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Self Injury Quick Reference


Self-injury is increasingly becoming a recognized problem in youth ministry, and all youth pastors and volunteer staff (in Jr. High, High School, and College Ministries) need a general understanding of self-injury, signs to look out for, and what to do if they become aware that a pupil is self-injuring.

Self-injury in middle and high school students should not be minimized or dismissed as “attention seeking” or “just a fad”. When people take the radical step of harming their bodies, they should be taken seriously and the sources of their stress addressed.” (Walsh, 2006, p.38)

Signs that someone is self-injuring:

People who self-injure often go to great lengths to conceal their injuries so it can be hard to know if a person does self-injure:

  • People who self-injure can seem withdrawn or depressed.
  • You may notice cuts or bruises that are always accompanied by excuses that don’t seem to fit.
  • Many people who self-injure will cut their arms and so they may wear long sleeves, even when it is very hot.
  • Within school pupils who self-injure may look for excuses not to have to wear shorts or short sleeves and therefore may avoid activities like PE or swimming.

Particularly where younger children are concerned it is important to keep a close eye on especially vulnerable pupils such as those with a history of abuse.

General advice for Youth Pastors and volunteers:

  • Listen to the student and try not to show them if you are angry, frustrated or upset. “Adults should learn that the best way to respond to common self-injury is with a ‘low-key, dispassionate demeanor’ and ‘respectful curiosity’ “(Walsh, 2006, p.245)
  • Learn about the difference between self-injury and suicide.
  • If someone tells you they self-injure it means they trust you and are willing to share this very personal problem.
  • Some people will just want to be heard and empathized with. Try not to push them by asking questions that may overwhelm them.

Ensure that your youth ministry has a self-harm policy – guidelines for writing a policy and further information can be found by emailing us at cschaffner@fringeconversations.com.

Things for Youth Pastors and volunteers to remember:

  • Anyone from any walk of life or any age can self-injure, including very young children.Self-injury affects people from all family backgrounds, religions, cultures and demographic groups.
  • Self-injury affects both males and females.
  • People who self-injure can often keep the problem to themselves for a very long time which means opening up to anyone about it can be difficult.
  • You can’t just tell someone who self-injures to stop – it is not that easy.
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Self-Injury Facebook Live Event with Youth Specialties


Here’s a thing we’re doing with Youth Specialties next Monday (8/22/16 from 3pm – 4pm CST).

Youth Specialties is hosting a live Q&A on their Facebook page on the topic of self-injury. Everyone is invited to participate. All you need in a device connected to the internet (smartphone, tablet, laptop). This is free to everyone that works with youth (parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers, etc.) We are hoping you could pass this on to your network and any others you think would benefit from this online event. We’ll be doing two more in September and October on addiction and suicide. We’ll keep you posted on those dates and times.

Until then, here’s a blog post I wrote for YS on self-injury. Take a few minutes are read up on the subject and then join us live next week.

Click here on Monday 8/22/16 for the Facebook Live Event.

Teen Self-Injury


Approximately 1% of the population has, at one time or another, used self-inflicted physical injury as a means of coping with an overwhelming situation or feeling.

Self-harm scares people. The behavior can be disturbing and difficult to understand, and it is often treated in a simplistic or sensational manner by the press. As a result, friends and loved ones of people who self-injure often feel frightened, isolated, and helpless. Sometimes they resort to demands or ultimatums as a way of trying to regain some control over the situation, only to see things deteriorate further.

The first step toward coping with self-injurious behavior is education: bringing reliable information about who self-injures, why they do it, and how they can learn to stop to people who self-injure and to their friends, loved ones, and medical caregivers. The following links will serve as a starting point for those interested in learning more about self-injury.

more…

New Training Opportunities For 2015/2016


trainingFringe workshops equip youth workers, parents, and students to understand the unique problems facing adolescents in today’s culture. These workshops will help the participants better understand the many issues related to the adolescent journey and enable them to provide the best care possible. Ultimately, we desire to provide a customized learning experience for those in attendance, based on your unique context.  We have four NEW training opportunities for 2015/2016.  Our schedule is filling up quickly so email us to nail down the training of your choice.

See our complete training list here.

new Helping Hurting Kids

Rates of depression and self injury continue to climb among adolescents every year.  Abuse and trauma seem to be standard experiences for many youth today.  As a youth worker it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pain and suffering your students face.  This workshop will help you understand the best practices for walking alongside the teens in your community and how to be a catalyst for healing in their lives.

new Help, My Child Is Hurting

This parenting workshop is similar to the Helping Hurting Kids workshop but it aims to help the parents trying to navigate the complexity of their kids struggles.  The goal of this program is to give parents information on subjects like adolescent depression, self-injury, suicide, anxiety, eating disorder, abuse, and other challenging issues.  Parents will also walk away with a plan for getting the help their family needs as they begin the journey towards freedom and healing.

new The Art of Listening

The workshop focuses on developing the habit of Active Listening.  Listening well can be one of the most effective things you can do for a teen struggling to figure out life.  How well you listen will have a major impact on the quality of your relationships with those you serve and care about.  Listening well will also have an impact on how you manage conflict among your team/organization and provide you with a concrete tool to push through barriers and achieve your goals.

new Reimagining Adolescence

Kids growing up today are living in a world that is fundamentally different than the one their parents grew up in.  This poses challenges to even the most adept adult.  In this workshop you will discover the systemic cultural changes that are creating a whole new developmental experience for our kids as they attempt to find out their true identity and place of belonging.  Join us as we explore the developmental and spiritual challenges of raising adolescents in contemporary society.  This is a one day workshop for parents and/or youth workers.

Top 10 Most Read Blog Posts Of 2010


While trying to discern what information is being searched for and consumed the most we were able to identify topics that are in need of further exploration.  Our top 10 list of 2010 is not a self-congratulatory pat on the back but rather an attempt to guide our focus for 2011.

The following posts we our most read blog posts of 2010 and therefore the ones that revealed some of the areas of greatest need.

  1. The State of Male Adolescence Today
  2. 10 Things You Need To Know About Date Rape
  3. The Importance Of Harmonious Peer Relationship
  4. Forgiveness: A Leap Of Faith
  5. Teen Dating Violence
  6. Roles Of Children In Dysfunctional Families
  7. Self Injury Quick Reference
  8. Ten Strategies for Working with Boys
  9. Cognitive Distortions
  10. Basic Brain Function and Emotional Hijacking

It’s obvious to us that there is a great need for resources/information on working with and understanding young, developing boys, teen dating violence, self-injury, and understanding the brain of adolescents.  But we’d also like to hear from you about what topics, information, research we can provide so you can continue to grow in your capacity for loving and equipping young people to follow in the ways of Jesus.

From us to you and yours, prayers of blessings and gratitude for your support of Conversations on the Fringe in 2010.

Community Conversations


Fringe Community Conversations are collaborative community-based gatherings aimed at helping those that work with youth, parents, and students to understand the unique problems facing adolescents in today’s culture. These gatherings will help those in attendance better understand the many issues related to the adolescent journey and enable them to provide the best care possible. We host conversations, presentations, and workshops at schools, churches, and other youth serving organizations. Ultimately, we desire to provide a customized learning experience for those in attendance, based on your unique context, on the follow topics:


Effective Ministry To Marginalize Youth: Do you have a diverse group of kids? Do you want to be more effective in reaching a more diverse cross-section of youth in your community? Do you desire to impact the lives of LGBTQ youth, kids with disabilities, cross racial barriers, and get to know those who are strikingly different than you and those in your ministry? Do you desire to increase your cultural intelligence in order to build a bridge across the gap between your church and others? This training focuses on developing and increasing our cultural intelligence (CQ) in order to begin the bridge building process of learning how to love our neighbors that appear to be different that us.

Parenting In The Digital Age: If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Being a teenager today isn’t any different than when I was a kid” then this workshop is for you. Changes in our technologically driven culture is influencing how our kids see the world, a world that is spinning faster than ever before. This generation has never known a world without the internet, social media, and mobile technology and this has impacted how they interact with the world around them, for better and for worse. Together we will explore these changes and how we can help our kids navigate the technologically-driven world they live in and are expected to thrive in.

Helping Hurting Kids: Rates of depression and self injury continue to climb among adolescents every year.  Abuse and trauma seem to be standard experiences for many youth today.  As a youth worker it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pain and suffering your students face.  This workshop will help you understand the best practices for walking alongside the teens in your community and how to be a catalyst for healing in their lives.

Help, My Child Is Hurting: This parenting workshop is similar to the Helping Hurting Kids workshop but it aims to help the parents trying to navigate the complexity of their kids struggles.  The goal of this program is to give parents information on subjects like adolescent depression, self-injury, suicide, anxiety, eating disorder, abuse, and other challenging issues.  Parents will also walk away with a plan for getting the help their family needs as they begin the journey towards freedom and healing.

The Art of Conflict and Communication: The workshop focuses on developing the healthy communication habits, as well as positive conflict resolution skills for parents and teens.  Listening well can be one of the most effective things you can do for a teen struggling to figure out life.  How well we communicate will have a major impact on the quality of your relationships with those you serve and care about.  Listening well will also have an impact on how you manage conflict among your team/organization and provide you with a concrete tool to push through barriers and achieve your goals.

Reimagining Adolescence:  Kids growing up today are living in a world that is fundamentally different than the one their parents grew up in.  This poses challenges to even the most adept adult.  In this workshop you will discover the systemic cultural changes that are creating a whole new developmental experience for our kids as they attempt to find out their true identity and place of belonging.  Join us as we explore the developmental and spiritual challenges of raising adolescents in contemporary society. 

*Reimagining Adolescence is a one day workshop for parents and/or youth workers.

The Impact of Popular Culture: We’ve known intuitively for years of the impact popular culture has on developing teens.  This workshop explores the current cultural landscape and ways to “flip the script” and use culture to our advantage when trying to reach kids.  We’ll look at the music, art, mobile media, internet trends, and movie/television that youth consume and how they are consuming it.

Anger / Anxiety: This workshop looks at the unique stress response of men and women and the complications of having life controlling anger or anxiety. You will leave with an understanding of how anger and anxiety affect the quality of life as well as some simple strategies for managing both.

Depression / Suicide: Depression can be overwhelming to a young person.  In this workshop we will define what depression is and what it isn’t, we will look at the physiology of a depressed brain, adolescent development, signs and symptoms of depression, cause of depression, and how we can walk along side adolescents suffering from depression.  We will also take time to explore suicide and suicidal ideation.  We will learn how to increase protective factors that decrease the risk that a youth in our care will turn to suicide and how to protect ourselves from liability.

Self-Injury: Self-injury, although it may seem temporarily helpful, is ultimately a dangerous and futile coping strategy which interferes with intimacy, productivity and happiness. There is no “safe” or “healthy” amount of self-injury. Self-injury is not a compulsion which one is powerless over for a lifetime, people can and do stop injuring, with the right kinds of help and support. Self-injury can be transformed from a seemingly uncontrollable compulsion to a choice. In this session you will learn the risk-factors involved with SI and develop an arsenal of coping skills to aid those suffering from it.

Pornography: Exploring the impact the pornography has on culture and the individual.  Pornography changes the brain and how we experience sex.  Addiction to pornography is wrecking the lives of young people everywhere and they are oblivious to it.  This workshop provides details on how pornography impacts brain development and our ability to connect with people the way God intended.

Child Abuse: If you work/serve in ministry long enough you will encounter child abuse.  Most know that we need to report the abuse but many don’t know how to walk alongside the victims after the abuse has occurred.  This workshop will provide the audience with practical ideas to partner with young people as they begin the healing from abuse.

Human Behavior and the Functionality of Sin: Sin is a moral failure.  Most people won’t argue that.  But, what if it’s more that just a bad decision? What if the sin is actually a functional way of trying to deal with the cards you were dealt? What if sin is just another way to try and meet the emotional and relational needs we all have?  What if they learned other ways to meet those needs?  Would sin become less appealing?  That’s what we will look at in this workshop.

Youth with Disabilities: Youth with disabilities are often marginalized and pushed to the fringes of society.  This workshop will focus on the best practices for restoring teens with disabilities to full participation in the community.

Soul Care / Self Care: Do you feel like you give and give and give but are running on empty most days?  Do you feel like people take advantage of you and now you resent those you were called to serve?  Does your spiritual life get buried under the demands of ministry?  Are you overwhelmed with the amount of hurt and tragedy you see every day?  If so you may be in need of Soul Care.  Learn how to “keep your cup full while you pour out to others” through the practice of spiritual disciplines.  We need healthy youth workers so they can remain engaged in the kingdom work for the long haul.

Bullying: The term bullying sounds like a rite of passage that many youth go through but in reality bullying has life altering consequences for everyone involved.  This workshop will take a look at how an informed response to the bullying cycle can bring reconciliation and community to everyone involved.

Current Drug Trends: Slang terms, drug popularity, and methods and concealment of substance use change regularly. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time with young people should keep on top of these trends so that they can better identify and refer students who may require help. In this presentation, program participants will be updated on the latest significant drug trends, as well as signs and symptoms of use and where to go with concerns about a student.

Working with Criminally Active Youth: This workshop will address the issues related to working with adolescents involved in criminal behaviors, such as; drug using, drug dealing, gang related crime, theft, vandalism, violence, etc.  We will explore how God has wired us and what He wired us for as well as the intrinsic longings He placed in us to direct our behaviors.   We will learn about the pro-social vs. pro-criminal spectrum and how one becomes a criminal and disengages morally.  We will also discuss the criminogenic needs individuals have and how recidivism occurs when those needs aren’t addressed.  We will explore what developmental assets are and how they are related to criminality and how we as a church can participate in increasing the numbers of assets young people have.  We will explore how to develop a community network to address the various needs an individual has, such as; employment, housing, mental health, etc.  We will discuss mentoring and family ministry strategies that are proven to reduce recidivism and provide hope for individuals coming out of a criminal lifestyle and moving into a Kingdom lifestyle.

How to Talk to Your White, Middle-class, Straight, American, Christian, Teenager about Justice: How do we love those who intentionally/unintentionally benefit from their privilege and perpetuate the myth of “better than others”? How do we love those who oppress and marginalize vulnerable people groups? This workshop is part story and part conversation on how to navigate conversations with our “enemies”. Learn the story of an individual who grew up racist, bigoted, and with a sense of being better than everyone who was different than him. Learn how, through important relationship, experiences, and postures, this individual changed and became a friend and advocate for those he previously mistreated. Then, learn how to enter into these tense conversations with others to begin the work of reconciliation.

If you are interested in discussing the possibility of hosting a workshop/training just send us an email and we’ll work something out for you and your organization.

What about the “T” in LGBTQIA+?


More and more transgender people have come out in recent years. With the popularity of the reality show “I am Jazz”, a show about the journey of a transgender adolescent trying to navigate school, dating, and gender, the public transition of Caitlyn Jenner, and the rise of the #metoo movement challenging toxic gender expressions, we appears we are in the midst of another sexual revolution.

We have also seen the rise of what our transgender brothers and sisters have been saying for decades, which is discrimination, dehumanization, hostility, violence and even murder of trans people.

A 2014 survey on transgender discrimination in the United States reports startling data; 41% of transgender adults have attempted suicide compared to the overall population (1.6%). The numbers only get worse from there: 90% report having experienced harassment or discrimination at work, 57% have experienced significant family rejection, 26% have been fired for who they are, and 19% have experienced homelessness because of their gender identity. In recent years, the number of trans people who have been murdered has gone up too, in particular, trans women of color.

With this information in mind, consider this famous parable, as explored by author Austen Hartke (transforming: The Bible and the Lives of Transgender Christians):

Luke 15:4-7 The Message (MSG)

4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.

Many of us probably heard this story for the first time as children – it’s a Sunday school favorite, and for good reason! It’s incredibly comforting to imagine yourself as the lost sheep, riding back home on Jesus’ shoulders after an exciting but ill-advised adventure. There are times when this story is exactly the gospel message we need – when we need to hear that we are worthy of God’s love, and the God will risk everything to have us back home again.

But what if we imagined this story a different way? What is the lost sheep didn’t wander away from the safety and goodness of the shepherd? What if it was just trying to escape the cruelty of the flock? Sheep will occasionally pick out a flock member who doesn’t fit in – maybe because of an injury or a strange marking – and they’ll chase that individual away. There are times when I think Christians need to see ourselves more in the ninety-nine sheep who stayed put, and ask ourselves if we may have been a part of the reason that the lost sheep got lost in the first place.

As a ministry professional, are you committed to holding the front door open for all who seek the welcome of its sanctuary or have you placed your foot behind the door so they cannot get in?

How many “lost sheep” are there because we have chased them away?

How do we help them find their way back home?


chrisChris Schaffner is a counselor and veteran youth worker. He is also the founder of CONVERSATIONS ON THE FRINGE. CotF is an organization seeking creative and innovative ways to bridge the gap between the mental health community and those entities (particularly schools and churches) that serve youth in contemporary society.

Thirteen Reasons Why (Season 2) Is Back


The controversial Netflix series Thirteen Reasons Why is back for its sophomore season. The producers promised to further delve into the challenging subject matter initiated in season one, placing the spotlight on sexual assault and gun violence.

We’re busy at work developing discussion guides for season two but, in the meantime, here are our discussion guides for each episode of season one:

Thirteen Reasons Why Discussion Guides: Season One

If you are not familiar with the subject content of this series, BE WARNED. Each episode has content that can be triggering to people who have experienced trauma and/or suffer from depression and self-injury.

It is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that the series be watched with parents or other adults to help process the strong visual content and to help manage the risk of triggering stimulus. If you are particularly vulnerable to strong visual triggers, it is recommended you not watch. 

If you, at any time, feel helpless and hopeless and are considering harming yourself or contemplating taking your life, please call one of the hotlines below to talk with a trained staff member immediately, call 9-1-1, or go to your closest emergency room.

 

The Fringe: A Gathering Place fro LGBTQIA+ Youth, their Families, and Allies


A safe and supportive space for LGBTQIA+ youth, families, friends, and their allies from around Central Illinois. This is a non-religious endeavor. Even though Conversations on the Fringe has faith-ties (but is affirming and inclusive), The Fringe Gathering Place is not religious. This is to ensure everyone feels welcome in this space. All are welcome!

This initiative is being launched after a two-year-long study of LGBTQIA+ youth. Each student engaged in face-to-face interviews, submitted written responses to an extensive questionnaire, or completed an online survey. We had over one hundred participants. The questions focused on family acceptance/rejection, coming out, stressors, intersections, trauma/bullying, social alienation/acceptance, substance abuse/mental health issues, suicidality, and faith experiences.

The results of our study closely reflected the national statistics, LGBTQIA+ youth are susceptible to suicidal ideation.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
  • LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
  • LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
  • Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.
  • Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year.
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

*Source: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/resources/preventing-suicide/facts-about-suicide/#sm.00011gchfpqw9eg0s3l17fmde1ojx

There is an immense need for more safe and affriming spaces in the Peoria area for queer youth.

Over time, we hope to provide the following service/supports for youth in our area:

  • Mentoring/Peer Mentoring
  • Health/Wellness Education (testing/prevention)
  • Support Groups (trans, family, depression, substance abuse, etc.)
  • Referrals (healthcare, mental health, substance abuse, etc.)
  • Advocacy/Activism
  • Family Support
  • Harm Reduction (inclusive sex and sexuality education)
  • Social Events (trips, art classes, dances, etc.)

We have two important dates coming up. If you are interested in either you are invited to attend.

Important Dates:

Youth Leadership Board Meeting – May 2nd, 5:30pm – 7:30pm

Adult Advisory Board Meeting – May 9th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

If you are interested in joining the adult advisory board or the youth leadership board contact us at cschaffner@fringeconversations.com

Join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/thefringegatheringspace/

If you are interested in volunteering, please email us at cschaffner@fringeconversations.com or stop by and visit us at 1411 NE Adams St. Peoria, Illinois 61603.

Myths About Grief


I am all too familiar with grief.  It has been a constant companion in the work I do, working with people who struggle with substance misuse, have a mental health diagnosis, the homeless, and marginalized youth, like LTGBQIA+ teens. I have a background in emergency medical care first working as a paramedic and then later in an ER as part of a trauma team. I have also worked on a surgical team that would procure tissue and organs for donation post-mortem. As a counselor working with the population I do, I frequently get the “call” we all dread. Whether it is death, accident, injury, or loss of a relationship, grief is an unwelcome visitor.

I have also experienced grief in ministry. I remember the details of all the student deaths that occurred. I remember specifically talking with students, friends, family members, staff and volunteers and not being able to satisfactorily answer the “why” questions.

Weekly I see status updates from youth ministry friends asking for resources to provide students and families on the subject of death and grief. Many are unsure how to lead a group of young people through the challenging journey of grief as well as how to navigate that journey of their own. That is why we felt compelled to debunk myths surrounding grief.

Myths About Grief:

Grief and mourning are the same things.

Grief and mourning are inseparable, grief is the emotional, internal processing of loss/bereavement and mourning is the expression of that grief.  For example, grief is filled with feelings of sadness, anger, and thoughts that contribute to the intensity of those emotions.  Examples of mourning are crying, talking about the person who has died, or celebrating special dates related to the deceased.  Not expressing the grief through mourning can be a barrier to healing.

Grief and mourning follow a linear and orderly pattern.

The “Stages of Grief” popularized by Elizabeth Kubler Ross was never meant to be a definitive prescription for dealing with grief where you checked off each stage as you progress beyond it.  There is no one way that an individual grieves and mourns.  For every individual that experiences grief, there is a unique expression of that grief, based on numerous variables. Don’t get caught up in, “Am I grieving the right way?”.

You should move away from grief, not toward it.

It is toxic to the soul to repress what longs to be expressed.  Job stripped off his clothes, scraped himself with shards of pottery, and sat in a heap of ashes that came from everything he had, and he sat there for a long time.  He could have immediately started to “put the pieces back together” but literally just sat in his grief.  He moved into it.  Minimizing grief and avoiding the mourning process tends to lead to isolation and confusion and even deep depression.

The goal should be to “get over it” as soon as possible.

I hear many people say, “I should be over this by now”.  I hear others say the same thing about those in mourning, implying that it is bad to feel bad for too long.  As we reconcile the loss in our lives with being able to move forward there can be a renewed sense of hope and power surge into our spirit but that does not mean we are done grieving or mourning.  We can sense movement but still be in process and that is what many experience when they reach that point.  The ever-present, sharp pain in the heart will eventually change into an accepted and acknowledged sense of loss.  The sense of loss will likely never completely go away but will dull over time.

I have to be strong = No tears/emotions.

We live in a toxic culture that is repulsed by “signs of weakness”.  Tears, strong emotions and general sadness are looked down upon.  How many times have you heard a parent say, “Knock that off or I’ll give you a reason to cry”?  This implies that there is no reason to cry, so STOP!

Usually, when people try to console a crying individual it is because they are uncomfortable with that expression of grief and often feel powerless to help stop the pain you are experiencing.  God stores up our tears in a bottle the Psalmist tells us and knows what is in each one.  He values the tears you shed and is likely shedding tears of the same thing because death was never in His plan.

The individual is the only loss.

Individuals who are mourning are not just mourning the loss of the individual who has died but also all the dreams associated with that relationship.  Other issues that may contribute to the intensity of the grief could be the financial cost/loss, future plans, memories to be made, etc.  The intensity of grief is typically driven by these future-oriented losses as well.  Allow time to process and speak about these additional losses as part of the grief journey.

Have you experienced grief/loss in ministry?  Have you heard these myths from those you walked with?  Have you felt or believed these myths yourself?  How will you address these myths looking forward?

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