• Rachel E. Reed

Unresolved Grief

I received a revelation from God today. As I was writing about grieving my mother's death, I thought I went through the five stages of grief rather rapidly. I never realized that even though I despised grief it's actually an old friend.

He told me that I'm still grieving from my parents divorce. Because of that, I am having relation issues with God as my Father.

My parents marriage was one that was violent and dysfunctional. So I thought the divorce was for my good. I was young. Maybe five or six. I never knew it really affected me until today.

When my dad left it was like a death. He tore away from our family and he never was there for me or my three older sisters. I thought as I grew older and experienced life that I had forgiven him. That I was healed from the pain of him walking out of my life.

Then God showed me how the first four stages of grief have been played out through my whole life even up until today in cycles. Denial, anger, depression, and bargaining.

I've denied the pain of him leaving. I've denied being an addict as a result of him leaving. I've denied hurting my son because I was an addict. I spent most of my adult years in denial. I've blamed others for my actions and I've lived as if him leaving never bothered me. I built thick walls with this denial in order not be hurt by him again.

Then my denial turned into anger. I was angry that he left. I was angry that I let him hurt me over and over again. I was angry that he was never there. I was angry at the men in my life when they didn't meet my expectations. I compared them to the loss I felt when my dad left. When they hurt me they became just like him. I was angry at myself because when I did let him back in my life he hurt me again.

Then the anger turned into depression. I was diagnosed with clinical depression and put on medication when I was 14. I've struggled with it ever since. I was very depressed when I was using drugs. The vicious cycles were spinning over and over again and I didn't know how to stop it. I let the sadness overtake me to the point where self medicating was my only option. Or I thought it to be my only option.

Even now I find myself bargaining. I bargain with myself about my dad's love for me. Well maybe if I cut his hair when he needs it, he will love me enough. Or if I just be a "cool" daughter maybe it will change him into a better dad. Maybe if I show him how much I love him, it will change him. Maybe if I tell him he's a great dad he might actually begin to care more.

I have gone through these four stages of grief my entire life. I let my unresolved grief with my earthly father reflect my relationship with my heavenly Father. I realized that I never accepted what happened to me when my dad left. I've never just accepted that this was God's will for my life. His good and perfect will. That these things had to happen. I've never accepted the heart break as a way for God to show His goodness in my life. I've never accepted God's word for what it truly is. I always had to bargain with God to get what I wanted and if I didn't get it I would be angry and depressed and then deny my wrongful actions by lingering in self pity.

I've never read God's word and accepted it for what it said. When God said that He was my provider, I just knew I had to tithe more in order to move His heart to help me. If I needed healing in my heart, I never just accepted that His word says He is our Healer. Instead I was positive that my sin was the reason why I was hurting and if I just cleaned up my act He would heal me. Not realizing that I can't do anything to manipulate God's heart, or His word. His will, is just that. It isn't mine. There is nothing that I could do to earn His love.

I am praying for people everywhere who are like me. We let our unresolved grief get in the way of receiving the unconditional love that God has for us. Our childhood trauma doesn't have to dictate who we are as adults. We don't have to keep repeating the four cycles that over time become unhealthy for us and our relationships. We can accept what happened to us as God's will and in turn accept that what God says is true so we can live healthy lives.

"There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us."

1 John 4:18‭-‬19


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