I thought I’d be teaching music in a high school somewhere in the Midwest. I thought I’d have a private studio of piano and voice students. I thought I’d be directing school musicals and producing Madrigal theater productions during the Christmas season.
But God’s plans were different.
I spent many years being a stay-at-home mom. Then God launched Hearts at Home eventually opened the door for speaking and writing. People sometimes ask, “Did you always want to write a book?” The answer is no. That was not the vision I had for my life.
Am I grateful for how God has led? Yes.
Has it come without grief? No.
You see when you expect life to look one way, but it ends up looking another, you have to allow yourself to grieve. I miss teaching music. I miss investing in young lives. I miss being able to use my musical gifts on a regular basis.
Don’t get me wrong. I have a great life. An effective ministry encouraging moms. I have incredible opportunities to meet wonderful people. Yet, it wasn’t what I planned for or expected.
Learning to grieve is a part of maturing emotionally and spiritually. Emotions are God-given. In fact the shortest verse in the Bible is simply, “Jesus wept.” Most of us know its okay to grieve when someone dies, but we don’t realize it’s okay to feel sad, and even to cry, when life doesn’t turn out the way we thought it would.
Why is this important? Because once we grieve “what-might-have-been,” we can more easily embrace “what is.”
How do you grieve? Well, everyone grieves differently. However, several years ago when I acknowledged the loss of my musical career, some of these tips were helpful:
1) Let yourself feel. Don’t minimize the loss, call it what it is. Acknowledge the pain and the loss.
2) Journal your thoughts/feelings. List the things you miss.
3) Talk to God. Cry to God. Write a letter to God. The Bible says that God draws near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18)
4) Sometimes grief comes in waves. Don’t be surprised if it resurfaces again. Revisit acknowledging, journaling, crying out to God.
5) Once you acknowledge and grieve your loss(es), make a list of what you have to be grateful for. Move your heart from grief to gratefulness.
What about you? Is there a loss you need to properly grieve? Have you ever grieved “what might have been” and been able to embrace “what is?”