“I’ve always wanted to stand beside people who are grieving.”
Linda has been a faithful Christian all her life. She attends worship each week and shares her faith with 3rd and 4th graders as a Sunday School teacher. She participates in a weekly Bible Study with other women and periodically volunteers at a local food bank. But, Linda and I recently had a chance to talk about one of the greatest challenges that she faced in her journey of faith. “I wanted to stand beside people who are grieving, but I never knew what to do,” she told me. “I’m reminded, every time I listen to the story of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, that loving and serving others often brings us into contact with parts of people’s lives that we would rather not touch.”
There are several things that we need to remember when we commit ourselves to walking with people who are grieving:
- Grieving people don’t expect us to erase their pain with our words. The gift of our presence in what matters the most to them.
- Grieving people appreciate our care and concern at the time of their loss, but they also appreciate our care and concern in the weeks and months after their loss, too.
- Grieving people don’t usually call to ask for help when they need it; and so, don’t think it’s enough to say, “If you need something, please let me know.”
- Grieving people tend to withdraw from their closest friends and family members, and they can easily become both isolated and lonely.
Linda was aware of all these things when her closest friend recently lost a child.
“I knew that I needed to do something,” Linda said. “I wanted to stay connected with Laura as she traveled through her nightmare, but I was afraid that I’d do the wrong thing.” And that’s why Linda was so thankful for a helpful resource called Journeying Through Grief that she first discovered after the death of her mother. “I never knew that something like this existed until my pastor walked beside me as I grieved,” she said. “It changed my life!”
Journeying Through Grief is a helpful resource created by Kenneth Haugk and distributed by Stephen Ministries. Journeying Through Grief consist of four easy-to-read booklets that help people who are grieving to understand that what they are feeling is normal. In fact, the overall message of the Journeying Through Grief booklets is one the encourages people to travel through grief in their own way and at their own pace. The materials even come with a tracking card to assist those who are walking with those who grieve, so that the booklets are shared at the most helpful and appropriate time.
Linda said, “I found Journeying Through Grief incredibly helpful when my mother died, and I decided that I wanted to start sharing the materials with people that I love. I’ve given more than a dozen sets of booklets to friends and relatives, and I’ve been using Journeying Through Grief in my own personal ministry for about a year.” Linda’s pastor says, “I have found Journeying Through Grief to be a helpful resource, and it’s a great tool that I can place into the hands of people who want to support folks who are grieving, too.”
As our time together came to an end, Linda shared something else.
“I first started to send people that I know the Journeying Through Grief books in the mail, but now I like to deliver them in person,” she says. “Delivering the booklets in person gives me a way to keep in touch with people that I care about, and my heart is always warmed when people thank me for remembering them.”
“Journeying Through Grief has enabled me to do something that I’ve always wanted to do,” Linda concludes. “I’ve always wanted to be able to bring God’s loving presence to hurting people when they need it the most, and this is a great way to do it.”
For more information about Journeying Through Grief: