Devotional

These Are My People: 11 Practical Ways to Encourage a Hurting Friend

Deanna, Gina, Vanessa, Whitney, Michelle, Sarah, and Stacie. These are my people. They didn’t ask to be my people, and I didn’t ask them to be. But they are, and God knew I needed them!

God brought each of these ladies into my life at different times and in different ways, but all for one purpose – to encourage me in the Lord and to walk with me through the valley.

Some of these ladies know each other and some do not, but they all have something in common. They are all kind, compassionate, loving women of God who have loved me, encouraged me, and prayed with me in some of the most difficult days of my life. Not one of them ran away from my mess, but they ran toward it. They leaned in with listening ears, hearing things they never wanted to hear, walking a road with me they never thought they would walk. They have offered hope and help in times of despair and grief.

These are my people who have not only cried with me in my sorrow and pain, but have also rejoiced with me in my joys and victories. They have helped me see God’s blessings in the midst of difficult circumstances. They do not always understand, but they try. Only one has been where I am right now. She gets it – all of it! But why do we think our people always have to understand? They don’t! They just need to be there!

Two Are Better Than One

God did not create us to navigate this life alone. When He created Adam, he declared that it was not good for Adam to be alone. God created Eve to be his companion and helper. All throughout scripture we see that often when someone was alone, God sent a friend, an angel, some kind of companion to help them. Solomon reminds us of how we fare better with a friend.

“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (KJV)

This passage is proof that the buddy system is Biblical! Our parents and teachers always told us to stay in groups of two or three. Why? It was for our safety. There is accountability as well as safety in numbers. If someone should get hurt or lost, they would have a buddy with them to help.

Look For Your People

When you find yourself in a trying situation whether big or small, look for your people. Sometimes we walk alone, because we fail to see our people when they show up. Why do we do this? I think there are several reasons.

  1. We have unrealistic expectations of others. We expect them to fix our problems or to do more than they can do. Perhaps they didn’t say or do just the right thing and we fail to appreciate their efforts.
  2. Fear and pride keep us from opening up and sharing our struggles.
  3. We push others away by complaining or rejecting their help. I have seen people either refuse help altogether, or accept help, and then become angry because it wasn’t exactly what they wanted.
  4. Failure to be thankful for the little things causes us to disregard our people. Someone offers us a hug, a word of encouragement, a prayer, a small gift, or simply their presence, yet we fail to see the blessing in it.
  5. We expect our people to completely understand our situation. Not everyone will have been where you are, nor will they completely understand what you are going through. But they don’t have to. If someone is willing to be with you, listen to you, try to understand, pray with you, or meet a specific need, THEY ARE YOUR PERSON!

Not My Only People

I want to take the time here to say that the ladies listed above are not my only people. These particular ladies are my “A” team so to speak. They are on the front lines of the battle with me. They know the battle plan and are there to help me carry it through. However, there are many others who check in on me, pray for me, offer words of encouragement, and continue to support me as they feel led. They are my people too, and I appreciate every one of them.

Moses’ People

My people remind me of the account of Moses as he led the Israelites in battle against the Amalekites. While his men were fighting down below, Moses stood at the top of the hill with his hands lifted up. As long as his hands were raised, Israel succeeded, but when he let down his hands, Israel was defeated . Exodus 17:12 gives us the account of how his friends stepped in to help him. “But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”

Moses’ friends gave him a place to rest and supported his hands for him when he ran out of strength to hold them up himself. That is exactly what my friends have done for me. They have given me a safe place to rest in their presence and then while I am there, they hold me up when my strength is waning. They keep me going through the battle. Just as Moses couldn’t win the battle on his own, neither can I. I need the support of others to keep me going.

Be Someone’s Person

We all go through trials in this life. It is part of the curse of sin. Whether we face sickness, injury, financial struggles, relationship issues, loss of loved ones, addiction, or more, we all face trials. The question is, “What are you going to do with your trial?” We should never let a trial go to waste. We should accept it, learn from it, and use it to help others.

Trials in life are not fun. They are not something we desire, nor enjoy. We would all avoid them, if possible. Yet we know that life is filled with trials that we must face. Some trials are of our own making. Others are caused by the actions of another. And some simply happen by the sovereignty of God and we do not understand why.

One thing we do know is that God comforts us in our trials, so that we can, in turn, comfort others in theirs. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

How has God comforted you in your situation? What do you wish someone had done for you that no one did? Consider these things and use them to comfort others just as this passage suggests.

11 Practical Ways to Encourage A Hurting Friend

  1. Give hugs.
  2. Send a card or note of encouragement.
  3. Give a helpful book that has been an encouragement to you.
  4. Let them know you are praying for them. Ask for specific prayer requests.
  5. Take them a meal. A sickness or death in the family are not the only times this is helpful.
  6. Give them money or a gift card. This can either meet a financial need or simply help them enjoy some much needed time away to do something fun and relaxing.
  7. Ask specific questions about their situation, but know when to stop. Not everyone is on the same level of needing to know details, so it is important to know where you stand.
  8. Take them out for coffee, tea, dessert, or a meal. Follow their lead on what to talk about. They might want to talk about their situation or they might just want to discuss something lighter and fun. Either way, you will be a blessing.
  9. Offer to meet a specific need. Depending on their situation in life, you could offer to babysit or help drive their kids to activities. Offer to do yard work, chores around the house, or help with a special project.
  10. Just show up. Words are not always necessary. Just be there. Drive them to an appointment, sit with them in church, take a quiet walk together, or sit quietly by their side. Your presence will make a difference.
  11. Don’t judge! This is probably the hardest issue for many of us. We want to either fix their problem or try to make sense of it. Sometimes we just like to feel more important or more spiritual than we are. Remember, you do not have all the details and you never will. Whether it is someone’s health, safety, relationships, spiritual struggles, whatever it might be, your job is to pray and offer support.

There are endless ways we can reach out to those around us. We just need to look for them. Remember, you can’t be all things to everyone, but you can be something to someone! Be someone’s person!

Wife, mom, grandma, and country girl. I am living by faith and encouraging others to do the same. I integrate faith, family and country living.

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