Monday, August 22, 2011

Grief Journal Helps Those Experiencing Devastating Loss

By Nico Bougas
Special to ASSIST News Service

BRADENTON, FL (ANS) -- It was 10.00 on a Tuesday night when Beth Marshall's phone rang. The incredible shocking news that followed would change her world forever. Her amazing, full-of-life, fun loving mother was gone. In the months that followed Beth suffered through sadness and debilitating pain. It was her journal that gradually began to help her heal.

Book cover

"I started to see that I was getting better and stronger," says Beth. "I could see through writing that I was gaining strength."

Out of her sorrow, Beth created a grief journal. The simple book became a resource that she used through her position as the Care Ministry Coordinator for New Spring Church, a congregation of about 10,000 people based in Anderson, South Carolina. She also sent journals to many of the families of the victims of 9/11 in New York City and Washington DC. The incredible response and need Beth has seen for the journal prompted her to take it to the next level with the help of Ambassador International, a Christian publishing house based in Greenville, South Carolina.

"I've known since the beginning that the Lord had big plans for it," Beth says. "That's what has kept me going."

A Time to Heal: A Grief Journal is the book that has emerged out of her experiences and is currently available through major retail outlets.

After assisting passengers aboard Delta flights for 25 years, Beth Marshall hung up her flight attendant wings in order to help people dealing with major life changes at her church. Six years ago Marshall accepted the position of Care Ministry Coordinator at New Spring Church, a congregation of about 10,000 people based in Anderson, South Carolina.

Just about everyone experiences a devastating loss at some point, but as a culture, Beth says it's difficult to know how to reach out to those who are grieving. "We send flowers or offer food, but we don't do anything that really touches the deep pain of losing someone we love," says Beth. A Time to Heal is a book you can confidently give to someone who is walking through a season of grief. Although the book is full of Bible verses, Beth says it's not just for Christians. "It's for anyone who feels stuck in grief."

I asked Beth Marshall what it was about journaling that made it so therapeutic. She replied that in journaling you can be completely honest and write down your own thoughts without embarrassment or fear of what others will think or say.

"You can dig deep into the depths of your soul and dredge up all the anger, the sorrow, the regrets, and the frustration and let it all hang out. And from there you can take the attitude of the Psalmist in Psalm 43, "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."

On the day of our interview she received the news that the book is being translated into Japanese so that those who have been devastated by the recent earthquake and tsunami can use it as a tool for healing.

A Time to Heal is a journaling guide through a season of grief. The journey, bathed in timeless scriptures from God's Word, will lead the reader to reflect, write, cry and hopefully, one day laugh again. The goal is to look at grief as a journey, rather than a permanent destination.

A Time to Heal by Beth Marshall (Ambassador International).

Nico Bougas is the International Coordinator of Hellenic Ministries ( He has a master's degree in communication from Wheaton Graduate School and M. Div and D. Min degrees from Trinity Theological Seminary. He previously worked for Youth for Christ in South Africa and was Editor of In Magazine and Christian Living TODAY and now serves as Consulting Editor to JOY Magazine. He is the author of five books, the latest being, "Day Lighters - 365 Quick-fire Devotions to Ignite Your Day" -available as an e-Book from For further, information contact:

No comments:

Post a Comment