Choosing-Joy-blog-title-graphic (1280x853)

Choosing Joy: How to Face Loss without Fear

Jerusha Agen Fighting Fear 21 Comments

Jerusha: I’m delighted to introduce you to Marva Smith, a blogger of great encouragement at SunSparkleShine. I fell in love with Marva’s honest and inspiring writing the first time I stumbled upon her blog. Please join me in welcoming her to the Fear Warrior community!

woman-sad-by-window (1280x838)By Marva Smith

Having lost my brother unexpectedly six months ago, I’ve been through a myriad of emotions.

Add to that the loss of my father the previous year and you could say, I’m no stranger to this roller coaster ride.

I’ve run the gamut from shock to denial, anger and guilt, to depression, just to name a few. Sometimes all in one day.

I can’t say that I’m at acceptance just yet, but I have a feeling I’m getting there. Maybe. I’m not quite sure.

That’s the thing with loss, you never quite know where you stand.

Loss is quite a sneaky fellow.

One day you feel like you’ve gotten over him. Next day, bam! He’s right there staring you in the face with no plans of moving out.

The hardest time for me (so far) was exactly three months after losing my brother. It was as if I’d finally given myself permission to grieve. And oh boy, the torrents just opened up.

For most of my life I’ve feared losing a loved one. Truthfully, I’d never been one to deal with death very well. I’d be an emotional wreck at funerals and I didn’t even have to know the person very well.

Still somehow, I was surprised by the rush of pain that came seemingly out of the blue. Partly because I thought I was coming to grips with losing him. But with loss, there’s no neat timeline or road to recovery.

And every loss is different.

But if it would help, I’m sharing some things that have been helping me cope with loss. My hope is that they might help you or someone else who’s grieving.

graveyard-bench-cemetary (1280x850)Loss knows no boundaries

Loss does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter your age, gender or culture.

Because of the nature of life we are all prone to experience loss. It could be the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a dream, you name it.

Yet, while we have no control over the loss itself, we have some say in how we respond to it.

As I walk through this valley of grief I have to decide, will I choose bitterness or joy? Peace or turmoil?

Will I give in to constant fear or will I be an overcomer?

Joy comes in the morning

But not always literally.

I love this encouraging verse in the Psalms so much.

Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. – Psalm 30:5

But expecting joy to show up overnight (and stay) is not realistic for me. I’ve found that joy and pain have a way of coexisting. They come and go as they please without asking. And the truth is, sometimes morning takes a looonnng time to come. But come it does.

Rejoicing-comes-in-the-morning-graphic (1280x853)Knowing how fleeting joy can be, I’m choosing to enjoy it when it does show up. And I’m finding more ways to be intentional about creating joy moments as well.

Healing has its own timetable

While the response to loss is different for everyone, so is the healing process. There’s no predictable timetable.

The simplest things can trigger a sad moment. It could be a smell, a sound, an anniversary, just about anything. Even though the pain might lessen, it can still stay with you for a long time.

Knowing this has given me permission to appreciate the emotion of the moment. I used to be so tempted to rush past the sad times, but I believe it’s those times that make joy so much sweeter.

You Never Walk Alone

Very often friends are there in the early stages of grief to offer words of comfort and hope. But as things seem to get back to ‘normal’, the comforters often go back to their regular routines, and understandably so.

I remember some years ago losing a college mate and the sting that I felt. The hardest thing for me was understanding how others could move on with life as usual. It hurt to see things getting back to normal without my friend.

graveyard-trees (1280x960)As lonely as it might seem to go through your loss, you’re never actually alone. There is one who walks beside you to offer peace.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27

If you know someone who has experienced loss recently, would you share this post with them? My prayer is that they will experience God’s peace calming their fears as they anticipate a loss or as they navigate the waves of grief. God provides a sure anchor that they’d do well to hold on to.

P.S. If you’re visiting from my site SunSparkleShine, you already know some of my story. If not, feel free to visit for a little bit of the backstory. This week I’m celebrating my brother’s life as we prepare for what would have been his 31st birthday. I hope you can find reasons to celebrate in spite of your loss too!

Are you grieving a loss right now? Have you learned ways to fearlessly face loss or are you struggling? Please join the conversation!


MarvaSmith (1280x1280)Marva is an island-living, sun-loving Christian wife, mother and wearer of many hats.

Inspired by John 10:10, she encourages women to slow down and enjoy life to the full, brilliantly.

You can find all the latest sparkle on her blog SunSparkleShine as well as Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.

Get a free copy of her e-book, You Were Made to Sparkle, when you sign up for her Sparklelights newsletter here.

Comments 21

  1. Patricia Bradley

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a couple of friends I want to read it and will send them the link. Grief is different for everyone and like you said, on its own timetable. Sometimes well-meaning people will tell those who are grieving, they need to get on with their life. Believe me, if they could, they would.

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      Jerusha Agen

      Such a good point, Pat. And a good reminder of what NOT to say when trying to comfort a grieving friend. Thanks for sharing with others and for joining the conversation today!

  2. Marva | SunSparkleShine

    So true, Patricia, if we could get on with our lives we would. Often that’s what we want more than anything else, but I’m learning that there are deep lessons in the darkness that we miss in the light. And God is always there ready to walk alongside us, and carry us when we need it most. I’m truly humbled that you’d choose to share this with your friends. I pray they will find some encouragement for the journey.

    Blessings to you!

  3. Marva | SunSparkleShine

    Jerusha, thank you so much for the opportunity to share my heart with you and your readers. I wish I could say that life is all sparkles all the time, but even in the darkness we can find ways to shine — thanks to a loving God who never leaves us to face our burdens alone. Today, I pray that those who are hurting and fighting fear will find a little sunshine to light the way to the next step. We don’t have to journey alone when we have God and each other.

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      Jerusha Agen

      Amen, Marva! It’s my honor to host you. Thank you for offering such encouragement to our FW community on one of the toughest issues in life we will ever face. You’re so right, we never have to face even loss alone. I thank God that He never forsakes us and that He provides us with a community of believers to come alongside.

  4. Helene

    Marva,
    Thanks for the reminder to reach out again to those who have suffered recent loss. It’s easy when funerals are done to go on as if nothing has changed when for those who are intimately effected, everything has changed!

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  5. Anne

    Thanks for the post, Marva. Good insights. Grief doesn’t necessarily disappear in this life, but it does change as we move through it with the Lord.

    1. Marva | SunSparkleShine

      Anne, you’re so welcome. I wish we never had to deal with grief but I’m so grateful that God goes with us every step of the way. As dark as it got, I can not think of a moment when God wasn’t there. I see too how these challenges give me a deeper appreciation for how precious life really is.

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  6. dawn

    These are such wise words, Marva. Grief is sometimes so hard to understand and knowing how to respond to it can be confusing. I think you’ve done a beautiful job of addressing it. I’m praying for you this week, as I know it must be an especially difficult time for you, missing your brother.

    1. Marva | SunSparkleShine

      Thank you sweet friend, I need all the prayers I can get. I’m glad I’m opening up a bit more as it helps me share the hope that I have with others who might be searching for it.
      Blessings and sparkles to you!

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      Jerusha Agen

      So true, Dawn–grief can be harder to handle because of uncertainty as to its nature and how we are to handle it. Marva really helps get a grasp on it in this post. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation!

  7. Deb Wolf

    Marva, I love your point that “morning joy” may not come as quickly as we’d like but it will come. And that in the process of getting there we have a loving Savior walking beside us. Thank you so much for giving hope and sharing His love. Blessings, my friend!

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  8. Lauren Gaskill

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post, Marva. Thank you for sharing this with all of us. You are such a blessing!! You are absolutely right about healing having it’s own timetable. And grief/healing looks different for everyone. So thankful we have a God who walks beside us every step of the way. <3 Love you.

    1. Marva | SunSparkleShine

      Thank you, Lauren. God has shown up in so many powerful ways, including the loving support of friends like you. I’ve truly been blessed with so many prayers, scriptures and kind words to help me keep going. Don’t know how I would get through each day otherwise.

  9. Sarah Koontz

    Loss doesn’t discriminate, but joy comes in the morning! Love this, Marva. Thanks for bravely sharing your story and personal testimony of God’s goodness in the midst of our loss.

    1. Marva | SunSparkleShine

      Sarah, I’m amazed by how God lovingly prepared my heart for this and how he now gives me the strength, little by little, to share the hope I have with others. In spite of the difficult circumstances we find ourselves in, God is always there!

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