Last Thursday night I did something I have not done for a very long time, something I had not done since my Jon went home (Heaven). I was not sure how it would go but there was a need so I jumped right in. Do you ever jump into something and then get smacked in the face mid stream. Ya, well, that was me last Thursday night.
For some background information, Jon and I led DivorceCare in our church for 9 years. DivorceCare was our passion. It was while we served in this position that we knew we were called to this ministry. We spent our entire married life working with and helping to bring healing to those experiencing the pain of separation and divorce. It was our life ministry. Thus the birth of this ministry, Sonset Point Ministries.
When Jon passed away I took time away from the ministries at our church to focus on my grief and my healing process. Since then, I have remarried and Loren, my new husband, has become the co-leader of the same DivorceCare ministry at our church. Isn’t that ironic!! I have been thrilled to see him develop the same passion as I have had through the years but I have not been sure whether or not I was ready to join him in this leadership role quite yet.
Well, last Thursday night was the beginning of another new 13 week series and his co-leader was not going to be able to make it. Since there were going to be 3 or 4 new ladies joining the group, Denise, our Care Group Ministry Leader, thought it would be a good idea to extend an invitation for me to co-lead with Loren that night. I graciously accepted with a little apprehension not knowing how my emotions would handle it.
So we prepared, everything was going well and I was even getting excited. People came, introductions were made (mine was a little complicated), and then the tears started. And they did not end for the next 2 hours. Ya, I know, I should have expected that. Right?
Although there were many tears, it was healing as I learned a lot about myself in rediscovering the “new me”.
When we went around the room and shared our stories my heart just wept along with them. The pain is so raw. Their hearts are breaking in two. Tears just streamed down my face as I listened to their stories, to their hearts. It was good to feel that same connection again. How can I continue to minister to the hurting if I can no longer identify with their pain? It was clear that night, I will always be able to identify to that pain.
As others shared I was surprised to have 2 ladies in attendance not only grieving the loss of their marriage but also the loss of a child through a recent death. This was something I could certainly relate to and my heart grieved with them on the intensity of grieving two “deaths” so close together. So the tears just continued, only to get more like alligator tears.
Then came my story. Yes, it was complicated and I am still not sure if they fully understand my background. It’s hard enough for me to believe I’m on my 3rd marriage, one ending in divorce and one ending in death. But I had never shared (or attempted to share) this all before in less than one minute let alone sharing it in the exact same room that Jon & I used to share as leaders only 7 years earlier. And now I was leading with my new husband, my new life. It was all quite surreal.
When we got through the introductions, we started the 1st weeks video. Wow, did the emotions roll then. I have always been told that the grieving experienced due to a divorce and death was a lot the same but wham did it ever find itself true. So much of what the videos shared was relatable for both situations. The devastation, the loss, the shock, the inability to function, all the same.
I learned a lot that night. I learned that although losses can be different, every loss is devastating. I learned my heart is still raw for the hurting and my passion has not changed. We are all dealing with the loss of a life we thought would be forever. We are all trying to pick up the pieces and discover a “new me”. We are all learning to love again.
I value this night and what I learned. It will remain as a huge impact as I continue to move forward in this ministry. May I never forget to listen and feel the pounding of the hearts of those who are hurting. This journey of life can be difficult but if we stick together we can get through it. Thank you for allowing me into your lives and may we continue on this journey of healing together.
Together in His care,