I was just a little girl when my mom would call me in from play, tell me to wash my hands and face and change my dress. She had a job for me. Bring a plate to the neighbors. On the plate would be whatever had been baked in moms kitchen on that particular day or a home cooked meal. My mom has always been a person that loves doing for others. Its a gift that she has passed on to us, her daughters. I can't ever remember her telling us to visit the sick, or prepare a meal for someone that needs it. It was simply learned by watching her do it. It was a normal part of our lives to give. We never had much when we were all growing up, but we always had enough to share.
I believe we all ought to be involved in blessing the sick and the widows. (Galations 6:2. Luke 6:31. Luke 6:38. 1Thesssalonians 5:11. 1 John 3:17) I have a family member that has been really really sick for the past year and she's been in and out of the hospital more times then anyone ever should, and in the her times of being in the hospital and even at home too, I have heard her say one thing over and over and that is this: I feel so alone. How incredibly sad to even think about. You go through life you make friends, you get married, you raise your family and then it all passes and you're alone. It shouldn't be that way. Let's invest our time in going to visit the sick and widows and make them feel as though they are not alone in this season of life, let's show them that we appreciate them and that we value them. Its easy for us (and I'm speaking for myself) to say that we don't know how, I know my biggest is that I don't know what to say. (For those of you that know me well, I know you can't imagine me not knowing what to say) but it happens to me when I really want to say the right thing, to say something that will cheer that person up or make them smile or comfort them. That's when I have no words, but I am learning that often you don't need to say a word to say what people need to hear. I sat with my loved one in the hospital and the look of gladness that came to her face when a visitor walked through those doors was priceless. Just showing up is saying plenty.
I care about you.
I thought of you.
I remembered you.
You're not alone.
And not just to the sick person but to those that are keeping watch.
Its been my experience that those that stay with they're sick often wait almost as desperately for visitors as the sick themselves, because they know what a huge difference it makes.
Some things that I like doing when I go see someone is to take a small gift like:
- A basket of fruit
- A bouquet of flowers or a plant
- A book
- Fresh baked goods
- A jar of soup
I realize that not everyone has the same gifts. But I believe that we all ought to serve one another with the gifts we do have. 1 Peter 4:10 says like this: As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Use the gifts that God has given you to bless others. Your gifts were not giving to you to keep, or to hide, (Matthew 25: 14-30) but to use them for God's glory and I won't give a long list of examples but each of you know what you're good at. Ask God to show you how to use them to bless others.
Here some helpful ideas to help you (and me)
1) Contact your church's meal planners and have them put your name and number down to call when there is a need. I find its a lot easier for me to bring meals when I'm on a list. If I leave it to myself I usually talk myself out of it.
2) Cook extra, can a couple of jars and drop off with a basket of fresh bread. How easy is that? Soup is my personal favorite to use for this. I know someone that packs a basket of fresh bread and adds a jar of jam, I think that's a really sweet idea.
3) I find that most people love pictures. Especially if you're cut off from the outside world. I take my tablet to the hospital and when things get quiet or awkward I whip out my tablet and start showing pictures. Of the kids, our trips, our pets, our house, my projects, anything really, and I start talking about what we are up to. One time I looked up that persons relatives on facebook and had them send me pictures of they're family and what they were up to and took them. (That was a hit) It may not be glamorous but it takes the persons mind off of themselves for a bit.
4) Call some of your friends that like to sing or play instruments and go to an old folks home or hospital and minister to the folks there. Afterwards, mingle with the residents and visit with them
5) Pray for our sick and widows.
6) Offer to read to them or write letters for them. My mom in law used to have a lot of pen pals all over the place, but as she's getting older and weaker its really hard for her to write letters, so I've sat with her and written letters to her relatives for her.
7) If you can't think of anyone to bless, go to the hospital, take the elevator to the 4th and 5th floor and I guarantee you, you will find someone. Those 2 floors have enough sadness and sickness to change a person from the inside out.
- Shake a hand
- Assure the bus driver that is suffering from dementia that the children all got off the bus before the fire.
- That old man that sitting there in the hallway with a bib around his neck waiting for his time to go? Don't just pass. Stop and listen as he tells you that he's got to hurry back to the farm. Wish him a safe drive.
- Tell the old lady happy birthday and yes her hair and makeup are just fine
- Hug a nurse
- Smile at the people keeping watch and ask them how they're holding up.
- Remind yourself that one day you might need someone that puts the extra gown over your back so that you can keep that last ounce of your dignity, someone that holds that cup of water to your mouth when your hand shakes too much, someone to feed you ice cubes, some one that fixes your hair for a Sunday afternoon of waiting for visitors that never come.
And whatever you do, take your children with you. They are the ones that will decide which old folks home to put you in.
Please know that I have a long way to go and by no means am I perfect on doing the things that I have written but God has really been teaching me a lot on this topic and I pray that He will use each and everyone of us to ease the load for someone.
Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not. Galations 6:9
We have many widows around us, and they can be a blessing to us, we can learn many things from them, I don't have much experience on how to visit them or care for them, but the bible tells us to care for the widows.
We have a few widows living down the road close by us, and many times I think about them, more often then I let them know, every now and than I like to bless them with a meal, the one time a brought a meal to two widows at the same time,and found out that both of them had been sick, it was such a blessing to me,being able to bring them a meal,especially after I found out that they had been sick,and they have never turn me down when I ask if I can bring them a meal,they always welcome the meal,they need us,and they always look so lonely,and they always have much so talk about,and most of them love when you bring your children,this one widow always makes sure she has lots of treats ready for my children when they drop of things she never lets them go empty handed.
My desire is to do to them as I would want others do to me,we forget that they too need someone to talk to,just as we do if not more,and we can learn many things from them,this one widow said to me,you cook such yummy food,it taste so good,she said I will never be able to repay you for what you do for me,she really felt blessed,and that blessed me so much,I have experience this often,when you bless someone,the blessing comes back your way very soon,and often times,before you even get there with your blessing.
In 1 Timothy chapter 5, it talks about 4 different types of widows, and we as Gods people are to wisely care for widows in our midst, theirs two sections;
1Timothy 5:3-10, talks about the duty we have to support the needy widows,
and verses 11-16,talks about our duty not to support younger widows,
There is 4 types of widows mention here in this chapter.
1) Widows who are really widows
2) Widows with children and grandchildren.
3) Younger widows who should remarry
4) Widows who live for pleasure rather than for The Lord.
Really there's not stuff to add to this chapter it's all there and really clear to,all we need is to obey and do what it says, and yeah like it's said already,my mom pass on a good tradition,by blessing other people with goodies or a simple meal,my parents didn't have much,but enough to share,and it was always home cooked or backed,my mom normally wouldn't leave the house when she wanted to go somewhere without taking something along,and yeah she never said this is what you have to do,it's just something that we saw her do.
I remember this one time, there was this very very sick lady in our village, my Dad's aunt, she was in her death bed, hadn't been eating for a long time, mom had made noodle soup,and she sent me to bring her a meal, and that time this sick aunt sat up and ate, and said afterwards how good it had tasted, but died shortly after that,I can still see her thin and pale,but the last time I saw her was with blessing her with a meal. And I hope that one day my children will do that to me,when I get old, I do really have a heart for the sick and lonely people, and don't show it the way I should.