Michelle Qureshi, wife of the late apologist Nabeel Qureshi, has opened up God's faithfulness as she mourns the loss of her husband and offered biblical advice to others who may be grieving.
In a video update titled "Grieving and Receiving Love," Michelle, who lost her 34-year-old husband to cancer on Sept. 16, first explained that people have different ways of grieving; some get angry or bitter, others cry and get very emotional, and still others stuff things inside.
"I want to encourage anyone who may be going through a period of grief...to feel your feelings," she said. "They're legitimate; God made you an emotional being and the key is seeking a healthy method through which to process those emotions."
Some good ways to process grief include talking to a counselor, journaling, or exercising.
However, Michelle, whose shares a young daughter, Ayah, with her late husband, said she's grateful to say that in this season of grief, God has given her the ability to compartmentalize.
"I'm not stuffing feelings, I'm not ignoring feelings, but He's given me this strategy to first and foremost to decide on a vision for the new normal, both for Ayah and me, and for the ministry," she explained. "And because He's given me this strategy, He's helping me to....file away the emotional processing so that once the administrative work is under good management, then I can...enter into a season of healing and rest. And then it can be a season of healing and rest apart from pressures of urgent legal and financial paperwork."
At that time, Michelle said, she will allow herself to listen to certain songs, read journals, and peruse pictures that she has intentionally been avoiding.
Admitting that some may find it a little "strange," Michelle said she believes God has given her the ability to compartmentalize, and she's "taking it and running with it because it's helping me to make incredible headway on getting all that legal and financial stuff out of the way so that I can more readily, more quickly enter into healing and rest."
Michelle admitted that subconsciously, she actually started to lose Nabeel in December of 2015, when he first began to feel stomach pain.
"At that point, he was not able to enjoy food like the Nabeel that I know...he actually, when he was enjoying a good meal, it would lead him to worship God," she said. At this time, he was also learning how to parent Ayah - who was only 4 months old - and working on his Oxford Master's Thesis.
"He told me he was working harder than he ever did -- even when he was in medical school," she said. "So, the stomach pain and inability to enjoy food coupled with all of life's pressures on top of that, I really see that some of my mourning and my feelings of loss actually started taking place in December of 2015. If you look at it, I was already mourning loss for 20 months. Yes, 8 of them were subconscious, but still, processing was taking place."
Today, Michelle, who earlier vowed to continue her husband's ministry, said she has a sense of "freedom" -- and that's okay.
"I don't have to go to the hospital anymore, I don't have to watch my husband vomit, I don't have to watch him writhe in pain, I don't have to watch him be fed by a feeding tube, I don't have to watch the tears of sorrow in his eyes when he looked at our daughter believing he may not be there for her," she said. "I don't have to see that anymore, and he doesn't have to experience that anymore. There's a freedom in that, and this freedom is a good thing."
She added, "It's because of my personal relationship with Jesus that the truth of Nabeel's situation and God's perfect plan is so real to me, body, soul, mind and spirit. And that's why I'm not shaken, and that's why I have no guilt about the way I feel."
To those who are seeking to minister to friends or family members going through grief, Michelle said that "different people feel love in different ways." While some people respond well to hugs and flowers, others, like herself, respond to acts of service.
"It's really important to know how your friends receive love, especially those facing grief," she said.
Ultimately, she encouraged those going through grief to make sure they become a part of a community.
"My community contributes to much of the stability I feel in this time of life," she said. "I encourage you, if you are not currently in a community, please seek one out. If you're having a hard time finding one, pray about it - God is so good to lead you when you lift things up to Him, and He urges us to have community and so therefore He will help to provide you community, cuz it's something that He wants for us."