While in the hospital after my daughter was stillborn, I needed something to occupy my mind. After researching how and why on earth this could have happened, I resorted to adding a bible app to my phone & iPad. Along with this, I started several bible reading plans focused on loss and grieving. Through this journey, I started making note of several verses that were comforting to me. I had not one single piece of paper in the hospital room, not even in my purse. I did have 1 envelope with me and filled it with the various verses that I found.
I needed something to do at the hospital and this was a great way to fill my time and help the hole in my heart. Through this process, I remembered a kind friend who shared several bible verses with me after losing my sister. She was a coworker and while I went to church, this was the first time that someone unexpectedly took the time to share verses with me to help ease my pain. I remember how easy it was for her to find just the right verse to share with me at the right time. I will never forget the light she was at the end of my dark tunnel.
Back to the hospital- I looked up a ton of verses. Some spoke to my heart and some did not so there was a lot of marking through and adding verses to the list. After I had the list compiled and vetted, I shared them with Chris and “assigned” him the verses to read and to pick out his favorite. We each needed something to do to help pass the time. How many times are we guilty of not turning to God when we need him most and when we have an ache too heavy for us to carry alone?
After we got home from the hospital, we would race to the mail to see if there were any cards. Each time we received a card that had a bible verse either as part of the card or handwritten by the sender, I carefully looked up each verse. Each and every one of them brought comfort to me. Over time the cards became fewer and fewer and Chris and I both felt a little sad when they ended. Who knew the amount of joy a simple thinking of you card can have on someone going through a rough patch in life?
With today’s ability to stay in constant, instant communication, buying a card, finding time to write in it, and mailing it can seem like such a chore. Sometimes I have the best intentions to send a card and never make time to do it. After time passes, I feel like it’s “too late”. The truth is, it’s never to late to send a card or word of encouragement. In fact, that’s when people need it most because the words come few & far between with time.
Cards do not have to be expensive. The ones that mean the most to me are the ones where people took an extra minute or two to include a personal message. I buy cheap cards at Dollar Tree and try to always have them at home and at work. I also try to always have stamps in both places. I’ve even been guilty of keeping stamps in my car just to eliminate any excuse to not get a card in the mail. It’s more the thought and what you write in the card that matters. I even have used blank note cards to personalize a message to someone. Again, it’s the thought and not the money that matters here. In hindsight, sending a card takes a few minutes and can have a great impact on the recipient.
I still have the envelope but also have the verses bookmarked for an easy reference and frequently use them when I try to be an encouragement to others. While there are many verses, I wanted to share the main ones that spoke to me when we lost our Ella Claire. I hope you find comfort in these too or find a way to share them with someone who needs them.
Philippians 4:6 (NLT): “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV): “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Isaiah 49:13 (NIV): “Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV): “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Psalm 46:1 (NIV): “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV): “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Revelation 21:4 (ESV): “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV): “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
This last and final passage was my favorite verse that brought comfort when we lost our 3rd baby, Ella Claire Pritchett.
Mathew 5:4 (NIV): “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Final disclosure: Sending cards is not a strength for everyone. Don’t force a fit if this is not your strength. There are 1,000 other ways you can be an encourager, you just have to find what works best for you!