Mourning vs. Grieving

Generally I feel called to write about the emotions that I felt during the first year of my healing process. Today, if you will allow me, I want to share where I am right now. If your wound is still fresh, the insights that I have recently received may not apply to you yet, but I think they are still worth reading. I certainly would have benefited from these words had someone spoken them to me a few months ago. So just put them away for later. You can reach back into your memory file for them when you are ready.

Several months ago I was asked to write about my experience as a betrayed spouse for Affair Recovery’s blog. I should tell you that I felt like the most unlikely choice for this. Not only had I never written anything other than an occasional letter, but I also had never even read a blog. In fact, at the time we didn’t even have internet at our house. But, even with all that, in my heart I knew that sharing my experience with you was right because of the longing that I have to come alongside those who are feeling the pains of betrayal and offer you some hope. Hope that is found in realizing you are not alone and in discovering there is life after pain. Not just an “I’m making it” kind of life, but life that is abundant and wonderful. So, with that in mind I stepped over the obstacles and jumped in with both feet.

Looking back I can see where I went wrong. As I had begun to look back at everything that I had experienced, my focus was on the pain that was rather than on the healing that is. After healing has taken place, remembering about past pain can be a good thing when I remember the beauty that was brought out of the ashes of our broken hearts. But after healing, I found that simply dwelling on past hurt can be dangerous. It was a danger that I was not aware I should be on guard against. After about a year of relative happiness and grief-free living, I felt like I was going through yet another mourning season. If you had asked me what I was mourning I would not have been able to tell you, I just felt sad and angry.

I have already written about the importance of feeling our pain, and how dangerous it is to stuff our emotions, so I can see how this may sound like a bit of a contradiction. Please bear with me as I try to explain. Our Healer loves us so much He wants nothing more than to hold us as we cry out our pain. In the most tender way He is able to speak straight to the deepest hurt and whisper comfort to us. But once He has healed us we are healed completely, so it would stand to reason that further healing and comfort is no longer needed.

After I shared the pain that I was once again feeling with one of my mentors she explained to me the difference between mourning and grieving. Mourning has a beginning, middle, and end. We know that our mourning is over when it has been changed to dancing. But a spirit of grief has no end. It just reminds us of past hurt, keeping us in a constant state of sadness. This may sound as strange to you as it did to me. In fact, I had to chew on this one for a few days before I recognized the truth that she had offered me.

There is incredible freedom found in understanding the difference between mourning and grieving. You see, before I was healed I was given triggers as a gift to remind me that I was still wounded and in need of my Healer. They served to guide me into the mourning that brings comfort. But now I have been healed, so they no longer have the same purpose. Now my occasional trigger is an opportunity to dance. I am invited to dance for the joy of a heart that is healed, for the excitement of an adventurous life, and for the miracle of two divided hearts that can now as one come together and enjoy life to its fullest. I dance not just because of the incredible healing that has taken place in our life, but because in the process of being healed we came to know our Healer in a special and intimate way we otherwise would not have known Him.

Alright readers, now it is your turn. Where are you in the process? Are you still in the mourning season? If so, do you know if you are in the beginning, or somewhere in the middle? If you are still in mourning, let me encourage you not to rush through it. Sit in it. Mourn it till you find the healing your heart so desperately desires. Are you healed? Has your healing brought you to a place of dancing? Please share. I would love to read your comments.

Comments

you are an amazing lady

I love reading your blogs - as strange as that sounds because I'm reading about your struggles in a way.  But I am getting through my pain with your help and we don't even know each other.

I love what you shared here today with this.  I'd never thought of the differences but I think I've been stuck in the grieving.  Over and over and over again in my head with the thoughts of what happened - how could she have allowed my husband to be with her, knowing she would ruin a family?  I get stuck in thoughts of how maybe we'll never recover because I can't let go of the hurt.  There's nothing like the pain of an affair - there is no comparison.  The trust feels lost forever - the lies my husband told hurt so very much still -- and the fact he threw away everything that was us.  I feel like maybe I can go through the period of mouring -- knowing that there will be an end.  If I let it happen.  I need to let go, and your words today made me open my eyes to that.  I don't need to keep "what if'ing" wondering what was between two people, I need to start dancing.

From the bottom of my now healing broken heart,

Carrie

Wow !!!

It has been three years since discovery and attending the ARC as well as going through Harboring Hope. There hasn't been a day so far that the affair does not cross my mind. We have experienced great healing and our relationship is definintely  a different one. I have days of saying in my mind I choose to forgive the AP to rethinking the whole event. I don't dwell on the bad as much but definitely Thank Papa God for the healing and restoration that has affected our whole family in a way that we never thought. From a personal standpoint in my own heart I have to say we never got to the why and still struggle with it from time to time. My love for my husband is greater than before and his willingness to be completely transparent and do whatever it took was more than enough to allow me to heal and put my whole heart into recovery. I do want to know if we need to get to the why ? We seem to be going along well and hate to go back to that place. There are still triggers from time to time and the fact that the AP and my husband still share the workplace (different shifts) has always been a very hard pill to swallow. She is newly married and that seems to ease my mind alot. I'm at a place that is good and want to forget about it all together. I know that can either be a good thing or false security. I know we have to live very intentional and continue to be transparent. So are we in a good place or setting ourselves up for future problems ? I can say I would not want to go through the pain again and wouldn't stay a second time. Not sure how to get past always having a back up plan in my mind just in case. Thoughts and advise are very welcome. Let me clarify back up as in a place to live and how to care for my daughter and myself and not with another . The intimacy part of our relationship has yet to hold as much importance to me as before the discovery. That is a part of my heart I'm asking for Papa God to heal. It would be so good to hear from others this far down the road  and how you are healing together as well as personally.

wow!!!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. What a beautiful testimony of the healing that Papa God can bring to our lives. You ask about bringing up the question of 'why' after several years. I do not know if you need to do this or not. I think I would ask Papa God where your desire to know why it all happened comes from. If it is from Him, then He must want to do a deeper work of healing in your heart. If it is not from Him, leave it alone and enjoy the good place that He has already brought you to. As far as back up plans are concerned... I totally get the desire to plan ahead for all the 'what ifs' that life may throw at us, but I have found it to be an energy-zapper. The truth is, there are just too many 'what-ifs'. Papa God was faithful to you in the past. He will be faithful in your future. No matter what it may bring.

Our Healer

I have been walking with God for the majority of my life...I am 45 with a 30 year walk. That is not said to impress anyone, because I found our "Healer" has not comforted me in the pain of my (now ex) wife's betrayals, abandonment, lack of remorse OR repentance for her actions, and her continued lies to justify all of it. I tried to (begged her) to stay, saying that I was willing to work through the fact of her now discovered affairs. She would not have it. She wasn't interested in reconciling...she wasn't interested in restoration...all she wanted to do was cast me aside (and, in the process, abandon her children). And so, I have been forced to move to divorce, and realize that she was gone long before she ever left me...long before I discovered the affairs. And now, on TOP of everything else, I HAVE to forgive her; that's a mandate from Christ Himself. I MUST forgive, lest God not forgive me. So, on TOP of all the emotional damage, the shame, the loneliness, the financial burden, the depression, the agony that my children are suffering through, I must endure the process of forgiveness or risk Hell. What does this have to do with the Healer? God has whispered no comfort into my soul. Instead, I am left with an ultimatum to get better or be left without forgiveness myself. Some healing that is! I have cried more tears in this last year than I ever cried as a child. Our Healer wants to hold me while I cry, does He? Well, I don't know what you call comfort, but this doesn't seem like comfort to me.

dear will

I pray that. You get to read this - don't give up on searching for the healer - cry out to Him - beg Him to reveal Himself and become your reality sothat you can forgive and receive more that you lost and have victory over the evil that came to destroy you and your family! It is so worth it - please don't give up. For now try not to let your mind be clouded by why? Just seek HIM . With love in Christ

Mourning vs Grieving

Hmmm. This is the first time I have learned something new. I know all about the pain. Am trying very hard to get past the pain. Thanks for giving me something new to think about.

Unsure

How do you know when you are really healed? I don't feel the same as I did at the beginning (a year ago) but I find myself still quite angry over just little things. Sometimes I think I should be getting better - he seems to be having "victory." He cheated on me for several years with many people, but says he always loved me. When will I really believe that? Sometimes I think our marriage was so broken even before this happened, maybe even when we get past or heal about the sin it still won't be better.

Jennifer

Jennifer,

Every heart heals in it's own way, and at it's own rate. Anger can be an indicator that while some healing has taken place, you may not be done with the mourning process. Remember that anger is a secondary emotion. Whenever I feel angry, I have learned to ask myself what other emotion I am feeling that has brought that feeling out. Putting a name to what I am feeling helps me to process and mourn specific pains.

 One of the hidden blessings that we received during our recovery process was learning how to deal with the every day "little things" in a more healthy way. Before discovery I thought that we had a good marrage, but now I can look back on it and see how very broken it really was. While our hearts were healing from the effect of the betrayals, the other broken areas of our relationship were brought into light for healing as well.  We learned tools for dealing with conflict that we still use today. Using these tools have helped us to experience life together in a whole new way. 

Re:

I  am still early in this process so mourning and grieving seem all jumbled together.  Just trying to get through some days, one at a time.

Healing

This was a really good post. It's been 7 months and I still find myself in that place where I am in a constant state of grief. I love how you talked about using the triggers as a time to dance and rejoice. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet, but what a beautiful way of remembering such a painful time. Look what the Lord has done for me and my relationship!

healing

I am glad that you are able to see that the stage you are in right now is still a grieving one, and that you are not rushing through it before your heart is healed. Mourn well, Healing Heart, and one day you will find yourself dancing as well.

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