I fell out of a chair and re-injured my ankle. The same ankle that’s been giving me grief for years and often flares up, leaving me limping and in pain.
Let’s not discuss how it’s even possible to fall out of a chair while sitting. I’d like to think I have the grace and agility of a jungle cat but my kids have informed me it’s more akin to one of those fainting goats whose muscles freeze when in a state of stress resulting in them dropping straight to the ground with their helpless legs paralyzed in the air above them. That was pretty much the state they found me in when I smacked against the floor and they found me rolling around in agony. Kids keep you humble, man.
This current bout of pain and limping is comical in many ways but many times the physical, mental, and emotional trials in my life have felt insurmountable.
There are times when it’s hard to imagine God’s goodness in the face of suffering, and grace does not seem sufficient for the weakness inherent in these jars of clay. You’d think a better option would be stainless steel, something that won’t rust or crack or wear out. A nice new body with jungle cat reflexes and no stretch marks would just be a bonus. But God chose the weak to shame the strong and I’m nothing if not an example of that.
When we are weak, He is strong. It’s a pithy verse we like to trot out and plop down when someone else is suffering. We like to talk about how God works all things for good, especially when it’s not our circumstances that are a mess. Don’t get me wrong, these things are all true, as God’s Word says, but it’s just human nature to want to tidy things up when someone close to us is expressing doubt, or loss, or grief. It doesn’t mean we have bad intentions or that we’re hurtful people, sometimes we honestly think we’re helping.
But as someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of “let go and let God” and “sometimes God shuts a door and opens a window” pep talks, it can feel a little tone-deaf. Especially if that’s all we’re ever hearing from people.
Jesus was really good at reading a room what with being able to see people’s hearts and all. He could spot hurt and doubt and fear and knew just when someone needed a tangible touch of grace, an exhortation, or even a rebuke. When we look at Scripture, we see Jesus offered comfort, presence, and grace, but He also met people’s needs right where they were at. He fed them and healed them and served them. He wasn’t afraid to get messy in the process and that’s something we need to be willing to do as well.
There are a myriad of human emotions that are difficult to sit with, to engage, to carry. During a tender and wearying time, it’s often easier to promise someone the happy ending than to accompany them on each agonizing step in their long walk of obedience.
As we deepen our friendships with those around us, it’s a good sign when they begin to share deeply about the real issues in their lives. But so often we’ve been trained to have all the right answers and be ready with a verse, or a quote, or an uplifting anecdote that we forget that sometimes the ministry of burden bearing goes further than advice we toss out from a distance and instead means some heavy lifting.
Are we people who bear one another’s burdens well? Or do we spend most of our time trying to convince them that it’s not really that heavy or that they don’t have that much further to carry it?
Sometimes I wonder if all our pep talks are really more to insulate ourselves from the very real truth that sometimes God sifts us like wheat and the trials we face aren’t just some attack of the enemy but a tool God uses to refine our hearts and minds in Him and in that moment it feels like the cruelest of gifts. Could we be people who cry out, as Job, “Though You slay me, yet will I trust You,” and not have it be some patch slapped onto hard times to make them more palatable but an admission of our profound weakness and inability to carry a single thing on our own? Could we be people who confess our great and unending need for one to another and be met with Jesus?
If we believed that God can and does call us to a life of dependence on Him, would we not also believe He calls us to a life of interdependence with each other? As the body of Christ, are we not one flesh who mourns and rejoices and each has a vital function?
There was a time not so long ago when I felt the world was crashing down around me. My mom had broken her back and I was her sole care-taker, there were family issues and financial stresses, and I was so exhausted both physically and emotionally I wasn’t sure how I would survive my days. It felt like the world had gone cold and although I trusted that God would see us through, the actual battle to believe it was enormous.
I needed to know that God was close. That Jesus wasn’t far removed but instead cared that I couldn’t go grocery shopping without leaving my mom. A God who understood that medical bills and prescriptions are costly and sometimes the paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough. I needed a God who got that homeschooling on a few hours of sleep was overwhelming and sometimes everyone’s needs were too much for me to juggle.
I knew God was close in theory but God’s people were the ones that helped demonstrate it.
They brought dinners, they sent a gift card for groceries right when we needed it most, they took my kids to the park for me to get a break. One of my mom’s friends covered my doctor’s fee and prescriptions so that I would be better equipped to care for my mom during a time when I was really struggling mentally. She saw a need she could meet and she did. God’s people were the ones who lifted us in prayer, who sat with me through the tears, who reached out to say, “How can we meet you in this?”
I was sharing this experience with a friend recently and she said, “That’s surprising.” I knew what she meant because for many, that hasn’t been their experience in the church. Many people I know, who have great need, have been met with pats on the back and hasty verses shot at them about trusting in God for provision. Many have had tons of offers for prayer but not one dollar towards helping them out in a difficult situation.
I know this might get some pushback and so I hope you hear my heart when I say, sometimes we need to do more than offer to pray. Not because prayer isn’t powerful or necessary, because it is. But sometimes after we’ve prayed, God is asking us to move. To invest more than our words, to invest our time, our energy, our money, our gifts, and our presence. He’s calling us to gather round and push in close, not just to Him but to each other. Sometimes we’re the answer to someone’s prayers.
I had friends who saw me broken and unable to walk and who came with willing hands to lift the corners of my mat and bear my burdens. Who didn’t just see the obstacles ahead and say, “Well don’t worry, Jesus is up ahead, even though you can’t see Him, and everything will be fine,” but who instead bore me on their shoulders and made a way to place me at Jesus’ feet. They were a tangible touch in an unfeeling world and they showed me Jesus when they said, “I’m here with you,” and meant it.
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Just then, some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They tried to bring him inside to set him before Jesus, but they could not find a way through the crowd. So they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. (Luke 5:18-19)
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Yes, our kids will definitely keep us humble! But, yes, having lived most of my life dealing with bouts of anxiety and depression and having had numerous surgeries, I think I’ve heard every cliche, pithy saying, oft quoted scripture, and platitude in the book. I know people mean well, but when we dole out fluff when what is truly needed is heavy lifting, it kind of wreaks of pride and selfishness. Like you said, I don’t think people want to know or face that life can get this gritty and messy at times. What I remember, from my deepest times of trial – when I couldn’t get out of bed – was not “I’ll pray for you”, but people who did things like my laundry. Being elbow deep in someone else’s socks and underwear says “love” and burden bearer like non other. Bringing a meal, a prescription, just sitting with you, or walking your dog says more than just quoting scripture. From my experiences of being on the receiving end of being loved in my utter weakness, I pray that the Lord won’t let me get away with dishing out platitudes or cliche sayings when what I really need to do is roll up my sleeves and dig in. Wonderful post and so true!! Still smiling though of the image of you like a goat on its back 🙂
Blessings truth teller,
Alia Joy says
It was definitely a sight to behold. My kids have my sense of humor so we all had a good laugh after they got poor mom off the floor. 😉
With tears streaming, this is simply beautiful. Filled with tender loving mercy. Thank you for this written expression of the body of Christ responding like Jesus.
Alia Joy says
Thanks for reading, Kathy. I’m glad it spoke to you.
THIS LINE RIGHT HERE……”Who didn’t just see the obstacles ahead and say, “Well don’t worry, Jesus is up ahead, even though you can’t see Him, and everything will be fine,” but who instead bore me on their shoulders and made a way to place me at Jesus’ feet. “
Alia Joy says
I love that passage of scripture because it’s so vividly a picture of how we can come alongside someone and help carry them to Jesus. How they were literally tearing the roof off to lower him down. I think of this story often when I’m praying about how I can help be there for someone.
Beautiful! I needed to read this today. Thank you!
So good, a needed reminder to actually move when prompted. I think sometimes our failure to move is from our own fear that we can’t ourselves be enough. But God’s strength shines in the helper’s weakness as much (more?) than the sufferer’s weakness. I pray that God would remind me of this and nudge my heart to respond.
Alia Joy says
Yes, that’s so true. That feeling that we have nothing to offer. But then you think of the smallest offerings and what Jesus did with them. There are no small contributions in the Kingdom of God.
Gina Grabenstatter says
Thank you for your words today and I pray that God will help me move to help others when I feel it in my heart. And to know that I AM ENOUGH.
Erin Whitmer says
I love the humor and candor with which you address this subject, which yes, we do have a tendency to gloss over to make it shine for someone else, but often struggle to believe when we’re the one trying to tug out the thorn. Thank you for sharing!
C. Brugger says
Praying God will do this very work in & through me that you have so tenderly shared! That my words as well as my actions would be the very visible hand of our most loving God.
Thank you for sharing this truth today. During my husband’s two battles with cancer and two out of state bone marrow transplants over the last few years I’ve heard all the quoted scriptures and been told since we were such strong Christians God allowed us these burdens. Big sigh…Thank you for reminding us that rather than just quoting sayings and scriptures to those going through tough times a visit to help with yard work, laundry, bringing a meal, taking care of the children are all meaningful acts of service that minister.
We’ve learned through this that our actions speak so much louder than words. We are now quicker to be there for others in their times of need.
Alia Joy says
Comfort others with the comfort we’ve been given. And sometimes the reverse holds true. Comfort those as you wish you’d been comforted. Those experiences couldn’t have been easy and I’m sorry for the careless comments, and yet, you are that much more tender to others now. You know how to speak love and care to someone in a time of need.
Thank you for putting into words what we as Christians are to be to and for each other. In my lifetime, I have been through far more then any one person should go through, yet there have be miniscule amt. of actions of help from other believers. I’m aways told I will be prayed for and sometimes have been in the moment, but there is nothing beyond that. Being physically disabled, living alone on a very sm. amt of money and having very little support, I don’t understand and have pretty much given up on church completely. I have not been able to get there for a yr. and a half now, as I no longer have transportation since my accessible van broke down and would have cost a lot of money to repair. Other then medical appts., I have rarely been out of the house. One person from church I hired to take me to appts. Since I normally use a power chair, we had to use a manual chair which the person had to push it as I can not propel one anymore. That person is leaving at the end of this month, so I will have other means to get to appts. with exception of my tues. aide who takes me to a standing wkly out of town appt. and any others we can fit in. She also, works so hard at trying to keep up with laundry, and household chores. We also get groceries on that day as well. No one has stepped up to the plate to help me at all in this situation other then the one from church I hired and another who help now and then. Like with all the other things I have been through, people have there statements like you spoke about, but I see no real love of the Lord. It has been in different churches I have attended. I don’t get how they can just pray, yet stay away, and not help in any way. Like I said, I have been through so much and some of the things I went through were made worse because no one would stand up walk beside me, not even take me to Jesus if I called and needed to talk. I am beyond depressed at this point and tired of church that is to be the family of God. My family as a child was traumatic and to be honest, the neglect I have gotten from churches affirms to me that I am not worth caring about or loving. It is hard to heal from inner pain when the church body continuously affirms the lies. I am tired of fighting to keep going, fighting the lies by speaking the truth. I have had too much on my plate now for about 20 yrs. There just seems to be no reason to go on. God is with me, but, sometimes we need to see God in the flesh. We as Christians are to be the heart, the hands the voice of God, yet if I get anything, it is empty words and guilt trips b/c I am in a place of need. So long ago, I gave and gave to others but no one was giving back. Now my love tank is empty, I see no way for it to be refuel. I am so tired and needing a break from the constant efforts to do all I must do to survive and keep going. I would love someone to call when I could use some encouragement and someone to take me before the throne of God and someone to talk to about the Lord, that is so uplifting. I don’t know why, but I guess I am called to walk this journey alone cause I sure don’t have anyone from “the church body” to walk with me and help me work through the very hard things I have and am going through. When I can volunteer, I am remembered, but otherwise when I can’t give, I can go away.
Thank you!!!!! So often when my husband was sick and dying it was church people who said let me know if there is anything we can do to help but mostly unchurched who actually got down in the trenches and took over and helped. I learned a lot about people even myself in those days. What you have said here is pure truth no matter how sad it sounds. Bless you for it.
NANCY ROE says
I suffer too with pain and disability. I love this you wrote, “We as Christians are to be the heart, the hands the voice of God.” You identified the need and lack so clearly. I see and hear you!
And then He led you to here……I can’t ignore your pain and despair, and I’m sorry you feel so let down. I hope you can find some comfort here, it’s been a blessing to me.
Have a blessed day,
Dawn, I feel you! But as I hear your story I also realized my great blessings in others who walk my journey with me. Because of my chronic illness I’ve been told countless slams against me. I just thank God He is always there, when the humans fail to understand or perform! I will pray for you and that’s a definite. With my chronic illness, I pray alot and need to let the workload in God’s hands. How many days I yearn for help I Can afford. Help without accusations and strings attached. The church doesn’t know how to deal with disabilities and chronic illness because we need constant care. When they feel their prayers aren’t answered and in their eyes we don’t get better they move on. They can’t handle the out of the box situations of our lives. Many PRAYERS! May the church stand up and show Jesus Christ in everyday life. We need help, physical help along with the prayers. I feel you. I’m so sorry and I care. ‘Though my friends and family forsake me, yet will I serve Jesus!’ Hugs.
Alia Joy says
Dawn, I just want to sit and have a good long ugly cry with you because that is so hard. What you’re sharing here breaks God’s heart too and though you feel alone and abandoned, you are held so close. I pray for the tangible love of God to show up in your life through others as well. I know it’s something that so many people with chronic issues of illness or disability deal with. I’m writing a whole book on weakness because it’s an issue so close to my heart and my own story. “Sometimes we need to see God in the flesh.” Yes, Dawn, we do. I wish I could reach through the screen and tell you you’re loved and cherished and known by God even as you are carrying such a heavy burden. It’s not the same, I know, but we offer this space to you to come and be seen. To come and be heard without having to do anything more than show up. I am sitting with your story today and praying that God would stir the hearts of those close to you to show up in a powerful way. May we have eyes to see the hurting and crushed among us and may we be willing to lift our corner of the mat and carry each other on.
Dawn, my heart hurts and aches for you in this place. Its a place that I know well, a place where many in the church did not, have not responded to my need.
Oh dear sister, yes we need to see Christ in others because we are built for relationship, community, and service and I am sorry that the church has not walked with you as it is meant to. You are not alone and how I would love to come along and walk beside you here. I hear your weariness and feel your pain; please hear me when I say that you are so loved and cherished. How I would love to just give you a hug right now 🙂 As hard as it may be and I get that because it has been hard for me, please forgive them and let go of the lies that say you’re not worth love.
Praying hard today, dear sister, that you may lifted up into His gentle arms of healing love, seconding Alia’s prayers, and that the church will see the beautiful grace in you 🙂
Hello, Dawn, how are you doing today? I am thinking about you and praying for you! I wanted you to know. I so want to be be there for you! Many PRAYERS, tears and hugs!
Love this. Thanks for sharing (and preaching). A needed message to the church (and me). Love your heart!
Alia Joy says
Thanks Marina, it’s a needed message for me too.
Michele Morin says
We (meaning I) have so far to go in the ministry of really entering into another person’s pain. Thanks for this soulful and yet practical primer on the challenge of “my pain in your heart” compassion.
I, too, have felt abandoned during times of great pain by the people I thought were supposed to be my closest allies: the church family. Having a few years between myself and the initial hurt, I believe I understand why this happens.
We are taught – and so we expect it to be – that the church is a hospital for lives in crisis. In an actual hospital, there are experts to dress wounds, stop bleeding, and preserve life. The church at large is comprised of members who were born into it, have been raised in faith, and are not personally acquainted with divorce, sexual abuse, shunning by family members, loss of a child to foster care, or other hurts experienced by those whose families are unchurched. Through no fault of their own, the church often lacks the compassion or ability to walk these hard paths with the wounded simply because they have never been exposed personally.
Those of us who have faced the hardest paths – physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially or otherwise – need to ensure we are showing up in the sanctuary faithfully! We need to put a face to pain. We need to make it OK for the next soul who stumbles weakly through the door that we. get. it.! If we begin to be the church we expected the church to be, *that* will make a difference.
So good! Thank you for this. I also am blessed by an actual hands on, loving community around me and that fact is definitely carrying me through a really hard season of life. I actually just wrote a really sad song about that quote “when God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window..”. I was frustrated because I’ve been feeling like the door has closed, the window isn’t open yet, and so I am suffocating in a very small room.
But, what is keeping me alive, is that my friends are visiting me in this small room and bringing little tastes of fresh air here and there. I hope I can be that for others too.
Alia Joy says
I love that you have friends that help you breathe. That is a beautiful picture of what Christ can bring through those willing to enter those small and intimate spaces.
NANCY ROE says
YES! Love it all! (chronic pain and disability over here) May there arise a people “God with skin on.” Life from death, beauty from ashes. How can I be that?
Wonderful devotion! We are all called to be the hands, feet, eyes and ears of Jesus. To bring his kingdom here on earth! I thank God every day for the gifts and talents he gives me to help broken people in this world. Because you’re absolutely right—-we need to be people that carry the burdens of our friends well!
Kathy N says
Our pastor once said that God gives resources so that we can experience the joy He feels in meeting the needs of others – not simply for our own comfort, although He provides for us, too. What a privilege it is to be permitted to be a part of His work in the world… especially when it is disguised as an interruption to our careful plans.
Bernie Daniels says
This is all so true! 25 years ago, when my Mom got sick & I, being an only child, was the only one to be her care-taker, I don’t remember all the words of wisdom, the promises of prayers, or the Bible verses that people said to me. I remember the friends who came to help me with Mom, or to take care of my son, who was only 5 at the time, or to just give me a chance to go run errands, or attend church. Those friends were my life-line at the time! I try to still be that kind of friend myself, not just praying for the person, but actually helping in whatever way I can. Thank you for this post! It’s a great reminder that I need to move when God says to move & help with the heavy lifting by carrying a mat or two.
“But sometimes after we’ve prayed, God is asking us to move.” Yes and amen! God is faithful to part the waters for us when we move forward in obedience. Great post. Isaiah 58 is always an encouragement to me to make sure a spiritual practice (fasting/prayer) has practical action.
This is a thoughtful awakening, thank-you. Yes we can pray, but with the many ways we can, Yes we should at least try to step up. And sometimes I need to be a bit more in tuned. I’m so very grateful to those who were in tuned to me.
Have a blessed day all,
Alia, so much packed into this post. I was nodding through a lot of it, but wanted to sit with it a while before responding. I wanted to respond honestly.
When my Mum got sick with cancer, I spent months on the other side of the world with my youngest at my side and my oldest and husband back at home. I was already suffering from undiagnosed depression. In those months I saw the love of God extended by His church. Women dropped meals off almost daily and one of Mum’s dear friends traveled two hours almost daily to come sit with my Mum when she couldn’t speak, wink and then no longer swallow. The dinners were such a gift, but if I had to decide which gift was most precious, it would be those believers who offered a listening ear and who sat with me and sent me messages of love from across the oceans. The woman who sat with Mum also took me aside to ask me how I was really doing. She cared for her husband through cancer to his death: she could offer the comfort God gave her- a listening ear and a hug. And that small gesture of but five minutes is the gift I treasure the most, that and the evening my best friend left her three kids at home with her husband and took me out for a coffee: away from the house I dare not leave: but into a restful evening I desperately needed to cry, share of all I was going through and be hugged.
And when almost a year later I walked through caregiver PTSD what again blessed me most was that listening ear and encouragement. It was the woman who I barely knew from Bible study who saw my deep pain and invited herself over to listen to my story, crying real tears with me and holding my hand. It was my pastor’s wife who visited me almost every week with her three kids in tow to pray with me and bring Scriptures that spoke the truth I so needed to tether me through the storms. It was the pastor who shared of Christ entering our heartache, of Christ calling us to walk into and through, not numb away. It was grace givers and truth speakers.
So, what does our church need? It needs men and women leaning into Christ and giving the gifts they’ve been given to extend: each gift unique and according to the need Christ sees. May I be a woman who listens to His voice and extends the love His church needs most. May God use me to comfort others in the same way Christ has comforted me.
Alia Joy says
I totally hear you Anna and I agree. What I wanted to get at is that sometimes we need to step out into those gaps and do tangible things. Even sitting with someone and listening is an act of care. You are talking about the gift of presence and that is something that is of great cost. I’m addressing the more flippant way we sometimes dismiss people’s needs when an offer to pray is tossed out without any real thought or intention about what the Holy Spirit is asking of us in those moments. And I totally agree that sometimes the Holy Spirit is asking us to slow down and sit close and listen and weep and hold each other up in the face of brokenness. I wrote about that kind of friendship, love, and service here so I want to make sure you know I’m not devaluing the gift of presence. It’s been a huge part of feeling loved and cared for by Jesus as well. https://aws.incourage.me/2016/09/ill-sit-with-you.html
Thanks, Alia. I’m sorry: I should have read your words more carefully. Thank you for including the link to your other post.
I think you’ve isolated the crux of the matter here: “without any real thought or intention about what the Holy Spirit is asking of us in those moments.” The one time I was deeply hurt in my suffering through PTSD was when someone insisted, repeatedly, on trying to tell me I had no need for deep grief if I truly accepted the truth of God’s Word. This came from her own experience of grief: she wasn’t listening to me or to the Holy Spirit, but to her own story, trying to press her story onto my own. And I am ashamed to admit there have also been times I have acted in similar ways.
During my almost two years off Facebook, I suddenly became much more receptive to the Spirit’s nudgings….and did things I would never have done without the Spirit’s leading: speaking a blessing over a stranger in a park whose appearance revolted me, bringing fresh fruit and later dinner to my daughter’s classmate’s Mum who I didn’t know when I found out she had cancer, becoming friends with a solo-Mum refugee who I have been able to assist in a number of practical ways. I can honestly say that these acts are not of my own leading- it is the Spirit who has initiated and encouraged each one, pressing me into it even when I didn’t feel like it.
Alia Joy says
Don’t be sorry! I’m so glad you brought it up because there is a big distinction between helping and hurting and it’s good to talk about both.
Janet Kong says
Thanks for sharing! We all need a kick in the behind to get off our butts and DO something, rather than pat people on the back and stay in our little comfy corner and let others deal with it. If we have the resources or the time, we should definitely get going and make a difference in people’s lives, build relationships within the church (and in our community). Sometimes we to wait on the Lord and ask Him to show us a way. We surrender our lives, but yet we are not open to what comes up in our lives and are too busy with life, or our everyday routines (going to the gym, bible study, church, preparing for the week, pampering ourselves, etc. etc.) This article wakes me up!
Alia Joy says
I’m so glad Janet. Yes, I think waiting on the Lord and asking what He wants from us is key. Caring for each other shouldn’t be some kind of heavy legalistic burden but at the same time we shouldn’t just shrug it off because we’re too busy to sacrifice our time, money, energy etc. on someone else. Leaning into the Holy Spirit and praying, not just for the person, but for the tangible ways we might be called to step up is so vital.
Rebecca L Jones says
Alia, don’t feel badly, I fell out of my chair and under my desk. So much for me beingthe grace jugle cat that lands on two feet. And we only have one life, if you’ve ever come close enough to losing it you realize how much you take for granted. And even some of those heavy burdens that God will lighten. You are right about helping, however you can, some people can only pray but for others it is the hands on, and for God’s sake, bless someone with some rest. I hope you and mom are back on your feet soon, no pun intended. The devil may try to roar, but the Lion of Judah is greater.
Alia Joy says
We are up and around. It took awhile but we’re looking forward to a beautiful spring. If it would just show up already.
Rebecca L Jones says
Oh, Lord my spelling was atrocious…graceful jungle cat…
Alia Joy says
I’m fluent in typo. 😉 It’s all grace here.
Linda Stoll says
What a warm community of grace you’ve built with your truthful sharing, Alia.
Would all our churches offer such loving support …
Alia, I thank our Lord for your gracious and truthful words here 🙂 I came back to the church at a time when I was so broken I needed the help of His people, His love coming through their hands and feet. I was met with comments about how many didn’t want to get involved, didn’t have experience in what my need was, didn’t have time, etc. At one point I asked why the body wasn’t acting as Christ asks us to. No one could answer. As I have prayed and dug deeper, I have found that culture is a hugh factor as is denial. Its easier to shy away from engaging and helping others if it helps one avoid their own pain or issues.
Its taken me a while to forgive those who have acted this way, to not become bitter, and it has been hard to remain active in the church and give what was not given to me. Some have since come along side and it has been beautiful at times. Vicki is right that the church is meant to be a field hospital where we are perhaps to be the very ministers to those in need. There are so many beautiful points on this thread and I loved your bringing the story of the friends carrying their friend on the mat. May we lift each other up to the Lord in love, may we see those hurting around us, and may we surrender to be His hands and feet, His heart for each other 🙂
Stacy Voss says
Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing, especially since it can be oh so hard to do the heavy lifting of life with others, but ultimately its so very worth it.
Another bit of advice, don’t say “call me if you need anything”. Most people will not call because they don’t want to be a burden or impose on others precious time.
Instead, offer to do something, anything! When I was having treatments for cancer, a friend said these are the days I will take you. It was such a relief to not have to ask for help.
Beth Williams says
We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus, not just the talkers. He wants us to go do things for others. He needs us to use the talents & abilities He has given us. I am an encourager and a doer. My first thought most times is “what can I do-let’s make a meal”. I have a good friend who was dealing with aging parents at the same time as I. One day she had both her parents in the ER. I quickly went to KFC and got a meal for her and her husband. It is stressful going to ER and waiting to see what happens. When my father passed away a few weeks ago she brought a meal for me and my family. It was nice not to have to cook the night he died.
My philosophy is “let’s get busy and show them Jesus” . No pithy sayings, clichés- just do something. Many times, though, I will ask people to call me if they need anything. I tell them I’m here for you. Our little church is vastly different than most churches. We are a doer type of church. We want to make Jesus known. Our pastor’s wife shared that her mom was having some money issues. Our church got together and brought tons of food, gift cards and money for her. We also gave our pastor and his wife money, and gift cards. The look on her face was priceless. Why are you doing this? Our response “we want to help out. We’re showering Jesus on you and your family as you’ve done for us so many times”.