Helping Someone When You’ve Never Been in Their Situation

Big Yellow Umbrella Card by DaySpring

I often get notes from people saying something like, “My friend/family member is going through a hard time but I don’t feel like I can help because I haven’t been through the same thing.” Here’s my response: “You don’t have to experience the same storm to know what it’s like to get wet.”

I’m certain you know what it’s like to feel soaked to the bone by discouragement, have fear thundering above you or watch a dream wash away. Don’t we all? It’s not our ability to duplicate details but to relate on a heart level that lets us have empathy and be able to encourage.

I once wrote a card for DaySpring that says:

I wish I had a big, yellow umbrella that would keep all the rain out of your life.

I would hold it over your head and the drops would splash, splash and you would never even feel it.

But I don’t have a big yellow umbrella, so I’ll walk through the rain with you.

When it comes to living that out, here are three ways you can walk through the rain with someone no matter what storm they’re facing:

1) Simply listen. When I did grief support groups I heard people say over and over again, “It was so comforting when someone just let me talk and cried with me.” When we’re hurting, what we need most isn’t answers; it’s to know we’re not alone.

2) Be a safe place. When someone shares their struggles with us, we’re to treat them with care like precious treasures. After all, it seems that’s what God does. “Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book?” {Ps. 56:8}. These three C’s can help us remember how to do so: Never criticize or condemn. Always keep it confidential.

3) Don’t try to fix it. When I got a masters degree in counseling we were told over and over, avoid giving advice. We empower people most when we trust them to figure out their own lives with God’s help. We are simply there to be an encouragement and sounding board.

Ironically, the need to prove we’re useful can push us to talk too much and try too hard. When we feel that pressure, we can take a deep breath and remember we don’t have to be anyone’s God, Jesus or Holy Spirit. It’s not within our power to resolve the problem, change the circumstance or even make the pain go away. In other words, we can’t make the sun come out again.

That reality doesn’t mean we’re a failure. It simply means we’re not God.

So what is success when it comes to helping others in our lives? After hearing from thousands of hurting people I’ve come to believe it’s simply this: Having the courage to step into the rain–even if it’s not our storm.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

p.s. Have you seen my gift book for rainy days yet? Under God’s Umbrella: Gifts of Hope & Encouragement to Shelter Your Heart in Life’s Storms

p.p.s. My friend Jennifer is launching her brand new site {StudioJRU}, full of gorgeous prints and home decor. This one would be a sweet gift to a hurting friend. {Use the code newshop! for 20% off your purchase!}

Under God's Umbrella by Holley Gerth

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Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

{click to tweet that you’re joining me here today}


There’s Always Hope When Jesus is Writing Your Story

Never place a period where God has placed a comma.

{my graphics are free goodies for you}

Most of us know the story. The two famous biblical sisters, Mary and Martha, have a brother named Lazarus who becomes sick. They send for Jesus but He doesn’t arrive for two more days. And by that time, Lazarus has died. It seems it’s time for “The End” to be written on the final page.

But as a quote by Gracie Allen hanging on my Mama’s refrigerator says, “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

We all have a Lazarus in our lives. A dream that seems to have gasped its last breath. A hope that’s lifeless and still. A relationship that seems beyond resurrection.

Jesus understands the pain of those places. As Joanna Weaver says in Lazarus Awakening:

“Where have you laid him?” Jesus asks Martha and Mary through His tears {John 11:34}….

Where have you laid your pain? Jesus asks us tenderly. Where do you keep all your shattered hopes and dreams? Where have you laid the part of you that died when you were abandoned, forgotten, betrayed? Where are you entombed and enslaved, hemmed in, shut down, and closed off?

Come and see, Lord. That’s the only response we need to give.

Come and see.

Because when Jesus shows up you can be sure the show isn’t over. After He weeps with His friends by the tomb, He calls Lazarus to come forth. And suddenly the period placed by humanity becomes an exclamation point inserted by divinity.

We serve a God of life. Of resurrection. What He does may not look exactly like what happened with Lazarus. And, yes, sometimes our exclamation point may be added on the other side of eternity. But you can be sure that death will not ultimately win in any situation in your life. “Death is swallowed up in victory” {1 Cor. 15:54}.

And until then, we have the same hope that Mary and Martha did even if it felt delayed: Jesus is coming. He knows your hurt and He cries with you. He has not forgotten. He will not abandon you in your time of need.

The Author of Life is asking, “Where have you laid your Lazarus?” and He will tenderly, powerfully transform your story in ways beyond what you’ve yet imagined.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

LazarusAwakeningP.S. I’m thrilled to offer a giveaway of Joanna’s new book, Lazarus Awakening! Her words will show you how to embrace the truth that Jesus loves you apart from anything you accomplish, apart from anything you bring.

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post by Sunday {7/26} at midnight. Feel free to tell me a story of a time when God replaced a period with a comma, if you’d like.

{The giveaway is closed and the winner has been contacted.}

A New Place to Find Words that Will Encourage You

I believe in the power of words. To heal. To help. To encourage our hearts. To change our lives. Maybe that’s why when I go to someone’s house, I always love sneaking a peek at what’s on their bookshelves {you too?}. And it’s the reason I’m creating a new spot called my bookshelf in the little bookshop I started in honor of my grandparents.

31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer

A book I’ve just added to my shelf that I think will encourage you as you start a new year is 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer. Creators Jenn Sprinkle and Kelly Rucker describe it this way:

The prayers, scripture and questions that fill these pages are written to accompany you on the journey of brilliant dreams and scary risks, weary struggles and joyful success, inspiring ideas and fears of failure….all in light of how God has created you to be and to do all things well….not perfectly, but {well}.

I’ve written, spoken and coached women about God-sized dreams for years. And here’s what I’ve learned: the journey to your dream is always harder, lonelier and longer than you think it will be. You would never set out on a hike without taking water with you. And that’s what 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer is — the refreshment your soul needs to keep going.

The book is a compilation of prayers from women who are on the journey to their dreams, too. You’ll recognize many of their names and others will be new to you. Their words will help you feel understood and remind you that you’re not the only one who faces struggles, fears and obstacles. We’re all in this together.

I believe every woman has dreams, desires and hopes deep inside her. Yes, even if you have never called yourself a “dreamer.” Sometimes we just get a little lost along the way and need help getting back to where we belong and moving forward in God’s plans for us. What better time to make those changes than the start of a new year?

I’m cheering you on as you start a new year — and all your sisters in 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer will too.

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What’s a book on your shelf right now? Share your answer on facebook.

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XOXO

Holley Gerth

31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer & Doer Quote

Comparison is the paralyzer of dreams. Your calling, your purpose, and your dreams are yours. Hold on to them tight, because the enemy is going to try and steal them by convincing you they are not as worthy or valuable as someone else’s.

— 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer

Read a free Sample of 31 Days of Prayer for The Dreamer and Doer

Book and Prayer Journal Set

Find 31 Days of Prayer for the Dreamer and Doer on My Bookshelf

Become a Better Encourager in 2015

The ebook for encouragers - 21 easy, practical ways to show that you care. Written by Holley at http://holleygerth.com/

When I asked what you wanted help with many of you said: I want to get better at encouraging others.

As a licensed counselor and certified life coach, I’ve learned a lot about how to truly help and encourage people. And I want to share that with you because it’s a lot simpler and less scary than you think!  I’m so excited that The Encouragement Project {my new ebook} is launching January 1st. It’s 21 days of inspiration and practical tools that will help you become a better encourager in 2015. 

The Encouragement Project is only $2.99 because I want everyone to be able to get this inspiration and information–our world needs encouragers more than ever! {I’ve charged over $100 an hour as a licensed counselor and certified life coach for sharing similar material}.

Get the Encouragement Project here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone} Forget new year’s resolutions. It’s time for an encouragement revolution!

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Here’s an excerpt from The Encouragement Project:

You want to help others.

You love giving encouragement.

Yet you still often find yourself saying, “I’ll pray for you,” and not following through the way you’d like. Or you feel tongue-tied at a time that calls for comforting words. You may even walk away from a tough situation scratching your head and thinking, “I have no idea what to do!”

You already have what you need most: a loving heart. Now I’m going to share some simple, easy, practical tools to turn your care into action. Through working with thousands of people as a bestselling writer, a counselor, and a life coach, I’ve learned what truly helps most.

The great news is, we won’t be doing this on our own. God cares even more about the people in our lives than we do. He’s committed to helping us serve them well.

Our role is obedience. God’s job is results. And what He wants most from us is for us to simply open our hearts and share what He gives us. We can all encourage each other—one prayer, one word, one act of kindness at a time.

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Get The Encouragement Project for $2.99 here: Kindle, Nook and it will be delivered January 1st.  {If you don’t have a Kindle or Nook, you can read the book on your computer, tablet or smart phone}. You really can become a better encourager in 2015!

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Welcome to the Coffee for Your Heart weekly link-up! You’re an encourager so I’m asking you to pour out a little love with your words every Wednesday {link-up goes live at 5:30am CST}. Simply write an encouraging blog post and then share it here. Don’t have a blog? You can still write an encouraging comment. If you’re reading this by email, go to holleygerth.com to see all the fun and join in too.

Pretty please use this button in your blog post so others can easily join in with us {html code in right sidebar}. And when you link up your post, take a moment to leave an encouraging comment on the one that’s linked up just before yours. Thanks, friends!

 

I’m having Coffee For Your Heart with my friend Holley Gerth

{click to tweet}


12 of the Most Encouraging Books from 2014

2014 brought a lot of things–including new books from some of my favorite (in)courage authors. I’ve enjoyed their words this year and I think you and those you want to encourage will too so I’m sharing them here!

Just pretend you’re exploring my personal book shelf and picking out what you love most. The books are in no particular order and you can click on each pic to browse. Subscribers, if you can’t see the images click here. {And Christmas is coming so here’s a little gift for you…20% off any or all of these fabulous books with code HGFRIENDS.}

I’ll just let you enjoy these while I go get you a coffee or tea refill from the kitchen {and another brownie too}…

Love Idol by Jennifer Dukes Lee

Chasing God by Angie Smith Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs Notes From a Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker Unwrapping the Greatest Gify by Ann VoskampThe Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

{affiliate links used in post}

 

What books have encouraged you this year?

XOXO

Holley Gerth

Books by Holley Gerth
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