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Face your losses or they will face you

Genesis 5:5 (GW)
5 Adam lived a total of 930 years; then he died.


Genesis 9:28-29 (GW)
28 Noah lived 350 years after the flood.
29 Noah lived a total of 950 years; then he died.
Genesis 25:7-8 (GW)
7 Abraham lived 175 years.
8 Then he took his last breath, and died at a very old age. After a long and full life, he joined his ancestors in death.


Then he (or she) died. Those words have been springing off the pages of my Bible lately. It’s not surprising. My ministry of listening and compassion is with those who are very ill…and…my Mother is at the end of her life. Several people I love dearly are also very ill.
During this season, I’ve had to take stock of my emotions… it’s difficult to watch those you love suffer. I’ve read books and reviewed notes on seminars and courses I’ve taken on grieving since I deal with it in my ministry.  I’ve written about grief and how the Lord has helped me heal so that I could be effective in his purposes for me. I share my experiences because I believe that unresolved grief keeps us from achieving the things that God has called us to do. Now I’m sharing another tool that I found useful.

Loss Graph History
This exercise is a must for all pastoral caregivers. Until we understand how grief works in our lives, it’s difficult to be effective listeners and caregivers for patients, family and friends.  Start your timeline with the year you were born. Add all your losses – for example: deaths, divorces, pet losses, moves, graduations, new job, job loss, empty nest, financial setbacks, retirement – any events that are significant.

Be thoughtful with your loss graph. Once you see the results, take a look at each event to determine if you allowed yourself to grieve. You may be surprised. I’m aware of my losses because I’ve had to deal with them on a professional level for my ministry – through classes and seminars. You may need to talk through your grief with family or a professional. 
Resolving grief removes a huge burden – I know it did for me. As I go on my Mom’s journey, I remind myself that it’s OK to be sad, to take a break, to rest and to run into God’s arms. He rescues me all the time.

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Scripture: Psalm 92:12-15
Psalm 92:
12 Good people will prosper
    like palm trees,
    and they will grow strong
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13 They will take root
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    and they will do well.
14 They will be like trees
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    even when they are old.
15 And they will say about you,
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Keep learning – a lazy brain is a decaying brain Keep loving – don’t be bitter Keep laughing – 😊 Keep leaving your past behind – don’t live in the rear-view mirror of your life Keep longing Keep dreaming about the future – it’s a matter of attitude Keep looking your best Keep laboring and working – there’s no retirement in the Bible Keep learning, depending, and trusting in the Lord Keep listening to God – to know His will and avoid temptation Keep having confidence for your life You …

Scriptures for life

Compiled December 2011
These are a few of my favorite Scriptures. I cannot live my life without God and his word. I keep a 3x5 wire bound note diary of verses that pop off the pages of my Bibles. This helps me in case I need to comfort someone with a specific verse. Start your own collection!


Comfort

Psalm 119:76 Comfort me with your love, as you promised me, your servant.
Job 4:4 Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand.
Strength

Psalm 18:1 I love you, LORD. You give me strength.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 118:14 The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me.
Isaiah 40:29 The LORD gives strength to those who are weary.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 … don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, all who wait with hope for the LORD, and let your heart be courag…