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Journey Through Grief



Lawless Capture, unsplash


I am Ming.

I am a single mum. I am an orphan.

Those are the labels that society puts on me.



 


I lost both parents in my 20s. Dad had kidney failure and died from fungal infection resulting from a failed kidney transplant. He was only 49 that year. Our hearts were broken when he left.  


万分无奈,心里揣;

不舍之情,无法埋。

无人了解,无人诉;

唯能靠我主领路。


A few years later, Mum was down with ovarian cancer. She was brave and went through a cycle of 6 sets of chemotherapy. She had a few good years before cancer came back to haunt. After multiple treatments, the doctor informed me and my sister that Mum was in her last phase of palliative care. We managed to bring Mum home though it was very tough. Mum waited until some friends came to be with us before she took her last breath. My sister and I stayed composed and reassured people around us that we were alright. Yet deep within, we were broken and lost.



 


I sought love in the wrong places, listened to sweet-nothings and ended up in situations that I should not have been in. I married a man who did not know Christ and was just more interested in my money than anything else. The marriage dissolved in 2 years. My son was just a toddler.  I was down in the pits and on my own.


A friend advised me to go for counselling. That was when I learned about the five stages of grief: Denial; Anger; Bargaining; Depression; Acceptance. Back then, I did not allow myself to grieve. I just kept going at an unsustainable pace. I had been attending church since accepting Christ and being baptised, as Mum brought me and my sister to church since we were young. But I was still leading my own life. I was sitting on the throne of my own heart. Christ was in the passenger seat, not the driver seat.


In 2012, I headed to Western Australia to further my studies. I stayed with my Godma. She showered me and my son with lots of love. She was full of positive vibes and showed empathy to others around. Yet in Oct 2012,  she ended her life by suicide. I do not know why. Her death left many questions unanswered. Perhaps part of me felt for a long time that I could have stopped her from that. I was engulfed in guilt and grieved her passing. Yet I did not cry in front of others. At the funeral, my son was on my lap and my Godma’s family was at my side. I felt the burden to be strong for others and to take care of the family.


But, I was upset. Very upset. I  was upset with God. I was not able to say "God giveth, God taketh away; Blessed be the name of the Lord". Deep within, I felt like a little child on the floor throwing tantrums and refusing to get up.


“It’s too unfair!!”



 


After my return to Singapore, I sought help through counselling and psychotherapy over the years. In this journey through grief, God sent many angels along the way, one of whom was a friend who introduced me to the concept of a silent retreat.


In the silence, God met with me and spoke to me through His word and through songs. I saw the image of Him as a shepherd pulling me with a staff back to the flock. Abba Father doesn’t force His way to us. He did not come to me in the "wind, earthquake, fire" or in a dramatic way. He came in a still small voice. He reassured me in Psalm 139:14 that I am fearfully and wonderfully made - marvellous are the works of His hands. He told me that He was not done with me yet.


As I walked through the labyrinth at the retreat centre,  I was reminded that I had wasted a lot of time. It almost felt like I was an Israelite wandering in the wilderness for 40 long years. I had been wandering yet Christ the solid rock remains unchanged, unshakeable and the same. He is Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end.




In one of my walks at a nearby park, I saw some leaves with holes in them. God reminded me that His light shines through our brokenness. I do not need to be strong all the time. I do not need to rely on my own strength all the time.





2 Corinthians 12:9-10 

And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distress for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.



 


I remember struggling with John 10:10 a lot. What is this 'abundant life' that Christ promises? What does it look like? I remember God's answer to me at one of the silent retreats:

This abundant life is not a smooth life void of grief, suffering and loss. But rather, in spite of all the pain, Christ grants the final victory.

O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory? But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


Does it still hurt? Yes.

Am I completely healed from all the losses and grief? Probably not.

Maybe when I meet Christ again there will be complete healing and no more tears.


Do I still feel broken? Yes.

Yet there is Hope.

God is in charge.


Though many times I do not understand, yet I hope to continue to trust His heart. He has a plan. He is the good shepherd and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I do not fear. His rod and His staff, they comfort me. I can allow myself to rest in Him.


Matthew 11:28-29

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.



 


I am Ming.

I am a child of God. I am His beloved. I belong to Abba Father. His banner over me is Love.

These are God’s promises towards me. 


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