What's in Your Heart?
A Bible Study? Based on Heartbroken? When Jodi from Trinity Lutheran Church in Nashville, Illinois contacted me about writing a bible study series titled “God Care About Addiction” using Heartbroken – Grief and Hope Inside the Opioid Crisis as an element for the series, I was flabbergasted.
I had written the book (along with my two co-authors, Diana Cuddeback, Director of Heartlinks Grief Center and Matthew Ellis, Washington University expert in opioids) with the hope of raising awareness about the need to stop stigma for those persons with addiction. And to help educate about the opioid crisis in the hope of saving another family from the heartbreak of losing a child to this crisis. But I’d never thought about it being used as a bible study.
Further proof that He works in all kinds of ways when we are open to Him.
Jodi and I met along with their pastor to discuss the project. Pastor Benning informed me his sermon series was also based on addiction and Heartbroken was part of that, too. Their church had chosen to focus on the opioid crisis in Washington County and beyond for five weeks.
Note: While we’ve not heard as much in the news about the opioid crisis, it is not abating. It is worse than before Covid. There were 2,944 deaths in Illinois in 2021, a 33% increase from 2019.
It was my honor to speak to the Bible Study group on their last session, which was Sunday, February 20th. As I prepared for the Zoom call, I contacted Dennis Trask, coordinator for the Southern Illinois Substance Abuse Alliance (SISAA) whose mission it is to help prevent drug addiction and promote recovery from addiction in Washington and Randolph Counties.
Dennis was excited to learn about the church’s focus. “If we can have a representative from their church on the SISAA committee, that would be awesome!” he said.
He also said it was important to ask potential volunteers to examine their heart, and if serving was in their heart, then it would be the right fit.
I prayed I would say the right things to compel someone to join in the fight against drug addiction. SISAA is doing such strong work in our local area to help prevent our children from using drugs. Their vision is “Healthy communities in Southern Illinois focused on prevention and recovery free of stigma and without judgement. “
You can learn more about them, the work they are doing, and how to get involved here: SISAA Facebook page.
My prayers were answered when I talked with Jodi this week. The church has volunteers that would like to join SISAA in their work. They have it in their heart.
The stigma that surrounds an addiction loss makes it even more painful for those grieving. Stopping that stigma through education that addiction is an illness not a choice, is imperative.
As I wrote the seven family’s stories of losing a child, I learned that addiction can happen in any family. We all know someone that has been impacted by the opioid crisis – let’s help those grieving a loss by showing compassion in our hearts. Diana provides many concrete ways to show that compassion in the Grief Reflections included in Heartbroken.
I am honored that Trinity Lutheran Church utilized our book in this way and hopeful that their focus will help more people have compassion in their hearts for those people addicted to drugs, and for those grieving a loss due to drug addiction. And maybe more people will have it in their hearts to join SISAA and get involved in this fight.
Heartlinks Grief Center provides grief support to all ages, regardless of ability to pay. If you are grieving or know someone who could use assistance on their grief journey, please contact Heartlinks Grief Center at 618-277-1800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Proceeds from the sale of my books are donated to help support Heartlinks Grief Center, a program of Family Hospice of Belleville, IL.
“We Grow Stronger Together”