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Family Ministries Blog

Navigating Loss During the Holidays
Brandon Nolan
For most, last week was a much welcomed break filled with family time, turkey, and football! For some, however, the time away from the regular day-to-day routine allowed space for consuming feelings of loss, especially if you have experienced the recent passing of a family member.
A few days before the beginning of Thanksgiving break, our family experienced a loss. Sarah, my wife, lost her last living grandparent. Many in our Cornerstone family have experienced loss this year, and quite frankly, the empty chair at Thanksgiving was all too hard to bear. And now that we are back to the routine of life, knowing how last week felt, some may not be looking forward to Christmas break.
Loss is such a hard concept to understand. The timing seems unfair, even though you know God does everything in His perfect time. You know it’s not true, but you feel all alone like no one else can understand the pain you are experiencing. You know it’s a preposterous thought, but you wonder if God even cares!   
The pain you experience at the loss of a loved one can be confusing, especially for those who are experiencing it for the first time. However, a time of grief and bereavement is a natural process one must go through to healthily accept the loss and move forward with life. But beware, sometimes that healthy portion of grief can manifest into something much worse, something unnatural, and something that can steal your life away.   
This type of grief, called “prolonged or complicated grief", like Satan, is an enemy that seeks to destroy. It can leave a person with long lasting severe pain that interferes with a healthy recovery. Basically, it attempts to blur your focus and rob you of your peace. It will steal your joy. But don’t lose hope because God is the author and provider of peace and desires for sorrow to be temporary.    
Although our family experienced grief, we also had great hope because of the peace of God which surpasses all understanding was guarding our hearts and our mind in Christ Jesus. That is the most wonderful part of our faith, our complete and total reliance on God because when we can’t even, He can!   
If you have suffered a loss and believe you may be experiencing grief, know that you aren’t alone. 
  • Talk to your family and let them know how you really feel, open up to your mentor, pastor, or best friend. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. 
  • Award winning writer and the author of Beyond the Darkness: A Gentle Guide for Living with Grief and Thriving after Loss, Clarissa Moll has wise words about grief. Click here to read her article.
  • Rely on your best hope when dealing with a great loss through Prayer and Praise. 
  • Talk to Jesus as much as you can and don’t be afraid of the silence as you listen for His response as He mends your heart. 
  • Again, praise Him even through tears. Cry through the worship music and praise Jesus while you mourn as it provides an encouraging hope like you’ve never experienced before. Our great hope in times of grief is Jesus, and it’s ok to lean on others to help remind us of this amazing truth. 
If you know someone who has suffered a loss, please offer continuous care with encouraging love. Service comes in many forms and care is a necessary Christian service in times of grief.   
My door is always open and my ear is always available and my heart cares deeply about what bothers yours. Always know you have someone to listen and pray with as we seek Jesus together!