Grief and Loss

Mentoring Tips

Make one-to-one mentoring easier by learning what to do and what not to do.  Click to learn more.

Tip#1 – Find your PLACE

  • Pray: simple yet powerful act
  • Listen: people want to feel heard
  • Ask: good questions foster productive dialogue
  • Consider: think slowly and biblically
  • Encourage: uplift rather than beat down
Tip#2 – Avoid the common mistakes

  • Fixing: this is a person, not a project
  • Preaching: walk alongside, don’t talk at or down to them
  • Carrying: show concern but don’t carry too heavy a burden
  • Blaming: no condemnation in Christ Jesus
  • Rescuing: you are not their savior!
    • I am so glad you had the courage to reach out to a mentor during your loss. I know that wasn’t easy. I’m sorry that you are even at this place where you need a mentor in the area of grief and loss.
    • Tell me about the loved one that you lost.  How long have they been gone?  Would you like to tell me how it happened?  Know that I can’t imagine what you’ve gone through.
    • What was one of your favorite memories of your loved one?
    • Tell me what you miss the most.
    • What is the most difficult thing for you right now?
    • How long have you been grieving this loss?
    • What are some of the other emotions that you have felt during this grieving process?
    • Are you alone in this loss or are you surrounded by others who also grieve? How are others grieving differently than the way you are grieving?
Deeper Questions
    • Have you taken time to be honest before God about how you feel? Are you feeling any anger toward God?  Have you told Him that?
    • Do you feel like you are moving forward or are you stuck in your grief?
    • Would you be willing to read some of the Psalms and the Book of Job to see how often God’s Word resonates with people in agonizing circumstances?
    • Do you find yourself filling your life with activity to the point that you are never alone with your thoughts?
    • Everyone in the family grieves differently. How do you feel like your children are processing their grief? Who is a safe and available person who may be able come alongside to help?
    • Have you made a list of all the things you can thank God for, even now?
    • Do you feel like you as a family are grieving together?
    • During this time others may look to you for comfort in their own grief. Are you taking time to take care of yourself or are you helping everyone else?
    • Are you seeking the help of your pastor or other church leadership or a good Christian counselor? Are you seeking out a grief support group?
    • Are you making sure your close friends and church family know of specific ways they can pray for you and your family?
    • Who can you ask to help you sort out ways for other people to help when you yourself may not know what to ask or who to ask?
    • Grief is very complex and there are many layers of grief. Tell me where you are in your journey at this point.
    • How can the church help? Is there a friend in church that can be a point person to coordinate meals or rides for the kids?
    • What has been one of the loneliest places for you? Tell me where or when you feel the loneliest.
    • Holidays may look different, especially that first year. If you need to change things during this “year of firsts” that’s OK.
    • The first year is hard. Don’t feel like you need to make any major decisions or changes you feel uncomfortable with (i.e. get rid of possessions, move, change jobs, etc.)
Online Helps
Other Ministry Links
  • Celebrate Recovery  A recovery program that addresses all types of habits, hurts, and hang-ups
  • Grief Share Helping you recover from your loss and rebuild your life
  • Military Ministry A bridge to healing for returning warriors, veterans and their families
  • Spark of Life find hope for life after loss
  • - Leslie Barner, Encouragement for Brokenhearted Homes, p. 3

    “As difficult as facing the loss of a loved one is, you are not alone. God is with you always. He loves you, and He is attentive to every detail of your life. He hears your cries and sees your tears and He understands.”

  • - Barbara Rainey, A Symphony In The Dark, p.135

    “So confident were first‐century Christians that the dead were merely sleeping that the word cemetery is derived from their Greek word for a dormitory. Those who ‘sleep’ are waiting to be awakened‐‐awakened on the great and glorious day when the Lord comes again.”

  • - Leslie Barner, Encouragement for Brokenhearted Homes, p. 91

    “God knows and understands how difficult it is for you to function in times of sorrow. In your own strength you can lose heart, you can grow faint, and you can become discouraged. But in Him you can find all the strength you need to face your pain and life without your beloved—strength of spirit, strength of body, and strength of mind.”

  • - Rick Taylor, When Life is Changed Forever, p. 43

    “It often seems that one of the measures of a mature Christian regarding death is how much we rejoice and how little we cry … The longer we grieve, the weaker we appear. But biblical Christianity makes a distinction between ‘grieving’ and ‘grieving without hope.’ (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Grief over loss is something natural and normal. It is something we ought to do.”

  • - Mel Lawrenz and Daniel Green, Life after Grief, p. 89

    “Grief is not a problem to be fixed but a process to be lived out.”

  • - J.P. Moreland and Tim Muehlhoff, The God Conversation, p. 40‐41

    “The reason many retain faith in God while in the midst of suffering is that they have a history with God. Over the years they’ve experienced God’s goodness and have come to trust him. While instances of evil challenge a believer’s trust in God, they don’t wipe out faith. Somehow, based on what they know about God, individuals still believe the best of him.”

  • - Barbara Rainey, A Symphony In The Dark, p.25

    “God never intended that we should die. Death feels so wrong to all who face it because it is so wrong. Intuitively we feel the discord, the incongruity that screams, ‘This should not be!’ that strongly suggests there is another way. This clash within is a call to our hearts to believe the gospel.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 30

    “A Christian’s inner peace is never based on his ability to take the teachings of Scripture and figure it all out. Our peace always rests on the presence, power, and character of the Lord.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Grief: Finding Hope Again, p. 7

    “Every time someone dies, it reminds us that death still lives. But every death also points us to the promise that Christ brings a resurrection once and forever. Through Christ, death has been defeated … Yes, death is an enemy, but this enemy will die. Christ’s present reign guarantees this.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Grief: Finding Hope Again, p. 8

    “God doesn’t call you to stifle your grief when you are crushed. He doesn’t expect you to hide behind religious clichés and theological platitudes. God approves of your tears! But He welcomes you to look at death through the eyes of Christ. The comfort and hope He provides do not remove your grief, but they allow you to grieve in a brand new way.”

  • - Rick Taylor, When Life is Changed Forever, p. 48

    “There is no ‘right’ way to deal with death. Everyone has their own ideas about how to deal with the death of a loved one. Unfortunately, we often assume that our way is the best way for everyone, when in truth each individual is unique and their relationship with the one who has died is also unique.”

  • - Rick Taylor, When Life is Changed Forever, p. 62‐63

    “The closer we are to someone and the deeper our bond of love, the longer it will take for our emotions to adjust and mend from the awful wound of death. This is why those who aren’t as close to the person who died may wonder why it is taking you so long to recover … Time does not heal, but it does take time for our wounded emotions to adjust and adapt—much longer than for our minds. Waiting for our feelings to catch up with our knowledge requires patience.”

  • - Dave Harvey, When Sinners Say I Do, p. 180

    “Our present loss doesn’t simply open the door to glory, it produces glory. ‘This slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:17). What’s more, this glory is ‘beyond all comparison.’ Think about these three words for a moment. Paul can’t even summon an analogy or illustration to help us understand the glory that lies beyond our pain! He says it’s unfathomable, inconceivable, unimaginable, beyond all comparison. That’s what the spouse who remains can look forward to: incomparable glory.”

  • - Paul David Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, p. 151

    “Real comfort is more than thinking the right things in times of trouble. It involves having my identity rooted in something deeper than my relationships, possessions, achievements, wealth, health, or my ability to figure it all out. Real comfort is found when I understand that I am held in the hollow of the hand of the One who created and rules all things.”

  • - Rebecca Rainey Mutz, A Symphony In The Dark, p.156

    “I’m still learning that all my emotions are okay, part of the process, and good for me to feel. It’s better than feeling numb, although there are days when I wish for the numbness to return. Being numb can be easier.”

Next Steps
    • You need time alone to grieve your loss, but when you feel yourself isolating from the body of believers God has placed around you, reach out to someone who can be a good listener or an encourager.
    • Memorize one of the Hope Scriptures for Grief and Loss.
    • Think about times where God has been faithful to you and renewed you despite your lack of faith.  Write them in a journal entry or talk about them with a good friend.
    • Honestly pour your heart out to God in prayer every day.
    • Don’t be disappointed or take it personally if your friends and family don’t know what to say, or even if they say the wrong things. Rick Taylor, When Life is Changed Forever, p. 48
    • Let close friends and church family know of specific ways they can pray for you or meaningful ways they can minister to you.
    • If this loss was not your spouse, be sure to make your marriage a priority.  Don’t neglect the very person God may use to comfort you in this time of loss.
    • Journal your thoughts and prayers.  Not only is that a great way of processing what is going on, but it will also allow you to look back and see God’s healing and grace.
    • Consider a support group like GriefShare.
    • Be willing to seek the help of your pastor or other church leadership
    • Remember that your peace rests on the presence, power and character of God, not in your ability to figure it all out.
    • Acknowledge how you are feeling today. Your emotions are okay, a part of the process, and good for you to feel.  It’s better than feeling numb.
    • If you are angry at God, tell him that.  Journal about it.  Read how David did that in the Psalms.
    • Try to do one thing today that would help other loved ones (spouse, children) process through their grief.
    • List the things you can thank God for as it relates to the person you have lost.