Colossal Walls We Must Conquer with Uncompromising Courage

We were going 80 miles an hour when I hit the wall. That collision shattered the left side of my face. Four surgeries and four months later, getting behind the wheel had a whole new meaning.

car-accident
(Image from Pixabay)

When we think of walls, most of us think of The Great Wall of China or walled cities of ancient times built to keep the city’s inhabitants safe from enemy invaders.

We also have physical walls in our homes and walls that fortify or create boundaries around the property and possessions we want to protect. These are helpful, necessary walls.

However, there are other kinds of walls that we may not know exist . . . until we slam into them. We build these invisible walls to protect our hearts from past pain or anticipated harm.

  • Walls built to protect buried piles of painful internal memories that occur when we’re abused, anxious, terrified, abandoned
  • Walls erected to conceal our addictions or obsessions
  • Walls formed by bricks of guilt or shame that keep us isolated and hurt
  • Walls of disabilities or mental health struggles that limit our minds or bodies
  • Walls fused with words that communicate hate, disregard, disrespect, or intent to hurt another person
  • Walls that conceal the shame of failure, judgment, or self-doubt
  • Walls imprisoning our hearts, cutting off the lifeblood to our real souls

Years ago, I busted my face against a physical wall. Last week, I hit one of those invisible walls unexpectedly.

We had gone to visit my daughter and son-in-law. My son with disabilities is now 20 and will most likely always live with us. When his siblings moved out, it crushed him.

All his life, Jon’s siblings have been his world: accepting him when others have rejected him, loving him when others have bullied him, caring when others have ignored him.

Now that they have moved out, words cannot describe his loneliness at times. Moreover, traveling is very hard for Jon. His needs for consistency, simplicity, and safety are all-consuming and compete with his longing to be with his siblings.

Trying to balance Jon’s needs with family life is complicated. We plan ahead and pack all he needs to feel comfortable and safe. It’s a ton of work but usually worth it all. This time was unexpectedly different.

For reasons he couldn’t articulate and with struggles I couldn’t anticipate, the trip was incredibly hard for Jon. On the drive home, I slammed into the wall of grief.

Myths about the Wall of Grief

Grief is unpredictable. Not only that, but grief is also one of those “shove-under-the-rug” topics. Grief exists as the elephant in the room of our hearts . . . huge, smothering, heavy, alive.

Grief

(Image from Pixabay)

There are many myths associated with this invisible “elephant”:

  • Grief has a beginning and ending.
  • Grief is associated with death and nothing else.
  • Grief is for women only because women are so emotional.
  • Grief is fixable.
  • Grief disappears with time.
  • Grief occurs because you lack faith.
  • Grief follows a predictable path.
  • Grief can be controlled.
  • Grief is displayed by selfish people wanting attention.

Here’s the truth about grief: it demands our time and attention. Grief requires an acceptance of loss or change. We are creatures of habit and comfort; grief is unpredictable and uncomfortable.

Learning to face grief means we must allow pain to surface, examine life as it is instead of what we wish it would be, and embrace change in moving forward.

Walls stand between us and others, specifically between us and God, when we refuse to grieve the losses in our lives.

Conquering the Wall Begins with Knowing the Truth about Grief

Grief is the expression of pain and loss in our lives—a process that changes us, softens us, humbles us, and reveals our need for help. In other words, grief is a transformative process unique to each person throughout life.

Grief doesn’t just manifest itself after the death of a loved one. We grieve . . .

  • A divorce or break in relationship
  • Loss of health
  • Loss of a job
  • Financial stability
  • Hopes and dreams
  • Trauma
  • Moving to a new home or school
  • Unexpected hardships
  • Natural disasters
  • Illnesses

Maybe this is the first time you have ever considered that grief is okay, expected, and has enormous transformational power in your life. Maybe you have tried to hush the elephant in your heart because you were taught to suck it up and move on.

Maybe you have believed time will heal all wounds and are frustrated that you haven’t yet healed. I give you permission to open your heart and allow grief to surface. It will be messy, uncomfortable, and difficult. You’ll feel out of control, forgetful, fearful, and angry.

Grief will lose its power as you step into the process, trusting Christ and safe people to lead you through and hold you up. Perhaps some scriptural accounts of grief will be encouraging to you.

  • Genesis 45: Joseph grieves the years of betrayal and loss with his brothers.
  • 1 Samuel 1:9–11: Hannah grieves over her infertility.
  • 2 Samuel 1:11–12: David and his men grieve the loss of Saul, Jonathan, and many who had died.
  • Nehemiah 1:4–5: Nehemiah grieves for the people of Judah.
  • Lamentations: Jeremiah grieves over the people’s rejection of God and the destruction they will endure.
  • Matthew 26:36–44: Christ grieves His upcoming death and acceptance of His Father’s will.

Let Me Hear from You

What grief have you been trying to deny, hide, shove under the rug? Will you open your heart and allow God to do a transforming, healing work in you? How can I help today?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Leesa

    Hello Colleen,
    I had read your note this morning, and tears streamed down my face. I wrote one of those long replies and it disappeared. lol. it was thoughts I know that you would have had patience to read and see the growth that I am encountering. I then came onto my laptop to see if post was still here, and it was not, yet here I am to read another remarkable post of yours to your blog, and I was asking for prayers for “strength” not knowing yet until I arrived here to read todays post of ” Colossial walls we must conquer with uncompromising courage” I guess that was why God diverted me here, to see and know with clarity that the recent resentment and anger that were stirring, and sadness, are all what come as grief. I noticed over past week I was finding myself in tears with thought of me at bedside with my father death, my holding his hands. and today after reading your reply to a class I am taking and how God is continuing open doors for me, I was sensing “am I putting up a wall” ,and there it was, as tears fell I wrote my note to you without this full understanding what it was I was crying about. It was a more than one meaning for me I believe. As I relate to Jon’s being crushed when his siblings moved out, I was also crushed when my siblings moved out one by one, and relate to well how abandoned I felt, and not that we all had happy lives as a family, it was stabilizing for me to know the four older siblings were there, I was not ready to take on the role as fifth, and one behind me . I thought I lost my best friend of brother, who had now his own life. it all happened so quickly that I was angry back then and had not truly realized that I had grieved in that process. I was left in turmoil of sorts at home and they had all left me behind and not truly knowing how to be the oldest, I took over their seat on sofa and had been angry with each for leaving me . With all that said, I will pray for Jon with his process with this change and time .
    This week I had thought I was crying for how forgiveness shined so divinely on me with my dad, he waiting for me and last to see and be with him alone like we were as he died was God amazing grace,and was I asking myself is it because I was missing that moment, that moment of God connecting me and my dad in a way that was only GOd work, that forgiveness in the very end that took place, nothing as remarkable as God’s love, was I grieving my Dad, as I called the hospital to see if I could obtain his medical record (they said I needed my mom to call, and i know she will say why we know the diagnossi)
    for I could understand in better terms to read myself, that from my background of director Alzheimer unit and knowing how to read these types records as also once was admissions director and genrally as art therapise/activities therapist always was in the medical charts for patient care, so what was happening to me this week I was asking God for clarity. I sensed the resentment and some residual anger surface that which I am working through professionally with art therapy and counseling as the block that came up for me is what was the family dynamic and lack of support for this area of healing from past was, i learned it was more traumatic than the actual worst trauma I am in counseling for, that which i did not have my family support and shunned for talking about it with them..
    yet in the now I began to realize that I am yearning and reaching out for the continued connection with those after my last family visit and since my dad’s death, I believe I transferred “patriach of family” to be youngest brother who I have realized I reach out to him, he will usually reply with thank you, or small detail to my message, yet has not yet come to me to say how are you or how is all going, that which I yearned for after being there in new relationship in person, and hoped it would continue as I settled back hours away where i live, that I believed would keep in touch by reaching out missing me. so those old triggers , I just praying and it will realign I know this.
    My mom and my sister in law are the two that I am having new mutual correspondence with and telephone with my mom/facetime regularly. My oldest brother will check in and yet had not responded to some texting i recently wrote, and middle brother checks in although he and I had not been as close this year for his anger was becoming negative toward me in things he would say or act toward my other sister I had not found functional relationship for this time, yet the two that I yearned to reach out ,my middle sister with illness has left again, as this happens over the years I have known her not just because of illness, she becomes overwhelmed with all and incapable of sensitivity to our communication coming to halt, she is healing more now than in past so I check in with her, I have commended her and to “stay the course as you COlleen have always encouraged me in healing.
    my grief I now understand is also combined with past grief and wanting it to be different as it was with the trips I had taken three times this year to see my family. I was encountering thought of Christmas when I began to not feel I had strength to do the miles again this year, and then I prayed a lot this morning and I wrote you that post that was lost earlier, that I realized that we cannot expect “results” like Paul spoke to so many and with no conversions, I was asking you to pray for me and all these thoughts, needing strength, to continue to be strong/courageous going places uncomfortable and difficult both inward and outward to environments that we need greatest of patience, as my Pastor says as in scripture top of what love is, love is patient, first thing in scripture mentioned in this verse of what love is. So I sat and tears fell after reading your thoughts of how doors continue to open. I believe they are continuing yet I even wrote in that earlier post that am I being resistant ,and that creating a block of God goodness to continue to come to me as easily as it had with forgiveness last Spring that came to me thorugh God placing me back with my family for my dads death and what relationships opening that followed. I came home recently and realized I was not invited on any siblings or my moms vacation, that they all had big vacations,and I was traveling 12 hours each way three times, I found myself not wanting to complain as that in itself is a sin let alone what I know is sinful anger, and that this is not what is true to me in my actions, so yes I was praying to God to release whatever it is and I found this post on grieving and walls,and how good God is in HIs timing always. It explains a lot to me, there are so many areas I am growing, the fact I can realize that no this is an old pattern that I cannot have these expectations, and love is patient for all that God has shown me recently with howHe has shown himself through me with my family, that I just need my strength of energy and courage will come back, and my attitude I adjust back to alignment of where it need be with some of the old triggers and not seeking results , just to love one antoehr, and maybe just maybe that will be a
    “rock in someones shoe ” for his/her own reflection and being able have glimpse what that is, and what is that,
    I did share so much more earlier, the female friend from where I grew up I reached out left voicemail with scripture for her and about my sister and mom health issues and she did eventually call me and say she was praying for them, and that was a voicemal. I realize she is in a challenging situation herself, and I reached out with scripture to help her realign, and she is stubborn mostly, and her comments this past spring were hurtful in that she was not in a good place, speaking down to where I live and that those like you that support you are not of her so called “biblical teaching” which was somehow I believe a distortion of her emotion overshadowing the truth of His word as she does not believe we be joyful in hearts,that somehow from place she is currently in, she not of joy, yet scripture speaks of ancient history why during suffering we can be hopeful and joyful for so many stories where God shows HIs power and to hold this faith and trust is key. I was going to mail her my sunday school class Exodus and Leviticus study workbook to ponder on her own if she opened. SO that too in works to maintain some level of sharing for hope for another.
    I cannot begin to tell you how much I am thoroughly enjoying Apologetics, wow. and the instructor I spoke of ,he led me to take look at Dr Lennox,and I did and I could not stop listening to utube seminars from Oxford andsome from a Rice Univ. webpage,remarkable and the beauty of it is that it was like music, the most calming remarkable music to my heart,soul and mind, that I literally listned to these until Icould not stay awake any longer. I fell asleep with him still ispeaking, its fluency and topic were greatly fulfilling to me to listen to. and I have continued to read a book onTactics by Koukl.
    I did need put all aside for today as I am praying for recharge, and reboot my energy COlleen, I am praying for restoration from rest in His arms, leaning into GOd all day today, I even thought maybe this recent resentment stirred up the delay of house being able to be completed with yet no court date for roofer set, waiting on this piece before can have all repairs completed, and I did not want to block as in past know that forgiveness truly set me free and God’s glory had flooded into my life, so I am extra cautious that which any glimpse of that sense of am I stuck on something here , and pray,pray pray for God to clarify and release for me and I do ask greatly for energy right now most of all, so I can continue all the good He has taken into my life, and to continue where He has led me to be in a family where He has shown HIs greatest work to me in my life, that strength I need to continue to drive and be there for Christmas and be present without any resentment for not being thought of the same with sensitivity and care, andany expectation to be mutual,these efforts are the will of God,and He chose me to be in this family ,and it is His work to have me stay the course as uncomfortable as it can be at times or one sided it ‘feels”, like Paul expect nothing,and continue to not make about us or other person but “point to God”, all for Him
    Have a truly Blessed day,and for all the fresh October first week fall weather, and no great storms currently ,may all be Blessed with recovery in disaster and areas of targedy. I continue to include you and your family in my prayers,
    With loving care,
    Leesa

  • adelaidedupont

    The last three beliefs/myths about grief – I did/do believe these.

    And I will remember Joseph and the brothers and betrayal.

    And David – I have read a wonderful Geraldine Brooks book as of two years ago about the King of Kings.

    • Adelaidedupont,
      So good to connect with you! I would love to hear more about what you have read and learned about grief. I’m glad the points made sense; I pray you are doing well today. Have a blessed day. Colleen