Seeking and Embracing Wise Counsel

Seeking and Embracing Wise Counsel

“Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls…” Hebrews 13:17

After first submitting myself to the help of Dr. David Fort, I sought to spend time with other counselors.

My pastor, Cliff Jordan, met with me multiple times. His care as the leader of my faith community has been such a support as I have faced my loss. I look back to his influence and counsel during the grieving process, for sure. However, I look back at his leadership and teaching before my loss as vitally important to my spiritual health and preparation to endure such loss. Leading.

Ron, a colleague, was in town from his gateway city in Eurasia. His role is focused on member care. I jumped at the opportunity to debrief and seek his counsel. He and I met at a restaurant for breakfast, and we talked for four hours. Refreshing.

As our organization prepared to celebrate a group of retiring missionaries, former member care leaders, Mark and Linda Whitworth, came to town. We met for breakfast. The privilege to debrief and process with friends who are counselors continued to aid me as I faced my loss and sought to walk in a healthy manner. Comforting.

A serendipitous meeting happened when I journeyed to see my son’s family in Durham for Kim’s birthday. I traveled down the day before to be with Paul, Brennan, Beckett, and Camden, arriving the day before Kim’s June 5th birthday. Upon arrival, I received a Facebook Messenger note from Sandy Hammack, telling me how sorry she was and that she knew the next day was Kim’s birthday. Duane and Sandy live in Colorado now, and so it was a surprise for her to add that they were visiting a new grandchild in Raleigh, NC. I quickly told them I had just driven into the area also, and another counseling session was organized over coffee. We talked for two and a half hours. Healing.

On a trip to Europe in August, I reconnected with Ron from Eurasia who I had met up with earlier in the Spring. He asked to spend more time with me. It was time for a check-up. We shared a meal together, and it was good to debrief my journey and to update him on how I was doing through my grief. Encouraging.

Besides these brothers and sisters who have counseling or pastoral roles, I have been surrounded by others who are simply caring believers—brothers and sisters who have been there to listen. I have also been blessed by my own family, especially my siblings and parents, who have helped me as I process my grief in as healthy a way as I am able to do so. Selfless love.

Then there are my own children. I have joked with others that my children are treating me like I was now their child. I’ve loved it. They encouraged me to get up each morning and get outside. They asked me to take care of myself and walk or jog. Their advice has turned out to be most helpful and healthy. In retrospect, the exercise helped me to feel physically stronger. Beyond the exercise, the outdoors has a healing, centering effect. The walls in a bedroom or den can close in upon you. The sky, and creation in general, help to give perspective. Loved.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork…” Psalm 19:1

I praise God for the many counselors who have stepped up to give me guidance. They are a part of a tapestry of care to aid me in my unwanted, yet unavoidable, journey. Abundant help is available if you seek and embrace wise counsel.

“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14


  1. Anonymous

    Great wisdom D Ray! Since returning home I have built around me a “tribe” of mentors and wise counsel to help me navigate life in the American church and culture. It has been my saving grace on hard days.

    • D. Ray

      “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:14

  2. Cyndy L.

    this is SUCH a beautiful post about opening into and healing through relationship and community. and about humbling yourself and being authentic to your experience. thank you so much for continuing to share your story.

    • D. Ray

      Thank you, “Cyndy L.” The Body of Christ (or community) is beautiful…and brilliant. Or maybe better said…in God’s wisdom he has provided what we need in relationship with others. We are surrounded and upheld.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for your words of wisdom on “facing loss.” So (too) many in the world today don’t know where to turn and believe they remain on a solo journey. You give them wisdom for direction. This wisdom also provides great value and encouragement for those in the Body of Christ who are not currently facing loss, but know someone on that journey. The encouragement leads us to reach out with the love of Christ.

    • D. Ray

      I want this platform to serve those suffering loss but also for those who inevitably will face loss at some point in their lives.

  4. Annette

    The comfort of wise and Godly council is woven through-out your loss, what a blessing. Searching and seeking for that is not always easily afforded for so many who are grieving. I pray God will use you to minister effectively in the lives of those grieving and those who will face this journey in the days ahead. We do not understand why and we will never understand why but we do know Heaven surely got sweeter when our loved ones arrived. Prayers.

    • D. Ray

      Amen, Annette. Heaven is a sweet vision for anyone who knows Christ and has lost a loved one. Ultimately, it’s sweet because we have a Savior who loves us; but it’s also sweet because of one who went before us.

  5. Anonymous

    Yes, it’s sweet because of the one who went before us! Sometimes we feel our world is falling apart, but the lessons learned through the pain often bring hidden blessings. The Lord promises in Isaiah 61 to exchange our mourning with His oil of joy and to give a garment of praise to those who are weighed down in spirit. Cast your burdens on the Lord and let Him become the strength of your heart. Let trouble drive you into His sovereign arms!

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