Living in a fallen world, most of us have had a face to face with loss. The kind of loss that makes you stop life and pushes you into grieving. Though I am thankful to not currently be grieving the loss of someone dear to me, I have chosen to walk the road with someone who has. For the past 6 weeks we have been riding together to a church in a neighboring town, and sitting with a small group of beautiful souls who are in the midst of grief.
I have wanted to share with you the experience, but like other things over the past year, they are so close to my heart that it is difficult to find the right way.
It has been a holy experience for me to have the people who are pressing in to life, as their loss grips them and wants to drag them down to hopelessness. Each week they open their most personal thoughts with me in their midst, knowing I have come with my widowed friend Betty, as her support. I am the only one in the group that isn't in the midst of battling grief, though I bear my own scars from it. (23 years ago, while pregnant with my homemade, I lost my dad to a massive heart attack). I am allowed to come into their most holy place of grieving and share in their journey to joy.
My group is lead by the Pastor of the church. He lost his wife in August to complications with a long battle with diabetes. His church has offered it several times before, but this time he is leading it, as he wanted to benefit from the program himself. Each person has their unique story to tell, with the pain that comes with it. A box of tissues is ever present, and I am amazed at the strength of those who come and share their hearts so transparently.
Our group is small- three widows; Carolyn who lost her husband to cancer but 2 months ago, Giselle lost her husband in September (she is co-leading the group), after a long term illness, my friend Betty who is 3 years into mourning her beloved Paul. A couple who lost their son after a surgery complication, he was only 23 years old and had a life time of health struggles. A woman who only came once, she was struggling with depression . Gail a woman who lost both her mother and then a brother recently- she is left to care for her father who is depressed. Ron, a sweet older man, who popped in during week 5, he lost his sweetheart a year ago. He was struggling with getting past anger and enjoying the rest of his life-he said he was 79. He didn't come back this week, hoping he will, as I was hoping to hear more of the story of his life that he so beautifully and openly shared with us~ strangers to him.
As I shared, I have grieved in this life. Some times it was things that most people don't see as something that would put you on a path of grief, like infertility or loss of a child through adoption. You are welcome at Griefshare for these losses too. I didn't ever have a Christian support group like Griefshare.
Oh, how I wish I did.
I encourage you to find one near you if you are finding yourself in the place of grief.
How it works...
first you find a group.
then you show up (do it, even if it is a terrible struggle to get there...)
YOU WILL BE SO GLAD YOU DID!
We greet each other and have a bit of time, as people wander in from near and far,
to see how we are doing this week.
We sit down and Pastor Howard leads us into what we will be learning on this particular meeting.
Griefshare has the book I shared above, each week there are lessons we do together and then activities to do during the week. The book/guide was $20 (optional to buy)- it is beautifully laid out and full of helpful information.
We watch a short video on the topic pertaining to the week we are in in the Griefshare guide. Each week is not based on the previous, so anyone can join the group at anytime- the meetings are free. The book has 13 sessions or segments of study, so this is how many weeks we will be meeting with each other.
After the video 'we circle up,' as sweet Pastor Howard calls it. He invites us, if we are willing, to share our hearts. The leadership guide has select questions, that help us dig in further to our week's topic. The atmosphere in our group is very gentle and loving. We spend an hour or so, with a break for snacks, sharing our lives with one another.
Love flows. Encouragement is given. Tears are sometimes shed. Wisdom is imparted. Friendships form. The Spirit of God moves in our midst and it is a beautiful thing.
I am sure I haven't done Griefshare justice. Maybe you would like to visit their website and read more about their offerings or find a group for yourself. If you are grieving- it's for you. If you know someone who is grieving tell them and offer to join them!
If you happen to be in a place of grieving and need someone to talk to- leave me a note and I will be happy to be an ear for you. If you need help finding a group, the website has links that can help- but again if you need help, I'd be happy to help you. I pray that God helps you in this lonely place of grieving and puts your life on the path from mourning to joy. Griefshare is a wonderful resource and one that I think so many are unaware of. (so I am trying to help get the word out!)
I am praying for you...if you want more prayer leave me a way to contact you! There is a link in my sidebar with my email address if you would like to keep it private.