We had so many dear people love and serve us in so many creative ways, during Hubby's battle with cancer. Here are my thoughts on helping someone who is going through the battle of their lives:
~ Send encouraging texts, messages and cards
My hubby has a pastor friend, who always knew the right moment to send him a meaningful text with a verse of scripture. It was such a God-thing because nine times out of ten, it was always right before a big procedure and this dear man had no idea! We were always in awe of how God orchestrated those texts and how he said what we needed to hear.
~ Don't just recommend a remedy. Go out and purchase that thing that you read cures cancer
I LOVE natural remedies. Hubby tried every single one that was recommended to him so, I know first-hand the time and expense it takes to track them all down. Instead of flooding their inbox with emails about them, go and buy whatever it is for them, if you are able. (but know that the emails are still appreciated!)
This also goes for spiritual books that you think would help build their faith during this time. Don't just give them a title, bring them a copy!
~ Bring meals
Their lives are turned upside down by all the appointments and if they've started treatments, those can be daily. Consider choosing a certain day of the week and tell your loved one that you will bring a meal say, every Tuesday at 6 until they cry 'mercy.' ; ) It will be a relief to know that they can count on that meal every week.
And according to my kids, (who had both parents practically living at the cancer hospital) sometimes you can have too many meals and a bag of groceries with milk and cereal is a way bigger blessing. : )
~If you are able, send a financial blessing
It is the 'big one' so to speak, and the financial repercussions can be as frightening as the disease. Not to mention that vacation time and sick days run out quick and all those co-pays were probably not in their budget. So, financial gifts of any amount, mean a great deal!
We had several dear friends send us cards of encouragement with checks inside and they made us breathe so much easier! We even had a group of total strangers from another state send us a check at Christmastime! We have no idea who they are or how they knew about what we were going through! Still in awe of God's provision!
~ Make your home or hospital visits SHORT
It is AWESOME to have friends and family visit, but it gets really hard when they stay too long. It takes up a lot of energy for patients to socialize for an extended period of time. Fifteen minutes or so is perfect. Be sure to pray for them before you go!
~If you have a gift for humor, use it!
If you make them laugh, their spouses will love you forever!
My hubby has a friend that he has known since the 3rd grade and I will always be so grateful for the phone calls he made that had my hubby rolling with laughter. It was music to my ears. And I love one of our pastors who made daily hospital visits to us who not only prayed for us but who always told corny jokes. He made us chuckle and forget what we were going through. The Bible says, "A merry heart does good like a medicine." Amen!
~ Help keep their kids' lives normal
If you can, offer to drive their kids to school, church or youth events etc.. They are going through such an emotional time and being able to stay connected to their friends means so much!
We had a dear friend even offer to take our daughter out for driving practice because she knew that during our crisis, driving lessons were not even on our radar! It meant so much to all of us...even if she did have an expired tag and the police pulled them over. LOL (we got some great laughs out of that)
~ Everyone says "Let me know if there is anything I can do for you." Be that person who really means it!
If they have the courage to be real with you and tell you what it is that they need, by golly, be ready, willing and able and remember YOU are the one who offered.
~Be positive about whatever treatment option they choose
Remember that it is their body and they are ones desperately seeking the Lord for direction. Support them and be positive about the choice they feel led to make.
We got a second and a third opinion before my Hubby made his choice. One opinion was from a doctor who specializes in healing cancer naturally. When he looked at his case, he told him that chemo and radiation were his best chances of survival. He even added, that they were what he would do in his position. -Now, that sure wasn't what we wanted to hear, but it was a confirmation of the direction that the Lord was already leading my Hubby and for that we were thankful.
To have friends tell you how much they oppose the route you chose is just not helpful.
~If you are handy, offer to come over and fix things in disrepair.
Everything goes on the back burner during a crisis and unfortunately, things still break! It is a HUGE blessing to have someone come over to fix them. Our lawn mower could wait but one of our toilets couldn't! ; )
~Pray and fast for their healing
It is totally true that in a crisis like this, you can feel the prayers of the people who are praying for you. My hubby had SOOO many people praying for him. And we literally felt the strength of all those prayers. We experienced an indescribable PEACE from those prayers and such a great amount of grace as a family. Our kids even felt it.
Prayer is truly the BEST thing that you can do for them and let them know that you are standing in faith and believing God with them for their healing.
I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have.
May we love people well, in their time of need!