Grief Recovery Tool Kit

Psalm 147:3 ~ Grief Recovery Tool Kit

Grief Recovery Tool Kit

During a crisis, it is important to have the proper tools and equipment at your disposal. For the next few weeks, you will be introduced to several “tools” that will help you make it through grief and reconstruct your life. Pick the resources that best suit you.

In the Bible, David made the decision to seek God and rebuild his life after his son died (2 Samuel 12). Dr. Norman Peart comments on David’s decision: “David could not waste the rest of his life focusing upon the wrong, the hurt that was there. He instead had to build upon that life because at some point he was going to see the God he was aiming for.”

The time has come to rebuild your life.

They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. — Amos 9:14

Lord, what am I aiming for? I think aimless would best describe me sometimes. But I am willing to try these grief tools and rebuild my life one day at a time as I focus on You. Amen.

Keep a Journal

A journal is not written for anyone but you, so you do not need to worry about the grammar, how it looks, or what you write. A journal allows you to express your deepest feelings and, over a period of time, to see the progress of your healing.

“The journal is so useful for me because I can look back and say, I really made it through this,” says Dora, whose daughter died.

“I wrote down random thoughts as I was sitting by her bedside: ‘She’s so weak; it seems she will never progress off the ventilator. I miss her. I really miss her. I miss my girls, my husband, my life. The anger is so great. I woke up this morning at three with a pain in my body, in my heart, a pain I could not turn off, an angry pain, a shouting pain, a pain that would not keep quiet. Lord, help me, please. Help my daughter. Help her to live. I want her to live a normal, happy life. I’m tired. Please, dear God, help my little girl.’”

More than two years after her daughter’s death, Dora continued her journal:

My daughter taught me to love. It’s a simple word that has a vast meaning. Love can mean compassion, uncensored and true, living in the moment. Love can be unconditional and unprotected and vulnerable, which is a scary place to be, a place most of us choose not to be. My daughter taught me it is this place of love that holds the meaning of life for us. The reason we’re put here is to receive those precious gifts of love from the Lord and to surpass our own boundaries and give love.

Give ear to my words, O LORD, Consider my groaning. — Psalm 5:1 NASB

Lord, I need to do this. Each day I need to write down whatever comes to my mind, whatever I am thinking about or feeling. I release these thoughts to You. Help me to grow and to love. Amen.

Share with a Friend

Pray for God to bring you a friend you can talk with about your loss. Let your friend know what you need from him or her. You might prefer writing your friend a letter that expresses your feelings, your needs, and your thankfulness for the friendship.

Sylvia, who lost her parents, had a close friend who helped her through her grief: “He was just a friend I could go to and talk to and know that he understood; that was the main thing, just having some- body to listen to me.”

Never underestimate the comforting power of friendship.

You have comforted me by speaking so kindly to me. — Ruth 2:13 NLT

Provider God, I pray that I keep up my friendships with those who are true to me, even when I don’t feel like making the effort. Amen.

Grief Support Group

We encourage you to join a biblically based grief recovery support group to aid in your healing. It does not matter how long ago your loss occurred; grief support groups are for people at all stages of the grieving process.

“It’s in the sharing and the group’s caring for each other that the healing is accomplished,” says Dr. Jim Conway.

Healing is a mending together for the purpose of making some- thing whole again. Your heart, mind, and body can become whole and in excellent working condition again through Jesus. But healing does not mean there will be no scars. It means that you were once broken, but through time and effort you are being made whole again.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. — Psalm 147:3

Jesus, it’s hard to imagine I will ever be healed. Help me to remem- ber that healing is not forgetting, but it is remembering with love and tenderness and joy. Amen.

Maintain Humor

Barbara Johnson says it is good to keep your sense of humor during this time of grief; in fact, keeping a sense of humor is one of the healthiest things you can do: “Oh, I think that’s very important. You see, one laugh equals three spoons of oat bran. And one laugh will burn six calories. And one laugh is like jogging on the inside. I think God intended for us to laugh.

Job 8:21 says,

He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.

So laughter is very important. Many people don’t have a sense of humor, and they suffer longer and harder than those who can let a little laugh bubble out.”

Lord of all, bring something humorous in my path today. Teach me to relax inside and let “a little laugh bubble out.” Amen.

Enjoy God’s Creation

Open your eyes today to the gift of God’s creation. Make a point to look up and notice and savor what you see.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. — Psalm 19:1-4

The beauty of creation is crying out daily for you to see and to worship the Creator in response. Live life on a different level today — a higher level.

Elisabeth Elliot says, “It’s our human nature to fret and stew and try everything in the world to satisfy ourselves, but that is never going to be the answer. I myself have found tremendous comfort and joy in observing God’s creation.”

Creator God, what treasures and beauties do You have in store for me today? What new wonder is just waiting to be seen? Amen.

Directing Your Thoughts

Memories can be a blessing, but they can also have the opposite effect. When you remember your loved one, what dominates your thoughts — good, wholesome, loving memories? Or things you would rather not remember at all?

“Scripture tells you to direct your focus and attention to those things that are pure, right, and true,” says Jim Grassi. “It doesn’t say focus your attention, all your anxiety, and all your worry on all the things that are bad.”

With God’s help, turn your thoughts around. This may be a daily, moment-by-moment battle if negative thinking has been a pattern for you.

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:5

Lord, I am prepared to take my negative thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ — beginning now! Amen.

Excerpted with permission from Through a Season of Grief by Bill Dunn and Kathy Leonard, copyright The Church Initiative, Inc.

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Your Turn

Your grief is real and there is a real way through it. How have you incorporated some of the tools above to help you process your heartbreak? What have you found to be helpful? Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily

Bill Dunn

Bill Dunn is vice president of Church Initiative, Inc. He graduated from Asbury College and received a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1982. During the next fifteen years he served in two pastorates. As a pastor, Bill has had many opportunities to minister to people in grief and observe its extended influence in the lives of family and close friends. Bill's wife, Holly, is an emergency room physician and has seen the process of grief through that lens. Together they co-host the GriefShare video series used in thousands of churches across the United States and beyond.

Kathy Leonard

Kathy Leonard is editorial director for The Church Initiative and the coauthor of several books including Through a Season of Grief: Devotions for Your Journey from Mourning to Joy, Grieving with Hope, and Divorce Care: Hope, Help, and Healing During and After Your Divorce. After graduating with a degree in English from the University of Maryland Asian Division in Okinawa, Japan, Kathy moved with her Air Force husband, Tim, to England. They now live in Virginia with their three children.

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