Seventeen years ago my dad took his last breath on earth and entered the glorious presence of his Creator. It seems like yesterday that he was coaching my twin’s baseball team and driving his ‘68 Charger down Cruisin’ Grand. We still miss him dearly.

I can vividly remember his memorial service. It was a celebration of a life lived wholeheartedly for Jesus. We rejoiced in his life and the fact that he was fully complete with his Savior and Lord. But the time that followed revealed the depths of the pain of loss. Following the service, dozens of family members and friends brought food over to my parent’s home, and the time of sharing continued. My mom loved being surrounded by people and found comfort in the company of many. Meanwhile, another close family member retreated to the bedroom in despair, bothered by the dozens of guests, and longing to grieve in quiet and solitude. I remember being somewhat baffled by both responses and probably just overwhelmed with caring for four kids under the age of 8.

This illustration makes me think of the differences between Mary and Martha as they grieved their brother Lazarus. Luke 11:20 says, “So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.” Martha ran to Jesus and pleaded with him for Lazarus’ life. Mary sat alone, weeping over her brother. Throughout history, these two women have received more scrutiny than most Hollywood actresses! Was one wrong? Was one, right? Could it be that both were perfectly demonstrating who God had created them to be? This passage does not communicate judgment regarding a right or wrong way to grieve. Death is not part of God’s design. It’s sad, it’s painful, and it reminds us of our humanity. But death does happen in our broken world and grief is the natural response. What grief looks like though is unique to the one doing the grieving. Mary and Martha both felt free to grieve as they were naturally inclined, with the assurance that Jesus, their Rabbi, would love them just as they were.

Fourteen years later my mom joined my dad in glory. It was then that I realized that both my mom and the other family members were the healthier ones; embracing grief in their own personal ways. Losing a second parent often triggers repressed emotions that may have existed with the loss of the first one. It was in losing my mom that I found space to fully grieve my dad. I finally allowed myself the freedom of grieving both parents whom I dearly loved and desperately missed.

Pastor Chip Whitman used to say, “grief will wait”. I have seen this to be true for myself and for many others. Sometimes our souls are in so much agony that we just don’t know how to approach grief. Jesus says in Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” God longs to bring comfort to those who are grieving no matter where they are in the process. He feels our sorrows and he weeps with us.

Are you grieving a loss today? Do you feel like you can approach your Abba with honesty no matter how ugly it may feel? Are you willing to receive his comfort? If you are feeling stuck in your grief, please reach out to the Care & Counseling Department. We would love to walk with you in your journey of grief. Most importantly, call out to your God. He longs to bring you comfort and peace.

Lynette Fuson 
Director of Care & Counseling

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