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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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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…

Sin on the journey

Before I know it, sin drips from my mouth and floods my mind. Oh the struggle.
Romans 7:22-23 I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant, but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin. So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free. 
My current struggle is in not easily recognizing the extent of my sinfulness. I can easily preach it, but continuous righteous living eludes me.
Ouch. It hurts. I reveal this because I love the Lord with all my heart, mind and soul, but the sinner in me wins. It's the same struggle the A…