Life After Loss: Ministering to those who’ve suffered extreme loss or abuse.

Willow Creek's mid week service.  I've been called to share my story and minister to those who've had abusive or traumatic ends to relationships.

Willow Creek’s mid week service. I’ve been called to share my story and minister to those who’ve had abusive or traumatic ends to relationships.

I had an eye opening epiphany several weeks ago. I’d been effectively indoctrinated into the mindset that the problems you have are meant to be dirty secrets, never to see the light of day. In those actions, nothing but bitterness came from it. I remember being asked by someone I respect deeply to be conscious of other’s reputation and to not tarnish it. I respected that for a very long time, but realized I was the one continuing to be hurt more and more through it.

Somehow, clearly (looking at my web stats), thousands of you have latched onto my prior post. Hundreds of you have emailed stories of your own traumatic relationships, and dozens others have become good friends through all of this. It compelled me to sign up for Willow Creek’s Life After Loss course. There was a very important metaphor I learned quickly. Most people feel that recovering from loss is like a ruler. There are clearly defined mile stones, and an end to it. The reality is that grief is more like a slinky.. Yes, you always work your way up.. but you could be at the top of a coil one day, and find yourself still at the bottom of a coil the next day. That is life moving through the 5 stages of grief.

– Denial and Isolation
– Anger
– Bargaining
– Depression
– Acceptance

holding_hands-1423No, you don’t go through them in that order. No, just because you feel you move through a stage, doesn’t mean it’s not likely you could relapse into it again. <-- I realize I've recognized my call to ministry. While continuing to tend to my own physical and psychological abuse I had to endure, I realized that there is also something extremely healing in relating and sharing my story with dozens of others. Friends, acquaintances, complete strangers in their own need.. It's something I freely do now; realizing how it is my path to finally being able to achieve the ability to offer grace and true forgiveness.Something I truly hope to do one day, because bitterness is like drinking rat poison, waiting for the other person to die.I pray every day for that healing, and I feel God's provided me the means to achieve it, while being in the service of others.

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