Sadness is something that touches everyone inside the glass house in a unique way. But what happens when the most searing of losses hits a leader’s family? How does a ministry family process the deepest measure of grief while simultaneously leading a church?
Erik and Katrina Reed of The Journey Church in Lebanon, Tennessee talk about the short yet impactful life of their son Kaleb, processing their loss publicly, and how grief has marked their ministry.
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Quotes from this episode:
“People say, ‘I can’t imagine going through what you went through.’ I just tell them, ‘Yeah. Neither could we.’ You can’t imagine it and feel the grace of God. You don’t get grace from imagining; you get grace in it. … It’s hand to mouth every day.”
“Our pain is our pain. Our trial has been our trial. As Elisabeth Elliot said, ‘That is what God has put in your hands to be faithful with.’ It could be the loss of a child, a work problem, a relationship or marriage problem—it’s still the thing in your hands. It hurts, and it’s real.”
“We’ve been honest with [our church] about hurts and pains. We never tried to keep ‘the face’ on.”
“There is no one-size fits all for grief. There just is no formula. What’s good for one person isn’t good for the next. In some settings, it helps to get back into community and fellowship. In others, some time of withdrawal is healthy.”
“As we were thrown into [Kaleb’s] suffering we had to learn how to see God in the midst of suffering. We didn’t have a theology of suffering. We had to piece together a worldview that would help us walk out life with a ton of uncertainty.”
“The hardest thing for me is when people walk away without talking you, without telling you why they’re leaving, people you’ve invested in. … When you see people as friends and not ‘just church members’ it hurts a lot when they leave.”
“My first ministry is my family. … I don’t have to do everything at church to be a good pastor’s wife.”
Check out Knowing Jesus Ministries, launched to help others understand Scripture and love Jesus through hard times and doubtful seasons: https://www.knowingjesusministries.co/
Learn more about respite events for parents who have suffered the death of a child: https://www.knowingjesusministries.co/events/hopeful-sufferers-weekend-spring-2022
Follow Erik on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ErikReed
Follow Erik on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PastorErikReed
Executive Producer: Joy Allmond
Produced and Edited by: Angie Elkins Media
Original Music by: Robert Elkins
Art Work by: Cameron Spooner