Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Advice on How to Help a Struggling Friend

I got an email from a woman whose friend has lost a child about a year ago and who has stopped coming to church. She asked for my advice. I thought the advice I gave her may be useful to more of you out there so I am including an edited copy of my email to her below. I edited it so it would be anonymous as to who the recipient and person of interest in the email are. 

I also wanted to share some thoughts from Elder Holland to my fellow angel mothers who are struggling to go to church. I will include those, which were not part of my email, below in a different font.

Now my email:

I am not exactly sure how to advise you. I wish I knew the right thing to say to these mothers that would be the "balm of Gilead" that would heal their souls and bring them back to church. Unfortunately I don't think any mortal can do that. 

What I can tell you is to just love her. Tell her you love her and give her a hug EVERY time you see her - EVEN if it is uncomfortable for you or her or both. It will get easier. Just mean it and do it. I have one girl who does this for me. She and I were acquaintances when my daughter died and now she is one of my closest friends and one of the few I feel okay opening up to now - 18 months later- when I have a really down time.

Also, you should know that your friend's not coming to church - while it is not the easiest path through grief in my view - is not uncommon. MANY many people who have lost a child go through a period of anger and many of them direct that anger at God or people at church. Many are easily offended and there are so many things people at church say (unknowingly) that can be taken offensively or that can hurt. It can be anything from any faith promoting story to direct comments of judgement from some misguided individual.

I am not saying your friend has had those experiences. I don't know if she has. But many on the angel blog have. Most have had issue with something said to them by priesthood leaders that has been hurtful to them. It is a hard thing for both parties. It is hard to be the wounded soul who has to grow thick skin very quickly where there is a gaping open wound. It is also hard to be the guide who want to help and yet can't seem to touch the person without wounding them.

I have pretty thick skin to begin with. I am not easily offended. I have had thing said to me by family and strangers that most in my shoes would consider highly offensive. Most of the time I am able to shrug it off knowing the person only meant to help. The couple of times I have been offended I have worked through my feelings and gotten over it. Because I know this is MY problem. I am the one wounded and sensitive. I cannot expect everyone else to know how to treat me. At least not unless I tell them directly.

What seems to help me the most and I feel this is universal and totally safe for all wounded souls, is love and confidence. I told my mother that I needed her to tell me I was a good mother. It sounds silly but I NEED to hear her say that and often - even if she thinks I know it - I need to be reminded. 

There is a sense of failure that comes from losing a child. It devastates your self image as a mother. No matter how they died, there is a sense that you failed to keep them alive. That is built into your DNA - Keep them alive. To fail at that, even if it was out of your hands or you know it was God's will for them to go at this time, is devastating. 

So be patient with your friend. The Lord knows her and loves her. He is the only one who can give her that Balm of Gilead and heal her soul. And He can only do that when she is ready to receive it. She has to be done with the anger and ready to turn her heart and her hurt over to the Lord. She has to build that trust up again in Him.

Right now the best any of us can do for your friend is just love her and and show confidence in her that she will find her way through grief. And we can pray that she will find the Lord somewhere along the way.

Now for my fellow angel mothers, please read this excerpt from a talk by Elder Holland that appeared in the May 2004 Liahona. The talk was entitled, "Abide in me."

Christ said, “I am the true vine, and … ye are the branches.” 2 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” 3
“Abide in me” is an understandable and beautiful enough concept in the elegant English of the King James Bible, but “abide” is not a word we use much anymore. So I gained even more appreciation for this admonition from the Lord when I was introduced to the translation of this passage in another language. In Spanish that familiar phrase is rendered “permaneced en mi.” Like the English verb “abide,” permanecer means “to remain, to stay,” but even gringos like me can hear the root cognate there of “permanence.” The sense of this then is “stay—but stay forever.” That is the call of the gospel message to Chileans and everyone else in the world. Come, but come to remain. Come with conviction and endurance. Come permanently, for your sake and the sake of all the generations who must follow you, and we will help each other be strong to the very end.
“He who picks up one end of the stick, picks up the other,” my marvelous mission president taught in his very first message to us. 4 And that is the way it is supposed to be when we join this, the true and living Church of the true and living God. When we join The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we board the Good Ship Zion and sail with her wherever she goes until she comes into that millennial port. We stay in the boat, through squalls and stills, through storms and sunburn, because that is the only way to the promised land. This Church is the Lord’s vehicle for crucial doctrines, ordinances, covenants, and keys that are essential to exaltation, and one cannot be fully faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ without striving to be faithful in the Church, which is its earthly institutional manifestation. To new convert and longtime member alike, we declare in the spirit of Nephi’s powerful valedictory exhortation: “Ye have entered in by the gate; … [but] now, … after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; … press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, … and endure to the end, behold, thus … ye shall have eternal life.” 5
Jesus said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” 6 I testify that that is God’s truth. Christ is everything to us and we are to “abide” in Him permanently, unyieldingly, steadfastly, forever. For the fruit of the gospel to blossom and bless our lives, we must be firmly attached to Him, the Savior of us all, and to this His Church, which bears His holy name. He is the vine that is our true source of strength and the only source of eternal life. In Him we not only will endure but also will prevail and triumph in this holy cause that will never fail us. May we never fail it nor fail Him I pray in the sacred and holy name of Jesus Christ, amen.
I pray that each of us will have the courage necessary to follow the counsel of Elder Holland and stay in the "Good Ship Zion" even through this most difficult and scary storm and even though there may be fellow sailors who make the trip even more difficult. It is not easy sometimes to stay in the boat. Sometimes it seems it would be better or safer to just abandon ship. But for our spiritual health it is best to stay in the boat and make it to our "promised land" where our children are waiting. May we all arrive there safely together. My love to you all and prayers that we may all survive the spiritual storms of our lives.


plaidspolitics said...

I have to say your suggestion on hugs is a good one. I typically am not a big hug person, but in grief hugs are a physical reminder that someone cares. I wonder if there had been more people in my congregation willing to give me a hug instead of act as if I was invisible if I would have kept psychologically together enough to keep attending. The Balm you speak of is actually more tangible than you might think. This is evidenced by the laying on of hands being such a crucial part of priesthood blessings. We are mortals - tangible beings - who are very much in need of tangible reminders of the love that will reunite us to those who we can no longer tangibly hold. I think this is why hugs are such a useful way to mourn WITH those who mourn. And I emphasize the WITH, because often out of concern but discomfort, people will mourn FOR others, but not make the effort to mourn WITH them. It takes a lot of compassion to overcome the discomfort and be WITH a grieving (sometimes bitter, angry, or other uncomfortable dynamics) person. A great article to read about this idea is
"What I Learned about Compassion,” which is worth reading in its entirety, but this quote came to mind with the hug suggestion:

There are moments when touch is dear. I treasure memories of hands that held mine tight against pain, safe against fear, steady in the face of changing fortunes and troubled dreams. Hands often speak as voices cannot. They are a delicate comfort and cannot be forced upon the receiver, but when warmly offered and gratefully accepted, they impart a tangible emotional help and strength.

Hands bless, ordain, and heal. How appropriate, then, that we employ them as instruments of compassion.
~JoAnn Jolley

plaidspolitics said...

I do think you imply that anger is always part of not attending church. I don't know if this is really true, because I do have some anger associated with my grief. But while it is certainly part of my experience, I don't believe the anger is what keeps me from church. I actually would really like to go to church, and miss it. I personally struggle with PTSD and had some incidents at the ward house we attend that make it very difficult to meet in that building, along with other psychological/physiological complications related to our experiences of losing two children in such similar events but spaced over six years. We have met multiple times with the Stake President and discussed going to another ward, but he has not authorized that. So we are working the best we can within our ward boundaries without being able to attend meetings (not just Sunday ones) at the meetinghouse our congregation goes to. We also have a child who is medically fragile (she is on oxygen, has an immunology issue, is getting RSV shots for a 2nd season due to her complex background, etc.) and we have been strictly told by medical professionals to avoid church. The Bishop has said they can work to best eliminate as many problems of germ spreading (ie, sacrament would be served to us first, etc), but maybe it goes to the Trust issue you brought up because I am very much more protective knowing how easily death can come and take a child away.

So my reasons are complex. I can't go to my own building for certain reasons, I'm not authorized to go to other buildings as a participating member of the congregation (although I could visit) but wouldn't want to expose our child during this highly contagious time of year... and there are many, many other complexities that have nothing to do with being offended or angry or questioning God or any of the other possible reasons you posted.

I share my example so that people understand that there are many dynamics to people's attendance, or lack of. Just as there are many reasons people GO to church, there are many reasons they do not. We need to be careful not to assume any one dynamic or a combination is the "cause." And also, I think it's much more important that we are all individually concerned with the reason that WE are attending than why someone else is not. Though I think concern and compassion is very good, and definitely be friendly and loving to those who don't attend. I just think you never know what "trials of faith" will come your way. And if you are attending your meetings because you are devoted, to renew your covenants, and fellowship to strengthen the Kingdom of God on earth (and so forth) you will be better prepared when you are facing your own difficulties in life. I know there are times when I've attended church because it is just what you do on Sunday, so that I don't get harrassed about not being there, etc. rather than really wanting to be there and really having purpose in my attendance. I think that when we demonstrate to others through the way we live our lives that our attendance is MEANINGFUL and not just a hypocritical, Rameumptom (see Alma 31) kind of attendance, then others are more likely to want to follow our examples and want to join, too. If we are only in it for the 3hr attire attitude, we will not likely radiate to others that the experience is worthwhile of making the effort.

And remember, a grieving person has less energy to invest in outside events. So they may not want to invest their energy in church for awhile so that they can use their energy for other life sustaining activities. They may still be worshipping as dedicatedly in other ways, but just not up to a weekly attendance. So something I might recommend would be to invite a friend to attend just snippets of a meeting. Maybe just come for the sacrament (not the whole meeting) and then go home. Or just for the hour of Sunday School, etc.

plaidspolitics said...

As was pointed out, reconsidering your faith and beliefs is a very common part of grieving. So is the feeling of "failure" or for me it was more a feeling of going from being the one who is caring for my child then to needing to be cared for, and it was very hard to have that role reversal. I think there is great advice in this article on how to care for the grieving, along with EVERY person we care about:

What can we do as individuals to reach out... One way is to make an effort to be more inclusive. ...We can all offer the hand of friendship. Indeed, it would be well for us to remember the advice of President Hinckley concerning converts and apply it to those who are alone: they need a friend, a calling, and nourishment by the good word of God. I think we could add one more to this list—a good home teacher. Diligent home teachers will gear home teaching messages to the needs of single members. They can also provide friendship, encouragement, a feeling of acceptance, and... the opportunity for priesthood blessings.
(James E. Faust, "Welcoming Every Single One," Liahona, Aug 2007, 2–6)

If this friend is a lady, GREAT visiting teachers can be added to the suggestion for great Home teachers.

For me the calling is HUGE! Back to that feeling of role reversal... I felt that the calling I had been given as caretaker of Bridget and Dominic was taken from me, and how much I needed to have the constancy of the calling I'd been given in the ward! I felt somewhat "robbed" of the responsibility that was once entrusted to me as a mother of Dominic and Bridget. Not being able to serve in my calling seemed another mark against my ability to really do the work that I was "assigned". A part of me wanted to prove to Heavenly Father that I really was and am willing to do those things He gave me to do. The death of a child is a huge life change and so having the "smaller things" be constant is important to me, and feeling needed through a calling really is important to me.

So to try to sum up what I think can help, from a church member perspective, I think my list would end up being:
* a friend (willing to
mourn WITH and not just FOR)
* a consistent calling
* nourishment by the good
word of God
* good home teachers
* the opportunity for
priesthood blessings

plaidspolitics said...

Last comment, I promise. ;)

Here's another good quote on how to effectively help:

There is a classic example of how our Lord would have us minister to those who need our aid. When Peter and John, as recorded in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, approached a man who had never walked and who was at the gates of the temple begging alms, instead of giving him money, the apostle Peter, you will remember, said to him, "Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." (Acts 3:6.)

Then followed a significant statement in the record of that incident. Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. [See Acts 3:7.] Remember that it wasn't enough for Peter to command him to walk; he then took him by the hand and lifted him up.

So must we, in dealing with our faltering saints, not be merely [those] who criticize, scold, and condemn. We must, like the apostle Peter, take them by the arm, encourage them, and give them a sense of security and respect for themselves until they can rise above their difficulties and can stand on their own feet.

That is the way the priesthood of God can bring salvation and fellowship to those who are weak, that they may become strong.
( "Chapter 10: Loving, Faithful Priesthood Service," Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee, 89)

Susan Anderson said...

A friend of mine who lost a child tells me she left the Church entirely for about a year after his death. Once she had time to heal a little more, she worked through her anger with the Lord and returned. Today, she's as strong as ever.

She says that her ward at the time was very understanding and just sort of let her to what she needed to do without pushing or judging. It sounds like that really made a difference.


Stephanie Waite said...

Plaid - thank you for all your comments. They were wonderful. I love some of the quotes you shared especially the insight on the scripture where Peter took the hand and helped. Wonderful!

And yes, I should have been clearer that there are many reasons a person may stop coming to church and anger or offense is only one angel. It is just a common one. But certainly there are many more as you pointed out in your comment. Thanks!

{ Bethany } said...

I really liked this:

"Then followed a significant statement in the record of that incident. Peter took him by the right hand and lifted him up. [See Acts 3:7.] Remember that it wasn't enough for Peter to command him to walk; he then took him by the hand and lifted him up.

So must we, in dealing with our faltering saints, not be merely [those] who criticize, scold, and condemn. We must, like the apostle Peter, take them by the arm, encourage them, and give them a sense of security and respect for themselves until they can rise above their difficulties and can stand on their own feet.

I think the biggest mistake members can make is to assume that people MUST be at church every week to be happy. When someone goes through a significant trauma or tragedy, it is completely normal to want to avoid all public venues, friends, family members, etc, and that includes church.

There is also a high degree of spiritual injury that happens when someone goes through a tragedy, and sometimes going to church can further injure that person. Often it is better for them to take the break they need, then to return when THEY feel ready. Otherwise, they may be injured in ways that will never heal. Its like walking on a broken leg too soon. You need to set the break, keep off of it for awhile, then slowly regain mobility.

It is the same when grieving a shut off all parts of your life except for the most vital, and slowly, over many months, and sometimes years, you can add them back in.

I also did not go to church for various reasons after my son died. At first, it was because I just couldn't even function normally. I was in the depths of mourning and didn't want to be in public.

I just couldn't get myself to get all dressed up, put on cute heels, and do my hair/makeup/etc. I didn't want to look my "best". My baby was dead. I felt awful. I wanted to look awful. I didn't want to wear high heels. I don't know why it seemed like such a big deal, but it just was. Whenever I tried putting them on, I'd just start crying and I couldn't do it.

Then slowly, I started going to just sacrament meeting every once in awhile. NEVER fast and testimony meeting. I just couldn't hear all those "thankimonies" and trite "I had enough faith, so I got what I wanted, so Heavenly Father loves me!" testimonies. And don't even get me started on the testimonies that were built on "miracles" like finding lost car keys. It literally felt like a punch in the stomach to listen to stuff like that. By the time F&T meeting was over, I wanted to burn the church down with everyone in it. Not healthy for anyone involved!!! There is no reason to force yourself to go through such pain and misery in the name of church attendance. If it hurts, stay home. It'll get easier eventually.

So I had to take it slow. I was in immense pain, and I just couldn't take all the misguided, unintentional, and sometimes intentional hurtful things that people would say and do. I was too fresh, too tender, too raw. You are right that grieving parents have to immediately grow thick skin over their gaping wounds because the hurtful, naive, trite comments fall like hail immediately. You just can't get away from them. And if you ever tell anyone, they just reply "well, they meant well, so you just cant let it bother you." Easier said then done...


{ Bethany } said...


It was so hard being in sacrament...hearing music makes me feel emotional, feeling the Spirit makes me emotional, and so it would just open the floodgates and the hurt would POUR in. It was all I could do to bite back tears and get through even ONE song. I couldn't sing the hymns for months and months.

It was also extremely hurtful seeing all the other moms with their babies. Its impossible to ignore. Moms constantly going in and out, babies crying, crawling to your row, etc. It was salt on an open wound. I just sat there...empty arms...empty hands...quiet lap...nothing to do but watch and suffer in silence. It was torturous.

Part of the church experience is getting all your family together, everyone looking and acting their best...well, my family couldn't be all together, and we didn't feel our best, and I didn't want to pretend it either. I just couldn't walk through the halls and smile back and say "fine, how are you?" I just wanted to be home crying. I didn't want to make eye contact with people. I didn't want to chitchat in the foyer. I didn't want to see anyone's baby. I didn't want anyone to ask me how I was.

Sacrament became more or less a habit again. But then I avoided RS until the last child my son's age went to nursery. I just couldn't have been in there watching the kids play knowing my son should be there, too. The week after the last child went to nursery, I started going to RS again.

Now, one year later, we are pretty much at church every week, most of the block. I sing the hymns. I can get through an entire block without something hurting me. I can roll my eyes at most comments and not let it get to me too much. But sometimes still my husband and I will go home during SS and/or P/RS if we are feeling overwhelmed or something particularly upset us.

Looking back, some of the most frustrating things were members pressuring us to be at church. Those who truly cared about us, and knew our situation understood that we needed a break and would come back when we were ready. It was the ones who were just trying to be "good church members" and fulfill their church calling of "bringing back the lost lambs to the fold" who completely missed the point. Its not just about checking off that box every week. Its not just about sitting in a pew. Its not just about attending all 3 meetings. One thing I discovered, is the church is not the gospel. The church is helpful in achieving our gospel goals, but it is not the pinnacle. You can have spirituality outside of that building, and sometimes, when you are grieving, it is impossible to get your spiritual nourishment in such an environment.

So instead of worrying why Bro & Sis are not at church, or that they haven't been "enough" lately...try to remember to just care about THEM personally. Not their church attendance. Be their friend....whether they show up at church or not. Don't take it personally. Don't assume they are becoming atheists. Don't feel the need to "bring them back". Just let them know you care about them, and will make an effort to be their friend inside, AND OUTSIDE, of church. Call, stop by, drop off a plate of cookies or muffins, mail a card, email, give them a hug.

It never fails to amuse me how many people act so concerned or interested in how I am doing when they happen to pass by me in the hallway at church. If they truly cared, they'd be finding time during the week to get in touch with me. Or try so hard to get me to stay for SS...but I never hear a 'hi' or 'howdy' from them outside of church.

So my advice would be just be her friend during the week, listen to her, don't judge her, hug her, and don't pressure her or give up on her. If you truly care about her, you will be more understanding of her. And don't forget, its not about the attendance box. Its about HER.

Anonymous said...


Thank you so much for this post. Even though my grief is from a grown daughter that I've "lost" to alcoholism/addiction/mental health issues (and I do still hold some hope for her future), I've been so inspired by the way you have handled your grief, and everything in this post applies to me as well.

When I first decided to comment, I wasn't sure I would be able to articulate exactly what I was feeling, but ~plaid and {Bethany} both did it for me, perfectly. And because the two of them knew just what I was feeling, it made me feel much less alone.

I will just add that, in my case, I have been my own worst enemy. No one has offended me. The great majority of people at church have been incredibly supportive. I am the one who would whip myself with the same words/hymns that I would have found uplifting under different circumstances. I am the one who would not be comforted. I felt guilty for exposing others to the inconsolable spirit I brought with me. I call myself an "oxymoronic conundrum" (a difficult problem of contradictory terms), and so I kept myself at home to heal. I am well into the process of healing, and of returning when I can. And yes, hugs, reassurances, and friends who care Monday-Saturday have played an essential role in this process.

Thank you to the circle of loving sisters who are willing to share your pain and your steps to healing. You help lift more of us than you will ever know.

Anonymous said...

Since you mentioned future Christmas cards, a suggestion:
A tree outline - with 6 photos -


Noble - 3rd daughter

2nd daughter - S&J - 1st daughter

Love ...

This shows love as the foundation
and faith as the highest attribute.

Hoskins Family said...

Everything you say here goes for us mother's of wayward children. My sense of being a good mother is gone. If I would have been better, I wouldn't be here.

I feel the most broken at church. It reminds me of all that I don't have. Seeing the missionaries is hard. Mine should be preparing for his. I have dreamed of this moment since before he was born...yet I will never get to experience that moment.

The words people say are so painful sometimes. Friends that don't want to "deal" with you anymore...who just stop calling.

And my's not just for this is FOREVER! It is the part I just can't seem to get past...but I will keep praying.

Sandra said...

It has been almost 10 months for us and I have just started going back to church. I have had some health problems stemming from my loss that made church attendance harder but my husband thinks that I should have been at church anyway. Reading through these replies I feel like I could have written them! Singing was torture for months...I couldn't even listen to music without crying. What I think that most people don't understand, though, at least in my situation, is that my testimony has been stronger since we lost Bella than it ever was before. I have felt so lifted and comforted by priesthood blessings and by the spirit that my testimony has grown more now, in the months that I have been home from church, than it has in 36 years of church attendance.

This was a beautiful post and I wish everyone who ever lost a child and everyone around them could read it.

Darlene said...

To all those who have lost a child like myself. For me this was the only reality that I could hold on to. I hope it helps even just one person. You have my permission to use it as long as the authors name are included. Pass it around to anyone who need comfort or feels that God has abandoned them when they lost a child.

To All Parents
Edgar Guest 1938

“I’ll lend you for a time a child of mine” He said
For you to love the while he lives and mourns for when he’s dead.
It may be 6 or 22 or 3,
But will you til I call him back, take care of him for me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you and shall his stay be brief,
You’ll have his loving memory as solace and relief.
I cannot promise he will stay since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looking the wide world over in my search for teachers true,
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lane I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate Me when I come to call to take him back again?
I fancied that I heard them say “Dear Lord, Thy will be done”.
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness; we’ll love him while we may,
And for the happiness we’ve know, forever grateful stay,
But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes, and try to understand.

A Mother’s Response
In loving memory of my son Brian

“Oh yes Dear Lord I hear you, but understand my grief,
The child you gave and then took back has left me incomplete.
My heart, my soul, my being cries from emptiness,
I miss his smile, his words of love, his touch of tenderness.
Oh yes Dear Lord I loved him I loved him all I could,
No undone things, nor thoughts of ‘If” nor things and thoughts “of should”.
So please take of my Dear child, For I will trust in you,
Dear Lord this one’s a special child who’s eyes were o’ so blue.
You say he needed lessons that required to be learned,
But I think you were mistaken, for now it is our turn.
Our turn to grieve, our time to mourn, remembering when He was born.
He gave his time, he gave his smile, his patience was abound,
To those that needed him, he somehow always found.
He taught us love and laughter; he showed us the way,
But now we must have patience until the Light of day.
The in which we leave this earth, is the day again we’ll see,
His smile, his hope and all the things He Gave His Family.
But since your word is final, I will leave the rest to you,
Until the time when once again I’ll see his eyes so blue.

Jon, Andrea, Carter, Lincoln & Bennett said...

Thanks for that. I used it as part of our family's FHE lesson this week. (I'm now a follower since the auction for Emily) :)

Lucie said...

thank you so much for this post, and the comments. I needed validation on my feelings. I have lost my little girl of cancer 2 years ago. She was 8. I had to go through grief all by myself (with the help of God of course)and without much help from other human beings. It s been tough. I have found peace and accept her death, it s more of a PTSD I am dealing with. And an abandonment issue. family acting in the most un-christian ways(in my opinion at least),critical comments, friends who NEVER call, and as soon as I back on my feet it seems someone has the idea of saying the most hurtful things to me. No, I dont want to sound like a victim, but this is my reality. There hasnt been support, from my ward, from RElief society, from the husband...It s not fun being hurt and in pain, and I realise most people dont know what to say to us. the best thing that has helped me so far is to authorise myself to feel whatever I fee. Cry if I need to. Write about it. face it and observe myself from a step back. Now for the help I would have needed, it would have been love. Just LOVE. Love is a verb. That means someone listening to me, understanding me, exercising empathy, validating my feelings when I m hurt because of some seriously wrong actions and comments, giving me a hug, reassuring me, loving me through all the different phases of grief. telling me I m still a great mom. Telling me I did everything I could.telling me I had enough faith.And not making me feel guilty because I can t deal with the crowds at church. Not acting as if absolutely happenned, which seems like the norm where I live. Not telling me I shouldnt be crying if I had faith in the plan of salvation.
Just to sum it up: LOVE and EMPATHY
Sorry I sound pretty angry today. I m doing my best here but I m still struggling with people s comments and attitudes. Normally I m not that affected, they have come very very often and in too many different forms. I appreciate reading about other moms experiencing the same kinds of things, it comforts me to know that yes, it is actually hard, not just my imagination.Through it all I am so thankful for the gospel and the truths that are now imprinted in my heart more than ever before, I am thankful for the comfort of the Spirit, and for my Lord, who does care even about the broken hearted, the forgotten,even about me.
thank you for this blog, I ll keep reading it.