“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
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The holidays are a time of deep sadnessfor those who have lost a loved one. Life Resumed is an interactive book that will help you move from being stuck to making a plan. Two sections are devoted to helping children with their fears. FREE on Kindle Unlimited. Click here to download your copy
Getting back to your previous routine may not be possible. Your life has been
altered and will never be exactly the same as it was before. You may need to
modify your routine by deleting and/or adding some things or better yet, establishing a new routine altogether. See this as an opportunity to expand and develop rather than an imposition.
Challenge yourself and encourage family members to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise or spend time outdoors and get plenty of sleep. Make time to do things you enjoy as a family. Children especially need to be encouraged to try new foods and activities and the best way to help them is to model the behavior yourself. Start with small changes and add bigger and more challenging ones as they adjust. Be flexible, if something isn’t working let it go and try something else. Make it fun and interesting.
If insomnia is an ongoing issue, you may be able to find relief through relaxation techniques such as: prayer, deep breathing, stretching, walking, exercising, etc. Avoid alcohol and drugs. They tend to have a numbing effect and can detract from and delay the healing process. Overuse of prescribed medication can also cause physical and/or emotional dependency and create problems rather than provide solutions.
After a catastrophic event, our lives are turned upside down due to the enormous disruption and confusion. Taking control by putting together a plan of action has a healing effect and helps us regain a feeling of normalcy. It gives us a sense of purpose and provides us with a goal to work toward.
First on the list should be the items we need to attend to right away. Items requiring our immediate attention may include: funeral or memorial service arrangements, finding a place to move into temporarily, contacting lawyers or insurances, reviewing our financial situation and discussing loan payments options with the bank. Meeting together as a family and writing the plan down will provide something tangible to refer to and serve as a reminder of your commitment. Be sure to allow space for any necessary adjustments that need to be made.
The outline I use is simple and easy to follow. First, I list the problem(s) on the left side of a blank piece of paper, followed by the hoped for solution in the second column and lastly I write the actions I need to take to achieve the solution in the third column.
A word of caution, avoid making major life decisions during or immediately after a crisis. Switching career or jobs, making big purchases, ending or starting an intimate relationship and other life altering decisions are highly stressful in themselves and even harder to deal with when recovering from a disaster.
Scripture that strengthens and reminds me that God is in control and with us during our most difficult circumstances is found in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
‘We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
Emotions can escalate quickly. Anger can turn into rage, sadness into depression, fear into paranoia and hopelessness into thoughts of suicide, especially if we feel alone and unsupported.
In some cases, a situation that takes place in the present, such as a careless comment or perhaps a thoughtless reply made by someone we barely know, can become a trigger and causes us to overreact. Reactions that are out of proportion with the current situation usually stem from issues that haven’t been dealt with and are still unresolved.
If that’s happening to you with increasing regularity, you might consider sharing your concerns with your pastor or a therapist that’s trained to help with recovery from natural disasters. Working through the tragedy with a professional you trust can help put the situation into perspective and provide a more balanced view of the current situation. Therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be long and drawn out, oftentimes as few as six sessions followed by a support group can make a huge difference.
Above excerpt taken from my book, “Life Resumed: After a Catastrophic Event or Other Loss”
Although a certain amount of personal space is healthy, purposely isolating our selves and blaming others for the tragedy is damaging to everyone involved. It will also compound the situation by adding more conflict and worst of all, will keep us locked in rather than moving forward. As human beings we’re blessed with an enormous amount of resourcefulness and adaptability, but we were never meant to carry the entire load alone.
Sharing with others can help us regain perspective and their input may expose us to new and different solutions that we may not have considered otherwise. Another benefit to being open and vulnerable is what I call the cleansing effect. If done properly, it allows us to set our pride aside, get real with people and in so doing, live our lives with greater integrity and genuineness. As you move toward healing make a determined effort to reach out to someone
you trust (family, friends, coworkers, sibling, pastor, etc.) and let them know how you’re feeling. This can be done over the phone, online or in person. Connecting and sharing with someone we trust reminds us that we’re not alone and increases our faith and assurance that we will triumph over adversity.
Humbling ourselves and realizing that we can’t do it alone, is probably the single most healing action that we can take. As humans we’ve been blessed with an array of abilities that enable us to make decisions, adjust our course and even fight to save our lives and/or the lives of others. Pride; however, is a negative state of mind that keeps us from asking and receiving the help we need at a time when we need it most. And even worse, pride puts us in a place of superiority toward God and destroys any possibility of an intimate relationship with Him
Years of struggle have taught me many lessons. The most important one is the extent of God’s patience and love as He waits for me to “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm: 46:10 NKJV). After years of relying on my own strength to bring order out of chaos and peace out of turmoil, without much success, I’ve learned to release my pride and receive his grace.
The second lesson I learned is to seek Him first, while I’m still in the midst of my anguish, rather than seeking advice from others and eventually coming around to Him. God is trustworthy. He will never disclose our deepest secrets. He gives us strength when we’re drained, brings clarity to our confusion and points us in the right direction.
In recent years, I’ve noticed a tendency for my prayers to increase as my stress levels mount. My prayers may be less than a minute or much longer in length, they may take place while I’m driving or working or upon waking up from a bad dream. And, depending upon the situation, my prayers might start out somewhat scattered and desperate but as I continue praying my mind becomes calmer and more focused until I’m able to view the situation from a different perspective.
Recovery from any type of loss is a process that takes time and requires commitment. While others may support and encourage us, the work is primarily our own. Taking action begins by acknowledging our feelings and vulnerability and seeking God’s strength for the task ahead. This is followed by a conscious decision to move forward and to continue forging ahead regardless of the set-backs and obstacles we may encounter.
I have found that writing my commitment down (it can be in the form of a prayer) gives it greater validity and allows me to review it on a daily basis. I leave enough space at the bottom of the paper and add scripture verses or progress notes from time-to-time to help me stay focused and motivated. See sample below.
“I, _______________, (your name) am eager to reclaim my life and live it more abundantly. I realize that healing requires time, energy and commitment. Therefore, I commit to working faithfully and prayerfully on a daily basis. I will be as open and honest as I can be so that my healing can begin and progress with out hindrance. I will overcome any obstacles that would prevent me from working and progressing on my journey toward healing. I will celebrate each accomplishment that I make and will remain open to and receive the restoration that God has for me.”
Adjusting to a new way of life may not be what we want. However, attempting to live our lives in the past, would essentially mean living in denial. This would give rise to an entire cluster of new issues causing us to spiral downward into a sea of negative emotions and self-defeating behaviors.
Most of us are capable of making adjustments without too much effort, and some of us have gotten quite good at it due to the series of tragedies that have impacted our lives. However, dealing with the aftermath of a pandemic is something none of us have experienced previously. As a result, we’re facing a new experience and a new way of life which may include:
Working less hours
Finding a new job
Loss of income
Health concerns for ourselves and others
Delayed or cancelled events or celebrations
Readjusting to socialization
Our personal reaction to tragedy can range from extensive to mild, immediate to delayed, long-term to short-lived. Some days will be filled with forward movement, other days less so. There will even be days when we’re ready to quit because we seem to be moving backward. However, depending on various factors, including our perspective and our trust in God, the outcome may have surprising and positive results. In my case, it opened up a new ministry and a new career path–helping others heal from catastrophic loss.