3 Ways to Help When Things Seem Hopeless

Photo © Jessica Peterson

My son and his wife are having our fourth grandchild. We nearly burst when they told us, trying to imagine another one to love. Their two sons and little daughter would have a little sister in January.

As grandparents we were excited to hear about this new little one. Sometimes the smile I wore was too big for my face, but I didn’t care.

Life has ups and downs

There’s only one thing wrong with getting excited. If things so wrong, it’s a long way down.

I’ve taken that ride before. Like the time my sweet neighbor hung pink and blue balloons on our little tree when she found out I was pregnant. And then they had to be taken down when the script changed for me.

And now years later, I marveled as I watched Nathan and Heather juggle their family life as well as working with their music with Hello Industry. I didn’t mind when their band had a gig, or needed to practice. It meant more face-to-little-face time with my grandchildren, the reason we moved closer.

“We’re shooting a new music video,” Heather told me a few weeks ago.

It went well and they were all excited about it.

Everything changed

A routine doctor’s visit created a dark cloud that still hangs over us. Words were uttered concerning this new little one we’re waiting for: “Trisomy 18…fatal…we don’t know when.”

And their music world intersected with their life. For they began living out the video they had recently produced. A video about receiving news you don’t want to receive.

Test results confirmed the doctor’s fears. Heather said, “Nathan can’t even edit the video, it’s too hard to watch. Everything he was trying to act, he’s now feeling.”

And then I saw the video and I understood completely.

Right now I can’t help with the one thing that really matters.

When life gets difficult we jump in, doing what needs to be done. But often we feel helpless.

Three Things to do When we Can’t help:

1) We can listen. We can be there with the person. And sometimes that requires sitting in silence, giving the person freedom to just be. Silence can be a gift when a person doesn’t feel like talking.

2) We can pray. We might not have the answers to someone’s struggle. There may not BE an answer, but that’s okay. One day we’ll understand.

3) We can love. It may mean bringing a cup of coffee, doing a load of clothes. Maybe just providing a hug. Love wears many outfits.

Right now we’re facing something we don’t want to face. I’m wrestling with the whole thing and my emotions are all over the mat. I’ll do okay for a while and then a wave of grief will knock me off my feet. Or my anger will rise up out of nowhere and I’ll feel like screaming. Sometimes I do.

I know what’s true. I’ve quoted those verses. But it’s hard watching your loved ones hurt. God reminded me he knows that feeling too. He watched at Calvary.

Please pray for our family. And for little Olivia that I’d love to meet. I already love her.

To see the music video, or to hear Nathan and Heather explain what they’re facing, click Here.

15 thoughts on “3 Ways to Help When Things Seem Hopeless

  1. Dear Anne, I am so sorry to hear what your dear little granddaughter Olivia is facing. I know you all already love her and it must be so very hard. A friend of mine decided to carry through to the birth of her daughter with Trisomy 18. Her family took their baby home and loved on her for 21 days. They were so thankful for those days. I hope this isn’t the wrong thing to share at this time. Know my heart and prayers are with you and your family.


    • Vicky,

      Thanks for reading and for your prayers. Yes, that’s exactly what we need, God to hold us up. The God of all strength. It kind of feels like this poem he once gave me.

      Sit Awhile

      Lord, can I sit on your lap?
      for I am very scared
      Fears are looming large to me
      and I am unprepared.
      Just let me sit there safely
      and feel your arms around
      And when I’m feeling stronger
      I promise I’ll get down.
      I hear Him answer tenderly,
      while opening His arms to me
      And on His face I see a smile
      as He says, Come and sit a while.

      Do not fear, for I am with you; do
      Not be dismayed for I am your God.
      Isaiah 41:10a


  2. I am sorry for your sad news and commend you for opening your heart here. Prayers, love and listening can go a long way in our times of worry and need. Know you have a prayer here and never stop focusing on the magic of positive prayers. 🙂


  3. Pingback: When things seem hopeless | Muse & Meander

  4. Wow, I just watched the videos! This is a very tough situation and it’s so amazing that they had the strength to put their story our on youtube. I think it will be helpful for many people going through similar situations. I’m praying for God’s comfort in their lives today.


    • Thank you for praying for them. I agree it was brave and watching it is difficult. Thank you for your comment. Please add me to your prayers. This is difficult to watch my family hurt. And I hurt too.


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