|A Sabbath Rest for Grief - Exploring Soul Care When You're Grieving with Edie Melson|
I had the privilege of interviewing Edie Melson, author of Soul Care When You’re Grieving. This is the third and latest book in the Soul Care series, which consists of Soul Care When You’re Weary, and Soul Care for Writers.
There are many books about handling grief on the market today, but this one is unique in the perspective of combining simple art and creativity with caring for our emotions. The goal of the Soul Care books is to give people who are in a crisis or busy time a way to not be overwhelmed with a big Bible study. Each book contains five short chapters, devotions, and five creative connections.
Edie discovered the creative healing path while helping her mother and sister care for her father who was an Alzheimer’s patient. This type of care requires continual monitoring and can drain a person physically and emotionally. She didn’t have time to participate in a long, in-depth Bible study.
When Edie cried out to God for help, He told her to give Him the bits and pieces of time when she had a break. She started to doodle in a notebook with colored pencils while reading a verse of scripture. Other times she focused on a word such as faith or trust and scribbled whatever came to mind.
She discovered that exploring her thoughts this way brought peace to her mind. It was a mental Sabbath rest. It helped control her apprehension and focus on God. As she did, He filled her up.
Edie shares about different losses she has experienced in her family and friendships. She lost her father, father-in-law, best friend, and daughter-in-law in unrelated circumstances.
Grief is not a gift, but we can learn lessons that can help us lift others up, and for when we may experience this pain again.
- We shouldn't judge someone else's method of bereavement as right or wrong just because it is not like ours. She discovered that each loss affects us in distinctive ways, and the way we engage those grieving moments are mixed for everyone who feels the heartbreak.
- Counseling is important. We don’t need to traverse these moods alone. We should be willing to ask for help. Some members of Edie’s church stepped up and provided anonymously to a fund for the family to receive counseling after the loss of her daughter-in-law.
- Healing is a continual undertaking. It is important not to bottle up feelings. Holidays and certain milestones will be difficult. Edie’s son who lost his wife said it best, “I will cry when I feel like crying, and I will laugh when I feel like laughing because I loved her more than anything.”
- Continue the passage of Sabbath rest through easy art forms, reading, and praying. As we delve further into scripture, new revelation can emerge that brings us closer to our Savior and continues to heal our minds. Edie shared how the Bible took on new meaning to her and she drank in familiar Bible verses on a deeper level than ever before.
- We should give ourselves grace to manage whatever emotions surface and make sure to use scripture as our medication. Grief can appear again unexpectedly and should be grasped accordingly. The varying stages of our despair such as denial, anger, and questions don’t always affect us in the same order. Having experienced a certain feeling doesn’t mean that one is over.
- Allow joy to return. Don’t allow guilt over feeling happy again to rob the memories of the loved one. It’s okay to live life again.
Since every human has experienced angst in some form, this manual of hope takes us through the halls of emotional pain to discover God’s Word in a fresh new way. The creativity projects connect us to the parts of our hearts that seek release.
Edie says that it is hard to process your mental state when you are in the dark. Journaling, coloring, or examining what a cell phone pic can say to us can flip the light on feelings we need to discover and release to the Lord.
We should remember that broken hearts don’t only result through death. We can grieve over loss of relationships, careers, and opportunities. No matter which one we face, we know we have a heavenly Father who cares about our pain, and we need to let Him reach in to heal us. One of our responsibilities as Titus 2 women is to encourage, pray, and support each other.
I hope you will consider using this collection of devotions, prayers, and creativity to connect with our heavenly Father on a soul level and keep your eyes open to a fourth companion book sometime in the future, Soul Care for Empty Nesters.
Thank you, Edie, for sharing your heart with us and for giving us the soul food that God gave to you through this book. You can connect and learn more about Edie at her website, www.ediemelson.com.
Please feel free to join the conversation and share your thoughts.