What to Say When…

What will we do with our words?

What will we do with our words?

{I'm continuing our conversation about words on (in)courage today. If you know how words can hurt, will you read below and then join us on (in)courage? I'm so grateful for each of you and the words you share here that encourage my heart.}


Sword photo by Richard 'Tenspeed' Heaven Women tell me of how words have wounded.

They walk into my counseling office and bare the scars on their hearts.

They lean into me at blogging conferences and tell of unkind comments.

They confide in me over coffee–the lines still echoing all the way back to childhood.

I nod my head, understand.

"Reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 12:18).

Words can be weapons.

A careless remark. A bit of gossip. A little less sensitivity in a stress-filled moment. Do we know what we do to our sisters?

I sit alone and pray about this one day. I’ve become afraid of words–of what they can do. And it seems in the dark I sense a whisper, “Daughter, words can defend and protect too.”

It’s right there in our armor: “The sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17).

We must choose how we wield our words.

In my heart I once pictured the enemy coming and a wounded woman on the ground behind me. I put my sword in front of her and said, “You can’t have her. She belongs to the King.” I still get goosebumps as I put those words on this page–because that is why I write. Because life is hard and we all fall and we need sisters who stand in the gap for us. Because words have the capacity to hold back evil, to bring forth life, to sustain, encourage, and unite us.

Will you read the rest with me on (in)courage? Just click here.

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How to comfort someone who is grieving…

My comments weren't working yesterday but I got several responses to my post via e-mail. Thank you so much for sharing your hearts and hurts with me. Your words deeply touched me and I want others in our community to be able to read them as well. I'm posting a few excerpts here…

"I can truthfully say that the most comfort I received were from family and friends that chose to sit beside during my grief and remain silent while I was at a loss to what had happened.  To this day whenever I am around people in grief, I try to just sit still and listen.  I know that people still say with their best intentions, ‘They are in a better place, You will see them again.’  That is not what people that are grieving want to hear, so they leave without being comforted.  I ask GOD to help me comfort them with his love and be his arms and strength for the moment."

"In the months that followed the loss of my son I wanted most of all for people to remember him, to speak of him, to let me share about him.   I was surprised how uncomfortable speaking of the deceased made some people.  You could just see them stiffen, and be at a loss for words.  My  worst fear was that he would somehow be forgotten by others, as if he never existed, so I wanted to talk about him and his life.   My advice to those close to someone who is grieving would be to follow the lead of the person suffering the loss and allow them to speak freely of their loved one.  Don't be uncomfortable!    In their hearts he is still very much alive and they need to share that relationship in order to heal.   Just listening and allowing them to comfortably share means so much."

 "I lost my husband 3 years ago. Overnight, I was a single mom with 2 teenagers. It amazed me what people would say to me and think it was comforting. One young woman told me ‘not to cry. Jesus was now my husband.’ I knew she meant well, but she had no idea how that hurt me on so many levels. Telling me that my husband was ‘dancing in heaven’ when I could hardly function wasn't really comforting either. The people that helped the most told me how much they loved my husband. They were willing to share stories and memories and didn't run from the tears. The people that would just say they were sorry and accept that this was extremely hard and didn't trivialize my pain with clichés were the most comforting. I knew the ‘correct’ things to say, and I didn't want or need to hear them. Grief support group got me through. I knew they understood. They didn't expect me to ‘get over it’. And, I didn't sound crazy when sharing in that group."

People said, ‘You can have more children.’ This is not comforting when you are experiencing the loss of the baby you couldn't hold in your arms. You want THIS one—the one that slipped through your fingers before you could kiss him/her on the face, before you could whisper that ‘momma is here. Longing for the next child comes much later.”

“The year I lost my father, I didn't want a birthday. I wanted my Dad. I turned 44 that year. I was at work. The girls in the office rotated a card which everyone wrote birthday greetings on. Most of them said things like, 'I know you're sad, but have as happy a birthday as you can.' What one lady wrote to me, I'll never forget, and it will always be a treasured memory. She wrote, 'Your father rejoiced the day you were born. Remember that on your birthday.' That spoke to me like nothing else. It comforted me like nothing else. She gave me the most meaningful present on my birthday that year. She brought my precious Daddy to my birthday, a beautiful image for me to treasure."

One of my new favorite bloggers, Molly from The Pipers, wrote a beautiful and compelling post about grief yesterday. I hope you'll visit her site and read it as well. I'm going to close with a quote about grief from her…

“I feel like I’ve fought it tooth and nail. But now I’m coming to more of a peace with it. I’m accepting it more. One of my dear friends through this process (who is older and wiser than me, thank God) shared with me recently about a grief she’d been facing in her life. Something she said really stood out to me. She told me, ‘I’m gonna drink this painful cup all the way down, just drain it. And I’m gonna ask the Lord to make it something beautiful.’ ”

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Christmas Cards and Confessions

Hello Everyone!

I'm sorry I haven't written much lately. I've been battling a yucky cold. As much as I wish it weren't true, Dayquil and inspirational messages just don't mix. Until my brain goes back on duty, I wanted to share an article I wrote with you. It's a little guide to what you can write in Christmas cards for all of those (like me) who find the task a bit daunting. I hope you enjoy it and I'm praying all of you are warm and well today.

To read the article, just click here.

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