Posts Tagged loss

Hurting During the Holidays

By Jay Fennell

The holiday season is a joyous and heart-warming time for celebrating the birth of Jesus, continuing meaningful Christmas traditions, and spending time with the people we love the most…our families. If you’re like me, you can’t wait for the family to assemble, to enjoy fellowship around the table, the giving of gifts, and the making of memories. It’s all so exciting!
But amidst the multitude of people who embrace the holidays and look forward with anticipation to all that come with them, there are people who are hurting because their loved ones aren’t here any longer. For many, the holidays are looked upon with dread because they only magnify the grief and pain they feel over the loss of a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a parent, a friend or a neighbor. They hurt because their holiday memories and experiences are attached to that loved one. Every significant and meaningful Christmas experience was celebrated alongside the one they loved. And now they’re gone. And now the motivation and anticipation for Christmas is gone, too.
What can a LIFE Group do to minister to those who are hurting during the holidays? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Be Present. The holidays are busy and that’s one of the reasons people struggle during the holidays. They feel forgotten and alone. The busier everyone else is, the more alone they feel. Be sensitive to this and be present with them as much as you can. Connect with them via text message or email or phone call. Take them to lunch. Give special attention to them, especially those whose loss is so fresh. Your presence may have a healing effect on them.
  • Be Prayerful. Pray FOR them, that God would grant them a peace that surpasses all understanding and that their holiday season would be filled with warm, new memories that contribute to their healing. Consider praying WITH them, that God would grant them comfort in their sorrow. Interceding on behalf of a LIFE Group member who has lost a loved one is one of the most important things you can do. Send them a card and tell them you remember them and are praying for them.
  • Be Sensitive. As you’re planning parties and family get-togethers and describing the joy that you will experience through those occasions, be sensitive to the ones who may not be experiencing the same excitement as you. I’m not saying to temper your excitement as not to make someone else feel bad. I’m saying to show a godly discernment in talking about those things that takes into account the person’s pain and hurt.
  • Be Proactive. Reach out to them. Initiate and ask if there’s anything you can do that will make a significant difference to them during the holidays. What can you provide that would impact them and bring comfort to them during the season? A meal? Flowers?

3 Ways to Minister to a Group Member Who Is Hurting

By Susan Hill

In LIFE Groups, there will be times when group members are faced with difficult circumstances. It might be the death of a loved one, a hospitalization or illness, job loss, or a variety of other issues that cause the group member to be in a season of high stress.
During these times, it is especially important to be supported in biblical community. Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
So how does a LIFE Group respond when a group member is in a difficult season?

  1. It’s important to reach out to the group member so he or she doesn’t feel alone. A simple phone call goes a long way in ministering to a person in need. In seasons of struggle, it’s common to feel isolated so reaching out is a great first step.
  2. It’s a good idea to see if there is a tangible need your group can provide. Would it be helpful if someone delivered a meal? Does the group member need a ride or help around the house? Would the group member appreciate visitors? It’s beneficial to access the situation and then decide how the group can minister most effectively.
  3. Be sure to cover the group member in prayer. In times of distress, it is important for the group member to know that their friends in biblical community are praying. Consider sending a card, text, email, or giving them a call to let them know you are praying.

In a LIFE Group community, it’s essential that we love each other well. For the group to run smoothly and to be sure everyone’s needs are met, it’s best to delegate these types of needs to an “L” Leader. The “L” function of the LIFE Group represents “Loving One Another” and it’s an important aspect of all good LIFE Groups. No one likes to go through seasons of distress but, when the body of Christ responds in a loving way, these times are more bearable and can even be seasons of spiritual growth.