Helping Those Who Hurt

This is a late recap of our MOPS meeting on 3/31/11. Sorry for the delay! You will also find the newsletters from 3/31 and today (4/14) in the sidebar on the left.

Two weeks ago, Lorri Goode shared with us her story and gave us tips on helping those who hurt. Lorri grew up in a Christian home. While she knew about Christ and His love and accepted him as savior, she was also a pleaser and had the philosophy that if she did all the right things, then good things would happen. Her life was performance based. She chose to attend a Christian university. That is where she met her future husband. Life was pretty good. She did not have to rely on her faith.

All that changed about six years into her marriage. She continued to try hard to do everything right and be perfect but that was getting much more difficult. She and her family moved to an acreage. By that time she had two children (boys), her husband was starting his own contracting business, which meant long hours away from home, and, when he was home, he was working on remodeling their house. In the midst of this chaos, she discovered she was pregnant with #3. Initially she was not overjoyed with this news, especially if it was another boy. But throughout the pregnancy, she bonded with the tiny life inside her.

Finally, one day in mid-March, it was time for that baby to join the world. Lorri labored for 26 hours and pushed for a few more. Connor Austin was born March 14 at 11 a.m.. This should have been the happy ending to the story but it wasn’t. Connor was born strep b positive and infection set in. The doctors knew that all was not right. By midnight, Lorri learned that her son was gravely ill. It was decided that he should be transported to Children’s Hospital in Omaha. Due to a series of circumstances, it took 3 hours to get him there. At times during that trip, he was without oxygen. By the time he arrived, there was no hope. Lorri’s husband and sister were able to hold him as he took his last breath.

As Lorri waited to hear the news, God began speaking to her heart. 2 Corinthians 12:9 – “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” – was the verse that kept coming into her mind. And when the awful truth came, she had to decide if she truly believed that God’s grace was sufficient, even in this. In the days and months that followed, Lorri chose to believe that God’s grace was sufficient. She clung to God’s word. A friend gave her a crisis pack of verses that she could pull out to remind her that God was with her.

She continued a journal she had started before Connor was born. The beginning contained her hopes and prayers for him, all that he would do and become. In the latter pages, she chose to record the blessings that have come about due to his brief, but remarkable life. Those 9 months in her womb and 16 hours outside of it have made an eternal impact. Lorri has been able to share his story and the way that God has sustained her. She has been able to comfort others who have faced loss and are hurting. She has been able to teach those of us who want to comfort others how to do it.

Lorri shared a handout with tips on how best to help those who we know are hurting. This information can be used for all kinds of hurts – death, divorce, long term illness, extended job loss, miscarriage, etc. I am reprinting below the care tips, what not to say, and what to say.

Care Tips:
Pray and ask for wisdom from God as you are going to your friend.
Go right away – don’t assume someone else will go. That is not always the case.
Demonstrate calmness, concern, and acceptance.
Stay – your willingness to sit with them is a promise of hope and love.
Stop by or call regularly.
Acknowledge that crisis and losses are physical. It’s as much physical as emotional.
Meet practical needs.
Make an effort to reach out and talk directly to your friend.
Be there, and don’t judge, condemn, or blame.
Don’t shy away from talking about the loss or the situation.
Never tell them to just move on. Continue to show your support through prayer, love, and thoughtful actions.

** When to refer them to professional help:
– the person has stopped eating or sleeping
– the person doesn’t leave home for an abnormal period of time
– the person is unable to perform basic tasks or take care of their children
– the person shows signs of suicidal intent

What NOT to say:
“Everything happens for a reason; God will work this out for good.”
Don’t try and give hurting people something to feel “grateful” for – “It’s a blessing it happened now rather than later.”
“The reason this happened was…”
“It’s your own fault…you did it to yourself!”
“Maybe we should have prayed harder”
“I wish there was something I could do”
“You just need to trust God”
“I know just how you’re feeling”
“Better luck next time”

What TO say:
There really is not a whole lot for you to say, especially in the beginning. LISTEN, LISTEN, LISTEN!
“I’m so sorry, I care about you and am praying or you.” or “Can I pray for you right not?”
“I don’t know what to say. Please know that I am here for you.”
“I’m so sorry, this is a terrible loss.”
“You’re not alone. I’m here for you. Can I call you on Friday?”
“We can work through this.”
“What are your most pressing needs right now?” or “What do you need today that I can do for you?”

Crisis Verses
Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Psalm 142:3
I am overwhelmed and desperate; and you alone know which way I ought to turn.

Psalm 56:8
You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book.

Psalm 138:3
In the day when I cried, thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul.

Psalm 91:4
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wing you will find refuge, his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

Isaiah 43:1b-3
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand.

John 16:22
Therefore, you too now have sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice and now one takes your joy away from you.

Psalm 147:3
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

All of Psalm 91

Psalm 126:5
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.