Have you ever struggled to know what to say?

Perhaps a friend is going through a divorce she didn’t ask for, or she just received news that she is struggling to comprehend. Maybe she is crushed by medical bills or just lost her job.

Several years ago, when I found out I had cancer, I remember watching good friends struggle with this. They loved me like crazy, but they didn’t know what to say. Now that I’m going through it again, I’d love to share what is making a difference in this season.

The fact that you want to support that one you love, that’s awesome. You love her. You want to show up. You want to do something, anything, and that is a gift. What I want you to know is that words are usually the last thing she needs. She’s overwhelmed with words — diagnoses, instructions, words of unasked for and unwanted advice (and even super helpful advice). Words are swirling in her thoughts, even as her brain needs to rest.

Right now the best words are these. It’s when you wrap your arms around her and say, “I don’t have words, but I love you. I’m here.”

May I share with you other things that are making such a difference in this hard season?

    • I am grateful for friends who remember me. I am still Suzie. Everything I loved the day before I found out I had cancer again, I still love. I want to talk about those things. I want to laugh. I want every one to get rid of the sad faces around me. Friends that do this are like a cool, refreshing rain.


    • I need a safe, advice-free, place to share my fears. This will look differently for every woman. One may choose a handful of close and safe people who will let her cry. Another may choose to put it out there honestly, just to verbally process. For me, I need faith to be tangled with those very real fears. I love it when someone listen and then simply says, “I’ll pray with you” and I know they will


    • I need — but don’t always know how to receive — tangible acts of love. Years ago I marveled as friends took my children to a movie, mowed my lawn, fixed light meals, cleaned my home, and drove me to a chemo session (and stayed with me). Today I am just in awe of a home cooked meal, sometimes left on my doorstep. The group that showed up on my doorstep to sing Christmas carols brought joy. Someone brought snacks to the hospital when Richard was in surgery recently and that was so thoughtful. I don’t always know how to receive this, because I want to be doing something for you instead, but I am thankful for friends who persevere in spite of my awkwardness. <3


    • Notes and letters and messages matter. I still have every note and letter from my first battle so many years ago. Today I have a basket filled with cards. I’ll treasure them just the same. Friends have left Voxer messages on my phone, praying with me daily or leaving a silly GIF or a gentle word of, “I’m here, sis!”

If you have a friend battling right now, I want you to know that you have the power to encourage her even when you don’t have words. Don’t stay away. Just show up. Give her a hug. Let her know that you care. It makes a difference that is more impactful than you realize. Thank you for being such a good, good friend.


Related Resources

In today’s More Than Small Talk podcast titled, “Suzie has cancer,” Holley Gerth, Jennifer Watson, and I have a very honest conversation about what this looks like, and how friendship makes such a difference. I have to admit that we all had tissue and tears, but also laughter because that’s what friends do. May I invite you to join in the conversation? You can listen to More Than Small Talk on your favorite podcast app (click to find a listing here) or at KLRC.com.

You can also join the conversation on our More Than Small Talk podcast FB page!

I wrote JoyKeeper in a season of sorrow, but wrapped in joy that could not be stolen. The words are holding me tight even now. If you long for joy that cannot be taken away, and that will hold you close no matter what season you may be in, this book is for you. May this message encourage you and surprise you with truths that lead to lasting, unshakeable joy, for:

Joy is more than a feeling. It’s a knowing. 

JoyKeeper is available for pre-order. Buy one for you and a friend. ~ Suzie