grief

The Three Best Words for the Brokenhearted

“I can invite You into those broken places and collaborate with Youin putting the fragments back together in new ways.” – Jesus Listens, July 3 In fresh grief, well-meant words can sometimes wound. Even now, I shake my head at the unhelpful comments I made as a young mom handing over a hot casserole and the painful comments said to me a few years later after my husband died. So when a radio host recently asked me for the three best words to tell someone in grief, I perked up. Maybe it’s “I love you,” I thought as I waited for his answer. Those words sure comforted me as a new widow. Or maybe it’s “let me help.” Practical love is so needed when life falls apart. But neither guess was correct. The three best words to say to someone in grief? You’re not alone. The deepest comfort comes w...

Three Ways to Welcome Grief into Your Church

As the worship music swelled, my eyes filled with tears. It wasn’t the first time I’d cried in church since my husband died; I was a pro by now. I knew exactly what to do. Look up at the ceiling to keep the tears pooled in my eyes. Smile and take a deep breath to keep them from dribbling down my face. And, at all costs, don’t make eye contact. Don’t let the grief get out of hand. Before Rob’s death, I’d cried from time to time in church when I was overcome with the beauty of God, when a Scripture passage touched my heart, or when I recalled afresh the precious treasure of the gospel. They’d always been happy tears. Nothing to be ashamed of. Worthy of being shared, like joyful tears at a wedding or birthday celebration. These tears, though? They were borne of agonizing sorrow and dark grief...

Tending My Piece of the Garden

Sometime decades ago—so long ago that I don’t remember when—I knew my purpose in life was to tend to my little piece of the Garden.  Watching my mother, it’s no wonder I felt like this. When she left a campsite, Mom would ensure it was meticulously clean. She wanted us to always leave things better than we found them.  Hours before leaving for Christmas dinner at her parents’ home, Mom would find out that our cousins were bringing a stranger. She always had general gifts ready. Mom’s way of wrapping family warmth and love around a stranger was to make sure there were presents under the tree with that person’s name. She included a stranger in our family for the evening. How could I have a different approach to life? “I am the Light of the world…the Holy Spirit who lives in you can...