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Coping with the Losses of Life Facilitator’s Guide ISBN: 978-1-58119-120-2

By Don Pratt, Ph.D. adapted from “Handling Loss & Grief” by Raymond T. Brock, Ed.D. ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Dr. Donald L. Pratt is retired and has spent the last dozen years developing the FIT program and curriculum. Part of the curriculum uses Turning Point/Living Free materials and part uses materials developed specifically for the FIT program. As well as being an author and contributing to periodicals and international journals, Don also taught in a Christian college and state universities. He also served as Executive Director of the School Science and Mathematics Association and President of the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association.. Dr. Raymond T. Brock (1927-2001) was a licensed Professional Counselor from Tulsa, Oklahoma. He taught in Christian colleges and state universities in the United States and around the world. Raymond authored seven books and contributed to numerous periodicals and journals. He was also a member of the American Psychological Association American Association of Christian Counselors and the American Association for Family and Marriage Therapy.

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©Living Free®, 2017. All rights reserved. All rights are reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright notice may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from Living Free®.

Communications should be addressed to: Living Free® P.O. Box 22127 Chattanooga, TN 37422-2127 Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION® NIV® Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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Coping with the Losses of Life CONTENTS Page Acknowledgments...................................................................................................... 3 Why a Course on this Subject?................................................................................... 3 Which Groups can Benefit?........................................................................................ 4 Goals and Objectives................................................................................................... 5 Course Layout.............................................................................................................. 8 Advantages of the Group as Compared to:.............................................................. 9 Session One — Coping with the Losses of Life....................................................... 11 Session Two — Personalizing Loss........................................................................... 23 Session Three — The Scope of Loss......................................................................... 31 Session Four — Sorting Out Advice......................................................................... 41 Session Five — The Language of Loss...................................................................... 51 Session Six — The Language of Recovery............................................................... 61 Session Seven — Regression and Application......................................................... 71 Session Eight — Coping with Loss by Death........................................................... 81 Session Nine — A Christian View of Death............................................................. 91 Appendix................................................................................................................... 99 HLAG 1-1 Types of Personal Loss........................................................................... 101 HLAG 2-1 My Personal Losses................................................................................. 102 HLAG 3-1 The Change Scale................................................................................... 103 HLAG 4-1 The Pros and Cons of Advice Given...................................................... 105 HLAG 6-1 The PIT – The Grieving Process.............................................................. 106 HLAG A-1 Weekly Evaluation Guide to Completing the Progress Report.......... 107 FIT Individual Behavioral Assessment Report........................................................ 108 References............................................................................................................... 109 Plan of Slavation..................................................................................................... 111 Notes........................................................................................................................ 112

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Acknowledgments Special thanks goes to Eleanor Larson for the technical editing of this revision as well as co-facilitating the field testing of this project. She was instrumental in providing feedback and suggestions for the final version. We also would like to thank the clients and staff of the Learn to Fish ministry for women, the Jim Russo Ministries (men), and the FIT Character Development program, all of Bradenton, FL for letting us pilot the program at or with the cooperation of each program. The feedback was invaluable and many of the suggestions and comments in this manual were the result of their feedback and input.

Why a Course on this Subject? I have come to seek and to save those who are lost - Jesus

For most people, a course on handling the disappointments of life is not high on their priority list. We do not like to think about or admit to having pain. Worse yet, we are often clueless about the amount and types of life-disappointments in our personal lives. Even worse than that, we are unaware that we are handling them badly. This course is not primarily about the death of a person, though it includes that type of loss. Viktor Frankl, himself a Holocaust survivor, was a psychologist who studied people in the concentration camps of World War II. All the people there were facing the same situation, and many died. Those that lived had something the others did not have: hope. Those without hope died after they waited and waited and could not stand to wait any longer. Life is full of setbacks and disappointments. Some of us handle them better than others, but all of could use a little help once in a while. Are you a Christian? We have good news. Your faith will help sustain you and help you have a clear head. This course combines both good practical help and guidance in living the productive Christian life. CH is currently in a rehab center after relapsing from drug addiction. It landed him in jail. He was previously drug-free for ten years after coming out of another treatment center. Then the frustrations of life overwhelmed him and he turned to drugs. VP was a smoker all her life. Then she finally quit for twenty years. Then a sudden loss happened and she started up again. She died prematurely because of illnesses related to her smoking. These were good people who became overwhelmed. They are not the only ones. It is hoped our course will help in facing and solving some of the more difficult life issues. What are they? Things like being passed over for promotion, failed relationships, bankruptcy, loss of employment or position, moving. The list goes on and on.

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Which Groups Can Benefit? Any group can benefit from recovery-from-loss study as all of us have faced devastating losses in life, and none of us have always handled them well. The group format is ideal in helping us realize where we stand as we share and solve problems together. The Bible is a wonderful source of insight and the basis of our civilization. The most obvious and needy groups are those who have suffered and lost the most. This includes addicts, prostitutes, incarcerated, and homeless. These folks, however, are among the first to deny that they have any kind of problem. They have also lost their sense of dignity and will go to any lengths to protect themselves from further loss or pain. Then there is the simple fact that loss by death of person is something that we all have to live with. There is no exception because of age, social status, or wealth or poverty. Death can strike at any time, most people are not prepared to deal with it, and recovery is often not only painful but destructive. There is a right way to go through it and there is help for those who will take the time and effort to work the plan. This course shows the way. Christian groups will especially appreciate the sound Bible basis for this book. All too often subjects such as death are quietly avoided in “polite society”, but this is not true in Scriptures! Finally, there is the ideal group: Students in Christian Schools! There are many reasons for this. These young people need life skills like this because:

• They are young and need to have these tools to use throughout their entire lifetime.

• Using life skills to solve problems is one of the most critical needs they will face.

• Teaching them how to live the Christian life is one of the main goals of a Christian school.

• It will help them become better men and women and productive members of society.

This book offers the following advantages:

• It is research-based to make it authoritative.

• It is Bible-based.

• It is practical.

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Goals and Objectives Goals and objectives are good guides in determining if you are successful in leading a lesson. There is one set that applies to all of the lessons - course goal and lessons. There is another for each of the separate sessions - lesson goals and lessons. A goal is very broad. An objective is more specific. Using these goals and objectives will help you be sure that you understand the things which are key to leading a successful session. They will also help in determining how your group members are doing. Each lesson has its own unique set of objectives and are listed below. For those wanting to go a step farther and make individual and more detailed progress reports sometimes asked for by courts, judges, etc., they can use the Weekly/Lesson Evaluation Guide, which can be found in the Appendix of this book. This guide is used to determine individual progress in conjunction with the appropriate goals and objectives as listed below.

Course Goal The course goal common to every lesson is to identify troublesome areas of the losses and disappointments of life and to deal with them in constructive ways.

Course Objectives Course objectives common to every lesson include:

• Engage participant attention, focus, thought, and personal application through structured worksheets and activities throughout the course.

• Provide recognition of the scope and types of personal losses being dealt with.

• Draw closer to God. Become more godly.

• Engage participants in ways that are both constructive and meaningful to them.

• Have participants turn to God in their times of trouble.

• Offer hope that the problems of life can be faced and managed.

• Use the group to come up with practical applications and solutions.

• Offer support for those who are hurting.

• Meet personal growth expectations as evidenced by factors on the HLAG A-1 Weekly Evaluation Guide in the Appendix section of this book.

• Observe and record personal growth (by facilitators).

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Session One: Coping with the Losses of Life GOAL Participants will get to know each other in a trusting way and become aware of the scope and seriousness of unidentified and unresolved pain which occur as a result of the losses and disappointments of life. OBJECTIVES Participants will introduce themselves, complete the HLAG 1-1 Types of Personal Loss worksheet and share experiences,apply the Scriptures in the Spiritual Principles section to their own personal lives, show personal growth in understanding personal needs as well as the needs of others, and show a positive attitude about the course and what it can do for them.

Session Two: Personalizing Loss GOAL Participants will identify their own struggles with loss and examine what can be learned from them. OBJECTIVES Participants will: complete the HLAG 2-1 My Personal Losses worksheet and share experiences, listen attentively to each others’ experiences, contribute to group understanding of what can be learned from the losses mentioned, and share new insights gained from completing the exercise.

Session 3: The Scope of Loss GOAL Participants will assess the scope of own personal losses. OBJECTIVES Participants will: complete the HLAG 3-1 The Change Scale worksheet and share experiences, better appreciate the size of the problem, and encourage one another to share and heal.

Session 4: Sorting Out Advice GOAL Participants will sort out good advice from bad advice given in a time of stress. OBJECTIVES Participants will: complete the HLAG 4-1 The Pros and Cons of Advice Given worksheet and share experiences, understand that sometimes we have to die to old dreams before we can have new ones, apply this to our spiritual life where we die to self and “old nature” to be born into a “new life” in Christ, and to determine to become better men and women.

Session 5: The Language of Loss GOAL Participants will become aware of the different types of grief and be introduced to the 10 Stages of Grief. OBJECTIVES Participants will learn terms that describe different types of grief reactions, determine which of them are healthy and which are not, learn the 10 Stages of Grief, how each stage is normal unless one gets stuck and refuses to move on. 6

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Session 6: The Language of Recovery GOAL Participants will reflect on the 10 stages of grief chart and apply it personally to the greatest loss they have faced in life. OBJECTIVES Participants will: complete the HLAG 6-1 The Grieving Process worksheet, assess where they are in the recovery process, where they have gotten stuck, what they plan to do about it, share and listen to other’s experiences, and apply biblical principles of dealing with loss.

Session 7: Regression and Application GOAL Participants will understand what regression is and why it is normal and common. They will also understand ways to help others to start moving forward again. OBJECTIVES Participants will know what regression is, how faith in God can help, how they can help others get through their slump, and how to help others with their doubts about their faith when in regression.’

Session 8: Coping with Loss by Death GOAL Participants will explore the special challenges presented by death among the different age groups and biblical insights in handling them. OBJECTIVES Participants will learn how issues arise which are social, physical, emotional, and spiritual in nature, how to comfort using faith and scripture, and right and wrong ways to respond to others going through a grief situation.

Session 9: A Christian View of Death GOAL Participants will learn the Christian perspective that death does not end existence and that appropriate rewards and punishments will be given out in due time. OBJECTIVES Participants will study scriptures on the subject, get beyond asking “Why did God let this happen?”, move on by keeping things in perspective, and know basic ways of properly supporting someone going through grief.

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Course Layout This course is produced in two separate books: a Facilitator Guide for the use of the group leader and a Participant Guide for use of group members. The main text of both books is identically the same, page per page, and word for word. The facilitator guide, however, contains general notes and guidance as well as possible answers to expect from the group. All materials are written in a clear and simple style so that there is little time wasted on explaining things. The type used is large to accommodate those of us who are older and need a little help reading the material, especially in dark rooms where we would have trouble with too much material on a page in type that is too small to read. The materials have been field tested and are proven to be effective. It is expected that participants will vary in educational levels, but the same simple and straightforward style should be effective for all. Each lession is self-contained and coherent within itself, making it easier to have “rolling” classes where institutional demands require the accommodation of people entering and leaving on a regular basis, as in a recovery house where everyone may be required to be in group classes. At the same time, the lessons logically follow from one to the next consistent with the course goal. A new feature of this book is the HLAG A-1 Weekly Evaluation Guide which can be found in the Appendix section of this book. Use of this guide will help in the progress assessment that government agencies, lawyers, courts, and prison systems are now requiring. It is consistent with the course goal of measuring individual application, not just factual knowledge. This is evidence-based because it is based on research and direct observation. Each lesson is divided into four sections: Introduction, Self Awareness, Scriptural Principles, and Application. There is also a short and fun true/false quiz at the end of each lesson. This has always been a favorite of participants. It only takes a few minutes at the end but is always looked forward to. It provides closure and reassurance that all the individuals “got it”. The length of time to be spent on each section of the lesson varies according to what is going on in the lesson. Some of the exercises, which may be located in any section, may be key and should not be rushed. The course materials are geared toward a maximum of group discussion and group interaction in solving their own problems. Too often, they expect others to solve their problems and come away ill prepared to face new ones. Finally, all content is conceptually woven into a single strand where best practices in life skills and application of godly living are combined. The focus is on application to personal living and the participants themselves must come up with their own examples.

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Advantages of the Group as Compared to: •O  ne-on-one Mentoring Though helpful, one-on-one does not use the group to give applications of what is being presented. The group provides practical peer experiences and allows the group to explore ways of solving their own problems. Generally, people do not mainly need more factual information. They mostly need to learn how to apply what they already know in a practical way. This is just as true for spiritual growth as it for any other kind of growth. It is fun to watch the group grow in life adjustment and spiritually by sharing and coming up with innovative ways of solving various kinds of problems. •T  raditional Classes and Textbooks Some people never did well in school and are skeptical that “experts” or textbooks can help them with their problems. Some do not have a very high reading level. Some cannot read at all. •W  ritten Homework from a Course Book Even if graded, it only reflects the thoughts of the respondent which are unshaped by interaction with a group of peers. It also lacks the human touch and bonding that comes from sharing with someone who cares. •L  ecturing / Preaching This is a one-way mode of instruction that most people will not tolerate when admitting to shortcomings or applying them to their own private lives. •S  unday School Style Though two-way, this style commonly focuses on content rather than on application and problem solving. It generally does not help participants to “construct” their own knowledge based on what they already know.

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

1

Coping with the Losses of Life INTRODUCTION

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Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Sharing Question Welcome to our course on handling the losses and disappointments of life. Setbacks come to all of us in life and how we handle them is really important. First of all, let’s take a moment to get acquainted with each other and have a brief prayer asking God to guide us through this course and make it beneficial.

SELF-AWARENESS

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25

MINUTES

Life is filled with its losses, each of which is a little death. H. Norman Wright has observed that loss is “a simple four-letter word that is one of our constant companions through life.”1 There is a balancing four-letter word called hope. When we can find hope in the midst of loss, we are well on the way to recovery. All losses hurt, whether they are big ones or little ones. We recover quickly from some losses; others take months or years to absorb. Some losses are temporary while others are permanent. Even then the loss is embedded in our memories and can crop up in dreams or conversations without warning. Let’s look at some of the losses that are common in human experience. TANGIBLE LOSSES Have you ever had your car vandalized? Your home burglarized or destroyed by fire, wind, or earthquake? Have you lost a prized possession or had it stolen? What was your feeling? How long did it take you to recover from the loss? INTANGIBLE LOSSES These include things we expected to increase in value but they didn’t, such as an investment in stocks, bonds, antiques, gold, silver, or certificates of deposit. This also applies when a promotion does not come through as expected or grades in a class or on a term paper are less than anticipated. Intangible losses also include the loss of an ideal, a dream or a life’s goal. PHYSICAL LOSSES When health goes, life becomes very complicated. The loss of a body part or function through amputation,

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mastectomy, hysterectomy, or vasectomy is a major loss. Aging brings loss of hair, vision, hearing, muscle tone, and skin texture. It also brings an increase in weight and wrinkles which are visual reminders of the loss of youth. The ultimate physical loss is the death of a loved one. EMOTIONAL LOSSES Emotional losses are among the hardest to accept. Rejection by a friend or colleague, loss of status in a group, or loss of self-esteem bring embarrassment that never seems to go away. Shame and guilt bring alienation from others, compounded by self-blame and withdrawal from supportive relationships. VOCATIONAL LOSSES The loss of a job can be devastating to anyone, especially the breadwinner of a family. Even if it is a second job, it represents a threat to survival. Failure to get a promotion can have the same effect as a transfer to a less desirable position or to another part of the country. RELATIONAL LOSSES The loss of a valued friendship can be devastating, especially if the relationship has matured to a confidential level. Whether the separation is the result of a transfer or death, the loss will be enduring until the grief work is completed. This will also be true when a romance is broken, no matter what the age of the one suffering the loss. Another void is created when children leave home for college, marriage, or to enter the world of work. MARITAL LOSSES Divorce is the ultimate relationship loss. When problems in marriage culminate in separations and divorce, the loss is experienced by the whole family. In some ways, loss through divorce is harder on the family than death, which is terminal but it has a ceremonial closure. Divorce leaves the family in suspended animation as custody and child support battles rage long after the initial disruption. EDUCATIONAL LOSSES When a person changes majors in college and some of the credits do not transfer, a loss is experienced. This is also true when a student changes schools and loses credits. Termination of a scholarship or change in family circumstances may result in having to withdraw from school, which would be a substantial loss to a young person. CULTURAL LOSSES Culture loss is experienced by immigrants going to a new country, leaving the familiar behind. It is also experienced by missionaries who must adjust to a new country, language and set of customs. After several years abroad, they suffer another culture shock when they return to their home culture and find that it has changed drastically during their absence. This same kind of loss can be experienced from those returning from a long period of incarceration. ROOTEDNESS LOSSES Children are especially susceptible to loss of roots. This happens when their parents move to a new part of town, out of state or around the world and they have to give up their friends and familiar surroundings. It also happens when they change schools, either by transfer or promotion. Leaving the familiar behind and being overwhelmed by the strangeness of the new situation puts pressures on their young lives that can leave indelible marks and bring frustration for years to come. The attitude we have toward the losses of life will either make us or break us. We need to learn that we cannot always be in control of our lives. We should learn to change the things we can change, learn to accept the things we cannot change and ask for divine guidance to know the difference. Rather than letting the losses of life make us bitter, we should determine to let them make us a better person because of the experience. Faith in the faithfulness of God to see us through the dark times will make us a better person and keep hope alive in our hearts. Read the Serenity Prayer on the bottom of page 20 and ask for a volunteer to explain what it means. 12

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Discussion of this worksheet is the heart of the lesson and may take up most of the class time, even up to an hour. This is an excellent introduction to the course and personal needs. Experience from a pilot two-hour class with men in recovery and another one-hour class with women shows that people are unaware of their huge personal need to understand the depth and scope of their losses and to find support and understanding on how to cope with it. Many respondents reported dealing with every item on the list. Common responses are shown below. Take time in class to have the group members fill out this chart. Expect members to ask questions about how to fill this out. A reproducible chart as it appears in the participant book can be found at the end of this book in the Appendix section.

HLAG 1-1

Types of Personal Loss INSTRUCTIONS Here is a list of the losses of life which are discussed in your course book. Below each item is a response line. Write in a personal example for each kind of loss on the response lines.

Death of a Person Family Member. Friend overdosed. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Property (Tangible Loss) Financial loss from divorce or addiction. Robbed by significant other. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Earning Power (Intangible Loss) Lack of Promotion. Jail. Restitution. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Health (Personal Loss) Toe caught in lawnmower. Disease. Destroyed by addiction. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emotional Loss Breakup. Loss of Friends. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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Vocational Loss Lost license, custody, everything, due to addiction. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Relational Loss Separation due to addiction or incarceration. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Educational Loss Kicked out of college. Didn’t finish school or college because of marriage or other reasons. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Culture (Have to give up familiar customs) Becoming homeless, felonies, or jail. Many never expected to be homeless, and some are female. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Roots due to Moving (Rootedness Loss) Kicked out of home. Job relocation. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

God has promised to be with us in all of our losses. Nothing comes into our lives without His presence. As we read through the Bible we are constantly amazed at the variety of ways God has demonstrated His concern for His people. It is comforting to know that we are not alone when we face the losses of life. Read the Serenity Prayer on page 20 and ask a volunteer to explain its meaning.

Let’s look at some of the Scriptures that tell us how God perceives our losses and demonstrates His concern for us. Our first set of Scriptures involves a rich man named Job of the Book of Job. In it, Job allowed Satan to test him for a period of time. First he lost most of his family and all his possessions. Then he became very ill and everyone abandoned him. His prayers to God seemed to go unanswered. In short, Job lost everything. In all of this God was doing something beautiful. This example gives us hope that we can successfully get through life with all its problems with the smile of God upon us.

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Job 1:12-22. The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger. Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

What was Job’s attitude toward God about all that had happened? He still praised God and did not lose confidence.

Did God let Job know why all of this was happening to him? No.

Why did God allow all these bad things to happen? To test him and be able to brag about him.

Why was Satan not able to kill Job? Because God set a limit on the losses Job would have to sustain.

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Job 19:25-27 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

What was Job’s view of God while he was experiencing his losses? He stayed positive, retained hope, and gave a clear affirmation to resurrection and life after death.

Job 10:10, 16, 17 Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese?... 16If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me. 17You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.

Did God seem near in his a time of trouble? No.

Does going through great sorrow mean that God has abandoned you and there is no hope? Give an example of where, looking backwards, He was there all the time. No. Individual answers.

Job 42:10, 16, 17 After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. 16After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

What was Job’s final state in life? His material possessions were doubled, he had a second family, and lived to see the birth of his great-greatgrandchildren (four generations).

Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

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What was David’s reflection on the faithfulness of God in his declining years? God is with His people throughout their entire lifetime. We should believe the Lord to meet our daily needs as the Lord’s Prayer instructs us (Read Matthew 6:9-13).

Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him.and by his wounds we are healed.

Why is Jesus able to minister to us in our times of loss? 1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. He took our infirmities and carried our sorrows. 2. He was smitten, afflicted, pierced, and crushed for our sins. 3. By His stripes we are healed.

Lamentations 3:22,23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

How is it possible for us not to surrender to the losses of life? 1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. God’s love and mercy are renewed every day. 2. His compassions never fail. 3. He is faithful every day.

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Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.”

What was Jesus’ purpose on earth? 1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Preach the Gospel to the poor. 2. Heal the brokenhearted.

As followers of Christ, what role are we supposed to play in helping others with their losses and disappointments? We are do be like Jesus, and do the same making it easier for them.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

How is it that we can approach God with our losses and know that He will respond to us? Jesus has been tried in all the areas of loss we face and will be there for us in our times of need.

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APPLICATION

ALLOW

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MINUTES

What significant loss have you faced recently or are currently facing? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Life is filled with losses both great and small. If we confront each loss and ask God to show us the purpose behind it, we will be able to handle it more effectively as we draw on divine strength from Him. Even the reversals in life have meaning when we allow the Holy Spirit to show us the broader picture from God’s perspective. Read the following scripture. Mark 12:28-31 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

In this passage, “heart” refers to loving God with your knowledge and understanding; “soul” refers to your emotions; “mind” refers to wisdom in applying information to the problems of life and “strength” refers to your actions. This includes the sum total of the human personality. Examine your relationship with God. Ask Him to show you what He is wanting you to learn as a result of the loss. Be assured that as there is a silver lining behind every dark cloud, so there is a purpose in everything God allows to come into our lives. How can God reveal His purpose to you as you are experiencing a loss in your life? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 1. Through reading the Bible. 2. While in prayer. 3. While meditating on God’s Word and reflecting on what He has revealed to you in the past.

Examine your relationship with yourself. Is there anything about you that needs to be changed in order for you to love the Lord with all of your heart and soul and mind and and strength. What adjustments do you need to make in your outlook on life or in your behavior? The Holy Spirit will reveal this to you if you ask Him.

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The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

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Choose True or False for each question below. Share your answers with the group. 1. If things are not going well for me right now… A: False, B: False, C: False, D: True

T or F a. it definitely means that I am being punished for sin against God. If God punished us for every little thing, we would all be dead.

T or F b. it means that God is angry with me. Not necessarily.

T or F c. G  od is not interested in my problems. T or F d. G  od wants to comfort me and draw me near to Him.. 2. If I serve God with all my heart,… A: False, B: False, C: False, D: False, E: True

T or F T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. I can realize all of my dreams. b. I will never have to die to myself. c. the only serious loss will be the death of a loved one. d. I will never be tempted. e. I can ask God for help in my time of trouble.

3. Emotional loss, as described in this lesson,... A: False, B: False, C: True, D: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. is not very common or important. b. is very common but not really that serious. c. is very common and can be very serious. d. r efers to a lack of ability to have any feelings about anything.

4. Failing in school or not finishing can be a serious personal loss to… A: True, B: False, C: True, D: True, E: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. a child. b. an adult. c. a high school student. d. a college student. e. anyone.

5. Why is it important to have a course like this?… A: False, B: True, C: True, D: True, E: False

T or F a. to get a grade. T or F b. b  ecause all of us will face many disappointments in life and we will need to know what to do with them when we have them. T or F c. to become aware of where we have disappointments which are not being dealt with. T or F d. t o engage in give and take with the group and learn from each other’s experiences. T or F e. I don’t need this course because I have it all together. Probably not. www.livingfree.org

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

2

Personalizing Loss INTRODUCTION

ALLOW

10

MINUTES

In our previous session, we brought out that disappointments and losses are a very common fact of life. We have no choice but to deal with them one way or another. They strike the young and the old, the rich and the poor. They strike everybody. Let’s take a moment to ask God’s favor and guidance on our class.

Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Now complete the worksheet, My Personal Losses, on the next page and enter into the class discussion. Be aware that everyone has his or her own personal losses and that they are of many different types. Some of us are more stressed than others. Respect each person as a person who has unique challenges, things to contribute, and a need to be heard. Though similar to the worksheet in the last lesson, this one will let you reflect on the things that bother you the most and come up with positive ways to deal with them. The worksheet is the basis for the entire lesson. This is an important exercise to bring focus to the personal losses people have. Not only does it follow naturally from the previous and serve as a review, it also allows the group to discover hidden unmet needs and causes of stress and anger. Stress the importance of the second column: “What I learned from it.” This exercise will take time. If the class is large, it may take up to an hour or more. If very productive, you may want to consider an extra session to complete the entire lesson. This is especially true if the group size is large. If it is large, also consider limiting responses to a certain period of time, such as five minutes, so that everyone can be heard. Expect little response at first. It will take a little time for people to process their thoughts and respond to things they have never thought much about before. Here are some suggestions to get things going: “It is amazing that nobody here has ever had a loss in life and never learned anything from it. We need three good examples before we can go on.” “Since nobody else has ever had any serious disappointments in life that you struggled with, let me share mine. Maybe then you will start to see where we are coming from and will want to share yours. We are here to help each other”. Field testing has shown that this exercise is rich and accomplishes many objectives at once. These include breaking down barriers, bringing a sense of community, eliminating isolation, getting people to self-examine troublesome areas that have alluded them, and learning from others’ personal experiences. For added effectiveness, have the facilitators share their list. This can be seen as an encouragement to people really struggling that even people who are viewed as “having it all together” face the same kinds of struggles as everyone else. www.livingfree.org

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HLAG 2-1

My Personal Losses INSTRUCTIONS Think about the greatest losses you have had in life. On the lines below, write what the loss was, how it affected you, and what you learned from it. Fill the whole page. We all have many losses. Then share. You will find that you are not alone. Look at the examples to help you get started. Allow plenty of quiet time for participants to complete this exercise. Then have discussion. You may be asked to explain what is wanted and how to express their answers. A reproducible chart as it appears in the participant book can be found at the end of this book in the Appendix section.

Example 1: Loss of mother before age 2, felt abandoned • Explains why I have felt unusually insecure throughout my entire life • Can deal with it now that I know where it is coming from. Example 2: Didn’t finish school because of a pregnancy ◆ Gave up dream of a career ◆ Had a beautiful child who is my pride and joy.

MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________

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SELF-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Before we can deal with a problem, we have to admit we have one. If we know we have a problem, we must have the courage to admit that we haven’t been handling things very well if that is the case. That is the harder of the two. If we don’t do anything about it, we just continue to suffer and things can go from bad to worse. From our previous discussion, you may have been surprised at how common it is to have setbacks and dreams crushed and the extent to which they have been controlling our lives and making us miserable. In reality, all of us face these challenges, and most of us do it all alone. This is not something that an expert wrote in a textbook somewhere and now all of us are supposed to follow. This is real life, close and personal, and step one is to admit that your loss was very great and it is time to admit it and try something different. Discussion Share an experience that, once you think about it, has negatively affected you for a longer period of time than you have been willing to admit. Remember, this is not an admission of inferiority or weakness. We all have these kinds of struggles. Individual responses. Some answers we have heard: “I was in a car accident with a boyfriend and he died.” “I was in a relationship where he lied to me. That was four years ago and I am still going through it,” “alcohol affected me a lot longer than I thought-three years,” “a friend died. it took me four years to get over it.”

Now give an example of how just being in this class has helped you with this awareness. It forces you to face it. I lost not only a friend, but other things, also.

Do you feel comfortable sharing in this class? If yes, explain you are glad and hope the class will continue to be beneficial and practical. If no, ask how we can help or be more relevant? Do not be defensive if there is negativity, just say that self awareness is the first step in moving on and then say that we want to make the course as beneficial as we can then move on.

Working through the Pain One of the hardest things to deal with in handling our losses is the fact that there are some things in life that we are not going to be able to change. This may put us in a helpless state where we feel that there is nothing we can do about the pain. Some of it has to with the situation itself, but much of it has to do with our reaction to it. We do have control over many things, and we need to focus more on those things, and less on the negative things. Discussion Do you agree with the previous statement? Why? Individual answers.

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How does the Serenity Prayer, apply here?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Individual answers.

SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

The Bible is full of examples about life’s disappointments and overcoming them. Here are a few examples. Examine each passage and see if you can apply it to your own personal loss. Make sure each person can explain how each scripture applies to them. Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. God is with us through thick and thin and will help us get through what we have to get through. Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. This was written by the Apostle Paul was doing jail time, in chains, for helping people and doing good. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. There are some situations in life where there is no way out but to go through them.

Hebrews 4:15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Individual answers. He led showed us the way. We do not have to fall into sin when hard times come.

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Luke 4:38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up at once and began to wait on them.

How does this apply to us personally? That we can go to God in prayer and get help. But then, why pray when we can worry? (joke)

Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” - Jesus, from the “Sermon on the Mount.”

Why should we love our enemies? God tells us to. He wants us to shine in a dark world. He loved and forgave us. We should do the same thing for others.

Will it solve our problems with them? Maybe it will and maybe it won’t, but it is sure to change our attitude about things and improve our state of mind.

What hope does the last part of the scripture give us about the outcome? God sees and knows the truth even if nobody else does. He is interested in everyone’s well-being - ours and our enemy’s.

APPLICATION

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Scenarios Situation 1 Joe Schmoe just lost his job, his bank account, his wife and family. He is not very pleasant to be around and people avoid him because he does not seem to be a very nice person. Every time you see him and ask him how he is doing, he just says that life is terrible, that the government is corrupt, and no one cares. What could you do to help him? Love him anyway. Pray for him. Help him to understand that there are things he can do to better his situation and that his attitude is killing him.

Do you see a little bit of “Joe” in you? Individual responses

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Situation 2 Tiffany was just passed over for promotion by a man with half her experience. The man is nasty to those under him but nice to those over him. Is Tiffany justified in being angry? Yes.

How should Tiffany deal with her anger? Class discussion.

As we can see from the above discussion and from this whole lesson, disappointment and loss is a very personal thing and it happens to everybody. Here is a scripture written by Paul while being in jail. Explain what it means to you personally. Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Individual answers. The key is to turn to God and rise above every situation with grace and determination. And be thankful for the blessings of God.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each question below. Share your answers with the group. 1. According to the Bible, when being wronged by a person, we should… A: True, B: False, C: True, D: False

T or F a. take it and pray for him or her. Expect and accept disagreement here, but as a general rule, we should do exactly that. We should be a “cut above” those “in the world.”

T or F b. get even. T or F c. not let it get to us. T or F d. f igure it out on our own. We shouldn’t be bothering God with our personal problems. 2. A course like this is needed by… A: False, B: True, C: True, D: True, E: True

T or F a. only those who have recently lost a loved one. T or F b. by people who have lost it all. T or F c. rich people. T or F d. poor people. T or F e. everybody. 3. Why is it important that we face our personal pain head-on? A: False, B: True, C: True, D: False

T or F a. so that we can wallow in it and add to the drama. T or F b. so that we stop ignoring it and start to do something about it. T or F c. because we can’t do anything about it if we don’t acknowledge that we have pain. T or F d. so we can have some good material for later gossip. 4. What does the Bible say about pain in our life… A: True, B: False, C: False, D: False

T or F a. that we will have it. T or F b. that there is nothing we can do about it. T or F c. to just ignore it and “get over it”. We are not to ignore it. We often need help to get over it. T or F d. to just ignore it and it will go away.

Same as above.

5. Why do people hide their pain?… All are True.

T or F T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. because it is easier than dealing with it. b. because they think there is nothing that can be done about it. c. because they want to keep it a secret. d. because they are afraid of what other people will think about them. e. I don’t hide my pain.

Do you lie about other things, too?

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

3

The Scope of Loss INTRODUCTION

ALLOW

10

MINUTES

Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Physical death is not the only loss in life with which we must learn to cope. Other losses bring intense pain as well. Some are sudden; others are gradual. Either way, they demand our attention and bring pain into our lives. H. Norman Wright has described the “little deaths” this way:

Any event that destroys a person’s understanding of the meaning of life is a loss…For the most part death is the only loss recognized as something to grieve. But other losses that we rarely acknowledge…could have more of a limiting impact than losing someone in death, [for] when a loved one dies there is closure.1 *Reprinted by permission of the publisher from Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 11, pp 213-218. Copyright 1967 by Elsevier Science, Inc.

SELF-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Now we will look at the stress which is caused by all these kinds of disruptions to our lives. Complete The Change Scale on the next page.

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HLAG 3-1

The Change Scale INSTRUCTIONS The list below shows many life changes that can add to our stress. The events are listed on the left and the number of points that each has is in the middle. Write in the number of points on the line on the right for each of the events that you have experienced in the past year. When finished, add up all the points and write your answer at the bottom. Then wait for the group to finish. We will then be discussing what the numbers mean. Allow 10-15 minutes of quiet time for participants to complete the exercise. Answer any questions they may have.

Life Event

Mean Value

Points

Death of spouse

100

__________

Divorce

73

__________

Marital separation

65

__________

Jail term

63

__________

Death of close family member

63

__________

Personal injury or illness

53

__________

Marriage

50

__________

Fired at work

47

__________

Marital reconciliation

45

__________

Retirement

45

__________

Change in health of family member

44

__________

Pregnancy

40

__________

Sex difficulties

39

__________

Gain of new family member

39

__________

Business readjustment

39

__________

Change in financial state

38

__________

Death of close friend

37

__________

Change to different line of work

36

__________

Change in number of arguments with spouse

35

__________

Mortgage over $10,000

31

__________ Subtotal

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Subtotal

__________

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30

__________

Change in responsibilities at work

29

__________

Son or daughter leaving home

29

__________

Trouble with in-laws

29

__________

Outstanding personal achievement

28

__________

Wife begins or stops work

26

__________

Begin or end school

26

__________

Change in living conditions

25

__________

Revision of personal habits

24

__________

Trouble with boss

23

__________

Change in work hours or conditions

20

__________

Change in residence

20

__________

Change in schools

20

__________

Change in recreation

19

__________

Change in church activities

19

__________

Change in social activities

18

__________

Mortgage or loan less than $10,000

17

__________

Change in sleeping habits

16

__________

Change in number of family get-togethers

15

__________

Change in eating habits

15

__________

Vacation

13

__________

Christmas

12

__________

Minor violations of the law

11

__________

Grand Total __________

As can be seen, changes and disruptions to our lives are many and affect us deeply. Now we will look into what some of this means.

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1. Divorce. The Holmes-Rahe scale we just discussed gives divorce 73 points, second only to the death of a spouse in trauma. A marital separation gets 63 points. If both separation and divorce occur in the same 12-month period, the points would total 136. This nears the danger level of 150 for good mental health. Add to this 38 points for change in financial state, 25 points for change in living conditions, 24 points for revision of personal habits, and 20 points for change in residence and the numbers accumulate to 243 which is in the range of a 50 % chance of an illness or accident to occur within the next two years. Next to the death of a spouse, divorce brings the most intense pain in a person’s life. The problem with trying to mourn a loss when death is not involved is that there are no formal rituals or ceremonies to acknowledge the finality of the loss and to minister to the mourners. In this regard Nina Donnelly has observed:

“Trying to mourn loss when death is not involved is a lonely hell, with vague beginnings and endings defined more often by the intangible dimensions of loss and found hope than by the perimeters of the crisis itself.”2 Divorce is complex and multifaceted.

a. Emotional divorce starts when a couple begins withholding affection from each other.

b. Legal divorce begins when lawyers are retained and petitions are filed. Although the spouses feel out of control and bewildered, there remains the possibility of a reconciliation.

c. Economic divorce is when there is an alteration of family lifestyle brought about by dealing with the financial settlement, alimony and child support.

d. Co-parental divorce is the state of the parents being divorced from each other but not from their children. This is when issues of guilt, custody, visitation and family “rights” must be settled.

e. Community divorce comes when the children’s status at school and church is abruptly changed because of the divorce of their parents.

f. Psychological divorce is when each parent becomes a separate entity. This is the most difficult, scary and lonely period of the divorce process:3

2. Neonatal losses. Neonatal losses fall into four categories:

a. Infertility, also called “involuntary childlessness,” includes couples who are unable to conceive and accounts for about 15% of couples in their childbearing years. These couples go through all of the stages of grief couples who bury a child go through except for a corpse and a funeral.

b. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus, usually in the Fallopian Tube of the mother. One in 100 conceptions results in a tubal (ectopic) pregnancy, ending in a miscarriage.

c. Miscarriage occurs when there is a spontaneous abortion any time from conception to almost full term. About 20% of all conceptions end in a miscarriage.

d. A child is stillborn when he/she is carried to term (or near term) but dies just before the birth or at birth. Statistics indicate that one baby in every 80 live births is stillborn.4

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I STOOD, I STAND Nearly a decade ago, I stood in a cemetery at the foot of two baby girls’ headstones. Though they were strangers, I felt a deep sadness. I wondered how the parents must have felt. My eyes welled up with tears, for the mere thought of a baby dying just breaks my heart. I gaze upon their names; both stones read “Our Little Angel.” I felt a kick from my belly, as the baby within me reminded me she was well. Soon I would have a baby in my arms. I wondered how come babies die? For a split second, I thought, “Will my baby die? Surely not! That was the 30s; this is the 90s. Health care is so advanced. These babies would not have died if they were born today, someone would have saved them.” I wiped my tears from my eyes and moved on. I knew things were different now. I wanted not to think of such sadness any longer. Years have passed; now I stand, I stand at the foot of two headstones for two baby girls that have died. Oh how sad I feel. I wonder; “Why did they die? Why did no one save them? This is the 90s; surely health care is so advanced that someone could have saved them. What went wrong?” The tears well up in my eyes and they flow; they flow like a fast moving river. My heart begins to ache like it never did before. You see, I am in a cemetery, standing at the foot of two headstones for two baby girls that have died, but they are not strangers. This time I know them; I know them unlike anyone else. These babies are mine. I know how it feels. I wipe my tears from my eyes, but still I feel sadness. Still I stand.5

3. Post-abortion distress Since the Roe vs. Wade decision was made by the U. S. Supreme Court, the incidence of voluntary abortions has skyrocketed. The majority of Evangelical Christians view abortion as a form of murder. Statistics reveal that 56% of the mothers who have had an abortion have second thoughts that come in the form of shame, guilt and fear which strike at the heart of their self-esteem. A recent five-year study revealed that 25% of these sought psychiatric care.6 In many ways, these girls and women display the symptoms of the Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome which plagued so many of the military personnel returning from Viet Nam.

4. Job loss In these days of industrial downsizing, as many as 3.5 million workers are laid off or fired each year. Loss of a job merits 47 points on the Holmes-Rahe scale, business readjustment, 39; change in financial status, 38; changing to a new line of work, 36; change in responsibilities at work, 29; wife begins or stops work, 26; trouble with boss, 23; and change in work hours or conditions, 20 points. These add up quickly to become potentially traumatic. Leslie Parrott has observed, “The most common and debilitating psychological effect of job loss is self-blame.”7 Grace Keaton lost her job after fifteen years with the same publishing company. She described her reactions this way:

It was the worst blow I ever had. I’ve been divorced. My father died a few months before I got fired. Both constitutionally and by event I’ve been through a lot of emotional upheaval in my life and I’ve never been through anything like getting fired. For a while, I was persuaded that I must be not only as bad as the company must have thought I was to fire me, but much worse than that. Probably the world’s worst. Probably I did not deserve to live. It doesn’t simply take away your self-confidence. It destroys you. Utterly.8

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5. Moving For children, moving is probably the most traumatic event in their young lives. They are forced to give up their home, church, school, neighborhood, friends, some possessions and possibly a pet. Even though moving may be essential to the employment of their parents, it is not uncommon for children to go into depression or show symptoms of separation anxiety. The Holmes-Rahe scale gives change in residence 20 points, but for a child, this is an underestimate. During the packing, moving and unpacking times, they need an extra amount of TLC (tender loving care). Fortunately, with time and guidance, they will recover.

6. Natural disasters Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, and other natural disasters are accompanied by traumas of varying degrees of pain and loss which demand grieving. Whether it is loss of life or loss of home and possessions, the loss must be acknowledged and grieved.

7. Loss of innocence When children are subjected to sexual molestation, they suffer the loss of innocence. They are thrust prematurely into the world of adult sexuality long before they are physically or emotionally ready for the transition. This is why not only the Bible, but most cultures of the world have an incest taboo. This applies to any sexual activity with either girls or boys who are minors. Rape falls into this category as well because the loss of virginity is a violent blow to the victim’s self-esteem, male or female. Rape and incest are traumatic at any age and need to be grieved. This list is far from exhaustive. For a more exhaustive discussion, see Fred Cutter’s Coming to Terms with Death. He has given suggestions for people facing each of the 43 losses included in the Holmes-Rahe “Social Readjustment Rating Scale.”9

SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

God has promised never to leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Further, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8). As you read the following verses, consider the variety of losses or “little deaths” with which the Lord has promised to be with us. Now let us look at some of God’s promises and illustrations of how God can comfort us in our grief and look at some verses that will help us understand the grief associated with some of the “little deaths”. Genesis 12: 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Abraham probably felt some degree of sadness at this point in his life. Why? He was asked to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household. He didn’t even know where he was going. Even when we serve God, it may mean that we may have to pay a price and suffer loss.

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Psalm 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

By acknowledging sin and not hiding transgression, what results? Blessings. God forgives and does not hold our past against us. You bond.

Isaiah 26:3-4 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

If a person can focus on the Lord rather than the loss, what will result? Why? He will keep you in perfect peace. He is the Rock that we can stand on when everything around us is quicksand. He has a plan. We will not have to feel the pain of loss forever.

Isaiah 53:3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Why does Jesus understand your grief and sorrow? He was rejected and experienced sorrow. He experienced it more than any of us ever will.

Malachi 2:16 The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,”says the Lord Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.

What is God’s attitude toward divorce? He hates divorce but loves the divorced person. He reminds us of the pain it causes and instructs us to do right.

Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Explain what this scripture means to you. Expect and accept different points of you.

Matthew 28:20 …teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you .”

What attribute of the Lord should be remembered? He will always be with us and help us through all our difficult moments. It is implied that we will have difficult things to be faced but He will help us through it.

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Colossians 3:22-25 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for their wrongs, and there is no favoritism.

If a person has lost his or her job, it would be helpful to examine his or her work ethic and attitude according these verses. How did Paul say employees should respond to their employers? Employees should respect and obey their employers, realizing they do not work for their bosses but they are working for the Lord. Workers may be fired by their supervisors but it is God who will make the final evaluation of their work.

Will we always be rewarded for our suffering right away? No. We may have to wait for our spiritual inheritance to get our reward and get our justice.

APPLICATION

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Discussion What was your score on The Change Scale worksheet? Have the participants compare numbers and meanings. It is not uncommon for those in recovery from addiction or incarceration to score 400-500. This should be an eyeopener as to the extent of loss and grief for this group of people.

Did anything surprise you about how your own personal answers? Individual answers.

Did anything surprise you about how the other class members answered their questions? Individual answers.

How do you plan to apply these results to your situation? Individual answers. Pray. Meditate. Trust in God.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each question below. Share your answers with the group. 1. Changes in our routines… A: True, B: True, C: False, D: True

T or F a. can be stressful in themselves. T or F b. are often caused by other serious events. T or F c. are unimportant in themselves. T or F d. are inevitable in life. 2. People with high scores on the Change Scale that you took at the beginning of this lesson... A: False, B: True, C: True and False, D: True, E: True

T or F a. are seriously ill. T or F b. are experiencing high stress levels. T or F c. are handling their situations badly. Not necessarily. T or F d. a  re more apt to become physically or emotionally sick from unresolved stress. T or F e. are more apt to have unresolved anger issues. 3. The Change Scale helps us to...

A: True, B: True, C: True, D: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. understand where some of our stress is coming from. b. understand the scope and size of our stress. c. start thinking about our stress and anger. d. get along with our boss.

Not directly.

4. Why is it important to do the Change Scale individually first and then as a group? A: True, B: True, C: True, D: False

T or F a. You will find that you are not alone. T or F b. You will benefit from seeing how others handle the same situation. T or F c. It gives you a more accurate picture of what your personal issues are. T or F d. It is not important. Group sharing has nothing to offer. 5. People who are experiencing very high stress and anger levels are most likely to have suffered… A: True, B: True, C: True, D: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. t he loss of a loved one because that means several other changes related to it. b. a  marriage separation because that means several other changes related to it. c. other multiple losses caused by some other event such as loss of a job. d. It has nothing to do with how much loss has occurred. They just need to get it all together. I hope you are not a friend giving advice.

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

4

Sorting Out Advice INTRODUCTION

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Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

H. Norman Wright suggests several questions that will help us respond to our personal losses.1 These are listed below. • Reflect on one of the earliest significant losses in your life. This reflection will arouse other questions as, When did it happen? How old were you? Where was it? Who were the people involved? What actually happened? Coming to grips with our past losses can give us more compassion when dealing with others and their losses. • What were your feelings at the time? It is helpful to tap into the emotions of the past and deal with them on the conscious level. To do this, three steps are involved:

1. feel the feeling 2. name the feeling and then you can 3. channel the feeling appropriately

• This can only be done when we allow ourselves to feel the feelings of the past and identify exactly which emotion is involved. For instance, fear and anger feel so much alike we need to take time to feel the feeling until we are absorbed with it. Only then can we take charge of our emotions and respond appropriately. • What were your reactions to the loss? Which were positive? Which were negative? To do this, close your eyes. Allow yourself to feel the feeling until your toes tingle. Then distinguish between the positive and the negative reactions you remember. To profit from the experience, rewrite the scenario (in your mind) so that it will become more positive than negative. When you have done this, you will be able to lean toward the positive when faced with similar situations in the future. You will also be able to help those in grief deal more positively with their circumstances. • Did anyone give you suggestions or advice on how to handle the loss? Now examine what assistance was given to you in dealing with this early crisis in your life by completing the following form and indicate which ones were positive and which ones were negative. List the suggestions that were given to you in the appropriate column.

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HLAG 4-1

The Pros and Cons of Advice Given INSTRUCTIONS Concentrate first on any advice you have been given about the earliest losses of your life. List at least three such events by first indicating whether the advice or action was positive or negative. Then give a brief description. If it was a negative event, explain how you have adjusted and learned from the situation. After this, complete the rest of the page with any other similar issues which have occurred during any period of your life. Include the advice you gave to yourself. Use the examples as suggestions. Allow enough quiet time for participants to complete this exercise. Then have discussion. You may be asked to explain what is wanted and how to express their answers.

ex. 1: support from mother after being molested by her boyfriend • positive • helped me cope ex. 2: mother not believing that her daughter had been molested • negative • mother was overwhelmed and did not know what to do; came to realize it was mother’s problem, not mine ex. 3: stepson told he is no good and never will be any good • negative • I am good, it was my family that was dysfunctional

ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ 42

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• What did you learn about loss as a result of your early experiences? Can you remember any statements that have stayed with you through the years? Taking the list you just made, concentrate on the suggestions that helped you at the time. See what can be learned from this review that will help you be more sensitive when helping someone who is experiencing a loss. Discussion.

• What did you learn in the past that may be hindering the way you cope with loss today? Continuing to use the chart you have started, see if you can reframe some of the negative suggestions into positive ones. This self-examination will equip you to help someone when he/she is struggling with a primary loss (death) as well as the secondary losses (“little deaths”) of life. It will help you turn your negatives into positives. Discussion. “Just get over it” should be replaced with “this will take some time”. “I will never use [drugs] ‘just once’ again.” “You aren’t worth a thing” could be replace with “I am worth a lot”. “NA is for quitters” could be replaced with “no, it is for winners.”

• What did you learn about loss that helps you today? As you examine your early experiences with loss, ask the Lord to help you profit from your own experiences. Then examine other significant losses you have sustained through the years. See what you can learn from your experiences to be a helping person to others who are dealing with a current loss. Discussion.

SELF-AWARENESS

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Good advice. Bad Advice. The previous was a rather lengthy discussion on what our early experience was in regard to loss and how we coped with it. Unfortunately, we are not always that great about moving on when our dreams have been shattered and the pain remains or gets worse. What will help is sorting out the good advice from the bad advice and making adustments. Just taking the time to think about the great pain in our lives will help reduce it in the long run. It may be painful to think about pain, but it won’t just “go away” by ignoring it. In recognizing it head-on, there is hope that you can see a way out. Discussion After thinking about the previous exercise, readings, and discussion, what insight stands out to you? Individual responses. Keep this brief unless it generates a good deal of interest and enthusiasm. Possible responses: • I have gotten good things out of bad things of the past. • I can relate to the stories I have heard. • Don’t react to your feelings instead of thinking.

Why “dig up the past” Why “dig up the past”? Because not dealing with it will kill us. We have suffered long enough. Let’s try something new.

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Let’s face it, there have been times when all of us have handled our disappointments poorly to one extent or another. Often this means that we continue to live in intense and needless pain. This may be the cause of depression, anger, loneliness, or worse. If we stop following the wrong advice and be brave enough to accept a new approach, we might be able to start a new chapter in life. It can be a new beginning with much more promise. Some people never get over the hopelessness that pain brings. Let’s not be one of them. Discussion Complete this sentence: Now that I think about it, I now see how I could improve my approach to my disappointments. An example of this is... ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ This can be a real eye-opener. No one likes to “rehash” the same old thing, but this is not “rehashing”, it is rethinking it in order to get our lives back on track. One part of that is admitting to ourselves that we are in much more pain than we want to admit and that denying it won’t make it any easier or better. Ignoring it will make the pain worse when we could be doing more to adjust and feeling better. Possible answers: ◆ Instead of just trying to do it my way, listen to others. ◆ When someone disappoints you, don’t just sit there and sulk, do something about it”. ◆ Ask God for guidance, strength and courage to face disappointments then get up, keep positive, and keep going.

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One of the humbling experiences in serving Christ is that we have to “die to ourselves,” admit that we need help and forgiveness, and give up the “old” life that we had before coming to God. It is also among the most freeing of experiences. Apply what you have learned and connect it to each of the following scriptures. Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

What does God expect of us? To be a godly person and act like it. To be a good neighbor and citizen.

John 3:3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.

What did Jesus mean by that? He meant that you have to die to your old ways without Him so that you can live the new life in Him.

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Romans 3:10 As it is written:“There is no one righteous, not even one”.

Do any of us really have it “all together?” No. Spiritually, this is impossible without God. Practically, we all need help in coping with life.

Romans 8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.

How can God help us deal with our pain? When it comes to feeling that we do not measure up, He can help us even when we do not understand what is going on.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

How willing is God to help us when we are hurting? He is very willing.

Luke 17:3-4 So watch yourselves. “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

How can living for God help us with our unresolved differences with people? It will help us change our priorities, face our differences and feelings, and not hold grudges. He can give us peace of mind.

With forgiving them? It will move us to actually do something about it.

How will that reduce our stress and pain? It will remove a major cause of our stress and pain.

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Personal Question Would you like to talk to someone right now about what you have to do to be “born again”, as Jesus put it, and turn your life around? If you would like to do this, talk to your facilitator or refer to page 107 in the back of this book. Plan of Salvation

APPLICATION

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There is no shortage of bad, misinformed advice given when it comes to dealing with our pain and loss. Much of this comes with good intentions but is not helpful. And then again, sometimes we have no one to blame but ourselves. Our solution has not been working very well. Our efforts to dull the pain have backfired and not helped at all. Join the class in discussing the following scenarios.

Discussion Scenario 1 Rhonda went through a bitter divorce three years ago, lost her home, and now has a hard time making a go of it. She is very sad and has tried to seek comfort from her friends. She is confused by the contradictory advice she has been given and is having a hard time sorting it out. Explain what is right or wrong about the following advice: Just get over it. Three years is enough. Stop wallowing in pain. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ There is a reason that three years has not eased the pain. Another approach is in order.

You need to get married. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Maybe you should get yourself together first and not marry to get someone to fix you. Fix yourself first so that your marriage will have a better chance of being successful.

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You need to talk to a close friend about it. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ If you found someone who cares enough to listen, go for it.

Stop whining. Don’t be like those women who thrive on drama and grow up. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ This is an insult and shows a serious lack of understanding.

Scenario 2 Justin lost his job and is having trouble finding another one. He has been looking for a job for three months now and is very discouraged and depressed. Christmas is coming up and he doesn’t know how he will be able to get presents for his children. Examine each of the advice ideas given by friends, or that he just came up with himself, and come up with suggestions. He should stop acting like a crybaby. Other people have lost a lot more than he has. He has no business being upset. Comparing other people’s losses to your own and downplaying theirs is very insensitive and cruel. Would you like other people to treat you that way? It is rude.

There is something wrong with his walk with God. He should find out where the sin is and do something about it. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Not necessarily. Everyone has bumps in the road of life. They are the times when they should seek God even more and obtain His comfort.

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The kids will be fine. Why is he making such a fuss? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Someone who would make a statement like that apparently never had kids or took parenting very seriously.

He should ask God to help him get a better job. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Yes! We should never let the cares of this life destroy our hope or joy. Life is too short.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each question below. Share your answers with the group. 1. Which of the following can represent a very great loss? Any of the situations listed below because one loss can cause multiple other losses and facing them all at the same time can be overwhelming.

T or F a. death of a family member T or F b. death of a dream T or F c. loss of a job T or F d. a breakup 2. Compared to other types of losses, an example of a small loss would be the loss of ... All of the answers can be either T or F because loss is a very personal thing.

T or F a. a pet. Answers will vary according to the importance of the pet and the person’s other life experiences.

T or F T or F T or F T or F

b. a relationship c. a job. d. death. e. freedom.

Have the class identify which of the above has the greatest loss for them and why.

3. You should always listen to what your addicted boyfriend or girlfriend has to say because... All are false. Anything he or she would have to offer is overshadowed by the addiction.

T or F a. he or she has “been around the block” and has learned how to survive. T or F b. he or she has a lot to offer. T or F c. If you listen to him or her long enough, he or she will change. T or F d. he or she will help you kick your addiction. You can do it together. 4. People who get emotional about their losses in life is a sure sign... All are false.

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. of personal weakness b. of very great intelligence. c. that they are female. d. I don’t know. I have never experienced any losses.

That is impossible.

5. Working through grief… A: True, B: False, C: True, D: False

T or F a. is hard work. T or F b. should be completed within six months if you do it right. It is different for every person and every set of circumstances. T or F c. is complicated. T or F d. is a snap if you “have it all together”. www.livingfree.org

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

5

The Language of Loss INTRODUCTION

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Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Let’s begin by asking God for guidance and help as we face some of the monsters that have held us back and kept us from the freedom that God wants us to have. (time of prayer) Thank the Lord for ministering to members of the group as they have recalled hurtful experiences. Ask Him for special grace in this session as they re-experience griefs they thought had been buried long ago. Invite Him as the Healer to minister to each member.

Reflection Now let’s take a few minutes for reflection about the previous two sessions: death and the “little deaths.” Personal responses. Answers we have heard: • best friend died of leukemia 10 years ago, still grieving, can now talk about it without crying • drug dealer friend was shot, saw it happen, still grieving • dad died of drug overdose four years ago, was suicidal, still miss him.

• When did you experience your deepest loss? • Briefly describe the circumstances. • How long did you remain in grief? • How did you know you had completed your grief work? Answers will vary from a specific date or event to “I will never get over it”.

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SELF-AWARENESS

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Life is filled with a series of deaths and “little deaths.” Grief is usually a reaction to a traumatic event. In making this observation, Lawrenz & Green defined trauma as “the experience of something shocking happening to someone (physically or psychologically) that produces some kind of inner injury and affects the person’s ability to function in normal ways”.1 They further observed: “Not all grief is the result of trauma [but] trauma will ordinarily result in grief.”2 Several words are used to describe confronting and dealing with traumas which cause the primary and secondary losses of life.3 Bereavement is to be deprived forcefully of a cherished object, such as the death of a relative or friend. The inference is that the bereaved person has been made desolate by a violent disruption of a relationship. Grief is natural and the expected reaction to a loss, according to Lawrenz and Green.4 It is an emotional attitude, actually a complex of emotions, used to describe deep mental suffering. Grief is the strongest word used in the vocabulary of death and refers specifically to the initial, acute stages of the bereavement process. Larsen5 and Westberg6 make it clear, however, that grief is a healthy experience that affects the survivor cognitively as well as emotionally as he/she works through life’s significant losses. Grief has many faces:

a. Normal grief may resemble depression, but is basically different from that pathological state. Normal grief involves sadness but is free from the guilt and shame that accompany depression. Although normal grief leads to a temporary withdrawal from life to allow for a preoccupation with the lost person or object, it is short-term and seldom leads to serious or long-term behavioral or psychological upheavals.

b. Delayed grief involves repression of grief reactions for a few hours, weeks, months, or even years. The grieving person who delays facing the reality of a loss appears to act normally but will speak of numbness and the inability to feel. Insomnia, anorexia, restlessness and outbursts of irritability with displays of anger are common.

c. Chronic grief is used to note reactions in which the bereaved person prolongs grief reactions for years. Guilt and self-blame complicate that bereavement.

d. Inhibited grief displays itself in lowering of responses to normal grief with the substitution of other behaviors that tend to mask the process of grieving. This is seen when grief is denied; the person disowns pain and proceeds with a “business-as-usual attitude.” 7

e. I n a psychotic reaction to grief the person becomes incapable of coping with the death or loss and requires medical intervention, usually accompanied by hospitalization.

f. Enshrinement occurs when the survivor leaves the room and possessions of the deceased person untouched long after death has occurred. Larsen said of this phenomenon, “The creation of a ‘shrine’ becomes symbolic of the survivor’s inability to let go of the loved one.”8

Grieving is the process of expressing grief. It involves weeping, crying, and wailing in response to a loss. It is used specifically to denote sorrow that is endured alone and in silence, but is revealed by such non-verbal behaviors as one’s mood, posture, and conduct. Mourning applies to a period of grief that follows the loss of an important person through death or separation. It is also used to describe one’s reaction to the loss of a body part through amputation or loss of body functions due to a hysterectomy or vasectomy. Mourning allows the grieving person to disengage psychologically from the lost object. This involves reviewing past experiences and the emotional significance of a relationship that can never be restored. It includes expressions of sorrow and lamentation. Mourning

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is also used to describe the conventional displays of sorrow over a person’s death, such as wearing black, wearing an arm band or displaying flags at half-mast. Sorrow is one of the two polarities of emotional life, its opposite being joy. Many researchers who study human emotions do not classify sorrow as a single emotion. Rather, they view it as a group of emotions experienced in situations where distress is caused by loss of affiliation and disappointment. It includes being grief-stricken along with sadness and regret. Sorrow is the most general term used to describe grief. Misery is used to describe acute or unremitting pain from a major loss. It focuses on the wretchedness of body and soul that is sufficient to crush the human spirit. Yearning refers to deep longing, especially when accompanied by tenderness or sadness. It usually lasts from one to six weeks and resolves into a healthy “minimal yearning” after six months. If grief is delayed or recovery prolonged, yearning is used to describe the lingering, residual effect on the bereaved person. This intense yearning is seen in psychosomatic symptoms and gastrointestinal distress. In between attacks of yearning, the person becomes apathetic, displaying a sense of futility and some of the more complicated signs of depression. Yearning is used most frequently to describe the condition of one who has just been widowed or lost a child.

Discussion Can you relate to one or more of these ways of confronting and dealing with traumas? Describe. Individual responses. Allow time for the group to go back over the points just discussed and think about how they can relate. Answers will vary. Do not be surprised by the heavy weights people are carrying around and the degree of desperation they feel. One person’s responses was “I was in prison for three years and lost out with life and now that I am out, I have to catch up and I don’t know if I will ever be able to.” Another’s was “I have experience all of them (types of grief). I am trying to stay positive.”

SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

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The Bible is filled with scriptures to help us understand the reality of death and the appropriateness of responding to it Christianly. Billie Davis has noted: Some people feel the expression of grief is a weakness, or a lack of Christian faith. Modern psychologists (both non-Christian and Christian) tell us the expression of grief in a natural way is healthy and ought to be encouraged. It is, in fact, a kind of task to be worked through.9 So, we can be encouraged by the words of David: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a [shield] to all those that trust in him” (Psalm 18:30). Let’s look at some of the Scriptures that reveal how God perceives our losses and responds to us when we are in various stages of bereavement. Isaiah wrote about the Messiah to come - Jesus - hundreds of years before the time of Jesus. Isaiah 53:1-3 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

What experiences did Jesus have that demonstrate His understanding of the depth of our sorrow and the intensity of our grief? He went through intense suffering Himself. These included having a humble appearance, being despised, rejection,suffering, pain, and being held in low esteem. www.livingfree.org

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Was life being fair to Jesus? No.

What lesson can we learn from this? Life is not fair. It doesn’t need to be because we can still master it as our leader Jesus did. Keep moving forward. Trust in God.

Isaiah 53:4-6 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

According to this passage, who caused Jesus’ suffering? All of us.

Who was He doing this for? All of us.

Who is guilty of sin? All of us.

Why did He do it? So that we could be forgiven, be reconciled to the Father, and have peace. This discussion may bring up issues that people have with self esteem and forgiveness.

Isaiah 53:7-9 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Did Jesus feel the need to strike back or get even? Why didn’t He feel a need to protect His honor and demand respect? No. He had a purpose, and it wasn’t to get even or to demand respect. He was strong. He knew what He was doing and why He was doing it. He was confident in himself and did not have to have the approval of others to do the right thing.

Isaiah 53:10-12 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession [had prayer] for the transgressors [sinners]. 54

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Was Jesus’ suffering a mistake? No.

If we suffer because of our stand for the right, will we be rewarded? In what ways? Yes. We will be rewarded in many ways. Ask the group to come up with at least three ways. Possible responses: blessings, feeling good about yourself, purpose, testimony, stronger in the Lord, eternal life, crown of righteousness, integrity. Lamentations 3:19-24 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

What attitude should we have about heartaches and suffering when they come our way? We should not get desperate or lose hope. We should call upon God to help us and patiently wait for Him to help us, even if help does not come right away.

Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

In your own words, what is this verse saying? Individual answers.

Give a personal example of a situation you are in where you need to apply this scripture. Have each person respond. Explain that this is a key verse in working through our problems and sorrows.

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APPLICATION

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Many writers have attempted to list specific stages in the grief process.10 English social worker Lily Pincus said, “There are no time tables for what have been called phases of mourning, nor are there distinct lines of [separation] for the various symptoms of grief which find expression during these phases.”11 Weisnan12 noted that the same stages Kubler-Ross13 identified in her studies of death and dying are found in those who have just lost their job or are reeling from the effects of a divorce and other “living deaths.” Specifically, Weisman said,”We are always dealing with evolving processes, which means that for every problem, there is a [key] coping strategy, which sometimes works, and at other times, fails.”14 The following ten stages of grief are adapted from Westberg15 and Shipley, who observed: As with the stages of dying, everyone goes through some or all of the grief stages. The process can be long and agonizing. If grief is unresolved, it will have a lasting effect on the bereaved and eventually will result in the development of emotional problems. By understanding the stages of grief, one can help the bereaved move through the various stages with minimal physical and mental harm.16

1. Shock and denial combine to form the initial stage of grief. It is a numbing experience that delays full comprehension of the intensity of the loss. As realization of the magnitude of the loss is acknowledged, emotional release is normal.

2. Emotional release comes as shock subsides and denial fades. The survivor begins to express grief feelings openly. At this stage, it is appropriate to encourage the survivor to express genuine feelings in keeping with the magnitude of the loss. The bereaved should be encouraged to realize this spontaneous emotional release is natural and normal.

3. Depression, with the accompanying loneliness and feelings of isolation, follows the emotional release. This is a time where a person needs genuine demonstrations of emotional support, such as sympathy, listening, and comfort. Such expressions are essential for healing to begin.

4. Psychosomatic symptoms (physical symptoms coming from your state of mind rather from physical illness) signal the emergence of this most dangerous stage of recovery. It is like a train wreck where the train has left the tracks on the journey to recovery. Wilson described it as “persistent physical symptoms, angry withdrawal, intense loneliness, obsession over the lost one, and lingering depression.”17 It is essential that these symptoms not go unattended. Wilson continued, “If after a year to 18 months following loss, grief continues to interfere ‘with one’s overall function, professional help is indicated.”18 It is important for people helpers to understand the grief process so they can help the bereaved person through this critical stage without excessive distress.

5. Panic hits grieving individuals when they feel they cannot focus on anything but the loss. When they realize that panic is natural and normal in the wake of the loss of a loved one, they can confront the panic and move on to the next stage in grieving.

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6. Guilt emerges when the survivor feels responsible for the loss. This is probably the hardest stage to navigate. In order to move on, the bereaved person must unburden himself/herself of the guilt of having caused the death or of having survived the event. Christian support at this time is essential. Shipley observed that a relative, good friend or clergyman who is a good listener can be of great value at this stage.19

7. Hostility, with its accompanying anger and frustration, is a normal reaction in the grief process. Those who would minister to a bereaved person need to realize it is normal for hostility to be displayed as grieving progresses. Bereaved individuals need support; they need friends, not enemies in this stage.

8. Resistance. Overcoming grief takes several months, sometimes years, to complete. The more severe the loss suffered, the longer the recovery period. As Westberg noted:

 We .... find, when we attempt to get back into life again, it is much too painful. We would rather grieve than fight the battle of coping with new situations .... Our modern way of life makes it so difficult for us to grieve about a loss in the presence of other people. We are forced to carry all the grief within ourselves.20 The time factor is greatly influenced by the quality and timeliness of the support given by family and friends.

9. Hope represents an attempt to return to normal activities. Survivors are not always able to do this, however, because of some of the ways our culture interprets grief. Shipley observed:

The formal patterns of grief such as funerals, wakes, and the wearing of veils, arm bands or black clothing to indicate mourning, have become obsolete for many. [Too frequently] people offer sympathy at the funeral and then leave the bereaved to carry his grief alone. Friends and relatives should offer support throughout the months immediately following the loss of a loved one. This is particularly true on the anniversary of the loss.21

10. Recovery marks the time when the bereaved person is again oriented to time, place and person and ready to re-enter the main stream of life. He/She adjusts to the real world and becomes an active member of the community. Hopefully, such individuals will have learned lessons in facing grief that will fortify them to confront additional deaths and “little deaths.�

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Discussion In your own words describe your experience with the ten stages of grief. Individual responses. There may be an awkward silence as people think about this and wonder what is wanted. Most likely, they have never done anything like this before. After waiting a bit, you may want to give your experiences as an example. After you have given your example, ask for the group to share their experiences.

Have you seen another person close to you experience these stages? Describe. Wait for responses.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each answer below. Share your answers with the group. 1. There are ten stages of grief according to Westberg and Shipley. A good way for grieving people to use a list of these ten stages is to... A: False, B: True, C: False, D: True

T or F a. concentrate on several stages at a time in order to move through grief much faster. You cannot speed up the grief process by skipping steps.

T or F b. look through the list to figure out which ones they need to work on. T or F c. f igure out which of the stages needs to be worked on first and then work through the grief in that order. You have to go through the stages that you are ready for, not the ones you think you are ready for. T or F d. B  e aware that working through grief is a process which has to be worked out one step at a time. 2. One of the problems that “delayed grief” may cause is... All are True.

T or F a. a sense of numbness. T or F b. sleeplessness. T or F c. irritability. T or F d. anger. 3. In “delayed grief,” a person... A: True, B: True, C: False, D: False

T or F a. appears to be handling things well but only because he or she thinks they are being handled well. T or F b. appears to be handling things well but really is not. He or she is just postponing the grief process. T or F c. shows unusually good adjustment by “keeping it all together”. T or F d. There is no such thing as “delayed grief”. 4. “Chronic grief” happens when a person...

A: False, B: False, C: True, D: True

T or F a. has physical pain in addition to sadness. T or F b. confuses physical pain with grief. T or F c. prolongs grief for an unusually long period of time. T or F d. complicates things by introducing guilt and self-blame. 5. The best way for a person to work through a serious loss is to... A: False, B: False, C: False, D: True or False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. just “grow up” and “get over it”. b. stop whining. c. figure out who has sinned and repent. d. find out what caused the loss and stop making an issue out of it.

True, if the issue is guilt or self-blame. False, if the issue is really failure to face and work through the grief or lose hope that things can get better. www.livingfree.org

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

6

The Language of Recovery INTRODUCTION

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Opening Prayer Thank the Lord for His Word and what it says about the losses of life. Ask Him to show members of the group how to recover from each loss. Invite Him to open their eyes to comprehend the language of recovery so they will be prepared to face losses, both small and great. Ask the Lord to help them as they work through bereavement to achieve a more intimate relationship with Him, for He has promised to help us face each new crisis in life.

Grieving Process Review In our last session, we identified ten steps people need to go through to recover from major personal upsets and losses. There is no easy way through this. The losses are real and must be dealt with realistically in order for a healthy adjustment to take place. Terrible losses take time and energy to process and pain actually gets worse. It is like falling deeper and deeper into a pit of despair, as is illustrated in steps 1-5 of The Grieving Process graphic on the next page. After that, the long, hard climb back up begins. That isn’t easy either, but it eventually gets better in steps 6-10 until a “new normal” is reached.

Personal Exercise The ten steps of recovery are listed on the graphic on the next page. Follow the instructions, first as a personal exercise, and then sharing it with the group. Briefly describe one of the greatest losses of your life that you are still working with. At what stage are you on the chart? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Write down your experience with each of the ten steps which apply. There is a line for each of the ten steps on the chart. Explain that the grieving process is like falling into a pit. Not only do you sink deeper and deeper until you hit bottom, but climbing out can be even harder, and many don’t make it out. There is hope, though, if we will only keep going and do the right things.

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HLAG 6-1

The Grieving Process TRAUMATIC EVENT

NEW LIFE-STYLE

1. Shock and Denial Numb

10. Recovery  Ready to Re-enter the

Delayed Full Comprehension

2. Emotional Release  Open Expression of Grief Emotions–Natural and Normal

Mainstream of Life

9. Hope  Attempt to Return to Normal Activities

8. Resistance  Would Rather Stay in Grief

3. Depression  Loneliness, Isolation

than Cope with Life

Needs Genuine Support

4. Train Wreck

7. Hostility  Anger and Frustration Taking It Out on Others

Physical Symptoms

5. Panic Cannot Seem to Focus

6. Guilt  Feels Responsible for Loss or for Having Survived

Description of greatest loss:_________________________________________________________________________ 1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 6._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 7._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 8._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 9._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Discussion Discuss your situation from the previous page and give an example for each of the stages that you have gone through. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 62

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Recovery from the losses of life is a significant accomplishment. It requires exploring the dimensions of bereavement with an openness that invites the Holy Spirit to teach you truths that can be discovered in no other way. As a result, you draw closer to the Lord and become a more capable person. You also become better equipped to minister to others who are facing major challenges in their own life. The last three steps in the grief process in the previous lesson mark the end of grief work: resistance, hope and recovery. Unfortunately, many people get stuck in these steps, not knowing how close they are to recovery. Each of these has two phases. 1. Resistance to completing the grief work evolves near the end of the process. As we noted in the previous session, “Overcoming grief takes several months, sometimes years, to complete. The more severe the loss suffered, the longer the recovery period. The time factor is greatly influenced by the quality and timeliness of the support given by family and friends.” Working through this resistance involves two tasks: acceptance and forgiveness.

a. A  cceptance, when there has been a death or another violent disruption in relationships, is the result of intensive grief work. It involves recovering from the shock of the loss and overcoming the denial that is so overwhelming. Anger, with its frustration and fear, must be confronted and channeled appropriately. The mental negotiations involved in bargaining must be completed and depression dealt with appropriately. Only then can one accept the loss and submit it to the authority of God. Acceptance brings us to the point of replacing the “Why” question with the “What” question: “Lord, what do you want me to learn from this loss in my life?” He will then be able to reveal to us what we need to do to move on to recovery.

b. F  orgiveness is one of the most difficult tasks to be accomplished in working through grief. As we take our hurts and disappointments to the Lord, He will lead us into the freedom of forgiveness. Sometimes it will be another person we need to forgive: the deceased for dying and leaving us, the medical personnel for not saving the life of the deceased or someone whom we think may have contributed to the terminal experience. Sometimes we have to forgive ourselves for whatever is haunting us. There may be times also when we realize that we have blamed God for failure to intervene with the healing we expected. Forgiveness is never easy. As long as we fail to release the lost person or object to the authority of God, we are bound to them and are haunted by their memory. We are prisoners of whom or what we fail to forgive. Forgiveness allows us to be released from the hold another person, living or dead, has on us.

Discussion Are you stuck in the “resistance” stage in any of your losses? Describe. Before you just say “no” and move on, think a little about it first. Most of us have at least one loss that continues to hold us back. Individual responses.

2. Hope, as we noted in the last session, “represents an attempt to return to normal activities.” Hope is energy that motivates us to let go of the hurts of past losses and to move on to complete recovery. Hope builds little insights that help us develop our philosophy of life. Hope involves both faith and confidence.

a. F  aith in the faithfulness of God is part of the hope we have in Christ. By faith we lay hold on the promises of God. We act on what His Word says and what the Holy Spirit reveals to us. This allows us to alter our perception of His will for our lives and to have the attitudes of Christ as we rebuild the future.

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b. C  onfidence comes as we consistently expand our hope by exercising faith in God and His promises. As our confidence in Him matures, we have the strength to reach out confidently and do things we have not done since we were overcome by grief. Self-confidence returns as we rely less and less on the interventions of others. At long last we are free.

Discussion Are you in the “hope” stage of recovery right now. Explain how knowing about this stage gives you hope that things will get better. Individual responses.

3. Recovery marks the time when the bereaved person is again oriented to time, place, and person and ready to re-enter the mainstream of life. He or she adjusts to the real world and becomes an active member of the community. This is the time we lay aside the trappings of grief which have held us back and confront the challenges of life-after-loss. Recovery brings growth and a new lifestyle. In “A Mother Mourns and Grows” Edith Mize noted: Grief cannot be hurried, but eventually an emotional balance returns to the grieving person. You cannot bring back the one you love but you have to face reality. A change has occurred in my life, and my life must now have more meaning.1

a. G  rowth is part of the nature of mankind. In the creative sequences of Genesis 1, God made each of the elements of the universe with the capacity to grow. God has made us not only with the capacity to grow, but with the will to make the necessary changes. This is seen no where more clearly than in the process of moving through the stages of grief, coming out on the other side a wiser and more complete person.

b. A  new lifestyle emerges when the bereaved person has completed the grief work and reassessed the lessons that have been learned. No one endures the death of a significant-other (relative or friend) and stays the same as before the traumatic experience. This is also true for all kinds of losses: divorce, infertility and miscarriage, abortion, job loss, moving, natural disasters, sexual abuse and many others. Recovery is sure but the degree of wholeness and happiness one enjoys is a function of taking each of the steps in the recovery process in the right order and at the right time. Throughout, the unique problems presented by each of the phases of the grieving process must be dealt with.

Discussion Identify one the major setbacks of your life where you made it all the way through to the other side where life got better. Share with the group. One example was loss of freedom through imprisonment. Ways of staying positive included recognizing that the loss of freedom was temporary and not permanent, read books, got GED, learned to cook, found every possible positive thing in a very bad situation.

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SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

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We will start our scriptural application by commenting on the following verse: John 1:4-5 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

The Lord wants His children to be whole. Death and loss gnaw at our sense of peace until we have completed our grief work and come out of the shadows into the light of God’s love. Those who linger at any of the stages of grief remain in the shadow of death. They may not be aware that Jesus, “the Light of the world”, can shine in our dark places and give us hope. Write your thoughts about each of the following scriptures in this section. Relate them to what we have just been discussing. Mark 14: 32-36 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

What event was Jesus facing that made Him so upset? Death by crucifixion.

What did Jesus ask the Father to do? He asked the Father to deliver Him from His trial.

How did Jesus cope with the terrible situation He was facing? He had a special time of prayer.

How did Jesus show acceptance of His situation as well as submission to God’s will? He asked that the will of the Father be done, not His own.

Romans 12: 19-21 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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What did Paul say about getting even with those who have hurt us by bringing suffering and loss into our lives? Rather than seek revenge, we should leave vengeance to God, who has promised to settle the score for us. The principle is simple: “overcome evil with good.”

Name two ways how this can help us with our deal with our losses? Possible answers are: it keeps us from doing something stupid, helps us reduce our stress and anger, helps us to turn to God and depend on Him to get justice.

2 Corinthians 2:10-11 Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.

What did Paul tell the Corinthians about forgiveness? Paul said when he forgave someone, it was because he was extending the forgiveness of Christ to them. The important thing is to forgive each other so that Satan cannot gain a stronghold in our midst. This attitude helps us recover from grief and loss.

How are forgiveness and recovery from deep loss related? Forgiveness is the last step of the ten-step recovery process. This will allow a person to adapt to a “new normal” or even improve the situation causing the loss.

Ephesians 4:31-32 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

What did Paul say must be put away before a person is free to forgive another person? Paul said all forms of hostility (bitterness, wrath, anger, and clamor) should be discarded, along with evil speaking and malice (holding grudges) if we are to be free. We are to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another even as God has forgiven us for Christ’s sake. Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

How can having a goal help us through our grief? It will keep us from being sidetracked by our past or the distractions of the present.

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2 Timothy 1:12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.

What was Paul’s attitude toward Christ after suffering so many persecutions in his earlier years? Even though Paul had suffered many persecutions many persecutions, he was confident that the Lord would keep him safe until it was time for him to be called home to be with the Lord.

APPLICATION

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Discussion In each scenario below, explain what the real problem is and the changes which should be made to get through the grief process. Scenario 1 Robert, a dedicated Christian, has been with the same company for 20 years and has been passed over for promotion for the last ten. Not only that, less experienced, new workers have been promoted and have become his boss. They have been hard to work with and have given him a hard time because he is a Christian. Robert is so upset, he takes his frustration home with him and is miserable to his family. This has gone on for years now and is not getting better. Robert has not handled his grief well. He has to get past the “life is not fair” thinking and look at what he is doing to his family and his testimony. He should take comfort in the fact that Jesus, our Leader, also suffered wrongly but still kept on doing good and maintained a good testimony. He should apply Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Some obvious things he could be thankful for include still having a job after all these years and having the opportunity to show strong Christian character to those around him, and to shine as a bright light in the place of darkness. There are also treasures in heaven to be earned by being Christlike in a situation like this.

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Scenario 2 Kelli had an abusive husband and went through a bitter divorce five years ago. She is now a single mom trying to raise three children by herself. She is struggling financially and her ex-husband does not share any responsibility with the children or in meeting all his child support payments. She is desperate and angry. She is trying to get a boyfriend but the only ones that seem interested are just as abusive as her former husband. She should not give up hope. She should look for all the good she can find and think about that (Phillipians 4:8, as in the previous scenario). She should recognize that she is not ready for a relationship until she gets better control of herself. This may be painful to admit to but is less painful than getting into another situation just as bad as this one. She should stop asking “why did this happen to me?” and start asking “what can I do about it?” She should ask for God’s strength, comfort, and guidance. She should hope for a better tomorrow even if it is years away.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each answer below. Share your answers with the group. 1. You know you have handled the frustrations of life well when… All are False. T or F a. none of them ever bother you anymore. You are mostly in denial if you believe that. T or F b. you have plans on how to get even. T or F c. you are in total control of your life and can stand up to anyone. T or F d. you just don’t care anymore. 2. When going through the last three steps of the ten-step grief-recovery process, it is important to… A: True, B: True, C: False, D: False T or F a. realize that things may seem to get worse before they get better. T or F b. r ealize that the only way through the pain is to admit that it is there and then do something to address it. T or F c. ignore the pain because thinking about it will only make it get worse. Ignoring it will only delay the pain and make it get worse. T or F d. just get over it and move on. It is not that easy. The pain must be faced head-on. 3. Sometimes people get stuck in the final recovery steps because… A: False, B: False, C: True, D: True

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. their grandmother did the same thing when she was alive. b. they are just lazy people who never finish anything. c. it is too painful to accept the fact that life will have to be different now. d. the pain has been there so long that it now looks hopeless.

4. It is important for people who have been in grief for a long time to… A: True, B: True, C: False, D: True

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. continue to work through their grief and not give up. b. have hope that things will get better. c. be ashamed of themselves for letting something like this control their life for this long. d. r ealize that going through the pain takes a long time and that recovery may be closer than they think.

5. A good indication that you are close to recovery from grief is when you… A: True, B: False, C: False, D: True T or F a. are able to forgive.

T or F b. have stopped caring about it one way or the other. T or F c. feel great about everything. T or F d. change your focus from “why did this happen?” to “what can I learn from it?”

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

7

Regression and Application INTRODUCTION

ALLOW

10

MINUTES

Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

What is Regression? Regression in the grief process is where you go backward instead of forward. Going through the grief process in a healthy way is painful enough. When unhealthy, it can be unbearable. One way to getting out of the pit of despair is to think about positive and pleasant things.

Discussion Explain what the following scriptures mean to you personally in terms of applying it to the most difficult situations of life. Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Allow discussion. Thinking about the negatives will drag us into a downward spiral into a pit that we cannot get out of. Concentrating on the positives will keep us focused, disciplined, and give us hope.

Phillipians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. We are not to get desperate. Instead, we are to pray and ask God for help. We are to be thankful for His help in the past, present, and future.

What do you have to be thankful for even in your darkest hour? Discussion followed by a time of short prayers of thankfulness for help in the time of need.

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Application of Lessons Learned Now let’s apply what we have learned from our previous lessons. Answer the following questions. Discussion What have you learned during this series of lessons that you think will be useful to you in the future? Individual answers. “I am working through my grief.” “It showed me which state of grief I am in.” “Opened my eyes that I am not to blame.” “I matured to understand what I was doing.”

What experience have you remembered that showed you that you have completed grieving over some significant loss in your life? Individual answers. “Learned how to grieve instead of being angry or using drugs.” Being able to smile now, no longer live in a dark place.” Can look back on my grandmother’s death and get through it.”

Do you know someone who is currently grieving? What do you think you could do to help them? Individual answers. “I can use these tools to show a person to see positive things.”

SELF-AWARENESS

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In order to recover from death or a deep loss, the grieving person must complete all ten stages of grief. Stopping short of recovery leaves the individual in prolonged or chronic grief. As we have noted elsewhere, “We do not have a choice as to when we will die or how, but we do have control over how we will face death and where we will spend eternity.”1 Having traversed the deep waters of grief-after-loss, we are in a unique position to help others who are still plodding their way through the grieving process. Here are somethings to remember: 1. Regression is a normal reaction in the early stages of grief. This is seen in the child who reverts to bedwetting and soiling after the birth of a new brother or sister. It is also seen in the adult who tantrums and pouts. This is a bewildering and painful phase for the grieving who feel frightened and ashamed of their immature or irrational behaviors while society expects them to be brave and act in a dignified manner. The person in regression needs to be met with sympathy, love and acceptance. This will help him/her feel more secure and motivated to move on through the grief process. Otherwise, there is a danger of their getting stuck in regression, thus delaying the grief work. One widow was heard to say on the tenth anniversary of her husband’s death, “Sometimes I get so mad at him for dying and leaving me with all this responsibility that I would like to dig him up and shoot him!” Pincus quoted some of her clients as saying, “’I felt like I was going insane’; ‘I was terrified that things were beyond my control.’ The terror of these people is not just because they behave in a childish way, but because of the compulsion to do so.”2

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Discussion Can you relate to the death-of-a loved-one situation just mentioned? Describe. Individual responses. “I was mad that my dad had passed away because we had just gotten to the point where we began to understand each other.” “I would like to see some people who had died so that I could make up with them.” “I was in prison when he died and he was not there for me when I got out. I had no support and was terrified”.

Have you ever experienced any other kind of loss where the reaction was the same except that it did not involve the loss of a person? Describe. Individual responses. “Loss of my freedom”. “Dropped out of school when I was 15. Lost education and didn’t know how or if I could get it back”. Other items: loss of sobriety, emotions, anxiety, depression.

2. Loss through death is different from other losses. The loss of the widow is different from the loss of the divorcee. The divorced person goes through the same stages of grief as the one whose spouse has died. The difference in the experience is the finality of the loss. The widow has a ceremonial closing through the funeral, but the divorcee stands a good chance of seeing her former spouse with her best friend at the next check-out counter in the supermarket. For her, there is no specific point of finality. Pincus said: I have heard separated people say, “It would be so much easier if he (she) were dead, then I could know where I am.” If she or he were dead, however, it would be much more difficult to acknowledge or express the hate and anger, the recrimination and self-justification which in divorce or separation can serve as a vent to let out the bad air.3

Discussion Can you relate to the above example? Describe. Statements we have heard: “A former partner lives far away and this is a good thing because I don’t have to deal with him or her.” “My addiction caused my divorce. She couldn’t put up with it.”

3. Ministering to those in grief. Following are some of the finer points in ministering to the grieving as described by experts in the field. We have identified these experts by their last names. For more information about their full name and work, you can refer to the numbered references in the Appendix section of your course book.

a. S  tart where the bereaved person is. Remember that recovery takes time. Widowed individuals seem to survive the first few months of bereavement almost as zombies. However, they report loneliness and depression become more acute six months to a year after the the initial loss. It is only later that the full impact of the loss overwhelms them.4

Jackson compares loss by death to that of an amputation of a body part.

I n my book Understanding Grief I wrote:”Bereavement is an amputation of a part of the emotional structure of life and the use of tears may help to wash away the separation…. Much of the feeling of pain that comes with the onset of acute grief is the feeling of emotional amputation in the life of the bereaved person…

Coping with emotional crisis is basically the effort to reorganize one’s damaged self-image and body-image so as to begin to function in terms of reality rather than in terms of [maintaining an identity] that now has no foundation in reality.”5

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b. Clarify his/her expressed feelings. The bereaved person needs permission to mourn. If the grieving are denied the right to mourn their loss, they will eventually suffer psychological and physical symptoms from the lack of self-expression. After all, loss by death or divorce is more than an individual crisis; it also influences the community. Others deserve the right to grieve with the grieving person as well. They all need to adjust to life without the absent person around. Public mourning gives the bereaved a new status in the community and allows for mourner support from family and friends so he/she feels less isolated.

c. Assist in decision making. Miller and Jackson have observed:

During the initial period of shock it may be very helpful to assist the person in making day-to-day decisions, which tend to seem difficult and overwhelming to some at the time. The individual should be discouraged from making major decisions or choices about the future during this initial period.” 6

d. Empathize, but don’t tell the grieving person you understand. Expressions of sympathy should be sincere and practical. Cutter said, “Prevailing social expectations permit only fixed and limited gestures in the presence of death.”7 A person may send a sympathy card, flowers or some other token acknowledging that a death has occurred, but these gestures do not convey the kind of message that invites a response from the bereaved person. These tokens can, however, be a means of opening up communication with the bereaved. If not, “the survivors get the non-verbal message that talking about a recent loss is distressing to others.”8

e. Be sensitive to the feelings of the grieving person. Miller and Jackson encourage allowing a catharsis (soul cleansing with tears) to occur: “If the person chooses to discuss the loved one who has been lost, it is often helpful to encourage him or her to talk about positive memories as well as painful ones.”9 Listen, but don’t say too much-or give false assurances.

f. Provide the grieving with good models. They need to see Christians who have experienced grief and who demonstrate a strong faith, who have an understanding of what is involved in mourning, and who offer caring support.

Discussion In looking over the previous list, describe a situation that you have encountered where things could have been handled better? Individual responses and group interaction. “I could have listened more and talked less.” “The police were called instead of communicating with my friend and the person ended up going back to jail.” “The last time I was in jail was because I handled a situation with my landlady the wrong way.”

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In session 1, we discussed the remarkable faith that Job had in the face of overwhelming losses. We focused on Job Chapter 1. He lost his family and possessions all at the same time. In this day of addictions, breakup of the family and loss of spiritual values, we can relate. There are many who have lost so much that there seems to be little hope. Today’s study picks up where Chapter 1 left off. Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse, they did. Again, Job didn’t lose his faith and turned to God even more for strength. As we have already learned, he was richly rewarded for the trust that he had in his God and the trust that his God had in him.

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The message for us, thousands of years later, is that we can maintain our integrity and go through anything no matter what happens to us. Let’s pick up the story with the reading of Chapter 2. Job Chapter 2 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.” “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.

How much regard did God have for Job? The highest regard.

Why was he being subjected to even greater losses? To prove that Job was genuine and righteous. He was special to even be selected for such a test. Testing him to see if he would be obedient.

Did Job know why he was suffering even more? No.

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How did Job’s friends try to comfort him? They went to visit him and help where they could. They didn’t say a word. They sympathized with him.

What kind of things did they get right? They stayed with him for seven days and seven nights. They did not offer advice but were respectful of his great suffering. They comforted him and wept with him.

Job 3:1-4 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. He said: “May the day of my birth perish, and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’ That day—may it turn to darkness; may God above not care about it; may no light shine on it.

How did all this loss and suffering affect him? It was unbearable. He even lost interest in living. One respondent listed a prison term as the ultimate suffering: “I felt like I was nothing and not even human.”

Job Chapter 4 – Chapter 37

Job’s “friends” start by comforting him and end up debating about what kind of sin Job had committed to answer the “why did this happen?” question. Why did Job’s friends assume that Job’s suffering was a result of sin? It does not say, but here are some possibilities: Because they had no other explanation for it. Because they thought the suffering had gone on too long. Because they thought that great suffering is due to sin. Because they couldn’t stand to not have an answer as to why it had happened.

Job Chapter 38- Job 42:6 God finally answers Job, but still does not explain the “why?” questions that Job had.

Why do you suppose that God did not answer Job’s “why?” questions? He didn’t need to. Job had trust that God was just and would do the right thing by him. Job’s attitude about the “why me?” question might have been “why not me?”. The situation is what it is, has happened, and I will make the best of it. I will still be positive about God and seek His face. It may be that God wanted Job to be positive about his relationship with God and trust that He had everything under control.

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Job 42:7-9 After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has.” So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.

What did God have to say about Job’s friends’ advice that his suffering was due to sin? He said they were wrong and Job was right. He said that He was angry with them and it was they who had sinned, not Job.

What evidence was there that God was actually hearing Job’s prayers? He forgave the friends’ sins after Job prayed for them.

Job 42:10-17 After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought on him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring. The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. And he also had seven sons and three daughters. The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third KerenHappuch. Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so Job died, an old man and full of years.

What blessings did Job receive after the trial was ended? He had everything restored, lived a long life, and had another family.

What have you learned from this study of Job that will help you as you go through your own trial? Individual answers. “There is always a reward after each trial”. Everything works together for good for those who serve God.” “My suffering was brought on by myself.”

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APPLICATION

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Scenario Study the following and then answer each of the questions. Kaitlyn went through a bitter divorce seven years ago. She is now trying to raise three children alone. Their ages are 9, 11, and 14 years old. There is never enough money, her ex-husband is in prison and she is nearly always late on her rent. She has always been a dedicated Christian, took her vows seriously, and never thought things could end up this way. She is very angry at God for letting this happen and is at a loss as to why things haven’t gotten better in all these years even though she has prayed. Is she justified in blaming God for her troubles? No. Bad things like this happen to good people. She is not alone. God did not cause this breakdown in her marriage. Unfortunately, things won’t be perfect until Christ sets up his perfect kingdom. Sometimes, we have to find all the good we can in less than desirable conditions.

Why would God allow this to happen? We don’t know. It could be for ministry by showing the world how a person of character can be strong in times of great trouble. It could just be a natural result of someone not being who they should be. All of us go through many losses and sorrows throughout life. No one is exempt.

Should she just give up and stop praying? No. She needs God’s help to get her through this situation.

Name three positives of her situation that she can focus on to give her hope. There are many, but here are three possible answers: she is an all-important person to her three children, she can find strength in her faith, she can keep her own integrity even when suffering. God hears us. She has integrity as a Christian. She hasn’t stopped praying.

Give two examples from the Bible where God’s people faced severe suffering and yet held onto their faith? There are many but the most obvious in this lesson are Jesus and Job.

Describe a situation where you were desperate, you prayed, and God helped you. Individual responses. “Passed GED in spite of a terrible time with test anxiety”. “Relaxed, got back on track”.

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each answer below. Share your answers with the group. 1. The Book of Job teaches us that… A: False, B: False, C: False, D: True T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. great suffering is always the result of individual sin. b. prolonged illness is always the result of individual sin. c. prolonged illness is due to a person’s lack of faith. d. loss by death, illness, position, or wealth can all be devastating.

2. Persons going through unbearable pain or loss should realize that… A: True, B: True, C: True, D: True

T or F a. t hey are not the only ones that have had to go through something like this. T or F b. t hey are not going to have all their questions answered in this life as to why things like this happen. T or F c. this is a time to stay positive. T or F d. this is a time to trust in God. 3. Regression, where people get angry over the wrong things and go backwards instead of forward in the grieving process, A: True, B: False, C: False, D: False

T or F a. is a normal part of dealing with loss as long as it does not go on too long. T or F b. is a normal reaction and lasts for a lifetime for some people. It is normal and healthy only if it is dealt with and does not continue on for years. T or F c. means that people have chosen to get worse and there is no hope for them. T or F d. a  pplies to loss by death but not to other losses due to things like divorce, health, or incarceration. 4. Loss of a married partner through divorce can sometimes be more painful than loss through death because… A: True, B: True, C: True, D: True or False T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. sometimes you really can’t avoid contact with the ex-partner. b. the funeral service brings a sense of closure. c. the finality of death sometimes makes it easier to move on. d. Divorce is never more painful than a loss by death.

5. Good things to remember when helping others through their losses include… A: False, B: False, C: True, D: True T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. telling them that you know how they feel. b. telling them that things could be worse. c. giving them permission to express their grief to you. d. dealing with the person where they are in the grief process.

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

8

Coping with Loss by Death INTRODUCTION

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Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Sharing Question What death has been the most difficult for you to handle?

What made this death significant?

Have you fully recovered from the grief?

If not, how can we help you process your loss?

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Implications of the Change Scale as it pertains to Death Many events in life are disturbing. Some produce more stress than others. Professors T. H. Holmes and R. H. Rahe, of the University of Washington, have designed “The Social Readjustment Rating Scale” to measure the degree of distress created by various losses in life.1 The scale measures 43 life events on a scale of from 1 to 100 degrees of intensity. This is the scale which we called “The Change Scale” on pages 20-21 in session 3. If a person has 150 or less total points on the scale, he or she is said to be handling the losses of life appropriately and has only about a 25% chance of a serious health change within two years. Scores from 150 to 300 indicate the person has a 50% chance of a serious health change within two years. Scores above 300 suggest a person has an 80% chance of a serious health change in two years and demands a change of lifestyle. The study also indicated 20% of the people with scores above 300 did not experience www.livingfree.org

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illness or accident because they had developed adequate coping skills and saw a crisis in life as an opportunity for creative living. Death of a Person It was concluded in the study that the death of a spouse is the most significant loss a person can experience. It rates 100 on the 100-point scale. The death of a close family member rates 63 points and the death of a close friend is 37 points. Death interrupts life, not only for the deceased, but for the survivors as well. The fact that death usually has a formal closure, however, greatly assists the survivors in the grieving process. Closure comes in the form of a funeral followed by a burial ceremony along with a committal service. When the coffin is closed, lowered into the ground and the grave filled in, flowers are added to the mound as a reminder that life goes on. This is not true, however, for individuals whose spouse was killed and the body never recovered or returned. J. W. Tucker, missionary in the old Belgian Congo (now Zaire), was killed by the “Simbas” (natives) and his body thrown into a crocodile-infested river. It has never been recovered. This is also true of the MIAs (missing in action) who never returned from wars in Viet Nam, Korea, and similar conflicts. After reading through the list below, ask if anyone in the group can describe a denial they use to cover up his or her true feeling. Without probing, ask if that person can identify the feeling being covered up. The goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to remove one brick at a time from the wall of defenses. Don’t be too threatening. Causing the wall to crumble all at once can be disastrous. 1. Death of a spouse. As previously noted, researchers have concluded that the death of a spouse is the single life event that has the greatest impact on a survivor. The survivor must continue to live with the reality of the loss and deal with the loss. The widowed survivor must carry on, leading the family through the processes of grieving. This requires accepting the finality of the event and working through the disbelief that pervades the senses. Awareness that the deceased person is gone is only the beginning of grieving. Memories live on and must be processed. These memories generate daydreams and night dreams that perpetuate the awareness of the loss. Fred Cutter, who has specialized in helping individuals complete their grief work, has observed: “The relationship continues even as it gradually fades from real to remembered; from daily to occasional; from specific act to general attitude. This process takes time and is not pathological.”2 2. D  eath of a parent. For the young, there is nothing like the death of a parent who has been snatched away in early or midlife. Resentment surfaces in the wake of what seems to be abandonment. Frequently the child’s anger is directed toward God for not intervening and stopping death from coming to the home. Gladys Kooiman, who was left a young widow with eight children after only 15 years of marriage, observed: Probably the greatest antidote to dissolving the bewilderment and hurt at the loss of a father is loving patience and understanding. A sharp rebuke at David’s outburst against God at this moment would have solved nothing except to drive his anger beneath the surface ... Teenage daughters need help and understanding too. Remorse filled my heart as the words, ‘Mom, we lost Daddy too!’ sliced through my warped, selfish consciousness one morning, many weeks after Marvin’s death.”3 3. Death of a child. The death of a child rivals the death of a spouse in the pain it inflicts on a family. Statistics indicate that about three percent of all deaths annually are infants who haven’t reached their first birthday. Each family grieves differently and each of the parents will have his or her own unique way of dealing with the loss of the child. After the public closure ceremonies, Cutter suggests: Start with the clothes, toys, personal effects. Go into the child’s room or space where these are kept. Memories will be evoked, sorrow and tears will flow. These are not bad. They are to be expected, even welcomed as signs of struggle leading to more growth. Many survivors will feel nothing. This is also acceptable and they will find it easier to follow these suggestions. By deliberately sorting each item - some for removal, some for gifts, 82

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others for saving, the survivor goes through a personal separation process - in privacy, at his own pace, and in a manner unique to the lost relationship. Some items should have been thrown out long before, while others are sentimental and can even bring back happy memories. Save them. Others can be special gifts to special people. Convey them with the appropriate sentiment. It is a way of memorializing the dead child in the hearts of those who survived and loved him. Many items will stir mixed emotions and indecision. Save these for another day. Go back as often as there is need and until the tears stop. For those who felt little at first, continue until some emotion occurs. Some survivors need more opportunities to grieve.4 4. Death of an adolescent. The majority of deaths of adolescents are not from natural causes. More frequently, they are the result of accident, suicide or homicide. These deaths are unpredictable and come as a double shock to the parents. Frequently, these deaths are the result of careless, provocative, or risktaking behaviors. This increases the pain of the parents who regret that a young life has been snatched away. It is impossible to pinpoint a single cause or identify who was responsible in these deaths. In helping parents whose teen-ager was the victim of an accidental or untimely death, it is wise to keep time in perspective. Recognize that immediate reactions to this kind of loss are usually mixed and irrational. The feelings of the parents will tend toward exaggeration. These emotions should peak as the weeks transpire. If the irrationality emerges later, as in delayed grief, professional care may be warranted. 5. Death in young adulthood. Death in young adulthood is more frequent among men than women and is usually the result of violence - suicide, homicide or military combat. In fact, the suicide rate is highest among adolescent males. Grief, then, is laced with anger and hatred. There is no acceptable way for the survivors to seek revenge. The death of a young victim cut down in the prime of life spears the survivor on the horns of a dilemma - seek revenge or stop living. This is where the Christian has the edge - “take the problem to the Lord and leave it there”. Those who would question, “Where is God?” at this time are headed the wrong direction in finding healing for their loss. 6. Death in middle adulthood. More men than women die in middle adulthood. This is when they are in the prime of life with maximum responsibilities. Usually there are young children in the picture, as well as debts and unfulfilled promises. Many of the deceased will be leaving an aging parent because they are members of the sandwich generation - children on one hand and aging parents on the other. The survivors are faced first with shock, followed by numbness. What to tell children is an immediate concern. The secret here is to have defined a philosophy of death early in the relationship and make it a part of the family mission statement that is reviewed frequently. The children should be told how the surviving parent feels; this will help them process their own bewildered feelings. 7. Death in older adulthood. If there is such a thing as “normal death” it is expected to occur during the older adult years. When death comes slowly through illness, as in the majority of cases, the survivors can be helped in accepting the dying process if they have a concept of normal death that occurs to everyone. It is more difficult to accept the death of the elderly when there is not a prolonged illness because there has not been sufficient time to anticipate the death and engage in preparatory grief. Also, we must remember that suicide is a major cause of death for men. Discussion Describe your experiences with each of the seven previous items that apply to you. Responses we have heard include • death of an adolescent in a car accident. • death of a person in middle age, sad, because they did not accomplish what they should have. • death of an older adult: grandmothers - lost while young. • death of a mother - lost while young.

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SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

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Throughout this series we have emphasized that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). God keeps His promise never to leave us nor forsake us, not even in the time of death. Let’s see how the Bible confirms this truth. Genesis 28:15; Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. • No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. • Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.

What did God promise to do for those who love and serve Him? God repeatedly has promised not to leave or forsake those who faithfully follow Him. This promise was first given to Jacob when he awakened from his dream of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven at Bethel. It was repeated to Joshua as he began leading the Children of Israel into the Promised Land. Then, in the Book of Hebrews, Paul extended the same promise to all of us who are living today. God is there with us when we face the shadow of death.

2 Samuel 12:15-23 After Nathan had gone home, the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s wife had borne to David, and he became ill. David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.” David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realized the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.” Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. Then he went to his own house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate. His attendants asked him, “Why are you acting this way? While the child was alive, you fasted and wept, but now that the child is dead, you get up and eat!” He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”

How did David respond to the illness and death of his son by Bathsheba? As long as the child was sick, David fasted and prayed for his recovery. When the child had died, David bathed, changed clothes and went to the Tabernacle to worship God.

How did this show that he was being realistic and handling things well? He recognized the situation for what it was, did not blame God, wallow in guilt or “what if” questions, and continued to worship God.

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Psalm 46:1,2 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea...

What promise did the psalmist sing that is appropriate for us to repeat when we face death and loss today? God will always be there for us.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

What promise did Isaiah give Israel - and us - that assures His presence and concern no matter what adverse situation we face. Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ Isaiah promised that God would be with us in any circumstance - in life and in death - so we need not fear or worry. He will strengthen us in any loss and uphold us with His right hand of righteousness.

Matthew 26:36-40 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter.

How did Jesus face the reality of His approaching death on the cross? Jesus faced death with sorrow and heaviness. This was intensified because His disciples failed to be there for Him when He needed them. Insensitive to the struggle of Jesus, the disciples slept through the crisis.

John 11:35, 41-45 Jesus wept. So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

How did Jesus respond to the death of Lazarus? Jesus wept, not only because of His love for Lazarus and his sisters, but because of the hardness of the hearts of those who stood by the tomb, not believing that Jesus could raise His friend from the dead.

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John 14:1-3 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

What is the Lord doing now in anticipation of our making Heaven our eternal home? He has gone to prepare a place for us in Heaven. His plan is for us to spend eternity with Him in a place He is preparing especially for us.

Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Why can we be sure Jesus will be with us at the time of death and other losses in our lives? He has said that death can not separate us from Him. He also said that life, angels, principalities, powers, things present, things to come, height, depth or any created thing will not be able to separate us from the love God has shown us through Jesus Christ.

APPLICATION

ALLOW

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MINUTES

Before we can minister to those who have suffered loss by death, we must prepare ourselves for what we will be dealing with - a person whose whole life has been shaken. With the right kind of love and support, we will have the opportunity of being there for a person as they face their darkest hours. To be helpful, though, we must come across as having genuine concern and not offer unrealistic or false hopes about how easy it is going to be. Kubler-Ross makes these suggestions to those who desire to have a therapeutic effect on both the dying and the survivors.5 1. Helping others (and ourselves) through their grief. People suffering loss need to restore balance to their lives in at least three dimensions: physically, emotionally and spiritually. a. Physically. We need to take care of ourselves physically so that we will have the stamina required to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) in recovering from the impact of death. We also need to encourage the survivors to take the necessary precautions to be strong through the bereavement period. This includes regular exercise (at least a half-hour session of aerobic exercises three or four times a week). Balanced and nutritious meals are needed three times a day and from eight to nine hours of sleep each 24 hours are essential.

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b. Emotionally. Issues of shame, guilt, fear, anger and grief need to be addressed. The only natural fears we face are the fear of falling and the fear of sudden loud noises. All other fears are learned. So we should become aware of the fears and emotions that cloud our thoughts and work to eliminate them.

Kubler-Ross has noted that grief is a natural emotion and its “natural expression is tears ... People who are not allowed to express natural grief as children have problems for the rest of their lives because life consists of thousands of little deaths.” 6 Repressed grief is a contributing factor to many problems of survivors and those who try to minister to them. “Guilt can be overcome only by sharing it with a group of accepting, unconditionally loving people,” Kubler-Ross has observed.7 Guilt must be shared from the heart not the head. Freedom to shed tears must be granted to the survivors as they process their grieving and learn how to forgive both self and others, including God. Studies indicate that there are toxins in the body that are released only through the tear ducts, so crying while grieving is marvelously therapeutic. Anger is also a part of the unfinished business of life. Kubler-Ross noted, “Anger that is not expressed builds up until the individual explodes, and the explosion certainly lasts longer than 15 seconds. Repressed anger is the biggest killer of our society in terms of angry individuals’ health and in terms of tragedy. It results in revenge.”8

c. Spiritually. The spiritual dimension is also very important. Extreme losses shake people’s faith and they get overwhelmed by not being able to understand what happened to their walk with God. Those of us who are not in the crisis can help our friends by reassuring them that their faith is not in trouble, that God is still there, and that faith and trust in Him will be rewarded. Reaching out to touch the soul of a grieving person is a healing experience both for the survivor and the helper. The following scriptures may be comforting:

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God.

2. Be open not only to the dying, but to the survivors as well. Physicians can hide behind their masks, medical jargon, impersonality and hospital routines to protect themselves from both emotional and physical contact with the dying person and his or her loved ones. Ministers have been known to hide behind their rituals, special language of religious terms, and the busyness of their schedules.9 Christians who wish to minister to those who have suffered loss by death need to present themselves as authentic and caring individuals. This requires coming to grips with one’s own mortality so as to be confident of the path to immortality.

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Appropriate Advice Exercise Each of the following statements is sometimes used when trying to comfort a survivor who has lost a loved. Put an “A” before each one that is appropriate and an “I” before each one that is inappropriate. After everyone has finished, discuss your results. Explain the reasoning for each answer as necessary. ________ I don’t know why this happened, but I want to help you through it. Answer: A

________ It was God’s Will for this to happen. Answer: I

________ At least he is in a better place. Answer: I

________ I am so sorry this has happened to you. Answer: A ________ You need to get a hold of yourself. Answer: I

________ You are so strong! Answer: I

________ Do you want to talk? Answer: A

________ At least you have your other children. Answer: I

________ I know you will miss Missy and no one will ever take her place in your heart. Answer: A

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each answer below. Share your answers with the group. It will be revealing to the group that some situations can be either true or false because personal loss is a very individual thing. 1. Stress due to loss by the death of a person rates… A: True and False, B: True, C: False, D: False T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. at the same level of stress as the loss of a pet. b. very high because it involves so many other losses. c. low because there are many other losses which are greater. d. low because it is just one of many kinds of loss.

2. The death of a spouse… A: True, B: False, C: True, D: False

T or F a. can easily be the greatest loss a person can ever have. T or F b. is not that big compared to some of the other major losses in life. T or F c. complicates loss and grief by forcing major related changes in lifestyle. T or F d. doesn’t affect you that much if you really weren’t that close. It still forces the survivor to adjust to related problems and a new lifestyle. 3. Compared to other losses in life, the loss experienced when someone loses a parent is… A: False, B: True, C: False, D: True or False, E: False T or F a. no big deal because you expect to lose a parent because they are older. This is the person that raised you!

T or F T or F T or F T or F

b. always a huge loss. c. not a very big loss if the parent was abusive to you. d. sometimes a large loss and sometimes a small loss, depending on the situation. e. dependent on what you had for dinner that day.

4. After losing a child, you… A: True, B: False, C: False, D: True T or F a. should expect that the pain will be among the greatest you will ever experience. T or F b. should leave the child’s room just as it has always been for as long as you need to get through the grieving process, even if it takes years. A year is too long. T or F c. know you have a real problem if you struggle with sorrow or tears every time you start clearing out the child’s belongings in his or her room. T or F d. should have a plan to sort out which things should be removed, some for gifts, and others for saving. 5. When helping someone to overcome grief, you should… A: False, B: False, C: True or False, D: True T or F a. tell them to just get over it. They have suffered enough.

T or F b. tell them that they still have other children if they have lost a child. T or F c. let them be so they can grieve in private. They will need the support of others. They will have enough isolation.

T or F d. help them to find ways to forgive themselves as well as others. www.livingfree.org

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COPING WITH THE LOSSES OF LIFE

SESSION

9

A Christian View of Death INTRODUCTION

ALLOW

10

MINUTES

Opening Prayer Get-acquainted time and prayer for God to be with us and use us to help one another.

Why think about death? Coping with the implications of death is a part of life that none of us can escape. Even little children experience losses by death and need help in gaining some understanding and meaning of it all. All of us know someone who died suddenly or while they were young. We can be thankful that we have survived to the age that we have. This sobering thought can help us define what we want our lives to be and what we will be remembered for.

Discussion Why is it important for even young people who are dealing with problems of their own to occasionally think about death? Death can happen at any age and a reality that must be dealt with. Talking about it will help them define who they are and what they want to do with their lives. It will help the desperate to realize that they should not deal in drugs or prostitute themselves even if it is the only way they know to get them some quick cash.

Why did God let this happen? A person who lost a loved one, especially if it was due to violence, will often ask “Why did God let this happen?” For example, why would God allow a drunk driver to kill an innocent child in an accident? The obvious answer is that God did not cause the accident and that we are all subject to the normal perils of life. There are consequences to others when we fail to do rightly. Then there is the question as to why God would allow someone as evil as Hitler to do what he did? Again, it is obvious that Hitler is dead now and faces judgment. In the Christian view, death is not the end. God tells us of life beyond death. There the wrongs will be righted. Punishments will be given out. Rewards will be given.

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Discussion How would you answer these questions? a. Why would God allow a drunk driver to kill an innocent child in an accident? God is not responsible for the choice of drinking and driving. Accidents, illness, and criminal behavior are not the work of God. It is part of our fallen nature and are caused by many different things. Regardless, death is not the final act for anyone and we all must give an account to God for what we did.

b. Why does God let people get away with evil things and not get punished? He doesn’t. They will pay for their sins after this life is over, if not before.

SELF-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Death is a real part of life that can strike at any age. Whether one is a Christian or not determines how a person views death. The reality of death can be summarized in five statements: Death is a natural event. It may be viewed either as a final enemy or as a friend who ushers believers into the presence of God. This is illustrated by John Quincy Adams, fifth president of the United States. When he was in his eighties someone asked him how he was. The elderly statesman replied: “John Quincy Adams is quite well. But the house where he lives is becoming dilapidated: It is tottering. Time and the seasons have nearly destroyed it and it is becoming quite uninhabitable. I shall move out soon. But John Quincy Adams is quite well, thank you.” Discussion What did John Quincy Adams mean by this statement? There is the physcial part that dies and another part that lives on.

Death is a personal event. Death is the terminal event in life, an event that confronts a man or woman with the meaning of life. Note that death is not something that happens to us - it is an event in which we all must participate. Discussion Why is important to think about how we will personally face death? It is being realistic. Even if you are young, you must take care of yourself and not take crazy risks or you may die prematurely.

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Death is a social event. Death usually occurs within a community of friends and relatives. At other times, it occurs in the midst of strangers in a hospital. The observers are left to interpret the impact of the event on the dying person. They also must come to grips with the meaning of life and death for themselves. Discussion What is the effect on they dying person? On the people surrounding the dying person? It is important to have people present when dying. It has a big effect on everyone witnessing it. It affects all those present.

Death is a mystery. We don’t understand it and are hard-pressed to identify with it personally. We protect ourselves by not thinking about it. Subconsciously, we do not believe that we will die. This is reflected in the old Pennsylvania Dutch proverb which says: “Death will come to thee and thee, but not to me.” Discussion Why is it so hard for us to think about our own death? Individual Answers.

Why is it important to think it about once in a while? There are practical reasons such as getting insurance and a will. Also, it will help us define our lives and what we want to get out of them.

Death is a spiritual experience. The Bible tells that all of us will live on - some to eternal glory with Christ and some to eternal separation from God. Discussion How does this help answer the question about why would a just God let bad people hurt good people? Bad people will be judged in the afterlife, if not before.

How does this help you to get through “life is not fair” issues? There are rewards to come for doing the right things.

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SPIRITUAL-AWARENESS

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

Our personal relationship with God will determine how we interpret death for ourselves and others. He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). The Bible is filled with references that help us develop our own philosophy of death. When we understand God’s point of view, it will help us deal with death and grieving over the losses of life. Apply the truths of each of the following scriptures to your own experiences and share with the group. 1 Peter 1:3-4 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

What does this passage say about life, death and rewards? After we die to our old life of serving ourselves, we live a new spiritual life in Christ. For those who die in the Lord, they will have a wonderful and lasting inheritance in the afterlife. This life is only temporary.

1 Peter 1:4-5 This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time...

When will we get this inheritance? After death. In the last time.

1 Peter 1:6-8 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Will God allow His people to experience trials, loss, and grief? Yes, it will happen. It happens for many reasons: because we live in a fallen world, to teach us perseverance and trust in Him, to turn to him, and due to consequences to our own actions.

Why would God do that? For us to prove our love and devotion to Him.

What difference does it make to God? Our faithfulness and dedication are of great importance to the Lord. There is a great reward for it.

When do we get that “praise, honor, and glory”? When Jesus Christ is revealed at the end time.

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How sad are we to be about all of this? Not at all. We are to be filled with inexpressible and glorious joy knowing that we are fulfilling God’s purpose in our lives.

Job 19:25-27 I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

How did Job respond to the loss of his children and possessions? Job suffered the loss of all his children, material possessions, even his health. Yet, he made an affirmation of belief in life after death that is the high-water mark of Old Testament literature. He maintained his faith and made clear his belief in the resurrection and seeing God in his resurrected body.

Did he know how his trial would end or if it would end? No.

John 14:2,3 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

What did Jesus promise when he was going back to Heaven? As the righteous are introduced to eternal life, they are free to anticipate Heaven and residing in the place Jesus has gone to prepare for them.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

What is the blessed hope of the Christian? Death, followed by resurrection and reward, is the blessed hope of the believer. Paul said that without this hope of life after death Christians “would be of all men most miserable” ( 1 Corinthians 14:19). Our body will be changed from a temporary one to an eternal one. 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

What was Paul’s attitude toward death? He welcomed it. Paul anticipated a time when he would be released from the body and be present forever with the Lord.

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2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

What was Paul’s dying testimony? Paul’s words spoke of his readiness for death and confidence that he was going to be with the Lord. This passage is for the New Testament what the example of Job was for his generation some 2,300 years earlier - a high-water mark of faith in the resurrection and eternal life. He ended his life on a high note. He accomplished what he had set out to do and now was sure of a wonderful reward. Revelation 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

What will God do to the believers to demonstrate that they need not bring their grief into heaven? God is going to wipe away all tears from our eyes to demonstrate that there is no need to bring grief from earth into Heaven.

APPLICATION

ALLOW

25

MINUTES

The subject of death is such a taboo that any discussion of it makes most people uncomfortable and often causes them to react poorly or in damaging ways. Someone who has lost a loved one may become stuck in personal pain and adjustment. This is made worse by denial that anything is wrong or that help is needed. Someone trying to comfort someone who has lost someone may say things that are not appropriate. Even a spiritual person may suggest things that are not Biblical or helpful. As a result, many people suffer alone. Their friends seemingly abandon them. They get “stuck” in their own grief and do not adjust well. In light of these things, this lesson, and this course, how would you assess each of the following situations? Discuss what is going wrong in each one and what could be done to help.

Scenarios for Discussion Situation 1 Robert is a long-time board member of his church and recently lost his wife. He and his wife were very socially active in the church and had many couples friends. For the first few weeks, the people of the church brought meals for Robert and his two boys. After that, Robert felt all alone. Almost all the married friends were gone now. He still felt married, but even the single people did not come around. Robert wonders what he did wrong that caused his friends to suddenly keep their distance from him. Situation 2 Maria is a devout Christian who lived in poverty with her son, Ramon. Ramon was a hard worker but only had a bicycle for transportation. One day as he was traveling before dawn to his job twelve miles away, a truck struck and killed him. Maria is so devastated that she will not even talk about it or even look at his picture. She has been stuck in her grief for years and still has not come to terms with it. Situation 3 Sam goes to a church that believes in divine healing. The “prayer warriors” there believe that no one should die of cancer. Sam’s wife, Sue, is dying of cancer. Now the ladies of the church come and tell him that he is responsible for his wife’s illness in that it is obvious that she lacks the faith to be healed. He, as husband and her “covering,” should have the faith to make up for his wife’s lack of faith. A month later she dies. 96

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TRUE/FALSE TEST Choose True or False for each answer below. Share your answers with the group. 1. If a person is young and struggling with serious life problems, All are False T or F a. it would not be a good time to recommend a grief-support group. Unresolved grief problems may be at the heart of other kinds of problems. Young people are not exempt from loss. People with troubled pasts are more likely to have more deaths and death issues in their lives.

T or F b. he or she should deal with the most serious problem first, and then deal with the death issues later. Same as above. T or F c. you should never talk about death around him or her. T or F d. you should tell him or her that they are too young to worry about the death of a relative. 2. If you lose a child to a drunk driver, A: False, B: False, C: False, D: True

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. it means that God is punishing you. b. it means that the child was being bad. c. it is proof that you have not been living a good enough life for God to protect you. d. it means that a driver was at fault for the loss of life.

3. As Christians, we should have comfort when dealing with death because A: False, B: False, C: True, D: True, E: True

T or F a. God will never let a godly person get cancer. T or F b. God’s children will always “die healthy.” You cannot be healthy if you are dying. Christians are not exempt from death.

T or F c. God will right all wrongs at the “Day of the Lord.” T or F d. we will be rewarded and have treasures in Heaven for being a godly person. T or F e. our troubles will be over in the new kingdom. 4. The Bible A: True, B: False, C: False, D: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. has much to say about death. b. says that Jesus has oversome death and we don’t even have to die. c. says that all people are going to Heaven. d. says that if we serve God, we will all live to be at least ninety years old.

5. To be healthy, it is best to A: False, B: False, C: True, D: False

T or F T or F T or F T or F

a. never think about death. b. think about death all the time so that we never get caught doing the wrong thing. c. think about it ocassionally so that we can define ourselves and plan our lives. d. think about it until it drives us to fear that we might not be measuring up.

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APPENDIX

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HLAG 1-1

Types of Personal Loss INSTRUCTIONS On the left is a list of the losses of life which are discussed in your course book. There is a response line for each item below. Write in a personal example for each kind of loss on the response lines. Death of a Person ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Property (Tangible Loss) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Earning Power (Intangible Loss) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Health (Personal Loss) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Emotional Loss ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Vocational Loss ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Relational Loss ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Educational Loss ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Culture (Have to give up familiar customs) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Loss of Roots due to Moving (Rootedness Loss) ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

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HLAG 2-1

My Personal Losses INSTRUCTIONS Think about the greatest losses you have had in life. On the lines below, write what the loss was, how it affected you, and what you learned from it. Fill the whole page. We all have many losses. Then share. You will find that you are not alone. Look at the examples to help you get started. MY LOSS

HOW IT AFFECTED ME

WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT

Ex. loss of mother before age 2, felt abandoned • explains why I have felt unusually insecure throughout my entire life • can deal with it now that I know where it is coming from. Ex. didn’t finish school because of a pregnancy• gave up dream of a career • had a beautiful child who is my pride and joy.

MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ MY LOSS:_____________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ HOW IT AFFECTED ME:________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________

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HLAG 3-1

The Change Scale INSTRUCTIONS The list below shows many life changes that can add to our stress. The events are listed on the left and the number of points that each has is in the middle. Write in the number of points on the line on the right for each of the events that you have experienced in the past year. When finished, add up all the points and write your answer at the bottom. Then wait for the group to finish. We will then be discussing what the numbers mean. Life Event

Mean Value

Points

Death of spouse

100

___________

Divorce

73

___________

Marital separation

65

___________

Jail term

63

___________

Death of close family member

63

___________

Personal injury or illness

53

___________

Marriage

50

___________

Fired at work

47

___________

Marital reconciliation

45

___________

Retirement

45

___________

Change in health of family member

44

___________

Pregnancy

40

___________

Sex difficulties

39

___________

Gain of new family member

39

___________

Business readjustment

39

___________

Change in financial state

38

___________

Death of close friend

37

___________

Change to different line of work

36

___________

Page 1 TOTAL ___________ Continued on next page.

*Reprinted by permission of the publisher from Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 11, pp 213-218. Copyright 1967 by Elsevier Science, Inc.

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Life Event

Mean Value

Points

Change in number of arguments with spouse

35

___________

Mortgage over $10,000

31

___________

Foreclosure of mortgage or loan

30

___________

Change in responsibilities at work

29

___________

Son or daughter leaving home

29

___________

Trouble with in-laws

29

___________

Outstanding personal achievement

28

___________

Wife begins or stops work

26

___________

Begin or end school

26

___________

Change in living conditions

25

___________

Revision of personal habits

24

___________

Trouble with boss

23

___________

Change in work hours or conditions

20

___________

Change in residence

20

___________

Change in schools

20

___________

Change in recreation

19

___________

Change in church activities

19

___________

Change in social activities

18

___________

Mortgage or loan less than $10,000

17

___________

Change in sleeping habits

16

___________

Change in number of family get-togethers

15

___________

Change in eating habits

15

___________

Vacation

13

___________

Christmas

12

___________

Minor violations of the law

11

___________

Page 2 TOTAL

GRAND TOTAL (PAGE 1 & 2)

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HLAG 4-1

The Pros and Cons of Advice Given INSTRUCTIONS Concentrate first on any advice you have been given about the earliest losses of your life. List at least three such events by first indicating whether the advice or action was positive or negative. Then give a brief description. If it was a negative event, explain how you have adjusted and learned from the situation. After this, complete the rest of the page with any other similar issues which have occurred during any period of your life. Include the advice you gave to yourself. Use the examples as suggestions. ex. 1: positive • support from mother after being molested by her boyfriend ex. 2: negative • mother not believing that her daughter had been molested • mother was overwhelmed and did not know what to do. came to realize it was mother’s problem, not mine ex. 3: negative • stepson told he is no good and never will be any good • I am good, it was my family that was dysfunctional

ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ ADVICE GIVEN:_______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE:______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ WHAT I LEARNED FROM IT:____________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________ www.livingfree.org

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HLAG 6-1

The Grieving Process TRAUMATIC EVENT

NEW LIFE-STYLE

1. Shock and Denial Numb

10. Recovery  Ready to Re-enter the

Delayed Full Comprehension

2. Emotional Release  Open Expression of Grief Emotions–Natural and Normal

Mainstream of Life

9. Hope  Attempt to Return to Normal Activities

8. Resistance  Would Rather Stay in Grief

3. Depression  Loneliness, Isolation

than Cope with Life

Needs Genuine Support

4. Train Wreck

7. Hostility  Anger and Frustration Taking It Out on Others

Physical Symptoms

5. Panic Cannot Seem to Focus

6. Guilt  Feels Responsible for Loss or for Having Survived

Description of greatest loss:_________________________________________________________________________ 1. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 2._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 3._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 4._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 5._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 6._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 7._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 8._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 9._____________________________________________________________________________________________________ 10.___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Discussion Discuss your situation from the previous page and give an example for each of the stages that you have gone through. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________ 106

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Coping with the Losses of Life

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HLAG A-1

Weekly Evaluation Guide to Completing the Progress Report

INSTRUCTIONS Put a letter (A, B, C, D, or E) for each client for each of the five categories below. See the examples at the bottom of this chart. Also, write any other comments as necessary on the Progress Report sheet. Examples would be “late 20 minutes”, “excessive use of bathroom”, etc. Facilitator_____________________Date____________Class____________________Lesson__________

1. PAYS ATTENTION IN CLASS A B Not Attentive Somewhat Attentive

C Mostly Attentive

D Attentive

E Very Attentive

C Somewhat Polite

D Polite

E Very Polite

C Mostly Focused

D Focused

E Very Focused

C Satisfactory

D Good

E Excellent

2. CLASSROOM BEHAVIOR A B Disruptive Somewhat Disruptive

3. STAYS ON TOPIC A Not Focused

B Somewhat Focused

4. APPLICATION TO PERSONAL LIFE A Unsatisfactory

B Poor

5. PERSONAL GROWTH A No Growth

B Little Growth ex.

C Satisfactory Growth

D E Good Growth Excellent Growth

Client: Jake Jones Scores: DDBCC Client: Mary Jones Scores: DDBDD

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107


FIT INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENT REPORT Criterion

Average

Date

Report for Joe Schmoe (This is a Sample for Practice) Enter a date and letter and the program will calculate the rest

1

2

3

4

5

Points

Grade

1/1

A

F

F

F

F

1.800

D

Very attentive, disruptive, not focused at all, does not comprehend, no growth.

1/8

F

A

C

C

C

3.000

C

Not attentive, very polite, mostly focused, satisfactory application, satisfactory growth.

1/15

F

D

C

B

A

3.000

C

Not attentive, somewhat disruptive, mostly focused, good application, excellent growth.

1/22

F

B

B

B

B

3.400

C+

Not attentive, polite, focused, good application, good growth.

1/29

F

A

A

A

A

4.200

B+

Not attentive, very polite, very focused, excellent personal application, excellent growth.

2/5

A

A

A

A

A

5.000

A+

Very attentive, very polite, very focused, excellent personal application, excellent growth.

2/12

B

A

A

A

A

4.800

A+

Attentive, very polite, very focused, excellent personal application, excellent growth.

2/19

F

D

C

B

A

3.000

C

Not attentive, somewhat disruptive, mostly focused, good application, excellent growth.

2/26

F

D

A

B

C

3.000

C

Not attentive, somewhat disruptive, very focused, good application, satisfactory growth.

3/4

D

D

A

B

C

3.200

C+

Somewhat attentive, somewhat disruptive, very focused, good personal application, satisfactory growth.

3/11

F

D

A

B

C

3.000

C

Not attentive, somewhat disruptive, very focused, good personal application, satisfactory growth.

3/18

B

D

A

B

D

3.400

C+

Attentive, somewhat disruptive, very focused, good personal application, little growth.

3/25

A

D

A

B

D

3.600

B-

Very attentive, somewhat disruptive, very focused, good personal application, little growth.

4/1

A

D

B

B

A

3.200

C+

Not attentive, somewhat disruptive, focused, good personal application, excellent growth.

4/8

D

F

B

B

A

3.200

C+

Somewhat attentive, disruptive, focused, good personal application, excellent growth.

4/15

F

F

B

B

A

3.000

C

Not attentive, disruptive, focused, good personal application, excellent growth.

4/22

F

C

B

C

C

2.800

C-

Not attentive, somewhat polite, focused, satisfactory application, satisfactory growth.

OVERALL: 3.329 / C+ 108

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References Session 1: Facing the Losses of Life

1. H. Norman Wright. (1991). Recovering from the losses of life: Tarrytown, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company, p. 12.

Session 3: The Scope of Loss

1. Wright, H. Norman. (Fall 1994). Blessed are those who mourn. Christian Counseling Today, 2, (4), p. 10. 2. Donnelly, Nina Herman. (1987). I never know what to say. New York: Ballantine Books, p. 123. 3. Brock, Raymond T (1995). Parenting the elementary child. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, (Leader’s Guide), p. 102. 4. Tornquist, Lawrence & Tornquist, Deborah. (Fall 1994). The nursery stays empty. Christian Counseling Today. 2, (4), p. 22. 5. Martens, Sherrie Romberg, (February 23, 1995). I stood, I stand. Bamboo News Republic, Baraboo: WI. 6. Dobson,James. (1995). The facts of life. Colorado Springs: CO. Focus on the Family, p.1. 7. Parrott, Leslie L. (Fall 1994). Tossed out: Getting the pink slip. In Christian Counseling Today, 2, (4), p. 22. 8. Maurer, Harry. (1979). Not working: An oral history of the unemployed. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p. 5. 9. Cutter, Fred. (1974). Coming to terms with death: How to face the inevitable with wisdom and dignity. Chicago Nelson-Hall Company.

Session 4: Sorting Out Advice

1.  Wright, H. Norman. (Fall 1994). Blessed are those who mourn. Christian Counseling Today, 2, (4).

Session 5: The Language of Loss

1. Lawrenz, Mel & Green, Daniel. (1995). Overcoming gnef and trauma: A short-term structured model. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, pp. 31,32. 2. Ibid., p. 35. 3. Brock, Raymond T. (1984). Death, dying, and bereavement. In Gilbert, Marvin G. & Brock, Raymond T. The Holy Spirit and Counseling, Vol. II. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, ch. 9. 4. Lawrenz & Green, op. cit., p. 29 5. Larsen,J. A. (l985). Grief. In Benner, Donald G. (Ed.) Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology. Grand Rapids: MI: Baker Book House, pp.472-474. 6. Westberg, Granger E. (1971). Good grief. Philadelphia: Fortress Press. 7. Larsen, op. cit., p. 473. 8. Ibid. 9. Davis, Billie C. (1984). Teaching to meet crisis needs. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, p.9S. 10. Cutter, Fred. (1974). Coming to terms with death: How to face the inevitable with wisdom and dignity. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Company; Graham, Billy. 1987. Death and the life after. Dallas: Word Publishing; Mize, Edith. (1975). A mother mourns and grows. In Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. Death: The final stage of growth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Ine. (A Spectrum Book), pp. 97-104; Pincus, Lily. (1974). Death and the family: The importance of mourning. New York: Pantheon Books (A Division of Random House); Shipley, Roger. (1982). The consumer’s guide to death, dying and bereavement. Palm Springs: CA, ETC Publication; Weisman, Avery D. (1974). The realization of death. New York: Jason Aronson; Westberg, op. cit.; Wright, H. Norman (1991). Recovering from the losses of life. Tarrytown, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company.

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11. Pincus, op. cit., p. 117. 12. Weisman, op. cit. 13. Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. (1969). On death and dying. New York: Macmillan. 14. Weisman, op. cit., p. 96. 15. Westberg, op. cit. 16. Shipley, op. cit., pp. 18,19. 17. Wilson, W. P. (1985). Death and dying. In Benner, Donald G.Ed.). Baker encyclopedia of psychology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, p. 473. 18. Ibid. 19. Shipley, op. cii., p. 18. 20. Westberg, op. cit., p. 54. 21. Shipley, op. cit., p. 19.

Session 6: The Language of Recovery

1. Mize, Edith. (1975). A mother mourns and grows. In Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. In Death: The final stage of growth. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. (A Spectrum Book),p. 101.

Session 7: Regression and Application

1. Brock, Raymond T. (1996). Understanding midlife. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, (Leaders’ Guide), ch. 6. 2. Pincus, Lily. (1974). Death and the family: The importance of mourning. New York: Pantheon Books (A Division of Random House), p. 122. 3. Ibid., p. 46. 4. Shneidman, Edwin. (l980).Voices of death. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, p. 362). 5. Jackson, Edgar M. (1973). Coping with the crises in your life. New York: Jason Aronson, p. 30. 6. Miller, W. R. & Jackson, K. A. (Eds.). (1985). Practical psychology for pastors. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, p. 192). 7. Cutter, Fred. (1974). Coming to terms with death: How to face the inevitable with wisdom and dignity. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Company, p. 123. 8. Ibid., p. 124. 9. Miller & Jackson, op. cit.

Session 8: Coping with Loss by Death

110

1. Holmes, T. H. & Rahe, R. H. (1967). The social readjustment rating scale. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 11 p. 13. 2. Cutter, Fred. (1974). Coming to terms with death: How to face the inevitable with wisdom and dignity. Chicago: Nelson-Hall, pp. 205- 206. 3. Kooiman, Gladys. (1968). When death takes a father. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, p. 58, 60. 4. Cutter, op. cit. p. 236. 5. Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. (1984). Unfinished business. In Hansen & Frantz, T. T. (Eds.). Death and grief in the family. Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation, p. 5. 6. Ibid. p. 6 7. Ibid. 8. Ibid. 9. Bowers. Margaretta K., Jackson, Edgar N., Knight, James A. & LeShan, Lawrence. (1981). Counseling the dying. New York: Aronson, pp. 56, 73.

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The Plan of Salvation Is there any good reason why you cannot receive Jesus Christ right now? How to receive Christ: 1. Admit your need (that you are a sinner). 2. Be willing to turn from your sins (repent). 3. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross and rose from the dead. 4. T  hrough prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit (receive Him as Savior and Lord). What to Pray Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died for my sins. I am willing to turn from my sins. I now invite Jesus Christ to come into my heart and life as my personal savior. I am willing, by God’s strength, to follow and obey Jesus Christ as the Lord of my life. ________________________________________________ Date Signature

The Bible says “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13 “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God.” John 1:12 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:1

• When we receive Christ, we are born into the family of God through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who lives within every believer. This process is called regeneration or the new birth.

• Share your decision to receive Christ with another person.

• Connect to a local church.

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Coping with the Losses of Life

111


NOTES

112

FACILITATOR’S GUIDE

Coping with the Losses of Life

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Coping With the Losses of Life - Facilitator Guide  

Everyone will experience some type of loss during their lifetime. Many times, loss is the specific reason people get trapped in a life-cont...

Coping With the Losses of Life - Facilitator Guide  

Everyone will experience some type of loss during their lifetime. Many times, loss is the specific reason people get trapped in a life-cont...

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