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  • tgibson87

How Helps the Helper? God Does!

Updated: Jul 23, 2023

As many of you know, 2020 was a challenging year. While most were dealing with the effects of the global pandemic, I was dealing with a series of losses. In March, my father lost his battle with a long-term illness. Then six months later, in September, I lost my oldest son to a tragic car accident. Which ultimately led to a divorce this year. One can imagine these circumstances have impacted my mental health. I had found myself sinking into dark places, sometimes losing my will to live. However, I would be remised not to give an honor to God, who has carried me to where I am today. Often, I am reluctant to share as I worry my story would be mistaken for a search for pity. However, my therapist reminded me “we overcome by the testimony of others.”

Many previously saw me as the “strong one” in the relationships. I have been called the straight shooter, the blunt one, the go-to person. Well, 2020 changed everything when I was gut-punched when I lost my son. My life as I knew it was unrecognizable. Publicly, I was praised for appearing “strong.” But in reality, I felt like I was dying. I felt as if I was suffocating, but no one brought me oxygen. The strong one felt abandoned during her time of need.

Amid my pain, I “expected” support from particular people. I thought my help and comfort would come from those who held positions that, in my mind, were “supposed” to help me. When those people could not provide support, I was disappointed, leading to anger and resentment. But I was wrong! Through therapy, I learned my childhood trauma history was triggered and felt unprotected. I did not always have a safe place to land as a child. While I was focused on expecting support to look a certain way, I overlooked those already in my corner. I had help, but it did not present the way I envisioned. Some of my support included: My phenomenal therapist, a woman of God who has guided me in navigating my grief and trauma. My youngest son and I relationship has grown closer, and we lean on one another. My siblings, my sister listened or prayed with me endlessly. Or my brother was offering humor. My new and old sister-friends regularly check in to provide a safe space to talk—my daughter-in-love, who has remained present. I can see it now! I WAS SURROUNDED the entire time, even when I felt alone, and I am forever grateful for that. God has a way of revealing his unchanging hand.

“And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!”Jeremiah 1:8 NLT

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

We often have expectations of people outside of their capability. Unfortunately, people cannot provide emotional support when they struggle to cope with their problems or feelings. Often it is not that they do not care about you; they cannot give what they do not have. So, I encourage you to take inventory of those around you. You may have more support than you think! Remember, be gentle with yourself on this healing journey.

I’ll leave you with the scripture that has been close to my heart during this season.

Psalm 34:18 says, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” This verse is commonly used as a comfort for people who are grieving. Scripture promises that in grief, God is close to the brokenhearted.

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