My Journey with Grief: From Yesterday to Tomorrow

When I think about the past, I often wish to go back to the sweet days when my late husband was with me and my children were little. Looking back at those wonderful memories is never a bad thing for me. When I look back over my life, I am extremely grateful to have been blessed with my family, friends, and surrounded by love.

As it is promised in the Bible, God has never failed me. He has been there even when I was going through what felt like “the fire.” This fourth year since my husband passed has been a little different for me than the previous three years. I have hit a point in my grief where “it is well with my soul.” I could not even say this a year ago.  I was certain that God made a mistake with the loss that I was grieving. But here’s the bottom line, God does not make mistakes.  He accomplishes His will and He is sovereign. I need to relinquish control to Him every day.  This makes me think of what God said to Job and his friends as they contemplated what happened when Job lost everything. 

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand.”

Job‬ 38:4 NIV

All of the past events in our lives are an accumulation of who we have become.  Reflection on the past should be used as a way to make ourselves better, but we should not become stuck in dwelling on the past.  If we focus too much on the past, it can become unhealthy and in my case could leave me stuck in my grief. I think of Lot’s wife being told by two angels not to look back and she did.  It was a fatal decision for her. 

“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” 

Genesis 19:26 NIV

In the same sense, focusing too much on the future can also keep us unfocused on what God has for us. I had someone ask me this week, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?”  My mind went straight to when I last tried to plan out my future with my late husband.  Needless to say, it did not go as planned.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:34 NIV

There was a point in my grief during this last year when I realized that my husband was dead and I was very alive.  That does not mean the love I had for Bill is gone, the love will always be there.  I see the results of that love in my children and grandchildren every day.  I am grateful for my marriage and I know that everything we lived through has made me who I am today.  

My goal now is to be grateful for each day that I have in the present.  Not focusing on who and what I could have had if things were different.  I know that God has a plan for me and I need to depend on him each day for what I need.  

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want.”

Philippians 4:12 NIV

As I move forward into this next year, I am excited to see what God has planned for me.  I do still look back into the past, but now with a grateful heart for what I had and how God was there for me.  As I live each day, I want to be grateful for each minute because time is a gift from God.  As for planning my future: I am not ready for that yet, but I am content with my circumstances.  

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Are you looking for contentment in your life?  Faith in God will give you the hope that you need each day.  None of us are promised tomorrow. 

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes.  Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

James 4:14-15 NIV

Do you need the comfort of God’s peace? Do you really believe? Learn more about how to experience contentment and peace only God can give at www.sbc.net/knowjesus.

Thank you for following my journey, 

Toni Gellerstedt 

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