Beyond the Broken Heart: A Journey Through Grief

October 4th, 2013
Daily Devotions

We all experience grief at some point in our lives.

Calendar dates can be a painful reminder of the loss of a loved one. Birthdays, anniversary dates, and the actual date a loved died keep us from completely forgeting our loss, no matter how much time has passed.

Seasonal reminders and holidays can be especially difficult. These times of year can be a very lonely time. Friends and family members may forget about the loss and without realizing it, contribute to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Unless we as church leaders are intentional about offering resources and groups, our people can suffer alone and in silence.

Below are a few steps you can take to plan an intentional grief-support group as part of your ongoing caregiving ministry.

Step 1 - Identify those who are gifted in caregiving

Has your church offered a Spiritual Gifts class? For those with gifts in encouragement, healing, helps, and mercy, they may feel called to caregiving ministry which includes grief support. Any of the resources listed below can be used for training caregivers. Once trained, make sure you communicate within your congregation and community the support your church offers.

Step 2 - Initial care and support

Provide the two booklets below for members and visitors to pick up from a prominent place near your worship space or sanctuary. Either booklet is the perfect resource for those who are ready to explore their grief but may not be ready to participate in a grief-support group. You can use the inside cover for contact information concerning pastoral care and a grief-support group.

Secure in the Storm: Scriptures for Your Time of Need

This small booklet will provide comfort, support, and encouragement for anyone experiencing loss or time of trial, whether financial, physical, or relational. It includes a collection of 150 promises from scripture organized into seven categories: Assurance, Comfort, Encouragement, Faith, Hope, Love, Peace featuring several translations.

A Journey Through Grief: Life Beyond the Broken Heart

This small booklet begins with the question What Is Grief? then introduces key topics: The Journey of Grief, God's Comfort in Grief, The Grace of Acceptance, The Hope of Grief, Healing From Grief, How Long Does Grief Last?, and Choose Life.

Share a copy with key leaders to introduce them to the topic and Julie's writing style. Once leaders see the vision for caregiving they will enthusiastically communicate and support what you are offering.

Beyond the Broken Heart: Daily Devotions for Your Grief Journey

This book offers comforting and encouraging daily devotions for the first year of a person's grief journey. A short reflection from Julie's own experience of grief, is followed by a Scripture and a meditation setting the stage for the next four weeks. Each day's meditation includes: a Scripture, a thought to consider, a prayer, and words of assurance. Space at the end of each month gives the reader a place to record thoughts and feelings (pdf sample below).

Step 3 - Offering a Grief-Support Group

Two resource books are available to use in your grief-support group the Beyond the Broken Heart: A Journey Through Grief book (for participants) and a Leader's Guide.

The book is used by the participants of the group for weekly session preparation with Personal Reflection Questions in each session (pdf sample below). There are two supplement chapters included in the book: Grief at the Holidays and Peace of Mind: Financial Management for Life.

The Leader's Guide gives complete instructions on how to plan the eight sessions. Each session includes sections for: Greeting, Opening Prayer, Video and Content Review, Discussion and Sharing, Summary Statement and Scripture, and Closing Prayer (pdf sample below).

Also, a video DVD features author Julie Yarbrough and licensed professional counselor Gregg Medlyn introducing the topic and providing insight for the eights sessions (each segment is between 9-12 minutes).

Information on the boxed kit is listed below. The kit includes all the components described above, except Secure in the Storm.

Suggested Timeline

If you plan a grief-support group to begin sometime between the end of October and the beginning of November you might take a break from the content the weeks of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years. You can also be flexible and have an informal time of fellowship for people who will be alone at this time of year. Find out if your church will be hosting a Longest Day or Blue Christmas Worship Service, this might be a service some of your group members will want to attend. Spending time together the first few weeks getting to know each other will help your group bond, the time spent will be invaluable to the group members. Offering a grief-support group communicates to your congregation and community that caregivers are available to walk this journey with those who are hurting.


book sample


Leader sample
comments powered by Disqus