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Mother, son share their journey of grief and hope


‘In our culture, we don’t know what to do with the groans of people,” writes Josh Ross in Scarred Hope: A Mother and Son Learn to Carry Grief and Live with Joy.”

Surely he had me in mind when he wrote those words. 

I am uncomfortable when people cry. I will awkwardly pat you on the back, find a reason to walk away or give cheap platitudes. Ouch.

Beverly Ross and Josh Ross. “Scarred Hope: A Mother and Son Learn to Carry Grief and Live with Joy.” Independently published, 2020. 178 pages.

Beverly Ross and Josh Ross. “Scarred Hope: A Mother and Son Learn to Carry Grief and Live with Joy.” Independently published, 2020. 178 pages.

Thankfully, Ross, lead minister for the Sycamore View Church of Christ in Memphis, Tenn., and his mom, Beverly, coauthored this book not just for the wounded but for anyone willing to walk alongside a hurting friend.

The pair share their personal grief over the loss of Jenny Bizaillion, Beverly’s daughter and Josh’s sister, who died 10 years ago from a severe strep infection. The Rosses facilitate an honest conversation, asking, “Does God Cry,” “Does Everything Happen for a Reason?” and “Can Christians Go to God Angry?” 

In order for a gaping wound to heal, it requires time, bandages and the right ointment. “Scarred Hope” is the healing balm Christians need in their back pocket. 

We plan for emergencies — tornadoes, fires, floods — but do we know what to do in the seconds, minutes and days after the death of a child, an unexpected divorce or a cancer diagnosis? 

“Scarred Hope” is the healing balm Christians need in their back pocket.

Beverly’s advice: When your heart first breaks, take care of your physical self. Choose healthy foods, get good rest, drink water, focus on your breath, let yourself cry, seek counseling, don’t numb your pain, memorize Scripture, know who you can call, and be kind to yourself. 

That’s an overwhelming list to someone in early grief. 

But “time done well heals,” Beverly said in an interview with The Christian Chronicle. “When we just sit with time, without intentionality to it, it makes us bitter.” 

Time done with intention, she said, is time well done.

Beverly, founder and executive director of the Wise County Christian Counseling in Decatur, Texas, advises those grieving a loss to give themselves permission to be where they are, while also giving themselves permission to move through the pain and explore the deeper room of their heart. 

It takes bravery to personally explore the path of grief and healing, just as it takes bravery to walk with a grieving friend.

It takes bravery to personally explore the path of grief and healing, just as it takes bravery to walk with a grieving friend.

The world needs more people to hold space with others’ sorrow, said Beverly, whose husband, Rick, preaches for the Decatur Church of Christ. 

“There is something courageous and powerful about saying, ‘I am here. I don’t have all the answers. I can’t make the pain go away. But I can keep showing up,’” Beverly said.

And when you show up for a grieving friend, weigh your words. Phrases like, “I know exactly how you feel,” “God needed another angel” and “Everything happens for a reason” feel like asking people to deny their pain, said Josh. Don’t be afraid to speak comforting words, but also don’t be afraid to sit in silence. 

With intentional time, these deep, grief wounds will heal, and joy will come again.

“Our grief is a profound expression of our love,” Beverly said. “So joy can feel disloyal for someone in grief. But it is a brave move to allow that love to express itself through joy.”

What Beverly means: Don’t let the sadness of a death outweigh the joy of a life.

“Life’s storms are going to come. You have to start building a foundation now.”

“It’s not a matter of if we are going to grieve or if we are going to suffer or if we are going to come alongside others — it’s when we do,” Josh said. “Life’s storms are going to come. You have to start building a foundation now.”

And that foundation will determine if your scar brings up painful memories or stories of redemption, hope and restoration. Let’s work toward the latter. 

“Scarred Hope” would make an excellent Bible class topic or small group study in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It would also benefit a minister looking to expand their pastoral counseling skills.

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Filed under: Beverly Ross Christians Finding joy grief Josh Ross Reviews Scarred Hope Top Stories

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