It’s time for me to share a little more about what I’ve been up to behind the scenes these last few months. More accurately, to tell you what God’s been up to in my life and where He’s been leading me.
I’ve been writing on a pretty wide variety of topics since I started the blog back in February of this year. Much of it has been about the emotions I’ve experienced and the lessons I’ve learned on my journey through widowhood. But there have been a few one-off posts to throw a little variety into the mix. And of course, there were the two pet posts, representing the full spectrum of emotion from heartbreak over the decision to put Missy down, to the elation of seeing God work to place Winnie in my home.
This post will be different from the others as well. Over the past 5 months or so, God has clearly been leading me to a ministry for this season of my life. It’s definitely not a ministry I would seek out, because it’s the direct result of losing my husband, and some other painful experiences.
But in the background of these posts, God has been gently, but clearly leading me. And the time is right to share it with you.
I have learned first hand over the past 9 months that many people have no idea what to do with me, now that my husband has died. And I get that. Until my dad died unexpectedly 27 years ago, I had no idea what to do with people who are grieving either. And the deeper the loss, the less I wanted to step into it with them. But my eyes were opened back then and even more so now that I’ve lost Dale.
I felt a call to this ministry to help people navigate these sometimes tricky waters of walking with someone through their grief. Having lost both of my parents and now my husband, I am unfortunately somewhat qualified to speak to this issue.
What I believe with my whole heart is that no one intends to be hurtful; they just don’t know what to do or say. To which I say, “Let me help you!” Because seriously, who DOESN’T want to be a blessing to their friends?
Over coffee one day with my pastor, he said, “Lynne, I think you have a ministry here. I can see you speaking to people about this.” And with a bit of fear and trembling, I had to agree. I was feeling a strong pull from God.
Soon afterwards, I received a call from a friend from church, asking me to consider speaking to one of our groups on this topic. How could I say no? It’s exactly what I had been praying about and I don’t think God could have been more obvious about what He wanted from me.
So, over the past few months, through much prayer and much listening to God’s Spirit, I have been putting together the presentation that He wants me to share. It’s really a pretty amazing experience to feel God’s hand leading me as I did during this process. He revealed truths to me that I had never known before and I feel privileged that He is choosing me to pass what I’ve learned along to others.
This past Saturday, after giving it to the dogs about a dozen times (limited response from them…), I presented it to a group at Timberline Church. It carried the same title as one of my first blog posts – “What Your Grieving Friend Wants You to Know.”
I talked about the journey of how I had gone from losing my husband last October to standing in front of them that day. I looked at all the scripture texts in God’s Word that not just encourage us, but command us to care for widows and orphans. I also shared some of my favorite scripture about having compassion for anyone who is hurting.
Then came the challenge – What if you’re just not good at this compassion thing? I believe God gave me some clear guidance in this area as well and I’m excited about what He’s taught me here and look forward to opportunities to pass along His wisdom.
I finished with what I hope are practical suggestions for what is helpful for the grieving person, and what isn’t. And I would define grieving as ANY difficult situation someone may find themselves in. Certainly, the death of a loved one is a big part of this, but I believe there are applications for many other areas; job loss, miscarriage, divorce, chronic illness, terminal diagnoses…or any of the innumerable ways that one can suffer in this life.
After the presentation, I received so much encouragement from those in attendance that the things I shared were exactly what so many of us need to hear. They now felt, along with me, that this truly was what God was calling me to do.
And since God isn’t sitting on His laurels, I mustn’t either. So, I am officially announcing my foray into the public speaking world, trusting that God goes before me, one step at a time. I decided to update the title of my presentation to give it a more positive spin. I have re-titled it simply, “Be a Blessing to Your Grieving Friend.”
So, if anything about this topic resonates with you, if you see a need for some education or encouragement in this area of grief support, if you have a church group or women’s group or senior’s group looking for a speaker, or if you know someone who may be interested, please consider talking with me about this and I’d be honored to give you more details.
Feel free to reply via FaceBook, or private message me, or respond directly to the blog post. I look forward to hearing from you and including you in this God-driven ministry!
“The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you, He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8