On Sunday, Pastor Ed continued his sermon series "How to Deal with How You Feel" by looking at Dealing with Grief.
He began with two reasons to look at our feelings:
1) To help us get real and stay real about life.
We recognize that we're all struggling together. But we've found a key to emotional health because of grace.
2) To remind ourselves that following Christ makes us more emotionally healthy and alive.
The fruit of the Spirit in our lives helps our relationships.
Then we looked at Grief, starting with I Thessalonians 4:13. We don't want to grieve, as those who have no hope.
He went over Six Stepping Stones on the Path of Good Grief
(These are taken in part from the books Good Grief, by Granger Westberg, and Experiencing Grief, by H. Norman Wright.)
1) Recognize Grief
Grief is an emotional wave that comes and goes. It can be powerfully disorienting.
Grief is a process.
Grief can be a response to many things: Death, a move, job loss, divorce, the end of a dream, an empty nest . . .
There may be physical side effects.
Practical suggestion: Read a book about grief.
2) Understand the process of grief.
It's a slow, inevitable, and natural process if you experience loss. We will do it -- either well or poorly -- but we will do it.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross outlined the stages of grief years ago. Others split the stages differently, but the general idea is consistent. We do go through: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.
Practical suggestion: Join a support group, or talk with your small group.
3) Allow for your grief.
Give it space. Trying to set it aside won't lessen its pain.
Don't get an emotional infection.
Emotional expression is a critical part of the grieving process.
Practical suggestion: Find a way to memorialize whatever you are grieving. (This is why we have funerals.)
4) Give voice to your questions.
See Matthew 27:46; Psalm 10:1; Psalm 13:1-2. God can take it!
One day your "Why?" will turn to "What should I do?"
Practical Suggestion: Write a letter to your grief, or a letter from your grief to yourself.
5) Remember: Our connection with God provides us with the context with which grief can and will be healed.
I John 3:1-3 and I Thessalonians 4:13
There are those who grieve badly and limp for the rest of their lives.
Practical Suggestion: Engage in prayer and get prayed for.
6) Be a minister to others.
What recovery looks like:
- Able to handle the finality of the situation
- Able to relive pleasant and unpleasant memories
- Able to go places without crying
- Can concentrate
- No longer overly tired
- Patient with yourself when you have a grief spasm
- You have something to give to others.
II Corinthians 1:3-4 -- Able to comfort others with the comfort we've received from God.
Be open for God to use your grief for others and be honest about it.
See your grief as an angel, and say to it, "I will not let you go unless you bless me."
Wow! Just when I thought this sermon was only touching my intellect, it punched me hard in the gut. How did it hit you?