In part 1 of this post I shared with you some of my journey during the time when my husband had debilitating seizures. I still can not thank the Lord enough for using brain surgery as a tool to heal him. I shared how this was hard on me as a wife and about the day I almost left my husband. Then I shared 2 ways to support the wife of a disabled husband. The first is to not judge her. The second is to offer her a listening ear. Today I will share three more ways to be supportive.
The third way I eluded to in the first suggestion and that is to offer practical support. We attended a couple of different churches during this time and experienced differing levels of support. I remember when my water broke when Simeon was born. I called around to various church members asking for help and no one would help me. Or toward the beginning of our seizure journey being told that I was responsible for my husband's seizures because of some sin I had committed by one of the elders of the church. Then I remember toward the very end of that season we were at an extremely supportive church. While attending there I remember a day while I was at work Vic called to tell me they had run out of milk. He could not drive and I was going to leave job number 1 that day (Friday) and would be at job number 2 for the weekend (Sunday). I worked all day and overnights. Vic could not drive so that meant my family would not have milk for 3 days. So I called the church. A church member brought my family milk. Then when we moved 4 days after Vic's brain surgery 10 church members came to help me and our family from out of town that was there helping me.
The wife to a disabled man needs practical support and help. She really needs the Body of Christ to be hands and feet. She will likely need this for the long haul. Think about the support often extended to a woman who has had a baby. I know at the churches I have attended there is a schedule to bring meals for the family. That is helpful. Offering the wife of a disabled husband a meal would be a great support. Here are some other practical suggestions:
-- help her by offering to help clean
-- help her by offering to run errands
-- help her by offering to watch the kids so she can have a break
-- help her by offering to mow her yard or help with yard work
-- help her by offering to shovel snow in the winter
This list could go on so ask her if there is any practical ways you can help.
I would say the most important way to be supportive to the wife of a disabled man is to pray for her and with her. Prayer is the key to everything. The Lord is ultimately the one who will strengthen and sustain this woman so pray for her. Prayer I am convinced is what brought us to the right doors for my husband's surgery and ultimate healing. There is not a lot to elaborate on for this point remember to pray for this family. Remember that prayer changes things.
The final way to support this woman is going to sound like a contradiction--Determine your boundaries and what you are not going to be able to do for this woman. I mentioned that this would sound like a contradiction, but it truly is not. Remember her situation could go on for years or indefinitely. Therefore, she is going to need support for a long time. She is also going to have times of feeling total desperation and she might lose sight of reasonable requests-- not because she is trying to become dependent on you, but because she has become so worn out. This is only human nature. So set some boundaries and stick with them lovingly of course. Otherwise you run the risk of letting her family take too much of yours and that is not good for you or for her. Think about the Parable of the Good Samaritan. What would have happened if the injured man had begged the Samaritan to stay and then the Samaritan had stayed instead of going about his tasks at work. The consequences could have been great. He could have lost his clients or his job. Then he would have put himself, his family, and this injured man in jeopardy. Rightfully he had some boundaries and was able to help the injured man as a result. So be supportive of this woman, but have determined your boundaries and enforce them.
The Bible tells us to love and support each other and to live in community. So remember to do this for those around you and especially in your church body.