“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiastes 3:1
I recently had a week where one of my dearest friends was picking out the dress to bury her infant daughter, while I was picking out shoes to match my dress for my oldest daughter’s wedding. I remember asking, “God, how is it possible to have tears and joy at the same time?” Then, I was reminded that there is a season for everything. And sometimes one season is filled with several different emotions.
During my quiet time that week, God reminded me that He has gone before me; that He has prepared the way. I only needed to lean into Him and fully trust His perfect plans. Well, this imperfect woman sometimes tries to alter God’s plans; you know, just a little tweak. But, this time, I was still. I stuck with God and allowed Him to take care of my friend and of me. In this stillness and quietness, God showed me ways to serve my friend, while also celebrating my daughter’s upcoming wedding.
Ways to serve a grieving friend:
- Let your friend know you are praying for her, but don’t expect an answer back. Grief takes lots of energy and everyone handles it differently. Do not get your feelings hurt or expect her to call, text, or send emails. She and her family will contact you and others when they are up to it.
- Find tangible ways to serve your friend and her family. Start a calendar for others to sign up to bring meals, mow the yard, and do other errands. I learned a great suggestion for bringing meals: Place a cooler on the porch for the meal. After the person delivers the food, they can text and let your friend know it has arrived. The family won’t feel obligated to chat with everyone – they are physically and emotionally exhausted – let them set the tone for visiting.
- Have one person be the contact person to text or email others with updates and prayer concerns. Make it as easy as possible for your friend and her family to get pertinent information to others without the trouble and stress of contacting everyone.
- Pray continually.
- Give your friend a gift to remember her loved one. It could be a piece of jewelry, a tree to plant, or a donation in memory of the person she is grieving.
- Send cards and emails weeks after your friend’s loss. The process of healing both physically and emotionally will take time. Let your friend know you love her and are praying for her through the entire season.
As I finished a photo book to present to my daughter the eve of her wedding, I went through albums and boxes of pictures. I laughed, remembered, and said prayers of gratefulness for this daughter who has filled my heart with so much love. I also prayed for my friend whose daughter never took a breath on this earth, but also brought such love to her family. We will not understand everything that happens on this earth, but we can fully trust the ONE who does understand.
May God fill you with His love through each season. And may you find ways to serve others through the sorrows and celebrate during the joys.