Friday, July 19, 2013

When There's Nothing You Can Say

"Yeah, so I quit Weight Watchers.  I'm just struggling to get through life right now, so I said to heck with it and I made a pie.  And I ate it."

I looked across my kitchen counter at my dear friend and wondered what the right move would be.  Do I hug her?  Make a joke?  Whip up a batch of cookies?  Our children were happily poking at the plates full of "toothpick food" on the table (see below) as she and I danced around the issue of the mega-trial in her life right now. 

I could see her pain in her face.  In her posture.  Hiding behind her smile.  She spoke about how she knows she should try to get out for a breath of fresh air, but the activities that she used to enjoy suddenly seem so....emptyA pedicure has gone from pampering to pointless.  A night with the girls seems more phony than freeing.

The offers of childcare, play dates, late night chats over a couple beers - they all seemed so minuscule.  I wanted to cook her an entire week's worth of dinners, clean her entire house, kneel down and give her a pedicure right then and there in my dining room.

But what did I really do?  Nothing.
What did I say?  Practically nothing.

Because I felt paralyzed.  I didn't want to say the wrong thing, so I erred on the side of saying nothing at all. And now I feel terrible about it.  What kind of friend does that?  How could I have just stood there and not reached out to hug her?  How did I let her walk out my door and load her kids back in the van without scheduling a time in the next week to get together alone?

And even more importantly.....why didn't I pray with her?

I sit here now and think back on the evening in my basement in December of 2011 when I poured my heart out through tears and sobs to two of my friends.  When they prayed over me that night, God moved in my heart and it was through that experience that I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord.  It changed my life forever.  

When there's nothing you can say, just PRAY. 

I'm grateful that this experience taught me this lesson, but I feel awful that it had to come through my negligence as a friend and as a sister in Christ.  If you have someone in mind right now, someone that might need a word of encouragement that you've been struggling to find the right words, just give it up to Him.  It's surprising that something so freeing could be so difficult to do, but I know I struggle with it.  But we can do so much when we appeal to the one who can do everything. 

"Is any one of you in trouble?  He should pray.  Is anyone happy?  Let him sing songs of praise.....The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."  James 5:13, 16b


  1. I love that yesterday I was reminded that we need to remember that you don't have to BE righteous to have effective prayers...He is righteousness in us...we just need to PRAY!

    And then this morning this came up from Psalm 57:1-3 - David cried this when he was on the run from Saul and hiding in a cave and it seems as if your friend is in her own cave right now, huh?:

    1 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.
    2 I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills [his purpose] for me.
    3 He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness.
    Love, Mom

  2. Love this, Sarah. You are so right, but don't beat yourself up. Just pray for her now and tell her the next time you see her that you've been praying for her, and ask her if there's anything specific that she'd like you to focus your prayers on. And if you feel like she's open to it, ask if she'd be OK with you praying for her right then. I type this like it's old hat to me, but it's so not. I have a really hard time praying out loud in front of people. I have only asked a friend if I could pray for her ONE time. It was so scary (why is it so scary??). I know she appreciated it, but it was hard to do. Anyway, you are not alone, and you are not a negligent friend. You are thoughtful and compassionate. Thank you for your openness.


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