Day 28: He Uses Broken People // 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness
Hi there! This is day 28 of a series I’m writing this October called 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness. You can find the entire series here: 31 Days of Hope in Brokenness.
The other day, I was talking to a friend and asked how she was. We have known each other for over 10 years, so there is no more room for BS in our relationship. We keep it pretty real. So when I asked how my friend was, she told me how she is actually doing. It turned out that she was struggling because her grandfather was in the hospital, and devastatingly, the doctors were unsure if he would make it.
As it happens, I have walked through hospice care twice, with both my grandmas. Because I have stood in my friend’s shoes, I had some idea of what she was feeling and what she needed, which was mostly to have someone to witness and hold space for what she was going through, and to know that God is tenderly walking her grandpa through all of this. (I also forced a lasagna and some apple crisp on her the next day, because food is a universal love language.) Throughout our interactions, I worried the usual worries: that I wasn’t saying enough or was saying too much, or wasn’t saying the right things, but that didn’t really matter. Most of the time when people are going through hard things, they don’t really need you to say the exact right words. They just need you to show up, because that act alone reminds them they are loved and they’re not alone. In the middle of the worst crisis, that can be the difference between feeling like all is lost and feeling kindly taken care of by God.
We talked a little about hospice advocates and how much of a godsend they can be if it gets to that point, and then I left (which is the whole point behind bringing supper to a friend going through something – you drop it off and leave so you don’t saddle them with company on top of everything else), and in the car on the way home I thought about my own experience with hospitals and losing loved ones, and the endless, slow, short, quick, emotionally and physically exhausting journey of hospice. I thought about how it seemed like such an ugly, needless experience at the time, and I struggled with why God would allow someone to pass away so slowly and painfully. I might never know that, but I do know God gently walked my grandmas through every step of their transition to His kingdom, and He gently walked me through the halls of that hospice center both times as my heart was breaking into pieces. I do know God cherishes and uses broken people, and that He comforts us so that we might comfort others. I don’t think God made my grandmothers sick or inflicted the process of hospice on them or our family, but I know that my experiences can help soothe another soul encountering a similar experience for the first time, and let her know she’s not alone. It turns out we are more capable than we think, and our wounds can be our superpowers. Whatever you are going through right now, consider this: because of your particular life experiences, you will be able to reach and comfort people that I will never be able to touch. Our tenderhearted God made us to walk alongside each other, and He will not waste a hurt.
My friend’s grandfather actually improved and is not going to be needing hospice care – praise God! But if she ever does find herself in the position of having a loved one go through this, she knows I’m her girl. It’s never easy, but it’s a little less terrible when you have people around you who get it. Your experiences and the fact that you made it through a hard thing can help someone understand that they will get through it, too. Your hope in the middle of your brokenness can encourage another to have hope in the middle of hers. Let’s be those people for each other. Everybody needs that.