So I have likely just given you the name of the book I am publishing one day but just act surprised when you see it in print. A dear friend reached out to me earlier this week to ask how she should help a friend whose husband just went to Rehab. She said she knew all the usual stuff to do like send a card, drop off a surprise treat, etc. but wanted to know from someone who had been through the same situation what would be most helpful. I love my friend’s heart and her eagerness to love her hurting friend well. I gave her some “to do’s” & thought it may be something that everyone needs to hear. You may not all know a wife whose hubby just went to Rehab but we all know somebody who is going through a hard time of some sort and these tips of how to help may get you helping and loving on your friend in need. Here are my tips in no certain order:
- Just be there for her. Just sit with her, talk if she wants to talk, let her cry if she wants to cry, let her laugh if she needs to laugh but she may very well just want someone to hold her hand and sit with her. One of the most profound verses in the bible to me is found in the book of Job. Most of us know the story of Job and his misfortune but if you don’t just know that Job lost EVERYTHING in a matter of days and he was brokenhearted. The end of Job Chapter 2 talks about his friends coming to his aid and verse 13 is my favorite because it says “then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights.” Don’t miss that – his friends didn’t DO anything, they just sat. Sometimes we just need to sit with people and just be with them in their heartache.
- If your hurting friend has kids, offer to babysit them or take them off her hands for a little while. This is especially crucial if she has lost her husband for a time or indefinitely and is a single parent. Let your friend go to Kroger by herself. That will bless her socks off.
- Invite her out to dinner or out to a movie or just out somewhere. When my husband was away for a year, I remember just wanting to get ready and go out. You take for granted always having a husband to do that with and if you are in a stage of life where most friends are married then you feel kind of alone and just want to get ready and go out somewhere with somebody. Lunch, dinner, coffee, take her anywhere outside of her home.
- Buy your friend some books, even if she doesn’t like to read. It will help her to study up on what is happening around her and it may give her hope. If your friend does have a husband battling addiction, I can suggest two books by Gary Morland. “Scary Hope” and “From Beer to Eternity”. Incredible books written by a former alcoholic who found Jesus and saw his life redeemed and family restored. Also for families struggling with addiction, there is a great video about a regenerated man, a restored family and their beautiful redemption story. It can be found at http://www.crossroadsrecovery.org. I heard the family that started that ministry is pretty cool:)
- Connect her with someone who has faced a similar situation, persevered/faced it well.
- Acknowledge her hurt. This is key. In a lot of situations involving addiction, broken marriages, mental illness, etc. people get scared to talk about it or bring it up. BRING IT UP. The last thing you want to make her feel is isolated or ignored. It is her reality and it will help to acknowledge it. The opposite of love is not hate but rather it is indifference. Don’t be indifferent.
- LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST. Take home girl a casserole!!! Holy smokes, when I was in my time of need trying to work a demanding full time job, raise two little kids, run a household and basically do ALL the things I just wanted someone to bring me a casserole because dinner is hard. Dinner is still hard for me by the way so I will always take a casserole. It has even become a joke between my closest friends – any time I face anything, they are like “do you want a casserole?” and I’m like “yes”:) Seriously, we live in the South and that is what we do ladies, we take food. We should do it not only when someone physically dies but also any time things get hard for one of our sisters. Food brings comfort and it is one less thing to think about when your world is falling apart.
Maybe you will find my tips helpful in some way along the journey. There is a saying that you have either just exited a trial, are in the middle of one or headed in to one. I hope you have some good folks surrounding you that will love on you whatever phase you are in because we need our people in every life stage. I don’t know where I would be without my people & I hope I can be as good to them as they have been to me. Ask the Lord to give you new eyes so you can clearly see and I promise he will. You will become more aware of people and their situations everywhere you go. Your blinders will fall off and you will be able to love like Jesus did. Since none of us know what tomorrow holds, stay trained up. Keep scripture close, stay prayed up and train for the marathon of life. Runners don’t just show up on race day – they prepare for months in advance by running, adding distance and eating right. We should take care of our spiritual beings in the same way so that when our trial comes we have on the armor and we are ready. Then we can confidently say “Not today Satan, not today.” If you already have a relationship established with God then the trusting is so much easier & after you seen Him work miracles, you can trust him for even more. Give it a try, you will be glad you did. Blessings as you train! Love and hugs to all until next time!