Thursday, April 30, 2009

Guest Post

I have asked several people to write about the Interrupted Expectations in their lives. You will know these blogs by the title "Guest Post".

God, please bless those who write. Help them to be able to put their thoughts down to bless others. In Jesus Name...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

#1 Thing Not to Say to Someone Who is Hurting

I find it interesting that the #1 response that people give you when you are hurting is "Call me if you need anything." I am here to tell you that if you truly want to help that person, this is the #1 worst response that you can give.

Let me explain. You learn very quickly who truly wants to help you and those who want to make themselves feel better. People who truly want to help will actually do something. Those who don't really want to be bothered by it all will give the "call me" response. Instead of keeping the ball in their court, they throw it at you and want you to do something with it. The guilt is off them because they no longer hold the ball.

The problem with this is that when you are grieving, you can't handle many "balls in your court". What you need is for people to take balls from you not add. The things that people can do are the little things in life that don't matter but still need to be done - housework, meals, lawn work, etc. I am here to tell you - grieving people do not call people just because they said "call me".

The next time that you are tempted to say "call me if you need something" - don't. Pray that God will lead you to know what needs to be done. Ask people you know who have been in the same circumstances of things that would be a blessing. Keep the ball in your court, get creative, and seriously help.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What Not to Say to Those Grieving

This blog is about what not to say to those who have lost a young person:
1. You need to get over this and move on. - Death of a young person is something you NEVER get over. You simply learn how to move on as you create a new normal.
2. I am sorry that I made you cry. - Tears are cleansing and helpful.
3. Will you have another child? - This comment is for people who have lost a young child. Don't ask.
3. I know how you feel, I lost my 99 year old grandpa who lived five states away and I didn't know. - Seriously??? Unless you have lost a perfectly healthy young person, you don't know.
4. Call me if you need anything. - Only say this if you don't want to help.

Monday, April 27, 2009

If You are Grieving

1) Find an outlet – find a grief support group, counselor, or a strong Christian (of the same gender) who has been through a similar situation
2) Exercise – walk or workout with a friend who will listen
3) Take care of yourself. The rest of your family will need you to.
4) GUARD YOUR MARRIAGE – husbands and wives grieve differently. Death of a child is #1 on divorce. I don’t say that to scare anyone but prepare you.
5) Don’t avoid help – let others help do the things that don’t matter – clean your house, prepare meals, etc.
6) Don’t get rid of stuff too soon – give your self time. Once you get rid of it you will never get it back. So, don’t hurry into the process.
7) You will make new traditions and that is okay.
8) People will say the dumbest things – be prepared and just understand that they don’t get it. Until you have lost a vibrant teenager, you don’t understand.
9) You will cry when you least expect it. A song on the radio or a shirt in a mall will remind you of the person. It is okay and good to cry.
10) Find a verse that you can cling to when the doubt, fear, and anger comes. For me it is Jeremiah 29:11
11) Don’t stop talking about the person you've lost. Keeping the memories alive is SO therapeutic
12) Journal – you will be able to use this later when you are ready to help others

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Helping Those Who Are Grieving

1) You don't have to have it all together to help. I feel that the Lord allowed us to go through the pain so that we can help others. This doesn't mean that I have it all together and all figured out but God uses cracked pots!

2) Helping others takes your time. Serving means that you might be inconveniences. Isn't that what being a servant means?

3) Don't try to fix it or make it better. Just listen and validate the person's feelings. Their feelings probably won't make sense to you because grief is personal and unique. That's okay.

4) Use open ended questions that require specific answers.

5) Figure out the person's love language - "quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service and physical touch. If you express love toward others in a way they don't understand, they will not realize you've expressed your love at all." The Heart of the Five Love Languages

6) Ask about the person who pasted away. People assume that those grieving won't want to talk about the person they lost because it hurts too much or will make them cry. This couldn't be further from the truth.

7) Don't have your own agenda when helping people.

8) Find out when the family will be gone and ask if you can come in and clean their home or do lawn work then. Take your own cleaning supplies over to their home. You never know what they might be out of and you don't want to not be able to clean something.

9) Offer to come and answer the phone or get the door.

Helping Those Who Have Extended Hospital Stays

With our oldest son, we spend almost one full month in the NICU. So many people blessed us during the time that we were away from home. I want to pass on some of the blessings:

1. Visits - Those who took the time to drive the distance were such a blessing to us. We were only allowed 10 minutes - per hour with our son. This left a lot of time on our hands either sitting at the hospital or at our hotel. Many people took us out to eat. The visit that blessed us the most was from my aunts and uncle during Bubs' surgery. Having them there during those long hours helped keep our minds off the obvious. They hadn't even planned on coming down for the surgery. God's timing!

2. Gift cards to local restaurants, gas stations, or grocery stores. The hospital caf and motel continental breakfast gets old really fast!

3. Food - Before we left for the hospital, two friends brought by baskets of food. The nonperishable food was awesome. It was also a blessing to have fruit and "healthy" food. There were moments when we didn't have time to eat so a banana and snack bar was our meal.

4. Phone calls - We appreciated so much the phone calls. The amount of phone calls got overwhelming at times though. Knowing that our phones would be off while in the hospital, a dear friend of mine called during those times. She didn't want to talk but just wanted to leave a message. I appreciated this so much.

5. Cell phone minutes - Being away from home so long requires the use of the cell phone. Due to small cell phone plans, minutes can become few. Just something to keep in mind when calling.

6. Web page - A dear friend of ours started a webpage where we could leave updates and people could leave messages. What a blessing!!! We didn't have to repeat info 20 times and the messages we received were SUCH a blessing. It wasn't so much what the person said in the message but that they took the time to leave a message.

7. Care packages - We received a care package from a couple who had been in a similar situation with their son in the NICU. The package included the most random, awesome things - handheld computer games, food, lotion, batteries, etc. Some other things that would have been a blessing - blank thank you cards, stamps, laundry detergent, notepad, pen and pencils, folder to hold the huge amount of paperwork, toiletry items, books to read, puzzles or games.

8. Laundry - Our family came down to take care of our laundry! HUGE!! Doing laundry away from home requires you to sit there and wait and we didn't have a couple of hours of time in a block time frame.

9. Taking care of the home while away - Our neighbors took care of the house, yard, garden, mail, etc.

10. When we came home, our refrigerator was stocked full of easy food - sandwich stuff, fruit, vegetables, etc. What a blessing!

11. Bringing items to the hospital. When people knew that they were going to be in the area of the hospitakl, they called to see if we needed anything from our home. This was very helpful.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Interrupted Expectations

Expectations in life. Those things that you just know will happen. The givens in life. Like 1+1=2 and A is followed B. You cruise through life going 100 miles per hour not taking time to give it much thought. Expectations are placed upon you from the world you live in. You place expectations on yourself.

What happens when those expectations are interrupted? When things don't go the way you saw them going due to death of a loved one, broken dreams, or illness? Where do you turn? What happens when you see other people's dreams shattered through divorce or cancer? How do you come along side to support them?

This blog is a combination of things that I have learned through my own personal Interrupted Expectations. God has allowed me to go through these hurts so that I further my faith in Him and bless others.