5 Ways To Reach A Grieving Friend

5 Ways To Reach A Grieving Friend

Sarah Knepper


With a steaming cup of coffee in hand I sit at my kitchen table staring out the window. My mind wanders over the tragedies that have occurred in the past month.

Our six-year-old was hit by a car November 8th.

Our Pastor lost his niece to a violent home invasion a few days later.

Paris was attacked by ISIS.

Our church’s Children’s Ministries Director lost her 32-year-old son.

My husband’s uncle died from an anyuerism on November 30th.

And now we are full swing in the Christmas season with aching hearts and hurting souls.

The world doesn’t make sense to us because…



we, as Christians, do not belong on earth.

The grief we experience is only part of the story God is weaving for our eternity in heaven.

But we still live here.

Our hearts still tremble when tragedy occurs.

Lives become disrupted as our defenses are weakened with worry.

When these unexpected losses break down our doors we wonder how can we respond?

I’ve experienced my fair share of tragedy and loss. My heart has broken more than once and God has always mended those deep valleys of desperation with the love and service of those around me. Today I want to share how my friends and family have rallied around my husband and I along with our children.

5 Ways to Reach a Grieving Friend this Christmas

  1. Show Up. Most people want to know someone is there to comfort them. When my son was in the ER my friends sat in the waiting area for hours to see us and hear an update. They hugged me when I needed love and let me cry when the crowding pressure was too much.
  2. Listen. Part of grieving is verbally expressing feelings. I repeated my thoughts about our son’s accident over and over. My family and friends listened without reservation. I wrote Facebook and Instagram posts describing my feelings, my experiences, and my fears. People responded with compassion and empathy. Listening to someone grieve is a gift anyone can give.
  3. Offer Yourself. Make a meal, clean toilets, watch kids, grocery shop, Christmas shop… There are many ways you can serve your hurting friend or family member. This time of year is busy for all of us, and we can easily excuse the holy spirit’s prompting with our long to-do lists. Often there are too many commitments made that aren’t necessary and too few that mean the most. Consider taking one item off your list in exchange for serving the person you know is grieving. You won’t regret it.
  4. Don’t Forget. Life moves quickly, and we soon forget the tragedy which seemed so prevalent a few weeks ago. The truth is those living the trauma are processing and experiencing the after effects. My son tells me Mom I am so glad I didn’t die. We have many more conversations about heaven now and what it means to pass away. I see my child getting hit by that car over and over some days. Our oldest son (10) is dealing with the accident by worrying for others and fears being alone. The stress on my husband and I mounts as he works long hours and I try to maintain our home and children. Pick up the phone and CALL your friend. She will appreciate knowing you are thinking about her.
  5. Pray Together. Phenomenal power comes when people pray together. In the ER we prayed over our son constantly. I prayed out loud in the x-ray room. My friends prayed with me in the waiting area, the hallway, and in Jonah’s room. We fiercely called on Jesus to calm our fears and heal our boy. Don’t tell your friend you will pray for her and walk away. Ask her if you can pray right there wherever you are.




12122914_10207781061627590_7934910084013634833_nSarah is married to an engineer, mama to four children, and a lover of words. She holds a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education but stays home during this season of motherhood. Sarah also volunteers for the women’s ministry at her church. She shares her life on her blog Redemption Diary.




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