After a recent spike in some of our son *Josiah’s lab numbers, his roller coaster ride has again settled into a routine of daily medications, monthly labs, yearly immunizations, and preventative medication prior to dentist visits, etc…until healing manifests in another form – for which we continue to believe – we are truly thankful for easier days and continue to press forward. Through it all, we have managed for Josiah to reach the milestone of being a homeschooled Senior! With the end of this calendar year quickly approaching, while facing a 29% increase in health insurance premiums and other out of pocket expenses before insurance actually kicks in, there is a need to hit “reset.” I have been reflecting on the many things learned in this journey and how we can do things better in the next leg of the race that lies before us.
What do people who are walking through difficult times, such as a dis-ease diagnosis, actually need, regardless of their age, occupation, ethnicity, faith, or status in this life? I say dis-ease, because that’s what it is: the exact opposite of ease. Therefore, I ask again, what do people, individuals and families, who are walking through difficult times need more than anything? They need people who tangibly desire to be a demonstration of our Heavenly Father’s love – the hands and feet of Jesus – Heaven manifesting on Earth, until the dis-ease transforms into ease, i.e. healing and restoration. How does that look and what does that really mean? As a parent walking through a the journey of a child suddenly diagnosed with a lifelong dis-ease, I can honestly say it looks very different than I would have ever dreamt.
There are things learned in the journey that can truly help us BE the Body of Christ, BE the manifestation of the Father’s love for the many individuals and families caught up in the medical treadmill, economic hard times, loneliness, rejection, and brokenness of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
So again, I ask the question, what do people walking through difficult times really need?
Most importantly, they need to know others genuinely care about what they are going through…vessels releasing the Father’s love, the Father’s compassion, and the Father’s mercy into the immense time of the journey. This truth is tangibly demonstrated through phone calls, personal visits, daily prayers, emails, cards and letters, meals, gift cards for gas, food and lodging, and small gifts to brighten the day…also releasing the Father’s joy and the Father’s kindness into the difficult circumstances. Getaways for caregivers are wonderful gifts to bring refreshing…releasing the Father’s rest, the Father’s strength, and the Father’s peace into their stress. Medical expenses and all of the other indirect expenses crush most families, so fundraisers that help out with major out-of-pocket expenses, not just the first year, but every year they have to battle the dis-ease…releasing the Father’s provision and the Father’s restoration into all that’s been stolen. They need people not to judge or assume anything about your circumstances, your family, or your financial status. It is difficult to explain, but those in need too often find that others don’t like hearing the details of the struggle because it makes them feel uncomfortable – people would much rather you tell them it’s all “fine,” even when it isn’t…listening without interpreting in itself is a gift. I could continue on with many examples of tangibly being vessels of all that our Father is on our behalf through Christ in us via Holy Spirit, but you get the picture.
As I look at all of the people at Amplatz Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House, we have to start BEING the Church, rather than letting our our lives revolve around going to church. Worship is not a song we sing, nor is it a service we attend, but rather, a life we live; it’s who we ARE as Believers. Wherever Jesus went, He met the needs of those battling dis-ease. He got His daily instructions through personal intimacy with His Father. He called His disciples to do the work of His Kingdom by following His example. They understood the call so well that handkerchiefs and shadows filled with His presence caused dis-ease to flee. Jesus didn’t see through the lens of gathering together to do religious activities. No. He called us to action! GO! Make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. GO! Every day. Don’t misunderstand me: we need to gather together corporately, but it’s always “now time” to BE His disciples…to BE Heaven’s solution to Earth’s problems…to be the EASE in the midst of the DIS-EASE.
All to say: every day we have the opportunity to make a difference in someone else’s life in the very nation, the very state, the very region, the very workplace, the very school, etc. we’ve been placed…to ‘pay it forward’ as they say. “Father, let me never again be so wrapped up in myself that I miss being the EASE in the midst of someone else’s dis-ease, even if I have nothing financially, physically, emotionally, intellectually, or spiritually to give. I can give them You, in me, in some way, BE Your love to someone in need. Holy Spirit, you are never out of Who You want to be in and through us, or What You have to give when we will simply surrender as Your vessel. That is my biggest take away in all of this – enlarge the tent within me Lord on behalf of others; to simply be Your vessel releasing Your supernatural ease that drives away the dis-ease wherever You lead me.” And that, is simply what everyone in need needs.
*NOTE: You can read about Josiah’s kidney failure and transplant journey on Caring Bridge.