On handling unpleasant emotions

Ben and I are walking down a road right now that neither one of us could have ever imagined.  Ben is being asked to lay down so many things that comprise the very essence of who he is.  I am being called on to take on more and more responsibilities.  God, in his providence, has arranged our circumstances so that we both feel stretched beyond our limits (and have for many years).

We pray.  We ask God to change our circumstances.  But our tendency can also be to grumble.  To complain.  To charge God with not being good to us.

Ben and I were talking today, and we realized that behind all of our complaining, underneath all of our anger and frustration and grumbling, what we are really experiencing is grief.

The Bible has a lot to say about grumbling and about complaining, and none of it is good.  But the Bible also has a lot to say about grieving.   The losses Ben and I are experiencing are very real.  We are grieving the loss of Ben’s health.  We are mourning the loss of his freedom and ability to do many of the things he loves.  We are saddened by the fact that I need to take on even more work to help our family financially.  And we are grieving over the impact of all of these things on our children.

In 1Thessalonians 4:13, the apostle Paul reminds his readers not to “grieve as others do who have no hope.”  My prayer is that Ben and I would not grumble or complain, but that we would grieve as those who have hope.  I pray that our grief would remind us that God promises us that there will be a day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.  Lord, help us to live in light of that day.

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3 comments on “On handling unpleasant emotions

  1. Liza DeGarmo says:

    Ben and Nancy,

    Just finished a really wonderful book on grief. It is giving me ideas of how to pray for you. I’m so thankful that you know the Lord as you are walking through this.

    Love, Liza

  2. Harriet says:

    My dear Nancy & Ben, as I’m reading the last two posts here, my Mom is listening to her Sunday evening church service on TV, and the song being sung right now is “God Will Take Care of Me” – what a perfectly fitting background for my reading! As John and I are facing a possible future similar to what you are experiencing now, depending on how his Parkinsons developes, we’ve been blessed with 20 more years than you of a more ‘normal’ life – and my heart just hurts for you both! I can understand in a very small way a little of the grief you’re experiencing, and continue to pray for added wisdom for you, peace & God’s comfort, love and patience with each other and especially with your dear little people. If we sent you a wedding card, I’m pretty sure I wrote the ‘advice’ we always give to newly weds: “take lots of pictures 🙂 make LOTS of good memories early in your marriage, before you have children, so you’ll have them to look back on when you might wonder ‘why did we get married’? Because your marriage was blessed by God, and HE will continue to bless you, maybe even more so during these very hard times. Much, much love & prayers!!

  3. Beth Nemati says:

    Dear Nancy,
    I agree. It’s a good place to get to when it’s just grief, without the other stuff. It’s easier to bear and it feels like the Lord can work with us when we’re there.

    Beth Nemati

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