So far, this year has been met with incredible suffering for some friends that I love: a parent’s death, a broken marriage, a cancer diagnosis, a hospitalized family member.
Each day I think, When will the pain end, God? Show Yourself in the midst of all of this. It is difficult for me to point to You right now. Yes, I know that Scripture tells us again and again that God is with us through all the fires and pain, but when you are in it, it is REALLY hard. It is hard to be the sufferer, and it is hard to be the friend.
As I have walked through difficult seasons in my own life and with others, I’ve learned the biggest gift is that of showing up. It isn’t challenging, yet when I look around, it isn’t common. The show-up life is one marked by presence and purpose. It is full of light, comfort, faithfulness, and intention. You don’t have to have it all figured out to show up for someone. You can be in the midst of your own painful season. You can have little financial resources. Your presence is all that matters.
So, here are six ways you can show up for someone:
Bring or send a meal: Food is one of the kindest, most practical gifts you can give someone. I remember when I was terribly sick during my pregnancy with my daughter and a friend showed up at work with dinner for me to take home. When we learned a friend’s husband was in hospice, we sent soup, cookies, and rolls.
Answer your phone: I know it can be tempting to only text, but if a friend is calling, answer the phone. Sometimes, nothing is more comforting than a friend’s voice. Once during a time of deep grief, I called a friend early in the morning. Rather than silencing her phone, she answered. Her voice of reassurance helped me tremendously during that period.
Give of your time: During challenging seasons, the gift of time can be one of the best things you can give to someone. Simply show up. When my husband was traveling for a month, a friend came to my house, folded laundry, helped clean up dinner, and gave my kids baths. It has been four years since she did that, and it remains one of the kindest, most practical ways someone has ever helped me during a hard time. She might not even remember it!
Don’t just ask “What can I do?”: This ties to the one above. Oftentimes when someone is in crisis, it is difficult to identify the ways you need help. Instead, offer to do something specific, such as, “Could I go over and watch your kids for a few hours so you can have some time to yourself or to run errands?”
Send a card: Thanks to email, social media, and text messages, good ol’ fashioned snail mail is less common. But a card can be the perfect way to let someone know that they are remembered and cared for. I keep a few boxes of DaySpring cards on hand and try to send cards to a few people at least once a month.
Check in: One morning, I received a text message from a friend who knew I was going through a hard time. She just wrote, Checking in on you. It took her mere seconds, but the fact that I was remembered helped me feel less alone during that season. Other simple words you can offer might be, You are not alone, I am here for you, I prayed for you this morning, and Just wanted you to know that I love you.
No matter how busy or difficult my own life gets, I try to remember Proverbs 17:17, which says “A friend loves at all times” — all times, not only when times are good or it’s convenient. Let’s be better about showing up for the people God has placed in our lives.
In the comments, share one way someone has shown up for you and loved you well.
Let’s remind one another of the impact of kindness and love.
You don’t have to have it all figured out to show up for someone. Your presence is all that matters. -@JessicaNTurner: Click To Tweet