When Someone You Love is in Pain...

 I am a list-maker, are you?

I love lists of all kinds … grocery lists … Christmas lists … “Honey-Do Lists” … reading lists … prayer lists … even cleaning lists are on my list of lists that I love!

I love making a list of all the places I have been and all of the places I yet long to visit. (Hawaii is number 1 on the list of the places that I long to visit in case you were wondering!)

I have a list of things that I would LOVE to accomplish this year.  (Let’s see if anything at all gets checked off that list!)

I have lists of diets that I have tried over the years … some worked and some didn’t!

I have a list of the names of my friends … my childhood friends … my high school friends … my college friends … and now my adult friends.

I have a list of everyone in history that I would have loved to have met at some point.

I have a list of questions for the president. (Don’t ask …)

I have a list of questions for Jesus when I get to heaven … but I have a feeling that I will have forgotten them by the time that I am in His very presence!  Imagine that!!

I have a list of books that I have yet to write

I guess I need to make a list of all of the lists that I have ever written!!

I love lists.

Because of my great affinity for lists, I thought that I would share a list of mine with you today.

I started this particular list years ago when a young woman at our church in North Carolina was diagnosed with aggressive cancer.  She was a homeschool mom with 2 little girls and I observed people at our church that responded so lovingly to her and to her family but I also observed others that reacted so inappropriately.

Out of that painful time of observation, I made this list that has served me well during all of my years of loving people in pain.

A List of Things to do When Someone You Love is in Pain

1 – Pray.  Don’t just say that you will pray but truly pray.  Get down on your knees and pray.  Pray out loud.  Ask God for an answer … for a healing … for deliverance … for mercy … for wisdom.  If you never do anything else again for someone in pain … pray.  Just pray. Invite people over to your house to pray for the situation.

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2 – Listen. You don’t have to talk and you don’t have to have all the answers.  Sometimes the most significant way we love someone in pain is just by listening to his or her heart.  You don’t have to have any great, earth-shaking answers.  You can just listen quietly without pontificating or preaching. Sometimes the only thing that I say to people in pain is, “”I am so sorry that you are walking through this.”

3 – Be there … show up … that is, after all, what true friends do.  Be careful not to overstep any personal or family boundaries but sometimes just being present is all the comfort that someone may need. Your quiet and compassionate physical presence is a healing balm to a person’s broken heart.

4 – Do something. Make a meal … go to the hospital … volunteer to babysit … walk their dog … clean their house … do their laundry … mow their grass … clean a toilet.  Serve the one who is need.  Don’t wait to be asked and don’t even ask what needs to be done.  Just do something and don’t expect a thank you card. Roll up your sleeves and get to work quietly serving.  Make life as easy as possible for the family or person in pain.

5 – Write something. Send a card … or an e-mail … or leave a scripture in their car or on their kitchen table. Give them something powerful to think about during the long hours of the night and something comforting to ponder as they awake to face the light of a new and difficult day.

5. Be peaceful. Don’t bring extra confusion or commotion to an already tense situation.  Don’t worry out loud and don’t draw attention to yourself.  If you cry, cry quietly.  If you talk, talk quietly. If you serve, serve quietly. The Kingdom of God is a Kingdom of Peace so usher His peace into a situation that has been devastated by the storm of circumstances.

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6. Be kind. Even if you think that they are handling the situation wrong, it is not your situation to handle so just be kind. Ask God to give you a heart of compassion to match the pain of the circumstances.

7. Be Jesus with skin on. When life has fallen apart, we, as His disciples, are invited to represent Him. Represent Him well.

8. And when the situation is over and life has gone on for that person who experienced excruciating pain … go back and read this list again.

Read this list over and over and over again and then do it over and over and over again. Their pain will not go away for a long time so your ministry to them has only just begun when their catastrophe has seemingly ended.

Thanks for listening to my heart this week.  As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me.  And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!