"....Your children shall be like olive plants all around your table." Psalm 128:3

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Practical Ways To Minister To Those Who Are Grieving

Dear friends,

The whole situation of my Dad's passing has taught me so much.

As soon as word got around that the Lord had called him Home, we were literally inundated with visits, phone calls, and food at my Mom's house.  The outpouring of love and support was overwhelming to us.

But with the flood of visits and goodies that were coming into my Mom's, there were some very practical things that stand out in my mind; things that I will definitely remember when the tables are turned and it's my turn to reach out to someone who is grieving.

Someone set up chairs outside on the carport, and extra chairs in the living room, family room, and on the sun porch, so there was plenty of seating for the steady stream of visitors.

Someone brought huge stacks of paper plates and paper cups. Great! No dish washing!  :)

Someone brought (and a local business donated) bags of ice. Wonderful! With  the constant flow of people coming to visit Mom, there was no way her ice maker could keep up.

Someone brought large black trash cans with trash bags, and put them in the areas where people would be eating. No overflow of trash there!  :)

 Someone (actually 5 someones) prepared the after-funeral meal at Mom's house so that all the food would be ready when we got home from the funeral. And believe me, with three refrigerators packed full of food, that was no easy task.

I realize that these are simple things, but they meant so much to our family.

And one more thing: a tip or two about what to say or what not to say when someone you know  has lost a loved one (and again, I am speaking from experience here)...if you are uncomfortable about calling or visiting the grieving person, please, please do it anyway. Even if you don't know what to say, just being a good listener is a big help. Or a simple "I am so sorry for your loss" is very appropriate and means so much. The visits and phone calls meant more to us than we can even express! The huge crowd at the funeral was overwhelming, but when the graveside service was over and I turned around to find a dear friend  (who is going through some struggles of her own) waiting to talk to me, well, it was something I will never forget.  I can't even put into words what it meant to me to see her there. In spite of everything she's going through, she came. That's what I call the best of friends.

The Lord used all these people to help us through a very hard time. We will never forget the love and kindness they showed to our family. And next time, I will be better prepared to reach out to someone who is grieving.

Romans 12:15:  "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep."

Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!