Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

Forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living.

I love Psalm 23 has been such strength since I came to faith in Christ well over 30 years ago.

The Psalm is commonly believed to be just about death; however, it’s a lot more than just a cute funeral poem. Although the context is often misunderstood, I use the Psalm as a template for coping with everyday problems.

Psalm 23 is a metaphoric story of our journey through life and a guide to comfort and strengthen us in our dark valleys. This wonderful Psalm assures us that God is our friend who is shepherding us through our pain. In the middle of suffering, God promises to be always there.

David wrote this Psalm, which appears to be his own personal experience of God as his Shepherd. He declares that God provides, and he paints a beautiful picture of the excellent care that God gives amid suffering. 

When David was a shepherd, his job was to look after the pregnant ewes (Ps 78:70,71). He knew first-hand of the care and tender warmth of a good shepherd towards his flock. One day David risked his life to rescue a lamb, illustrating God’s respect for every individual. 

Jesus Christ, our Saviour, seems to refer to this when He says, ‘I am the shepherd of the sheep the good shepherd’ John 10:11. We know the familiar story of when Jesus left the ninety-nine sheep to search for that lost one. A good shepherd guides his sheep into the fold and then cares, protects, and provides for them because they are his. The sheep knows Shepherd’s voice, and they follow him.

 When looking into Psalm 23 to use at a funeral that I was leading, I noticed that the process of going through the valley is like journeying through grief. Since then, I often refer to it at funeral serves and worship meetings, and at times, people say they feel really helped. 

 I really like and appreciate this Psalm because it allows us to understand how much God loves us. Father God is omnipresent, which means God is present everywhere at once. This is possible through the work of the Holy Trinity.

I have never been rich; however, I have lacked nothing from the time I committed my life to Christ, even during the dark valley of grief. In the middle of grieving, God has enabled me to lie down in green pastures, not striving or worrying, but lying down, chilling out in the greenness of God’s love. 

Often, I feel his guidance, albeit a still small voice, impression, or wise advice. Even though I have often strayed from the designated path, as we all do from time to time, I have been gently guided back. Sometimes I have been returned kicking and screaming, realising much later that the momentary discipline from God saved me. Through it all, God is there. You may feel in despair right now, but don’t worry; you will come through this because your Shepherd is walking with you through all the grief and pain.

Each of us has a choice, to either deal with bereavement and the grief it brings, or crawl under a rock somewhere and hide from it, and even worse, we could pretend it is not there. 

I read psychology and counselling at the University of Derby, UK, on a master’s level. It was an excellent course because I became better equipped to help those I ministered to and counselled. The spin-off was that it helped me in my personal life immensely. It was one of the ways God restored and healed me from past emotional trauma. 

Through the course, I experienced many cathartic moments- green pastures. I must admit that I have no unique gifts on walking through grief, but I have God in Christ. I give thanks from the depths of my being because Creator God has held my hand all the way and guided me through that dark valley, showing me how to live in it, emerging victorious. As I sojourned with God through the darkness, I had peace in my heart because I knew that God was with me. And you know what? God is with you as well and can bring you through the darkest of valleys.

I discovered that God heals is not the way I would expect; his ways are higher than ours. God did not just magically wave the sorrow away as if it did not exist. He did not rescue me from it but taught me how to get through it, and to journey through the valley. As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him (Psalm 18.30). But, Gods ways are certainly a lot different from ours.

Father God taught me how to say goodbye to many relationships and people in all circumstances. Eventually, I learned how to grieve appropriately, how to move on. I do not boast that I have cracked it because each situation is unique.

 Each experience of grief is different from your previous experience. I am sure there will be new challenges ahead and victories to be won. So, let’s forge forward in hope, faith, and love and find a new way of living, a new normal.

What method do you use to manage your grief? Let me know, and I would love to hear from you in our comments section below. 

If you want some ideas and tools to relieve and manage stress, check out the course on the home page.

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Traces of grief may always remain

                   it changed me,

                             the real victory is not in the deleting 

                                        the effects,

                                                but in the triumphing over them

                                                                                                Paula Rose Parish

There’s nothing good about grief. When it strikes at the heart, for any reason, the effects send us reeling into bereavement. We are sucked into a vortex of loss, and it feels like we can’t escape. This experience is familiar to us all, life buffets us, and we get hurt. And our grief is left unresolved. What can you do when your heart is broken? What happens when you find yourself in one of the darkest periods of your life, which can feel like the valley of the shadow of death? How can you cope when your whole life is turned upside down and when all that is familiar and held dear is suddenly gone? 

My book called Nothing Good about Grief is the answer.


Because you are reading this you are likely seeking a path to recovery, so thank you for being here with me on these pages. You hold in your hands a little ray of light and hope. If you are a person of faith, or no faith, or somewhere in between. Or if you are supporting someone who is grieved or just want to research the topic, then this book is for you.

Like everyone else on the planet, I have experienced my own dark valley of mourning. Throughout this book, I will share a little of my own story and offer a simple Three-Phase guide through the valley of the shadow of grief to recovery. Nothing Good About Grief is based on the well-known Shepherds Psalm. Without a doubt, within these pages, you will find support and the good news you have been looking for.

Change is all about us these days; our reality is vastly different from a few months ago. Suddenly we all have become very vulnerable. The world is experiencing an unprecedented catastrophe. Collectively, we weep and grieve. The worldwide pandemic of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still a reality for us all. This unforeseen disaster has swiftly taken the lives of loved ones, leaving the grieving disillusioned and struggling to make sense of it all. During the government-imposed lockdown, people lost livelihoods, assets, and social freedoms. The economy, families and marriages were all under great strain. People living together every day and night, with no respite, have caused domestic abuse to rise sharply worldwide. Families lived in fear of loved ones who were meant to care for and protect them. Basic daily needs became increasingly challenging to meet, and many others became homeless.

We stayed home to stay safe while daily routines and lifestyles were turned upside down. Restricted freedom of movement caused a lot of psychological strain; people felt hemmed in. Sadly, for some, suicide was the only way out. The losses have been incalculable, unbearable, and extraordinary. Every human being on the planet shared a sense of unspeakable loss, collective grief, and we are left bereaved. Nothing will be the same again. What will the future look like? The good news is that all is not lost. Within the beautiful images of the 23rd Psalm, we will find the way forward. And by applying its truth’s, we have a sure hope for a happy future. 

Grief is a natural reaction to loss. Bereavement is the process we go through when we grieve. Being a member of the human race means we walk through dark valleys throughout our lives. As described in Psalm 23, some of those valleys may feel like we are passing through death itself, dramatically changing our reality forever. We try to express to others how we are feeling. Careworn, we fail to find the words that accurately describe our pain. No one can take away our grief. We feel alone. The devastation of our anguish is not apparent. It is visible to the heart. Finding a pathway through can be complicated. There is certainly nothing good about grief!

My book will help you understand and articulate what you are experiencing and come to terms with what’s happening. The thoughts and ideas I present are the results of forty years of my personal and professional experience and theological understanding. When we are grieving, a weighty book is challenging to cope with; therefore, I have written it as an easy read.

Part One is the preamble to later sections. Don’t skip through this because

this will prepare you for your journey.

Part Two is devoted to defining grief and bereavement, understanding what the

Three Phases of grief are and why we feel as we do.

Part Three supplies a Three-Phase guide in your journey through

the dark valley and discovering pathways into the new light of day. 

Part Four provides simple ways to recovery through reflections and guidelines. 

Part Five will help you make the adjustments you need to assist you

on your journey to maintain your recovery.

Why the phased approach and not processes or steps?

 From a therapeutic point of view, I offer a Three-Phase approach because no one grieves in the same way as you do. Your bereavement is particular to how you feel and react to your grief. I see the term Phase as a statement of hope. The symptoms of grief outline here are well documented. However, the difference is that I have developed the phased approach because it’s flexible while using Psalm 23 as a guide. A phase is a period in your life. It’s fleeting. It doesn’t last. The symptoms of your grief I have outlined are shock, suffering, anger, and resentment. As you move through into recovery, these effects will not last. You will fully recover to enjoy life again. A phase denotes qualities that refer to time, a stage and flexibility, softness, and gracefulness. It is not fixed and rigid and can be adapted to each need.

On the other hand, the process or step method is the opposite of the phased approach. The step method is inflexible, doesn’t allow individuality, and is far too general.

I see the three phases as a prescription of care. And like any prescription, the correct dose is required for recovery. If you take more than is prescribed, the effects will be damaging. If you don’t take enough, the remedy will be ineffectual. If you take someone else’s dose, there will be a problem. For each person, the dosage is different depending on a whole host of factors and why each prescription has only your name on it and no one else’s. The three phases are the same – they have your name on them. Instead, utilising the phased approach that following steps or a process method is more realistic and just more darn right kinder! 

For over 40 years and over several countries, I’ve worked as a church leader and professional counsellor. I have had the privilege of helping hundreds of hurting people through the dark valley of grief into recovery. We will journey together, learning that you have a Shepherd who leads you on, who understands, and weeps for your pain while calling you into His love and mercy. 

God is the Shepherd that the 23rd Psalm speaks of. Our Shepherd journeys with us in our most difficult times and invites us to follow Him into shalom- wholeness. And through these pages, I invite you to take that journey with me.

Thank you for visiting me here; I hope this post was helpful. If it was then please like, subscribe, or leave a comment with any questions you may have!

 If you feel you would like further support, please contact me. Details of How to get in touch with me are found in my home page’s top menu.


Virtual hugs, I look forward to your visit to my next blog post!

Paula Rose Parish