I start thinking about Thanksgiving on the first day of November. Who will be at my table and what delicious foods will be served.

But yesterday was All Saints Sunday. We remembered those we love who have left this life in the past year. Their names were called as a candle was lit and the bell tolled. We remembered all of those people who have gone on in the past, giving thanks for their lives and their impact on our lives of faith. It is a day of remembrance. It is a day of hope. We face the future without them, but look to the day when we will see them again.

Being part of a service like this is reminder of our statement of faith. And a statement of faith is important to someone going through this process of grief. Because grief twists us and turns us in directions that make us writhe in pain, make us wonder, make us uncertain of who we are.

And we falter and become uncertain of what we truly believe.

And somewhere in our twisted, painful grief, we decide down in our soul who we will be.

And the heightened emotions around the holidays make it all more intense.

I think we have four choices:

We will hold fast to our faith and dig deeper to know God better. We experience a peaceful sort of joy in our sorrow. It is through our trust in Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit can minister to us and help us through the difficulty of grief.

We will walk away from our faith, blaming God for not healing or protecting our loved one. We become cynical,bitter, and angry. But God never gives up trying to get our attention.

We will experience faith in Christ for the very first time. We start to grow in trust and love.Our priorities change and God begins to reveal himself to us more and more. We have found something to cling to that is real and eternal. We have hope.

We will decide to not decide, but stay on the fence, retreat and wonder, living an undecided life. We have heard the Good News of Christ, but just can’t quite believe that Jesus died for us and has provided a way where death is not our final destiny.

Right now is a good time to decide who you will be in your grief. In a few weeks, we will be sharing the Thanksgiving table with those we still have with us. Who will you be at that table? Will love and peace abound along with platters of food? Will gratitude be abundant?

It’s your grief. You choose.

Marcia Gaddis

Marcia Gaddis

Marcia Gaddis is the author of the award-winning book, When God Comes Near, published in 2010. She writes a weekly column for her blog, The Olive Branch, and has been writing for three years. New in her craft, she began writing an online journal when her 25-year old daughter was diagnosed with the rare and fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The journal became a book that offers hope and healing to those who choose to read a painful story. At the 2011 Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina, her first non-fiction book was awarded three distinguished awards: First Place for Inspiration, The Selah Book of the Year Award and the Director's Choice Award for 2011. She has worked as a Home Economist for the University of Georgia and as the co-host for the gardening television show Backyard America. She attends Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in Atlanta and serves on the board of Kindred Spirit, a non-profit program for pregnant young women in Atlanta. She is married with two adult children and and tries to write and work in her garden every day.

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