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VAUGHN: Having dealt with grief, Sparks aids others who are hurting with loss

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Lynne Sparks of Murfreesboro is a person who is well acquainted with grief, heartbreak, and a major crisis or two.

Like the words in a song “Through it all, I’ve learned to trust in Jesus”, Lynne has found the strength needed to continue on. She also admits that there are moments when a reality check knocks some wind out of her sails.

After the loss of her husband, Steve, on Oct. 26, 2012, she attended a grief ministry series sponsored by a church in Walter Hill. From the help she received, Lynne was inspired to start a similar one at her own church, Barfield Baptist.

Response has been good.

As the leader, Lynne will begin another series at Barfield Baptist on March 17 through June 9.  The public is invited to call the church at (615) 896-2490 to learn more about it. There is no cost to attend.

“The sessions address the causes of grief and how a person can respond to healing through God’s strength,” Sparks said. “The bereaved can sometimes be almost overwhelmed, and find life difficult to understand because of personal fears, doubts and even anger.”

The grief sharing features videos by nationally-recognized experts on topics such as “The Journey of Grief,” “The Effects of Grief,” “Your Family and Grief,” “Why,” and “Stuck in Grief.”

She and husband Steve had been married 45 years at the time of his death. Their life together was solid with love as man and wife. But the uncertainties of living tested them almost daily after diabetes resulted in his left leg being amputated in 1993. That was only the beginning. Known as the “silent killer,” his diabetes and further trauma later resulted in blindness and the removable also of his right leg.

Fortunately, laser surgery restored his eyesight to nearly 70 percent.  Subsequent hospital bills and the financial crisis that followed forced them into bankruptcy.  Lynne recalls, “The Lord took care of us and helped us climb out of that predicament over time.

“Steve maintained a great sense of humor through it all and his faith in the Lord was unwavering,” she says. “After the right leg was amputated and he awoke from surgery, one of our daughters asked him how he felt. His reply was that he felt shorter.”

A native of Wisconsin, Lynne met the handsome young man from Kentucky while he was stationed at an Air Force Base near her hometown.  She was impressed by his Christian faith and was convinced that God had sent her a wonderful man to love and marry. She never doubted then and still believes that it was part of the Master’s plan.

Nowadays, Lynne’s life is a busy one with a full-time job and her volunteer work through Barfield Baptist Church. In addition to the grief ministry, she began a prayer shawl ministry in 2011 with the help of six ladies.

During the past three years, the ladies have crocheted 247 prayer shawls and distributed them to persons who are either ill, going through a crisis or facing some other circumstance. One recipient was a young mother dealing with her military husband being deployed to Afghanistan. Recipients don’t necessarily have to be members of Barfield Baptist.

She adds, “There is no power in the prayer shawl, but the recipient is reminded that people are praying for them while it is being made.  We want the shawls to be a comfort and blessing.

“I started this ministry because I felt God had called me.  It has been a tremendous blessing to our church members and to those in our community and beyond.  Anyone with a request may call the church at (615) 896-2490.”

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grief, loss, lynne sparks, ralph vaughn
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