I received a Facebook message last week from a mom who has a friend going through a tough time. Her friend’s husband had an affair, had separated from her, and now she weathering a crisis she didn’t see coming.
She wrote me because she knew I’d been in a “this-isn’t-the-life-I-signed-up-for” season recently and she wondered what she could do for her friend that would make a difference. I shared with her some of the things that people did that really made a difference for me in my dark season.
If you know of someone going through a tough time–whether it’s due to death, illness, separation, divorce, or any other kind of crisis–here are some acts of kindness that can really make a difference:
1) A scripture text or a “I’m thinking of you” text nearly every day. It can say something like, “I’m thinking about you” or “I care” plus a scripture about how God cares for the brokenhearted or how He sees her. (Psalm 34:18, Psalm 119:28; Psalm 147:3, Isaiah 61:1; I Peter 5:7; Philippians 4:6 are good verses.)
2) A meal with a note that says “I care.” One person dropped a meal by my house with this simple note: “I know this single mom life is not what you signed up for. I promise to pray for you as God prompts.”
3) A call when you’re at the grocery store.“I’m at the store. Is there anything you need me to pick up for you?” This kept me out of public settings so I didn’t have to talk to people. If I talked I usually cried so one sensitive friend tried to give me the space I needed by keeping me out of those awkward public settings like grocery stores.
4) A sweet note with a gift card for pizza. You’ve got kids to feed but just don’t feel like cooking.
5) A listening ear that keeps pointing her to Christ. The most important thing I had were friends that kept telling me, “I’m praying for restoration in your marriage. I’m praying for soft hearts. But more than anything I’m praying for you to draw closer to God in this season than ever before.” This allowed me to get to the point where I was able to say, “It is not well with my circumstances, but it is well with my soul.”
6) A reminder to take one day at a time..sometimes one minute at a time. Remind her to not look days, weeks, months down the road or she’ll drive herself crazy with the “what if’s.”
7) Some encouragement to seek Christian counseling. She needs someone to help her sort out her heart that is broken in a million pieces. Right after my crisis, I had one friend that actually went to a counseling appt with me….she took notes of all the things the counselor said because I couldn’t stop crying.
8) A gift of one of these books: When the Hurt Runs Deep by Kay Arthur or Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. Both of these books were absolute life savers for me.
9) The gift of your presence. Within an hour of my crisis, 3 friends were at my house and stayed well past midnight. One friend stayed 2 days until my father and sister arrived. Had she not been there and put food and water in front of me, I doubt I would have eaten or drank anything those first few days.
10) Prayer. Pray with and for your friend as God prompts. In my brokenness and grief, I sometimes didn’t even know how to pray. Friends who could think straighter than I could carried me with their prayers.
What about you? Have you ever walked through a crisis? What acts of kindness would you add to this list?