Daughters of Promise
(Pictures courtesy of Judy Martin)
It's a beautiful day today and I am so immensely enjoying this weather. The babies and I took a nice long walk, froliced in the backyard and now we ALL (thank the Lord!) are enjoying some 'quiet time'. In just a few moments, I'll pour myself a glass of cold lemonade and head out to the front porch to do a little reading. (I just checked out a new book on the life of Martin Luther. It probably will not be a page-turner, but I think it's worth taking time to read--in the few spare moments i have. In reality, I'll probably only get to chapter 2!)
Last weekend, my dear friend Jennifer Phipps joined me for a one-day woman's conference called "Daughters of Promise", led by Christine Wyrtzen, a genuine woman who has been sweetly seasoned with hardships and heartaches along her journey with God. These things have made her refreshingly real, unlike some Christian women speakers who seem untouchable, and thus, unrelatable. If your heart is in need of a daily dose of grace-filled, unpretencious, love-motivated inspirations, I would encourage you to visit her website and sign up for her daily devotional. http://www.daughtersofpromise.org/. Spending time in her presence, wether reading or listening, does not lead you to think "She's the best!" (although she is a wonderful lady!), but rather she directs your focus to her (and your!) Heavenly Father and leaves you with that. What a tremendous & refreshing difference from what goes on in so much of our Christian culture today.
She shared many words of wisdom that day, among them a list of "15 Ways to Say 'I Care'". These were such practical suggestions, taken from real life experiences and I felt it was good to be reminded, as this reality that we live in can be so painful and so few of us are prepared to give comfort when it is most needed (so out of fear or uncertainty, we'll quick duck down an aisle when we see Henrietta Hurting come through the doors of the grocery store. I'm guilty as any!). So...here are a few excerpts from that list!
15 (9 in this case!) Ways To Say "I Care"
by Christine Wyrtzen
1. Let them know they are not alone.
2. Give empathy FIRST, answers LAST (or not at all!) Remember, their spirit is what needs comfort...not their intellect!
3. Share their losses. Do not hesitate (as we do naturally) to use the name of a loved one who has passed on, if that is the case of the hurt.
4. Reach out in private. (Crowded places, busy spaces are not the place to ask questions and listen intently).
5. Celebrate Milestones (put something on their calendar that they can look forward too!)
6. Network with other survivors (When you sense they are ready, put the woman who lost her baby in childbirth with another who has had the same experience. Trust me, this is a good thing!)
7. This is my favorite. ASK GOOD QUESTIONS! Inquire to the feelings of their heart with open ended questions such as, "How are you handling this?" or "What is the most difficult part of what you are going through? and "How are the people in your life handling your pain?". (I especially liked the last suggestion).
8. Remember their shock system. This was also a good reminder that, in a case of death, the survivor(s) are given a built-in, God-given shock system that allows them to function, sometimes even brilliantly, the first few weeks after their loss. People who see them at the funeral marvel at how well they are handling this, not realizing that in 6 weeks, this person is going to feel like they were hit by a truck (all over again). It is the weeks, months and even years after the initial flurry of change in which they will most need a loving shoulder to cry on.
9. Affirm their value.
Again, these are a few of my favorites from a list rich with wisdom in how to reach out to those we see struggling under the burden of hurt--be it a divorce, death, job loss, baby loss, depression....whatever! We all face the hard stuff of life, and it is neccessary to love on each other, especially during those times. It turns out so much better than when we duck down aisle 8 to avoid the pain walking towards us.
Maybe there is someone I'm forgetting today. Dear God please bring them to mind. I know you will!!