Allow me to get personal for a moment:
I am incredibly grateful for Gina Thompson and her willingness to help others.
Gina is leading a Grief Recovery group that I am currently participating in. This small group has been a safe place to not only exfoliate and examine my grief and loss, but to also learn much-needed skills to complete or reconcile my grief.
Loss happens! It’s a natural byproduct of life: and loss leads to grief. This is a naturally occurring process resulting from days on this earth.
The problem many of us face is that we were not taught to rightly deal with grief and loss.
We’ve been told things like, “be strong for others” or “be thankful you don’t have it as bad as that guy” or “your painful situation is no surprise to God.” None of these statements (though well intended) help a person complete or move through grief.
In fact, they can actually prolong and magnify grief.
At 51 years of age and after being a pastor for over 20 years, I am finally learning the action steps to healthfully process grief/loss so they lose their controlling influence in my life.
Bible College did not teach me how to do this and neither had my five decades of life.
Participating in an 8-week small group with Gina and a handful of others who long to live beyond the shadow of grief is making a huge difference.
I keep asking myself, “Why didn’t I do this years ago?”
This small-group led by a person willing to invest her time to help me and others by sharing her own journey is providing a safe place for me to live free from the restraining affect of loss and grief. Thank you Gina!
My purpose in writing isn’t to promote the Grief Recovery class (though I hope Gina will make the 8-week class available many times at our church), but to thank her and the many other small-group leaders who provide safe places for people to connect as well as grow through leading a Life Group or small-group in CHAMPS or UTURN.
We need these people.
We need them to share their journey with us so we can grow to be more like Christ.
We need the encouragement they offer.
We need the tools they’ve acquired.
We need them to share their life with us.
Your time, energy, study, prayer and leadership are much appreciated and deeply needed.
My prayer and hope is that we will grow as a congregation who prepare and plan for sharing our journey with others. We are a group of wounded healers. And we create and sustain a community of health and healing as we share life through small groups.
-Pastor Zack Totten