What Gift To Give Your Friend Who Is Hurting
Have you ever watched a friend, family member, co-worker or even acquaintance go through something terrible? Despite all your empathy, sympathy and well meaning, you still felt helpless? Have you ever thought: What could I possibly do to make this situation better without the ability to change their situation?
Fortunately, I've also been on the receiving end of that. Two ladies came over unannounced, intruded in on my wallowing, brought unrequested, thoughtful gifts, and lavished undeserved love on me in my situation. At the time we were merely aquaintances.
What an intrusion. What audacity. What boldness on their part, to barge into my darkest season.
Also thank God for it all.
A few weeks ago a Pastor friend of mine reached out explaining he was putting together a series called GenerUS with the intention of looking at generosity when it comes to our time. I.e. "learning to be." In response to reading my book and specifically the chapter titled, Aaron and Hur, he asked, "What did it mean to you for someone to give you the gift of being?"
He asked me to put some notes together in response to his questions and I just happened to re-visit these notes and decided to share them directly to you today. These notes are unedited, but I think it's an important topic to address especially right before the holidays. (Loneliness is never more exaggerated and glaring than around the Holidays, so we should keep an eye out for each other.)
Here's a portion of our conversation in preparing for GenerUS:
Sometimes, A person in crisis simply needs a listening ear. And it doesn't have to be someone in crisis, necessarily— maybe just someone who's lonely, discouraged, or simply someone who could be better if someone took the time to invest in them, and listen to their story.
The idea of BEING: The idea that we should be present sounds simple, but it's my opinion that this is actually harder for women than it may seem. Perhaps that's because women tend to want to have all the answers. If we can't have all the answers, we tend to shrink back from the conversation, because we like fixing things and we don't want to feel helpless. For example, sometimes the crisis is so big, we don't know how we can help, so we do the worst thing possible; nothing.
I have heard from women who have lost children who have admitted they were surprised by the lack of friends who came to comfort them, and I think it is because of this very thing. A card is not enough, a phone call seems empty, material things are worthless in a situation like that, and we can't explain why anyone would have to go through such a great loss. So sometimes, we are paralyzed by our helplessness. And we do nothing.
YET- as followers of Jesus, we may not have all the answers, but we are never helpless. Some of my most powerful moments from the chapter "Aaron and Hur" were with Aunt Jan and Shannon letting me cry, letting me talk through the confusion over steaming cups of tea, and over a fresh baked treat I felt too sick to eat. The gift of their present-ness, I found, was powerful.
And they, in turn, not having all the answers, but still being willing to fumble their way with me towards looking to this God of the Bible who claimed he had the answers. So Aunt Jan would reach out her hand until I placed mine into hers, and calmly pray, "God, we don't know what to do. Show us what to do." And then we would lay out our needs before God and wait on him. Often times this led to reading scriptures, or talking about other times when God came through, or simply waiting on his presence. So we don't have to have all the answers to help someone in need. The pressure is off of us, and we put our trust in a God who is competent and faithful to meet us when we ask him to.
At the time, I didn't need money, gifts, or any other resources, but their gift of being calmed my spirit down, and the panic would leave my body just knowing I wasn't alone.
(& they weren't just watching Netflix with me, you know? They were on a quest to find God with me, and that led us into adventure.)
When you go through something hard with someone, walk with them through the trenches, you end up with a rewarding, strong connection with those people that will never go away. It's a special bond we have now, knowing we went to war together.
Would you like to read the whole chapter of Aaron and Hur? For the next two days only, through the 21st, I'll send the whole chapter on Christian friendship for free straight to your inbox. I describe how two women locked arms with me after my husband's affair and showed me the love of Christ as I'd never seen it done before. Simply sign up for emails on my website (or if you are already a subscriber, let me know you'd like me to send you the chapter in the comments below.) Then tag a friend who would like this offer too.
"When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up— one on one side, one on the other— so that his hands remained steady till sunset." Exodus 17:12
I’m thrilled to join with a group of authors to bring some encouragement for your hearts AND an awesome giveaway for Christmas. Use the links below to visit their sites!
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