What Do You Say To & How Do You Help A Newly Paralyzed Person?

8 Jul

Spinal cord and spinal nerves

This week, I found out that Mendy Brockman – an acquaintance from the small Bible college I attended – was in a car accident and broke her neck at C5-C6. She has undergone surgery and is currently paralyzed. When I read this on Facebook, it was like someone punched me really hard in the gut. My heart absolutely broke. Not just because she is a beautiful wife and wonderful mother to her precious children, but because I know what her family is going through, what she is feeling, and how they are trying to just go moment by moment trusting the Lord. I know the harsh journey that is before her. I also know that God’s grace is sufficient and will sustain them. But, I know the stark reality of what this means for them.

Our level of injury is different, but the emotions that engulf you with this kind of loss are the same. At times like this, as a friend, you want to do all that you can. What exactly do you do? What do you say? What is the greatest way that you can help Mendy and her family? I don’t claim to know all the answers, or to know what is best for Mendy as I am not her, but I thought I would just share some tips since I have been there and may help give just a little guidance to all of you who love and care about her and want to truly be a blessing during this time.

  •  Be Praying!

I know that many of you are and right now, that is the greatest thing that you can do. There is a great unseen spiritual warfare that is going on in that hospital room around Mendy and her husband. We must not forget that Satan had to get permission from God to afflict Job and God used it for great good. The battle that is going on is over Satan wanting to destroy Mendy and Jason, and for God to get the glory through their lives. Jason and Mendy love the Lord and they want God’s will for their lives, but there is a very strong battle within their souls and your prayers will help them more than you can ever imagine. Don’t just say you will pray. Stop, right now, and pray!! Thinking of all the prayers that were going up for me when I became paralyzed, helped me in my darkest hours.

  • Be Practical!

For those far away: This is the time to say, “What can I do?” This is the time to not be a hearer, but a doer. This is the time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to this family. This is the time to dig deep in your wallet and give towards their financial needs. An injury like this is not cheap. Not just the hospital stay where insurance helps, but the daily needs that her family will need. Jason will need money for parking, food, babysitting, easy meals or fast food or restaurants for his children. Accessibility needs will need to happen in their home. They don’t want to even think about this right now, and they shouldn’t have too. When it is time to think about it, the money should be there for it to happen. There are hundreds of hidden costs that you don’t even think about until you are in that situation. When you are already in the ministry, you just don’t live on a lot of money, so it goes away very fast. God will meet their needs, but He uses people! So, send money. I have already sent out emails to find out if a fund has been set up for this family. If it has, I will let you know. If it hasn’t, we will set it up. Please, help. I cannot stress enough that this is the second greatest thing you can do. I don’t know what we would have done if it had not been for God’s people being practical and helping us.

For those who are local: Family members, as you are there with them, study everything the medical staff is doing. Ask many questions. Ask why they are giving those meds, what is it for, what will it do. What are the therapists doing? Why? How can you learn? You need to be the advocate for Mendy. Educate yourself. Knowledge is power and don’t depend on others to do this for you. Learn all you can and look out for her. If you are local, ask what you can do. They probably won’t ask, because they are already so overwhelmed. Offer to answer emails, or take phone calls. It is very hard to keep retelling the same story when your heart is broken. Start thinking how to make their home accessible and be there to make it happen. Donate your time and energy so that Jason can focus on his wife and children.

  • Be Patient!

When all of this is first on you, everyone has their opinions. Everyone wants to help. Everyone wants to be there in the early days. There is something in all of us that like a good soap opera. This is not your personal soap opera though. Be patient. This is not the time to quote them Scripture. They will be in their Bibles and God will lead them. Having Scripture quoted to you at a time like this feels very much like raw theology and it just doesn’t go down very well. But, they love the Lord, and they will be turning to Him and He will comfort them exactly how and when they need it. Remember that Job’s friends said good things, and even meant well, but they were horrible comforters. So, keep your good words and encouraging verses to yourself right now. Just let them know you are praying and show them you care practically and that is the best thing that you can do. The body has been injured and changed, but the person and her heart are the same. She wants to be treated the same. If you talk to her on the phone, try not to cry or be emotional. She will know you care because you are reaching out, but it is very hard to feel like you are the one making everyone cry. Stay jolly! She will stay positive for you so give her that in return! Just be patient in your own emotions and don’t just say whatever you think. Be patient with them and let them work through this.

  • Be Persistent!

They need us all now, but they will need us in a year, in 5 years and forever. A disability is an unbelievable life-changing experience. It affects your marriage, your ministry, your role in life and you are left as a completely different person. They will need prayers, encouragement and practical help from here on out. Be a true friend and  don’t forget them. I thank God for the many precious friends in my life who do not add to my own daily drama, who do not bog me down with all their problems as dealing with my own takes a lot of energy, who encourage me by treating me the same, and who tell me often that they are praying for me and my family. This is a tremendous shot in the arm to keep on keeping on!

I hope that everyone who reads this will take it in the right spirit. I have tried to be as open and transparent as possible as I reflected on my own feelings during this time. Once again, this is my own opinion and if the Brockman’s tell you something different from what I have said, then listen to them! This blog is my own attempt in trying to do something practical because I can already see from Facebook how many of you are also heartbroken and want to help. I hope I have been able to guide you in that just a little.

“Father, I know that you have Mendy and Jason in your arms, surrounding them with your grace. Please keep Satan away from their hearts and minds and allow them to cling to you during this trial. If it be Your will, then please keep complications away from Mendy as she is in these early and critical days. Help her heal from surgery and be with her in the many weeks and months ahead. Strengthen her and her family for whatever You have planned for her future. In Jesus’ precious name, we ask these things, Amen.”

Here is an address that you can send notes of encouragement! I am still checking on the fund and will update here when I know.

Jason and Mendy Brockman
c/o Lighthouse Baptist Church
4280 Hopeful Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado
80927

“You Want To Know About Disability” Series:

All For One and One For All

Understanding Spasms & Range of Motion Exercises

15 Responses to “What Do You Say To & How Do You Help A Newly Paralyzed Person?”

  1. Kathy July 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Great article. Thanks for all of the suggestions.

    • Alicia July 8, 2013 at 12:49 pm #

      Thank you!

    • Kathryn Nordstrom July 8, 2013 at 6:16 pm #

      We as a family had our world changed 3 1/2 years ago,,,this article is fabulous. There SO VERY many things that could be done ahead of time. Everyday we still face things that we never thought of to accommodate our precious little Faith. Yes there will be alot of stress that will come along ALL the time. Just SO many things. We do not know how long we will have our precious grand-daughter but we have to take care of her daily needs NOW. We cannot imagine our world without Faith. Thank you Lord for this precious little girl you have added to our family. With God ALL things are possible.

      • Alicia July 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

        Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting! Faith is blessed to have you all in her life!

  2. Jessee Baldwin July 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    Fantastic article! Thank you!

  3. Glori July 8, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    My prayers go out to Jason, Mendy and their children. You are absolutely right, adaptions to the home are expensive. Building a ramp to the front door of a house is several thousand dollars. If there are men from the church that can build the ramp to code, they can help save about half the cost of the ramp for the family. Once inside, the cost to modify the home just continues to rise.

  4. Bud Chaney July 9, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    Thank you for your advice/insight.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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