The Importance of Jesus’ Last Words

Mentor Mama:

Today we are going to be talking about something that is so applicable right now, as we are in the midst of the Lenten season, and that is discovering how Jesus interacted with His disciples in His final hours. We’re going to learn how His words and teachings helped them to enter deep into the heart of Jesus and come away changed. Our guest today is Kim Erickson. She is the author of a beautifully unique Bible study titled, “His Last Words,” and we’re going to be talking about John chapters 13 through 17, which record Jesus’ last words to the disciples before His death revealing what mattered most. Kim shares that when we study those words and prayers today, just like the disciples, we enter deep into the heart of Jesus and come away changed. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the love of God, inspired to follow Him, and empowered to spread the Gospel.

Mentor Mama:

Kim Erickson began following Christ after the death of her three-year-old son from strep throat in 2008. Her growing relationship with the Lord and her Bible saved her from the pit of grieving the loss of a child. During this time, she also developed a deep, abiding love for the Word of God. Kim’s love of Scripture led her to develop a website and teaching blog to help other women fall in love with the Word of God. Kim also contributed to the book, “Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts.” She’s an attorney who practiced business litigation for thirteen years before becoming a law professor. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, and has returned to her passion for teaching. Kim lives in Florida with her husband and son. Please welcome Kim.

Kim Erickson:

Thank you so much for that lovely introduction. I’m so happy to be here with you guys today.

Mentor Mama:

What a joy, truly, and I just know what you’re teaching in this study and your own personal story is going to impact our listeners. Why don’t you start out by just telling us; how did you come to be a believer after your son passed away from strep throat?

Kim Erickson:

Well, that is quite a story. So, there I was in April of 2008, and we were living in Phoenix, and I was married to the love of my life, and we had these two beautiful boys. Austin, had just turned three and Ethan was about 15 months, 18 months, old at the time, and I was working in a law firm in downtown Phoenix, and I really just thought that I had everything the world could offer. I had the job I wanted, the house I wanted, the car I wanted, my husband, my kids, the pool in the back, drove a zippy little red convertible, and I really just thought I had it all, and I felt very blessed, but I had no walk with the Lord. I did not have any life with God at all. In fact, I got up one morning and Austin woke up sick. My husband took him to the pediatrician and he had strep throat. They diagnosed that, got antibiotics. The next night I took him to urgent care because he still wasn’t better. The next day my husband took him back to the pediatrician because he still wasn’t better, and they really just kept telling us, you know, it’s just strep throat, don’t panic, you got to give the medicine time to work. I was still working, lots of long hours, and I went back to work on Friday morning and I got that call, the one that no mom, no parent, wants to get. The babysitter is screaming, ambulance, Austin, ambulance, Austin, and that was it. I dropped the phone and went to get in my car, and getting in the car, my assistant jumped in with me, thank goodness. I should not have been driving, so that was good, but what you don’t hear is that I didn’t even pray. It did not even occur to me to pray. so that tells you how far away from God I was, and I had grown up being taken to church, and I did my first communion and my confirmation, but I just really rejected it. I did those things because my family did those things, and as a grown-up, I was like, I do not believe in any of this, you know, I just think is a bunch of crazy stuff, and I don’t think I believe in it. I tell people, I really was doing this to God, like you just stay over there and I’ll do my own thing, and so I get that call, like that’s the worst nightmare, and I didn’t even think to pray. That’s how far away from God I was that it didn’t occur to me to pray, and that’s tough to say these days because that has certainly changed. So, I get in the car, my assistant is driving, I don’t think to pray, but I have a 35-minute drive from our downtown Phoenix office to our home in the suburbs, and what I try to do is connect with Austin because I don’t know what else to do. And so in my head, I just start screaming out to him, you know, can you hear me? Can you hear me, Austin? I’m coming Austin, can you hear me, Austin, stay here, can you hear me? You fight! I just kept saying, you fight and you stay here, and I’m coming and I’m almost there. I’m just screaming this all in the inside of my head and in my heart, and something washed over me like a ton of bricks, like a big giant wave just stopped me in my tracks from that crying out, just stopped me, and all of a sudden I felt fantastic. I felt so light, beautiful, something so beautiful had just kind of washed over me. And I heard Austin’s voice as clear as the day is long say, “but mom, it’s so pretty here,” and I felt so great that all I could do was say, okay, and then it was gone. I didn’t see anything, I didn’t hear any audible voices; it was all inside of me. I know that that’s such a weird story, but here’s what I do know is I didn’t know the Lord, I didn’t know God. I think He knew I would not have recognized His voice. I think He knew He had to talk to me in an Austin voice. I don’t think I could talk to dead people, I promise it’s never happened again, but I think God had to get my attention because I was so far from Him, that boy did He get my attention! And right then and there, I knew that Heaven was real. Whatever else I had heard, that I knew, it was a place and my son was there. I know it with every fiber of my being, and so that kind of began my journey. That was a Friday, and on Sunday I told my whole family, and everybody who had come to gather that, we are going to church, and they looked at me like, what? You don’t go to church! I’m the only one in my family, extended family who didn’t go to church at the time, but we did, we went to this little church near our home. I had to find someone to plan a funeral, so I knocked on their doors and they really responded to us and I thought, well, we’re going to go to that church on Sunday, and I did. So many circumstances that led one thing to another, but on that very Sunday, I gave my life to the Lord. The pastor ended his service with an invitation, and, that doesn’t happen every week, either, at this church it doesn’t happen every week, but I was there and I gave my life to the Lord on that Sunday, right after Austin died, and that is what led us, in a very long story, to this, because I knew then that Heaven was real, but I was still skeptical. I was still hard-hearted. I was still stubborn. I still had so many questions, but that’s the beginning of my story, is knowing that Heaven is real and giving my life to the Lord. I just knew that that was true. All of a sudden I knew that Jesus was true, too. When I sat in that service on Sunday, I knew that that was actually the truth and that day I became a believer and somebody gave me my first Bible. I didn’t have a Bible, and that church just wrapped their arms around me and began discipling us and discipling me and were so gentle with me that I just became so hungry for my Bible. It really did save me while grieving a child, it really did.

Mentor Mama:

Goodness, I can’t even imagine what that must have been like, but thank you for being so authentic with your story, and it’s just so heartfelt in your book here, there’s a beautiful picture of you and your children, and obviously you went through this horrific time and must have been grieving just horribly, you said that your Bible really saved you from the pit of grieving. For those out there that our grieving today, tell us, how you use the Bible to help you through that.

Kim Erickson:

Surprisingly, it’s actually, the New Testament just does for me, because you can really see the heart of God. You can see what Jesus teaches and you can really just feel His love, and that is the only thing that’s going to heal that grief, God can heal that grief, but really no one and nothing else can fill that kind of hole, of a loss of a child, they really can’t, and I just have to ask God to fill it every day, but one of the ways He does that is by seeing Him in my Bible and learning about Him, because I still wanted to know, like, why did this have to happen to us? Like we were good parents trying to do our best, and so those “why” questions, like, why us, why me? Why, why, that place of grief. There’s no answer, but there are a lot of answers about God in your Bible and about His character. Is He trustworthy? Is He patient? Is He merciful? Is He gracious toward you? Does He love you? Yes, yes, yes, and that is where you find those answers. Maybe not to your specific question about, you know, why this had to happen to me, but it is the answer to who is God, who was Jesus on this earth, and The Holy Spirit, as well. Like, how does The Holy Spirit become my comfort and my comforter? And so all that is in your Bible, and to be honest with you, the Old Testament had a lot to do with it for me, because a lot of bad stuff happened in the Old Testament, and then when you look at how His people handled it and how God responded and how every time something hard happened, God came around to them and the people turned back to Him, and so the Old Testament also has a piece of my heart for dealing with hard stuff.

Mentor Mama:

Do you have some specific go-to versus that help you through difficult times?

Kim Erickson:

I do. I love Psalm 34:18, which says, the Lord is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. And I tell you what, and this is another way the Bible saved me from the pit of grief, is when you’re having a hard day, man, I would be just like a toddler. I would be like, you said that you are near to the broken hearted and I can’t feel you right now because my heart is broken. Or, you said you would save those who are crushed in spirit, and right now I am crushed and I need you to pick me up out of this, and so that’s another way that I think the Bible can pull you up out of the darkest places is because these are our promises from our Heavenly Father and He never ever breaks His promise, so that’s one of my favorite verses for deep hurts. I love Philippians 4:4-8. It’s a verse tucked in there that a lot of us know really well, which is, don’t be anxious for anything but pray, right? But that verse is actually sandwiched between other verses that I think can pull you out of hard places. It actually starts with Paul saying, rejoice, rejoice in the Lord, I will say it again, rejoice, let your gentle spirit be known because the Lord is near, and then he says, do not be anxious for anything, but with thanksgiving, with gratitude, count those blessings, make your requests known to God. In other words, come right here, make your requests known to God, and the peace of God will guard your heart. That’s beyond comprehension. We hear that a lot too, right? The peace of God, that’s beyond comprehension, right? Every mom always says, I don’t know how you can handle it, losing a child would be unimaginable. And I usually say, it is unimaginable, but I have the Lord and He gives us a peace that is beyond our understanding, and that happens when we pray. Then the next part of that says, after that peace, it says, who will guard your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, and boy, when you’re in a dark place a lot of times, it’s your mind that needs guarding. Your heart needs healing, but more so, oftentimes is that replay of the incidents or the replay of the shame or the replay of the guilt. It’s your mind that is running away, and so that Scripture tells us when we pray that He will guard our hearts and our minds, but then he shifts one more verse and he tells us how to do it. He says, whatever is lovely, whatever is noble, think on these things. There’s like a list of eight things; whatever is trustworthy, whatever is beautiful, think on these things. I think that’s another key, so if we start out by rejoicing in the Lord, we count our blessings, we say our prayers, the peace comes, and then we got to shift and we got to start thinking about the things that are beautiful about God, the beautiful about our lives, things that are trustworthy, He is trustworthy, that kind of thing. So that’s another passage that I really love, and I’ll give you one last one, because this one I’m kind of camped out on right now. I’m writing a new study about the book of Isaiah, and Isaiah 43 is just precious to me, and we do hear people quote it a lot because it’s the place where He says, you are mine, that He will rescue us and that you are mine, but a couple of verses down it also says, for you are precious and honored in my sight (In God’s sight), you are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you, It says it right there in black and white, every single translation of the Bible, every one I’ve checked, says, I love you, and I thought, oh my goodness, boy, do women need to hear that? Creator of the Universe just said it in black and white for all time, you are precious and honored in my sight and I love you! It doesn’t get any better than that.

Mentor Mama:

Kim, those are all fabulous versus, and we’ll definitely link them in this blog for those of you that are reading this so you can easily click on them and read them.

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Mentor Mama:

Your testimony is just so powerful because in an unimaginable, difficult situation, its demonstrates the power of God’s Word, and how it can give you some amazing peace that surpasses all understanding and just can’t understand. We can’t explain it, but it is your testimony and it happens.

Mentor Mama:

You’ve shared those verses, now let’s shift gears a little bit and talk about your Bible study here on John chapters 13 through 17. Tell us, out all the books in the Bible, why did you choose John and specifically these chapters?

Kim Erickson:

This is another great story I have to tell you. So, I am a teacher first, even before I went to law school, I was a teacher, and I was getting this hunger for the Word and this church is discipling me, they’re pulling me into women’s Bible studies and I am loving it. I really felt the Lord kind of knocking on my heart going, yep, you’re going to do that. And I was like, what? I haven’t even read the whole thing. Wait a minute, I need to read the whole thing first, so very early on, I felt that knocking, and I say that to encourage other folks out there, you do not need to be an expert on the Bible. You do not need to go to Seminary to understand it, The Lord will help you understand it, and if you feel Him knocking on your heart to do something that seems outside of your ability, just keep praying about it because He really might want you to do it. I really felt Him going, you know, you’re going to teach My Word, and I was like, this is crazy. So for a long time, couple of years probably, I was like, that’s crazy, but He wouldn’t go away, just came up knocking. I was like, oh my goodness, okay, so then what of the Bible, okay, Lord, I don’t know what you’re doing, but all right. I still hear you. So let’s, obey and listen to Him and say, all right, what? Then I kept hearing in my prayer, John, John, and I was like, again, like, no! It’s the Gospel of John? It’s too much, can I have a little book like Ruth or Esther or how about Jude? Did You say Jude, because I think you said John, but I think you meant to say Jude, and nope, John, it kept coming and coming and coming. Okay, Lord, John it is, but then you can’t write a study on the whole book so what about John? Right? He kept bringing me back to chapters 13 through 17, over and over again, and then finally it hits me; this is their moment. If we back up just a little bit in my story, I lost my brother, Jeff, my nearest sibling to me in age, in a car accident, and I can still picture him this day, the last moment I saw him, he had his Ohio State jersey on, he was heading back to college, he was standing in that door and he said something silly to me. Like I remember it. And I can remember every tiny little detail about Austin. I know what jammies he wore, he had airplane sheets on his bed, I know what stuffy he picked out, what book we read, what we said to each other. I mean, those last words are so precious, and it just hit me one day. I’m like, oh, oh, oh, oh, this is their last moment, the Disciples would’ve remembered, this is the dinner that they would’ve remembered because they didn’t really get to talk to Him again. Yes, they spoke to Him as the Resurrected Jesus, but before the tragedy, this is what they would’ve remembered. They probably can still smell the room, they probably know what sandals they wore, what robes they had on, they would’ve remembered every detail of that last moment. As soon as Jesus was brought to the cross, that night was cemented in their mind. Just like it is when you lose somebody you love, you remember your last conversation with them, it’s just something about us. Maybe God tucked that into us, knowing it would help us learn. So Jesus of course knew He was going right? What I would give to have conversations over again with my brother and my son, but Jesus did know, He did know that this was it, and I think He knew they were going to remember every single detail about this last dinner. So, then I became like, oh my goodness, what did He choose to say? If He knows this is the last time I’m going to get to talk to these men before I send them out to literally give their lives. Like these people, these men, are going to die for me, for this, for these words, but I need them to be fired up, I need them to be committed. And so, then I just became like, oh my goodness, what did He say? And so then I started to study with that idea in my head. Like, we should know these as believers, we should feel the same way about Jesus’ last conversation, and then I became like, oh, what if I could show women how beautiful the words He chose and the things He chose to say to us and His disciples, because He’s really saying it to us on His last chance. It’s so beautiful, it just knocks my socks off still to this day when I read these chapters. I can’t believe how beautiful it is and how simple it is. So that’s why John 13 through 17, because it’s based on loss, that’s why I had to write about these chapters.

Mentor Mama:

I can see how God used those two very difficult situations in your life, to prepare you to be able to write this Bible study and to feel so close towards the last words. You have firsthand experience with what that is like, you have really brought Jesus’ last words to life in this story. Tell us, how does the study of these chapters still impact your life today?

Kim Erickson:

It just never fails. His Word never fails to change. I mean, that’s still surprising. It’s a miracle to me that every time you pick it up, I learn something new. And in fact, I’m working through John right now. I started over in Genesis this year, well, in the fall, not January, I did not read all the Old Testament in the last few weeks. In the fall, I started over again in Genesis, and so now I’m in John right now and I’m taking notes and you know, it just is striking me how intimately John is with Jesus. John’s voice, I think is just so clear about what was important to Jesus, and I always think that’s something we got to come back to, is what is important to God, because we have so many things pulling our attention, right? I mean, we have everything on the news, we have the pandemic, we have Ukraine, we have so many things going on in addition to being wives and mothers and daughters, caring for our elderly parents. Like there are a million things, good things, that have our attention, but only one thing is necessary, and it’s Him, it’s the Lord. It’s God, it’s His Word, and that’s the only thing that’s necessary; as much as we have on our plates. He’s still teaching me, it’s like, slow down, Kim, you might guess that I have a hard time slowing down, I go really fast, slow down and just be with Me and listen for my heart. And so that’s one thing you’ll do in the study. It’s line by line and verse by verse, so that we slow down and then as you go through each verse, I want you to think about, and there’s a little place to write it, what does that line, that verse, what the words Jesus spoke, what does that tell you about Him? What does it tell you about God? Because that’s the whole point to me, of our Bible, is it is meant to help us understand Him, help us see Him, help us know Him, and so, obviously I talk a little bit in the Bible study and I write out some questions and some things for you to work through, but the heart of this study is really you sitting at the feet of Jesus and listening to His words, for what is important to Him? Where is His heart? What is on His mind as He knows that He’s about to go to the cross and, and write that out. What do you see about God? What did you just learn about Jesus, about His character and His heart? So, that’s the bulk of the study, and it’s in like a chart form in there, so I always tease the ladies, if you’ve gone through the study, you know, I’ll tease you guys, and be like, come on, you can do it, fill out the chart! Don’t give up!

Mentor Mama:

Yes, and honestly, I love how you have that laid out verse by verse, because I think as you mentioned, with our busy schedules, we don’t always take the time to do that or we do read it verse by verse, but we’ve gone over it so quickly that haven’t the time to absorb it, meditate on it and think about it. I really do love how you’ve done that. Well, as you were studying the Gospel of John, did you ever uncover anything unexpected?

Kim Erickson:

It was unexpected for me, and it has a lot to do with really the way that I perceived Jesus and God, and the whole idea of the forgiveness of sins, is that what was surprising to me was how simple it is and the forgiveness of sins is based only on Jesus and that atoning work that He did, and so, it had more to do with surprising me in the simplicity, because I grew up with a lot of rules and things you were supposed to do and things that you had to do, and when I read the Gospel of John and, and that is also where that beautiful church who rescued us right after we lost Austin, that is where they told me to start, was in the gospel of John, and so, it also holds my heart for that reason as well, but what surprised me then, and then when I really studied it, like really dug in and said, okay, what was He really saying in those last hours? It’s really so simple. It’s just stay with Me, stay with Me, and all these beautiful things will happen: The Father loves you; The Holy Spirit will come; you will have peace; have joy; I have overcome this great gap that is between us and God and sin. What was surprising to me was, and remains not really surprising, but beautiful, is how simple it is. But that goes back to the Old Testament too, right? It has to go back to the atoning work, there has to be life blood, for the wages of sin is death, right? That’s how they say it in The New Testament, but God said it, so He is going to do it, and so, when sin entered the world, God said, what is required is lifeblood for sin. Because there is sin in the world, lifeblood is going to be required, and I just didn’t ever make the connection between the atoning work of Christ, how He took my penalty, and how that really worked, but yet, how simple it is. Jesus already did it, it’s already done so that’s always beautiful and surprising.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, and if I’m honest, too, like that was something that really tripped me up early on in understanding, like accepting that Jesus was an important part of the Salvation story. I kind of believed there was a God, but until I understood that Old Testament, understanding that God is Holy and perfect and sin is what separates us from His Holy perfection, and in order to come into a right relationship with Christ, we need to be washed away of our sins and Jesus who came to do that permanently, and I think people get tripped up on this, I have too many sins, how can all of these be forgiven, or I’m still feeling so bad about the cause and effect of the sin that I’ve done. There’s so many things that can trip people up, and like you said, it’s that simple, giving it over to Jesus and asking for forgiveness is what makes it so beautiful?

Kim Erickson:

Yeah. I love this one devotional called, “My Utmost for His Highest,” by Oswald Chambers. I remember when it stopped me in my tracks, and it said, beware of explaining the Gospel through love, because your sins are not forgiven because of love, your sins are forgiven because of the atoning blood of Jesus Christ, and I was like, of course my sins are forgiven because of love, but you know what? That’s what was tripping me up when I was giving God the back up, because, if He loves me so much, He’s not going to let me go to Hell, I’m a pretty good person, I’m not out there doing anything bad, and so, I was tripping up over, come on, you can’t tell me that Jesus is the only way to Heaven. I mean, God is not going to let all these people go to Hell because He is a loving God, and so I was minimizing the sin and not understanding that everyone has sin, like the tiniest thought and that’s it, you can’t be next to God. You can’t be with God because everybody sins, there’s no way around it, and I just didn’t understand the need for a Savior. I was in a place where I was like, I’m a pretty good person and I didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand because people were always talking about it in terms of a loving God and how gracious and good and compassionate God is, I was like, well then, I should be okay, and I didn’t understand the atonement, so I would either go between that, or all these rules, like either God’s gracious and a loving Father and He’s not going to let me go to Hell, to, oh my goodness, there are so many rules, there is no way I’m making it. So, either way, I can’t figure this out. Then when I read the Gospel of John, and I was like, oh, that’s because neither one of those are true, neither place is true, and what really is true is that, God says it, He’s going to do it, and He said, lifeblood would be required for our sin, and then Jesus did it, and that’s why Jesus also had to die on the cross. I was like, well, why doesn’t He just beam us up? Why doesn’t He just come down here and fix it? I didn’t understand why Jesus had to die on the cross because lifeblood is required. So anyways, it was a bigger moment.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, and hopefully, for some of our listeners too, I think that just even this part of the discussion I think will be tremendously helpful, if you’re listening and you’re struggling with what it all means, I think what Kim just said, it gets back to the simple of confessing your sins. We’ve sinned against God in thought, word, and deed, but He’s waiting and wanting to forgive us. Kim, what part of, “His Last Words,” was the most difficult for you to write?

Kim Erickson:

Probably weaving in my story, believe it or not. I’m much better at it now than I was when I wrote this, but writing about our story and the grief and trying to bring in those personal illustrations was really hard to write about in there, and also, I would say writing about the Holy Spirit because that’s a big piece of this. In chapters 14, 15 and 16, Jesus going on and on and on about the Holy Spirit. I could just picture, what I like to call pre-believers kind of being like, this is so weird, like some Holy Spirit’s going to in dwell you, and just wanting to handle that correctly and accurately, according to the Word of God, and also, in a way that people could understand that, it’s not some weird thing, but this amazing miracle that we actually have part of God with us at all times, and that is so amazing. That was probably the most, one of the most, difficult parts to write with clarity about the Holy Spirit because it’s a miracle. And it’s crazy because now I teach it like, we’re like wonder woman when she crosses her arms, you know, like that’s the Holy Spirit like, Boom! We have that much available to us, and I don’t think we know the half of it, the power that we have.

Mentor Mama:

I would agree. I think the Holy Spirit is probably the least understood part of The Trinity, and so I think it’s awesome that your book includes chapters that covered that to help people understand.

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Mentor Mama:

Kim, after you lost your child to strep throat, how do you manage to parent your other son without being overwhelmed by fear and anxiety and how would you encourage other parents who are struggling with fear and anxiety?

Kim Erickson:

Yeah, and boy, it’s tough. I would probably say first things first, this is a little cliché, but I would say, turn off the news, man, you got to turn off the news, but realistically that’s a small thing, and that’s probably down at like 100 on the list, but how do I parent Ethan after Austin and then he’s coming up behind him, so now he’s two and, oh my gosh, he turned three, and every time he sniffled or got a fever, oh gosh, I used to tell people like, if your child can die from strep throat, really in the United States of America, in 2008, like your child can die from anything. And so, instead of becoming like anxiety ridden about it, because my relationship with God developed at the same time that I learned who God is, I had to just come to a place where I say, I trust Him. I trust Him with Ethan. And guess what? I got to come to the place where I had to say, Austin wasn’t mine. I got to have him for a little while, but he wasn’t mine, and Ethan’s not mine. My husband’s not mine. My parents aren’t mine. Their lives belong to God and we’re to be good stewards, but I’m not in control, and if God wants Ethan to go, guess what? He’s going to go. I don’t even make him wear a bike helmet; I know, I should, it’s the law, but I don’t. He rides on the sidewalk, he’s not mountain biking. People do ask me, how do you let, you know Ethan likes to ski, he likes to do Tae Kwon Do and get kicked in the head, how to you let him do those things, and I just let him, because I trust God that if Ethan is supposed to go, then God has a reason, and the base of that reason is good. So people say that verse a lot, and if anybody’s grieving, you know you hate this verse that says, “God works everything together for our good,” and I always want to point out it doesn’t actually say “our good,” it says, “the good of the kingdom or for His good.” God will be doing something good with whatever we walk through, now it doesn’t mean that it feels good to us. My favorite place for this, about how did I release Ethan into that care, is Jesus in the Garden and you’ll hit it here, it’s not actually in the Gospel of John, Jesus is praying in the Garden, but this little piece is in all the other gospels, but not John, which is fascinating, but it’s that moment when Jesus says to the Father, “if You are willing, remove this cup from Me,” right? He does not. If there’s another way, Lord, like I do not want to go to the cross, and that’s essentially what Jesus is saying, if there’s another way I don’t really want to do this, but then He turns it and He says, “but not My will, but Yours.” And so, He has that complete submission to the Father. I don’t want to do it, but I will, if that is what you want me to do, and that’s how we release our loved ones, because it’s not our will, it’s not our choice, it has to be what the Father wants, and He’s still in control. He is still in charge, and I have to sit in that place and say, it’s what He wants and not what I want, and I have to be okay with that, but guess what? I don’t have to like it. I do always say that to people like, listen, I don’t have to like it. I grieve every single day. If you are a mom who’s lost a child, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I grieve at least once a day, somewhere, somehow I grieve everyday. I don’t have to like that, and sometimes I’m mad at God about it. Sometimes we got to talk about it and I get those emotions out, but I know that He is good, and that He will use it for good. It doesn’t have to sound or feel good to me, and so, that’s how I let go of Ethan and not be so crazy, anxious about stuff, because I just have to trust that whatever happens to me or my family is in His hands and He’ll do something with it, something good with it.

Mentor Mama:

And if you’re listening to this today, and you find yourself challenged with, how do I get over fear and anxiety? I just want to encourage people to do exactly what Kim said. It’s okay to lament, that’s what the Psalms are. Read through the Psalms, and it’s okay to bring your emotions and your feelings to God, and ultimately, believing that God has a bigger plan that we don’t always see this side of Heaven, but we trust. We trust. And I love the verse (2 Timothy 1:7) that God hasn’t given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. We can always use God’s Word to encourage us. Kim, your book, “His Last Words,” how do you hope it will impact the women who take on this study?

Kim Erickson:

I hope, that they come into a place where they know, really know more fully, that they’re loved. They’re loved by God, and that actually is one of the more common emails that I get from women who do this study is, I have never felt so loved, and I’m always like, yes, that’s it! Or they say, I’ve never really understood the Holy Spirit in that way, like to feel like I can really call on the Holy Spirit. So either one of those two would just have huge impacts on your whole life, like your whole personality can mold and change when you know, that you know, that you know, that the Creator of the Universe loves you with an everlasting love, and that He sent you a Helper who is right here with you, to handle whatever comes your way. Like, what could we do with this life if we really knew that? It would be great.

Mentor Mama:

How can people find out more information about you and your book?

Kim Erickson:

Sure, my website is kimaerickson.com. So, there has to be an “a” in there, and the books, of course, are on Amazon or Moody Publishers. You can find those there, but I have links on the website. I also have a couple of things, that are helpful to the grieving on the website, so there’s a set of, what I call “safe Scriptures,” because what I don’t want to do, is for people who are trying to help, say certain Scriptures, and it makes me want to cringe like, oh, don’t say that to her now, let her find that one. Pick some scriptures that stay away from God’s plans and things that work for our good, that kind of thing, is too soon, let her come to that conclusion. So I have list of safe Scriptures that I think are great to pray over the grieving, to put on a card to the grieving. I have a playlist, too, if you’re in a tough spot, in a dark place, here’s some songs that really lifted my heart out of those dark places. So you can just poke around there and maybe find a few other things. I don’t want to leave you because I feel like there might be women out there thinking about grief and grieving since that is my story, even though we’re focused on Lent and getting ready for Easter with, “His Last Words,” I also have (the book), “Surviving Sorrow,” and “Surviving Sorrow,” is for moms who have lost children, and in there are a lot of ideas; practical ideas, like if you need to get the mad out, go to Goodwill and buy some dishes and find a safe place and smash them and what do you do with their clothes? Some ideas about that. What do you do over the holidays? How do you get through the grocery store? What do you say when somebody asks you, how many kids do you have? Those are some hard, hard, practical things, that moms have to deal with, and so, those are in there as well as, how do you turn towards a God who just let this happen to you and your child? What do you do with all those emotions and your relationship with God? And so, there’s like survivor steps, and then there’s some spiritual steps. Like this is how you start turning back towards God, if you have to deal with losing a child. So, “Surviving Sorrow,” is there to. I wish I didn’t have it. I wish no one needed it, but it’s there, too.

Mentor Mama:

Excellent. We will put that book as well in our links, and we’ll put Kim’s website on there, too, so you’ll be able to find everything and click on it so it takes you right there.

Kim Erickson:

I have a Facebook and Instagram, too.

Mentor Mama:

Before we go, I want to ask you about some of your favorite Bible study tools. What Bible do you use and what translation is it?

Kim Erickson:

I use, essentially Kay Arthur’s Study Bible, it’s called, “The New Inductive Study Bible,” so that is mine. It is torn and tattered, and somebody said to me the other day, you’re going to need a new Bible soon, and I was like, no, no. I love it so much. It’s the NASB version. Those were pastor recommendations, when I first became a new believer, and they learned about me that I kind of had a heart to study, and if anybody knows Kay Arthur’s stuff, you have to love to study.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, yes.

Kim Erickson:

You got to dig in, and so, that really fits me, and then the NASB was what my first pastor taught out of and that’s where I’m most comfortable.

Mentor Mama:

Do you have any favorite journaling supplies that you like to use to enhance your Bible study experience?

Kim Erickson:

I love what you guys have on your website, those are so cute. I am not a journaler. I write all over my Bible, so that’s why I’m going to need a new Bible soon, because I don’t have any margins left, and I have stuff sticking out of there, and then I have pieces of paper folded up with more notes in there, and so, my Bible is like this hot mess. I wish I journaled because I should, but every time I’ve tried, I never do it. I forget it or something, I just can’t journal like that. Maybe I need sticky notes or something.

Mentor Mama:

Yes, I do have a lot of sticky notes in my Bible. What about colored pencils, do you use that with the Kay Arthur Bible, I know she uses those in her studies. Does she also recommend those for the Bible itself?

Kim Erickson:

She does the same method that she recommends in her studies, she walks you through, and she kind of has it at the beginning of each chapter, which is kind of cool, she tells you, mark all the time with like a clock in specifically in these chapters, it will be important. So she even points you to keep an eye out for this kind of thing, but I don’t actually do all of that either, and colors kind of mess me up. So mine are all pencil, and the change in color to me makes me…, I have zero artistic ability, zero none, and so many people who know me who are more artistic and creative would be like, oh no. I am a black and white, words on a page, words on a line. I don’t doodle, I do everything in straight lines. My son teases me that I even doodle in straight lines.

Mentor Mama:

I think that is so cool though, because I think a lot of people might think, oh, Kay Arthur, I’m going to have to use all my colored pencils and it might make me crazy, but that’s really encouraging to hear that it could be for either type of person. How about your favorite app or website for Bible study tools?

Kim Erickson:

So on my phone, I have the NASB Bible. The app just says NASB and it’s on a picture of a little brown Bible, I don’t know the actual name of the app. I like it better than my YouVersion app, because it’s quicker. Like the table of contents is just right there, and then when you click on Luke, all the chapters come up and then when you click on that, it’s so much faster, so it’s just the NASB and it looks like a little brown Bible. Then I do love YouVersion. I do use the YouVersion app most days for the Verse of the Day, and then if I have time, sometimes I’ll watch their video, that pops up, so I do like the YouVersion Bible app, and there is a grieving parents’ reading plan in there by me, it’s called, “Surviving Sorrow,” and so there is a five day reading plan in there for grieving parents.

Mentor Mama:

Oh, that’s wonderful.

Kim Erickson:

So that’s there, I do love YouVersion. What’s your favorite? I’m curious. I’m going to turn it around on you, what’s your favorite app? Do you have an app on your phone?

Mentor Mama:

Well, for apps, actually I do have the YouVersion and it is my go-to, it’s right on the first screen of my phone, and for the computer, I really like, blueletterbible.org, it’s got a lot of good tools in there.

Kim Erickson:

I’m going to have to check that out because I go to biblegateway.com on my computer. I like when I’m researching stuff or when I’m like studying my Bible, digging in just a little bit, I go to biblegateway.com and say, Hmm, I wonder how many times the Lord talks about your heart, and so I’ll just put “heart” in and actually, it’s 725 times that the Lord is talking about your heart in the Bible.

Mentor Mama:

Oh wow.

Kim Erickson:

I love Bible Gateway for that, because you can do keyword searches. So you could just do “mercy” or you could do “Heaven.” I’ve done that one before, too, like, where’s my little man. I need to just read some verses about Austin today, we just need to read some verses about Heaven. So I use biblegateway.com for that.

Mentor Mama:

That’s awesome and I’m so glad you mentioned that, because actually we just, this past week, came out with a new free resource on our website, coffeeandbibletime.com. You just go right to our website, it’ll pop up, and it provides links to many, many different, excellent online Bible study tools. Our church has a lot of connections to professors at Trinity and Moody, and so, we have some favorites from them as well. And so you can check out that free resource, but Kim, thank you so much for being here today sharing your heartfelt story and just how your Bible study is helping others to experience the power of Christ in His final hours with his disciples and for our readers, I just want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Kim’s study called, “His Last Words.” You’re going to find all of the information we talked about today linked throughout the blog, you can also share comments with us on this podcast on this blog, as well. And lastly, visit the Coffee and Bible Time website for our prayer journals that will help guide and document your prayer life at coffeeandbibletime.com. Thank you for joining us today on our blog. We love all.

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