Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Grief

Grief makes you feel stretched thin. It makes your heart heavy. In its thickest fog, it is blinding. You cannot pull over and wait for it to lift. Your life goes on. The world feels like fiction, like walking around a movie set. Nothing seems real. Time sits still.

Then it fades. You get caught up in something else, and you have an instant when your loss is not on your mind. It is like playing in the ocean as a child. You get caught up in the moment with your friends, and you completely forget that waves are lapping at your back.

That's when it happens. An enormous wave overcomes you, out of nowhere. You find yourself coughing, sputtering, and gasping for air. Your eyes are burning. You can't breathe. You weren't expecting it at all.

I remember a specific moment like this after we lost our son. I had been to the grocery store a week or so after losing him. I was driving home. Ephraim was chattering away in the backseat. The thought then occurred to me that my second little boy would never be sitting back there with him. I wept. Chris Tomlin's "Amazing Grace" came on the radio. " God, my Savior, has ransomed me..." I wept. My shoulders shook. My lungs heaved with breath. I was overwhelmed. I was not prepared. One cannot be.

This has been a hard day. My husband had to say goodbye to a friend. My heart is just shattered for his family. Fortunately, I also know what this family is all about... or who. The Turner family loves Jesus. Bryan lived his life in passionate pursuit of our God. His family did and will continue to do the same.

Our God will envelope his wife, lift her head, sustain her, give her unnatural peace and irrational hope. Our God will hold her close when the unexpected waves crash over her. Our God will be her husband, her love, and her comfort. Our God is her all in all. Our God will cover her boys in His fatherly love. Our God will be glorified through Bryan's death, as he was in every moment of Bryan's life. Our God will be lifted high.

I know that God's glory was Bryan's highest purpose. I know his family will find comfort in glorifying God because it is what Bryan would want them to do. I know that his wife and children will be strengthened, comforted, and brought close to the Father. I know that God draws near to the brokenhearted. I know He is in their midst.

I know that grief is hard.

I know that we can help.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am going to beg again for financial help for the Turners. I'll warn you in advance that this won't be the last time.

Imagine yourself in this situation. You are a mother with 2 young sons. Your family's primary breadwinner has been taken from you, and it was completely unexpected. You are devastated. And on top of the crushing emotional grief, the reality of finances weighs heavy. Please join with me to lift this part of the burden from her shoulders. She has enough to carry.

This is pure religion.

Please donate to the Bryan Turner Family Fund at Community First Credit Union. If you cannot make it to the bank, you can mail your gifts to Community First Credit Union, Post Office Box 2600, Jax, FL 32232. The check must be made payable to the Bryan Turner Family Fund.

(I will be brainstorming some creative fundraising ideas in the coming weeks. Tell me your ideas, and join with me.)


  1. I have no words... except to agree with everything you wrote. Grief is hard.. only God can sustain us.

  2. Is there any way to do some kind of bake sale or cake/pie raffle type thing?

  3. That's a great idea, Jen!

    One of my other friends suggested and may coordinate a walk/run for them.

  4. I was totally thinking a bake sale too. I'd be happy to help with that! Thanks, by the way, for sharing all of this... God has really gifted you with an ability to beautifully articulate what a lot of people feel, but can't find the words to express. I'm glad that you are using your creative outlets as a vessel to help Joy and the boys.

  5. University Baptist is asking for gift cards to Target, Walmart, gas cards, VISA cards, etc.

  6. Quincy and Wally are in the process of setting up a PayPal account for online giving as well.

    Kim suggested a "benefit day" with a bake sale, crafts, maybe a raffle of some sort, etc. I think that's a great idea, and am going to try to run with it!

  7. Jennifer, I am sure that a lot of people at the church and school would love to help, as well. We could even check into doing one after school starts up so that everyone is back on campus.

  8. That's what I was thinking, whoever you are. ;) (Seriously, who is this?) Lemme know so we can discuss. :)