We started our Hospitality in Friendship series with Heather. Remember Heather?
She's resilient, brave & so loving. Her words were bold & honest when it came to the way community rallied around her and her two kids through divorce. Her story is beautiful and reminds me of the power of prayer and simple, tangible ways we can serve one another well.
I loved when she wrote, "I would hand them my work schedule and between them, they would figure out who was watching my children on which days. I didn't have enough in me to take care of this technicality, so they saw to it." You can read Heather's full story over here.
We're continuing our series on carrying each other's burdens and how we extend hospitality beyond the table. This time, we're welcoming Anna to the space. You'll love her. So cozy up.
Photo Credit :: Anna Grace Photography
Anna is a wife, mama, teacher & photographer. We grew up in the same town and reconnected online! I have loved following her heart and words and I'm certain you will too.
what does "Carry each other's burdens" mean to you?
I’m a visual person, so I literally think of a person carrying a huge load on their back. I grew up reading a picture book called Pilgrim’s Progress and the entire story has a man carrying a huge load. I realize this is where I get the picture from in my mind. I imagine people helping this man along so that he can continue his journey. You know who takes his load off in the end? Jesus.
what does it look & feel like in action?
After I had my miscarriage, I was at a loss. My best friends knew I was pregnant, so I had to send that dreaded text message letting them know that we had lost the baby. I had to have a D&C and you aren’t supposed to lift anything, which meant not picking up my almost 2 year old to put her in her crib.
My best friend (who at the time had a 1 year old and was also expecting) drove an hour and forty five minutes to be with me. She brought me breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She held my hand, listened to me, but also just let me be. Sometimes that meant talking about silly T.V. shows and other times wiping away my tears. I was sore and tired from the surgery and ended up falling asleep on the couch. In that time, she cleaned my kitchen and washed my dishes while watching our daughters. I didn’t ask her to do any of this, but she did it anyway and you know, it's exactly what I needed at that time.
The word that comes to mind is grateful. Going on with the Pilgrim’s Progress analogy, this would be a time where I literally didn’t think I could go on with everyday life. I needed time to grieve but also to heal physically. I just imagine her carrying me on her back, along with my load.
What did you find most kind?
I found it most helpful when people offered specific things, rather than general phrases. For instance, most people would say, “I’m so sorry, please let me know if I can do anything.” This was not helpful for me because it's hard to admit you even need help and sometimes you don’t know what you need until you experience it.
Another example was when a friend picked up food for our family after my D&C. You can’t eat the morning of the surgery (which I didn’t even realize) and she knew that because she had one before. She picked up carry out for us, it was hot and ready to eat when we got home from the hospital. This was an example of not realizing how helpful something was until it already happened!
has your view of“carry each other's burdens” changed or stayed the same?
You really don’t understand miscarriage or infertility until you walk through it a bit. I try hard to be sensitive to those struggling through that season. Although I have had a healthy pregnancy after my miscarriage and I’m so happy about it, there are people who don’t. I'm mindful of what I post on social media, particularly when I’m having a rough day and feel like complaining.
Everyone is different, but I think that since it's a topic that isn’t discussed enough, I try to share my story as much as possible. I've noticed that this has opened the door to conversations I normally wouldn't have had with people. Also, when anyone goes through tragedy or hardship, I try to put myself in their shoes and think of what I would want in that situation. Again, not just saying, “I’m here for you” or “let me know what I can do” but giving them a specific thing I could do. The more specific, the better.
Things like, "Can I bring you a meal on Thursday?” or “I’m going for a walk can I take *** to give you a break?” or even “I’m picking up coffee, can I bring you some?”
Not everyone will tell you what will help them, but if someone offers something tangible, it's hard to turn it down in a time of need.
I'm so grateful for Anna and her story. She's written a few posts of her own on this topic and I wanted to share them here. Head on over to her blog to check out these three posts : Reflecting On The Year, Easter and Some Thoughts From Me, & How to Help a Friend Who Has Had a Miscarriage.
Leave her some love & encouragement below!