One of the promises of Jesus that I cherish is when He told His followers "I am with you always!" What comfort, hope and encouragement this promise brings, and I want to be the kind of person who is with others "always," no matter the cost.
My "little" brother, Russ, has been recently diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. We are not sure the specific type of cancer, as yet, he still needs a bone marrow biopsy prior to prescribed treatment, but this cancer came on fast and is now in his bones and internal organs.
One month ago, he was playing golf, working out at the gym, laughing and engaged in life and then BAM, he's in the hospital with life-threatening complications. This is yet another reminder of just how fragile life is and how things can change in an instant.
Russ is staying with us right now, and after 6 days in the hospital we brought him home yesterday. At 3:00 am this morning, I woke up sensing that something was wrong and when I went downstairs he was in the recliner having trouble breathing and obviously suffering, What could I do?
Through the years of my companioning with hundreds of grieving moms, while Director of Mothers LIke Me for moms who have suffered the loss of a child, I have learned that the most important thing that we can do, when someone is suffering, is to be present to them. Some people don't know what to do in these type of situations, but I have learned the very important lesson that just being still, watching, listening, waiting, praying and being attentive and anticipating a person's needs is often what is needed and appreciated most.
Being present isn't necessarily easy - it requires our time and a commitment to setting ourselves on the back burner, bringing the needs of others to the forefront for however long we are needed. There is sacrifice involved, but I strongly believe that it is in our DNA, designed by our Creator, that we are filled when we empty ourselves. I know that my greatest joy comes from those times when it is less about me and more about others. Some would say this is a gift, I say it is a "calling." It is also a discipline and how great is the need for more people who are committed to this calling and discipline in our lives.
I also know from experience that being present in hard times can take it's toll on the one being present to suffering, and that it is important to take care of ourselves, while we are taking care of and serving others, We all need comfort and rest, and it is only the LORD who can be present to us ALWAYS - He never needs rest, He IS our rest, and when we rest in and rely on Him, He will be our "strength and refuge in times of trouble."
As He continues to show me that His promises are true in every aspect of our lives, no matter the "trials and tribulations," I can say that it is truly a blessing to companion with those who need someone faithful to be present to others, to be their hands and feet if necessary, to pray for and with them, to listen to them, to just BE with them. As my brother tried to sleep in the recliner last night, I noticed that every once in awhile, he would look over to see if I was still next to him and then he would shut his eyes and sleep. Just knowing that someone was there was a comfort to him, is that not true for us all?
The heroes in my life have all suffered, experienced heartache and pain, and have responded by giving of themselves to "comfort others as they themselves have been comforted." Is there any greater gift we can give? I think not! I know not!
May we as God's people never grow tired of "being there!"
With Faith, Hope and Love,
Angie "a mom like you"
amotherlike me @gmail.com