This post is close to home for me. My cousin, Allison, was diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma a few years ago. The doctors thought they removed all of the tumors by putting her through chemo, radiation, and a clinical trial medication. She’s only 27. She lives in San Antonio, but she is getting treated at MD Anderson in Houston. A few weeks ago the doctors found more tumors in her brain and her body. My heart breaks for her. I wanted her to know that I am here for her and we haven’t forgotten that she is going through this. I wanted to come up with some ways to encourage her when she came into town a few weeks ago and to let her know that she’s not alone.
Sometimes we feel helpless when we know someone experiencing some sort of tragedy and we end up not doing anything because the situation seems so overwhelming. But not doing anything is what the devil wants you to do! He wants you to sit idle and just watch as these things are happening to our loved ones.
Pray for Them
Physically lay your hands on them and pray. Jesus tells us in Mark 16:17-18
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
If you believe the Bible then you should be laying hands on the sick. The bible doesn’t say that they might recover. It says they will recover. Our job isn’t to determine if they will be healed, we just need to obey, pray and believe, and trust God that He works out the good for those who love Him. Allison came into town and we, as a family, laid hands on her and prayed for healing. If you know anyone with an illness, ask them if you can pray for
them! Chances are they will not say no.
Make a Book Basket
I know Allison has a lot of free time between treatments and she is usually by herself at MD Anderson, so I gave her the book Captivating by John and Staci Eldridge. It’s not an in your face Christian book, but it is so encouraging for women. It explains our value and worth in God’s eyes. It is a great book for a woman going through chemo because she may not be feeling beautiful because of her circumstances, but this book shares how precious we are to God and how beautiful we are to Him. Books are a great way for people to pass the time as they are undergoing treatments.
Allison’s medical bills have racked up to $600,000!! Thankfully her insurance covers almost all of that and she only owes around $5,000 out-of-pocket. However, she can’t work or drive because the medication she is on causes seizures. In that case, $5,000 is a lot of money! For someone without insurance, the bills alone can seem life-ending. My sister held a multi-family garage sale and all of the proceeds went to Allison. She was able to raise $1,200 dollars in just a few hours. Also, there are websites, like Go Fund Me, where you can create a website for someone in need and spread the word about raising money. Even if it’s not a lot of money that you raise, God will sow that seed 10 fold. Any amount can help lift the burden they are carrying to pay the medical bills.
Send Them a Handwritten Letter
Technology makes it so convenient to connect with almost anyone these days. But, I’m old fashioned and love a good handwritten letter because it seems more genuine. Hand-written letters show that you thought about that person so much that you took time out of your day, bought a card, wrote out a message, and went to the Post Office to buy stamps and mail it off. And everyone knows that if you’re going all the way to the post office you must care a lot! I gave Allison a journal and wrote her a letter inside. Since she has so much down time at the hospital, I thought a journal would be a great way for her to write down her thoughts and prayers. Also, In the letter include encouraging verses that can help bring hope and speak life over their situation.
I definitely don’t have all of the answers, but these are just things that I have done that seem to have a positive impact on their situation. People dealing with an illness want to feel like you understand what is going on or that people aren’t forgetting about what they are going through. Some people may even feel like they are a burden to others! That is so sad and no one should ever feel that way. So today, if you know anyone experiencing cancer, or some sort of tragedy, reach out to them and let them know they are not alone and that they can place their hope in Jesus, who has never left their side.
What are some ways you can encourage someone dealing with an illness or going through a tough time?