Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23:6)
After I delivered my first son in 2012, I developed health issues. I had horrible headaches that were debilitating. I could not get off the couch and I had a difficult time taking care of my newborn son as a result of the extreme pain. I went to doctors of many disciplines and for months I could not find an answer to my health problems. I tried 20 different medications and none of them relieved the pain. Doctors gave me numerous diagnoses and most of them looked at me like I was crazy.
During this process, I went through a range of emotions. First, I was in denial of my health problems. I did not want to believe that this was my lot in life. Then I became angry because I had to deal with these health issues. What an inconvenience pain was! Thirdly, I tried everything to make it go away – prayed for miraculous healing, went to acupuncture, physical therapist, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc…you name it I tried it. Soon after, I became depressed. I felt like no one could help me and no one understood what I was going through. Finally, I came to a place of acceptance, or, surrender.
I came to a place where I accepted the suffering that God allowed in my life and began to trust Him in my limitations. By God’s grace, I eventually found a doctor who helped me find a medication that relieved my pain. Letting go of having perfect health and trusting God for my limitations has become a part of my reality. Looking back, I realize that I had to grieve the loss of perfect health and loss of control to come to a place of surrender. As a licensed counselor practicing 10+ years, I discovered that I am not alone in experiencing grief and loss as a part of the journey to surrender. Knowing the grief and loss cycle can help us understand the process to surrender.
The Kübler-Ross model, or the five stages of grief, is a series of emotional stages experienced when faced with grieving the loss of something or someone. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
1. Denial – We may try to shut out the reality or magnitude of our situation and begin to develop a false, preferable reality
2. Anger – “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame?”
3. Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that we can somehow undo or avoid the cause of grief. “I’ll do anything for a few more years.” “I will do this if….”
4. Depression – During the fourth stage, the grieving person begins to understand the certainty of what they are losing. “I’m going to lose____, so what’s the point?”
5. Acceptance – In this last stage, we begin to come to terms with our reality.
The good news for believers in Jesus Christ is that accepting our reality is not the end of the story. We do not surrender to ourselves. Instead, we surrender to God who is trustworthy, abounding in grace and mercy, abundant in strength and redeemer of our situations. If we surrender to Him, only good will follow us all the days of our lives (Ps. 23:6, Romans 8:28). What is God calling you to surrender today? ~Edna Lee