I picked up the phone, sure needed a friend
Hoping to find some perspective and wisdom in pain, on the other end
I heard grace and truth, and started to see
God confirmed what you said in his Word and then somehow it made sense to me
And I was a little more free when you were Jesus to me

You were His Love, You were his comfort, bringing the hope that I needed to find
You held me up when I was fallin’ now I know Jesus leaves no one behind
You showed me love.
Jesus is Love.

This was the song “When You Were Jesus to Me” from the powerful album “So I Can Tell” that my friend Cheri Keaggy released and shared with me when my marriage went through its darkest season. At that point in our marriage, Mark had told me that he was leaving and he had no intention of coming back. (You can find the full story here.)

At this time in my life, I was so crushed by grief, and it was squeezing the life out of me. I was in a full-on emotional crisis.

As I walked through that dark season, God greatly increased my empathy, compassion, and mercy. More than that, through the loving actions of my dearest friends, He also showed me how to respond in a crisis. My friends were truly Jesus to me.

Even if you don’t have the opportunity to be “Jesus with skin on” right now, you’ll likely have that opportunity in the future. Just like my friend Cheri, and many others during that season of my life, did for me, here are some tangible ways you can make a difference when a friend faces a crisis:

1) Simply be there.

Your presence means more than you know. Don’t feel like you need to say any words, just hold them and let them weep. My friend Becky did this for me. She was at my house within the hour and she didn’t leave until two days later. I’m grateful that Becky’s husband supported her staying with me for that long. Eventually, my sister came for a couple of days and then my dad came and stayed for 4 more days. This support was so important for me and for my boys who were still at home.

2) Think for the person.

When a crisis hits, the last thing that person can do is think about taking care of themselves. In those first few days, I honestly don’t think I would have had anything to eat or drink if Becky or my sister Juli had not actually put the plate of food or the glass of water in front of me and said, “Eat” or, “Drink.”

It is vital to have a community of friends and family around you, even when you are not experiencing a crisis.

LISTEN: Finding and Keeping Friendships | Episode 115

3) Provide food.

My friends Crystal and Lisa, who also stayed with me until well after midnight the first night, brought meals throughout that first weekend. My Hearts at Home family (the organization I used to lead) and church family set up a meal plan for several weeks. This was so helpful because I suddenly had so many other things I had to take care of. Not having to think about meals was a weight off my shoulders.

4) Help with daily routines.

My friends and family cleaned, did dishes, made guest beds, ran to the store, picked up prescriptions…you name it…they did it. I was so thankful! For the first month, my friend Crystal called me anytime she was running to the store to see if I needed anything. I was so thankful because this kept me out of public settings where I could lose it emotionally.

I can’t express enough how much I appreciated these women and friends coming around me during this time. Developing strong friendships can be challenging and there are barriers our culture promotes to creating those real connections.

(By the way, looking to make new connections? Here’s a good place to start.)

5) Help with the “unpleasant” tasks.

When Mark requested more of his personal belongings during that time, I could not handle packing those things up. Crystal and Becky graciously came to do that job for me. If the crisis your friend is going through involves a death, this can particularly be helpful when that friend is ready to part with the personal belongings of the person who has died. Even answering phone calls can be an “unpleasant” task. Don’t hesitate to do that for the person to protect them from having to share the story one more time.

LISTEN: Developing Stronger Friendships with Craig Cooper | Episode 100

6) Don’t be afraid to help.

Even if the person can’t express it at the moment, you are not infringing on their privacy. You are helping them survive. I always worried about infringing on someone’s privacy in times of crisis until I was on the receiving side of a crisis. I had trouble functioning, especially in the early days. I was so thankful for friends and family who didn’t leave my side or wait to be asked to step in.

7) Pray with and for the person.

When in crisis, sometimes it is hard to find the words to utter to God or you don’t have words at all, just tears. There are times you can just be there and times you can be the one to utter the words to God on their behalf.

We all need each other both in good times and bad. We were designed to live in community with other people. Your friends will never forget when you were Jesus to them.

This is why I wrote my book Better Together: Because You’re Not Meant to Mom Alone. We were not meant to do life alone. We can create deep friendships where we encourage one another, learn from each other, and so much more! This book is a storehouse of creative ideas for how to make mothering easier, richer, and more fun than you ever thought possible.

What about you? Have you ever been loved well through a crisis?
What would you add to this list?

Want regular encouragement?

Subscribe to get Jill's latest content by email.

(You can view our privacy policy here.)

Powered by ConvertKit