We Are Survivors
Posted by Pat Elsberry, October 11
Back in the 70s, when Disco was all the rage, a popular song became every woman's mantra – I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. Take just a moment, close your eyes, and think back. Can you see yourself dressed in flowered bell-bottom pants or a bright-colored mini skirt with a psychedelic top and platform shoes, shouting the famous words with a fist bump high in the air? Yes, I can see it now!
Haven't we all had our share of heartbreak, grieving over a lost love, and how they did you wrong? As we reflect on those days when we belted out the words, "Oh, no, not I, I will survive," can't you just feel yourself sitting up a little taller, stronger, and hopeful?
Life can toss many things our way, usually when we least expect it. Loss is one of those things, and it comes in many different forms: the demise of a relationship, job loss, debilitating health, a prodigal child, and, yes, the death of a loved one.
We tend to lean more toward the negative when we think of sorrow. After all, if you're suffering, then obviously there is loss, and what does that usually bring? Intense sadness, anxiety, depression, fear, and even anger. But hold on. If we take a moment to look closely at a person walking the grief journey, we will see something else.
We would see someone who perseveres, is courageous, strong, and highly compassionate. Even when we are down, we will not give up. Grievers are survivors!
There may be days when you may not feel like you're much of a survivor of anything, but I encourage you to be kind and gentle with yourself. Give yourself all the time you need. We need help to walk this road.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me." Psalm 23:4
One day, you'll wake up, and that overwhelming heaviness you once felt will be slightly lighter. In the days when you had no hope and only saw darkness, light will begin to seep through the cracks. You're a survivor, and these are just a few key attributes of those who are:
• You keep getting back up every time life knocks you down.
• You do what needs to be done no matter how you feel.
• You are the kind of person who would get up in the middle of the night to help a friend.
• You see what needs to be done, and you do it.
• You go above and beyond what is expected.
• You are resourceful and creative because you've had to be.
Gloria Gaynor may have thought she cornered the market on words to inspire women, but here's a guy with something lasting and inspirational to share with us: "But the one who endures to the end will be saved." Matthew 24:13.
It’s our hope and belief in Jesus that helps us to not only survive but eventually, thrive.
On the days when you feel more like a dishrag than a survivor, hand it all over to God. He's the one who can calm the uneasiness and unrest in your heart. When this mama's heart is wrestling with some of life's twists and turns, He reminds me this isn't our home. One day, "he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away, and He will make all things new.
Pat Elsberry is an author, speaker, blogger, and a passionate advocate for parents dealing with grief after the loss of a child. Pat created multiple social media groups focused on providing hope to others who are walking the same path, including her blog, Hope During Loss. Pat facilitates an in-person grief share for women who have experienced child loss, and is also a moderator for Team Sharing, a nationwide peer-led support group for parents who have lost children to substance use disorder. Pat is the author of Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss, and will soon release her first devotional, Comforted by God. Pat and her husband, Fred live outside Atlanta and have a blended family of 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Her favorite things include traveling, cooking, gardening, dark chocolate, and worship music. You can find Pat on her blog, www.hopeduringloss.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @HopeDuringLoss.