Two years ago on Novemer 22st, Aaron and I traveled to Lincoln, Nebraska for Kimberlye Berg’s Schema of a Soul book launch party. It wasn’t just any old party or launch of a book. It was a sacred moment in time, set aside to honor the life and memory of a young man and woman lost tragically in a car accident, years before. It was a sacred space, set aside to hold the terrible-beautiful reality of suffering families and a mother who emurged from years of struggle with an offering: words that artfully and authentically tell how she found a love that is stronger than death.
I met Kimberlye Berg at Dr. Larry Crabb’s School of Spiritual Direction in 2011. I tend to be curious about quiet, introspective people. Kim had me burning with a curiosity that was left unfulfilled that week, but a year later that changed. I was in town and I wondered if she would want to have coffee.
We ended up sharing the morning and a few tears together. When I left, I walked out the door with a precious gift – the first few chapters of a book she was writing. I read it all in one sitting that night in our hotel room. I felt strangely cleansed in the remnants of salty tears and trembling sobs. The offering of her mother-heart revived the decaying corners of my own. Schema of a Soul reminded me that I’m alive. And I need to live like it.
Since then we have become good friends with Kim and Jim, staying in each other’s homes and sharing in each other’s experience of writing, family and business. Kim taught me how to make the most amazing bagels and I facilitated a few of her speaking engagements. When I couldn’t decide where to focus my writing efforts, she steered me back toward Frozen. It is a rich friendship, despite the distance between us. That is why I chose Kim’s book to be the first book I feature in the Book Impact series on this blog.
Schema of a Soul
In this book, Kimberlye Berg shares about the deep relational and spiritual struggles she faced with her family when they lost their oldest son/brother in a car accident. She writes to her husband, reflecting on their experience and utilizing beautiful metaphors from his experience in architecture.
Kim gave me the opportunity to share my endorsement in the book:
When the raging winds of pain below, we yearn for a safe shelter for our souls. The beautiful tapestry of practical and spiritual connections woven in schema of a soul wrapped securely around the reader, offering connection where there is isolation, vision where there is chaos, and faith where there is doubt. Whether you seek to understand and comfort those who mourn or you were aware of your own pain, nestle in. And may sacrificial love demonstrate the truth of it strength in you. p.9
Quotes from the Book
He suggested we were being invited to enter into a place where, if we would go, could lead us to knowing God in ways we never had before. It would be hard. Uncomfortable. Take time. Or. We could try to get back into life the best we could. Fill the pain with work, Getting over it, and moving on. We would need to choose. One or the other.
It is a daunting thing to feel and seriously wrestle with intense pain deep within your soul, intense questions regarding everything you thought you believed about God. Many of us go to great extent in trying to evade soul pain, as if that would be the most noble choice. We focus instead on being busy. We are very busy, proud people, and we desperately want to be happy people, not sad. p.64
Pain and heartache are indescribable to someone who has never been inside of them. There was absolutely nothing anyone could do to make us feel better. That was the wrong battle, and we intuitively knew it deep within. p.64-65
We have been soaking wet and all drenched in ugly together, but in our weeping we have been been discovering the more that transcends the pain. p.136
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Questions for the author, Kimberlye Berg
I would love for you each to meet Kim. Here are some wise thoughts from her about pain and loss.
1. What one thing do you want us to remember when we face deep pain and loss?
I hope you remember this: Embrace pain and sorrow as an invitation to know and relate with God in this holy place. It is in this place that He does some of his deepest work in forming you, shaping you, sculpting your soul. Enfold yourself in what it really means that God loves you with an eternal love. A sacrificial love that has battled death and emerged stronger than death. He invites you to know and love Him in this place, to love others as He has loved you. Seeking soul to soul spiritual affection, you are invited into the fullest of relational soul to relational soul life even in the emptiest of places.
2. What can we do to support our friends and family when the face deep pain and loss?
I hope you will not put the burden on them to make you feel better because you want to “help” them. One of the most common comments is ” I don’t want to make you cry…” Like it is you that will make them cry. Realize your words can be subtlety demanding. If I sense you are not afraid to be with me where I am in my pain, I will feel some sense of hope. This will cost you something. You may need to think hard about what that is. Think in terms of being “with” rather than of “helping.”
Book and Author Information
For questions or more information about Kim, please click the following links. And if you read Schema of a Soul, please consider posting a review on Amazon.com.
Purchase Schema of a Soul: (Click Here)
Invite Kimberlye Berg to speak to your church or event: (Click Here)
Follow Schema of a Soul on Facebook: (Click Here)
This is a beautiful video tribute to Michael and Courtney made by Kim’s daughter, Megan Berg.