Have you ever struggled to move forward after a traumatic loss? Has loneliness deepened the pain when it seemed like everyone else had already moved on?
One aspect of youth ministry that I will never get used to is the death of a student – from cancer, a car accident, suicide, or anything else. It never seems right or fair. Among those hit hardest are the student’s peers, who are confronted - in many cases for the first time - with the ugly reality of death’s finality as well as their own mortality.
“Rachel,” a Christian school student, experienced the sudden blow of losing her long-time classmate. On the first day of spiritual emphasis week, months later, she confided in us.
“I’ve never experienced personal loss like this. [He] should've had years and years before it was his time. I don’t really know how to handle my own grief. I just feel so alone in this because everybody else impacted by this seems to have gotten over it.”
While her peers were certainly NOT “over it” either and faced their own similar struggles, her feelings are understandable. We can imagine her sadness, anger, questions, and doubt, combined with loneliness, because many of us have lived it ourselves.
“I just often think about this and I get angry at God. Like why would he let [him] die?”
Spiritual emphasis week offered Rachel an opportunity to seek help in dealing with her grief, and she took it. Students often open up to us in ways that they don’t with others.
“I just wish you could maybe give me some advice about dealing with grief. I really don’t know what to do. I want to begin to move on, although I’ll never forget him, and I don’t want to get stuck in the past. I haven’t opened up about it before for fear of being someone’s burden, and I hope I haven’t burdened you.”
One of our superstar team members wrote back and forth with Rachel throughout the week, providing Scripture, a personal story, and words of encouragement. It was exactly what she needed.
“I wanted to thank you for giving me some of the best advice and encouragement I’ve had in a long time. I really needed it. And thank you for sharing about your sister. It reminded me that I’m not alone in a situation like this, and other people have gone through the same thing and come through it. I’ve written down all the scripture references you’ve given me and I plan to go over them more in depth in my quiet time this weekend. This year’s spiritual emphasis week message, as well as the worship and the journaling, has encouraged me to deepen my relationship with God. I can’t thank you enough for responding so positively when I told you about [him].”
While our team members serve on the front lines offering HOPE to students across the Northeast, your donations enable us to do it! For students like Rachel, your financial support helps them receive the biblical help and encouragement they need to face their biggest challenges. There are many more “Rachels” out there – silently hurting, grieving, struggling – and through your generous support this #GivingTuesday they will continue to find a friend, a listening ear, a mentor, and more through the ministry of Coastlands.
Imagine for a moment if Rachel hadn’t been able to journal with our team member in her time of need. Would she still be “stuck” today? Would the grief, anger, and nagging doubt have turned to unbelief? Thankfully, we’ll never know the answer to those questions - because your support made it possible for her to have someone with whom she could open up.
As you think about your own experience facing an unexpected loss, what difference did it make – or what difference would it have made – to be able to talk openly with someone? When you support Coastlands financially, you ensure students like Rachel get the adult support they want and need.
These are challenging yet opportunity-filled times for Coastlands, and the need among students continues to be as big as ever. Thank you for prayerfully considering your partnership with Coastlands so that together we can impact youth throughout the Northeast!
For the Next Generation,
P.S. Would you consider becoming a Youth Impact Partner? As a monthly donor, you’ll build a stronger foundation to help launch our upcoming program to strategically connect youth with adults. As a thank you, I’d love to send you a copy of Pray for Me, a guide to help you pray more intentionally for a middle or high school student in your life!
“I am so thankful Coastlands came to our school every year. I appreciate so much the investment you and the team put into our children. It meant so much to know they had an outlet through journaling to help them grow and strengthen their faith. You always encouraged them to think about what they believe so it became personal and not just what they were taught. Thank you for praying for them and loving them through Christ.” - A Long-Time Christian School Parent and Mother of Four
#GivingTuesday Donation Options:
• Donate online at: https://givebutter.com/sendhope
(Credit/Debit Cards, Venmo, and Paypal accepted)
• Text SENDHOPE to (202)858-1233
• Send a check made out to “Coastlands Consultants” to:
19 Main St. Apt. 4
Raymond, NH 03077
All donations to Coastlands are tax-deductible.