Someone asked a great question on this instagram post the other day that got me thinking. She said "Tell us your fave ways people ministered to you during this time. We all need schooled on how to love people well when they're in seasons of forced rest!". I've had so many swirling thoughts in my head in the midst of this season of sickness and recovery, but truly I have noticed so much about the people around me and how the Lord is using them. And I'm thrilled to share that.
First, I have to say - this is a very short list in light of how well our community has loved us. The very first day I was home from the hospital I felt so humbled and a little icked out at how much people were taking care of us. Meals being delivered, friends checking in, helping with kids. We all know how that feels right? We need the help but we don't want the people we love the most to have to drop everything for us. So while I'm trying to privately thank and honor everyone that served our family, this is just a short and very quick list of things that really moved me.
Without any more explanation, here are three things I learned
or re-learned about loving people well while they're down and out.
1. It's beautiful to be needy.
The first few hours I was in the ER and hospital were very much a blur for me. I wasn't talking or opening my eyes because I was in so much pain while Nick was handling getting me checked in and back into a triage room. After a certain amount of time, the doctors came in and said they were going to do a spinal tap. I was immediately worried because I knew spinal taps were supposed to be pretty painful and serious and that's the exact moment when Nick said the magic words, "Your mom is here."
I didn't know Nick had called my mom (and my sister) and I didn't know they'd made the trek downtown to the hospital at 9pm on a Thursday night, but as soon as I found out they were there - my body and mind was flooded with gratefulness. I loved that Nick knew I'd want them there and they knew I'd need them, without me ever having to ask. Nick knows I NEED my family and my family knows I NEED them and none of us feels like we're too much because we crave one another's support.
Our culture places so much importance on independence and self reliance, but I just don't see it in God's Word as a thing. I see lots of talk about bearing each others burdens and helping meet one another's needs. There's something to be said for finding our hope, truth, joy, and worth in Christ alone BUT I know that I know that He created us to walk together in times of need. And it meant so much to me that I never had to ask anyone to ask anyone to be there for me. I want to love people like that in return.
2. It's beautiful to be gracious.
I was in the midst of a super busy few weeks when I got sick. I was speaking at a conference when I started feeling ill and headed to another conference to speak just a few days later. We were in the midst of intense work seasons for both Influence and Naptime Diaries as well and I take all those responsibilities really seriously.
I was super blessed by how the women I work with were so gracious about letting me off the hook, work-wise, while I was in the hospital and while I recovered. The Naptime Diaries team ran so well without me, some of the Influence team sent my family Whole Foods gift cards to help cover meals, my publishing team at Zondervan graciously rescheduled meetings and sent a fruit basket, and I have to say the leaders of the Allume Conference blew me away with their graciousness. I had to cancel speaking at their event days before it happened, creating a potential huge problem for them, but they showered me with encouragement, prayer, support AND sent my family fresh soup, bread, and cookies. That was so above and beyond, but what struck me the most is that no one took even a shred of the opportunity they had to make me feel guilty about what I couldn't do or how I put them out, ever. They didn't mention it casually or slip it into conversation just to let me know how hard it was. Their graciousness has massively impacted and shifted me.
3. It's beautiful to press in.
Lastly, one of the things that's blessed me the most is the people in my life who have pressed firmly and gently on me where it's needed. My sister, mom, roommate, and Nick all sitting on the side of my bed and insisting I NOT GET UP. When my friend Caroline refused to cancel bringing me a meal even though I told her we were fine. Even the friends texting me or checking on me now, a week or so after the fact to say, "Hey, we know the world is moving on and you're still not feeling 100% - how can we help you rest? How can we continue to pray for you?".
I find that I'm such a good reactionary servant. I'm great for 3-4 hours or 3-4 days after something goes wrong, and then I want everything to go back to normal. But I'm learning from these people in my life who wait and linger and let the world be tilted off it's axis for just a little longer so they can press in and continue to serve. There's such beauty in firmly giving people the permission to not be ok and that has meant the world to me these last few weeks.
So those are the lessons I'm letting simmer in my heart.
It's good to be needy. It's good to be gracious. It's good to press in.