Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How do I help Them????

This will be my 4th Christmas without Ashley. The first year, we were the sense that we were the most recent ones (in our circle) to begin the walk on this road called grief and loss. It was a hard year, that first year of learning how to live again, learning how to go forward empty.
The more time has passed, the farther down the road we travel, others have begun to follow. Many of them are dear to me. Parents have buried their children, Men have buried their wives. Those of us who walk the same road, we understand, we remember. For the ones who have lost, time stopped. For those around them, life continues. For the ones who hurt, confusion sets in as they watch time pass in front of them, but feel like they stand still. The ones who hurt....they don't know what they need. The ones who watch, wonder how they can help.

My cousin recently lost his young and vibrant wife and mother of three. In an instant life changed forever. She entered glory and left behind those who must struggle to survive. Desperately wishing I could change the past or even fast forward into the future, even I wondered how I could help him. Was I crazy? I have been there myself. I tried to remember  what helped us. Being lost in each moment, I listened to all the offers of help...."just call", they said. My memory bank was full, how would I know who to call? "What do you need?" "How can I help?" I don't know what I need, I don't know how you could help me. I realized that I didn't even know what I needed. Some days I would pray ( and still do ). I would tell God...."I don't know what I need today, but I don't feel right, I know I need something. Could you please supply what I need, since I don't know what to ask for?" Some days I was in dire need of help but was too "paralyzed" in my pain to be able to seek help. I needed God to seek it for me...and others to listen to His small voice prompting them.

There were days that I never even prayed, but God sent someone or something at just the right time. I didn't always willingly accept it, but soon realized that it was indeed what I needed. If God knows what I need, and he supplies all of my needs, then He will let others know how to help me. God wants to use me and my needs to bring others to HIM! I encouraged others to pray. Not only to pray, but to really listen. Hear what God wants from you, and DO it. Don't just do it, but do it for God! Don't expect anything in return....not even affirmation, or thanks, or a response of any kind. It is about God! NOT you! I encouraged my cousin to tell others to pray and listen and respond.

As I read a blog today of a friend who started on this ugly road of grief only in July, she so beautifully and perfectly painted in words the very thing I am writing about. I desire to share her words, so as to help others to understand the hurting, to give them grace, forgiveness, and help, the kind of help that comes from being the hands and feet of our father. These are her words...slightly altered to protect her privacy...
right now...
we don't have much to give to each other...
let alone to anyone else...
So we apologize for not meeting your expectations
and for holding too high expectations
for you...

We can't see past our emotions,
We can't see past our great loss

We are blind
groping the walls
seeking light
the way out
reaching and begging and pleading
for help
for salvation....
from this lot.

But God thought us worthy of this lot
so we bear it.

mind you...
we may not bear it silently as Jesus did....
we may bear it....

completely recklessly
and inappropriately
while screaming,
while silent,
pious or angry,
thrashing against it all....
or numbing our way through it all
but we will bear it
we have no choice

God is faithful to do what He says He will doregardless of how we feel
or how we act
or what we believe
or what we doubt....

but it sure doesn't help
when we don't see
or feel
or hear....
It feels very very lonely
It is very very lonely
It feels like rejection
like punishment
like the wilderness...
Sometimes we get a glimmer of God,
when He sends someone...
when He calls out to them...
and they answer Him with a
"Yes, Lord- I am willing."

He has called out to many
but few answer His call
few answer THIS CALL-
He sends that still small voice to their heart and says... 
I want you to call them and just listen-
they may never pick up the phone.
Stop by their house-
they may close the door.
Send a note-
you may never get a response.
Call them again-
pat them on the back
hug them
even if they resist hugging you back
don't take it personal
this is not about you
this is about Me
text them a song, or a poem
send them a picture
write them a memory
let them know you miss her too
talk about her
even if it makes you uncomfortable
pray for them...
read scripture over their family
really pray for them
Stop telling them what to do
just listen
I am calling you
They need you
Are you willing?
They have NOTHING to give you back.
They will drain you,
....but I want you to help them....
are you willing?
You will never get praise
or rewards on this side of Heaven
No one will know you are helping them but Me."


Being where I am today, having walked this road for some time, knowing I still feel this way at times, many times, I am also able to look back and remember. I am able to encourage others to remember these people who are not too far away from all the hustle and bustle. They sit silently in the shadows. They are hurting. Take time to pray for them. Ask God how you can help them. Listen to him. Answer his prompting, no matter what earthly response you get. Tell no one of your deeds....give God the glory, and allow yourself to be blessed in serving Christ.