Friends! I pray today finds you well, at rest, at peace, all things trimmed, wrapped, and prepared for Christmas. That little statement makes me laugh and cry simultaneously. It looks like a bomb went off in this household. Sigh…
It recently dawned on me that many folks who’ve lost a loved one may not be looking forward to Christmas or New Year’s or any upcoming holiday for that matter. Where do we find our hope in such circumstances?
I’m delighted to tell you about a new non-profit offering help in a multitude of ways, plus an additional treasure trove of hope from our buddy, Max Lucado.
One of my long-time friends endured the loss of her husband to suicide some seven years ago. Not one of us would’ve predicted this, and only those who’ve found loved ones that have taken their own lives could possibly relate.
My friend is one you may also know: Karen Buchanan Meyer. She told me this week that within days of Don’s death, she felt more than a nudge from the Holy Spirit to figure out ways to help others going thru’ such horrific experiences.
Other friends met with her and over these past few years, Karen and her friend, Lisa Schardein, have formed a non-profit called First Hour Grief Response. (www.firsthourgrief.org)
Between Karen’s experiences and Lisa’s (Lisa’s 19 year old son, Ben, was killed by a drunk driver in June of 2011.), and with the help of others, they felt led to start First Hour Grief Response (FHGR) whose mission is to: “Provide free guidance and compassionate support for people who have suffered the sudden loss of a loved one.”
We learn “grief left unaddressed can lead to anger, aggression, deep depression, substance abuse, divorce, and even suicide.” FHGR, Inc. makes it their goal to “help grievers take the path toward hope and healing.”
They offer help over the loss of a child, spouse, parent, friend, or loss by suicide. Multiple resources for counseling, books, legal assistance, workshops, funeral homes and planning, clergy and churches, etc. are available on their website. Their office in Louisville is at 4055 Shelbyville Road, Suite B, 40207. You can reach them at (502) 791-9938.
This non-profit is a beautiful visual of 2 Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”
The website, www.firsthourgrief.org also offers a weekly blog covering all kinds of topics. Two of my favorite sections in their flyer is also on their website for when you’re talking to a friend who’s just lost their loved one:
Karen said many organizations are jumping on board, spreading the word about FHGR, Inc., including a grief support group starting at Northeast Christian Church in the NECC Student Lobby building on January 22nd next year.
Our meeting was timely with it being year-end, should you be looking for other entities to donate to prior to December 31st. (Their approval to become a non-profit just happened in November.) Please consider helping this well thought out and prayed for organization. My guess is you can think of several friends or loved ones who could benefit from FHGR, Inc.
And as always, may I recommend a book you don’t want to miss which will bless you with an abundance of hope? Unshakable Hope: Building our Lives on the Promises of God by Max Lucado.
Chapter 14 gifts us with Hebrews 6:19, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
Max teaches, “Our anchor, in other words, is set in the very throne room of God. We might imagine the anchor attached to the throne itself. It will never break free. The rope will never snap. The anchor is set, and the rope is strong. Why?
Because it is beyond the reach of the devil and under the care of Christ. Since no one can take your Christ, no one can take your hope.” Yes!
We also learn God wants us to “abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NKJV) Max says this promised hope is “an unbreakable spiritual lifeline.” Wow, don’t miss that phrase!
He adds, “Since His promises are unbreakable, your hope will be unshakable.”
Let’s close with Russell Kelso Carter’s rich words from a hymn he wrote after enduring a critical heart condition which initially looked as if he was on the brink of death. During those frightening days, he recommitted his life to Christ and began leaning on the promises he found in the Bible, living with a healthy heart for another 49 years!
(Second verse and refrain)
“Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of God my Savior;
I’m standing on the promises of God.”
Friend, whatever you’re going thru’, our Lord is by your side. Friends and helpers like those with First Hour Grief Response are standing by. Don’t go it alone. Cling to the promises of God and Savor this Season of Christ’s birth.
Our family wishes you and your family a very Merry Christmas with hope for a blessed New Year.
‘Til next time!