*** Congratulations Lisa Adams! You are the winner of the Alongside Book Giveaway ***
Giveaway now closed
I’m not sure if it’s the time of year with the anniversary of Dad’s passing approaching, or experiencing deeper healing in my own faith journey, but this book, Alongside, had me nodding and crying and literally yelling out loud, hands springing up and down in the air, Yes! Yes! Sarah Beckman, a kindred and compassionate soul, breathes perspective and permission. She offers practical, real life nuggets with how to best love someone in need.
Sarah has walked alongside friends experiencing cancer, loss, miscarriage, divorce, and other trials. And she’s been on the receiving side of needing care during multiple back surgeries and bed rest. She knows what it means to join someone in his or her pain, suffering, or grief and offer a safe space to simply be. Her book takes the guessing game out once tragedy strikes – that moment we get a phone call from a friend who lost a loved one, or received a diagnosis, or found out their marriage is thready – and we’re standing there with gaping hearts, ready to help, but wonder, How? How do I help? What can I do? She rewrites the narrative from, “Let me know what I can do to help” into specifics like: “I’m at the store. What can I pick up for you since I’m already here?” “I’d love to bring dinner. What are you craving?” “Can I watch your kids?” or “Can I come sit with you at the hospital/home?”
I didn’t make it to page 20 before I found tears falling in constant streams and had to put it down, pause, and reflect on how her words gave permissive healing, even almost four years later, doused with intentional ideas for how to best love my neighbor when he or she is in crisis.
Words like, “As you begin to look at your friend in trial through this new lens- one solely focused on them- there are several considerations to bear in mind. First, try not to let your own feelings cloud the picture… we want to help others, but often we can’t see past our own grief, our desire to be “In the know,” or our need to be appreciated. In the process, we forget we are reaching out to someone who is not operating at full capacity or in a sound frame of mind…Give lots of grace- especially to the person who’s directly facing the trial. Crisis can make people irrational” (I know it did me) “Emotions tend to run high. Forgiveness and understanding are in order. It’s not about you. It’s not about you.”
Sarah offers perspective when someone we love is experiencing a trial and reminds us:
Support those they love
Guard your tongue
Believe in them
Do not take offense
Serve out of love.”
Sarah shares an article by Catherine Woodiwiss, who debunks the I’m giving you space myth: “There is a curious illusion that in times of crisis people ‘need space.’ I don’t know where this assumption originated, but in my experience, it is almost always false. Trauma is a disfiguring, lonely time, even when surrounded in love; to suffer through trauma alone is unbearable. Do not assume others are reaching out, showing up, or covering all the bases. It is a much lighter burden to say, ‘Thanks for your love, but please go away,’ than to say, ‘I was hurting and no one cared for me.’ If someone says they need space, respect that. Otherwise, err on the side of presence.'”
Permission is never wasted.
Sarah encourages, “Give them permission to feel the way they’re feeling. We should never expect someone to respond in the way we might, so let each person deal with their trial in their own way. Don’t push them to move through or move on immediately. They need your encouragement to take all the time they need.”
“I am with you, I’ll be here for you, I’m standing beside you in this hard thing.”
I mean, who doesn’t need this book?
In support of Alongside , I’m offering a giveaway from Saturday, February 18 to Monday, February 20, 9pm PST.
To enter, please leave your name in the comments below and share a bit about yourself. A winner will be chosen at random and announced here Monday night.
Connect with Sarah Beckman at: http://sarahbeckman.org/