|Image Courtesy of winnond/freedigitalphotos.net|
The tragedy strikes...be it a new diagnosis, a sudden illness, or worse...a death.
Or, maybe it wasn't a tragedy, maybe it was just a breakdown that someone saw at a time when you weren't expecting it, and that person says those fated words:
- I wish I could help.
- How can I help?
- If only I could help...
We are too busy surviving to think of something.
What we need is HELP that shows up when we DON'T ask.
When my daughter and I were at camp last month, our feet reached a level of "filth" that I can't express in words. BUT, I'll try...it took me three days of showering to actually NOT see dirt in the creases on my feet. I would wash my feet with a bar of soap and watch the muddy water roll down the drain and they were STILL dirty when I was done. We could wear socks around the cabin and STILL have dirt on our feet (not to mention what our socks looked like) when we took them off to go to bed at night.
These were some DIRTY, DIRTY feet. And, I imagine that's what Jesus and his disciples' feet looked like as well. They lived in a dry, dusty climate and they walked around in sandals, right? They walked EVERYWHERE like that!
Can you imagine what their feet looked like by the end of the day when Jesus got down on his hands and knees to wash them?Now, here's the funny thing...my dear, sweet, adorable daughter who was working her tail off at camp had dirty, filthy feet at the end of the day and she said, "Mommy, can you rub oil on my feet?" (This is something we typically do at night in order to help her sensory issues and anxiety.) My loving, motherly reply?
No way! We are not putting oil on our feet here, it would turn into mud and be disgusting!!!That's a sweet mom, right?
But then it hit me what Jesus had done for his disciples and what he had asked us to do for one another.
In this month of Special Needs Parent Appreciation, I want to take a moment to talk about how others can HELP parents of children with special needs. (And you don't even have to wash someone's feet!) I learned some things when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer and when she had a hole in her heart repaired and when had multiple eye surgeries. And now's the time for me to let others know...
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN HELP.
Put together a SURVIVAL KIT. It might be something they use for frequent clinic runs, it might be something used while IN the hospital or waiting in recovery. Put it all together in a backpack or duffle bag. A great survival kit includes:
- Bottles of water
- Gift cards for nearby coffee shops, gas stations, restaurants
- A cheap fleece blanket easily found at a local store
- A deck of cards or sleeve of dice with instructions for some games
- An iTunes gift card in case they need to download something for entertainment
- Granola bars, fruit snacks...or other non-perishables
- Crossword puzzles, Sudoku etc.
- Warm Socks or slippers
- Flip Flops
- A travel pillow
- Bubbles (sometimes questionable, but they worked great for bringing a smile to my daughter's face)
- Gum and breath mints
- Small notepad and pens for taking notes when meeting with doctors and specialists
- Travel sized toiletries~deodorant, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, mouthwash
Water their flowers/garden
Shovel their snow or mow their lawn
Drop by with some staple foods like bread, cheese, canned items, breakfast cereals, soups
Offer to pick their kids up from school or take them to school, church, or other activities so the parents don't necessarily need to make "one more trip" somewhereThere are many "little" things that come up every day which are small, and we don't ask for help because EVERYONE has to do them...yet, when our daughter was sick with cancer or recuperating from a surgery and we'd look out the window and realize that someone had shoveled the foot of snow that had fallen on our driveway??? Oh my goodness, that was like God shining directly down on us and saying,
"See, I have not left you. You are not alone."You can be the answer to someone's prayer just by "showing up" without being asked.
God came down from his throne in Heaven and washed some dirty, filthy, stinky feet...I mean...that is something I couldn't even bring myself to do for my own DAUGHTER! And then, he told us that we would be blessed if we did the likewise.
This is our BATTLECRY today...Go forth and look for those who are weary, depleted and needing a little encouragement today and WASH THEIR FEET (without actually having to wash their feet).
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank you for moments of clarity when we realize just how desperately the world around us needs ENCOURAGEMENT. Open our eyes, Lord, to see the hurting...then help us to see how WE can be the HANDS and FEET of Jesus by serving them. Help us to not just have GOOD INTENTIONS...help us to turn those intentions into ACTION. Help us to bring your Kingdom down to earth and remind the families of people with special needs that you have not FORSAKEN them. Amen.
~ Tammie Hefty