Since David’s birth we have had many hospital stays, surgeries and difficult times. And during those times, we’ve had friends who have walked beside us and loved us well. I’m not sure I would have known how to love someone well, before experiencing such intense pain, sadness and stress firsthand. It’s hard to be in need. I’d much rather be the one to encourage and bless, rather than receive. Wouldn’t you? But being needy means someone else gets to serve—and that’s a beautiful thing!
We just completed a short hospital stay and I was reminded of how small acts of kindness can carry such great meaning. I’d love to share some of the simple ways that others have encouraged us during difficult times.
- Pray. I can’t tell you how important this is to us. Covering us in prayer is the most meaningful thing someone can give to me and my family. I believe in the power of prayer. Pray for healing, pray for peace, pray for energy and encouragement. Pray specifically and tell your friend what you’re praying over them.
- Send a card. When David was born, we were flooded with mail. Every day when I checked the mailbox there were notes of encouragement and love. One friend sent me a card every single day for a month. I loved it.
- Serve and be specific. When we’re in an intense time, I find I have a hard time making simple decisions and I’m pretty much focused on the moment we’re in. Telling someone how you’re going to serve them can help tremendously. Examples might be, “I’m going to Target. What can I get for you?” Or, “I’m bringing you dinner tomorrow night, is lasagna, okay?”
- Just listen. It can be so tempting to give advice or want to make things better. During times of crisis, this can feel like someone is trying to minimize your pain. The best thing to do is just listen and tell your friend you love them. Remind them that you are journeying beside them, no matter what.
- Have no expectations. Make dinners, send cards and texts, babysit kids, give love and don’t expect anything in return. I know there are people who did things for us and never even got a thank you. They did it because they wanted to show us love and expected nothing in return. When I’m in crisis there are times I’m so focused on what’s happening that even a simple ‘thank-you’ doesn’t cross my mind.
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Have you gone through a difficult time? What made you feel loved and encouraged?