The Lost Art of Grieving

Loss is a part of living; but grieving is a lost art. We do not want to face the pain, so we stuff it inside, wallow in self-pity and depression, and ignore the one safety valve God gave us to overcome the deep abiding sadness we carry around with us every hour of every day.

If we would allow Him to, our God of all comfort would fill us with His joy and peace as we trust in Him. He enables us to overflow with hope by the power of His Holy Spirit within us (Romans 15:13).

People usually ignore us when we are grieving, because they do not know what to say. They may want to speak to us but cannot decide how to word their feelings. This is common and we do not need to feel insecure.

We can simply say, “I am not sure what to say, but I want you to know that I care about you and that I am here for you in any way that I can be of help.”

We tend to use phrases like: passed on, passed away, graduated to heaven, went to be with the Lord, etc. Using the word “died” will allow the grieving person to realize that it is okay to refer to their loved one in that same way.

We can express our concern by sharing our sorrow that they are experiencing this loss. “I am so sorry for your loss. I really care about you. How may I help you?”

A simple, “What do you need from me right now?” or “What can I do for you?” are appropriate ways to offer help, because they show you support them during this time of grief.

Do not tell the grieving person that their loved one is in a better place, or that they will get over their grief in time, or that this loss was part of God’s plan, or that you know how they feel. Instead, ask them, “How are you feeling right now?”

You do not need to remind them of all they still have to be thankful for or that they can find comfort in the fact that their loved one really cared about them.

Do not tell them what they should feel or do. Let God direct their steps in His timing and way. If they ask you, then start your comment with, “Have you ever considered …”getting a part-time job”, “volunteering at a shelter”, “helping us with our children’s ministry” (in the office, on workdays around the building).

The worst thing you can say is, “It is time to get on with your life.” You could say, “God still has plans for your life and He will show them to you as you are ready.”

Everyone has a different way to grieve and different time frames in which to do this. Some take longer than others. Some never get over the intense feelings of grief and it shapes their future life.

Many friends forget about the grieving person once the funeral is over. That is when the person needs us the most. Take them shopping, to get their hair done, or for a quiet walk in the park on a pleasant sunny day.

Take them a hot meal, but do not stay to watch them eat it. Offer to buy them some groceries or to do their dishes or wash a load of laundry. These basic needs often get neglected when we are grieving.

Send cheerful cards, invite them to a movie or over to your house to join mutual friends for dinner. Do not force them to be outgoing or cheerful. Just allow them to silently enjoy your company.

Honor their requests, don’t push your ideas on them, but ask them, “What would you like to do this week?” Do this regularly for the first year after their loss. Be patient and don’t push them. Love them with the love of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, knowing what to say to a grieving person is so nerve wracking and our ineptitude is paralyzing. Teach us how to comfort. Give us Your Holy Spirit’s wisdom for how to minister to each new grieving person. Put Your ideas in our mind, inspire our creativity with Your ideas on how to be a special blessing to this grieving friend, relative or church member.

We also ask that You comfort us in our grief. Help us not to wallow in self-pity but to rise and shine with each new day and to seek Your will in each new moment. Help us to realize that You have plans for us that do not include our loved one; and that we still have purpose and meaning for our life in You.

Thought for the Day:
Give a bereaving person the gift of your time and attention.

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God Never Fails

 

There are times in life when we feel devastated, overwhelmed and hopeless. We have no idea how to pay our bills, buy groceries or keep a roof over our head. If we keep our faith and hope in God, anything is possible (Mark 9:23). When trouble surrounds us and life is hard, we know that there is always a way out, because God loved us enough to lay down His life for us (2 Corinthians 4:8).

 

God has good plans for His righteous ones and there is always hope in our future (Jeremiah 29:11). We fear nothing, which life throws at us or people threaten us with. Full surrender to God’s will in every circumstance is the only way to stay sane. If we continue to strive for our own way, we will continue to feel frustrated and hopeless. Total surrender to God is the key to making sense of our circumstances.

 

If we call out to the Lord, and pray to Him for help, He never fails to hear us. Our cries always reach His ears (Psalm 18:8). Our Lord and Redeemer strengthens us and holds us up with His victorious right hand (Isaiah 41:10, 13-14). Surrendering our present and future to God, walking away from our worries and leaving them in His hands is the only way to dwell in His rest (Hebrews 4:10).

 

We trust in God, not in our family or friends, job or bank account, talents or human reasoning, church or neighbors. We can put too much pressure on others when we expect them to support us more than they already are. They will feel undue stress and push back or ignore us. We have to get our eyes off our self and onto God. Then He will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).

 

As long as we are still alive, we have hope (Ecclesiastes 9:4). The Lord saves the brokenhearted and those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). He binds our wounds and carries our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4, Psalm 147:3). Our hope comes from God alone and He gives us rest for our soul (Psalm 43:5; 62:5). As we put our hope in Him, the Lord rescues us from our trials (Psalm 39:7; 2 Peter 2:9).

 

Prayer:

Father God, even when we take our focus off You in the midst of our tribulation, we know without a doubt that You are always there for us, loving us unconditionally and giving us the victory through Your death and resurrection. Nothing this world has to offer compares to the hope we have, which comes only from You (Psalm 62:5; Ecclesiastes 9:4). You are always on our side, ever loving us and drawing us closer to Your heart (John 6:44; Psalm 136:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

God gives us grace to live for today, but remember that tomorrow’s grace will not come until tomorrow.

 

Looking Through God’s Eyes

God is everywhere and in all things (Ephesians 4:6). His presence is around us, even when we do not pay attention to it. He lives IN us and is closer to us and knows us better than we know our own self. Yet, we spend most of the day ignoring Him. Those of us who are too self-reliant to depend on God, find our self in more trouble than we can handle.

With pride, comes our fall (Proverbs 16:18). God resists the proud, who are too self-sufficient to lean on Him (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). We are drowning in our problems and continually have to face the fact that we can’t; but, God can. With humility comes more grace. As we submit to His direction with a humble heart, God draws near to us.

We all suffer in this life, but God always works everything out for our good (Romans 8:28). God uses our problems to show His glory (John 9:2-3). He reveals the issues of life to us from His perspective rather than our own earthly one, and we can deal with them through the power of the Holy Spirit within us. God actually cares about every aspect of our life.

Solomon told us to trust in the Lord with our whole heart, and not to depend on our human understanding. He advises us to seek the Lord with our entire being and to acknowledge God in whatever we are doing (Proverbs 3:5-6). We can to consult God about which direction to take, which decision to make, which person to speak to, what color to purchase and even what groceries to buy for that week. Father knows best.

Prayer:
Father God, our life on earth is a momentary affliction compared to the glories You prepared for us in Heaven. Your paths lead us through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen (Psalms 77:14, 19b). Give us the lens of Your mercy and grace in order to view our problems; so that we can have Your perspective on it all.

Thought for the Day:
God has an eternal perspective and He sees what is best for all of us throughout eternity, and not just for life on this earth.