Soul Food: “Good Grief” by Debbi Sexton


“Good Grief” by Debbi Sexton


About the author: Debbi Sexton

Hi, my name is Debbi Atwood Sexton. I have lived in Huntsville for over twenty years. I am a member of Rivertree Church where I teach an awesome group of fifth-graders in Sunday School and I teach music for the preschool at Willowbrook Baptist Church. I have a son and two daughters and eight adorable grandchildren who call me “Mimi”! I am married to Eric and we live in Gurley on a horse farm with 12 horses, three cats and two bunnies!  I have had a growing relationship with Jesus for as many years as my friend and pastor, Ross Jaeger, has been on this earth!  You’ll have to ask him his age to know how long I’ve been a Christ-Follower!  I love to write and in Fall of 2013, my first children’s book was published. I also have a blog called From The Porch Swing at I am a work in progress and the Lord has been faithful every step of the way! You can reach me at 256-655-3556 or

Good Grief

Eight months ago, my youngest daughter died from breast cancer. A part of me died, too. In less than five years, I have lost a husband, a mother and a daughter. I am broken-hearted.

This grief, this deep sadness that’s difficult to describe, will be part of me for a long while. God equipped us with a way to release some of this sadness. It’s called crying! Some people think that crying equals weakness. You are not weak if you cry! The tears that come with grief have toxins that build up from stress. Crying cleanses your body of these toxins and there are many more health benefits associated with letting your tears flow. Not all tears are the same! When you chop an onion, when your eyes water from the sun, when you laugh until you cry…none of these produce healing tears.

I have decided that I will not fight my sadness. I will cry in the car, under my pillow, in the shower, as I walk to the mailbox or stand at my kitchen sink. I will give myself time to grieve, unapologetically, but still walk among the living with peace and purpose!

God has been sad! When Adam and Eve hid from Him in the garden…when people wouldn’t listen to Noah and missed the boat…when David couldn’t keep his eyes to himself…when Moses had a temper tantrum. And, the saddest of sadnesses; when God offered to the world the One that was most precious to Him and was forced to turn His back while His Son, who knew no sin, took the blame for every kind of ugliness imaginable.

It’s okay to feel sad. It’s a good thing to cry. Humans are the only creatures who cry emotional tears. Don’t let crying scare you, make you feel silly, weak or out of control. Crying is a necessary emotion that, in the end, will help us to feel better. Cleansing tears keep our hearts open to living authentically. They purge our bodies of toxic stress hormones that run rampant as we experience this crazy life! Our natural waterworks protect us from depression, heart disease and a slew of other problems.

Here are some of the lyrics to an old song that might come in handy…”This is my party and I’ll cry if I want to, cry if I want to, cry if I want to. You would cry, too, if it happened to you.”

“For the Lamb who stands in front of the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water. And, God will wipe away all their tears.” Revelation 7:17


Abba Father,
Thank you for carrying us through our darkest hours, when we were too weak to hold on!
You are our hope, our salvation, our present help in times of trouble!!
Thank you for staying close to us when we’re sad and for the healing gift of tears. Help us to love hurting people and point them to You!  We lift up our hands and hearts in praise to you, Lord, for suffering on the cross for us and giving us the hope of eternal life! Amen


Below is a quote from a children’s book written by one of my favorite authors:

“His sadness grew; it became a rock inside him, pulling him down. He carried the sadness everywhere, morning, noon and night. It hurt to breathe.” Kevin Henkes, Bird Lake Moon

1. Have you ever felt this way?

2. Did you allow yourself to cry and grieve well?

3. Did you turn to God for ultimate comfort and healing?

Treasure Hunt

Psalm 34:18 – “The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit.”

II Corinthians 1:3,4 – “All praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the source of every mercy and the God who comforts us. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”

I Peter 4:19 – “So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right, and trust yourself to the God who made you, for He will never fail you.”

I Peter 5:10b – “After you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation.”

Faith In Action

If you are going through suffering right now, know and take comfort in the truth that God is close to the broken-hearted!  Stay in His Word, believe His promises and go to Him in prayer every day!  If you have never accepted God’s love and forgiveness through His son, Jesus, please do that today…He is waiting for you with open arms!!  If you have experienced suffering in the past, find someone who is troubled and comfort them with the comfort that God gave you!



  1. Jamie bush September 24, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    Sweet Debbi- we have shared many crying sessions- you & I cry well together my sweet treasured sister in Christ. Thomas said your words echoed Brian- so I read. I was so blessed. Thank you for saying every single word I needed. I love you forever! Keep writing- it is truly a gift God has given you to use for His purposes!

  2. David Lytle September 25, 2015 at 8:32 am

    Good job Debbi. So true. I love “This is my party” quote!

  3. Helen Wells September 25, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    Debbi, that was so beautifully written. I love you and more importantly God loves you and will give you peace when nothing or no one else can. Keep you in prayers. 🙂

  4. Starla September 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm


  5. Nancy Lovell September 26, 2015 at 12:18 am

    Beautiful words and your message so blessed me tonight.

  6. Tina Rogers September 26, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Debbi, thanks for sharing your experience and insight. It is and will be such a comfort and blessing to many. I treasure your friendship and love, friend. Jesus shines through you!

  7. Cheri Gouvan October 5, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    Debbi, you are truly an amazing Godly woman!! You have been a blessing to so many lives. I am blessed to have you as my best friend/sister.
    Love you always!!

  8. Pat Parker October 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Dearest Debbi. My heart breaks for the tears you have shed, but I also know that they are for healing. Thank you for being authentic! May God continue to bless you and yours. Keep writing.


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