Present Comfort

Meditations on Modern Loss and Grief

Present Comfort

by Julie Yarbrough

Present Comfort is for those who have sustained a profound loss and for those who are at a loss to understand the range of emotions specific to grief. The unique perspective of each meditation is that God is present in every circumstance of life, at work in the world to give us victory over loss, destruction, death, and grief. Present Comfort offers assurance, encouragement, and spiritual insight for those who grieve, and context for those who desire to share in the heart and language of grief. The hope is that Present Comfort will inspire a deeper faith that in each whisper of comfort, there is the presence of God.

  • Publish Date: April 1, 2021
  • ISBN-13 Paperback: 978-1953495044
  • Language : English
  • Editions: Paperback | eBook

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Stephen Hines

In Present Comfort, Julie Yarbrough mindfully and compassionately shepherds the reader through the vast, precarious landscape of grief. She pays special attention to the challenges of holiday grieving, when the norm of enforced happiness clashes painfully with the desperation of loneliness and loss. Intimate accounts of her own grieving lend an authenticity to the manuscript. By inviting the reader into her personal challenges with grief, Ms. Yarbrough becomes a kindred spirit rather than dispassionate expert. Abundant scriptural references reinforce her message and reassure of God’s steadfast, faithful, transforming presence in our lives. As a result, this book transcends the realm of self-help books and becomes a ministry of hope and reassurance.”

Dr. Stephen L. Hines

MD, FACP, Hospice Physician

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie

Present Comfort is a rich exploration of the sacred space of grief. Filled with deep spiritual insight and her own personal story, Julie Yarbrough writes in exquisite prose to lead her readers through the “valley of the shadow” into the bright hope of God’s love, joy and new life.”

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie

Texas Methodist Foundation Leadership Formation


“Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said, "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience." Loss and grief are part of the human experience because it is within the limits of our human condition that the spiritual reality of loss and grief reveals us to be as spiritual beings. Thus it is through the human experience of loss and grief that our hearts are open to exploring the deep meaning of love and hope in the face of grief and loss and is fully known through our spiritual eyes.

In her new book, Present Comfort: Meditations on Modern Loss and Grief, author Julie Yarbrough beautifully and masterfully explores the human experience of loss and grief through the spiritual lens of Hope, Grace, and Peace, inviting us through prayers and meditations to connect with the spirit of who we are and who we were created to be, inviting us to know the everlasting love of those we loss and grieve and to know that they will always be with us in spirit and love.”

Caesar Rentie

Vice President of Pastoral Services Methodist Health System


“In her newest book, Present Comfort, Julie Yarbrough gives us rich language to understand the complexity of grief. Weaving scripture with personal experience and insights, she invites us not only to face our grief, but to embrace it. In today’s climate, Present Comfort can be just that: a comforting companion for a weary soul, a reminder that we are not alone as we walk through the valley.”

Lisa Greenwood

Vice President of Leadership Ministry, Texas Methodist Foundation

Dr. Maria A. Dixon Hall

“Yarborough takes us on a thoughtful and sacred journey to the inner recesses of the most fundamental of human experiences--grief. Gently, she encourages the reader to release our fear and examine grief's complexity as an individual and communal phenomenon. For those of us who have wept the bitter tears of loss, this book is a welcome balm to the soul.

Dr. Maria A. Dixon Hall

Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Advisor to the President for Campus Cultural Intelligence Initiatives, Southern Methodist University


Julie’s newest work is many things: wise, biblical, poetic. But, most of all, it’s truly helpful. There are certain writers who radiate comfort. Julie is one of those. And Present Comfort could not be more timely.

Rev. Paul Rasmussen

Senior Pastor, Highland Park United Methodist Church

Gil Rendle

“Thanks be to Julie Yarbrough for her gift of attending to grief in a way that provides for us all. There is personal, private grief over loss suffered alone. There is also shared, collective grief over the large calamities suffered by all - such as pandemics, polarized communities, or resurgent racism. The reality is that for all of us the turmoil of this moment is a time of great grief. The loss involved in such turmoil teaches us that we can’t go back to what was. Grief provides us a way ahead, difficult though it may be, and Julie provides us both thoughtfulness and companionship for the journey. There are reflections and resources of the spirit here to reorient and remind us that we are not alone and not without direction. This is manna in the wilderness.”


Consultant, Author & Sr. Vice President of the Texas Methodist Foundation (retired), Author of Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World

Connie Nelson

“Julie Yarbrough eloquently weaves together multiple—and distinct—threads into a cloak of comfort for those who mourn. Her meditations give voice to the experience of loss, both personal and societal, and provide reassurance of God’s steadfast presence in each moment. The book guides us through the experience of grief: from the early, raw, empty days to moments of acceptance and understanding; and, finally, to the new life “on the other side of grief.” Individuals and groups alike will find Present Comfort: Meditations on Modern Loss and Grief a powerful compendium for working through the unique—and common—layers of grief; and, ultimately, to a place of trust and joy we thought unimaginable.

Rev. Connie L. Nelson

Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

Mike McKee

“Julie Yarbrough draws from her personal experiences and her deep Christian faith to offer an excellent resource for one who is living with grief. I commend it to clergy and counselors as they will find rich and helpful resources for their own vocations in working with people who are struggling with grief. This would be valuable reading for anyone who is struggling with grief emanating from loss of a family member, friend, job, or relationship.”

Bishop Michael McKee

North Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church

Rev Robert Hasley, Jr.

“Julie Yarbrough’s extraordinary work imparts a God-centered world view that serves as a source of hope and comfort during these trying days. She invites us to encounter the very presence of God through her insightful selection of life-changing quotes from God’s Word. Julie’s biblically grounded insights into the nature of grief and her personal encounters of God’s loving presence engage the mind and touch the heart as she takes us on a journey toward spiritual and emotional wholeness in a world rife with loss and pain. Present Comfort is an essential resource to help us faithfully and deftly navigate the perpetual turns, twists, and potholes along life’s pathway.

Rev. Dr. Robert Hasley

Founding Pastor, St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Plano, TX

Tom Locke

“My Texas Methodist Foundation colleagues have discovered that “grieving well” is a special “spiritual muscle” being exercised by pastors and laity in congregations who are successfully working through the loss of the “normal” processes of being “church” during these pandemic-stricken times. My special friend, and Texas Methodist Foundation Board member, Julie Yarbrough, has provided us deep and profound insights and wisdom about “grieving well” as we experience the wide range and variety of loss in our personal and professional lives. With the rich resources of Scripture, poetry, and stories, and Julie’s own experiences of the death of her beloved husband and her father, Present Comfort is a marvelous exposition of one of the grand themes of the Bible; that “God is with us,” especially in the darkest and most difficult times in our lives. This is simply a wonderfully “hope-full” book for all of us in uncertain and challenging seasons in our lives.

Tom Locke

President, Texas Methodist Foundation

Kent Millard

"Julie Yarbrough helps all of us who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death by sharing her personal experiences of grief and loss in the context of God's living presence shared in Scripture and our individual journeys. I wish I had had this marvelous resource available several years ago when I lost my wife of 48 years to cancer. Julie's deep faith, compassionate wisdom, and unconditional love shine through her words to touch and heal our hearts. Give this book to anyone you know who has suffered loses and they will be comforted and strengthened for the journey ahead."


President, United Theological Seminary

Fran Shelton

Readers of Julie's Yarbrough's Present Comfort will be recipients of grace upon grace from God's storehouse of goodness. With each turn of page, they will come to know Julie as a new friend who has a vulnerable, compassionate and courageous heart--just like them. They will be informed about new varieties and components of grief in our modern world, like Scrappy, Troubled and Collateral. Moreover, readers will be comforted by hearing the presence of God in new contexts that lead them to live and move and have their being in love that is stronger than death.”

Dr. Fran Shelton

Founder of Faith & Grief Ministries and author of No Winter Last Forever A Memoir of Loving Bob and Loathing Alzheimer's

William Lawrence, former president of the Judicial Council. Photo by Kathleen Barry, United Methodist Communications

“In this exceptional volume of meditations on scary situations and sacred spirituality, Julie Yarbrough has provided a fountain of wisdom, insight, honesty, and hope. The brevity and simplicity of each reflection will guide a reader to realize that prayer is not a superficial act because prayer—from our own halting silences to the elegance of psalms—trusts in God’s deliverance through our deepest darkness and greatest grief. She shows us that grieving is a personal experience with collective and collateral implications. She enables us to appreciate “hardscrabble faith” and “scrappy grief.” She acknowledges the pain of personal loss as she reflects on death as it claimed her beloved husband. She finds beauty in ordinary things like a water leak that becomes a metaphor for “living water.” And she gives spiritually refreshing meaning to the joy of “regifting” the faith for others. This is a book of meditations that can be diligently read as a whole volume or digested in daily doses, chapter by chapter, to renew our reliance on God, who is right here with us as a present comfort in time of grief.

William B. Lawrence

Professor Emeritus of American Church History, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University and Research Fellow, Duke Center for Studies in the Wesleyan Tradition