Women’s Stories

Encountering God’s Compassion

It was a few days before Christmas in 2013. I was sitting in a car with my son David, a college sophomore, while our friend Zhou was driving us to meet my husband Fonda for lunch on the other side of the town. It was 11:40 am. Fonda was riding in the passenger seat of another car; someone else was driving. I called Fonda to tell him we were on our way. No answer. I called again. Still no answer. I became anxious. At 11: 45 am, my phone rang. It was Fonda’s number. I picked up the phone. “I am an emergency doctor. There was a car accident. Your husband died.” In an instant, my world turned upside down.

After the initial numbness and shock, I was overwhelmed with grief, sadness, sorrow, and fear. I did not know how to live my life. Most importantly, I could not find God. In fact, I was angry with God and doubting His love.

My counselor Crystal asked me to draw a picture of my pain, sorrow, and anger and express them to God. As an East Asian woman, I had learned to fear God and obey Him. But express my emotions like sorrow and anger to God? I was not sharing my deep emotions with my parents or other authorities. How dare I share them with the Almighty God? I could not do it.

Crystal showed me how the psalmists expressed their hearts in God’s presence.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.”
(Psalm 22: 1-2)

With her gentle insistence, I opened my heart toward God, allowing my pain, sorrow, doubt, anger, and hopelessness to flow out, and I drew a picture. While drawing the picture, I sensed God’s warm and gentle presence on my side and His grace covering all of me. With surprise and gratitude, I lingered in His love and comfort. A sense of hope came back. Through this experience, God’s compassion deeply touched my heart, and I realized God’s heart was big enough to handle my painful emotions. God’s gracious presence is actually the most secure place for my emotions. That was a turning point at the initial stage of my long and arduous grief journey.

More than ten years have passed since Fonda died. I have gone through many struggles and experienced lots of conversations with God and numerous redemptive encounters with God’s compassion. Over time, the Lord has been cultivating my internal security, inner strength, and discernment through counselors, spiritual directors, loving family, and friends. As painful as the loss of my husband, God has been faithful in healing, nurturing, and invigorating my inner being through His grace. With a grateful heart, I rest in my identity as God’s beloved.

Kimberly Yu

Kimberly Yu was born and raised in East Asia. She has been on staff for over 25+ years. She is a certified spiritual director and currently conducts crisis debrief trainings as part of the Global LDHR team.

16 thoughts on “Encountering God’s Compassion”

  1. steve.morgan@cru.org

    Kimberly, thank you for sharing your story. I feel the grief and sadness and can’t imagine losing a spouse. I am grateful for others who walked beside you in your grief. Your courage to lean into God and find hope is inspiring.

  2. dang.metcalf@cru.org

    Thank you, Kimberly for sharing your journey of deep grief and how the Lord brought you back to His presence. I love you, my friend, and I admire your tenacity in opening your emotions to God. To God be the glory!

  3. Thank you for sharing, Kimberly, how God met you in such a difficult place. I loved your phrase “God’s heart was big enough to handle my painful emotions.” You’ve encouraged me to go to God with anything. . . .

  4. it’s wonderful to see how the Lord has met you and led you through these years as you have opened your heart to him. Thanks for sharing your story, Kimberly. I can only imagine how God uses you with those who have experienced similar losses.

  5. Kimberly, thanks so much for putting words to your pain and journey back to hope. I can’t imagine the pain, but I’m very grateful for your example and encouragement to open up to the Lord and draw close to him in my light and momentary troubles.

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