I am absolutely convinced we are not meant to go through events like this alone. People gathering together in support of a hurting family is part of God's plan. The part of the plan that reveals God's love to a family that is in desperate need of His tangible love.
It may come in the form of a casserole or a ride or child-care. It may be as generous as a week in a time-share or at a lake. It may even be as practical as a refrigerator or money to pay bills. But the need that is met is so much more than the practical one. It is the love given behind the gift. That person is saying, "we can't fix this for you, although we'd like to", but maybe this gift will allow you more time with your loved one.
I had so many friends say to me that they didn't know what to do or say ...and yet always said or did the perfect thing I needed for that moment. And that's because it's not complicated. It's simply love. If we love the family that way we would want to be loved in that crisis, the way Christ has taught us to love, we'll know exactly what to do.
Everyone is busy. Everyone has their own live's challenges. That is the beauty of the body of believers. Each one doing the little thing that they can work into their schedule or budget makes up the whole of what is needed.
Sometimes, the greatest gift is a note or a phone call. I remember hearing from a pastor's wife of a church we attended years ago. Just to let us know that their church was praying. Had we kept in touch through the years? No. It wasn't about that. It was just compassion in action. Many, many churches came together to pray for Jessica. From many states, even other countries. They would send a note, or card or message on Caringbridge. We were absolutely humbled by the love and outpouring of prayers. And the thing I remember most is how much hope we'd get from those messages. When you're facing something as serious as Jessica was, you need as much hope as you can get. Everything she faced was negative. There was nothing positive happening for her physically or emotionally. All she had in the end was her spiritual life, and that was where hope made the difference.
You might think, what good was hope, when in the end, she still died? Well, I can tell you personally, it was everything. It was the difference between being completely depressed or finding something to laugh about. Hope was what made her get up everyday. It kept her trusting and believing that Jesus would do something wonderful for her. And He did.
I know not very many people will see this post. There is no way it will reach all the people who reached out to us. But God knows. God knows every single effort of love that was sent our way. We'll never be able to give back to those who gave to us. But we will know how to pay it forward. And we'll know that it matters, no matter how large or small the cost. Because it is about being Jesus to people who need to see Him. We saw Him, over and over and over. It may have looked like dinners and care packages, but in the end, the finished product was a beautiful portrait of the loving hands of Jesus, nurturing us day by day.
Thank you friends, thank you from the bottom of our hearts.