A Note from Kelly King: There are many different forms of grief and there are many ways people deal with grief. In today’s continuing series, “Ministering in the Messy,” Deb Douglas addresses some of the ways to work with your own personal grief or how to understand someone else who is grieving.
I was at the beach with 15 friends. As we left to go out for some fresh seafood, two of the vehicles got stuck in the sand. One driver was able to maneuver and eventually became unstuck. Maybe because she had experienced being stuck before or maybe she was too prideful to ask for help. The other driver had to recruit help to extract her car.
After a great deal of laughter over being stuck, I pondered on it. I am a ponderer; it’s what I do. I realized that situation on the beach is the way it is with grief—people can sometimes get stuck in it.
Sometimes they struggle through grief independently. Maybe they’ve dealt with loss before, or maybe they do not know how to ask for help or do not desire to be helped.
This can lead to them getting stuck in their grief. Years after the loss has occurred, they are still at the beginning stages of grieving. They need help to be extracted from grief.
Our culture gives us a couple of days off to grieve, and then we are to be back to work and normal. That’s not healthy. That’s not how we survive grief. But we also do not survive by hanging on to the initial stages of grief for years and years. When this happens, we slowly isolate ourselves from others.
Grief becomes our only companion.
That’s not healthy either.
And it’s not the way we live out being a Christ follower.
So how do we help? Just like the guys who knew how to get the car unstuck before they pitched in to help, we have to understand grief before we can help anyone become unstuck.
In grief, there are some things to be accepted:
- Life will not be like it was.
- A new normal is possible.
- Grief comes in waves; at times these unpredictable waves knock us off our feet.
- There is no set timeline for grief.
- Everyone grieves differently. Each person is unique, and each person’s relationship with the deceased is unique, causing a unique grieving process for each person.
- Healing comes from God. His sweetness and faithfulness become precious and dear when surviving grief.
How we can encourage someone stuck in grief:
- Talk about grief and the cause of the grief.
- Share Christ’s love.
- Point to the Scriptures. Read it, write it down, memorize it, and meditate on it. The Word heals!
- Partner in prayer.
- Find someone who has experienced a similar grief and encourage the two women to chat.
- Recommend a professional Christian counselor.
- Get her out of the house—slowly and respectfully.
There is life after grief. It is changed, it is different, but there is life after grief. Grief can be very messy, but helping someone become unstuck from grief is worth it.
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.