Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Comfort All Who Mourn

It was about this time last year when I found myself trying to control the tears that just kept coming.  I had just been lost by my husband, somewhere around the bath cabinets & sinks room, at IKEA.  He must have darted down one of the many short cuts.  I was walking a bit slower and missed seeing which way he went to pursue the cabinet we had come to purchase for our new apartment. 

At that moment, something in me snapped.  The emotions began to force their way out and all I could do was duck down a row near the drying racks and hope no one saw me.  The tears came out in ugly heaving sobs and I just kept cycling a few words in my head, trying to calm myself.  Breathe.  Just breathe.  

I intentionally took breaths through my mouth, long and slow.  However, it still took me a few minutes to get myself somewhat composed.  When I felt like I could make my way to the warehouse space, full of flat boxes and palettes, without bursting into another round of tears,  I stepped out from behind the drying racks to head on my way.

Immediately, a young couple, who must have seen my emotional collapse asked, “Are you okay?”

I responded, my voice wavering, “I will be fine.”  It was as though I was willing it to be so.

Their kindness warmed my heart, but almost set the tears flowing again.  I was not fine, but hopefully I would be, maybe after I had a chance to process what had just happened.  I had never burst into tears before in public, at least not since I was a child. 

I rushed on, repeating in my head, breathe.  Just breathe.

I made my way through lighting and textiles.  As I found my way to the outdoors area, I found Jason walking back to find me.  I was agitated and I’m afraid I was not very kind to him. 

He was kind, though.  He tried to help me process what had just happened.  I couldn’t figure it out.

It wasn’t until a short time later, when I was a weepy mess over the grocery list and our menu for the week that something began to be clear. 

This was really that.

The pressures of each of these moments were doorways to the inward grief I was feeling.  The tears were outlets for the grief I was feeling about our move away from our home and life as we knew it in Utah.  The tears were for the changes I was experiencing since our move back to Ohio too.  I did not know where I fit in life anymore.

It is not unusual to grieve when change comes, whether a big change or a small one.  In fact, it is a good thing. 

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4 NIV).

I was experiencing a big change; and in the midst of it, I was mourning.

Trustworthy were His words.  Comfort came.  It didn’t come all at once, but slowly, over time. 

I began to see that Jesus knew the truth of these words because He would bring the comfort.  He is as Paul says, the “God of all comfort” and “our comfort abounds in Christ.” 

It was as I was reading Jesus' words to His disciples that I began to understand this again.    

It was almost like He was speaking to me:  “Jessica, do not let your heart be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.  My Father’s house has many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you I am going there to prepare a place for you, Jessica?”

In that moment, I began to take comfort in Him.  He knew I was troubled.  I did not know where I fit, but He did.  If I would trust Him, He would show me.  I could grieve.  I could wonder.  I could wrestle.  I could cry.  He would provide comfort. 

As I recognized this, I began to settle into my new home.  I began to embrace my role as homemaker and focus on the relationships and opportunities before me.  New patterns of life for a new place emerged.  

I discovered comfort was found in a person, just as Scripture said it would be, Jesus Christ.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me […] to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2).

This year, I look toward the smaller changes the fall is bringing with it. 

Mostly, I am looking forward to the changes--excited; though, I know a bit of mourning will happen along the way. 

Yet, I’m not alone.  My mourning will be met with comfort, because the God of comfort goes with me, every step of the way.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we mourn.  May we discover for the first time or the hundredth that Jesus meets our mourning with comfort when we turn toward Him.  May we find peace in moving where He leads.

Jessica :)

P.S.  Thank you to my husband who let me use his photo from Orchard Beach State Park in Michigan.


  1. Big changes often lead to big bursts of emotion from me as well. Thanks for sharing

  2. Thanks for stopping by Beth :) I think I usually do okay up to the actual change I'm experiencing. It is in the midst of the change that the grief usually hits me. And each instance is a little bit different--sometimes more, others less. This is true of how fast comfort is found too--sometimes it is easier to let go and trust than others. Blessings to you, friend.

  3. Oh, friend, mourning takes insight, courage, and surrender doesn't it? We have found leaving Utah has taken a similar journey as the loss of a loved one - we've had to find a "new normal." It's surprising the wave of grief that can hit us at times. We had the computer screen scrolling all of our albums last Christmas and Ken and I looked up just in time to see our small group pictures on the Green River. Surprising how you can miss people to the point of physical ache. But I praise Him because of that - that ability to love in this human form so large that it hurts. We praise, not because we feel good. We praise because He is good. And I am so glad that He crossed our paths. Blessing to you - and I get to be part of your change this fall! Allume, we are on our way!

  4. Yes. I give thanks for so many relationships that are the forever kind, even if I don't interact daily with everyone. I feel like the family of God has multiplied (for me) with each move we have made. It makes me smile for the abundance of relationships in the present and ache at the same time for the goodness of relationships I miss. I am looking forward to time together at Allume with you, Tobi. :)