Did you know my book "How Can I Help?" was a number one best seller in the adult ministry category on Amazon?
I'm not telling you this to brag. I am telling you this because it really explains "WHY" I wrote this book in the first place.
I wrote it because people are hurting every single day and we NEED to be better at helping them, or "ministering" to them.
I know this because following the death of our son, my husband and I were loved and supported beautifully by family, friends and even strangers. But we also lost some of our closest friends during this time because they disappeared and it was extremely painful. I wanted to create a guide that someone could reference so they could help a friend in need. My intention was to enhance relationships rather than have them be a source of pain. So I started researching ways people could step up to the challenge of loving and supporting those who are suffering, compiled their answers and put it in an easy to read book.
So why am I telling you this now? Because I am hurting deeply and and so are thousands of others. I am one of nearly 78 thousand Catholics in the state of West Virginia and many of us aren't just hurting, we are also angry, frustrated, fed up, disillusioned and just plain sad. And it's not just the people sitting in the pews, or those who have left the pews. It is many of the priests and other religious, who do their best to walk the walk of Jesus.
So what do you do when someone you love or care about is hurting over something such as this?
In my book, there were common answers I heard over and over from the people I interviewed. And those are the same things we need right now as well.
The first thing you can do, if you are a believer, is to pray for us.
We have been let down by our ex-bishop and his cronies and many of us don't know who to trust anymore. Pray for our hope and trust to be restored again.
Pray for our church to expose the evil and pray for many of us to become more courageous in speaking out against such atrocities and to not let this kind of evil behavior to ever happen again.
Pray for all those who were victims of this evil.
Pray for those who knew or suspected and never did or said anything.
Pray for us to forgive.
Pray for us to learn what we need to walk in the steps of Jesus Christ.
Pray for us to get back our church.
Pray for us to have the strength to heal.
Pray for us to love one another.
The second thing many of us need right now is a safe space to sort this out. Be there for us. Many of us are a ball of emotions. At least I know I am.
Healing is going to take time and can't be "fixed" by anyone. So just let us talk, if we wish to, or not talk at all. Just hold our hand, have our back, and share a little kindness.
And lastly, if you cant do either of the first two things, then please just don't judge us.
You may have your own opinions and your own disgust. Many of us do too. We just love our faith as much as we hate what is happening or who caused it to happen.
But really if you think about all of this, it all can be summed up in one word.
The ONE word that all religions are truly about. You would find this out if you really talk AND listen to people who worship differently than you.
It comes down to LOVE.
So please, just LOVE us as you would love God and your family and your neighbor.
Just send us your LOVE.
Sherrie Dunlevy is an author, speaker and Inspirationista. For more information, to order her best selling book “How Can I Help?" or to hire Sherrie to speak at your conference, workshop or special event go to www.SherrieDunlevy.com or contact her at SherrieDunlevy@gmail.com