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When someone we know is grieving, we want to help. But sometimes we stay away or stay silent, afraid that we will do or say the wrong thing – that we will hurt instead of help.
In What Grieving People Wish You Knew, author Nancy Guthrie offers practical, straightforward advice on how to confidently interact with grieving people. Drawing from personal experience, as well as the input of hundreds of grieving people, she offers specifics of what to say and do, and what to avoid. Tackling touchy topics, navigating interactions on social media, and more, this insightful guidebook will show you how to support those who are grieving with wisdom and love.
Number of Pages: 176
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.25 (inches)|
A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss, Expanded EditionJerry SittserZondervan / 2004 / Hardcover$11.49 Retail:5 Stars Out Of 5 36 Reviews
$19.99Save 43% ($8.50)
Nancy Guthrie teaches the Bible at her church, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Franklin, Tennessee, and at conferences worldwide. She and her husband, David, are the cohosts of the GriefShare video series used in more than 10,000 churches nationwide and also host Respite Retreats for couples who have experienced the death of a child. Guthrie is also the host of Help Me Teach the Bible, a podcast of the Gospel Coalition.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5If You REALLY Want to Help Those Who GrieveJanuary 24, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5We sat on the couch, side by side, but miles apart. She had just lost her son in a tragic accident. I had four living and healthy boys and no words that could touch her loss. In the weeks and months that followed, I wrote notes, shared Scripture verses, listened to her sadness, and showed up at her door bearing food, but never feeling confident that any of it held meaning, and often feeling as if I was missing the whole point.
Nancy Guthrie writes to bring clarity and a measure of confidence to people like me: those of us who want to help and bring comfort to our grieving friends, but want to avoid saying all the wrong words and assuming things that are not true. Her research for What Grieving People Wish You Knew was gritty and uninvited, and began on the day when her infant daughter Hope was diagnosed with a rare and fatal metabolic disorder. Grief barged through the door, and Hopes 199-day life was a day-by-day good bye that was all too short.
Certainly, this experience alone would qualify a well-known Bible teacher like Nancy to speak wisdom into the lives of those who grieve, but then, a year and a half after Hopes death, Nancy discovered that she was, once again, pregnant with a baby who had the fatal syndrome and who also lived for about six months. Working through all this sadness sharpened Nancys awareness that often, when Christians try to help those who have suffered losses, we mainly reveal that we just dont get it.
In response, she conducted an online survey in which she asked grieving people for examples of what others said or did for them that proved to be helpful and meaningful. She shares many of these suggestions in her book, and they were truly a highlight, including thoughts as simple (and as obvious) as using the name of the deceased in casual conversation or sharing pictures and memories with family members.
Under the best of circumstances Im not a great conversationalist, so it was a relief to me to hear the news that it matters less what you say than that you say something. In fact, even if you come up with the perfect thing to say (as if there is such a thing), it simply wont fix the hurt or solve the problem of the people who are grieving. This is absolutely critical, and with that taken care of, Nancy goes on to provide additional insights:
Grieving is as unique as the individuals who grieve. There is no one-size-fits-all comfort formula.
Listen more than you talk.
Dont assume anything about their feelings, about the spiritual condition of the deceased, or that your own grief experience is comparable or helpful to share.
Dont feel the need to be a fixer.
Examine your heart for selfish motives in your caring or for a warped tendency to get your own need for significance met by ministering to your grieving friend.
Nancy quotes Dr. Kenneth Haugk who cautions us that if you hear yourself starting a sentence with the words Well, I . . ; When I . . .; I remember . . .; or My . . . just dont say it.
Other red flags that call for a re-thinking of our words include:
Well, at least . . .
It was Gods will . . .
I know someone else who . . .
God took him/her so that . . .
According to Nancy, one of the best statements you can make is I dont what what to say, while one of the incorrect assumptions we make is that the grieving family is being ministered to by people who are closer to them, or, even worse, that they would rather just be left alone. Showing up makes a powerful statement of support.
Esteeming the grief of those we love will look like patience and will keep us from putting a deadline on someone elses grieving process. It will keep us from looking away when they cry, and will give us courage to shed our own tears in their presence, because this demonstrates the fact that their loved one is worth grieving for. Our shared sadness is tangible evidence of our love.
Nancy and her husband David host respite retreats for couples who have faced the death of a child and are actively involved in GriefShare which offers a ministry of education and counseling for those who are walking through loss. She encourages grieving families to laugh and reminisce together and to seek community rather than trying to soldier their way through healing alone.
Over the long haul, friends who mark their calendar to remind them of anniversaries and birthdays, who provide practical help ranging from the casserole brigade to the repair of the broken back step, who offer to baby sit for children, or contribute money for the onslaught of expenses are truly demonstrating the love of Christ and are helping their grieving friends move toward healing and hope.
What Grieving People Wish You Knew is a resource of words and ideas, and its a gift to readers which will certainly result in greater courage and a more sensitive engagement of the Body of Christ with those who need to experience first hand the love and mercy of God.
This book was provided by Crossway in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
contemplativereflections4 Stars Out Of 5Book Review: What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)January 7, 2017contemplativereflectionsQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0In "What Grieving People Wish You Knew about What Really Helps (and What Really Hurts)," Nancy Guthrie hopes to offer guidance and advice to those around grieving people on how to show love and care without making the hurt worse. Drawing heavily on individuals whom she had interviewed or dialogued with, Guthrie highlights common emotions and feelings that those who are hurting often experience and provide suggestions on ways to lovingly express sympathy and provide timely encouragement. The book touches a variety of practical issues that frequently stump those trying to empathize such as what are the right words to say, what tasks could be undertaken that might be helpful, and how to respond appropriately to grief shared on social media. In addition, a chapter is committed to answering common questions that Christians raise and another chapter is devoted to tackling tough questions about heaven and hell. What I appreciate most about Guthrie is her willingness to share about her own grief process after losing two of her children. In being transparent about her struggles, the observations and suggestions that the author puts forth are much more convincing and relevant to readers. An example of one observation made in the book that left a deep impression is how continuous words and actions of encouragement and care even years after can be so important to the family members. We often think that time would be the best medicine but neglect to understand that the feelings of pain, loss, and longing never disappears completely. Thus, when we affectionately share memories of the deceased individual to their family members some time afterwards, they often feel comforted knowing that somebody is still treasuring the lasting impact of their loved ones.
I would highly recommend this book to all Christians as it contains much helpful advice on how to effectively minister to those who are grieving. When tragedy strikes, most of us are ill-equipped to grieve well with those who have experienced loss. Guthrie wisely advises readers to avoid easy solutions but rather view each situation and individual as being unique and worthy of our effort to dig deep in our attempts to empathize and encourage. The authors intention is to provide practical advice as helpful starting points in beginning to learn how to help bear the burdens of those who are hurting. May we obey Christs command to mourn with those who mourn and seek to enter, albeit in a limited way, the pain and suffering of those amongst us.
In compliance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, I was provided a review copy of this book from Crossway.