“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ ”
This seems to be the lesson I am to learn right now. Of course, I may be wrong, but it is a verse that keeps coming to mind over and over and over again.
PRAISE THE LORD – My pain has subsided!! I am able to stand fully straight, sleep comfortably at night (though I haven’t tried without a pain pill before bed yet), and move normally during the day. I even went for a walk on this beautiful morning and was able to jog SLOWLY for VERY SHORT STRETCHES of the route. I am eating normally again, though I continue to have very little appetite and foods taste so different than they used to taste.
God’s power is made perfect in weakness. I have never fully understood what that meant, and I don’t fully understand now, but my eyes have been opened to one way: God reveals His power to bring strength to the weak through the members of Christ’s body – His church.
Some friends have said to me, “I am so proud of the way you are letting others help you. I tend to refuse help, want to handle things myself, but you just let others help and that in turn helps us and gives us joy to do that for you.”
My response has always been, “It is just because I’m so weak and pitiful, I need lots of help.” I don’t consider it a “strength” of mine to let people help me. What I perceive is that I am so weak I need lots of help.
So God’s power is made perfect in my weakness – His power to comfort my hurts. And He works that power, at least in one way, through His church. I firmly believe that.
So, I write today a long-overdue, inclusive thank you note.
Shortly after my diagnosis, we were bombarded with people offering to help: “Let me go buy groceries, let me bring food, let me watch your boys, let me pick your boys up from school, let me do some house repairs around your house, let me do your yard work, etc, etc.” This was such a blessing, but also quite overwhelming to me. I didn’t write down names, didn’t keep records of what they specifically offered, didn’t record what days they were able to help.
My dear friend, Karen Robichaud, who herself has been through the flame of a great health trial, offered to “coordinate help” for me, though neither of us knew what form that would actually take initially. She knew from her own experience that all the offers of help could be overwhelming. So she began by setting up a super-organized spreadsheet with names, phone numbers, days of availability, preferred days to help, etc. This in and of itself was invaluable. I still have it.
But then we took it a step further. She arranged a call schedule – so that one person each day would call me in the morning and see what I might need that day.
I CANNOT overstate what a comfort this has been to me. I knew that there were many at the ready to help, but then I became overwhelmed to the point that I couldn’t decide who to pick to call – These questions plagued me: Who had helped just recently? Whose turn should it be to call so I don’t “overuse” any certain person? What if they already have that whole day pretty planned and then they feel badly that they aren’t able to help like they’d like to?
Now, those questions and worries have disappeared.
Instead, I know that each day (weekday – Mon-Fri), one person has volunteered to be on what I call “Sara Call” for that day. They have signed up and planned in advance to be available to me for that one day. So I don’t have to worry about interrupting a busy day for them!! Ahhhhh!
The organization has morphed a few times, as has the organizer. (Many thanks to Belle C and to Allyson G, who’ve also organized.) Now they have organized an on-line schedule, so folks can look online at what days are taken/available and thousands of calls/e-mails don’t have to go back and forth. This particular website they are using also sends an automatic e-mail reminder a day or two in advance to the person who has signed up. They are currently using a website called “food tidings” to do this.
My “call girls” 🙂 for lack of a better term, or for want of a laugh, have done ALL kinds of things to help me. They have:
-kept my boys
-brought us dinner (ready to eat or frozen to put in the fridge)
-bought us milk, orange juice, bananas and eggs when I realized right before a chemo morning that we were almost out
-given me a ride to chemo
-picked me up from chemo
-brought me a Sonic drink
-taken my mom to the ER here for me once with some scary heart-like symptoms
-sat with me while at home on the pump, while Mom had to go do other things so that I wouldn’t be by myself
-prayed with me over the phone
-brought me flowers
-brought me special toothpaste for cancer pts (a hygeneist)
-brought me shampoo that was supposed to help me keep my hair (guess it worked! :))
-left messages that included a spoken prayer for me
– many more things I cannot now bring to mind but have been so helpful and meaningful
To all my “callers” – please know how much I have appreciated your availability. There have been many days I have not been able to talk on the phone (when I’m on chemo, talking makes me get more nauseated for some reason) but please know I HAVE NOT intentionally avoided your calls.
Your simple phone call (whether or not I need anything that day) is a comfort to both me and maybe even more importantly to my parents, who know there will be someone else checking on me when they can’t be here.
To those folks reading that live in other areas, I write this here today so that you know of another way you may serve those in trials. I know of another family at church for whom this has recently been implemented, even for just a few weeks as their son recovers from serious surgery, and I think it has been a great help to their family as well.
Even if no one organizes something formal, maybe you can just make it a point that every Tuesday you are going to check with Mr. X to see if he needs something that day.
It frightens me to begin thanking folks for specific things on this website, because so many things have been done for me over the last several months. I hope to do another post to mention some of the creative and vastly different things people have done for us to encourage and help us. But please know that I cannot possibly rank them. Every time someone shows us a kindness in their own unique way, it means so much. So if I inadvertently leave something out, it is because my memory is TERRIBLE. TERRIBLE. Not because it wasn’t meaningful and greatly appreciated.
You are showing me God’s power when I am extremely weak. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.