Grieving the loss of a friend is something so multifaceted.  It’s not something that just goes away after everyone posts something sentimental on Facebook about the tragedy.  This is a process that rips your heart out and leads to the impending question, “Why Lord? Why would you allow this to happen?”

When I found out the news of my friend’s death, my whole world flipped upside down.

I felt as if my heart was being wrung out like a sponge soaked in melancholy and bitterness, as well as blackened sorrow and shadows of guilt and regret.  During this time in my life, I was about 5 months into my decision to seek the Lord in inner healing and freedom in a program.  I wasn’t able to talk to anyone outside of my family and so when I found out the news, I instantly blamed myself for not being there for him.

Burning emotions began to ignite in the depths of my soul. Yet, all my life, I believed I wasn’t allowed to cry or to feel, so I slapped on my familiar mask of denial and swallowed the fire. Eventually, that fire turned into an erupting volcano of oozing anger and rage. I was infuriated that I didn’t get to say goodbye.  I was angry that my friend hadn’t gotten the same freedom I was receiving.  I was angry that God didn’t stop my friend’s death.  I was angry that my friend wouldn’t be at my graduation or my future wedding.

But the truth in the midst of this emotional storm was in the heart of Jesus, and He was waiting for me the whole time to fix my eyes on Him. He was waiting for me to share the hidden things of my heart.

As a man, Jesus experienced the very same emotions we do today. He wept, he experienced fear, he experienced anger.  He knew everything I was feeling, but I was too afraid to be vulnerable with Him. Once I finally trusted him with my heart, layer by layer He has walked with me and exchanged many lies with His truth. He held me as I finally wept and wept at the loss of my friend.  He caught every tear, He told me that it was my friend’s choice to take his own life and that it wasn’t my fault or His.  He forgave me for blaming Him and told me that it was okay to miss him.  He told me that there would have been nothing I could’ve done to stop it and that He was proud of me for loving him the way that I did.  He told me that although I was very broken, that I still showed my friend His love.

Jesus says in John 8:31-32 “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” There is freedom that comes from laying down our own defenses and leaning into His voice of truth. Jesus came to give us access to His spirit, and His name is the Comforter. Holy Spirit loves to comfort us and desires for us to come to Him broken so that He can be the strong one to put the pieces back together.

Having a personal comforter to speak truth into this healing process has been life-changing. This doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with pain or sadness anymore because I do, but it means that I don’t have to fight this alone anymore. I have a friend that is ready to speak the truth in moments where my heart aches to hear my friend’s voice again.

I want to encourage everyone to lean into His voice of truth and to know that you don’t have to be alone in times of grieving. It’s His joy to comfort those who mourn, but we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with those ugly parts of our hearts. He can’t put the puzzle back together until we let go of our grip on the pieces.

Every day, He reminds me that it’s not about having it all together, it’s about a process of surrender. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” He will be faithful to give us the strength when we are weak. I am so thankful to know such a strong and personal friend named Jesus, who continues to strengthen me through this process of grieving.

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