I mentioned in a previous post that one of the things that helped me the most after my m/c was meeting weekly with a grief counselor from my church. I think she (I call her M in case she doesn't want me to give her name) is actually called a crisis care minister. At my church crisis care ministers are part of the congregational care ministry. They are very similar to Stephen Ministers which I think a lot of churches have. Stephen Ministers, according to their website, are "lay caregivers who provide one-to-one Christian care to hurting people." I wanted to write a bit about this in the hopes that this information may help someone else. Of course, I wish that none of you would need a ministry like this. I wish that none of you would ever experience hurt or pain, but that is not the world we live in. Jesus said we would have trouble in the world (John 16:33). The thing is, prior to my m/c, I really didn't know this ministry was something my church had and I certainly wouldn't have thought about utilizing this ministry after a m/c. Of course, that is partly because that would involve actually asking for help, something I don't do very well (the Lord is still working on me with this one). The meetings came about because M and I are in the same small group. They know about our IF and IVF and were among the first people we told about the m/c. If M hadn't called and offered to meet with me, it is unlikely that we would have begun meeting together because, like I said before, my pride would have kept me from asking for help.
M and I have met every week since about the third week in January. It is a designated time for me to be able to talk about everything without ever feeling like a broken record or feeling that I am burdening someone else too much with my problems. I think the thing that helps me the most is that each week I set goals to be accomplished by the next time we meet together. Knowing that M is going to ask me about the goals I set provides a level of accountability for me that is very motivating. I am not usually one to say I will do something and then not do it. Early on the goals focused on planning and having a service for Johannah. Other times they were very simple goals like exercising. I had mentioned previously that when you face a loss any unresolved grief comes back up, so lately my goals have related to dealing with these issues. By setting these goals, I am intentional about spending time each week focusing on healing. One of the other things that has been most helpful is that each week she asks me for specific prayer requests. I strongly believe in the power of prayer. Having someone who knows exactly where I am at and what I am struggling with praying for me on a regular basis is a huge blessing. Someone asked me if it was just like counseling. There are similarities - we meet together for about an hour, our time together is focused and intentional, and she is objective in her relationship with me. It differs from counseling in that the goal is to provide care. They come along side of you in the midst of your crisis in a way that counselors do not. I am so thankful for this ministry and the healing that has come about through it. I think that a ministry like this could be a great help to anyone facing a crisis.