Episode 128: Grieving Through the Savior with guest Amber Jackson

grief mental health peace revelation self care Nov 13, 2023

When Amber Jackson found herself being a new young mother of a special needs child she was overwhelmed with so many emotions. As she searched for comfort in her postpartum depression and processing her unexpected situation she came across a book called, "Welcome to Holland." This short story taught her the need to find joy in any circumstance. This life lesson continued to serve her well as she has applied it many more times facing trials that she never expected. 

Amber recently joined me on the podcast and shared her story of not only the shock she felt of having a special needs child, but an unexpected divorce, and then the loss of her second husband to cancer. I wanted her to share her story because her resilience through it all and how she has found joy in her life regardless of her situation is something that can be applied to every single one of us. .

First, allow space to be honest with God. For Amber, this is during prayer. As a young girl she had the idea that she couldn't express any anger with God. That somehow prayer was supposed to be only positive and be used to express gratitude. As her life progressed and she faced trials that seem insurmountable her ability to communicate her raw emotions to God became her most sacred experiences. She shared,

"Some of my times when I've had the most sacred experiences with the Lord is when I have come to him and been like, ‘I am so angry right now. And I can’t tell if it’s at You or if it’s at the situation, but I am so upset about this and I need You to know that.’

"You know, having anger and emotions and disappointment is such a mortal feeling that the Lord is okay with. I feel like He can handle it when we feel that way. For Him to give us mortality and then ask us not to feel that way is so against His plan and what He has for us. It's more of what are you going to do when you are angry and sad and disappointed. You know, that's when He wants us to come to Him."

Amber shared that she has had many conversations with God that are similar to that. Of course she would love for God to change her circumstance but what continued to get her through those most difficult times is being able to go to Him with her anger, sadness, and disappointment knowing that even if He didn't change it, she would be okay.

The second thing she has learned in her journey is that not all negative emotions need to be changed into a positive one to have a positive outcome. It really is okay to wade through the difficult things and feel all the negative emotions. The most important thing is that we pass through them with the Savior. That is when the healing comes.

The way she does this is with stillness. As a single mom of four she is constantly on the go. Peace and quiet is hard to come by but it is what she needs to connect to the Savior. To find those moments that she needs to process healing and go through emotions she does it in a multiple of ways. She may take a day to only do what is absolutely necessary as a mom and let's the rest go. This gives her the opportunity for more stillness and more connection to God. She explained,

"I say my prayers on my knees at night but I pray more to the Lord throughout the day just in a constant conversation in my mind. So I feel like during those days when I'm a little unplugged it's just more of that constant conversation with the Lord. 'I'm hurting today. I really really hurt today and I know that this is a mortal feeling but like I just need to feel a little lifted.' "

The third thing she shared with me is the importance of seeking joy in all things. With everything that Amber has been through one can imagine the pain and sorry that she has engulfed her at times. What she has learned is that joy can come in the midst of even the most difficult journey. Right in the middle of it. Feeling joy does not mean the trial is over or that you are completely healed. It also doesn't mean that you need to feel happy all the time to have joy. She said,

"I want to just help people understand that they can still feel that joy even when they are going through hard times. In the middle of it they can still feel a little spark of joy in their life somewhere. For me it starts with Christ."

Her ability to find joy in her daily didn't come all at once thought. So today she shares how she came to find joy in her life knowing that even though she has already faced the unimaginable, she will face difficulties again and seeking joy will get her through.

"During my postpartum was the first time in my life that I was like, I am miserable and I don't see how this is gonna get any better. I just did not see how. I did not see a light at the end of the tunnel. And so it started with little things, like I would buy flowers for my table…Thinks that filled my pocket of happiness was like one thing a day. That was it and I had to search for it and then as time went on I was able to find two things and then three and then I was able to find more. And if you asked me today I could probably tell you like seventy five because I'm simply used to it. But it was something that I really had to work on."

Her last sentence there is key. It does take work. The unexpected trials we face in life can be so overwhelming that it is easy to forget that the true source of joy comes from the Savior. But when we are able to clearly communicate with God, go through our emotions with the Savior, and work to seek joy in our daily life the healing will come, regardless of our circumstances.

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