November 27, 2018 - Lori Jagow
For those newly divorced, the holidays can be the most difficult time of the year. The pain and loss can be almost unbearable. The family that you married into is no longer a part of your holidays. The children may be staying with your ex-spouse and finances can be greatly reduced. Suddenly you find that life as you once knew it is now shattered, like a fragile glass ornament, and the thought of trying to piece it back together seems terribly overwhelming.
Divorce is a very real and serious loss. It changes your entire life, like the death of a loved one. When there is the death of a spouse, it is common for a grieving process to take place over time and you would not be expected to go out and find a new partner right away. The pain of divorce can affect even the person who wanted the divorce as well. However, with divorce, the world does not seem to allow the same natural grieving process to take place. You may feel a lack of support from others. There may be pressure from family and well-meaning friends to go out and meet somebody new before you have even signed the final divorce papers. Sometimes people who are broken by divorce seek comfort in another person because of the great pain they are experiencing. It seems that to be held in the arms of another would make it all better. But the statistics show that taking the time to heal, and grieve, increases the chances of attracting a lasting relationship, and not doing so lessens the odds.
Know that you are not alone; there are many people who are hurting during the holidays. At Pendleton Center United Methodist Church we have a variety of ministries that can offer hope and encouragement. Even if it is just a safe place to be alone with God while you mourn, we hope you find support and fellowship to help you through the loneliness of divorce, grief, and loss by connecting with others going through similar circumstances. We welcome you just as you are. Psalm 147:3 says, “God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
There is healing in connecting with others in a healthy group, who are in similar circumstances. A healthy group allows the sharing of experiences, strength, and hope while respecting others. Below are a few groups offered at Pendleton Center United Methodist Church.
This is an evening seminar on Wednesday, November 28 from 6:30-8pm to offer hope for the Christmas season for people who are separated and divorced. You’ll learn how to deal with the many emotions during the holidays, hear helpful tips, find ways to give your children a good holiday experience and discover hope for your future. Leading the seminar is a pastoral counselor, Lori Jagow. Children's programming for children ages 3-12 is provided. Advance registration required. Please contact Lori Jagow at firstname.lastname@example.org
The grief support team invites those who are struggling with the recent or past loss of a loved one to become a part of this group. This is a safe place where practical, emotional, and spiritual issues can be explored in a faith-based environment, with a goal of finding strength through adversity. Contact the church office at 716-625-8306 for more information.
People of all faiths find it helpful to go back to their place of worship and find healing when they are grieving. If you don't have a home church, we invite you to try one of our services. Our regular church services are on Saturdays at 5pm and Sundays at 9 and 11:15am. Jr. Church for children ages 3 - 3rd grade is offered at these services.
A Blue Christmas Service will be held on December 21 at 7 pm in the sanctuary and will be led by Pastor Bill Edmister and the PCUMC grief support team. It is a worshipful and sacred event. The observance invites those who have experienced loss of any kind to surrender to God their feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and any other burdens they carry on their hearts in preparation to receive God’s love and mercy in the form of His son, the baby Jesus.
Our Christmas Eve service times are 5, 7:30, and 11pm on Monday, December 24.
One of the best remedies for the blues is to help someone else. During the holidays it seems every corner offers an opportunity to give. If funds are low this year, consider giving of your time. At Pendleton Center United Methodist Church, we have ministries where you can volunteer to feed holiday dinners to homeless and more. It may be just what you need to begin to feel gratitude again.
Reading about the faith and courage of how others survived difficult circumstance can help get your focus off your troubles. If others can survive, so can you! Our very own blog offers words of encouragement. Find out how volunteering in a pumpkin patch helped a woman overcome debilitating effects of a divorce and other great stories like it. Visit our blog.
Talking about your situation with someone who will listen and understand can help. Reach out to a trusted and supportive friend, counselor, or clergy. Affordable pastoral counseling is available at the church based on a sliding scale with Lori Jagow. Please contact Lori Jagow at email@example.com or the church office at 716-625-8306 for more information.
Light a candle or visit a gravesite in honor of your loved one. During a season which brings both joy and sadness, we have a Blue Christmas Tree in the back of the Sanctuary. The tree is available to add a blue ornament with the name of your loved one to remember. They are prayed over at the first 24 Hour Prayer Vigil of the new year.
For more information please contact the church office at 716-625-8306 or you can email Lori Jagow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This commentary was written for the Niagara Gazette by Lori Jagow.