5 Ways to Use Faith to Support a Friend in Tough Times

God designed faith to be shared communally, and He even speaks about believers as family. Scripture also highlights the benefits of having a friend to encourage you. However, it can be hard to know how to meet people in their pain. Sometimes, we don’t know what to say, or we are afraid that talking about a hardship will only make it worse. How can we utilize the power of sisterhood to support the women in our lives when they are experiencing tough times?

I’ve experienced that support.

I shut the front door and tossed my travel bags on the floor with a sigh. We were home after a weekend away, and I was not looking forward to unpacking with two toddlers in tow. I went to sort the mail that our neighbors had left on the back porch for us when I saw it. A pretty canvas bag containing a candle, a special necklace, a thoughtful print, and a sweet handwritten note.

A dear friend who knew I had just experienced my second miscarriage had left it for me. I cried tears of sadness but also relief. To know I had a friend who cared and who I could turn to, was a gift better than the items in the bag.

Over time, I was able to return the solidarity my friend and sister in Christ shared with me. Meals, care baskets for a new mom, and even a bouquet for a friend who also suffered a miscarriage have encouraged other women.

Life is full of challenges, but thankfully, God never planned for us to endure them alone. Women face emotional and physical difficulties along with the everyday ups and downs that are inevitable in a fallen world. We must support one another and use our faith to lift one another up. Here are some ways you can support your friends when they are struggling.

Be Silent

It’s human instinct to want to fix what is broken, but it’s always valuable to listen before we speak. Scripture reminds us that “whoever restrains his words has knowledge” (Proverbs 17:27, ESV). Listening becomes the means to discovering how we can best help someone.

Plan a specific time to meet with your friend or to talk on the phone. Maybe write down a few questions to help you stay focused on the other person rather than your own opinions.

Don’t interrupt.

If you think they need some encouragement in a specific area, jot down a note and address it later. Let them get out their emotions first.

Another way to stay silent is to send a letter, a voice message, a card, or scriptures to a friend in need. This allows them to see you are aware of their pain, but you aren’t going to force them to talk about it when they aren’t ready. Leave the ball in their court while reminding them of important truths they may need to hear.

Speak Up

Sometimes, avoiding a tough topic can be awkward or make us feel unloved. Check-in with your friend regularly if you know she is struggling. Send a text or email, or intentionally seek her out. Invite her over or out to coffee. Be proactive.

Hurting people often don’t shout their needs to the world.

If you are talking about deep issues, pray right then and there rather than promising to pray for her. Ask her for specific prayer requests and write them down. Send her reminders whenever you pray for her. Include scriptures in your prayers so you are speaking truth over her as you pray.

If God has given you a testimony that can speak to another woman’s pain, don’t hide it. God often uses our pain to bless others in their time of need. Share your own story to let them know they are not alone. You may even have to “speak the truth in love” if she needs accountability (Ephesians 4:15).

Provide For Her

At one point in my young womanhood, I was incredibly depressed about a breakup. I remember telling my best friend that I didn’t even feel like doing laundry. She lived ten hours away, so she sent me a gift card for a wash-and-fold laundry service. I can’t even remember if I ever used that gift card, but the fact that she cared enough to provide it has always lasted in my memory.

Jesus often fed the hungry and even washed feet. Doing small menial tasks for someone can be a practical means of sharing God’s love. Not sure how to provide for a hurting sister?

  • Bring groceries, medicines, or household items she needs.
  • Cook a meal and drop it off.
  • Take her kids for an hour to give her alone time.
  • Clean her house or pay for a cleaner for a day.
  • Send a gift card so she can order a meal or grab a coffee.
  • Drop off a coffee or snacks on the front porch.
  • Bring bubbles, Play-Doh, or new coloring books over for her kids.

Love Her

One of the things I remember the most from the times I was walking through hardship was when someone gifted me something that spoke to my heart. Feeling known and personally loved is something we all crave. Jesus continually loves us, and it is our privilege to love our sisters in Christ in the same manner, ” . . . Love one another as I have loved you ” (John 15:12). Looking for some ways to reach the heart of a struggling woman?

  • Leave flowers or have them delivered. Trust me, a bouquet from your yard will touch her heart as much as a store-bought bouquet.
  • Create a care package with candles, bath salts, and treats.
  • Give a book that speaks on a topic applicable to her situation.
  • Buy her anything that you know she would specifically love.
  • Take her on an outing. Perhaps she loves hiking or tea houses or garden stores. Spend some quality time with her doing what she loves.

Lift Her Up

While treats, encouragement, and practical help are all beneficial and godly ways to help a hurting sister, nothing can replace the impact God’s Word and truth can have on their situation.

Encourage your friend to stay active in church, read her Bible, pray, and seek God’s wisdom through books, podcasts, or biblical counseling.

This could mean doing it with her.

Sit with her in church or pick her up and drive her there. Suggest doing a Bible study together or memorizing scripture together. Visit another woman who can mentor or speak to her situation more clearly. Send her songs or make her a playlist to encourage her heart through worship.

Sometimes, women need a friend to remind them that their hope is in Jesus. When going through a tough time, it may be hard to keep the faith. As Christian women, we can help one another remain strong in our beliefs.

Life cannot pass us by without difficulties, but we don’t have to endure them alone. We have the gift of sisterhood, of women who have gone before us in these trials and women who will go with us now. Let’s link arms with one another in faith, “encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:25).

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