Everyday Grace

Searching for goodness in the ordinary

Day 28: He Uses Broken People // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness


photo: Matheus Bertelli

Hi there! This is day 28 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.

The other day, I was talking to a friend and asked how she was. We have known each other for over 10 years, so there is no more room for BS in our relationship. We keep it pretty real. So when I asked how my friend was, she told me how she is actually doing. It turned out that she was struggling because her grandfather was in the hospital, and devastatingly, the doctors were unsure if he would make it.

As it happens, I have walked through hospice care twice, with both my grandmas. Because I have stood in my friend’s shoes, I had some idea of what she was feeling and what she needed, which was mostly to have someone to witness and hold space for what she was going through, and to know that God is tenderly walking her grandpa through all of this. (I also forced a lasagna and some apple crisp on her the next day, because food is a universal love language.) Throughout our interactions, I worried the usual worries: that I wasn’t saying enough or was saying too much, or wasn’t saying the right things, but that didn’t really matter. Most of the time when people are going through hard things, they don’t really need you to say the exact right words. They just need you to show up, because that act alone reminds them they are loved and they’re not alone. In the middle of the worst crisis, that can be the difference between feeling like all is lost and feeling kindly taken care of by God.

We talked a little about hospice advocates and how much of a godsend they can be if it gets to that point, and then I left (which is the whole point behind bringing supper to a friend going through something – you drop it off and leave so you don’t saddle them with company on top of everything else), and in the car on the way home I thought about my own experience with hospitals and losing loved ones, and the endless, slow, short, quick, emotionally and physically exhausting journey of hospice. I thought about how it seemed like such an ugly, needless experience at the time, and I struggled with why God would allow someone to pass away so slowly and painfully. I might never know that, but I do know God gently walked my grandmas through every step of their transition to His kingdom, and He gently walked me through the halls of that hospice center both times as my heart was breaking into pieces. I do know God cherishes and uses broken people, and that He comforts us so that we might comfort others. I don’t think God made my grandmothers sick or inflicted the process of hospice on them or our family, but I know that my experiences can help soothe another soul encountering a similar experience for the first time, and let her know she’s not alone. It turns out we are more capable than we think, and our wounds can be our superpowers. Whatever you are going through right now, consider this: because of your particular life experiences, you will be able to reach and comfort people that I will never be able to touch. Our tenderhearted God made us to walk alongside each other, and He will not waste a hurt.

My friend’s grandfather actually improved and is not going to be needing hospice care – praise God! But if she ever does find herself in the position of having a loved one go through this, she knows I’m her girl. It’s never easy, but it’s a little less terrible when you have people around you who get it. Your experiences and the fact that you made it through a hard thing can help someone understand that they will get through it, too. Your hope in the middle of your brokenness can encourage another to have hope in the middle of hers. Let’s be those people for each other. Everybody needs that.


14 Responses to Day 28: He Uses Broken People // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness

  1. i enjoyed this post. i do think people are different in terms of their preferences re visits. For example, if someone is a close friend, i love for them to stay and visit during the meal…if they have time to do it. especially if i am alone or almost alone…like i often am. of course, it depends on the relationship i have with the person and the alertness of my loved one in hospice.
    but overall, i totally agree with everything you are talking about.

  2. Wonderful. My favorite lines: “Most of the time when people are going through hard things, they don’t really need you to say the exact right words. They just need you to show up, ”

    How can I show up more? This post has really challenged me. I need prayer to find a real community, not virtual, of friends. Right now, we are struggling to find a church. I want to be able to show up for others too but feel isolated. Thanks for your wonderful words here.

    • Mary, I understand where you’re coming from COMPLETELY. I have struggled to find a church community to plug into as well and it’s hard. Have you tried out lots of different churches in your area, or is something stopping you? I ask because it’s really hard to get motivated to go to church when it’s a new place. Worth it, but stinking hard. Praying this over you:

      Father, I ask that you would place our girl Mary in a church community where she can flourish. We believe you when you say you set the lonely in families. Please carve out a place for her in her future church family so that when she gets there, they will welcome her and love her. We ask that she will find a place where she can serve and be served, and form rock solid relationships with new friends and sisters in Christ. You are so good, and that’s why we can trust you!

  3. I have recently lost my grandfather to cancer and I can admit to also questioning why God would allow such pain and suffering to someone so dear to me. But, through His wisdom, I have come to realize that He uses others’ sufferings to bring those to faith and salvation. Because when someone starts to pass, we begin to seek Him for answers, we realize that grudges shouldn’t remain, and we ask others for help and prayer, bringing a community together. You are right in saying that our past sufferings can help those that are currently going through it! Wonderful post!

    • Jess, I’m so sorry about your grandfather. You are so right that God can change what the enemy meant for our suffering into something good for our healing. Wishing you peace…cancer stinks.

  4. Good words Cattie. It is great when God uses our hardships or trials to encourage others when they walk the same road.

  5. Yes it is! I’ve been on both sides of it and each time, I can’t think of too many things I’m more thankful for than the way we walk each other home. Thanks Robyn!

  6. Wise words, my friend! Especially the part about bringing food and dropping it off ;). It’s so difficult to know how to help a caregiver out–but so important to show up. You nailed it!

  7. It’s so important to remember to just BE with the person struggling. They don’t need perfect, cookie-cutter answers because those aren’t helpful. Listening with understanding and compassion is what we are called to do! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Great job – comfort food and someone who cares mean the world when facing life-and-death caregiving situations. I so love how God does not waste anything we ever go through if we are willing to be vulnerable. Great post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.