When You Don’t Know What to Say

I recently lost my parents to COVID and experienced a whole new level of grief. It’s been hard, but I am so grateful that my parents did not have to suffer for very long.

Grief is a strange thing – some days it’s overwhelming, while others it’s a dull, quiet pain that hovers beneath the surface of “normal.”

As ministers, we prepare the best we can to help others through the circumstances of life. More often than we would like, this involves dealing with devastating loss.

I don’t know about you, but no one ever taught me how to grieve. No one ever taught me how to minister to others who are grieving. And although I’ve always done my best, I didn’t realize how much I still had to learn until I walked this road myself.

Even with the things I have learned, I still don’t have all the answers. What works for me may not work for others and vice versa. However, there are a few things that we can all do differently to be more effective in loving others through their pain.

In this video, I discuss some things that have been said to me that were not helpful, as well as some things that were. I also make a few suggestions of things we can say or do when walking through grief with someone.

The most important thing to remember is that we all grieve differently. Not only are our personalities different, but no two situations are exactly the same. I lost my parents after they had had a long, full life together. Some lose parents when they are much younger. Sometimes parents lose children. Even when situations seem the same, there is always something different. Sometimes dealing with loss will be easier, but it is never easy.

As we journey through heartache with others, the best thing we can do is give them the gift of presence. After all, it’s not about making ourselves feel better about their grief – it’s about loving them and being there for them in whatever capacity they need.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (ESV) There is our answer. Presence.

Published by silentlybleeding

Jan McIntyre loves Jesus, family, bargain shopping, cooking, and photography. Jan was raised in a pastor's home and is married to a pastor. Her heart's desire is to encourage and empower pastor's wives.

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