By Rodetta Cook

Rodetta Cook has been a pastor’s wife for over 40 years. She and her husband, Ron, have actively served the Lord together in ministry during the entire time and are co-founders of Care for Pastors. She understands the expectations, loneliness and how hard it is to find balance in ministry as a pastor’s wife. Rodetta also leads the pastor’s wives initiative at Care for Pastors called The Confidante and ministers to hundreds of wives each week. She strives to share blogs with other pastors’ wives that will help them in their ministry walk.

    First Counseling Session

    Monday, April 01, 2019

    If you have missed reading the past three weeks of email/blogs, I would encourage you to go back and read Eric’s Story. We have dedicated four weeks to this story because we feel it is so important to share. Eric’s wife, Krissie, has been very bold and brave to share his story and we needed to share it as well. Today Krissie shares about her first counseling appointment 14 days after Eric’s tragic death.

    Today I met with my counselor. For the first time, I was scared walking through the doors. Everything seemed to be in slow motion as I took a deep breath and went in. I had no idea what would come out of me in that room. Would I sit in silence? Would I just lose it and completely overwhelm my therapist? Could I really just allow myself to fully be open about my feelings?

    As a counselor I am very familiar with the 7 stages of grief. Now that I am grieving, I’m not sure if I buy into the fact that there are only seven. I told my friend the other day that I’m going to title it “the million stages of grief on a Monday.” There just can’t be seven and they are definitely not in any kind of order.

    The counselor that I saw today was one we’ve seen in the past. I am a BIG believer in therapy. Not only because it’s my profession, but because it really does help. It especially makes a huge difference if you truly have a trusting therapeutic relationship with the person you are meeting with. Thankfully Eric and I had found one last year that has been wonderful.

    So here I go. Into a place I was familiar with, but into a territory that was completely uncharted, unexpected and absolutely terrifying.

    You’re probably thinking “Wow, is counseling that scary?” It’s not. It’s healing. I’m just unsure how to even begin to heal this wound. My life is shattered.

    I sat down on the couch and placed my hand on the empty spot next to me. That was the spot that my husband had sat in, just last year. I looked at that spot and briefly saw him fidgeting with the fidget spinner as he awkwardly laughed. Then I shortly realized that he wasn’t there anymore.

    My eyes moved over to meet the face of my counselor and saw tears in her eyes. She told me that she loved Eric. Then, I lost it. “He should be here,” I thought.  I think that in pretty much everything I do. I cry out, “He should be here, but he’s not.”

    I won’t go into the 90 minute session that I had with my counselor today. To do so, would probably be too much information. Ha! I just wanted to write about a few things that I walked out assured of today.

    Eric is in Heaven. When he was four years old, he gave his life to Jesus. I can hear his voice in my head telling me his testimony as he shared it so many times and with so many people. “I was playing with a red truck, my dad was in a big green chair, I jumped in his lap and said ‘Dad, I want to go Heaven when I die.’ ” Then and there he understood that Jesus was his Savior and then and there he gave his life to God.

    Eric followed the Lord with all of his heart for all of his life. Even in his difficult seasons, he placed his faith in Jesus. I fell in love with that crazy kid because of his fire for the Lord. I miss him so very much, but I can find peace in knowing that he is dancing, singing (on tune), cracking jokes with Peter, holding our little girl, and praising Jesus face to face. Eric is happy, free, and with his creator (Revelation 21:4).

    I’m an absolute mess. Most days I feel like I am drowning in pain and in fear. I have no idea how to deal with this. I am learning as I go. I repeat over and over in my mind, “One day at a time.” However, my faith in Jesus gives me hope. Hope that God will restore all things (1 Peter 5:10). Hope that God will give me strength when I’m weak, peace when I’m scared and anxious, and wisdom when Satan tries to lie to me.

    I am strong. I have always known, “in my weakness, He is strong.” but I don’t feel it most days. When I was in graduate school I gained so much knowledge on the process of grief. I know the steps I need to take, but my heart aches and feels something so completely different. There is a disconnect between what I know and what I feel. So, I fight to cling to what I know is truth. I hold tight to the Word of God. I proclaim His promises, “He will never leave me nor forsake me,” and that I can “Do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” I am taking the necessary steps forward and will continue to do so.

    I recently read a quote in Lysa TerKeurst’s book, Embraced, “What we see will violate what we know unless what we know dictates what we see.” All I emotionally feel like doing is laying in bed and watching videos of Eric (just being honest). However, God convicts me to share Eric’s journey, not only in my writings but also in my everyday life. I have life and therefore will live it and try not to waste a moment of it.

    Eric was so very loved. More than I ever knew and definitely more than he knew, people loved him. His life, his ministry and his testimony reached people all over the world. God made him so very special. I was touched when our counselor told me she loved him. She knew every detail about him and saw his heart. He had honestly shared his day to day struggles and joys with his therapist. I will cling to the truth that when God saw Eric the day he died, He held him close and said, “Well done.”

    God doesn’t waste our pain. There’s something to learn from this. I always tell those I counsel with that there is purpose in our pain. Though I can’t tell you what is it, and I’ll never fully understand everything, I can confidently say that God will use this for His glory. (“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born.” -Isaiah 66:9)

    I am so thankful Krissie not only is sharing her story, but is also receiving godly counsel as she walks this journey. Please continue to pray for her and her sweet twins.

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