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The Gift of Grief

Updated: Oct 6, 2023



I was deep in conversation with my mother-in-law—a seasoned missionary and immensely wise woman—when we started discussing a situation she had witnessed the previous week that touched her. To give context, my mother- & father-in-law have been missionaries in Kenya for almost 30 years. Through ministry, raising funds, and traveling, they have developed a host of deep and rich relationships that span decades. They have recently moved back to the States (its own kind of grief to be sure) and have been visiting friends, collecting things, and planting new roots. On one such visit, they spent time with one of their dear friends, Mark, who had lost his sister, wife, and daughter within months of each other during the previous year. They met for lunch with Mark, Molly (the woman who received his wife’s lungs), and Molly’s boyfriend. Over lunch, Mark and my in-laws were able to tell Molly about her lung’s previous owner. What was even more touching, notes my mother-in-law, was that her boyfriend was sitting there pretty reserved the entire time, clearly wrestling with something. After Mark told the story of telling his wife that it was ok to let go, but not wanting her to let go, the boyfriend started crying and said, “I lost my wife last year too and I didn’t want to let her go either.” There was instant connection and immediate relief that flooded over him as the words escaped his mouth. Someone who understands. Mark was then able to minister to this man’s broken heart. When processing the situation later with Mark, my mother-in-law asked how he helps all these grieving people while he himself is grieving. He answered, “God has given me the capacity for this type of ministry for this time. I don’t know how long it will be, but God has given me this gift for now.” Grief is a complicated topic for most. Grief is often seen as “something to get through” or the result of something terrible happening. But as the saying goes, there are two sides to every coin. Grief is an indicator of love. It is precisely the loss of that love, hope, future, etc. that induces the experience of grief. The gift of grief is this: Connection. Grief invites comfort. Comfort itself is a gift. After all, God made us for community. Even from the beginning, God saw that it was “not good” for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). We were never designed to “go it alone” or just “grit through things.” How compassionate that God would give us the gift of others who have the capacity to feel what we are feeling. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 it says: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Because of the gift of Jesus and the comfort He provides us in our suffering, we are then able to impart that to others and through our comfort, comfort them. What a beautiful gift! Here is where we reach another dichotomy—we have all known and seen people who when rocked with tragedy, are utterly destroyed. Not only do they destroy themselves and implode in their grief, but they also take down entire families, communities even, in their perpetual suffering. Is this to say that tragedy is not worth suffering over? Certainly not. It is merely to say that self and mutual destruction is only one option for how we steward our grief. You, maybe like me, have also seen or been on the receiving end of the generosity and comfort when someone who is intimately familiar with grief has walked alongside of you while you were in a season of grief. There is nothing like the gift of having someone join you in your suffering and say “I have also felt that way.” What is the difference between those who are destroyed and sent into chaos in their grief and those who use their grief to flow through them to help and comfort others in their suffering? Choice. (And God’s grace.) Choice in this context can mean a variety of things. Choice on actions to take. Choice on receiving others' comfort. Choice on perspective… There are some great examples and books written on this topic that would be great points for further exploration including “Man's Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl and in Corrie Ten Boom’s story commemorated in “The Hiding Place”. I highly recommend you read them both. While both of these books discuss the horrors of the holocaust, they also both show the difference between those who are destroyed by suffering and those who find meaning and purpose in it and the resulting differences in their actions. I am reminded of the parable of the talents found in Matthew 25: 14-30. Could this also be true of suffering? How do we steward that well? How can we experience the fullness of grief instead of being crushed by it? If you are currently going through a season of suffering, here are a few things to try:

  1. Invite the Lord into your suffering. Do not harden your heart—which is both a risk and an urge that happens to most during grief. Keep your heart open to Him and His love which is where ultimate restoration will come from.

  2. Acknowledge that your grief is real. There is real grief because there is real love in the world.

  3. Ask the Lord to show you what you can do to steward your grief well. Not everyone is going to be a Mark, and the Lord may not be asking you to share your testimony overseas or at luncheons. But He does have a plan for how He can work in your story for your good and His glory. Ask Him what that looks like for you.

  4. Find someone to walk alongside—someone who can mentor you and perhaps someone you can mentor. We all need a Paul and Barnabas (See Acts 9).

  5. Don’t be afraid to take the next step. We all need to start somewhere.

A super important note: have grace with yourself through this process. Not every day will you have the capacity. In fact, it is not your capacity we are talking about at all—it’s through the Lord and His strength that this can take place. The Lord can use your grief as you are crying by yourself in your room just as He can while you are out with friends. You do not have to put on a mask to be a good steward. People need to know what grief looks like and how to go through it. It is absolutely not to be shoved down—this is a terrible example of how to steward grief well! So don’t be afraid to be genuine—that is precisely what people are attracted to and need to see because it gives them permission to also experience their grief and suffering in an effective and transparent way. Here is the point: life is super hard and super messy AND the Lord sees you in your suffering. With your participation, He is inviting you to take what the enemy meant for evil, and turn it for good. Many blessings on your journey as you steward what God has given you to hold and that through our grief, we can both receive and impart the gift of grief—comfort.



 


🏌️‍♀️ A massive shoutout to our incredible golfers, sponsors, and volunteers, especially our Presenting Sponsor—Con Carpet Tile + Design! 🌟 Your skills, generosity, and hard work made our 7th Annual Golf Classic an absolute success. 🙌⛳


To our golfers, your passion on the course was infectious! What an exciting accomplishment, Brad Goss, on hitting a hole in one on hole #12! Way to make a great tournament even better! 🏆 Huge thanks to our sponsors and donors for making it all possible, and a heartfelt appreciation to our dedicated volunteers – your behind-the-scenes magic did not go unnoticed. ✨


Check out the amazing moments captured in our Facebook photo album! 📸


Plus, we're thrilled to announce that together, we raised over $42,000 for our cause! 🌟Your support has made a significant impact, and we're grateful for the positive change we can create together. 🤝 We’re so blessed to be part of a fantastic community coming together to offer hope to our community! 🌟🏌️‍♂️




 


We are so blessed to have a team of partners and volunteers who walk alongside us in our mission to offer peace to the families in our community. Thank you for your generosity that allows us to provide high-quality, affordable counseling services for individuals, children, and families. You are offering hope to a community who so desperately needs it. From the bottom of our hearts, we offer our thanks.

  • Thank you, John & Kelly Whitwood, for you heart to help others. We count it a blessing to have your support for our mission.

  • A special thank you to Cyndi Eskina, Sonshine Sports Apparel, iPlumbKC, Pinnacle Family Advisors, Debbie Miller - Sr Ins Advisor, Stephanie & David Schwirtz, Lona Bremer - Reece Nichols, Oades Brothers Tire & Auto, A.L. Huber, B&H Freight Line, and Maywood Printing for your Golf Classic Sponsorships. With your help, this tournament was a huge success!

  • Thank you to Tom & Natalie Goe and Midwest Ministers' Fellowship for your Golf Classic Registrations. We are so pleased you could join us for our amazing tournament.


To all of our faithful monthly and recurring supporters — THANK YOU from our Peace Partnership team! – Stone AMP SEO, Jeff & Lacey Cherry, Carolyn Eldridge, Zane & Melissa Morerod, Mark McDonald, Jondy & Heather Britton, Matt & Kristy Newton, Clayton & Pam Wooldridge, Mark & Cathy McGaughey, Greg & Jennifer Spears, Roger & Jennifer Madsen, Brent & Amanda Miller, Mike & Jan McGraw, Midwest Accident Reconstruction Services, Stan & Deb Oglesby, Willie & Adia Valdes, Linda Hartman, Dave & Rosie Bourland, Rudy & Stacy Blahnik, Mike & Tracy Pruitt, Sandra King, Diane Smith, Dan & Gigi Rippee, Andre & Rose Fantasma, Kevin Quinn, Scott & Lydia Hurley, Jon & Naomi Thompson, John & Keshia Otradovec, Tamara Stroud, Rick & Kathy Daulton, Church at Coffee Creek, John & Vicki Hefner, Tarae Thibeaux, Jenny Glasgow, Teddy Koehler, Summit Springs Church, Brandon & Vanessa Blanchard, and Rick & Jan Britton.


We appreciate each and every one of you!


Interested in hearing more about our mission? Contact our Director of Development, Naomi Thompson, at: 816.272.0653 or naomi@peacecounseling.org to find out how you can join our team of Partners. To make a donation through our website, please click on the link below.





 



Have you or someone you know been helped by Peace Partnership or Genesis Counseling? If so, would you please consider paying it forward to help another find healing along their journey? We are asking anyone who is not currently partnering with us financially to consider donating $100/year for the next 3 years to help make a difference in someone else’s life. Collectively, we can help SO MANY PEOPLE! Please consider a gift today. Call the office for help getting your gift set up or choose a recurring donation on our website here. We are so grateful for your help changing lives!


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