, our grief, and our hardships…to learn through everything we face – the good and the bad – and to love God with all of our heart and to sincerely rest in Him.
Today, lay down your toughest grief events – every grief experience – at God’s feet. Cast all your burdens and cares onto Him. Tell God you are choosing to trust Him with everything…especially the situations that are breaking your heart! Leave your hurts, heartaches, burdens, situations, disappointments, dreams, goals, expectations, emotions, and grief experiences with Him.
When the enemy reminds you of a no closure grief event, immediately take your thoughts and feelings to God. It is imperative that you talk through your feelings with God and release those tough emotions into His more than capable hands.
We may not be able to find closure in our present circumstances, but we can find closure through leaving our situations in God’s care.
Seek God with all your heart! Pour out your heart to God as you spend time with Him today!
He loves you.
He truly cares.
Entrust your situation with Him and trust His great heart!
(UPDATE: On 11/1/18, after four very painful years (and a lot of tears, praying, and fasting), my treasured family member gave his life back to God and he and all of my family members are once again attending church! PRAISE GOD!!!🎉…I continue to fervently pray for the remaining 11 year situation and two of the five family members who are still battling cancer.)
Gratitude & blessings,
©2018 by Kim Niles. All rights reserved.
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⭐️For more encouragement:
❤️Making peace with God: http://peacewithgod.net
❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book): https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/getting-your-breath-back-after-life-knocks-it-out-of-you-kbh-niles/1112403330?ean=9781449725617
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❤️Kim’s blog: http://www.griefbites.com
❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:
1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships
2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed
3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites
4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays
5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5
6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv
7. ❤️NEW!❤️Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Valentine’s Day (available February 2019)
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⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.