About the Author

Grace P. Cho is a Korean American writer, poet, speaker, and the editorial manager at (in)courage. She believes telling our stories can change the world and desires to elevate women of color’s voices in the publishing industry. Learn more at @gracepcho and gracepcho.com.

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  1. The North American church needs a theology of suffering–a system of belief that allows for the very obvious truth that all is not well on this planet. Even though God has given us the tools in His Word, we persist in our “at leasts” and our happy talk and our pain management strategies that (in the church, at least) center largely around entertainment and food.
    Thank you for your coffee shop meditation, a gift that invites others into that space of lament. We know how the story ends, and “all manner of things shall be well,” but for right now, there are days when we need permission to feel the ache and pray over the unfulfilled longings.
    Blessings to you, Grace.

  2. Oh thank you for writing this. Learning so much about grief – and the Church’s lack of lament – in this season of life, and feeling God’s prompt to begin to write about it. Grateful to see you’ve done the same. x

  3. Thank you Grace. You “get” it. Mourning and grieving are not about slapping a bandage of cliches on them. Its about sitting with it and being fully and completely present in the “now”. Bless you for your authentic honesty.

  4. Grace,
    I try to encourage grieving friends that there are no points awarded for stoicism. God gave us emotions and tears for a reason….to be used. Weeping is cathartic…not only on an emotional level, but on a scientific level. Our body releases calming hormones when tears are shed which actually gives us a feeling of relief after holding in pent up emotions. And to have someone weep with you, like how Jesus wept with His friends at the death of Lazarus, nothing is more comforting than having the burden of your grief shared. Having been on both sides….leave the cliches, the pat phrases, even the scripture behind and just be there with someone who is grieving. Rather than fighting against the waves of grief, float and go with them. Excellent post.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

  5. Without the crucifixion there’d be no resurrection. There is a time for grief and we need to go through it to experience joy later.

  6. Grace, I am so sorry about your friend’s loss. I understand what you are saying about mourning with those who mourns. It is the most hardest thing to do as we want so much to help, to help them through this dark time, to remind them that we will get through this together. I too know all too well about loss. I used to think that if we just keep thinking positive and reminding them of better days, it would all get better. I have found out that loss is such an incredible deep hurt that no amount of words could take away the pain even with the best intentions. Losing my best friend of over 40 years in January still hurts today, right now as much as that day I received the call from her husband at 3am in the morning that she’s gone. My heart fell into a million pieces and I cannot imagine my life without her. She was only 46 years old and life was just starting to get better for her. We had plans to grow old together, to sit on the porch, sip some sweet tea and watch our grandkids play. She had a brain aneurysm and it happened so fast, we had no time to digest anything. So yes this grief is so hard to bear and I know or so I have heard that in time, this pain will lessen and like a scar, it will heal. What I know is that, my life moving forward will have no memories of her yet everywhere I look, every turn I make are memories of her presence. That is what is hard to bear daily. It would be easy if we did not live and share our entire lives together, raising her son and my 3 kids together. She was their second mom, the more cooler mom. And now, I am just are in a daze and wondering how will I ever survive the next 30 years without her. Thank you for sharing this. Praying for healing for your friend and thanking our God for bringing people we need to comfort us, encourage us and allowing our hearts to heal.

    • Maylee, I am so terribly sorry for the loss of one so so dear to you. Thank you for sharing your grief with us. I pray that you will know Him in an even more intimate way and experience Him as your Great Comforter. Be patient and gentle with yourself, just as He is with you. Blessings.

    • Maylee,

      So sorry for the loss of your sweet friend. Everyone grieves differently. There is no one way or time limit on grief. May God become more intimate with you. May you feel His loving arms around you hugging you tightly & crying with you. I pray for His comfort & peace to overwhelm you mind, body & soul. Take time to grieve & don’t rush the healing He is sending you!

      ((((((((((Hugs))))))))))

    • Maylee,
      I am deeply sorry for your loss. As hard as each moment is, I hope and pray that you will find the joy again in your memories of your friend.
      Have a blessed day,
      Penny

    • Oh Maylee, I’m so sorry for your loss. Praying for you as you grieve the many moments you planned to share with your friend and praying for her family as well.

  7. Thank you!!! I’m in a grieving season right now. Lost my 24year old son in a tragic motorcycle accident a little over a year ago, and just last week lost my Mamaw, 89, unexpectedly. They both died on the 27th, their last words to be was “I’ll call you back later.” I also experienced the miscarriage of a grandchild.
    I think those of us in grief just want someone to recognize the pain, be with us in it, and not try to fix it or push us to “better.” It makes the entire process a little bit more confusing and difficult than it already is! Thanks for sharing this today.

  8. I will tell you the truth – one thing I’m learning is to walk alongside someone in pain and to also not let it overwhelm me. I tend to ‘overcarry’ burdens in my heart, if that makes any sense to anyone out there. I am learning that sharing someone’s burden means being there in the midst of the mess and bringing them to Jesus and also remembering that it’s not all up to me to do All of the carrying. Jesus does the carrying. He is the Healer. He is the ultimate comforter. He is bringing others alongside as well. I am but one vessel He is using. It is not all up to me. Thankfully I do not have that power. My job is to keep my eyes and heart open and respond as the Spirit leads and always bring their needs to Jesus.
    Right now in my closest circle there is a close family friend’s rare and extremely painful and debilitating medical condition, a brother-in-love losing a parent in the late stages of Alzheimer’s, a dear sister-in-love who is losing her battle with cancer and dear brother caring for her, plus the ongoing grief of a parent in prison and the list goes on and on…as it does for each of us! Carrying one another’s burdens can feel overwhelming when I forget. Sometimes I forget to let Jesus do the heavy lifting and think it’s all up to me. Sometimes I forget to trust Him to do and be all I can never do or be. When I feel discouraged and hear that voice saying I’m not doing ‘enough’ to care for all those in my circle of influence, it’s important for me to remember that He carries us all, and He is always enough.
    Anyway, I thought I’d share what I’m still learning, in case there’s anyone else out there like me.

    • Hi Annie. Thanks for sharing this so perfectly. I tend to overcarry and also feel like I’m not doing enough. Close family and friends are going thru many trials and tribulations. I have my own stuff as well.

      Peace and Blessings to you.

    • Annie,
      Over carry is a good way to put it, and by doing that we can feel weighed down, but we can be comforted by knowing that, “When you see only one set of footprints in the sand, it is then that I am carrying you.”like my favorite poem states.
      Have a blessed day,
      Penny

    • Thank you so much, Annie!! I tend to be afraid of other people’s pain because there’s just so much, and I’ll likely be worrying about them and praying for them (but mostly worrying about them) long after it’s no longer an issue. Thank you for reminding me that we don’t have to be afraid, because it’s God who does the carrying.

      • That’s so good ! We don’t have to fear being overwhelmed by the pain of others Because He carries them, us, and us all. Thanks for that, Emily B.

  9. Grace,

    Job’s three friends did just that. They came & sat with him for seven days. Not saying a word. They mourned with him. Emily P. Freeman said it best in her book Grace for the Good Girl: “We need to take off our masks & be real”. It is absolutely ok to hurt & not be alright. We live in a sin sick world. It is our God given right to grieve losses & cry about the way things are. Like so many people my first reaction is to want to help out in some way. When my neighbor lost her last living child I took food over to her. I also sat with her for a while. Listening to her mourn. Having her talk about her boys. Being the shoulder she needed to cry on. I pray for friends & hurt when they hurt. This world needs more healing not platitudes or quick responses. We need honest true healing from the inside. Each one needs to sit with someone who lost a loved one or friend, hug them, express concern & yes even crying with them. Letting them know it’s ok to not be ok! Grief & pain hurt. There is no easy way around it. We must go through the dark valley-but remember that God is with us all the time. We need to be His hands & feet here on Earth helping others go through their trials.

    Blessings 🙂

  10. Grace,
    I am sorry for your loss, thank-you for sharing so honestly.
    Yes “bear it”, and pray for God to take care of the rest.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

  11. Thank you…Thank you…so much validation. Exactly how I am feeling so much.
    Bless you for the honesty you have shared….

  12. Oh Grace!! Well said dear one…well said.
    I’m in an intense season of grieving right now, have been since January. I’ve lost
    count of the times I’ve been told I just have to give it to God and move on. I thank God for that day, a
    few weeks ago, when He encouraged me to share my struggles with my (In)Courage sisters. Bev stepped up, expressed sympathy and more importantly, encouraged me to get help. And I did! Did that “fix me”, as everyone at my church hoped it would? No But it is giving me a safe place to grieve along with others who are grieving.
    Tuesday night I sat at a table with three precious women who have lost husbands in the last 7 months. And right
    there in the middle of my own grief I got to hold hands and listen to their stories.
    Interestingly enough, in the middle of all of this, I’m doing Jen’s study, “Just Open the Door”. The body of Christ would do well to apply biblical principles such as the one Grace shared from Romans. In his second letter to the Corinthian believers, Paul calls God “the God of all comfort” and goes on to say that God comforts us “in our affliction” so that we can comfort others in their affliction….let’s step up and do it♡♡

    • Oh, I love how your (in)sisters encouraged you! Grieving in community is life-giving, and I love how you said that you got to “hold hands and listen to their stories” — we all long for that when we’re grieving.

  13. So very timely and well said. My friend with 3 children just lost her husband very unexpectedly. It feels like anger and hurt and deep grief from a well with no bottom. And yes, though we have hope, the loss is no less real in her life. There truly is a time for mourning, and thank you for this reminder.

  14. Thanks to all of you who have shared. I really appreciate what you shared Grace. In January I lost my precious Mom and only three months later my Dad passed away. It feels like it only happened yesterday. The pain is so great. We lost our little girl when she was 10, a tragic and unnecessary thing. We were in a state park and a man was speeding and lost control hitting our Amy. We found that people were so ill equipped to deal with us. Our church family was great at feeding us! I had one dear friend who would sit with me, holding my hand, crying with me. When our family was literally falling apart our pastor’s advice was that we needed to renew our minds. I will pray for all the ladies who are hurting. Pray for healing, comfort, courage and grace as they walk through their loss.

    • Becky,
      I am deeply sorry for the painful losses that you have endured. “Renew our minds,” is comforting, and good advice. Thank-you for sharing despite what you are going through.
      Have a blessed day,
      Penny

    • Oh Becky, I’m so sorry for your losses and for the ways that your church family didn’t know how to carry you through. Praying that you find healing and grace as you continue to walk this journey of grief.

  15. When I lost my husband eight years ago, to a fatal heart attack, I was still grieving his lost 2-3 years later, I kept my feelings to myself, put on a poker face at work. I happen to run into an friend I the park one day walking…..to this day we walk 3-4 times a week. But, it was her support that let me walk, talk and cry and cry and cry…she didn’t say much but let the tears flow. Like so many stated above we tend to want to make the feeling go away for the other person, or put on a poker face, we don’t allow one’s self or others grief to express the grief of that person. I am ever gratiful for her friendship.

    When, a friend passes, I tend to come by and take the grieving person on a walk. Is it the fresh air, the exercise, I don’t know but it has helped several friends.

  16. This is so timely as my friend just lost her young husband this past week. Thank you for this message!

  17. This is soooo very powerful. This is very real to me right now. Thank you for giving permission to live in my “right now emotion”. God bless you for sharing your heart.

  18. I’m afraid. . . that I can’t bear it. Somehow I struggle to believe that God has enough strength to still carry me if I add other people’s burdens to my own.