A Life Remodel — Grateful, yet Grieving

In 2013, the television program that would fascinate all of us had its first episode. “Fixer Upper” would snowball into an empire as we watched a process of transformation each week. The “before” house and the “after” house would be remodeled, reconstructed, and restored into an entirely new house. There were glimpses of walls being demolished and kitchens gutted to allow the new project to emerge. But we didn’t see all of the destruction. We only saw the results of the reconstruction. 

Grief is like going from destruction to reconstruction. The second task of Dr. William Wooden’s Tasks of Grieving includes this process: working through the wide range of emotions that occur after we suffer the loss of our loved one. Here’s where it can be overwhelming in the sense of too much all at once. Feeling our emotions incites fear, anxiety, and discomfort. Initially, it’s where we want to run, hide, avoid, deny, and numb ourselves. 

However, if we allow ourselves to “go there” to cry, ache, acknowledge, and express our pain, it can lead to the space for healing and rebuilding of a different life. 

Stephanie Erickson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Media Commentator, said, “Grief will make a new person out of you if it doesn’t kill you.” Like a jackhammer, grief will knock out the life we once knew and make room for a different life to emerge.

Thankfully, this is a process that we move through gradually with stops and starts. Sometimes, it’s three steps forward and two steps back. After a hard day, the next day is a good day. After crying for days and weeks, there is a day we don’t cry, and then there’s a week where we haven’t cried. After wondering if we will make it, it’s been six months, then a year later. A life remodel has begun. 

Amidst this major, life-changing renovation, we can trust the Master Builder to sustain us, carry us, comfort us, and guide us. God will carry us when we can’t walk, hold us when we are weak, and comfort us in our sorrow. God’s peace will surround us in our remodeled life. 

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