When asked “What can I do” I’ve found the answer can frequently be found rearranging the words into the answer. “Do what I can.”  -ted menten

A few weeks back I shared wisdom from a grief counselor on what to say when someone is grieving.  Sometimes, acknowledgement of grief and a little gift is enough. In other circumstances, we need to take action and help the people we love.   

Ten years ago, I was pregnant with my first daughter and was suddenly put on strict bedrest.  I went from being self-sufficient to helpless in a matter of no time. During those 6 weeks, I had to accept help with EVERYTHING.  Errands, cooking, setting up nursery, laundry, etc. It is not easy to have to depend on others, but learning to lean on others is also a gift. 

So how can we be a good friend when someone is suffering or grieving? Here are some of my thoughts from personal experience and from others- 

1. Think about your gifts. How are are wired? What are you good at?  If you are not good at cooking then don't offer to bring a meal.  Maybe you are good at yard work.  Or planting flowers.  Are you good at errands? Laundry?  Serve in the way you are wired. It can be small. Ask God what you have to offer.

2. Be specific in your offer to help.  Don't say "How can I help?"  That put the burden on the suffering person to determine your time and talents. Instead, ask a question that they can easily respond with a yes or no.  For example, "I am at the grocery store, can I pick up any groceries?"

3. Be able to say yes.  If you offer to help, then be able to help.  It takes a lot of vulnerability and humility for someone to accept help. You bless both of you if you can say yes.

Finally, here are some ways to serve people besides bringing dinner.

- Deliver breakfast or lunch.  Homemade granola is one of my favs!
- Babysitting... take their kids for an outing. 
- Run errands...groceries, dry cleaning, returns etc.
- Laundry...pick up piles of laundry and return it clean and folded.
- Yard work...replace plants in front pots, clip flowers, mow lawn etc.
- Holiday help...Are you good at decor? Decorate their home for fall or Christmas.  What about design and address Christmas cards ?
- Organizer...offer to organize kitchen or closets
- Prayer Warrior...set up a prayer schedule with other friends and family. 

I hope these tips help you to serve your friends and family well in times of need.