Conferences & Webinairs, Grief & Loss

Seasons of Grief Re-Cap-Thanks Fayetteville, Georgia!


What an awesome night of remembrance, healing, and shared stories of loved ones that has passed recently. It was an honor to be in the presence of family members who were taking the necessary time out to permit themselves to grieve and understand the stages and tasks associated with the grieving process. The grief process is unique and just because we love God, we MUST take the time to go through the process of grief.

Last night, I taught on the Price of Unresolved Grief and why we need to acknowledge grief. People are still walking around attached to pain that happened to them years ago and are unsure how to go about releasing the pain; wondering what their quality of life will be without it; the pain that is. Many of the people there were newly grieved and I was honored to share in their process.


There were people there last night that were facing:

  • The 2 month loss of their wife following 64 years
  • The 2-year loss of their husband following 65 years of certainty of who they were in the marriage and not as a single person
  • The 2-month loss of a daughter

We took the time to do a Seasons of Grief Exercise to remember the loved ones. Thanks toImage

,we took the concept of the Memory Jar with Stones and adapted it to the season and used green and red sticks to allow the participants to write the names of their loved ones one them. Walking through the crowd, we took the time to allow moments for them to share stories of their loved ones and how they are coping. The stories of unconditional love and devotion were amazing.

Despite the layers of loss, the atmosphere of peace was thick and it was apparent that the people in attendance felt the need to share and begin the process of healing.

Thank you to all who came out!

We look forward to being with everyone again in Fayetteville, GA on Thursday, December 5 at 7:00pm for Part II of the Grief Seminar: The Art of Grief. Come and bring a friend. We’re gonna laugh, cry, and paint our expression on paper.

Interested in hosting Seasons of Grief in your City? Send inquiries to 

Individual Grief Recovery Programs and Sessions will begin January 2014! Stay tuned.

Culture & Communications, Grief & Loss, Human Behavior/Urban Environment, Uncategorized

Hope’s Promise Against Suicide

policeSuicide hurts. This post is in no way attempting to mock the life of Derek, the suicidal young man who tragically ended his life in downtown Durham, North Carolina on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. He has left others behind that loved him sincerely and are attempting to come to terms with this tragic death. There are a number of people who have reached a point of decision to leave a note to those who will remain following their suicide. Countless posts have been left on social media notifying not only their families but the masses as to their intentions and rationale for terminating their lives.

Just because we encounter God’s love in life does not exempt us from experiencing hard core pain, the pain that is penetrable (in our opinion) to our heart where we believe no recovery, no cure is necessary. The fact is will encounter trials in life and some of those trials will knock the wind out of us but we must learn to be resilient when trouble comes. This is a process, I will not sit here and try to fake the funk like it is not.

The very fact that we are living on this Earth means that we are equipped with the mechanism of hope. When we face hopeless situations, many may not have the reliance of a grandmother saying, “Baby, don’t do that because Jesus love you and Grandma loves you.”

The time to learn how to get the promises located in God’s word in the bible to the very chambers of our heart is now.  The world is growing colder by the days with rumors of wars, natural disasters, unemployment, and family conflict; yet in the middle of this, we must know that we exist to rest in the promises of God. For some, that work of resting is harder than others especially when you keep getting knocked down time after time. When we feel depressed, this is the time to get the promises of God deeply rooted in our mind so we can be sober as we attack the challenges in our lives; otherwise we will be drunken with despair and without hope.

Proverbs 12:25 is one of my favorite passages of scriptures that addresses anxiety. It says: “Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word provides cheer to it.” This scripture has helped me through a very difficult time of grieving the deaths of both parents in my youth as well as a bout with drug use.

I know you may be saying, “Danita, telling someone to cheer up when they have a gun barrel at their temple is not the solution!” Well. You are right; I do agree that this stage calls for the need of some intense cognitive therapy and physical intervention to extinguish the situation.

God has given us a million solutions for dealing with the decisions that we are dealing with on this earth and at the time of someone contemplating suicide; all they need is one. Thick dark memories of their hurt and pain crowd them into a corner and they are forced to escape the pain believing it will never get better. We’ve heard it said so many times that there is no return from suicide; it is the permanent resolution that someone has made to what may be at times short lived pain.

In closing, I’d like for you to share the following scriptures that I have gathered from that deal with troubled minds and hearts. Share them with your family and friends and above all, of you are feeling suicidal, tell someone so that you do not have to suffer in silence. Social media is a venue that was created to allow expression, but should not be a replacement for authentic relationships.

God loves you; He really does:

But if we hope for what is still unseen by us, we wait for it with patience and composure. Romans 8:24-25

These, the ransomed of the Lord, will go home along that road to Zion, singing the songs of everlasting joy. For them all sorrow and all sighing will be gone forever; only joy and gladness will be there. Isaiah 35:10

God, fill us with all joy and peace as we trust in you, so that we may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

No, I will not abandon you or leave you as orphans in the storm – I will come to you. John 14:18

I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. The peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.John 14:27

These things that were written in the Scriptures so long ago are to teach us patience and to encourage us so that we will look forward expectantly to the time when God will conquer sin and death. Romans 15:4

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 2 Peter 1:2-3

The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials. 2 Peter 2:9


The Morning After: Coping with anxiety as a result of mass killings from Henan, China to Newton, Connecticut

by Danita Ogandaga, MSW

On Friday, December 14, families in China and Connecticut both faced a horrific series of violence where children were massacred by knives and guns like a person practicing at a gun range. In China, 22 children between the ages of six and twelve years old and adults were stabbed at the Chenpeng Village Primary School in Henan, China. Some of the children had severed ears and fingers. Before entering the school, Min Yingjun, 36, decided to stab an elderly woman after breaking into her home. Mental illness has been blamed as the culprit for this heinous crime.

Image Photo: Xinhua Photoshoot

The children in Newton, Connecticut faced a very different end and paid the price with their lives. Adam Lanska, 24, slaughtered twenty children between the ages of six and seven years old also killing six adults. The chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, noted that many of the children suffered three to eleven shots each. This was simply an unspeakable tragedy.

Image Photo: AP Photo/Shannon Hicks

Daily news and police sirens increase on the streets as people across the world see the heightened response to violence that is occurring at the response of one person’s sole decision to end their lives by taking the lives of others. It is not enough that those persons who are giving up on life are leaving behind score of grief for their family and friends to process and sort through, but the acts of violence permeate into society for the lives of the innocent and unsuspecting are cut down like grass with no chance of fulfilling their future.

This weekend had me keeping abreast of the grief that the nation is experiencing in light of the tragedies in Connecticut. As a behavioral therapist myself, I managed a caseload of clients this weekend who are dealing with holiday blues, suicidal ideations, and complicated grief due to post-abortion and life trauma. Aware of the essential need to practice self-care, I spent most of the weekend in prayer and with a close attachment to my toddler who I carefully kept in sight. Looking at her often, I found myself gazing in and out of what most psychologist’s term third party grief, where you look upon a situation wondering how you would respond and I simply found myself confessing the word of God, commanding peace in my walls and healing for the hearts of the families everywhere. Most of all, I began praying in the spirit for the persons who find their minds slowly drifting from them as they yield themselves to receiving demonic instruction on how to carry out their suicide and mass homicides.

My mind drifted back to the time when she first entered the world and I wondered how I would ever trust anyone with my gift from God. I am sure that as parents, many of us go through the motions where we also have to develop a strong skin of trust for others to care for our children. In light of the two school tragedies that occurred this weekend, I, like many people I communicated with this weekend whether at the Farmer’s Market or the boutique all had the same concerns…would we be able to release our children to school on Monday morning? Locks on doors (check), security in the parking lot (check), sign-in and out procedures followed (check) all bases had been covered. There had been no prior assurance released from her school as to how the security would be increased so reluctant, I wanted to keep her with me and suddenly realized that I had allowed the door of fear to come in.

I must admit, releasing my daughter to her school this morning was difficult but I am thankful that I am a believer of God’s word and I rest in His promises of protection. In preparation for the day, I listened to Joyce Meyer’s Battlefield of the Mind CD as well as my pastors, Pastor Creflo and Taffi Dollars’ confessions over fear for the family. I am thankful to God that faith came after feeding my faith and starving my doubts on my daughter as well as children everywhere would be protected. I encourage you to do the same today. We lift up the families in China and Connecticut and request the hand of God to balm their heart to not be overtaken by this enormous tragedy that has rocked a small town where everyone is interconnected. While doing so, close the fear that may try to seep into your family life by continuously praying for your children and declaring Psalms 91 over them as well as their schools. Our nation needs the hand of God and we need Him at the center of our lives.

Take the time to listen to a recent confession over fear that can be found on Youtube by clicking:

                If you are wondering how you will survive the crisis in your life, view my latest Youtube video by clicking:

God loves you. He always has and I am certain that He always will. Keep God at your center and trust that His promises to keep you safe and in peace are sure.