“So that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope…” 1 Thessalonians 4:13 I feared I was slipping into depression last week, and my heart grew troubled within me. Thankfully the Helper (Holy Spirit) revealed to me that I am not depressed, but rather grieving. Grieving is a positive thing for a former professional “stuffer.” It is important for each of us to remember any loss is a death. Loss of health, loss of a dream, loss of a marriage, or as I am experiencing, loss of a church family, are all examples of a “death.” Some losses come suddenly and unexpectedly, and some losses are prolonged and expected. My dad died suddenly. My mom died slowly of cancer. I grieved both deaths (though not always constructively). I grieved for my mom as she was dying. Most of the grieving for my dad was done afterward. There are several stages of grief. Denial and anger are two of them. If we grieve properly, we will eventually come to the acceptance. We’ve grieved the loss of five church families over the course of 25 years. When we left our beloved body of believers at Covenant Church in Hammond, IN, we had a couple of months to grieve before a final decision was reached (calling from God). We recently left one of our most blessed of my husband’s pastorates, (Westminster Chapel in Ball Ground, GA), and the decision was quick and unexpected by some. We have a clear calling from God to move in a new direction, yet the grief runs deep. I am grateful for the growth God is bringing into my life to allow me to process this pain, and not stuff it down deep where it will pop out in destructive ways. I am likewise thankful that as 1st Thessalonians 4:3 states, “I’m not grieving like the rest of mankind, (unbelievers) who have no hope.” I’m choosing to believe in the HOPE of the resurrection power of Christ, knowing He will provide for Westminster Chapel, and for my family and me. I’m trusting as Proverbs 3: 5-6 calls us to: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What about you? Are you experiencing a loss (death)? Are you trying to stuff it down deep and ignore the pain, or are you learning to grieve (yet not as one who has no hope)? Look to Jesus, our only hope in life and in death.