How To Trust God In Grief by Anna Smit

I have a special friend, Anna Smit, who has gone through a lot surviving Posttraumatic stress, stuggled as a caregiver and learnt to trust God through grief. I admire her strenght and courage. Today she shares bits of her story and excerpt from her book “Love Embraced“. 
PS: Everyone who leaves a comment on this article will get Anna’s Book for free Yippee!!! but be sure to drop your email *or blog address so we can find you easilyJ

ANNA writes…..
For
I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and
not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
  
If you had told me two years ago that I would
write a book, I would have laughed. I’ve always loved to write, but had left
that far behind me, as study (three university degrees: an inherited thirst for
learning from my mother!!), teaching high school English and then motherhood
consumed my mind and energy. But in the summer of 2014, I felt compelled to
pick it up again and the words just poured out, often taking me where I least
expected or intended to go. 
Trust
in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah
I had just lost my Mum a couple of months before
to brain cancer, helping to take care of her as she suffered immensely in her
final weeks on earth. 
And my heart remained raw inside, but safely hidden by a
hardened layer that allowed me to “survive” the busy days of teaching and
motherhood. I lunged back into life to avoid the emotions beneath, falling back
into my coping mechanism of the prior twenty years.
                               
The
heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
But
God had other plans and writing was the instrument He’d use to open my heart
like never before, birthing a book I’d never have set out to write myself.
For we are God’s
masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good
things he planned for us long ago.
Like Joseph, I am now able to look back upon the
pages of this book and say that what was meant to harm me is being used by God
to bring more and more beautiful blessings. 
However, just like Joseph and
perhaps many of you reading here, my story traverses much suffering first. Love
Embraced records this journey, both of suffering and incredible blessing.
As
for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it
about that many people[a] should be kept alive, as they are today.
The words on the page take me from the valley of
grief through caregiver Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and into traumatic and
repressed childhood memories. 
However, the deeper God presses me into the pain
of my past, the more and more I discover myself both falling and leaning into
His loving, safe and unburdening arms. 
Trauma, fear, rejection and grief
strangely become the catalyst for a deepening trust, as God begins to open my
eyes to just how wide, deep and high His Love truly is for us, as He proves that
nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from it.
For
I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present
nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all
creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our
Lord.
This excerpt from Chapter 48, The Journey, gives
you a little glimpse into this tension in the mingling of love and pain:
As
I ran with renewed energy and joy at the opportunity of scaling the numerous
hills that I once dreaded, I was encouraged to look back at my journey into
God’s loving embrace. What I saw was a journey that mirrored my experiences of
running.
When
I started out running, those same hills I now met with energy and joy, were met
with utter despair. I looked ahead and felt my heart drop and my body slump, as
my steady breaths multiplied into a heaving splutter. I looked at my husband
beside me and internally thought and may have even uttered aloud: “Are you
trying to kill me?” 

And then I remembered the start of my journey into
suffering, when the repressed memories of my mother’s last days crept to the
surface. My mind, emotions and body responded in a similar way, with my anger
also being directed at the One walking beside me: Jesus. 

But, just as with my
running, each time the Lord has guided me back to the same painful hills, I
have found the One beside me encouraging and spurring me on to face what I was
sure I could not face. And in facing what I dared not face before, the fear,
the pain, the grief and the tension are slowly being forced to the surface.
Brick by brick, the numbing wall around my heart is being broken down.

Now, what trauma as a child taught me to suppress and hide, is slowly, but
surely being brought out into the light. And in being exposed to the Light of
God, the anger that has worked so hard to suppress the hurt beneath is
dissolving into a puddle of tears.


 Lies that taught me to hide the searing pain
from the wrath of God and others, are being eroded in the tearing down of this
numbing wall. So, just as I can now run the hilly dunes with renewed energy and
joyful anticipation because of the years of learning to face what I never dared
face before, encouraged and supported by the one beside me, so now I can look
forward to the hilly path of life before me because I know the Lord will use
each steep incline before me to tear down more of the wall that is keeping me
from His full embrace of Light. For it is written:

Ephesians
5: 13 (NIV)
But everything exposed by the light becomes visible-
-and everything that is illuminated becomes a light
.
 
If you find yourself living shackled by fear, or
choosing to fill your life with activity, leaving no time to truly think or
feel, or numbing an ache of rejection, or constantly feel like you can never be
“good enough”, then I’d love to encourage you to read the love letter God wrote
to me through the pages of this book. 


And know that if you do take this plunge, I have been praying for you, that God would infuse the words you read with His mighty Spirit, drawing you ever nearer, so that He might pour His Love into the hidden depths of your aching, doubting and yearning heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart!
    Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!
About the Author
Anna
Smit is a
Kiwi-Dutch Mum currently living in the Netherlands with her Dutch husband and
dual citizen girls (3 and 6 years old). She has been sharing her journey of
faith on her blog, Joy OfThe Spirit Within, since October, 2015. On January 29, 2016, (in)courage featured a guest post of hers, The Gift of Presence.

Writing became Anna’s way of leaning into a Strength she sorely
needed, after her mother died of cancer in April, 2014. This leaning led to the
publication of her book, Love Embraced: A Journey in and through Suffering, the
story of God’s relentless pursuit of her heart, as Anna was encouraged to share
God’s great Love with a wider audience.



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46 thoughts on “How To Trust God In Grief by Anna Smit”

  1. Dear Anna and Ifeoma … what a delightful way to start off my Monday, sitting here with you lovely ladies!

    And this, Anna, this –>'Trauma, fear, rejection and grief strangely become the catalyst for a deepening trust, as God begins to open my eyes to just how wide, deep and high His Love truly is for us, as He proves that nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from it.'

    What a blessed, peaceful assurance you've shared with us. God specializes in redemption in all its many faces. What a powerfully loving Redeemer we serve!

    Blessings to you both …

  2. This is a beautiful post and it spoke to me — I lost my mother and my closest lifelong friend ( like a sister) last year. Grief is a difficult journey, but I have learned many things that I am grateful for. God is everything He claims to be and more. Visiting you from the Blessed but Stressed Link up.

    • Oh Laura, I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your mother. So thankful you are walking through the journey of grief with God at your side and that God used this post to speak to you. May you continue to know God's comfort, strength and joy-filled hope in the coming days without your dear Mom.

  3. What a beautiful treat to find you here today, Anna. Ifeoma is such a dear to allow you to share a piece of your story. It seems I have just gotten to know you recently via Facebook and especially in The Happiness Dare laugh team.

    Your transparency and honesty in sharing something that is so difficult teaches me that there is beautiful release in allowing God to open up the wounds and then fill them with His redemptive love. Thank you friend!

    • Yes, she sure is. So blessed to be given this opportunity. So glad it has encouraged you, Mary.

      I'm on a Facebook break for two weeks (we're on holiday right now), but was enjoying the launch group before my hiatus!! Look forward to returning late next week and seeing what I missed! Lovely to see you here too.

  4. This is beautiful, Anna. I'm sorry for all the grief and trauma you have experienced, but I love how God can work good even in the midst of those things and how he revealed his love to you. It is so important to let God into the pain so that we can know his love and healing. Thanks so much for sharing, and Ifeoma, for hosting.

    • Yes, it is. So important. And I'm always encouraged by your posts that reflect this too. It took me so very long to learn that: but God never gave up pursuing me. It was a blessing to be asked to guest post. Thank you for visiting, Carly.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing here today Anna. I have been so blessed to read the interviews that you and Wendy shared over the last month; so now I am blessed by your own story here. I would love to read your book! This thought touched me so deeply: "now I can look forward to the hilly path of life before me because I know the Lord will use each steep incline before me to tear down more of the wall that is keeping me from His full embrace of Light" What an encouraging way to view the rugged path set before us! May God Bless you Anna and Ifeoma today!

    • So wonderful to hear you've been so blessed by the series. Wendy and I have felt honored to share everyone's stories and have been so encouraged ourselves (and grown through it!).

      God so often speaks to me when I'm out running…or perhaps it's more that I'm more inclined to listen then! So glad it encouraged you too, as it did me at the time when God encouraged me to see the parallels.

  6. Dear Anna & Ifeoma,
    Thank you for sharing this part of your story with such transparency. It is so reassuring to realize once again that our God truly does redeem our pasts. He works in our lives in ways we may not realize at the time but in due time, His time, He brings full redemption. Grateful to have stopped here this morning! Blessings to you both!

  7. Thanks so much for making this great resource so freely available. I am so thankful that God is the God of comfort and that He comforts us in our affliction so we may be able to share that same comfort with others. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    • Yes, it is amazing how God uses everything we go through to not only free and grow us, but also to encourage and comfort others. We serve an awesome God. Thank you for visiting.

  8. Anna, I love this! So much THIS: "But God had other plans and writing was the instrument He'd use to open my heart like never before, birthing a book I’d never have set out to write myself" I never thought I'd birth the book I did but God had something in mind.

    • Your book is waiting for me at home to read. We're on holiday right now! I'm looking forward to reading it and growing through what you share! Thanks for visiting!

  9. Thank you for sharing Anna's story with us here at Tell me a Story. Grief and trauma do often open the door for us to take up a pen (or computer) and begin to open up our heart and write our story. Thank you Ifeoma for sharing with us your honored guest.

  10. Anna, I had no idea that this was all part of your story. Thank you for bringing Joseph's words into your story, and, Ifeoma, thank you for sharing the journey of this friend!

    • I self-published the book in May, but have felt more led to share others' stories than my own lately…but Ifeoma was so kind to offer this, when I asked her to share her story for Wendy (Widow's Manna) and my interview series Breaking Light.

      Joseph's words blessed me so much at the start of my journey.

  11. Anna, Thank you for such a relate-able post. I, too have walked the road of grief and trauma, losing my precious 12 year old daughter 5 years ago. And, like you it left me raw and searching. I have learned it is in this pain, God fills us with His love and brings forth healing and purpose. Thank you for being vulnerable so that we can share in your victory!

    • Oh Elizabeth, I cannot even begin to imagine the hard path you have walked and continue to. I'm so thankful to God that my post was relatable. May you continue to know God's nearness, healing and purpose through everything. Thank you for sharing here.

  12. I have been thinking of reading your book again. I need to. I think this time around too I can also focus a lot without worrying about finishing it on time lol. As always love hearing you share your heart.

  13. This book looks and sounds like one that will speak to many others in their darkest times. I am praying it gets into the hands of many many MANY! You are brave, Anna! I am praising God right now for your heart for Him and your obedience to His call!

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful hope here with us at #MomentsofHope!

    Blessings,
    Lori

  14. Thank you for your encouragement, Lori. There were so many times I almost didn't go forward with it all, but God was persistent and spoke courage into me through His Word, His people, and sermons and worship on Sunday.

  15. This sentence struck a chord, deep within, and I instantly identified with it: "Trauma, fear, rejection and grief strangely become the catalyst for a deepening trust,". It has taken me decades to look back at the suffering and realize He never left me. I was simply refusing to trust in His care. Thank you for having the courage to share your story! We have much to learn from one another! Blessings!

    • Thank you for visiting. We do have so much to learn from each other. I have been so blessed by others who have shared openly.

      I'm so glad you are now also able to look back and see God's hand.

  16. I'm touched by this family's pain. Sometimes it's just comforting to know that our sufferings in Christ are never in vain but always working to build up an eternal weight in glory beyond what we can imagine. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

    • Thank you for visiting and encouraging. No, they are never in vain. Hope to get the book to you all soon. Just back from holiday and will ask Ifeoma for your email addresses.

  17. Anna, I am so proud of you for writing this book. Such a blessing it will be to so many who struggle with some sort of PTSD, no matter what the cause. I just found out this past week of a dear friend who is suffering due to what he saw and experienced while serving in the military as one who made sure the roadside bombs did not detonate when found first or picked up the men who were hurt or killed by such a bomb. PTSD is serious. We all …ALL…need to understand what it is and how we can possibly help.
    I am so sorry for all that you have been through, sweet Anna. You are a blessing in my life, an ocean plus away, yet you are!
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda @ Being Woven

    • Thank you so much for all your encouragement, Linda. So sorry to hear about your friend. Praying that God would draw Him ever nearer through his suffering and use these awful circumstances to bless your friend and bring glory to His Name.

  18. This looks like a powerful book. I just recently read this quote in Soul Keeping by John Ortberg: "If you ask people who don't believe in God why they don't, the number one reason will be suffering. If you ask people who believe in God when they grew most spiritually, the number one answer will be suffering." I thought that was very poignant! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com this week!
    Tina

    • Thank you for visiting, Tina. So grateful to Ifeoma for hosting my words and story here. Such truth to that quote. Hope to get the book to you and the others who commented soon.

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