I'm grateful that you take time each week to
let me into your life. I always love to hear from
you! As you can see the shiny, skinnier version
of me isn't here this week. This is life right
now. . .
I have been recovering from joint replacement
surgery in the four knuckles of my left hand that
I had done last week, 11/4/09.
first cast last week for 6 days
photo is my new fancy splint I got
As I write this Tuesday night, I'm exhausted
and in pain following the 2 hours it took to design
my splint. My son says it looks like C3PO from
Mom is here and helping me, but like many of
you, it is frustrating to not be able to do things
myself. And the only hand therapist is a 45-minute
drive away. Since my range of motion is so bad
on my right side too (shoulder, wrist, hand, etc.),
I can't even pull up my own pants without assistance!
And I will have this split on for 6 weeks, 24
hours a day, and then at least another 6 weeks
at night following that.
It's all very humbling. Thank you for your prayers
and well wishes, They (and pain meds) are keeping
So on to other news I prepared for you prior
to surgery. . .
As Thanksgiving draws near many of us want to
reach out to others, or we'd like to see our church
reach out to people with illness or disabilities
who are hurting. I thought this article may be
a good reminder to be able pass along to your
church for some fresh ideas for this holiday season
or even the New Year.
Just a reminder that since I am the author of
the article I can give you full rights to reprint
it. You are welcome to post it in your newsletter,
blog, web site, etc. Just leave the article and
footer "as is." This is one of the ways
we spread the words about Rest Ministries!
to the Chronically Ill: 20 Ways That Take 20 Minutes
by Lisa Copen
Rest Ministries, the largest Christian organization
that specifically serves the chronically ill,
recently did a survey and asked people to "List
some of the programs or resources a church could
offer to make it more inviting comfortable"
They have provided a sampling of some of the 800+
responses, all of which could be done in 20 minutes
1. Encouragement emails.
2. Make sure the handicapped stalls in the restroom
are functioning and clean.
3. Padded chairs or cushions, room for wheelchairs,
and plenty of room for my family to sit with me.
4. Be open-minded about a support group for the
chronically ill like HopeKeepers. It would make
me feel very special, knowing that there is an
understanding of people's needs that are not always
5. Add more disabled parking, even if they are
6. Educate the ushers that people arriving late
may have difficulty walking or getting out of
cars and will need some assistance.
7. Ask volunteers to call people with chronic
illness just to check on them when they don't
make it to services.
8. When suppers are given, recognize that I may
need help getting my meal--or at least understand
that I won't be able to wait in a long line.
9. Be gentle when giving people big hugs. It
can topple over or hurt a person.
10. Have a video tape of the service, not just
a live web cast. Not all our computers work that
11. Make sure that the church doors aren't too
difficult to open or at least have mechanical
assistance if they're unusually heavy.
12. Stop telling me that if I really believed
and had faith I would be healed by now. Please
don't insist how good I look, because I know for
a fact that I look terrible and miserable that
13. Offer me ways to serve within the church
that can be performed regularly, but not on a
set schedule. I still want to contribute, but
I need some flexibility so that I can do a job
when I feel well enough to do so.
14. Have sermon notes available so I can listen
later or even just review what I didn't catch
the first time.
15. Acknowledge National
Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week.
Rest Ministries has a nice book list of top 100
Christian books for the chronically ill. It would
make a nice display in your bookstore that week.
16. Just mention chronic illness occasionally!
Don't forget to talk about it in sermons as one
of the challenges many people face just like unemployment
17. Have Christian volunteers from church that
will clean house for small fee. Some have offered
to clean my house, but I cannot accept charity
yet, but neither can I afford to pay a regular
house cleaning service.
18. Help with some of the small costs of providing
encouraging books and resources for the church
library the chronically ill can check out.
19. Remember how many caregivers are in the church,
not just caregiving for their parents, but also
for their spouses or ill children.
20. Have copies of sermons for free on CD or
over 500 ways to encourage a chronically ill friend
in the book "Beyond Casseroles: 505 Ways
to Encourage a Chronically Ill Friend" at
I know that some days can seem like more than
you can handle. Remember that the Lord promises
to never leave you or forsake you. Cling to that.
Even when you don't feel his presence He is still
there. I tell my 6-year-old son that God is working
"under cover." I know I am each day,
especially righr now!
Lisa Copen, Rest Ministries Founder
Rest Ministries Chronic Illness Pain Support