Punched in the Gut

Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper

When you hear the word grief, what comes to mind? Most people think of death. While death is a major source of grief, grief is not picky; we grieve for lots of reasons. One period of grief in my life occurred when I moved to a different state. I said goodbye to a job, a house, a school, and a best friend. I lost a lot. Whenever we feel a sense of loss, we grieve.

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This article explores the emotions people commonly experience when they grieve and includes an activity that will help in processing them. You may want to try the activity with a good friend or a trusted adult. Its purpose is not to stop the pain, but to help you gain from the pain. Remember, you cannot force grief to vanish, but you can work through it.

Emotions that Accompany Grief

When you’re grieving, try these ideas for dealing with the emotions you may experience:

  • Anger. Focus your energy on something positive; invest in a cause.
  • Sadness. Get involved in meaningful activities that help other people.
  • Apathy. Change your perspective; discover life’s bigger meaning.
  • Guilt. Discover an injustice; work to bring about justice.
  • Fear, Worry, Anxiety. Reach out for support, and face your fears.
  • Denial, Shock. Give yourself time; take care of yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Not everyone who is grieving experiences all of these emotions. Some people may experience one feeling for a long time. Others may cycle through many of them in a relatively short time. Some people may experience specific emotions more than once. Yet, all of these emotions are normal and can be healthy if they are dealt with appropriately.

So What Do We Do with Feelings of Grief?

Try this activity. Gather a piece of paper, a pen, and a pair of scissors. Write your response to this question: Is loss good or bad? You may want to talk about your response with a trusted friend or adult.

Then fold your paper like this:

Loss Paper Fold image

  • As you complete Steps 1, 2, and 3, write on the paper one thing you feel or do when you’re grieving—for example, you might write, “I get sad” or “I pull away from others.”
  • Then unfold the paper (reverse Steps 1–3), and notice the folds. Think about what is important to you. Along the fold in the center, write four things that are important to you—for example, “friends,” “family,” “serving others,” or “spending time with God.” Then refold the paper (as in Steps 1–3) and move on to Step 4.
  • As you complete Step 4, write on the smaller pieces of paper two small losses you have experienced. Write on the larger pieces two big losses you have experienced.
  • Unfold the paper, and see what it has become. (Step 5) Then read Romans 8:28–29. How does the scripture help you deal with grief?



Reflect on, pray about, talk or write about these questions:

  • What is your definition of grief?
  • How do you think God would define grief?
  • If the two definitions are different, how can you gain from God’s perspective?
  • Read Romans 8:28–29, 35–39. How does the scripture speak to grief?
Jackie Clark & Jim Still-Pepper — Jackie finds hope in knowing that grief is not everlasting. Jim, who has been grieving the death of his mom, is amazed at how God is bringing healing into his life.

—from devozine (November/December 2014). Copyright © 2014 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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