a friend hurts, we gather around
her. When she has surgery, we line
up outside her door with meals.
We send flowers, cards, and gifts.
We provide childcare and, of course,
prayers. Gradually she heals and
is able to return to her every day
a friend is diagnosed with a chronic
illness the natural cycle of healing
doesn't take place. What do we say?
Do we encourage her to remain hopeful?
Chronic illness is permanent and often
degenerative, requiring her to change
nearly everything about her life. The
emotions that accompany these changes
in her life are often more difficult
to cope with than the pain itself.
to Say What
Not to Say How
honest. Say I wish I knew the
right thing to say, but I care and I
am here if you need me.
her if shed like you to pray for
her and ask what she wants you to pray
about. Respect her request. Dont
pray for healing if she wants prayer
for new medications.
him that coping with lifes difficulties
is a process and that the length of
time is different for everyone. Tell
him that he is coping well. Just listen.
Let her share her thoughts and feelings
with you and dont say, I
understand, if you havent
been there yourself.
where he is with his faith. If you see
him struggling, be sensitive to it and
dont tell him to snap out if it,
that God is still good. Pray for him
silently and be patient.
Treat her as though she is still a whole
person, despite her limitations. She
wants to feel capable and in control.
Let her make the plans.
Become somewhat educated on his illness.
Ask him if hed mind answering
some of your questions. Remember, just
because youve read a book doesnt
mean that you know how he is feeling
physically or emotionally.
assume that she copes with things the
same way you do. She may gain strength
by alone time while being alone depresses
you. Let her cope in her own way and
dont tell her she is coping in
the wrong way.
him know you are thinking about him.
A card or a phone call can make the
Not to Say
giving God balm. If you
say God will heal you or
all things work together...
she will believe you dont really
understand and avoid sharing her feelings
with you in the future.
feel compelled to share every cure
youve heard of for his illness.
Hes constantly bombarded with
cures and he needs you to be his refuge
aware of the fact that illness is not
just a matter of attitude. Dont
say, When are you going to get
rid of that cane? or Did
you know illness is caused by stress?
her limitations and be sensitive to
them. Dont say, A little
walk might do you some good or
No pain, no gain! Only she
knows her limits and they will likely
change from day to day depending on
many factors. What she could do yesterday
may not be possible today. Dont
specific ways that you can assist your
friend. Say I am going to the
drug store. Can I pick something up
for you? Look around her home
and see where your friend might need
some help. Does the shower need scrubbed?
The leaves raked? The carpet shampooed.
Offer to take care of these things.
Volunteer to pick up some groceries
rather than do the cooking. Many times
people with illnesses have restrictive
diets, so they may prefer some fresh
fruits and vegetables than a casserole.
Ask what meals he is eating and then
freeze some of these for him to have
her to places where she may need some
assistance. Get your haircut at the
same time, or have the oil changed in
her car while you are eating lunch.
Bring an uplifting personal little gift
when you come to visit: some fresh cut
roses, a new book, a funny movie, some
cookies for the children, a blanket,
potpourri to make the house smell good.
that ones spouse and children
have needs too and these often concern
your friend. Take the children out for
awhile so s/he can get some rest. Plan
something special for the children and
before you drop them off at the house,
pick up a small something
that will make their parent smile like
some fresh flowers.
your friend what her concerns are and
how you can address them. One woman
who was ill said that she would like
for a friend to make sure her children
made it to Sunday School and church
when she couldnt go.
the persons spouse how you can
help the family. One spouse was appreciative
of gift certificates to the local fast
food restaurants so that the children
could occasionally have a quick meal
and his wife didnt have to worry
about making dinner.
from "When a Friend Has a Chronic Illness"
brochure distributed by Rest Ministries,
Inc. Copyright 2001, Rest Ministries,
Inc. You can print
of this brochure to distribute.
for wanting to learn how to bring comfort
to a friend!