They say the 2nd year for the widow is the hardest because the denial is gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if that was true with other catastrophic losses. I didn’t think I was in denial — in fact, when Dr. Dobson interviewed me about a year after Steve died, I even said I hadn’t experienced denial. (I was in denial about denial.)
I didn’t realize I was in denial until I finally went for counseling. I told Sheila about a dream I had had before each of my daughter’s weddings (they all married within three years after Steve’s death). I dreamt that I drove up to the church, alone, and Steve pulled up right next to me. I said, “You aren’t dead!”
He said, “No! I just thought you were really mad and I was giving you some space. But I’m back and I’m going to walk her down the aisle and I’ll never go away again.”
Sheila said: “Dee, you have to accept that though one day you will go to Steve, he will never come back here to you.”
I thought, “Am I really so crazy that I thought he might?” I realized, somehow, I did. I thought if I got through enough hard nights and days then he would come back to me. I felt like a madwoman.
When a loss is so great, denial is a way of protecting you. But in time, you must let go of the lies, or you will never be able to speak the truth to your soul.
We may be in denial about loss, about our sin, about the false idols of our hearts. We’re holding on because letting go seems so hard. But unless we let go, we can never grab the rope that will, indeed, hold us.
1. Looking back in your life, when have you been in denial about the truth, and how did holding onto that frayed rope hurt you?
2. We’re going to look at David as a model. How was he in denial about his sin with Bathsheba? 2 Samuel 11-12:1-7
3. How did Nathan’s word picture turn the light on for him? Why do you think word pictures can be effective where reasoning fails? (This is one of the reasons the psalms are so effective.)
4. Psalm 51 is David’s psalm of letting go of the lies and coming in true repentance. Read it. Sing it if you know a song to go with it (or share one with us). Share your reflections particularly on verse 4 and any other verses that stand out to you.
5. Pray through Psalm 51, making it your own.
6. What hard consequences were given to David because of his sin? 2 Samuel 12:7-15?
7. Look carefully at how David responded in 2 Samuel 12:16-24. What did he do that surprised the servants? How does this show he was grabbing onto the truth? What do you think verse 23 means?
8. To what lies are you clinging?
Lord, I pray for each woman or man reading this, pondering your truth. Search us, O Lord, and see what lies are in our hearts — the ways we are resisting Your truth, because it seems hard. Show us who the real liar is, who deceives us so we are not in fellowship with You. Be with each of us, precious Jesus.