Nebraska church offers 'Surviving the Holidays' event
Pastor Mickey Boell remembers the first Christmas Day she didn’t spend with her two boys. Newly divorced, she spent Christmas Eve with her sons, but the next day was very different.
“They woke up with me on Christmas morning and then they went to their dad’s, so Christmas Day I was by myself,” she said. “What I didn’t do well was make a plan for what I was going to do that day. So, I took my Christmas tree down.”
Her tree was the first in the city’s recycling drop-off site. It was a very painful time. Years later, Boell is pastor of restoration ministry, worship arts, and community outreach at Fremont Nazarene Church in Fremont, Nebraska. She’s passionate about restoration ministry because she’s walked through many of the topics it covers.
She knows how tough the holidays can be after the death of a loved one or a divorce. That’s why Boell encourages the public to attend the free “Surviving the Holidays” event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.
The Fremont Nazarene Worship Team will provide music, and Boell will give a message and teaching. Boell knows that sometimes the holidays can be painful, especially the first ones after a death or divorce. Yet even those who lost a loved one or went through a divorce years ago are encouraged to attend as well.
“I want to help people to find joy even through the pain,” she said.
Boell is pastor for DivorceCare and GriefShare at the church. DivorceCare is a 13-week, support group program with videos. GriefShare is a 13-week, Christ-centered, video-based support group program for people who’ve lost a spouse, child, parent, or other family member or friend through death. The program is designed to help people walk through the grief journey.
The programs talk about how people can get through the holidays.
“I took what they recommend and I turned it into a service, because I feel like it’s a time for us to connect to remember loved ones and to know that we’re not alone,” she said.
She emphasizes that the service is for anyone, no matter how recent or long ago the death or divorce occurred.
“The holidays tend to be a reminder of those traumatic events,” Boell said. “We grieve the things that we miss or the people we miss. So I just encourage people to come and to hear how God can work through the pain and experience fellowship.”
Boell said she and her ex-husband get along well and co-parent their children, but that first Christmas Day when she didn’t have her boys was really tough. Granted, she could have gone to one of her relatives’ homes.
“But you just kind of sit there in this moment of disbelief, of ‘This is what life is like right now’ and so it’s a very confusing and painful time,” she said.
Boell also understands grief caused by death. Her father died about five years before her divorce. And although she was with family during the holiday, her dad wasn’t sitting in his chair and she knew he wouldn’t do so again. Boell wants to use her acquaintance with grief and loss to help others.
“My hope is to provide some strategies and some peace for people who experience those same things that I walked,” she said. She believes restoration ministry can help.
“I really feel like everyone can benefit from restoration ministry because all of us have walked through something or will [at some point in life]. That’s just part of being here on this earth until we get to eternity,” she said.
She notes something else.
“I truly believe that when we walk through things and God helps us through, our responsibility is to help others to walk through [similar situations].”
This is an abridged version of a story originally published in the Fremont Tribune. To read the story in full, click here.