Monday, October 1, 2012

Mourn With Those Who Mourn

Yesterday, my article, "A Choice to Rejoice," was published over at The Better Mom.  I'd love for you to hop over and read it (click here), if you have a minute, either before or after you continue reading here today.  This community of ladies has come to be a real blessing and encouragement to me.  I'd encourage you to check them out.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; 
mourn with those who mourn." 
(Romans 12:15)

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As I wrote about yesterday at The Better Mom, the exhortation to "rejoice with those who rejoice" contains a unique invitation from the Father into greater intimacy and trust with Him.  Likewise, I believe Paul's encouragement to the Romans to "mourn with those who mourn" also entails responding to an invitation from the Lord.

It's almost never easy... In fact, the idea of mourning with those who mourn can be incredibly intimidating.  What, after all, can we do or say to make ANYthing better when...
  • Someone's child has died?
  • A marriage is crumbling before our eyes?
  • A friend miscarries her baby?
  • Our husband is laid off from a job he loved?
I could go on and on with examples.  The fact is, we as humans are wired to want to fix... situations, people, hearts.

And in situations like these, we just can't...and it hurts.  It hurts us to see our loved ones' hearts shattered into pieces.

So we often tend to either:
  •  run the opposite direction from those whose hearts are hurting, because we don't know what to say, and the depth of their pain is intimidating to us and we're afraid we'll do or say something wrong or that the intensity of their loss will hurt our own hearts too deeply if we allow ourselves to feel it... 
  • TRY to "fix" the pain by saying things that are genuinely well-intentioned but are actually insensitive or just plain not helpful.
But the invitation of the Lord to us in moments like these is to bravely walk a line, by His grace, right down the middle between these two extremes.

"Mourn with those who mourn."

In my experience, this is what God is asking of us in extending this invitation:

  • A bold willingness to trust Him to tenderly hold our own heart, as well as our friend or loved one's heart... and out of that place of trust, to be willing to enter in and FEEL for, and with, your friend.
  • The courage to sit quietly with our friend and not be afraid to have nothing to say, to be completely helpless to fix anything... but just to BE there.
  • A willingness to experience the ache in the Father's heart over the grief of another.
If God is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18), then aren't we nearer to Him when WE are willing to be near them also?  

Just to BE NEAR...

Any time God invites us to share in or experience His heart, in any way, this is an invitation into intimacy with Him.  When we respond with a "yes" in our hearts to His invitation to mourn with another, the Father will lead us, give us wisdom and direction, show us how best to love and serve and grieve appropriately with our grieving friend.

Intimacy with God comes when we don't allow fear (fear of experiencing pain, fear of doing or saying something wrong, or just fear of the unknown) to make us shy away from walking closely with another who is hurting deeply.

Ask the Father for His heart.  Ask Him to make you a safe place for the hearts of the ones who are hurting.  And then quietly, confidently reach out and LOVE as He gives you opportunities to mourn with those who mourn.  

He will use us profoundly to be a source of healing in one another's lives as we learn to walk beside each other in this way.
***Some years ago after the death of her baby girl, Molly Piper wrote a series called "How to Help Your Grieving Friend."  It was quite popular and well-received, I think because we all look for ways to really, meaningfully HELP when a friend experiences a loss.  Here's a link to her series.  I HIGHLY recommend it, whether you currently have a friend who's grieving or not... we all will at some point.  It is incredibly insightful and I've referred to it many times over the last few years.***
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