Creative Ways?

My most recent attempt at a "creative way"...
All around me it seems that close friends and friends of friends and relatives of friends are experiencing hardships -- many of them health-related.  Some of them are life-and-death situations.  I am often at a loss to know what to do.  I pray.  Yes, I do.  But I want to "do" something.  That's where I'm stumped.
Carrying in food seems to be the popular go-to-first action.  My problem is that I'm a miserable cook.  At the very least, I lack confidence.

What to do?  How to support?  How to show my love and concern?

Jacquelyn's brother is one of those relatives of friends who is suffering. At his blog, in a January 7, 2012 report, he tells of an opportunity he had to speak to his church about his experience.  He says, "I strongly encouraged the congregation to realize that life can change suddenly and dramatically. There are no guarantees for health (etc etc) for any of us. I also wanted people to know that in the Body of Christ when one member hurts....all hurt and when one member rejoices....all rejoice.  Please take this to heart and be fully engaged in your local fellowship and find creative ways to serve those who are in pain."

I want to be "fully engaged". 
I'll keep trying to find creative ways to serve those who are in pain.  
Any suggestions (besides food)?


  1. This is a fantastic blog post Rebecca and it will bless Don as well. Many people seem to think that "just praying" isn't "doing" anything. But those who truly take the time to engage in fervent intercessory prayer are no less giving of themselves in the name of Christ than the one whose gift is cooking, giving financially, building a wheel chair ramp, or whatever. And that is the whole point of the Body having many parts and by each serving in their own area of giftedness, we honor the Giver of the gifts! You already know all that...and I do understand your desire to "do" something you feel is more tangible. I'm the same often I am the person in the background (where I'm most comfortable by the way). That's why so often people tell me I need to "get a life" when in reality, my life is anything but empty! But for the benefit of those who might like some ideas for are just a few of the practical things that my brother and his wife have needed and have been provided by individuals during this time besides the amazing blessing of delivered meals: rides to the doctor and to chemotherapy; someone to be present in the home with him to do everyday things we take for granted, since he has mobility issues; a wheelchair ramp, grip handles installed in bathrooms and other places, walker, hospital bed, wheelchair, books, CD's, a Christmas tree was brought in and decorated for them, gift cards to grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations, cash (Don has the kind of job where he only gets paid when he is working). As caregivers, people often have asked us what was needed and we (only half) jokingly say "coffee" ! Don has thrived on personal home visits, text messages, emails, cards with heartelt notes, etc. One friend who happens to be a physician visits very early in the morning once a week and brings his guitar and they have a little private time of worship and singing together. One of the biggest blessings has been people who have come and not held back saying all the important things that should be said. Over and over again we hear the same thing about Don, how he has blessed someone or their whole family. (For those who don't know, Don is a Christian psychologist and a former school teacher who has literally ministered to hundreds of people over the years.) One of the things that Don has done to drive home the point that praying is so important~when the nieces and nephews and other younger people come to visit he will say "I want you to pray for me". Of course they always say "I will". Then he says, "no, I mean right now"...and they do. What a blessing that their own faith is being stretched at that moment. Sorry my comment is so long. I hope this helps and to close, to those who are looking for ways to engage and serve I would say, look at the gifts you have. Those are the ways that God has uniquely equipped you to serve. Little is much when God is in it!

  2. Yes... the Jewish tradition of 'sitting Shiva'. Just being there. Talking if they want to talk, slience if that's the mode. Just a hug, if needed.

    Then there's cleaning the house. Taking in items not food related - if there are a lot of visitors paper plates, napkins, toilet paper, plastic ware...

    Making them a pot of coffee or tea, then sitting with them and having one yourself.

    Hugz to you, Rebecca

  3. Thanks Jacquelyn & Tamara. (I actually HAVE done a few of those specific things you suggest -- it just never feels like "enough"...and I'm glad for some other things I haven't thought of - like paper plates, etc.)

  4. Rebecca,
    Your heart overflows with God's love and His word, you sing and play the piano beautifully, and, as we've all seen lately on fb, you have a really silly sense of humor! You possess all the qualities one needs to help someone, just accept(like it's that easy, right?)that you probably will always feel like it's never "enough". *a hint* for most people, just being there helps, a hug, a prayer, a scripture reading, a touch, knowing someone cares. (Gail Rupp)

  5. Rebecca - We have started a Prayer Shawl Ministry at our church. These are either knitted or crocheted. While making the shawl we pray for the individual to whom it will be given. We also pray as a group for the person who will be receiving the gift. Some of our members do not knit or crochet but they are willing to be the ones that deliver the shawl. (Received via email) I had made several for friends before our group started. There are poems on the Shawl Ministry web site to give along with the shawl. You, being a gifted writer, could easily write your own. It is like being there (when you aren't) and putting your arms around them - they know that they are remembered and prayed for.

  6. I'm not sick often, but one time a few years back, I was down with bronchitis. Nobody helped and I felt pretty down. So I made a list of things I wished someone would come and do. I lost the list, but can remember some of it.
    1. Bring dinner
    2. Come over and do a little housework or picking up.
    3. Call to say they're praying.
    4. Offer to pick up some groceries or a roasted chicken at the store.
    5. Drop off a movie, preferably a sappy chick flick or a comedy.
    6. Pull some weeds if its summer, or water indoor plants.
    7. DO NOT call to tell me how sick you were last month, or how so and so died of the very symptoms I'm having, or how I'm suffering to glorify God...have a clue! No wonder unbelievers don't like Christian--bunch of sadsacks!
    8. Instead, remind me of how Jesus healed all that were sick, of how so and so miraculously recovered from the same symptoms I am having, and how much I am loved by God. Give me an encouraging verse, like Psalms 103.
    9. Tell me something funny. Laughter doeth good like a medicine.

  7. Debora, I like that last one especially.

    All: I'm thinking that so much depends on the nature of the illness and the personality of the sufferer....

  8. You've already received some great input. I know in my own life there are times when different situations call for different responses. I like Debora's list, to which I'll add: send a card of encouragement, or buy & gift a CD of praise & worship music.

    For me, often the best gift I'm given when I've been in need is someone speaking life & hope into my cloudy world. One dear friend said to me once: "Kathleen, you are so strong; and I believe in you. God didn't bring you this far to leave you here. This too will pass.". And you know what, I did feel stronger because of the encouragement.

  9. It's so hard to know what to do, but you've got lots of good suggestions here. And I agree with you that much depends on the nature of the illness and on the personality of the sufferer.

    I do believe that prayer is a wonderful gift, both for those petitioning and for the recipient. My brother-in-law is going through some emotional stress right now and he told me that couldn't pray about it, and I told him he should have emailed all his friends and family to do the praying for him. It would Bless both him and us.
    I believe Jacquelyn's brother is gifting us all.
    I will keep him and his family in my prayers.
    Love and Prayers,

  10. This one isn't always easy for me ...but not just to pray for someone but to call or visit and pray with them. I still am working on it. I have been the recipient though and it is such a blessing.

  11. I'm also realizing "creative" means personal, fresh, unexpected, unique, beautiful & inventive....

  12. Amen and amen. And to do so without the right or left hand knowing:)! You're a faithful, faith-filled pilgrim, Rebecca. So many are blessed to have your help and prayers in this season, me included!


  13. Do you remember the old fashioned sunshine basket? Tiny gifts for the shut-in to open each day. Our church used to take them to anyone who is ill. When Sarah died, the church ladies gave me a basket. A promise was attached to each gift: tiny tissue pack (God will wipe away your tears), bottle of water (When you pass through the water I will be with you). I have since then used this myself. A friend took the idea and instead of scriptures attached songs. I have the Scripture/gift list and would be happy to email it to anyone interested.

  14. Running errands or doing household chores. Those are two things that I needed the most during my recovery. Love Di ♥

  15. Pamela, you are the BEST at "creative"!

    Diana...I can imagine how those acts of kindness would be appreciated.


Writing a Song a Week #3

Writing a Song a Week #3
♪ I wait for the Lord; my soul waits and in his word I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning ♪ (Psalm 130:5-6)