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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Grief is a Gift

On Friday I was on a ladder scraping paint off the back of our house. The rain started coming down, but I was tucked under the eaves so I stayed a few more minutes. I stood there thinking about all of the musicians that had died recently. We lost Kenny Rogers, Joe Diffie, and Bill Withers. As I was thinking of them, as loud as a person can hear internal words, I heard these words, "Grief is a gift." It prompted me to think about losing my two brothers. The grief of losing my brother Mike truly changed my life because I wanted to change how I loved people. When you tuck into the Lord with heavy things, He creates beauty that could have never been there before. The words kept repeating in my head like a drum during all of this.

Grief is a gift. Grief is a gift. Grief is a gift.

Never in a million years could I have imagined that Denbigh would lose his brother Michael the next day to a tragic accident. It's a terrible thing to have in common with someone. We have now both lost a brother Michael. They both died days after their birthdays.

When you lose someone, you have this feeling that the world should stop and grieve with you. It was unnerving to me that the world kept on spinning when my brothers and babies died. You want to shout at people who are walking around like nothing happened. "Please grieve with me." In this strange world we are in right now, it feels a little like the world did stop to grieve with us. It is a sad and yet comforting reality. In some way, we are all grieving. We miss the people we love and want to be near them. We have a longing to be more intentional. May it be so. May our hollow relationships and empty activities be replaced with depth, gratitude, and value.

I know there are people who feel sad for others and there are empaths. We empaths feel the emotions of others. I once touched my mother on my brother's birthday and felt a wave of grief so strong that I released her as if I had touched lightning. It's the same with my husband. I can quietly wade through my own grief with Jesus, but his grief is unbearable. It's so palpable to me. I can hardly breathe at times. The ache is so intense. I prefer the hard moments, the raw times of truth with others, but this ache is terrible beyond words. Please pray for my tender hearted husband.

Grief is a teacher.

I have learned some things about grief as we have surrendered close family and six babies. Don't ever fight it. Don't try to cheer any one out of it either. Let the horrible weight of the thing settle in on you. Use it to rip apart every selfish part of you and sit with it. Beg Jesus to take every single ounce of it to bring Him glory. May the one taken by the last great enemy to be destroyed (death) be used to bring many to salvation. I am not suggesting that you don’t get help if you need it. I am conveying the power of God to do something beyond our comprehension when we walk through things with Him instead of running from them.

There is a time to grieve. Take that time.

I also learned to grieve by giving. Sitting with the broken is home to me. I can't tell you how many me toos I utter under bridges. It's the strangest sense of belonging. I don't belong in a place, but with a people. It's healing beyond words. So, you'll find us out tossing gift cards and food to homeless people this week to honor our Michaels. We won't be yelling, "Towanda," like in Fried Green Tomatoes. We'll be yelling, "Tomichael!" To God be the glory.

There are wide bits of redemption already being woven into this story. Take heart.

Michael was a kind and caring young man. He was an engineer, loved gutting houses, loved his church and friends, and rebuilding cars. He died helping a friend. He went out with his boots on. Denbigh is flying to South Carolina to be present when they bury his brother on Friday. They are moving his body from Tennessee to South Carolina to be buried near his mother’s home. Please keep her and all of the family in your prayers. Pray for Denbigh's travel safety too. Thank you kindly.

If you'd like to help us give gift cards to the homeless in his honor, you can give at thebohotable.org

Cry if you need to.

Grief is a gift.


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