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?
I have a background as a RN and serve as our church's Care Minister. I've buried both my parents, and my older brother died suddenly of a heart attack in February. Of my birth family, I have two sisters still living, one of which has Alzheimer's at the age of 58, and she's not expected to live more than a couple more years.
My experience through all of this is that the most helpful thing is simply being present. Showing up with a hug, crying with the person, not being afraid to mention the deceased even weeks and months later, but not feeling pressured to "say the right thing." Just be with them, let them talk if they choose but don't be afraid of silence. Job's friends just sat with him - they didn't get in trouble until they opened their mouths and started talking! LOL Just letting the person know you hurt with/for them is huge. And NOT sharing "I know how you feel because...."
Such good advice, Linda! Thanks! (I quote Job's friends in my devotional; they were not good helpers once they started to "know it all".)
Watching a loved one with Alzheimer's is so sad. So grateful that you are able to help so many as your church's Care Minister.
The last 12+ years have been filled with care taking of my husbands parents until their passing, his mother lived with us for almost a year. My father is an Alzheimer's patient who is declining rapidly so waiting for the call is like living on pins and needles. Plus a girlfriend died from breast cancer. Before that I was blessed to be able to walk alongside a widow for many years especially once the crowd thinned out and people returned to their "normal" loves of activities. We would at times just be together in quiet, watch a movie, talked about everything as well as anything, etc. Just being available was and consistent, being purposeful in making her a priority was the way I found that helped her especially when 3 out of 4 adult children lived in other states, one in another country! So they couldn't be near to help the grieving plus finding what the next season of her life was. It saddens me to go to church and people rush by me, they don't stop to listen or care. Not that I think I would spill my guts so to speak to everyone but people don't seem to care anymore. They appear or speak as though I should just get up and move on, just how does one do that with a parent in the last stage of his life?
Through it all, I have been blessed with one faithful girlfriend who never condemns not judges me. She understands what happens to me when I am grieving, when some days are better than others; she rolls with it. My husband and sons love on me. The time I am blessed with now to read, review, write....rest, is such a gift from God. My friend and I study the Word together when I have times of being able to think and focus on Him, and answer questions, etc.
What helps me get out of bed is being able right now to have my 5 yr old great nephew here after his 1/2 day at preschool. Having a purpose, or reason to get up in caring for him has helped a lot plus the laughter, joy and delight he is. God is Faithful for sure!
Lisa, I'm grateful for your great nephew, too! And your faithful girlfriend. I always say one really good friend is all you need.
People often act too busy. I think they are missing out. There are blessings for us when we take the time to reach others. It's in the serving of others that we often "save" ourselves.
And what a great focus that is! Remembering people after the "limelight" has been removed from them is so necessary. They still ache even if others have moved on to whomever is facing the next crisis. It takes lots of time to heal; support needs to be constant.
As far as the loss is concerned, I try to be there as a shoulder to lean on for the person in need. That's the best I can offer right now, so it has to be something I, myelf can handle. In regards to the "myself" question...I try to think positive by using a negative thought. Let me explain. If I look at the outlook that someone else is having a harder time than I am or someone else is hurting more than I am, then I reject my own pain and sorrow and move on, thus, getting out of bed without argument. I find that this has helped me tremendously. Just like the saying goes, " My woes are bad, but someone else's woe's are much worse." I keep that value all the time, thus giving me a positive outlook that my day is only as "bad" as I let it be.
Yes, when we open our eyes to the suffering of others it does make us realize this is not a perfect world and thatwe are not alone in having to experience grief and loss.
This was going to be part of my last entry but my computer kept erasing me. Windows 8 is not my friend! At any rate, I meant to say that having a chronically ill child is another kind of loss---loss of hopes and dreams for his future, grandchildren, etc. For years I kept trying to drag him to mental health--as if I could "fix him" by my own efforts. The turning point for me was my "bathtub experience". I was sitting in the tub(only place for privacy), sobbing my heartache and cried out to God, "You HAVE to help him. I love him so much." As clear as a bell, I heard, " I love him too." Needless to say, I was so much easier to leave him in God's hands and just love him.
Thank God for those bathtub moments! God loves you and He loves your child. Forever. Perfectly.
What got me through the loss of my daughter-in-law, due to cancer, was prayer. She died, her youngest child turned 4 less than a month after her death. Another thing that has helped, I've been involved with a internet prayer group that is targeted for children that ill, cancer, but the prayers include family, their friends, and really people that need it. Most are disabled due to illness, tumors, heart problems, etc. It helped me with the loss of Kim (DIL) by sending prayers to others that were hurting too. Sharing God's grace helps both sides.