Shonda Holmes: 'Grief hurts but God heals'
BY BRIDGETT NESBIT
Shonda Holmes and her husband, Greg, lost their two children in a car accident in 2000. Since then, they have learned that the road to healing comes by being honest during the grieving process.
Holmes, an ordained minister who lives in Atlanta, said she continued to get calls about losses in her hometown of Statesville, so she wanted to share her faith and expertise.
"The reaction to loss is different for every person," Holmes said. "Grief hurts but God heals; it does hurt but God will heal it."
In partnership with Rutledge & Bigham Mortuary, Holmes held a free grief seminar on Monday titled “Intentionally Transformed.”
More than 70 people participated in a two-hour session that included a breakdown of the grieving process, a Q&A and a call for prayer.
Holmes, a life and relationship coach, said a desire to be whole again was a huge part of her journey.
"My husband and I decided not to go through the 'If onlys' of life," Holmes said. "That's the blame game the mind plays -- you should've, could've and would've -- but instead we wanted to praise God through the process."
Holmes discussed the stages of shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance during the seminar.
"It's about you being whole," Holmes told the crowd. "Many cry themselves to sleep at night over different losses -- death, divorce -- and they are looking for the newness of life; how to take the next step."
'IT'S OKAY TO ASK GOD WHY'
Greg Holmes said he was angry when they experienced such a devastating loss and he wanted to know why it happened to his family.
"I learned it's okay to ask God why and to understand he's strong enough to handle the question," he said.
Greg said once he received his answer, he grasped that God makes no mistakes.
"My wife was already in the ministry but the pain was like peeling layers of an onion,” Greg said. "God's answer was that he gave his son, Jesus, who carried the weight of the world and it moved me because I understood sometimes we will not understand but we should trust his plan."
Bernardeane Moton, president of Rutledge & Bigham, said the seminar was needed for the area.
"Everybody is hurting. Whether they admit it or not, everyone needs healing especially during the holidays," Moton said.
She and her twin sister, Bernardette Davis, also run Faith Mark, a Christian memorial business so that families can have personalized keepsakes before and after a loss.
"The fact is love lasts forever -- even in death -- and we keep our loved ones alive in our hearts," she said.
Vendors at the event included Leslie Morrison of Speak Life And Live, a nonprofit ministry which promotes education, reading and motivation workshops.
Morrison said the seminar was helpful because it's imperative to find positive ways to cope with pain that promote healing.
Her table was filled with journals, inspirational material and a Reset button.
"Our God is faithful and every day we must decide whether to live in the past or today," Morrison said. "The Reset button is a pin to remind us that God's mercies begin afresh each morning."
Peggy Millisaps of Nelly's Studio 7, a local hair salon that sells women's accessories, also participated in the event.
"I learned so much," Millsaps said. "She captured the emotions we go through in grief even after time has passed and how we must acknowledge the pain and the past to heal."