Where Are the Healers? A Lament

heart balloon art

It is possible that moving to the country from the city was one of the worst decisions my family ever made. We moved from a place where my younger son was invited to so many birthday parties that I had to keep a closet stocked with last-minute gifts to a place where he managed to go through most of elementary school without being invited to a single one.

Of course, the fact that he has two sets of grandparents, three uncles, three aunts and three cousins here in our little town made up for it. Being surrounded by loving family can help to make up for the rejection of peers and even their parents.

Alas, this was my fantasy and not reality. No family member has taken much of an interest in my son — to the point where it simply wouldn’t matter where we live when it comes to his interactions with them.

Once the S disease showed its face, I noticed that it helped my son to be around people who distracted him from what was happening in his mind. Desperate, I became bold.

“Will you take Younger Son fishing with you the next time you go?” I asked one family member. “Why not include Younger Son the next time you decide to spend a day in (neighboring city). He would love that!” I suggested to another.

Nothing changed.

Next, I tried guilt.

“Why don’t you ever spend time with your grandson?” I asked my parents.

They didn’t fall for it. Nothing has changed.

More desperate still, I asked people at the house church I was attending. I said something like, “Younger Son really needs connections with other people, role models. Will someone consider taking him under their wing a bit?”

I wish I’d never asked that question. Coping with my grief over the lack of response has been difficult.

I have a friend who has a son who is emotionally disturbed. They don’t ask for help. I used to think this was perhaps prideful, but now realize it is probably realistic on their part.

Here’s the thing. There are any number of Christians who are happy to lay hands on my son and pray for him. I appreciate this. Prayer is powerful.

But.

When you pray for bonds to be broken and healing to take place, God often answers prayers. He is a miraculous God, and sometimes He does things in mysterious ways.

Often, though, He is quite practical. He uses the people in His church as his hands and feet to accomplish His goals. He uses their love.

He sent me and my son a friend who hugs my son. She includes him in some of her plans. She even buys him little gifts. There is now a third person in his life who demonstrably loves him.

I am thankful for this. Oh boy, am I thankful. I wonder though, what if even more people loved my son in a visible way? I know that love heals.

I’ve been reading the diary of George Fox, the man who inadvertently founded the Quakers — some of the few Christians in the United States who actively resisted the institution of slavery. Fox frequently went into the churches in England and asked “Where is your fruit?”

I relate to Fox, because that is just how I feel.

The fruit of Christians should be healing love and not rejection. What if every Christian in our communities welcomed someone who is hurting into his or her life? Can you imagine the difference this would make?

In my town of 30,000, there are probably 10,000 people who attend church. These folks diligently give to food banks, the homeless ministry and other worthy causes. There are so many volunteers at our homeless shelter that it is ridiculous — they hardly have any slots to squeeze new ones in. Yet when I drive past the homeless shelter, the homeless people are always sitting outside the building alone.

No one should ever be alone in the midst of Christians.

Oh what a difference we could make if we gave ourselves over to action to complement our belief.

The lovely print is available for sale on Etsy — click on photo.

8 Thoughts.

  1. What do I think? I think and pray Hod you open wide the doors for this article and all of Michelle’s articles to be published, paid for and translated in many languages. When you have a publisher; I will gladly translate all of your heart mind and soul articles into French! Since many of you who read this are awesome lovers of Christ; please pray for Pur son who is emotionally not whole and suffered horrendous rejection through bullying all of middle school. I will never forget one of Pur many conversations in the car which I now greatly miss, as tears rolled down his big beautiful right grade brown eyes he asked, “Mom, you Know what really hurts; kids Who don’t even know me, hate me.” Wow talk about my heart awakening to the real suffering/rejection of our son. My husband and I have been suffering deeply because our son still suffers emotionally deeply nearly 2 years after middle school and not being in public school since the end of 8th grade. Theost powerful intercessor for my son is His Grandmaman Gamache; my mother for whom I thank God and Also my inlaws pray for him as well as my friends Michelle and Crissy. Please pray God heals our son of his intense rejection he suffered three entire long painful years in middle school and please pray God heals him of Asperger Syndrome. With Hod ALL things are possible. Thank Hod that God has the ability and supernatural power to unlabel curses, sicknesses, diseases, and much more!

    • That is heartbreaking. I know the pain. I remember when my younger son came home from school with his legs bruised from a girl kicking him for being different, basically. And to think that NONE of this has to exist, if only people led a life according to the example Jesus set.

  2. I can really relate to this.

    As Christians we spend so much time talking about love. We even give, often sacrificially, of our money and time. But when it comes to spending our time, day in and day out – actually rearranging our lifestyles around what we claim to care about that we so often fall far short. It’s one thing to volunteer at the food pantry for a couple of hours a week or run a half marathon one Saturday to raise money for a cause. These things are needed and helpful, but sometimes I feel like we are just checking off the boxes on a list because Jesus wants us to help others. And oh, conveniently, it also makes us feel good about ourselves too. But people who don’t yet know Jesus also do these things. Where is the witness?

    True love is sacrificial. No one showed us this better than Christ. We don’t have to die to show our love for others. But we really show the love of Christ when we die a little to ourselves. When we make an ongoing sacrifice – of our time, energy, and passions. When we make a lifelong commitment to show love to the lost and love to “the least of these”. When we spend meaningful, ongoing time with someone who makes us feel uncomfortable.

    I’m guessing you have had people say to you, “I don’t know how you do it!”. I know my wife and I get that a lot, especially from our church family. And that’s the irony – as fellow followers of Christ you should know how we do it! It is only through Him, and his Holy Spirit that we can do anything! We are worldly, selfish, and prideful. And so are you and your neighbor. But we study His word and then we DO his word. At least we try – even writing that now I know it’s not always true but we know we must be His hands and feet in the world. Not out of some obligation but out of love. Boldly, sacrificially loving in His name.

    Sorry for the rant, but your pain resonates with me. And I include myself in this. If more of us showed our love in tangible and selfless ways we would start to show the true love of Christ. The love that doesn’t make sense to the casual observer. The love of healing and reconciliation. A small picture of heaven, here on earth, drawing others to Him.. And this sounds like a cliche, but I know it to be so true – when we love like Jesus, it transforms us and are rewarded with more compassion and conviction, and our love grows. In ourselves and others. These are the fruits.

    1 Corinthians 13:3: If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

    • I have not been getting asked that question lately, because frankly, I am not doing enough. I definitely want to break through the typical volunteer experience — somehow go beyond into a place where people’s lives can be touched in a meaningful way. Although some volunteer opportunities do provide that.

      This past year, it has just been unbelievable the amount of warfare I have faced whenever I try to do much of anything. It has been ridiculous. Maybe because now I am wanting to do things in Jesus’ name instead of my own — I’m not really sure. Enter the group I’m putting together — a support group of sorts to find needs and address them.

      I absolutely agree that love is sacrificial. It intrudes on our comfortable lives.

      I was talking to a friend today about how difficult it is to break out of our culturally imposed box and demonstrate the love of Jesus in the world. To walk up to a stranger who is hurting and talk to them and pray for them. To really take risks. I do it sometimes, but am I really giving up anything? Not really.

      I’ve always had a heart for adoption and foster care. Unfortunately, this does not work without the entire family being on board. I’m hoping that God puts something in my path that is equally encompassing and purposeful.

      People like you guys show the kingdom. I’m little more than a complainer. What a beautiful witness you have.

  3. It is much easier to give money than it is to give time, and much less disturbing and threatening. I know that my grief over my husband’s death makes me joyless to be around and it’s hard for me to ask anyone to spend time with me. It’s difficult for me to even be around myself sometimes.

    • I can understand that. It’s the overall pattern that’s bugging me. I’m so sorry you have to go through what you’re dealing with. :-(

  4. This post AND the comments hitting the bull’s eye on the target for me, especially this week. I have been involved with the homeless community for almost three years now. To even get my feet wet in this area came after alot of prayer (okay, begging). I also seemed to hit a brick wall time after time while greatly desiring to be involved in reaching out to this population. God made it clear that it was His timing not mine. But it has completely changed my outlook on life, Christianity, and what we call “ministry”. And I have been greatly grieved at the apathy and self-absorbed nature – not just that – the actual hostility at times – of “the church” toward the “least of these”. It has broken my heart. We recently put out a facebook invitation for a one hour a month volunteer… and after 400 views the only suggestion was to call the girl scouts. :(

    Above mh said:
    I’m guessing you have had people say to you, “I don’t know how you do it!”. I know my wife and I get that a lot, especially from our church family. And that’s the irony – as fellow followers of Christ you should know how we do it! It is only through Him, and his Holy Spirit that we can do anything! We are worldly, selfish, and prideful. And so are you and your neighbor. But we study His word and then we DO his word. At least we try – even writing that now I know it’s not always true but we know we must be His hands and feet in the world. Not out of some obligation but out of love. Boldly, sacrificially loving in His name

    THAT hits the nail on the head there.

    No matter how much you do – there is always the sense that we could do more. I often think of Schindler at the end of the movie Schindler’s List. He sees things of value he still owned and he breaks down, realizing he could have saved more people than he did. I am constantly confronted with my own selfishness. But always I want love to be the drive and not guilt. And it’s hard for me to not try and “guilt” an apathetic church into following Jesus.

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