Finding Peace While Grieving
© Ferna Lary Mills
Many years ago I made a special plaque for my mom that stated: "The safest place a child can
be is in the arms of Memaw." From my children's eyes, no harm could ever come to them in
Memaw's care. Her home was a "safe place" filled with love, cookies, and warm, fuzzy
moments. Even as they matured into their teens and their world seemed to go crazy around
them, Memaw was their refuge. When Mom was too strict, or peer pressure was too tough, or
times just too confusing, Memaw was their strength. I had to agree, even though she was my
Mom and not my Memaw. There was just something about her that radiated love, acceptance,
and peace. Throughout my own life, Mom was my refuge in both good times and bad.

During my toughest times, oh, how often I longed for the days of my youth when I could curl up
in Mother's lap and she would gently rock me, singing softly those childhood songs that
soothed my spirit.  Although I outgrew her lap many years ago, both mentally and physically, I
can still remember that peaceful feeling. I can still close my eyes and hear her singing, smell her
perfume, feel her soft skin and remember the peace I felt in that most safe of all places.

Don't we all long for that feeling of sweet, comforting peace, especially now in our grief? Don't
we crave that "someone" who can wrap their arms around us and take all our worries away? I
know I certainly have. Grief is tough. I lost both of my parents within ten months of each other.
Suddenly, I discovered I was facing the toughest days of my life, without the most important
people of my life to show me how to cope or to comfort me in my pain. Memaw is no longer here
to speak her words of encouragement; she can no longer provide a lap for her grandchildren.
So, now where is our place of refuge?

Whether you've lost a parent, a spouse, a child, a friend, or a sibling, grief hurts. Our heart
aches from the loss of one we love ... one plucked from our life so quickly while we were yet so
unprepared for their departure. Where is our safe harbor from this pain and anguish? When the
mountains of despair fall down around us, where is our hiding place?

My favorite scripture has always been: "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in
trouble." ~ Psalm 46:1 (KJV). There are a lot of facts to be gained from this one simple verse.

First, and foremost, God is not distant. He is ALWAYS with us. He is NOW, and not just some
object mentioned in scriptures that was present and active only in historical events. He is the
same God today as He was when He first stood on the edges of the universe and imagined you
~ and me.

God is personal. He's available to anyone who seeks Him, and He is faithful. His help is always
available! No appointment is ever required! You don't have to be a member of a certain religion,
or belong to a specific church. You only have to believe in Him.

But how can He be our refuge? Our feet are planted firmly on terra firma. How can we hide in
God? He is not a solid, physical entity that we can see, touch and feel with our hands. He
doesn't have a lap we can climb onto while he gently rocks us and soothes our brow. He isn't a
physical being sitting in a physical rocking chair somewhere. How does one crawl up into the
lap of God?

That's the easy part. To climb into His lap, one must first have the desire to seek Him. Since He
is never more than a breath away, it doesn't take much seeking to find Him. One of His many
promises is that if we seek, we shall find, and He waits for us to seek Him to let himself be
known to us.

Spend a lot of time in conversation with Him. Prayer is only a conversation with God. It's like
talking to a best friend, telling Him the desires of your heart. Express your fears, your sorrows
and your grief. Tell him what's on your heart just as you would a very close friend. Although He
knows your every need and every thought before you speak, He also longs to have this
conversation with you; this close companionship. He wants to have a very personal relationship
with you. Even though you can't see or touch him physically, you will feel him with your heart
and within your spirit, and in the depths of your soul.

Once you've established this personal relationship with Him and have bared to Him the depths
of your heart and soul, there's one more step. This is the hardest one of all, but not impossible:  
Trust Him.

Allow Him to take your hurts, sorrow and fears, and trust Him to be your strength and your
refuge. Trust in his omnipotence. Think back to when you crawled up into your parent's lap.
Remember the safety you felt there? Well, God, the Father, is your eternal parent and His lap is
eternal!  He has the resources of the entire universe at His disposal.

He has that "peace that surpasses all human understanding" and when He holds you in the
palm of His hands (or in His lap), there is a comfort there that is indescribable. "Peace that
surpasses all human understanding" is a peace that is also far beyond description with mere
words, and it can be found only in the lap of God. You just have to go there and try it for
yourself.  It's a short journey that simply begins with a prayer:

Lord, I lean on your promise to be ever present, especially now during this time of sorrow in
my life.  Wrap your loving arms around me.  Be my strength.  Let me take refuge in You. Cover
me in your mercy and grant me Peace.

May you find that place of refuge and may God truly bless you and bring you His peace.


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