Helping those we care about through the In-Between time

I’m sure you saw someone’s face in your mind when you read this blog title. I do. At one time it was my own face and I wanted those around me to know how to care for me. Whoever’s face you pictured the fact is there is a time between the start of the pain, crisis, or grief and the time the healing, answer, or comfort arrives. We call this time of waiting the “in-between” time and the “now vs. the not yet” time. 

For those of us who are followers of Jesus, Christians, this includes waiting on God. Waiting for a response, a breakthrough, or answers from God is a fact of life.

The waiting time often looks like:

  • The time of life between when the crisis starts and when the restoration or healing comes.
  • The space between the awareness of crisis and the new normal.
  • When you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.

Two stories from Scripture are in the book of Mark. 

  • One story is when the disciples got into the boat because Jesus said, “Let us go to the other side,” but then he disappeared and a storm came (Mark 4:35–41).
  • Another story is when a man with a sick daughter was waiting to get to Jesus and pressing through the crowd just inches away from him (Mark 5:21–43).

So the question is not if we will wait, but how we will wait. There are two main ways we can wait, one of which is supported in the Word of God.

  1. Wait passively: This looks like wishing something good will happen. This person might say things like, “We’ll see. There’s not much I can do but wait.”
  1. Wait expectantly: This looks like expecting something good will happen. This person may say things like, “I know God is working and I am hopeful that my participation with God is keeping me close to Him.” 
    1. We see Paul and Silas demonstrating this in Acts 16:25–26 (NASB): “Now about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains were unfastened.”

Everyone will have an in-between time. Experiencing pain, crisis, or grief includes a time when things are unclear, when the only thing clear is that we are not where we were, but we’re not where we want to be either. There is strength required in this time of waiting as you learn and train others too. This is called “training in waiting.”
Your role as You Wait with Others:
You may want to help the person out of the in-between time rather than helping them be with God within the mystery. This desire to resolve the tension is a natural and human way to establish control in a very uncontrollable time. However, this is not your role.

With one exception: If the person is in a physical state of crisis and is not safe, then you will help them get safe physically when that form of control is needed.

Your role outside of this exception is leading them into participation with God. The in-between or “now vs. not yet” time highlights places where we feel out of control. We think the opposite of control is out of control, but really in our relationship with God, the opposite of control is participation. 

To lead someone somewhere, means we need to know the way. Do you have a relationship with God, your Father, and have you gotten to know Jesus and the Holy Spirit? 

If so, you can lead others into three areas where they can participate with God. The three areas are to reassure, remind, and refocus. You’ll notice that these three areas don’t include advice, they don’t include ways to fix it, and they don’t include suggestions to “get over it” or “pull up your bootstraps”. That’s because it’s not our role.

1. Reassure: 

  • Reassure them that anxiety and crisis cause our brains to get foggy, so it’s human to have trouble hearing God or feeling God in the now vs. the not yet.
  • Reassure them if they are experiencing this that they are human. Even though they don’t feel like it, they can know that God is still with them. When you do this, you are helping them reestablish the connections in their brain from the emotional centers to the logical centers. Ex: “I feel that God is distant, but I know He never leaves me.” 
  • Reassure them the Word says that if they seek Him, God will reveal Himself to them.

2. Remind: 

  • Remind them of what Jesus told John the Baptist in the midst of John’s pain. John sent word to ask Jesus if He was the one they should wait for. In Matthew 11, Jesus responds, “Tell him what you have heard and seen.” 
  • Remind them of God’s activity in their lives before now and that by faith we know His activity is ongoing. This helps them to remember who God was to them before and that He can still be that person now. 
  • Remind them to keep doing the same things they did before the crisis that are helpful and healthy for them (e.g., eating well, exercising, connecting with others, seeking after God, etc.)

3. Refocus: 

  • Refocus thoughts through connecting emotionally and intellectually – using emotional responding and applying the four questions that lead to hope and healing. 
  • Refocus with lament and praise. 
  • Refocus with this process of reassurance and remembering.
  • Refocus with understanding they don’t have to remain in the heavy place to “honor” the situation or circumstance. They can allow lament and praise to let them have moments of joy that come from connecting and communing with God.  

Together, you can go through this time. 

Let’s go back to the face of the person you saw when you read the blog title. Still picture them? They may very well need you to come alongside and be a force for hope and healing. 

Reach out to today and then let me know how it’s going @careministrytraining on both FB and IG. 

Hurting people are all around you. Learn how to recognize the signs, know what to say, and how to say it to be a force for tangible hope and sustainable healing. 

Take it to the next step and get the full Come Alongside Workshop today! 

The Come Alongside workshop focuses on the person offering care, the process of change for the person needing care, and the skills necessary to affect hope-filled change. 

 You can complete the workshop online at your own pace or request an in-person team training. 

  • Training Modules
    • Connect first with God so you can notice someone in your life that is in crisis
    • Discover skills including listening, responding, and referring. 
    • Develop a sustainable pace to remain connected in a way that matches your capacity.
    • Empower others to continue on their journey with God within a faith community.
  • Strategic Skills, including: 
    • Soul Health
    • 7 Core Communication Skills
    • Emotional Responding
    • How to let others know we “get it” 
    • Helping During Godly Waiting 
  • Tactical Tools, including: 
    • 5 types of Caring Prayer
    • Screening Questions to determine clinical or demonic influence
    • Guidelines for an Effective Conversation
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