Wednesday, February 23, 2011

“Dealing With Grief While Ministering: Wise Words from Minister Mary Edwards”

There is an unfortunate belief among some clergy (men and women) that transparency regarding inner pain is a sign of weakness or lack of faith. Therefore, many will hide their tears, their struggles and their pain to portray the image of a faith giant. For some, shedding tears or taking much needed time off to deal with a loss or a life-altering situation is to bring shame upon themselves and the vocation. Sometimes we find ourselves behaving like Moses who placed a veil over his face because he did not want the Israelites to see “the radiance” fading away (II Corinthians 3:13).

This behavior, however, is not healthy, spiritual or exemplary. When we pretend to be “iron men and women,” we give people the false impression that it is not Christ-like or holy to express our emotions. By example, we teach people the unhealthy technique of stuffing our emotions or denying their existence. While it is not recommended that a leader of any kind share every emotion and every feeling openly, it is important to “remove the veil” and allow people to see our humanity.

In today’s Shepastor we highlight excerpts from a blog article entitled, “Wise Words for Women,” by Minister Mary Edwards. In her article, “From Widowhood to Womanhood,” Minister Edwards shares wise words from her experience of abruptly becoming a widow and feeling the need to keep moving and ministering despite her pain and grief. May her insights provide an alternative approach and instruct all who mistake the “treadmill mentality” for faith and ministry.

Read Below and be blessed!

Shepastor Highlights: “Wise Words for Women” by Minister Mary Edwards
“From Widowhood to Womanhood: A wife in the morning and a widow in the afternoon.”

That’s how fast my life changed. And it can happen to anyone. In fact, it has happened to 13 million widows in the United States alone. What do you do? Who do you turn to for the answers you need?

I had to learn quickly. My husband, Rev. Eddie K. Edwards made his transition so fast that I wasn’t prepared. However, I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful to you…

Give Yourself Permission to Mourn

It’s okay to cry. In fact, I encourage you to do so. You will find that there is healing in tears. Regrettably, I didn’t allow myself to cry. One month following my husband’s death, I started a new ministry called Widows with Wisdom. The reason I didn’t allow myself to cry is because I was afraid that if I started I wouldn’t be able to stop. In fact, I had cried so many tears during his illness I suspected that they had dried up. So, instead of spending a lot of time grieving, I busied myself reaching out to other widows.

Confront Your Feelings…

Helping others is good. However, postponing a confrontation with your feelings by filing each day with frantic activity will only delay the grief process. Friends, the grief will remain until you deal with it.

Don’t allow others to tell you how to feel…

Don’t let anyone tell you how long you should grieve. It’s different for everyone. But if you don’t seem to handle it well, I encourage you to seek professional help.

To read more about Minister Edwards’ experience or to view her website, visit

Have you ever found yourself “wearing a veil” to cover grief, stress or anxiety? Do you have words of wisdom or insights for those who may struggle with this issue? We want to hear from you! Post a comment or send me an email at

Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,
Pastor Chris

1 comment:

  1. I too became a widow when my husband died after only 3 months of illness. I agree with all Mary said and more...some other advice: accept as many invitations out with others as you can, for they will stop sooner than later. Tell people it is OK to talk about your husband (or loved one). If you are a pastor, share your story with your church but don't make it the all consuming topic of each sermon or conversation. LET FRIENDS, FAMILY and CHURCH HELP. You have helped it is their turn to help our their pastor.
    and let the tears come as they will,...cry, cry, cry!!! and know that God cries with you!