Step Seven: IDENTIFY GOALS that allow me to combat the impact of my suffering.
Below is a video from the “Taking the Journey of Grief with Hope” seminar of The Summit Church (Durham, NC). For the various counseling options available from this material visit www.summitrdu.com/counseling.
NOTE: Many people have asked how they can get a copy of the seminar notebook referenced in this verbal presentation. You can request a copy from Summit’s admin over counseling at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note this is an administrative account; no individual or family counsel is provided through e-mail).
“I can now see that innocence and powerlessness are not the same thing. I used to think ‘it was not my fault;’ was the same as ‘there is nothing I can do about it.’ My old suffering story came with a way of life that I lived. The new story, identity, and beliefs that come with the Gospel allow me to actively live differently without giving into the old false shame or regret. I can change [describe how] without a sense of condemnation [describe why].”
For the “Healthy Ways to Capture Memories” document click here.
Memorize: Lamentations 3:20-24 (ESV), “My soul remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” As you memorize this passage reflect upon these key points:
- “My soul remembers” – It is normal to remember. To expect to live as if nothing happened would be non-human.
- “Bowed down” – With the memory of a loss, sadness will accompany it even when grieving is healthy and clean.
- “I call to mind” – Even Jeremiah had to remind himself of aspects of God’s character he was tempted to doubt.
- “New every morning” – This “calling to mind” was something that Jeremiah had to do regularly, even daily.
- “Your faithfulness” – This is the first time in the passage Jeremiah directly addressed God (“you”). As he engaged the false interpretations of his suffering, Jeremiah was able to regain his more personal connection with God.
“It is something altogether different to say His grace is sufficient for today when tomorrow holds no hope of any significant change (p. 21).” Joseph Lehmann in “Believing in Hope” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Winter 1998).
“One of the things you can do is to demonstrate how to be sad and to hope and trust at the same time (p. 29).” Judy Blore in “How to Help a Grieving Child” from The Journal of Biblical Counseling (Winter 1998).
“Times of deprivation, ill health, and even war don’t preclude the need for pleasure; on the contrary, such seasons accentuate the need to find and perhaps rediscover the simplest pleasures of all (p. 184).” Gary Thomas in Pure Pleasure
“The griever encounters four often difficult and time-consuming tasks: to accept the reality of the loss, to feel and consciously admit the pain of the loss (this includes untangling oneself from the ties that bind one to the deceased), to adjust to an environment in which the deceased person is missing, and to form new relationships. The last stage seems to be the most difficult because people feel both guilty and insecure about reinvesting their energies in new relationships (p. 347).” Gary Collins in Christian Counseling: A Comprehensive Guide
“Grievers seek comfort. But where do they find it? The Bible reminds us that all true comfort has its source in the Lord (2 Cor. 1:3-4). In grief, we often seek our other comforts: memories, material things, distractions (TV, CD player, exercise, reading, crafts, work, food, people). They all provide some measure of comfort but none can fill the one place where grief causes us to feel so empty – our hearts (p. 9)… When you grieve, you are vulnerable to temptations you would normally resist. The enemy of your soul attacks in your weakest moments (p. 10).” “Paul Tripp in Grief: Finding Hope Again