There is probably one picture that enters your mind when you think of grief. Crying.
Sadness is definitely one of the faces of grief, and it is probably the first face. When something difficult happens, whether we lose a loved one or find out our life will never be the same due to some circumstance, there is sadness.
If we assume, however, that sadness is the only sign of grief, then we will not only misinterpret others, but we will also hurt ourselves by not understanding why we are feeling the way we are feeling.
When anyone holds in an emotion, it will probably still come out but as something else. many time holding back crying introduces another face of grief - anger.
Sadness is accepted. Anger often turns to depression and despair. Sadness is accepted because it is the only face of grief that is not sinful.
I have experienced every face of grief in raising our son. I had heart-wrenching sadness when I found out he was unhealthy in my womb. That sadness sunk down and stayed there until he was born at which time, I experienced happiness that he was okay. Then once again sadness rose to the surface when things did not go as expected.
Then came sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is the enemy of grief. If anything causes the face of grief to turn from sadness to anger and bitterness, it is sleep deprivation. God gave us night for a reason, and when we do not rest, we do not think correctly, and we can fall into the sins of anger, anxiety, bitterness, and depression.
Our own minds are another enemy of grief. Give your mind an inch and it will take a mile. Let yourself dwell on your problems or compare your life to someone else's and godly grief will turn sinful.
It's wonderful to know that God understands our grief. He grieved with tears. He wept for his friend and his friend's family. Even the knowledge that He would raise Lazarus to life again did not stop the tears of empathy he let flow for His friends who experienced loss. He grieved for His own life while He prayed in the garden. He did this having known all along that this was His purpose - to die. Yet He grieved with tears and sweat drops of blood because of His anguish. What we do not see in His grief however is the anger, anxiety, and depression that we often experience as humans in grief.
We are sinners. Just like in many areas, we fall into the sinful behaviors even though grief is not sinful. How do we stop the cycle? How do we not become anger and lash out at God and at others? I fall into this almost daily. I know what the Bible says. I Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you.
As you grieve, cry out to the Lord and leave your care and sadness with Him. Accept His plan as best even though you don't understand. When you fall into the sinful side of grief, confess it and move on. Confess the sinful aspects of grief. God knows that you will grieve over the loss of a loved one or over expectations left unfulfilled, but grieve the way Christ grieved. He did so while accepting His Father's plan as best.