- just pray for them. you don’t even have to tell them you are… they will feel the power of effectual prayers impacting their lives. trust me. Or when you do tell them you are praying for them tell them what you are praying for and maybe even include a part of your prayer.
- how not to give someone verses: avoid giving lot of verses or just random verses that deal with sorrow. avoid emailing just references to verses. (many people don’t keep their bible open at the computer)
- interact scripture with what the person is saying. don’t just think of a verse and quote it. And personally I have needed very direct interaction… big overarching truths, I know they are true and they are often familiar enough to be insulting when given to me. I know that God is better than anything else. I know that the gospel is all I need. But really thought out and explained personal application.. now that’s been helpful.
- taking even a word and taking it apart for a suffering heart might be just the right bite of meat they need to just help bring coherence to a verse and what they are going through.
for an actual example of truth well spoken in a time of hurt A friend recently wrote to me this:
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)” Jesus is offering you mercy. He is saying to you – I’m giving you a break – I’m giving you mercy to be a mess. He is not expecting you to untangle all your wires and be back to normal. He just wants your heart and all of it.
- feel open to talk about how scripture is helping YOUR life. you’ll be surprised how often what is helping you go through your trial or suffering or fight, will and can minister to their life.
- repeat what the person is saying to you in your response to them. It helps because often I am talking but even my own words aren’t making full sense to me until I hear them back and then it sounds less crazy and more concrete making me understand this process more.
- Share the truths of Gods word and your experiences with your struggles. I’ve had several mommies say, I know what you mean about the brain not working up to par… welcome to motherhood! Thats helpful to me because yes, I think grief plays a part in all the struggles I have right now, but then so does the rest of my happenings in life. I think grief muddles and motherhood tires so the combo is not so great if I have really high expectations of what I should be like right now. Other’s experiences are very helpful to keep me humble, grace-giving to myself and child, and growing in knowledge as a mother. for example a friend of mine wrote: “my baby is 9 months old now and just the other day I sat down to read Scripture and for the first time since my oldest was born I really understood what was going on in the passage. It was like I was reading it for the first time. will be fresh and new to your soul again as He restores your body and strength. I think there are seasons of life where we have to lean on the to bring to our hearts the things that we have learned in the past.”
- They need concrete ways to serve, study, love, etc.. Tasks are good for me to do right now, because if I know something has to be done I can totally throw my mind into it and do it. It helps bring clarity to service and my walk with God. Tasks that involve a lot of decisions and deep interaction with others I’m not so hot at right now. It’s like my brain goes into shut down mode and my wall goes up when things get dramatic or too personal. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to serve my church or love my friends and family. I just need the clarity to know what to do and either do it on my own timing or right then. Don’t be afraid to ask a grieving friend to do something, just give them the freedom to say yes or no or be able to modify it to fit their needs at this time.
Now, I write this just as a reminder to me of what I’ve gone through and how I too can remember all that God has done through his children to encourage and hold me through this trial. Please know that I do know the intentions of the hearts when people try to encourage and fail to. I hope you don’t in any way read this and wonder did I say the wrong thing? Just read and soak up ways that you can love others that are hurting right now in your life. And know that these are just my experience, I’m not saying they are 100% biblical or flawless but just what I have learned about myself and others the past few months. And I do also want to say that I’ve been LOVED WELL!! Everyone is so great to keep loving and encouraging me and I’m so grateful for those in my life and so in awe of God’s giftings in those who just have a way with bringing light to a dreary or confusing day! THANK YOU ALL!