So delighted! At last, my devotional, Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: Reflections of Comfort in Heartache, is out! This book has opened many doors for me to meet with others who are in pain due to the many sorrows experienced in life. I am speaking on the book's themes (forgiveness, anguish, anger, praise) on radio shows and at groups around my state and the country. I wrote this devotional from my own anguish after losing my four-year-old son Daniel to cancer.
I feel many Christians tend to brush over the impact loss has on our lives. Acknowledging a person's pain is key in order to be able to walk with him/her in their sorrow.
How do you help those you know who are suffering now with loss (financial, health, death of a loved one, broken relationships) in their lives? What have you found to be effective when you have been the one having a tough time getting out of bed in the morning?
Isn't it interesting that when we (in the Church) are hurting emotionally due to a life-altering event our brothers and sisters seem to think our Faith should provide a quick fix . . . but those same folks would not THINK of asking someone to walk on a broken leg. Emotional pain is uncomfortable to bear and to watch and we want it to go away . . .
Thanks for writing the devotional!
Thanks! God has used my devotional to help me. Interesting, isn' it? I love sharing from it and hearing how it blesses others in sorrow.
I think when you can't see the actual wound (like a broken heart), people aren't able to see just how devastating and deep the injury is! We do want other people's pain to go away and we are uncomfortable with it. You are so right, Patricia.
I have a dear friend who lost her husband to cancer right before Christmas. His death was sudden, the cancer only diagnosed 4-5 weeks before he passed. She has been so devasted. How have I helped...I don't know that I have, even though I have certainly tried. Prayers go up every day. Physical support in the form of hugs and whispered words of encouragement. I've taken grief counseling courses in the performance of my job. I understand that there are no "right" words to say. I think just letting her know that she isn't alone is the best thing I can do for her.
On a personal level, There are some losses that you just have to work through, all the levels, anger, denial, acceptance. When our 22 month old grandson was murdered 18 years ago, all the kind words in the world were usless. Only time and God's love can heal some kinds of pain.
I completely agree, Sharon. Sometimes just saying, "I don't know what to say" or "I'm so sorry" is all you can say. Sometimes there aren't any words for the horrific things that happen to people in this world.
I have a dear friend who is going through some really rough times right now. Gut wrenching stuff. And I just let her lead. I'm here and she knows it, but I'm keeping my distance too. Praying all the while but giving her space while checking on her once in a while as God leads. In ourselves, it's hard to know what/when/how to say things, but usually God will give us the words at the right time to speak to others when we ask Him to lead.
Will be praying for your friend. Again, there are no words...just prayers going up for her. I'm sure you are doing more than you realize just by being there and being available.
This is a timely discussion to enter for me as I am working through the end of my 22 year marriage. The grief and loss has devastated my life and that of my two sons. However, out of the ashes great things are developing. God has been faithful to bring counselors, pastors, friends and loved ones beside us. They offer wisdom, guidance, love and prayers every single step of the way. I was told just yesterday the God always uses events to teach us our utter dependance on Him. I believe that. God loves us SO MUCH and He wants to use our lives to reach others for His kingdom. What feels like an event that makes it hard to get out of bed - is something God uses to draw us - and others close to His heart for all eternity.
That is hope! And our experiences enable us to stand by others in their trials and share that hope. It's a lot of work when it's our time to grieve. It is a necessary work that enables us to help others when it is their time to grieve.
My marriage ended years after my son's death. I ache with you, Kim.
Utter dependance on God. I think that's what I have been learning lately, too. I used to want to do it all alone and feel independent. Trusting God is a radical thing. It's scary when you are in dire straits.
I hate hearing that your grandson was murdered, Sharon. How devastating!
Time. Only time. When I was interviewed yesterday for a Denver radio station, that's what I said. There is no way around grief when a loved one dies (especially a beloved spouse or child), only through it. You have to walk through the rocky path. And it is some of the hardest work you'll ever do. That's why they call it "grief work" I guess.
From my experience after the death of my son, those who cried with me, shared Daniel stories, and let me be me were the best comforters!
Thanks for sharing here, Sharon.
I, too, am so sorry Sharon to hear about your grandson. This world can be really cruel at times. So sorry.
I don't feel I have a good enough answer. I am sometimes really at a loss as to what would be best for each person who is suffering a loss. A good friend had a loss of a parent near Christmas time so I decided to send a wreath from LLBean to brighten her doorway. It seemed to me to be a good thing to do and I think it was helpful to her. They did not really have a service for her dad so I could not send flowers or be there, especially since she lives far away.
Recently a friend lost his wife not long before Christmas. The wreath idea came to mind again. This time it did not seem to be the right thing to do. I sent some cards and e-mails and my husband and I met him for lunch one Sunday so he could just talk about his wife and how hard it is without her. It seemed the right thing to do.
Each case is individual and although I feel inadequate to do much to relieve the grief, I guess God sort of guides me into something to do in each case. As for myself, there have been times when it was hard to get out of bed. There have been times when I would have enjoyed going out with people or doing things at church when I did not have the money to participate. That feels like a double whammy to people who suffer from financial loss. I know people in that situation right now and it is hard to know what to do. I fumble with answers recognizing some have too much pride to accept help and others may become dependent upon help. Thoughts like that are a good cue to pray.
Concerning those with special needs children, I have not been a close friend to any who have that situation. If I were a close friend, I think I would offer to help in a way to give the parents a break even if it meant putting together a team of people to help. Even furnishing some meals can be a help. People do need to try to coordinate bringing in food though and check on allergies, etc. Also helping with transportation for other family members seems like something that could be a help.
Being open to what you are led to do is important and that is just what you seem to be doing. You are quite creative as you reach out to others.
Bless you for all your kind gestures and loving heart.
Thanks for sharing here!
Just BE with someone. I like that, Diane.