As I mentioned in my previous article, God prepared my wife and I for His call to more – what we call “our house fire adventure” – with a few encouraging words. The last, and the one I want to focus on here, was, “You need to grieve”.

Of all He had to say to us, this is the word we would not have thought of ourselves; nor would we have imagined the impact it would have on our journey. We didn’t understand it at the time, but we chose to be obedient.

Once it was safe, my wife and I went into the house and assessed the damage. Every picture on every wall was destroyed. Smoke had found its way into every closet and drawer. It is absolutely amazing what high temperature smoke can do to treasured items.

So, we held each other and cried. Later, I led our children (individually) into their rooms. One of them grieved; the other got mad. One was able to move on from the tragedy; the other suffered for years.

Most only think of grieving in relation to the death of a loved one. It is the process we must go through to “get on with our lives”. In our tragedy, my wife and I learned that grieving is a grace of God for more.

Our response to God’s call to more requires our leaving something behind. Many times, it is security, long held beliefs, even people and places we have grown to love. Rarely does this call not involve a dying to ourselves.

So, there is grieving.

God’s call to more is His invitation to a higher level of glory.  Responding positively, we soon experience the process of transformation (2Corinthians 3:18). The Greek word for “transformed” is metamorphoo: the death of a caterpillar, that a butterfly might emerge.

Grieving is not something most people readily embrace, because we associate it with negative events. I am encouraging you to see grieving as the grace God has provided for all His children. Knowing our weaknesses, He has given us grief that we might more easily and productively walk through His transformation.

Here are the three benefits of grieving:

  1. It prepares you to let go – making the first step possible. Saying goodbye is a liberating and empowering experience. Even when you don’t know what you are leaving, offering up your “whatever” to God releases His grace for the journey.
  2. It allows you to keep your face turned in the right direction. God designed us to face toward the direction our feet are taking us; so that we avoid tripping over obstacles and running into others. Those that keep looking back have a tough time finding God’s path.
  3. It makes future grieving easier, as God calls you to let go of more. Transformation is a process. Dying to ourselves – that God might be our all-in-all – is not a onetime event (and this is God’s mercy). As God proves Himself faithful in our letting go, we grow to trust Him for more. In other words, our faith grows as we take on the form of a butterfly.

Perhaps the most important thing my wife and I learned is that grieving is a relational activity. God uses it to build our relationship with Him. Consequently, the beginning point for our grieving should be prayer. Both the PAPA prayer and the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24 will be helpful in this regard.

So, when you are ready to take the first step in your adventure towards more, ask God to reveal something that you need to leave behind – something that will allow you to practice the grieving process. He will meet you there.

Humbly yours and forever His,