Whether it’s Cancer, death of a loved one, long-term illness or another significant challenge, we all know someone facing trial.
We wonder, “What can I do to help?”
Filled with practical tools, personal experience and insights from those who’ve faced hardship, Sarah Beckman delicately weaves together action and inspiration to create this comprehensive resource. Alongside will become your trusted guidebook so you’ll know exactly how to bring life-giving help, hope and encouragement to people you care about in their greatest time of need.
About the Author
Sarah Beckman is a speaker, writer and blogger with a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Wisconsin. Founder of Salt and Clay Ministries, her passion for loving her neighbor has fueled her life and ministry for over 10 years. She’s been blogging for over 7 years at sarahbeckman.org and is a regular contributor for dynamiccommunicators.com. Her own health trials coupled with her experience walking alongside countless people facing trial, including three with terminal illness, provide her authentic, compelling viewpoint for this book.
Read an Excerpt
Although we are called to love all our neighbors, all the time, there’s a unique opportunity to love our neighbor when they are experiencing a time of trial in their life. Vulnerability brings with it an open door – one that often remains closed in the normal busyness of our lives today.
God intends for us to push it open, and step boldly in to a person’s life when they need it the most.
We are meant to be part of the physical, human illustration of God’s power.
We are meant to help, heal, minister to and love someone for His sake.
And in the midst of brokenness, there’s no better time to love our neighbor than the present.
Offer Specific Help
Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
After living through bed rest for 11 weeks and 5 surgeriesall while living with three children under the age of 8I coined a new phrase: “It is harder to receive than to give.”
If you’ve been on the receiving end of kindness in the face of hardship or tragedy, I think you will agree with what this chapter covers. If you haven’t, it’s hard to appreciate the feeling, but please take the following to heart.
When it comes to helping others, you need to know three vital pieces of information:
1. People don’t like to be in need of help.
2. A generic offer of “let me know what I can do” is supremely unhelpful.
3. Specific offers of help allow you to combat both of these problems.
Hear me when I say the person you are trying to help will be challenged by the mere notion of accepting help. As those who want to love amidst the hardest circumstances of life, we must counteract this feeling at all costs. Our neighbor’s welfare depends on it.
Table of Contents
Part 1 First things first 1
Chapter 1 The heart of the matter 3
Chapter 2 It's not about you 10
Chapter 3 In the know 14
Part 2 Taking action 25
Chapter 4 Go 27
Chapter 5 Respect their journey 31
Chapter 6 Offer specific help 41
Chapter 7 Be present 56
Chapter 8 Love with food 61
Chapter 9 Do without asking 73
Chapter 10 Listen well 77
Chapter 11 Give good gifts 83
Chapter 12 Choose wise words 96
Chapter 13 Think outside the box 109
Chapter 14 Nourish normal 115
Chapter 15 Shine the light 120
Chapter 16 Pray diligently 125
Chapter 17 Make them laugh 134
Chapter 18 Tap into your talents 139
Chapter 19 Collaborate 146
Chapter 20 Take care of you 151
Chapter 21 Don't do this … 158
Part 3 Special circumstances 163
Chapter 22 When faith isn't shared 165
Chapter 23 When you've "been there" 174
Chapter 24 When someone is aging 179
Chapter 25 "Messy" situations 189
Chapter 26 Terminal illness 195
Bible verses for loving your neighbor 217
About the author 229
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A TRUSTED GUIDE BOOK TO HELP SOMEONE IN NEED My wife's mom passed away a decade ago, then her father this year. I did not know what to say, how to be with her along the journey. It dawns on me after reading this amazing book that I better be prepared for the journey with my own parents. Whether ageing parents, loss of life, critical illness, loss of career and more, Sarah illustrates each step as you come alongside someone in need. She said "Reaching out to help others is more than just "doing the right thing". "It's our God given responsibility". I totally agree. This book is authentic and researched from lived experiences of real people.
The subtitle to this book is a very good summary of what the book is about, “ a practical guide for loving your neighbor in their time of trial.” Above all, I agree that the book is a practical guide. The author includes multiple helpful ideas for reaching out to those facing trails as well as suggested tools, such as Caring Bridge. There is an appendix at the end of the book summarizing these tools expounded in the narrative. One of the tips I liked was having a favorite meal idea ready whenever there was need to provide dinner for someone facing a trail. The author defines “neighbor” as anyone the reader encounters in a challenging situation. It could be a close friend, a family member, a stranger or someone in between. And she categorizes these relationships by tiers, tier 1 being someone you are very close to and tier 4 someone you don’t know well. And throughout the book as Ms. Beckman explains about appropriate ways to respond to others, she also describes what is befitting for each different tier. Because Ms. Beckman is writing from both the point of view of being cared for in her own trials and being the one to reach out to a neighbor, her advice is from personal experience. She is vulnerable, at times, describing situations where she has made missteps and mistakes. However, she has also interviewed and solicited advice from countless others about what has been helpful and not so helpful when facing dire circumstances. Some of the circumstances Ms. Beckman cites are terminal illness, deaths, divorce, surgery, aging issues, etc. Personally, I thought it was an excellent book. Even if you are naturally gifted or already have experience in knowing how to respond to those that are hurting, it is confirmation you are doing the “right thing”. It also helps in thinking outside the box and being creative in how we respond to those that are hurting.
This amazing book by Sarah Beckman opens so many opportunities to help those around us who are hurting. While reading "Alongside", I kept saying "I could do that" or "why didn't I think of that" or "wow, I wish someone would have done that for me". Every chapter is filled with practical, loving advice for walking with someone in crisis, whether a close friend or someone you have just met. First, Sarah reminds the reader that it's not about them. (oh how true this is) Then she walks step by step through every possible scenario. (truly I couldn't think of anything she didn't cover) Sarah guides the reader in ways to put aside their own feelings and focus on the one who needs help. From early chapters on "Listening" and "thinking outside the box" to the final chapter on dealing with "terminal illness", Alongside is a book that answers so many of the "how can I help" questions we come up against when helping those we love deal with pain that comes with living life. I can't say enough good things about this book. Every ministry leader needs this book, especially those who minister to the hurting in their Church family. Excellent book.
Instead of saying or doing nothing, or saying and doing things that hurt, this book helps people respond positively and helpfully to tragedies. A great book!
Sarah is an expert on giving and receiving love during a trial. You will be hard pressed to find an area that is not covered in this book, from aging parents, illness, divorce and many other areas of life. She gives practical advice on what to do and what not to do. The most important part is to remember it is not about us.