By Danielle, Contributing Writer
There are times in everyone’s life when tragedy or hard times strike without warning rocking your world.
The unexpected phone call, the letter you didn’t see coming, the lay off, the sudden loss; tragedies come in all sizes but no matter how big or small on the world’s scale they can leave you feeling helpless, alone and with your world turned upside down.
When our house caught fire in August of last year our world was upside down. The four weeks following the fire were nothing short of hectic, stressful and sad. It was one thing after another.
By God’s grace, we made it through. I look back now and I see how awesome God has been through it all and the lessons we’ve learned. If your family is experiencing a tragic or traumatic event the key to moving forward is to stay united, as a family. Realizing that everyone processes and works through tragedy and loss differently, you must maintain your sense of family.
Ask God to give you strength, wisdom, and grace. Lift your burdens, worries, and tears to Him. There’s no time better than the present to start praying. Grab your child’s hand and pray. Pray in the dark before bed with your husband if it’s uncomfortable to pray face to face.
I’m often told how unbelievably well I’ve handled things over the last 9 months.
Not I, but He who is in me. God alone has strengthened me during this time.
Praying with your children is also very important. It not only shows them the importance of prayer but it instills in them the philosophy of crying out to God with our burdens.
Ask for Prayer
Corporate prayer is so important. If you are part of a body of believers it is important that you allow them to pray for you. I see so many people who are prideful and don’t want to share what they are going through. They don’t recognize that it is pride holding them back (or sometimes shame).
Don’t be afraid to be honest with prayer requests. If honesty is not encouraged amongst your church family I think I’d be looking for a new church home.
Keep A Routine and a Sense of Normalcy
Keeping a routine and a sense of normalcy for children and adults alike goes a long way. Children need routine to feel secure and safe. If you have to build a whole new routine that’s okay, just don’t put it off too long.
Stay tuned into your children’s behavior and if you see or sense changes try to address them right away. We noticed after the first week of Little Man being with different sitters and not having a routine we needed to get back to some things he was familiar with. So no matter what we had going on during they day we tried to keep bedtime as consistent as possible: bath, stories, prayer, kisses, cuddling, etc.
Be Real with Your Spouse or a Good Friend
As mentioned earlier, everyone processes traumatic events differently. If you need to cry, or yell or jump up and down that’s okay. God can handle it. Your spouse should be able to as well. Only you know how much your spouse can take.
If your spouse can’t handle it, find a good friend and be real with them. Vent if you need to from time to time. Remember, venting is not complaining.
Talk things out with your spouse, check in with them and ask them how they’re doing and how they feel or what they think. (Left brainers tend to “think” while right brainers tend to “feel.”)
Talk to Your Children
Children can handle more than we give them credit for. Talk to your children in words they will understand. After the fire our 2 year old kept wanting to go into the old house. We simple explained the house had a boo-boo and we couldn’t go in until it was all fixed up.
Be sensitive to your child’s emotions and reassure them that it is okay to ask questions of you. Also reassure them that their emotions are normal, natural and okay.
Find the Lessons
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” ~ Genesis 50:20
There are teachable moments even in the midst of tragedy. Tragic events are not from God but He can use them for our good. Lessons are not always evident in the early days of a traumatic events but ask the Lord what you can learn, reflect on the things that have happened with His perspective.
Be sure to grab hold of teachable moments for your children and even your spouse and share with them what you’v learned and help them learn too.
How has your family made it through tragedy? What kept you going and what did you learn?
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