I’m thankful for the privilege of hosting this guest post by Susan Moore. As the mother of a large family myself, I’ve always loved her old blog, Joyful Mom of Many.
Now I’m delighted to present the most recent post from her new site, Susan Moore. Susan is the mother of 12, veteran of home schooling, writer, photographer, triathlete, and a domestic violence survivor. If you click on the title below, it will take you to the same article on her own blog. Please welcome Susan.
… because they just gained the courage to flee an abusive marriage.
[Virginia’s note added later… In case you don’t pick this up, Susan wrote this list facetiously. Before you scream, read further to see what she really thinks you should say.]
Or, you could simply say something like, “That must be so hard! I can’t imagine what you are going through or how you are feeling, but I care and want to walk alongside you in this.”
Please know that it is not my intention to hurt anyone’s feelings or to offend anyone with this article! I think that it is human nature to want to empathize with someone who is in the midst of a challenging time, whether they are recovering from an abusive marriage, or are reeling from a cancer diagnosis or perhaps dealing with the overwhelming grief and concern of trying to help a wayward child. It’s so hard to know what to say!
The fact is, I told myself many of the things on that list! It is quite possible that I was even harder on myself than others were. Also, most people do not have evil intent in saying these things. The vast majority of people really do care and want to help.
When you love and care about someone, it is only natural to want to “fix” the situation that they are in. Many of the 20 statements above are true, but not necessarily helpful. The most helpful thing I have experienced was friends who cared enough to simply be with me. They cared enough to check on me, and were okay with the fact that I wasn’t okay.
I didn’t have to pretend to be happily trusting God, when I could barely get out of bed. They lovingly came alongside me without judgement or condemnation and refused to leave me, even when I cried out in despair and didn’t feel like I was making any progress.
I cannot imagine how hard it must have been for these few faithful friends to play that role in my life. I can tell you this though: I don’t think I’d be here now if they hadn’t stepped in.
What about you? Have you been blessed by friends who have walked through dark times with you, or have you been able to be that faithful, steadfast friend for someone else?