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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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