Grief Sprints and Hurdles

August 17, 2013

Yesterday’s milestone hit me harder than I wanted it to.  I guess it’s just hard to get my brain around Chris being in Heaven – for good.  I mean, I am happy for HIM, just life without him is hard.  God gives me strength for each day, but I have to pray for Him to FILL ME UP in order to take the ouch out of the day.  Each milestone, this one being the 6-month mark, brings more finality.

I woke up with one of those light-bulb moments that I think is worth sharing.  I have a sweet, dear friend – I’ll call her a mentor too – whose husband is also in Heaven.  She is coming up on their anniversary, just like me anticipating ours on the 26th.  So, this is for all of us who face these bumps in the road of our spiritual journeys.

LIVING IN THE GRIEVING PROCESS IS LIKE RUNNING HURDLES.  (There was a glorious season of my life when I was a runner, but I don’t think I EVER jumped a REAL hurdle.  I CAN imagine it, though!)  You run steady for a while and then there’s a barrier you have to get over.  Sometimes there are even a few in a row – that’s our February, April, May, June, August, and December months.  Shoot, that’s HALF the year!  I figured I better get a handle on HOW to run these hurdles so I do better at the next ones.

So, what does the Bible say about these milestones that come up?  What does the sports world say about training for hurdles?  Maybe there’s a connection here.

Olympic coach, Roy Boyd says the key to success in running hurdles is:

  • The athlete has to be in tip-top physical condition.
  • The athlete has to be race experienced and understand what he/she is trying to achieve.
  • As the athlete develops there has to be a change in the training pattern and the coach AND the athlete both have to understand what they are trying to achieve.
  • The BOTTOM LINE:  You have to have a GOAL and a STRATEGY and train toward that BEFORE the competition.
  • Other how-to’s say that you cannot slow down as you approach the hurdles because it is the MOMENTUM that will carry you over that hurdle.
  • Also, you cannot slow down in BETWEEN the hurdles, but try to sprint after each one, continuing to focus on the finish line and keeping your momentum.


Here’s what the Bible says:

  • “Who can straighten what God has made crooked?  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider; God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, a man cannot discover ANYTHING about his future.”  Ecclesiastes 7:13-14
  • “For there is a proper time and procedure for every matter, though a man’s misery weighs heavily upon him.  Since NO MAN knows the future, who can tell him what is to come?  No man has power over the wind to contain it, so NO ONE has power over the day of his death.”  Ecclesiastes 8:6
  • “NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord – even facing death all day long.”  Romans 8:36-39 (my paraphrase)
  • “DO NOT WORRY ABOUT TOMORROW” (from Matthew 6:34)


So, here’s my insight for today AND my preparation for my next “hurdle,” August 26th, our 24th wedding anniversary and my first without Chris.

DO NOT anticipate the milestones (hurdles) and worry about them, but keep the steady pace of daily obedience and SEEKING God’s presence and peace, having my spiritual “stamina” fit and strong.  Then, when the hurdles come up, I can keep my steady pace and not be slowed or stumble over the hurdles.  I will be able to jump without injury and still continue to sprint toward the finish line of healing, comfort, peace, and joy.

I also realize that I am like a coach to my children.  With these hurdles in our life, I cannot just continue what we USED to do and the training that worked in the past.  Like the Olympic coach suggested, there has to be a CHANGE in the training pattern and the coach AND the athlete both have to understand what they are trying to achieve.  It is my responsibility to give my children MORE guidance in the Word and MORE training in righteousness so that they are prepared to face the hurdles and have an ETERNAL perspective.

From here on out, I will keep my eyes on JESUS, not worrying about upcoming milestones, but remembering HIS future plans for my children and me.


“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you WILL

      rejoice, and NO ONE will take away your JOY.”  – Jesus  (John 16:22)



4 thoughts on “Grief Sprints and Hurdles

  1. Dear Michelle,

    Thank you for your experience, strength and hope shared here. My husband just lost his Mom and is going through the grieving process. Your analogy about hurdles, being the coach and training speaks volumes. Thank you for sharing your journey, and faith in the Lord, even through the pain. It is real, honest and helpful to us all.


  2. Oh sweet friend. What a privilege it is to watch God speak thru you in a mighty way in the midst of enormous hurdles. What a joy to see your blog site revived with your voice. I think Chris would be so proud. As I’ve watched your journey back to Africa, I remember the conversation the 4 of us had back in the village….what would the other do if one were gone? Neither of you hesitated to answer. Your call to Africa was personal, not as a couple. I love you dearly & pray for you always.

  3. Dear Michelle, Thank you for sharing so honestly. I have been praying for you and your family. You probably are familiar with this quote from CS Lewis, but here it is anyway: “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” Can’t imagine what you’re going through, but pray you will continue to encounter God in deeper ways through it. Bless you.

  4. My life verse, my confirmation blessing. Philippians 3: 12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *