It’s been just over a year since Sara entered the gates of heaven.
I miss her every day.
If you don’t know Sara’s story, please watch this video. Though she was home bound, she impacted lives around the world.
With her in Iowa and me in Tennessee, there were many moments when I couldn’t be there for her in the ways that I wanted to be. I couldn’t go pick up a Sonic slushie for her. I couldn’t pop in to give her a hug. I wasn’t there physically.
But she had plenty of friends who were.
And I am so thankful for the ways they poured into her life and demonstrated what community looked like.Here are 5 ways her local community served her and how we can be like them:
1. Bring food: Food is such an easy way to serve others. There were some days when all Sara could stomach were Sonic slushies, and so that is what her friends brought her. Know that someone is sick? Bring them some soup. It’s not cliche. It’s kindness.
2. Offer to watch someone’s kids (or pets!): While Sara didn’t have kids, she did have the blog dog, Riley. And some days she would need a break and a friend would scoop him up and love on him a bit. We just moved and I can’t tell you how thankful I am for friends who offered to watch my kids while we ran errands and got settled. One day a friend called and said, just bring your kids over and go get a coffee by yourself. She recognized my need for some quiet time and filled the gap for me.
3. Send a card: Nothing brightens a day like sending a card to someone – even if they just live down the street. A class in Sara’s town “adopted” her and would often make her cards. These cards brought her so much cheer.
4. Help with housework: Sara’s circumstances made it difficult for her to stand for long periods of time and she couldn’t go outside. Local friends often filled the gap by doing things for her that she couldn’t do – like planting flowers and setting up Christmas lights.
5. Run errands: Again, because Sara was homebound, she had to depend on others to run errands for her. It was a gift that she could call a friend when she needed a prescription picked up or a some extra groceries. Is there someone in your life that you could help by running an errand for them? When I was really sick during my last pregnancy a friend offered to go grocery shopping for me just so it was one less thing to worry about.
I’m so thankful for the gift Sara was in my life – and for all the ways her local friends loved her well.
What can you do to serve someone in your local community?Leave a Comment
I can’t believe it’s been over a year since she passed. She was such a special person. She taught me that God is powerful enough to use you beyond your physical reach. She epitomizes community and its purpose in our lives. Thank you for the reminder. 🙂
Jessica Turner says
Yes she does.
Sorry to hear about your friend. The knowledge that we will see such friends again is comforting. Yet I too have friends I miss.
As a person who is homebound, those ideas are all wonderful and I pray many will see this call to serve and step up. May I also add just visiting and taking time in fellowship is huge and goes a long way to bring healing to those who are homebound.
Jessica Turner says
Yes, visiting – perhaps the most obvious!! 🙂 Thank you for adding your story to this post. Peace be with you.
Jenni Mullinix says
What a wonderful example! This goes right along with what I wrote about today. Thank you for sharing these ideas.
Yes Jessica this is so spot on! It’s so often serving someone in the ways you mentioned that really blesses them an eases stress. Something helpful to us in a recent health crsis, was when people offer specifics. “I want to mow the lawn tomorrow” or “Can we bring dinner next Monday?” It’s daunting for anyone in a compromised position to answer to the offer, “Let me know if I can help”. I vote to avoid that phrase. Just offer action and help in ways you are able.
I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet friend, but it’s obvious what a blessing and servant you were to her. Wow!
Dana Butler says
I’m a big fan of babysitting – giving and receiving! 🙂 Also, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the value of an email. If you’re in a hurry, just the knowledge that you took the time to drop a line and let someone know you were thinking of them, praying for them (if you’re really praying! 🙂 ) is so precious to that person.
Also, I totally agree with Carly who commented above – – specific offers to help, like: Can I take your kids this afternoon? are so much easier to say yes to than general offers..i.e. “let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
Loved this post and how practical it was. Wish I could have known Sara… what a precious lady.
That video of Sara was so touching. I wish that I knew her, but by the testimonies of others I feel as if I do. Great tips on serving others…
It seems so easy; but is often seems so difficult. Thanks for these reminders.
It seems so easy; but is often seems so difficult just to BE the church. Thanks for these reminders.
Lisa Shaw says
I just came upon this blog and I wish I had meant Sarah. I watched the video and scrolled through some of the articles on the other blog about her. Absolutely beautiful. What a Christ centered impact she made and a legacy she left of love and joy!
15 years ago, while still in college, I was diagnosed with cancer. One of my dearest friends would come over all of the time with take out and a movie and hangout with me all night because I couldn’t get out easily. Another friend would hear of close things going on around my apartment and help me get out. He said it was important for me to get out in the fresh air. It would take me a long time to walk, but he was by my side the whole time and encouraged me. A year after my surgery, as I walked across the stage to receive my degree, they were in the audience cheering me on. Those two guys stand out the most in my mind as my sweetest friends in college, we still stay in touch.
Midwest Magnolia - Melissa Lewis says
This is great and a wonderful reminder. Being someone who has moved to a whole new region of the country, I long for people like this in my life. It’s hard to come by and can be very discouraging when you don’t find people willing to do this for you. I should stop being discouraged and just start doing these things for others instead, even if I don’t know who they are!
Thank you for the encouragement to reach out, Jessica — and the advice on how the small things can be huge. Bless you.
Behind The Smile says
I am sorry Sara past away. She left such an impact though in a positive way on peoples lives as you have described in many different ways in your post. I wish all people who are ill experience the love and support from friends and church family. In my experience being chronically ill people tend run away in case you ask them to help you out. Or you are offered help but only if it is an emergency so you sure are not going to ask them. I sit at the moment with my house work not done for weeks and no one to ask and no one offers. I am too ill to do it, have no family who can help and live on my own. I have an occasional visit from a friend but even though they see how I need help they do not offer and I find I cannot ask-I do not want to be a burden, a problem someone who needs help all the time. I know my pride gets in the way yes but through experience I have learnt people might help you once then make it clear it was only once or how much of a burden it was. Also when you are young and housebound people tend to think you should not be ill and I have also found it depends on your illness. I have chronic fatigue syndrome so for some people if I had another type of illness I might be more acceptable. I try to still be of use to others by phoning them or being a listening ear-one friend always knows where to find me if she needs a listening ear. It does not take a lot to make even a small difference for the better in someone’s life but I think a lot of people are just caught up in their own stuff and their own lives. I know once I am well again I will help others who need a helping hand. After all is that not what we are supposed to do if we are christians?
Jessica Turner says
I said a special prayer for you tonight – that those that God has placed in your life will be there in the ways you need them.
Your story demonstrates why it is so important to help our brothers and sisters.
I also want to encourage you that next time you chat with a friend to be bold and ask for help. It took a lot for Sara to ask for help, but when she did, she was always so grateful. The asking can be hard, but it is worth it.
Peace and grace.
Behind The Smile says
Thank you Jessica, I felt the tears come as I read your reply to my comment and I appreciate the prayer very much. blessings to you.
Brooke Burger says
Helping with housework can be such a blessing! In my 8th month, while I was pregnant with my younger son, I came down with chicken pox. I was miserable and mostly bedridden with the pain and the medication. My dear friend, Laura, from our Bible study showed up one day with all her house cleaning stuff and cleaned my house from top to bottom!!!!! WOW, what a blessing! I was so humbled by her show of love to my family. Thanks again, Laura S. !!!!
This moves me being in a similar place God can still use me i used to ask to go home but i know why im not yet
Beth Williams says
I think my God given gift is encouragement. When someone is in the hospital or sick–my first thought is make some food or give money to someone putting together a meal. I also send cards often.
I am usually the first one to jump on band wagon to help a friend, or someone less fortunate.
I find it satisfying to use the talents God gave me to make someone’s day.
I lost my youngest sister to Neuro- Sarcoidosis last month so Sara’s story quickly brought tears when I have thought there were no more. Kim never married and never had kids but her nieces and nephews loved her to pieces. I too have a dibilitating illness so I understand completely how lonely sickness can be. My mantra has been “Happiness is a Choice” . It’s very similar to Sara’s “Choose Joy” and hopefully the results will be the same. When you are sick, that choice has to be made daily and occasionally several times a day when the going is the toughest. I’m enjoying your blog and appreciate how much effort goes into this work of love. Thanks so much.
Marinalva Sickler says
May the Lord comfort you!
Losing a loved one is very difficult. I experienced the loss of my husband on February of this year. Few months later, I suffered a car accident and lost his car at the moment that I was driving to make the last car payment. Recently, I had to remove from my house my daughter because of mental imbalance. Tough road… I don’t know what or who I’m grieving…
Dear Jessica, I had the Father’s Prayer texted to me one line at a time as my husband used to do. I used to say one line; he would say the other line.
During the first weeks of his departure, a friend accepted my request and we both spent a day saying the prayer one at a time. It was a great experience because we were both busy and finding little time to pray together the Father’s in Heaven.
I cry as I go through your Sara’s story. May the Lord comfort our hearts.