In this episode:
God has given Clarissa Moll a joyful life again after the tragic death of her husband on their family's vacation in 2019. As a young widow, she’s helping others by providing a map for finding grace in the grief after being blindsided by loss.
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About Clarissa Moll:
Clarissa Moll is an award-winning writer and the author of Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss. She cohosts Christianity Today’s Surprised by Grief podcast, and her writing appears in Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, RELEVANT, Modern Loss, Grief Digest, and more. Clarissa holds a master's degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and delights in God’s good creation with her four children from their home along the New England seacoast.
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Quotes to Remember from Clarissa Moll
- It feels like the providence of God that even though we were 3000 miles away from the address we called home, we were still surrounded by a community of support that took really good care of us in those first weeks where it just felt jarring and full of shock.
- When a large white SUV rolled into our campground down that gravel drive and stopped at my campsite, I knew that something was really bad.
- There was a moment where I thought if you tell me what I think that you're going to tell me I think I might die just from the impact of that news.
- Nine years before his death, he had published The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come, which was born out of his work as a journalist.
- When I think about dying, his hand would have been the one and the one I wanted to hold.
- I can't imagine what it would have been like to carry the weight of grief and not have a plan.
- When grief enters your experience, it's the guest that shows up with bags packed and just moves on in and you can fight it, and you can push it away, but it's just gonna keep showing up.
- You're better off, I think, inviting grief to sit at the table with you to enter into your life and figure out a way that the two of you can move forward.
- When we face our grief when we engage with it, then it'll be easier as time goes by, but healed? Recovered? Not until Jesus comes again.
- Jesus will meet you there. He will meet you, and he'll sustain you, and he'll strengthen you for what he's placed before you.
- Christ calls us beyond that darkness to fellowship with himself and then to the ultimate eternal hope that we have in him.
- Grief has told me that it doesn't matter how smart you are, how well-educated, how well-equipped you are, how emotionally intelligent you are, that we all need God's amazing grace to be able to withstand the storms that lie in our way.
- I'm reminded so many times that my strength is found in my weakness, and that's hard for me to accept.
- It never has been the way I've expected, it would look since Rob died. But I can say that it's really beautiful nonetheless. And I think even that is the work of Jesus in my life to be able to look at what lies before me now and not see lack but see abundance.
- Even as grief walks beside you, Jesus will walk every step of that way with you.
Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss
This episode is brought to you by the book and Bible study called The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure. Are there experiences you'd rather toss in the dumpster? Discover the repurposed and upcycled life. This Christian living and humor book and accompanying Bible study will help you see how some of your greatest disappointments, mistakes, and hurts can be beautiful treasures from God. This simple format is welcome for busy women who are looking for deeper relationships with one another without the burden of extra homework. More about the best-selling book and study: The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure
Michelle Rayburn 00:04
Today's guest experienced the unthinkable. And now it's almost three years later, and she has a book coming out where she shares about her experience. Clarissa Moll is here today to talk about grief, and how it is a journey and a process. She doesn't use some of the terminology we might use when we think about things that have a beginning and an end. It is not a healing process. And it is not a recovery process. Because those are things to have a beginning and an end. So she shares her heart today. And as she talks about her experience, we can learn from it. If you're somebody who's fresh in grief, you can learn from it. If you're somebody who wants to know how to support a friend who is grieving. You can learn from it too. I'm happy to have you here today. And I hope you enjoy the interview.
Michelle Rayburn 00:53
You're listening to Life Repurposed, where you'll find practical biblical wisdom for everyday living, creative inspiration, and helpful resources. Grow your faith improve your relationships, discover your purpose, and reach your goals with topics to encourage you to find hope amid the trashy stuff of life. Thanks for joining me today. I'm your host Michelle Rayburn.
Michelle Rayburn 01:30
Let me introduce you to Clarissa Moll. She's an award winning writer and the author of Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving After Loss. We're going to be talking about that in this episode. And I'll be linking to that in the show notes so that you can get her book. It's about to release as we record this episode. Clarissa cohosts Christianity Today's Surprised by Grief podcast, and her writing appears in Christianity Today, the Gospel Coalition, Relevant, Modern Loss, Grief Digest, and more. Clarissa holds a master's degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and delights in God's good creation with her four children from their home along the New England sea coast. Let's jump into the conversation with Clarissa.
Michelle Rayburn 02:25
I love to pretend that we are actually sitting down over a cup of coffee. And we're just talking about what's happened in life. We have never met face-to-face until today. I found you randomly in a Facebook group that we're both part of. But there's so much of your story that intrigued me. I'm not going to jump into it right away. But I'm going to give a little synopsis for the listener that we're going to be talking about grief today. And we're going to be talking about your journey. But before we get into that, I'd love to know how you met your husband, Rob.
Clarissa Moll 02:57
Oh, I love to answer that. We actually met at the singles table at a wedding. So this is after, you know, classified ads in the newspaper were sort of fading away but before online dating, where you really relied on your friends to set you up. So a childhood friend of mine married a childhood friend of his, and we got stuck at the singles table. And there was a really chatty guy sitting on one side of me who was an engineer, and I didn't understand anything he was saying. And I turned, and there was Rob, who was an English major, and I had graduated with a communications degree. And so we had things in common right away. We really hit it off right away. And it's hard to believe but it was, oh gosh, 21 years ago this year that I met him at that wedding. And yeah, we were engaged six months later. Married nine months later. So I guess when you know, you know.
Michelle Rayburn 04:00
Yeah, you know. So what is that awkward moment where you decide at the end of the wedding, like, we're gonna continue this conversation? Did he ask you out?
Clarissa Moll 04:10
No, he didn't. It was a wedding here in New England. And I thought, hey, you know what? I'm going to play the hostess. So would you and your friends like to come to Boston with me for the day and I'll show you around? So that's it. I feel like I was a little bold there. I put my foot out and and gave it a go. And he said yes. And we had a great day of fun walking around Boston eating cannoli and seeing all the historical sites. And then yeah, we emailed from there and began calling, and you know how love goes.
Michelle Rayburn 04:43
Yeah. So when you first got married as newlyweds, what were some of your dreams for the future?
Clarissa Moll 04:49
Well, Rob was a journalist and I had my degree in communications, but was going to school for a master's degree in theology. So we had big dreams. He wanted to work for the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times as a writer, and I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to do, but I really loved school. So I had hoped to go and get my PhD. But, you know, as two lives weave into one, you start to realize that as much as you have your own interests and dreams, the ones that you create with your person are just so precious and beautiful. And over time, that's what we did. We determined we really wanted a family. So I put some of my education aside, got my master's degree, and then started having babies and working part time and supported him and his career ambitions. And really, over time, we just built this beautiful life that I think those two newlyweds could never have imagined would be so awesome. And, and so nothing like we had thought it would be.
Michelle Rayburn 05:52
I don't think anything in my life went the way I thought it was gonna go either. You know, it's like we, I'm kind of a planner and an organizer. So you know, I put all the details down. And then God always has something unexpected. Sometimes the unexpected is an exciting thing. And sometimes it's a tragic thing. And your future did not go in the direction that you had originally planned when you got married. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Clarissa Moll 06:22
Sure. Yeah, we had been married for 17 years, had four children. And we had just moved across the country and decided to take a cross-country road trip to get back to where we had lived in on the West Coast, visit family and friends and just have a really good time being outdoors together. And the capstone of that trip for Rob was this long ridge line hike he was going to take with a friend in Mount Rainier National Park. And, you know, as vacations go, there's a little for the kids, a little for the mom, a little for the dad, and he worked so hard for us. And I just felt like, this is his special day. We're gonna give him this day before we do more driving. He did a lot of the driving. And so it just felt like a special way to gift him with time.
Clarissa Moll 07:10
But he didn't call me when he was supposed to get back to the trailhead that day. And I got worried but tried to tamp down that anxiety as you do when things don't go as you'd suspected that they would. But when a large white SUV rolled into our campground down that gravel drive and stopped at my campsite, I knew that something was really bad. And two officers stepped out and two chaplains and told me that Rob had fallen to his death. That he had died of traumatic injuries and that our life wasn't going to be the same again. That I was a widow now, and we'd have to tell the kids. And I would have to figure out yeah, what life was going to look like after that. Amazingly, because we were back where we had once lived, I was able to call my best friend and ask her to come down and hold my hands while I was given the news from the chaplain. So it was it feels like a providence of God that even though we were 3000 miles away from the address we called home, we were still surrounded by a community of support that took really good care of us in those first weeks where it just felt jarring and full of shock.
Michelle Rayburn 08:28
Looking through an advanced reader copy of your book, I was skimming through reading some paragraphs here. There were things that gripped me about the way you tell your story in your book Beyond the Darkness. Just how you asked those officers to give you the news, like" just give it to me straight." Is that generally how you are in life with news? Like, just give it to me straight?
Clarissa Moll 08:53
Yeah, I'm the person who wants the thesis statement first, and then you can give me all the details. So yeah, in that moment, I just knew there's no way that I'm going to be able to take in everything. I mean, honestly, I was worried that I would die hearing it. I mean, you've heard of people who die of a broken heart, right? And it sounds scary. And I there was a moment where I thought if you tell me what I think that you're going to tell me I think I might die just from the impact of that news. So yeah, I said give it to me in a single sentence like that's all I can handle. And and of course I didn't die. It's amazing what what we can endure the the sorrows that we can carry. But yeah, I'm a pretty down to earth and cut to the chase kind of girl, and I'm grateful that they honored that in that moment where it was particularly a particularly a deep need for me.
Michelle Rayburn 09:52
I have no idea what it's like to walk in your shoes, but just reading parts of your story gripped my heart and even as you're talking now I keep getting chills as I was just listening. There are some pieces of your story that were jaw-dropping moments for me. One was your husband's writing for Christianity Today and the book that he had published. So he had written extensively about grief and about dying. So how did that impact your process of moving forward after his death?
Clarissa Moll 10:23
Yeah. So, nine years before his death, he had published The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come, which was born out of his work as a journalist. And he was covering the Terri Schiavo case of euthanasia and right to die, and just was really wrestling with how Christians do this well, and he began working at a funeral home. And working as a hospice volunteer, he was the most tender man, I mean, I, when I think about dying, his hand would have been the one and the one I wanted to hold. And it was such a gift, I'm sure to those to whom we sat beside, you know, on those on those Saturday afternoons, but we were young, and we had three little kids. And I was like, You know what, you do this for your work. But this is not, this is not something that's going to cross the threshold of our house, you know, and I wrestled with his interest and his compulsion to figure out what this meant. And, you know, gently in his way, he leaned into that and said, "Hey, you know, these are things that we should talk about. We should talk about, what are our medical wishes at the end of life? Do we have a will? What what happens to our finances? Or our kids? You know, how do we plan for this?"
Clarissa Moll 11:39
And you know, where I stand now, almost three years after his death, I think, thank you. Thank you for loving me so well, because even though I had an amazing roadmap in those conversations for how to manage all of the the intricacies of losing him, it, I can't imagine what it would have been like to carry the weight of grief and not have a plan. So when I think about that, I think, "Hey, you loved me, well. "You couldn't have prepared me for grief. But you did prepare me in this way." And that's been such a gift to me in the in the years that have followed.
Michelle Rayburn 12:17
What is it like to read his words on a page now?
Clarissa Moll 12:21
Oh, I love them. It's like a love letter to me. After he died, I went back and I read his book just searching for any place he might have mentioned. I mean, it was it was like I was just craving this connection with him. And of course, he wasn't writing about me or for me in those words. But there were a couple of times where he mentioned us in in the two books that he wrote, and I love those because, yeah, it's a way that he stays with me.
Michelle Rayburn 12:50
There is a little part of your story that also gave me some chills. There was a role that you played as a teenager in a drama. Can you tell us about that?
Clarissa Moll 13:01
Yes. Yeah. So when I was in high school, I toured with a touring theatre group, doing a performance about Elizabeth Elliot, Jim Elliot, and the five missionaries who were killed in Ecuador in the 1950s. And I played the role of Elizabeth Elliott, which just blows my mind now. Every every Sunday night, we'd be at a different church or auditorium. And I would be retelling the story of losing my husband, Jim, of finding out he was dead of, you know, figuring out how to move forward. And I look at that now. And boy, that 17-year-old girl had no idea. I mean, she was tapping into her dramatic instincts, perhaps, but had no idea what it would be like to live that. And there I was, all these years later, learning about my husband's death in such an abrupt fashion and having a child and trying to figure out what to do to move forward. So it's an amazing way that that I think God prepares us. He plants these experiences into our lives. And you know, we only see it in that hindsight of 2020 vision. But we can say, "Oh, Lord, okay, you were using even that to to provide me strength to give me comfort to give me a place to walk toward as I face this really hard situation in my life."
Michelle Rayburn 14:24
So what has the process of grieving been like for you?
Clarissa Moll 14:28
Messy. Really messy. A lot of ups and downs and as a young widow with four kids, it's complicated. I have to shoulder my own grief but also manage the family transition to being a breadwinner when I was really a supplementary income before. Learning to single parent alone, charting a path forward for my family, like "Oh, my future was destroyed. Okay, now, what am I going to do?"
Clarissa Moll 14:57
And I don't know I'm a planner, I'm analytical, I like to know what's ahead. But grief has really required that I let a lot of that go. And to sit in the mess. I don't like a mess either. I don't like a messy house, and I don't like a messy life. But, you know, when grief enters your experience, it's the guest that shows up with bags packed and just moves on in and you can fight it, and you can push it away, but it's just gonna keep showing up. And so you're better off I think, inviting grief to sit at the table with you to enter into your life and figure out a way that the two of you can move forward.
Michelle Rayburn 15:39
You've mentioned that you don't like the words healing and recovery. And I'd love to know why.
Clarissa Moll 15:47
Yeah, it's complicated. It sounds very much like a process that you can get through. And I think in Western culture, we like we like a process with an endpoint. You know, we go to school, we get our degrees, we, we have certain career goals or relational goals, and that we can, we can look to and say I've arrived. But grief doesn't work like that. And so when we use words like healing and recovery, it can give folks the mistaken impression that this is something that will someday be behind you. And you know, thanks be to God. It will, it will. That's the promise of Scripture, right? that one day all things will be made new that we will experience not just healing but transformation of our bodies and of all creation. But that's not now. And that's not three years from now, if we follow a 12 step program to to address our grief, will will be more able to carry that weight. You know, it's like weightlifting, the more you lift, the better you are at carrying heavy things. And when we face our grief when we engage with it, then it'll it'll be easier as time goes by, but healed? Recovered? Not until Jesus comes again.
Michelle Rayburn 17:04
This episode is brought to you by the book and Bible study called The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure. Are there experiences you'd rather toss in the dumpster? Discover the repurposed and upcycled life. This Christian living and humor book and accompanying Bible study will help you see how some of your greatest disappointments, mistakes, and hurts can be beautiful treasures from God. Move forward with new purpose even in the midst of the trashy stuff of life. The workbook includes small group discussion Bible study, doodles to color, and optional at-home application each week. This is a study for busy women—with easy prep for leaders and very little homework for participants. This simple format is welcome for busy women who are looking for deeper relationships with one another without the burden of extra homework. You'll find more about the best-selling book The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure at Michellerayburn.com.
Michelle Rayburn 18:13
What do you wish you could say to people who don't understand the process of grieving?
Clarissa Moll 18:21
Well, I would encourage them to be gentle with themselves that our culture hasn't taught us a whole lot about how to grieve We are an anti-aging culture. We're a culture that prefers death on movies, or in video games, but not in real life. We don't know how to attend well to people who are dying or grieving. And so you don't have a lot of cultural capital, going into that experience. And that's okay. And you can be gentle with yourself and realize that it's a learning, it's a steep learning curve for everybody. And I think also, though, that even though we don't have this cultural understanding of grief, perhaps that other generations did, we have the wealth of Scripture that offers us a clear roadmap of comfort, from Lamentations and the frustration of Ecclesiastes, and you know, that kind of angst of some of those psalms of lament to just the desperation and longing for comfort that we see people coming to Jesus with. We have a full range of emotions exhibited for us in grief in Scripture that show us, hey, whatever you're feeling is okay. It's all within the range of normal and, and not only that, but Jesus will meet you there. He will meet you, and he'll sustain you, and he'll strengthen you for what he's placed before you.
Michelle Rayburn 19:50
I appreciate that you've put this in book form for people not only who are going through grief and experiencing it, but also for people to understand and how a friend might be going through the process. Clarissa, you've called this Beyond the Darkness. Why did you choose that title?
Clarissa Moll 20:10
Yes, I pulled it from an old hymn that actually talks about when Jesus comes back to make all things new, that someday we will live beyond the darkness. And that's the longing that all of us have in grief. We know that death has lost its sting. The Scriptures tell us, but that's talking about a future hope. We know that in Christ death is defeated, but it still stings right now. And so I think a part of the grief process for a Christian, that grief journey for Christian is holding those two things in tension that yes, there is a darkness, it's real. It's tangible, it hurts, and it lingers. But Christ calls us beyond that darkness to fellowship with himself and then to the ultimate eternal hope that we have in him.
Michelle Rayburn 21:00
You mentioned the he makes all things new. That's something that I love that verse because it fits with the Life Repurposed theme so well. I like to repurpose old junk into decorations and things like that. But I've also discovered that in my life, God repurposes whatever pain I have. And sometimes it's a long time later. You're really like, this is raw, yet. It's only a couple of years. And God is already repurposing some of your pain to help others. So how did you... What was the process of writing? Was it cathartic for you? Or was it... Like, did you keep 90% of what you wrote in your first drafts?
Clarissa Moll 21:08
Well, you know, when I first lost Rob, I was just scrambling for a map, like something that's going to lead me through this, because I confess, when I first lost him, I did think that there would be an end. That it wouldn't hurt so much. And I thought, if I could just get my hands on a book that would tell me how to do this, I could get through this, this horrible feeling that I have. And I went to secular resources, and they were super practical and helpful. But a lot of times they denigrated my faith. They would be, you know, against transformation, that they didn't see that life could be repurposed. And that was kind of jarring to me, because this is the this was the hope on which I was literally getting out of bed every day. And then I went to Christian literature, and much of it was very devotional in quality, which is great. But I needed help with, like, I don't want to eat anymore. And what do I do with my finances? And you know, I needed practical help. So it was at that point where I was like, I don't see the map I need, maybe I just need to draw it myself.
Clarissa Moll 22:52
And so that's what Beyond the Darkness is. It's that infusion of gospel hope with really practical life experience and life support, so that when you lose your person, whoever that person is, in your life, you have a sense of "Okay, I'm not crazy. This is all normal, within the range of normal of the grief experience, I can expect these sorts of things in my relationships in my body and my emotions in my spiritual life." And then also, Jesus is going to walk with me through all of this, so that these things that I experienced aren't an end unto themselves. But really, they are a pathway to more intimacy with Him, and to like you say, a life that's repurposed, I believe for His glory.
Michelle Rayburn 23:38
Yeah. And that's the thing, you know, it's hard for me to see it, because it's not for my glory. So when God repurposes something, it's uncomfortable and painful. And yet, there's something beautiful in the middle of all of it. One of the things that you also have done is educate people about grieving, and I'm wondering, what has been your experience in the church with whether it's support or lack of support? What have you experienced in that regard?
Clarissa Moll 24:10
Well, I think the church is so often like our culture in how it manages these kinds of difficult experiences that we face. And so it's been mixed, I'll be honest, and sometimes I have felt deep compassion. And then other times, it's felt like I was kind of isolated or marginalized. But I feel like it was a divine care of the Lord, that in the midst of this pandemic, I had these words and in the midst of this pandemic, churches began to see the deep needs within their congregations. And so I do see this amazing shift that's even happened since Rob died of congregations who are just better at attending to people who are hurting whether that's because they've lost a loved one or they're going through some other kind of strain or difficulty in their own life. So, you know, where I wouldn't say we're out of the woods in terms of like, "Oh, we're doing so awesome," you know, you can rest on your laurels. But I do see I am hopeful. I see the church stepping forward in new ways to care for people to offer material support that is longer term than perhaps a meal train for the first month. I see churches who are willing to make remembrances a part of their normal church life. So that folks who have lost a person a year ago or two years ago, three years ago don't feel like they're forgotten. And I see many churches stepping up to offer the kind of community support through programs like Steven Ministries, or GriefShare, you know, one of these kind of parachurch organizations to offer people the kind of support that they really need to walk through these hard things.
Michelle Rayburn 25:58
We are a culture of fixers, so even programs sometimes feel as if we're just trying to fix people.
Clarissa Moll 26:09
Yes. And and I would say, you know, I used to think that was bad, but God is the fixer, right? So so when our impulse to fix is just a reflection of him and us. And it's, you know, like so many things that he has embedded deep within us. It's only when we go crazy with it, right? Where it starts to go sideways, that when we can reflect his impulse to fix to heal, to restore, that's a beautiful thing. We just need to remember that it's not in our own strength to do that.
Michelle Rayburn 26:44
How is God repurposing your grief in unexpected ways, if you think back to where you were in 2019, versus now?
Clarissa Moll 26:51
Well, I think that I was always kind of a, pull it up by your bootstraps and get going kind of girl, I did feel like I admire capacity and capability and achievement and hard work. And I've really thought that most of life could be handled with those kinds of skills, but grief has told me that it doesn't matter how smart you are, how well-educated, how well-equipped you are, how emotionally intelligent you are, that we all need God's amazing grace to be able to withstand the storms that lie in our way. And I appreciate that softening that grief has that has repurposed in my life, it's taken me from someone who was probably too critical or judgmental of others than their weakness, to be someone who invites weakness who welcomes it. Who wants to be soft and tender instead of hard and, and who sees strength in those kinds of ways that I previously might have poo pooed.
Michelle Rayburn 28:03
Has that changed you as a parent as well?
Clarissa Moll 28:06
Certainly, yes. Yeah, I would hope that my kids would say I'm a lot more grace filled, I have a lot more mercy now for weakness, and that you can hold high standards. But love and grace are always the currency of a household.
Michelle Rayburn 28:22
I imagine that you have tough conversations with God, probably on a daily basis.
Clarissa Moll 28:29
Yes. Why do I feel so weak? Why do I? Why is this so hard? Can't it be easier? When are things going to change? You know, these are the questions that I always ask, it seems like on repeat, but I'm grateful that he's okay that he hears those messages from me frequently. He has never told me, "You got to drop that one." You know, "You've been harping on this a long time." I'm thankful that he hears he receives those words and, and that in the absence of fixing, he offers me himself. I'm reminded so many times that my strength is found in my weakness, and that's hard for me to accept. But the more I wrestle with it, the more I become comfortable being the lamb and him being the shepherd. And when I'm honest with myself, that's really what I want. Anyways, I didn't want to be the person who was in charge of my life who called all the shots. I like it far better when he is my shepherd, and I can rest and relax into his arms.
Michelle Rayburn 29:43
I love the picture that you've painted here in this conversation of how grief is a companion. But then Jesus is a companion. And there's this sometimes uncomfortable, sometimes peaceful existence of that companion along with Jesus in your life. And for me, that's a lesson just to remind me that whatever it is, whether it's grief, or whether it's disappointment, or what we're walking through, that Jesus is there along with that companion. Where have you sensed his presence in really real ways in the midst of this?
Clarissa Moll 30:23
I notice his presence when I sit alone at a school event, and I watch my boy play baseball or basketball, my daughter sing in the choir, and there's an empty seat beside me that I don't know if that will ever the twinge will ever go away there. But I try to think about Jesus filling that space, that Jesus is sitting beside me, I'm not sitting by myself and it's an exercise in of the will of obedience to repeat to myself, God, you are enough for me. And I do find that he is present with me. And he's sufficient. And it's not always the way I expected it would look. It never has been the way I've expected, it would look since Rob died. But I can say that it's really beautiful nonetheless. And I think even that is the work of Jesus in my life to be able to look at what lies before me now and not see lack but see abundance.
Michelle Rayburn 31:30
What has been the feedback you've received from the people who have read the first drafts of Beyond the Darkness?
Clarissa Moll 31:38
Oh, it's been so wonderful to hear from folks. You know, if you preorder, you can get the audiobook for free right away. And so I've been hearing from folks who are listening to it... I had one gentleman say to me, "I walked around the lake with you." I was in his ears and I've read the audio book myself. So to be able to really feel like, "Hey, we're having a conversation here together" has just been a real gift, I think, for readers who feel alone in their loss who feel like nobody gets it. And I'll be the person in your ear, in your hands, as you read the book, who says, "Yeah, I get it. It's really hard, and you're going to make it through." And certainly, that's the feedback that I'm hearing now that folks are encouraged that they feel known and heard recognized in those pages, that they feel a little less crazy, and a little bit more hope.
Michelle Rayburn 32:36
I love the subtitle too. A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss. What does thriving look like?
Clarissa Moll 32:44
Hmm, well, it's gonna look different for every person. And yeah, there's no set of benchmarks that you have to meet. But I think it's addressing life, facing life, with a sense of hopefulness, that, for me is the biggest piece that you when you look at your life, you can say, with the psalmist, "I shall not die, but live and declare the works of the Lord," that you do. When you look at your life, you say, "Okay, my person has died, but I have not died too. There's more for me to do." And, and I can get excited about that. In whatever way excitement looks for you.
Michelle Rayburn 33:22
Where can somebody get a copy of the book right now?
Clarissa Moll 33:26
Oh, yeah, you can get a copy of Beyond the Darkness anywhere that books are sold. It's available at Books a Million and Amazon and Barnes and Noble and Christian Book. And, and if you go to my website, clarissamoll.com, you can sign up to get that audio book right away.
Michelle Rayburn 33:43
Perfect. I will link to that in the show notes because I know you have other content there that listeners will find helpful as a resource. I know you've also done a podcast. I can't remember the title now that Christianity Today...
Clarissa Moll 33:56
Surprised by Grief.
Michelle Rayburn 33:57
Surprised by Grief. I mentioned it before we went on air. That's how quickly things got in my mind. I will link to that too, for anybody who wants to listen to that podcast as a resource. As we wrap up, Clarissa, what do you want to say to the listener who is experiencing fresh grief right now?
Clarissa Moll 34:15
The way you feel is okay. And you are not alone, that even as grief walks beside you, Jesus will walk every step of that way with you.
Michelle Rayburn 34:26
Thank you so much for being vulnerable and putting your story in a book to help other people and for coming here to share your story with us today.
Clarissa Moll 34:34
Thank you, Michelle.
Michelle Rayburn 34:38
I want to tell you a little bit more about Clarissa's book Beyond the Darkness. In the book, she shares her story of becoming a widow after Rob's untimely and tragic death. And then she also gives practical tools for those who are coping with loss. And we've come through a season of exceptional loss with COVID-19. I personally know more people who are widows and widowers than ever before in my life. And so I know this is a timely book for that. She gives honest and hope-filled companionship, and support for those who are facing the social and emotional isolation of grief. She talks about the myths that we believe, and some of the lies that the world has told us about grief. So she covers that. In the first part of the book, she goes over the preparation for the journey and talks about some of the myths we believe and the obstacles that are on the path and getting to know your new companion, grief. And then in the second part, she gives tools for survival.
Michelle Rayburn 35:42
As she mentioned in the interview, she talks about sleepless nights and getting through the practical things, wading through the emotions, looking for spiritual answers to loss. She talks about parenting through loss, and then the trail ahead in moving forward again. As she said, it's not a closed chapter, but an ongoing process. In Beyond the Darkness, you will find all kinds of practical tools intermingled with Clarissa's personal story, I think that's what makes it really powerful is that she's walking alongside the reader and offering this as a friend who knows how it feels. So I encourage you to get a copy of beyond the darkness. I will link to that in the show notes at Michellerayburn.com/139. And I will also link to Clarissa Moll's website where you can connect with her.
Michelle Rayburn 36:38
Thank you so much for listening today. I will be back next time with an interview looking ahead to Father's Day. You've been listening to Life Repurposed with Michelle Rayburn. Check out tips, resources, and inspiration at Michellerayburn.com. Each week I share links to everything mentioned in the episode, graphics you can share, and guest quotes. I also invite you to join the Life Repurposed Facebook community for weekly conversation with others on the journey of discovering the repurposed life. Before you go, which friend needs to hear this episode? Share a link with a note to invite them to listen.
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