Are you grieving? Or are you looking for ways to help someone who is grieving?
Shirley Thiessen has written a practical book to bring hope to those in grief and to those who companion them. Born out of her own unimaginable experience of the loss of her son, Shirley’s genuine heart desire is to leverage her grief for God’s glory. She acknowledges everyone will experience this raw emotion at some point in their life. Through her transparent story, Shirley openly shares five things she wishes she had known about grief.
1. It’s okay to be “SAPPY”
Sappy refers to the combined emotion of feeling sad and happy at the same time. It’s reassuring to know that you are not going CRAZY. As Corrie Ten Boom is quoted, “There is no pit so deep, that God’s love is not deeper still.”
2. Be ready to forgive
Be prepared for clumsy comments. Give grace when hurtful statements come. When in doubt go without. Choose your companions wisely. Be patient and make an effort to learn to laugh again.
3. Learn to “recycle the pain”
Help those who are suffering. Encourage someone today who is needing a fellow pilgrim to cheer them on through their difficult time. Live in such a way as to frustrate the devil’s schemes.
4. Become a “Hope Hero”
– be fully present to the griever
– be willing to witness deep pain
– share tears
– give hugs
– don’t make it about you
– anticipate the griever’s needs and step in respectfully
– don’t offer unsolicited advice
– love generously
5. Do a “LAP”
a) Listen to their story
b) Acknowledge their pain
c) Pray for them
6. Always keep a heavenly perspective
Death is merely a door from one life to another. As C.S. Lewis shares: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” With all our heart we want to see our loved ones later.
7. Surrender to God
Growth comes at a cost. Pursue His kingdom not our own. A lifestyle of surrender is key to finding His purpose in the pain. Our final breathtaking destination will be worth it all.
“God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf.” Hebrews 6:18-20
Richard Dendy serves as the Executive Director of Haven Ministries Canada. Most of the thoughts above are taken from The Little Black Funeral Dress.
Newly published by author Shirley Thiessen. “You can’t fix the pain of loss, but you can help carry it.”