Thursday, May 7, 2015

Embracing Grief

Kimberly Renee Coley
7 Sept.  1986 ~ 17 Dec. 2014
Just because my grief is deep, does not mean my faith is shallow. There is a strength in this grief. Only grief knows grief...and only grief is unafraid to embrace the depth of this sorrow.

It was January 2015 and my husband and I were in Oklahoma, as it was a Sunday evening, we dropped by a small church. The weather was bitterly cold and patches of snow were a reminder that winter was not yet finished with us. As we walked into the building, we were warmly greeted with handshakes and a smile, a good Baptist greeting, and then a question... "You’re the Coleys, aren’t you?" Another said, "I was in classes with your son at Heartland (Baptist Bible College)" while others began to tell us that they knew two of our daughters who had also graduated from HBBC. And then the expressions of condolences and sympathy began... "we are so sorry for your loss"... "I cannot imagine the loss of a child." 

This kind church family had heard about our Kimberly’s passing and had quickly responded with a card and a love-offering to help with our many unexpected financial needs. The kind of needs a missionary family, with five adult children living miles apart from each other, would incur during an unimaginable trauma such as ours. We were introduced to the pastor and then the pastor introduced me to his wife. I had no memory of ever meeting this young woman before. She was wearing a pink dress and her long dark hair framed her beautiful face. I smiled and she accepted my extended hand in the familiar Baptist greeting, but, unexpectedly, this kind woman drew me close to her and wrapped her arms around me. Her warm embrace was consoling to my heart in a way that words could not. As she continued to embrace me, I began wondering how she knew our Kimberly. And then I realized, it wasn’t our Kimberly she knew...this pastor’s wife, and mother of eight knew my grief, and it was with her grief that she embraced me and cried with me. 

Mrs. Michelle Bishop had lost her firstborn 19 year old son, Beau Bishop, almost a year ago in a one-car accident on February 10, 2014. 

Only grief knows grief...and only grief is unafraid to embrace the depth of this sorrow. Only grief is able to console grief with it’s silent embrace.

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort: Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God." ~ II Corinthians 1:3, 4