Well, this month marks the year-date of our son and his family’s move to South Dakota, 1,200 miles away. It’s our new normal. Several other “new normals” have found their way into my life. I don’t like them either, but what do you do when you can’t change circumstances that you don’t like?
We have several options. We can allow those issues to darken our days and live in misery. Sometimes, that just happens—it can’t be helped. But when misery decides to stay indefinitely, you now have another new normal that is unacceptable! We need to move on… but how?
Generally, there are five steps to the grieving process, and we can apply these to other situations as well as to the loss of a loved one: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When our son moved so far away, a part of me died—the part that enjoyed seeing them often and at every holiday. It’s dead—not going to happen. The new normal is seeing them once a year at best. So, what do I do?
- DENIAL: I lived in denial. It sounded like this: “Well, maybe this is just temporary. Maybe they’ll move back.”
- ANGER: Sadly, I found myself unkindly barking at my dear husband for odd reasons. Somehow, it was his fault.
- BARGAINING: I can see how the world would do this, but it didn’t make sense to me. Bargain with whom?
- DEPRESSION: Yep.
- ACCEPTANCE: Getting there… very slowly!
I don’t know how the world handles grief or deals with unlikeable circumstances, but for me, there’s only one place to go—the One who handed me these new normals! He allowed me to deny the situations for a while because He is kind and good and loving. He knows my weaknesses. But the anger had to go—it is sin to take your anger out on anyone for any reason! Besides, who wants to live like that? What a way to ruin any relationship you are in! Let’s make everyone around us miserable too!
Can we bargain with God? I suppose we can speak the words but it’s fruitless. He sets up “if—then” statements in His Word, but those are promises, not bargains! And depression… it’s inevitable at times. Depression is a natural part of life, but like anger, we can’t camp there long. It’s a dangerous place to be. Depression allows Satan to whisper all sorts of nasties into our mind like, “This isn’t fair. God isn’t fair. If God really cared for you, He’d change things. He can do that! He’s just being mean. You deserve better.” On and on it goes until you yell, “STOP!” Remember the source of those thoughts! Once you take action to stop Satan’s flow of lies, it’s time to remember: remember past victories, past joys. Go to God’s Word and read about our wonderful Savior! Read the Psalms. They are such a sweet balm for a rankled soul!
Look at these:
2 Samuel 22: 31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Psalm 28: 7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.
8 The LORD is their strength, and he is the saving strength of his anointed.
Psalm 37: 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 40: 17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
Psalm 54: 4 ¶ Behold, God is mine helper: the Lord is with them that uphold my soul.
Psalm 116: 6 The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
Psalm 118: 8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
(And just in case you didn’t get it…)9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
Isaiah 41: 10 ¶ Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Hebrews 13: 6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
I could go on and on, but I’ll leave that to you! Go and feast on the mighty, precious promises of God!
One thought on “Struggling with the New Normal”
I suppose it’s silly to leave a note on your own post, but I’ve returned to this one again and again. Peter’s words say it best: “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”