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The most important thing to know about me is that I am a Christian. I love my Lord and try very hard to follow his principles. I have no doubt that when my time comes to leave this earth, I will meet my maker in Heaven, and that is such a comforting thought to me.

I am mother to four children, 7 grandchildren, 3 dogs, one cat, and one goat. Yes, I said a goat!

I am a crafter who enjoys scrapbooking, paper crafting, and crochet. I also enjoy outdoors stuff and love to hunt with my husband.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How do you help someone that is in pain?

All of us have some sort of pain that we deal with on a daily basis. For some it is short-lived, but for others it is something they have been living with for a very long time. Some have physical pain, some emotional, some mental, and some spiritual pain. So, how do we get something beautiful out of all that nasty, messy, broken, ugly, pain caused by a physical injury, or from memories of some sort of abuse, whether physical, mental, or emotional, or perhaps even all of the above?
Some people will tell you that it is easy, just get over it and move on. Still others will refuse to believe that you are in as much physical pain as you are. They will consider you a hypochondriac, a faker.  Often, things are said either to the person in pain, or about them but where they can hear what is being said. Then you have your usual gossipers who love nothing more than to run around telling, and usually embellishing the story, about something you may have shared with them in confidence. This is exceptionally painful if the one you shared your confidence with was a fellow church member, someone you trusted to keep your conversation private.
So, what do you do when something like this happens to you, or to someone you love? What if it happens to someone you don’t know very well, but you have seen them at school, at church, at ladies meetings? Well, first of all, you are going to be shocked because by the look on their face you always thought they had it all together. They are always smiling and appear perfectly happy! How can they be so happy if they are really so miserable?
If you are the person who has been hurt or is currently dealing with pain of any kind, seek out someone to talk to. You may find that someone to be your spouse, a friend (though if you have been in any kind of pain for any amount of time, friends are few and far between), a fellow church member that you have no doubt you can trust, or your pastor.

There is nothing anywhere that says you have to tell them your whole story at the very start. Start slowly. Get to know the person you are talking to a bit and allow them to get to know you. Let them know that you feel you can trust them and that you have something you would like to talk to them about. If you have already been visiting for too long, make arrangements to get together again very soon, and stick to it! 
Whomever you have chosen to be your confidant, once you feel comfortable with them, let them know that you want to share something from your past in the hopes that sharing it will help you to let go of it, to get past it, and to move on. Let them know if you are seeking advice or just an ear to listen to you before you ever begin. Then, tell them your story. 
No matter what your story is, whether a story of ongoing physical pain and dependence on medications and other treatments just to be able to make it from one day to the next, or a story of abuse at some point in your life, or even possibly a story of being treated in what you feel was a very non-Christian-like manner at a previous church. Just share your story. Be sure there are tissues, plenty of them, close by! For some reason, once we begin telling our stories, no matter what the outcome has been, we will still cry about it. Sometimes the tears are joyful tears because we realize where we were and where we are now, and other times they may be tears of total sadness, fear, anger, because we don't see a way out of our situation. Tell as much detail of your story as you are comfortable with, perhaps letting your listener know that there are more details but you are just not ready to share them quite yet. 
As a listener, that is what you are to do, LISTEN! Never, ever interrupt when someone is telling you about something that has hurt them severely in the past. That could cause the to shut down and decide that you are not the person they want to share this with. When they pause in the story telling, wait before you say anything. Pray before saying a word!! Even a simple prayer said to yourself of "God, help me" can do amazing things. When the hurting person is finished with their story, you will know. They will either let you know that "that's it", or you will just be able to tell by their body language and the fact that they usually are in tears and not saying anything at all.
When it becomes your turn to speak, first and most importantly, let them know that you love them, that nothing they could say could cause you to not love them. Let them know that God loves them! If they are a Christian, help them see the way to get back on the right track and pray with them, sometimes several times in one visit! Remind them that they are continually a work in progress, clay in the Potter's hands. Remind them that we are all being molded and shaped into what God wants us to be each and every moment of every day. Remind them that sometimes that molding and shaping does hurt, but that it is highly likely God has given them this trial to go through in order to be the kind of witness He needs. Remind them that God knows what He is doing! He has had their lives planned since before the beginning of time! Pray with them. Let them know that God never leaves us nor forsakes us, that He is always there for us, to listen to us and to help us get over this hurdle or mountain we are climbing, but that we have to put all of our trust in Him. We have to have faith that He can and will take care of our situation. 
Never, ever tell them that God will take care of it for them and you will be praying for them and leave it at that! EVER!! For all they know, that was just your way of getting away from them, like so many in the past have done. First, pray with them and for them. Then offer to help them find the kind of help they need. Do they need money because they can't pay their light bill this month? Call your pastor and see what can be done. Call anyone you can think of and get this person some help. Be careful though. Don't give out their name unless they have told you that it is okay!! 
Maybe they have told you about something that happened to them many years ago and now they are dealing with depression, anxiety, possibly suicidal thoughts at one time, though not at the present time. Help them find some professional counseling, then offer to drive them to the counseling appointment if they don't have transportation. Even if they do have transportation, offer anyway! There is always the possibility that they do not have the funds for gas in their vehicle to go to the counselor, or they may just need the moral support. 
If the problem causing the pain is due to a problem they had at a previous church, help them to see that not all churches are the same. Not all people are the same. Explain to them the importance of being forgiving, whether to their former church as a whole, or just a certain member. If they are not currently attending a church, invite them to attend yours with you. Be prepared though when you do this for either it to take several invitations for them to actually finally take you up on your offer, or for them to be very uncomfortable when they do come to church with you. Do everything in your power to make them feel comfortable. Remember, this is all about making them feel comfortable and welcome. 
Most importantly, let the person who is hurting know that God is working on them, carrying them through whatever rough time they are having, even though it may not feel like it. Sometimes, when you are going through a difficult time, hurting for whatever reason, it can feel like everyone has left you alone, even God. Make sure that they know HE is always there. Pray with them as much as they will let you! Then continue to pray for them as often as you can. Explain to them about the potter and the clay, how we are the clay and God is the potter and he is molding and forming us into the person he wants us to be ultimately. God will frequently use our bad experiences to bring something out in us to use to help others. Help them to consider that possibility. But most importantly, just be there for them, and keep their confidence. Never, ever share ANY information they share with you without their permission first. Be the friend that they are crying out for so desperately. 

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Psalm 119:28

New International Version (NIV)
28 My soul is weary with sorrow;
    strengthen me according to your word.

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