Updated: Nov 11, 2018
As my daughter and I lived at the hospital for 3 months, during the winter she was sick, I found myself in the humbling place of depending on others. There were lots of things I could do on my own, but many that I could not. The most significant was, that I couldn't be in two places at once, caring for my hospitalized child and my other children & husband. These are a few of the ways people surrounded us and blessed us beyond measure.
1. Gift Cards
Being 2 hours away from home, there were expenses: gas, parking, food. As people wanted to bless, they got together and purchased a MasterCard gift card, and it was a huge help! We could use it to pay for the variety of needs we had without it being limited to one place. That being said, the Starbucks gift cards were also a favourite!
My daughter was on isolation for most of her stay, and so people couldn't come in her room, but when she was napping, or asleep for the evening, I could go to the family room and enjoy a visit. It helped let me know that people were thinking of us; they took time out of their own schedule to drive out and see me, just to encourage my heart.
When we were admitted to the hospital, it was straight to the ICU, her condition was critical. It was overwhelming. My dad-in-law had just had a heart attack, other family were on vacation, it took just one person to take charge and organize where our kids were going, as they hopped along between houses. It freed us to not spend energy managing childcare, which was a really huge blessing. We were also blessed because our kids are pretty flexible, and did really well through it all.
4. Text Messages
It may not be true for everyone, but it was really nice to know that other people were thinking about me, caring and concerned about how things were going. Often, people were afraid that they were intruding, or they didn't want to pressure me with having to answer messages. Honestly, if I didn't have time, or wasn't in the mood to answer, I wouldn't. But receiving those messages was an encouragement that I wasn't alone.
My hubby is an easy-to-please kind of guy, and he has some skills in the kitchen (which involves boiling a pot of water, or reheating leftovers). So my absence at home left a bit of a gap in the food department. Many brought food to help me at the hospital, which was awesome, but it was also really great for people to supply dinners for my family at home. And often, there would be a dinner plate to get frozen and then passed on for me at the hospital.
A network of prayer warriors around the world truly carried us through a very difficult season of our lives. It was a beautiful picture of God's church, united and standing for a brother & sister in need. God gave me this picture one day, of Aaron and Hur, holding up Moses' arms as the Israelites battled, because he got too tired to hold them up himself (Exodus 17). As parents, we were weary and exhausted in the battle for our daughter's health, and the body of Christ held us up as we carried on.
God used the prayers of the saints to heal our daughter, to bring encouragement to my heart, and to strength me in proclaiming His goodness to the staff & people around me. I would send prayer updates on facebook, texting groups, and then people could know how to pray, and what our needs were. There were 3 days in a row when she would take a turn for the worst at 5am. So I asked people to pray specifically at that time for her, and He answered! It wasn't only the work He was doing in us, but also the work God was doing in His people, as the Holy Spirit woke people up at 4:58am to pray! I meet people regularly at the grocery store, the hospital, and random places who had been praying for us - even people I have never met before, when they hear the name Samara they tell me "I have prayed for your little girl!"
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5
We have the privilege to walk alongside our brothers and sisters in Christ through difficult times. As our souls suffer alongside each other, we can show love and comfort because God comforts us. What a privilege!
How have you been blessed, or blessed others through difficult times?