In this episode:
Terri Prahl knows what it’s like to leave the hospital with empty arms after the loss of a child. She talks about processing through grief and learning to trust God fully amid unimaginable emotional pain.
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Loss of a Child
Terri and her husband were a young college-aged couple, married for three years, when a heartbreaking loss changed their lives forever.
With her home nursery all set up to welcome their first child, Terri left the hospital with empty arms, and instead of sending out birth announcements, she and her husband were planning a funeral.
In this episode, Terri walks us through what it was like to process from numb to self-harm, to deep pain. One of the most raw and tender episodes I’ve ever recorded, this interview touched me so much.
Terri Prahl is an aspiring author whose greatest desire is to encourage believers to make every effort to pursue Christ and love Scripture. Terri is an introverted and introspective, creative soul who loves walking in nature, studying Scripture, reading non-fiction, perusing flea markets, and mentoring young women. She writes about her faith journey of resting and wrestling at www.terriprahl.com. She lives in the beautiful Ozark mountains with her husband and young adult daughter.
Thank you to BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode. Note: I receive commissions for referrals to BetterHelp.
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Terri says no one ever prepares you for that kind of grief. “At age 24, I had never lost anybody.” She says, “It’s hard in our culture to really sit with people in grief, and they want you to just be strong and move on…That’s not going to happen…it’s 22 years later, and I still have tears about it.”
Where is God in Our Grief?
Everyone has a different journey through grief. Terri says she talked to God all the time, but it was at least a year before she got into her Bible again. She had a lot of people praying for her. She said, “God was very patient with me.”
One of the things Terri had to process was the idea that suffering is somehow caused by disobedience, and that Christians won’t have to go through it. The experience showed her how something we have always believed to be true might be misguided. She says, “I believed that if I was a good young lady, that God was going to bless me.” She learned that God allows his beloved children to suffer too. Ultimately, she learned that our performance doesn’t influence God’s love for us.
“Just because you’re close with God, it doesn’t mean that the world and its heartache isn’t going to touch your life.” —Terri Prahl
Terri has kept her son Ryan’s memory alive by talking about him often with his younger siblings and thinking about which family member he might have taken after. She saved a scrapbook full of cards people sent to her during their time of grieving.
The process of healing took years as Terri wrestled for truth and understanding. There are things that remain a mystery, she says, but she has seen God restore her trust in him through her seeking. She says, “It took time and intention to learn how to live in the tension of grief and joy, and reality and hope.”
“Don’t be afraid to walk through the grief. You don’t have to pretend it’s not painful.” —Terri Prahl
In her search for more of God, Terri learned to thirst. She wrote a Bible study on Psalm 119 that she makes available to others. This Bible study tells more of her journey through grief and how her view of Scripture reading shifted from one of duty to desire as she began to have her thirst quenched and not just her conscience soothed.
You can get Terri’s Bible study for download by subscribing to her newsletter.
You’ll also get access to other resources she has there on her website when you sign up.
Want to hear more of Terri’s interview? She shared about what is helpful and not helpful for someone going through grief. That bonus interview will be available on the Life, Repurposed Community on Facebook. Read Terri’s chapter in Life, Repurposed: Stories of Grace, Hope, and Restored Faith.
You’ll find comfort, inspiration, and wisdom in these stories from women just like you. Every encouraging account shows hope and renewed faith as they have come through trials and tough times, including family struggles, infertility, health challenges, doubt, fear, human trafficking, depression, heartbreak, loss, and more.
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Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
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