tears.jpgOur Guest blogger today is my dear friend Lesa Floyd. She is the Minister to Women and Ministry Development at Mobberly Baptist Church in Longview, Texas.

 

Her post today is a true reflection of a women’s leader living  transparently on her own journey, and then using it to minister to others. Your heart will be touched and blessed as you read.

 

"As I sit to write this entry, the reality of where I was this same time, same night last year is so vivid in my mind. I was standing in a funeral home chapel filled with flowers, plants, pictures and people in front of my husband’s casket next to my children talking to, and listening to one person after another express their condolences, love, and their sorrow over our loss.

 

I, the women’s ministry leader who had walked this path numerous times before with so many women was now the one experiencing this numbing reality.  My eyes could see the truth of the situation but my mind could not comprehend the facts.  The man I had been married to for 27 ½, years who loved me as Christ loved the church, who loved the Lord with all his heart, mind, soul, and strength and taught our children to do the same, who honored his mother and his father, was no longer alive on this earth.

Throughout this year the “God of all comfort”(2 Cor 1:3-4) has shown Himself faithful to His every word. God’s people have been His hands and feet ministering to our every need. Did this remove the pain or this season of sowing tears? Absolutely not. I have and continue to experience every part of this God-allowed journey.

As an RN for over 20 years who worked in the ICU and as a cardiac nurse and as a women’s ministry leader for over 12 years, I had been with many individuals and families through death, dying and grieving.  I knew the stages of grief, the realities of the grieving process and what grief did to you mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This knowledge helped me to know what was normal in the way I was thinking, feeling, and acting but so many women in our churches and communities who experience the loss of a loved one have no clue what to expect. They don’t know that with God they can make it. They think they may be loosing their mind. They may get stuck in the grief process and not recognize it. They may become bitter instead of better.

Women’s ministry leaders are on the front lines to help these women navigate through to their new reality. Who better to walk with them than someone who understands what they are going through (especially if they have walked this path themselves).

 Here are some things to understand as you minister to those who have lost a loved one:

1. Use effective communication with someone grieving:
-Remain calm and non-judgmental
-Mention the deceased by name
-Be honest about how you feel
-Make short visits
-Don’t take over their decision making process
-Don’t over spiritualize
-Let them cry and express emotions
-Listen and take your conversation clues from them, silence is ok
-Don’t say, “I know how you feel”

 2. Know the stages of grief:
-Shock and Denial
-Anger
-Bargaining
-Depression
-Acceptance

 

3. Remember each person is unique, each loss is unique and it is a process not linear but cyclical at times.


4. Know the effects of grief on a person mentally and physically as well as emotionally and spiritually:
-Mentally:hard to make decisions, concentrate or think clearly
-Physically- tire easily, may experience chest pain, impaired immune system, need for a
-healthy diet
-Emotionally- the stages of grief
-Spiritually- questioning God and their faith

5. Help those who are having a hard time processing their grief by suggesting they:
-Journal
-Remember Realistically
-Read the Word
-Create a diagram of their losses
-Return to familiar places
-Say good bye to the way things were

 6. Know when to refer them to a professional:
-When there is evidence of drug or alcohol abuse
-Suicidal thoughts are consistent and recurring, or a plan has been made
-There is a total withdrawal from family, friends and colleagues
-Depression becomes clinical (when it becomes more of a lifestyle than a passing mood)

 7. Be aware of helpful resources:
-Women Reaching Women in Crisis print or pdf

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-A Trusted Friend When it Matters Most by Tim Clinton and Pat Springle

trusted friend when it matters most.jpg

 

-Experiencing Grief by H. Norman Wright

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-The God of all Comfort by Dee Brestin

 

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-Grief Share by Church Initiatives r />

Lesa.jpgLesa has been involved in the women’s ministry in the local church for over 10 years, and is passionate about encouraging and developing women to fulfill and live the abundant life God desires and created them to live. Lesa is a graduate of both the Basic and Advanced Women’s Ministry Certificate Program at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She serves as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier and continues to lead and participate in conferences focused on developing women’s leadership skills in the local church and community. She was blessed to be married to Bob Floyd for 27 years before he was called home to be with the Lord in 2009. Lesa is the mother of    two young adults, Lindsay and Taylor.

 

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post. Although I am not a grieving spouse, I will echo much of what has been written here, and especially # 3 for two points, being aware of that each journey of grief can bring a different component in terms of the type of loss, as well as the “cyclical” factor. As an example, our son Matthew was a Combat Medic in the U.S. Army when he was killed during combat operations while deployed to Iraq in November 2005. Over the course the past five years there have been many different components to the grief journey my husband and I have walked. In part, questioning Matt’s choice to serve our nation during time of war, the fact that he was our only child, was there something we could have done to alter his choice to serve and the list goes on. And, even though five years have passed certain days will naturally trigger different emotions. For instance this past Sunday would have been his 26th birthday. While others lives, even other family members go on and the memories fade, days such as birthday’s, the holidays and even his date of death which is just around the corner can and will bring back recollections of certain life moments that a parent or spouse or child will never forget. I’ve learned to see death through an entirely different prism the past several years, and as a result when another experiences the death of a loved one I will tend to ask about a special day they shared with their loved one. It can be a birthday or anniversary or even sometimes it can be days such as Mother’s Day, or the holidays. At such a time as that I’ll take a few minutes to slip a quick note to them, or call them and let them know I’m remembering them and the special bond they had with their spouse, parent or child. The fact that you took a few minutes to remember and care can be a blessing beyond compare for them. God Bless.

  2. Chris Adams says:

    Stacey, I can’t even imagine your pain in the loss of your son. Thank you for allowing God to use you through that pain as He is doing the author of this blog post, my friend Lesa. And thank you so much for sharing your story with us. No doubt it has touched and inspired many. I pray God’s continual presence and touch as you journey through this healing.

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