Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life – Natasha Smith

Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life by Natasha Smith
Also by this author: Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life
Published by IVP on September 26, 2023
Genres: Non-Fiction, Christian Life
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"Why are you still sad about that?"

It takes time and space to grieve well, but often our culture doesn't afford us these things. Drawing from her own experience with grief, Natasha Smith invites us into a reflection on what it means to grieve and how to cling to hope even in our darkest moments. Instead of providing quick-fix solutions, this book creates space for us to take time to just sit and grieve, learn, and heal in healthy ways.

In Can You Just Sit with Me? Smith provides personal stories, biblical reflections, relevant research, practical tools, and prayers that point us to God who always sits with us in our grief. Whether we are grieving a loss or supporting a friend who is grieving, this book reminds us that every loss is worthy of the space and grace to grieve.

In this beautifully written book, Natasha Smith shares about her own struggles with grief and loss, and she shares wisdom for people walking through similar situations. Each chapter begins with a personal story, and then Smith summarizes insights from psychological counseling and the Bible, helping her readers better understand grief and develop healthy coping skills. She explores how the Bible speaks into hard situations, how it helps us understand the state of the world, and how we can take comfort in God’s love for us, sympathy for us, and presence with us in the midst of our pain. Each chapter concludes with a suggested grief exercise, a Bible verse, and an example prayer.

Can You Just Sit with Me?: Healthy Grieving for the Losses of Life will encourage Christians in a variety of different hard situations. Most of Smith’s examples involve sickness and death among family members, but she also writes about other types of grief, including child loss, giving up a child for adoption, losing a sense of one’s identity during a major life transition, and experiencing collective grief over racial injustice and the pandemic. She writes with deep compassion for all of her readers, and she acknowledges multiple forms of “disenfranchised grief,” making space for different types of losses that our culture doesn’t have grief rituals for or even take seriously. Smith pushes back against harmful ideas in society and within Christian subcultures, helping people process their losses without feeling guilty for their continued suffering or feeling like their losses don’t count in comparison to someone else’s.

Can You Just Sit with Me? is full of wisdom and compassion. Smith’s honesty about her own emotional struggles will help other people feel seen, and in addition to validating where people are, she helps them look ahead to ways that they might truly experience healing. I particularly appreciated her insight that even though people often say “grief is love,” you don’t have to live in wrenching pain and chaos forever to hold onto love and cherish what is good. Overall, I found this book extremely wise and helpful, and I appreciate Smith’s vulnerability and her skill in integrating biblical wisdom and secular counseling resources to help people better understand and live with loss and emotional pain. I would recommend this book to any Christian processing loss, and to loved ones and church leaders who want to better care for the bereaved.