Another question for our care-giving readers!

November 12th, 2017

[Note:  The post below was sent to me as an email, and I am copying it here with the author’s permission.  I will see that she receives all replies both here and on Facebook.  Please always feel free to email me as well!  susanna@theblessingofverity.com  Joe and I definitely noticed that those who make it to church felt comfortable sharing that publicly, while those who can’t attend church typically preferred to share that privately.    

Interestingly, I agree with the writer that if Verity was our only child with special needs, it wouldn’t impact my ability to attend church.  In fact, I highly doubt I’d think of myself as a caregiver.]

Susanna,

Thank you for sharing your heart with all who read your blog. This subject has come up a few times in my circle of friends over the last six months. I have been deeply impacted by the stories of those who are unable to attend church for reasons surrounding their children with special needs.

I am the mother of seven children, one of whom has Down Syndrome. I have had periods when I was unable to attend services due to sicknesses that took a few months to make it through everyone, bed rest and depression. Those times were normally brief however.

Like you, I don’t believe we are required to attend church services to meet with God. But I do know that fellowship with other believers is vital. So, my question to you (and I am asking my other friends who are in similar situations) is:

In what way could the body of Christ serve you during your times of isolation that would allow you to feel blessed and included instead of burdened and/or alone?

I am asking so that our church family can know how to reach out to home-bound caregivers in the future.

Again, thank you for your transparency.
J.

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Look carefully at this photo of Josie at her therapy center.  Can you spot what’s different?

IMAG1771

 

 

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11 Responses to “Another question for our care-giving readers!”

  1. Linda Duncan says:

    When Kolina first came home and I was not really able to get to service, my church arranged for a woman to come once a week for Bible study during nap time. I treasure that year and the fellowship that came from that woman.

  2. Colleen Krizak says:

    My dad’s living with Parkinson’s disease and I live with him, my mom, and my young sister to bring support with finances and home management, along with errands since he can’t drive a car anymore. None of my peers at church in their 20s are single live-in caregivers and they have likely memorized the usual list of reasons I can’t usually join them for fellowship opportunities within the church walls, though I’m thankful for chances to come to fellowship at church at least 1 time per week. I’d treasure chances for men from church around my dad’s age to come to our house and pray for him and bring words of encouragement. Maybe to even have dad pack his grocery funds and a shopping list in the car while he and a friend from church go to pick up our groceries while mom and I rest. Those little things make a huge difference.

  3. Penelope Goode says:

    When I was caregiver for my grandmother at the end of her life, it was often hard to get out to church (or anywhere) and we both longed for the companionship that church provides. It would have been wonderful for ladies from the ladies’ class she’d been part of to drop in from time to time to pray or just chat, even if, with her dementia, she might not have known them. Someone to bring Communion would have been wonderful. Toward the end, especially, grocery delivery and/or a meal train would have been INCREDIBLE.

  4. Lauren S. says:

    This is an excellent inquiry. I’m excited to see the suggestions.

  5. Jackie Salotti says:

    J, I love your question! Susanna, your life is a continuous act of worship and service. You are the church. I love J’s question but I am finding that those who give the most have the hardest time accepting even a little. Mamas, please know we don’t expect a clean orderly, organized house, with quiet, perfect, always respectful and obedient children. We love you and your family. Give us a bucket and scrub brush and point us to the bathroom. Let us change the sheets, help with laundry, get messy with your kids while you take those rare few minutes for a cup of coffee, a walk by yourself, a nap, a trip to the store, or a date with that man who walks this busy life with you. We love you. We may not have a houseful of children right now but we want to make it just a tiny bit easier for you to continue joyfully living out this beautiful life God has called you to.

  6. Susanna says:

    Jackie, now that makes me cry real tears.

  7. Jeannie says:

    The gifts of cleaning, meals, and childcare have been absolute lifelines to our family. For several months, a small group of ladies came to our house on Monday evenings, didn’t care that it was a mess and my kids were noisy, and blessed me with a time of Bible study and prayer. Church came to me. Some of the most meaningful gifts have been little notes, especially those sent through snail mail. There’s just something about holding a physical card that says that we are not forgotten or alone.

  8. KMT says:

    My church has “visiting teachers” who are women and “home teachers” who are men and they came each month to offer us a scripture, prayer and to keep us in touch with what was going on and to be there for us. My home teachers just happen to be very old, so they can’t do some of the things younger men might do, such as help me when a huge tree fell down on my front driveway, but their spiritual support and empathy have gone a long way to making me feel like daughter of God.

    I also kept my girls in the young women’s program. Not all the youth activities are appropriate for them, but they attended the ones that were and that kept us in touch. Not having to get up early and dress up like we have to do on Sundays makes it easier to get to these activities, but they end late for my girls and Apple is usually very tired. This wouldn’t matter to most kids, but she has a yet to be diagnosed condition that causes her muscle weakness so when she gets tired, it affects her more than the usual kid.

  9. Hannah says:

    WOW way to go Josie!!So HAPPY to see u back with those!
    May you have more and more strength from our LORD Jesus!

  10. katie says:

    disclaimer: i work as a paid caregiver for people with profound intellectual and physical disabilities. the struggles i face are not the same as those who are caring for family members. however, there are some similarities. because i am a salaried employee, i am very familiar with lack of sleep, high levels of stress, the feeling of loneliness and isolation that can come from spending long hours caring for others, the frustration of feeling that the things i do to care for myself are somehow selfish. i have been struggling for years, but especially the last few months, with trying to find an appropriate balance between work and non-work life. i am fearful that i am past the point of extreme fatigue and into burnout… it is hard emotionally, physically and spiritually.

    i am not currently an active part of a church community. and one thing a church could do to help people like me participate is purely practical. they could offer worship services at times outside the traditional sunday morning service. i think about this a lot as i live in a small city with more than 40 churches. NONE of the protestant churches offer a sunday evening service. there is one catholic church which has mass sunday at 5pm.

    i know that even if an evening service was available to me i might not be able to attend consistently. but when i think of all the other people i know who do shift work and regularly work weekend, i just think this is a real missed opportunity by churches in my area. it is very difficult for me to attend morning services and an evening service would be helpful to me. even on a weekday (there is one church in my city with wednesday evening services, but significant theological differences preclude it as an option for me).

    i think a church’s willingness to think beyond what is traditional would be helpful to caregivers in general.

    it is wonderful to see some of the other suggestions in the comments. community that comes to those who can’t attend church is a lovely picture of what i believe the body of Christ was intended to be.

  11. Susanna says:

    This was a hard question for me. I wonder if it was for anyone else. After a lengthy discussion with Joe, we came up with what would be the most encouraging to me personally, being the intensely relational and communicative person I am.

    It would make me feel like I’m still part of our church family to see attempts to communicate with me, connect with me, and to find out how they could include me in activities without my initiating it or asking for it.

    Once a year, a church friend has a lovely ladies’ Christmas tea for ladies both inside and outside our church family. This is the second year in a row she asked me which was my night off, so that she could schedule the tea for that weeknight. This was huge to me! I’m someone who would be coming up with ideas for get-togethers and throwing myself with gusto into every part of church life possible if I was free to do so. It made me feel cared-about, and I’m as excited as a little kid about going!

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