Just Help.

Nothing says, “I’m thinking of you” like a little food…how delicious are these Glazed Pumpkin Donut Muffins via weliketwocook.com?!

 

We all have people in our lives who could use a little encouragement, help, prayer, or support.  If you take a few seconds to think about, I’m sure it’s not hard for 3-5 people to come quickly to your mind.

My problem is, I’m always guilty of thinking about nice things I could do for others, but then failing miserably to actually put them into action.

After I gave birth to Little B, I was blown away by how thoughtful and helpful people were–texting or emailing me that they were praying for us; bringing me meals, smoothies, and other yummy treats; offering to watch our dog; picking up hand sanitizer for all the baby holders stopping by at the height of flu season; dropping by with extra onesies on day 2 of being home because they knew I’d probably already run through all my clean ones (they were right, of course!); bringing happy hour to me with wine, cheese, and French macaroons on a Friday evening, because I wasn’t able to leave the house…

The thoughtfulness and generosity of our friends blew me away.  I was humbled by so many kind gestures and kept thinking, “I am so not that thoughtful!”

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to support and encourage the people in my life who need it.  My friend Mary Elizabeth wrote a FABULOUS post on a guide to helping a grieving friend.  (If you haven’t read it, you MUST.  Click here now).

While her post is specific to people who are grieving, one of the things she says that I think applies to a lot of people in our lives who need a little support, help, or encouragement is this:

Do not ask your friend to let you know if you can do anything to help.  Just help.”

Just help.  But what does that look like?!

Since I’m pretty much the most thoughtless person ever, yesterday I called in some reinforcements and asked a few friends, What are things people do for you to help or encourage you when you need it most?”

Their answers were simple, fun, creative, and encouraging.  Here’s some of what they said:

  • A quick phone message or text with no strings attached.
  • A short email.
  • A handwritten card or note in the mail.
  • Someone who can sit down to listen and empathize, without trying to fix things.
  • Sending an encouraging Bible verse–but not just a cliche, “God will work it out,” but one with intentionality and thought behind it.  One that shows you are loving them right where they are.
  • Showing up with a meal, food, a cup of coffee, chocolate or anything else sweet, a thoughtful gift….basically, just show up with something (non-perishable ideas could be a magazine, candle, or even nail polish).
  • Offering to watch their kids.
  • Praying WITH them–instead of just saying, “I’ll be praying for you,” actually taking the time to pray with them.
Here were two more specific ones that I really liked:
  • Dragging me out for a glass of wine in a pretty place.
  • When I was having coffee at a friend’s house, I admired the colorful mug and she sent me home with it to remember our day together.
If we really thought of it, I’m sure we’d think of lots of other things to add to the list… 
 
One of my friends from college is always so good about organizing group flowers to be delivered to friends when they need them….if everyone pitches in $10, you have a gorgeous bouquet of flowers in no time!
 
Another friend has recently organized 10 weeks of having people deliver small bouquets of flowers on Monday and Friday to a family that is grieving.  Rather than being inundated with food and bouquets right after the tragedy occurred this spaces it throughout he entire fall, while they continue to heal.   
 
I even think Birchbox can be a great little something for a friend who is stuck in a pit.  When you’re life seems to be falling apart, sometimes a little sample mascara or lipgloss for 3-6 months can go a long way…  
 
Have other ideas?  I’d love to know what they are!  Just leave them in the comments below!
 
It’s amazing just how much our words and our actions can support and benefit those around us.  So my challenge to you is this: before Friday, find at least one person in your life who needs a boost and Just. Help.
 
 

 

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