A little over a month ago, I was struggling emotionally. I was in a season of waiting and things weren’t going as planned. Due to my circumstances, I found myself withdrawing into my home, seeing less of my friends than I was accustomed to, and generally hiding from the world.
But it was in the middle of this struggle that my friends reached out to me in tangible ways, showing the love of Christ in a season of difficulty. And even though what I was going through was nothing compared to terminal illness or painful physical suffering, their love and thoughtfulness gave me courage to face my circumstances.
Perhaps you have a friend who is suffering through a breakup, job loss or broken family relationships. Here are a few things you can do for her, drawn from the very things my friends did for me.
1. Visit Her
When your friend is suffering, she probably doesn’t want to go out on the town as much as usual. Particularly if she is struggling emotionally, there’s a good chance she’s become a recluse in her own home. Taking time to visit her is a great way to encourage her and get the real story of how she’s doing. Gather up a friend or two and stop by when you know she’ll be home.
2. Bring Her a Meal
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to do this (though my friends certainly made some delicious dishes!). It can be as simple as picking up a pizza and a carton of ice cream…simple so your friend doesn’t have to make herself dinner. If you live close by, you could even make it breakfast instead—stopping by with coffee and a muffin from her favorite coffee shop. Food is a wonderful way to show love.
3. Talk About “Normal” Life Stuff
When we’re suffering, it’s tempting to only focus on the issue at hand. That’s why it’s so refreshing to have a friend who acknowledges the difficulty, but doesn’t let it consume the conversation. She asks about the “normal” stuff, and by doing so lends more normalcy to the season of struggle. If your friend just broke up, ask her about her latest art project or how work is going. Discussing the breakup is inevitable, but you can help her see the big picture of her life by discussing the other aspects she may have forgotten in her pain.
4. Drop Off an Impromptu Gift
Don’t have time to meet up with your friend? Drop off a gift! My friend Hali left me a whole package of goodies on my porch while I was out. It was the most wonderful surprise to return and find simple but thoughtful gifts sitting on my doorstep. It doesn’t have to be complicated—it could be a new book she might want to read or her favorite snack. Whatever it is, it says “I’m thinking of you!”
5. Send Her an Encouraging Verse
Trials test our faith. It’s easy to drift away from God when we’re struggling. That’s why Christian friends are so important in these seasons! Keep your friend’s mind on the Lord by sending her a verse or article that relates to her situation. This works best if you’re also open to discussing the situation itself—not just sending the verse and moving on! But the Word of God is living and active, and by helping your friend see how it applies to her situation you can bolster her faith to face what’s ahead.
6. Invite Her Out
Though your friend might not want to get out, being available when she does will refresh and energize her. She needs company and fresh air once in a while! Invite her out for something simple, like a walk or a quick shopping trip for some things she needs. Getting out of the house will help her emotionally, even if she isn’t interested at first.
Suffering looks many different ways, and it’s not always as severe as, say, hospitalization. By recognizing when your friend is going through a difficult season, you can show her love in the practical ways my friends blessed me.
Have more ideas for blessing a friend? Share in the comments!