We all have a friend, or at least know someone, who seems to always be sick. Knowing how to encourage that friend can be a challenge. Sometimes we may even feel inadequate for the task, and opt to do nothing.
Well, I am that friend. I have been on both sides though- I have been the sick one, and I have been the friend of the sick one. As the friend, I have made many mistakes along the way. I have made wrong judgment calls, and as a result missed opportunities to encourage and serve. I have learned along the way, and I hope I have gotten much better at being the friend.
God has used my own illness to help me to grow in this area. He has also blessed me with dear friends who have encouraged me in a variety of ways throughout illness. I have evaluated what things have encouraged me the most, and have helped lift the heavy burden of chronic illness. Let me share them with you:
6 Ways to Encourage Your Sick or Chronically Ill Friend (Part One)
1. Stay connected
Just be you. Continue your relationship and share life with them as you would prior to their illness. Don’t be afraid to share your struggles and heartaches, as well as your joys and accomplishments. They don’t want to lose your friendship, and if it changes, let it only be because it has grown in sweetness as you have carried a burden together, and proven to be a faithful friend. Here are some simple ways to keep connected:
a. give her a phone call
b. text her
c. send her a notecard
d. bring tea and visit her
Her illness most likely will require some adaptation on your part. For instance, you may have to accommodate for her needs by bringing tea to her instead of going for your regular Starbucks outing. It’s okay, it doesn’t really matter the location of your visit. It isn’t the outing that is so precious, it’s the relationship.
3. Pray for her faithfully, and let her know
Be sure to pray for your friend often, and let her know that you are doing so. Don’t leave it at, “I’m praying for you…”, share how you are praying for her. Maybe you will say something like this: Sarah, I just want you to know that I have been praying for you often. I pray that when the days are really rough, and you want to cry and give up, that God will strengthen your heart and give you the resolve to look to Him.
At one point in time, I had a friend call me, and pray for me on the phone. That is another great option of how to pray for her, and let her know. For me, this was encouraging on a number of levels. I felt encouraged in the Lord, and it was affirmation of this friends love and care for me.
So, there are 3 options to chew on and get you started. Stay tuned however, we are only half way done! Part 2 coming soon…