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....empty. A 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