You can watch Lisa’s Real Talk livestream above. The article below highlights the spirit of her message on caring for each other by remembering well.
National leaders have been talking a lot about caring for each other these days.We’ve talked about things we can do to help protect each other during the coronavirus pandemic:
Cover your mouth
Keep physical distance
Today I was listening to the news and hearing compassionate guidance for families grieving the death of loved ones during this time exceptional time of loss. My own aunt passed away last weekend. My heart aches for her siblings (including my dad), my uncle and cousins who couldn’t be present with each other through her last weeks and hours. Nor can they say remember her within the fellowship of loving community the way people typically grieve (at least for now). My cousin’s wife is a funeral director. Like so many working in funeral homes, she is wrestling to help families when there are so many new protocols and limitations on our rituals.
It got me thinking about what we’ll remember most about this pandemic thing.
I hope we remember this season in ways that are honorable.
honorable to people who lived through it or died during it
helpful to those who come after it
and pleasing to the God who walked through far worse for us.
How do we do this? How do we honor those who are lost or the ones who are sacrificing so much in during this time?
I think we might best honor this season by how we remember it. And how we remember this time starts with what we do with it now.
What kind of memories are we creating during this shelter-in-place experience? I’ve been thinking about this. I’ve been praying that God would show me how to be attentive to Him in how I spend this opportunity. Yes, something is getting spent here in this surreal way of living. I’m not trying to lay a guilt trip. I’m hoping to cast a vision. Because I’ve caught a vision. I believe God starting planting it in Larry and me years before this isolation season was thrust on the rest of the world. Because, you see, special needs families like ours already know some things about the shelter-in-place lifestyle that the rest of the world is just starting to learn.
We raised our family trying to be intentional about creating good memories. Disability was so consuming of our life. And the risk was great that Carly’s needs would flavor our life in such a significant way. Larry and I didn’t want our challenges with Carly to be what our other children remembered most about growing up a Jamieson. We understood that the challenges would bring them some helpful lessons and memories too. We just didn’t want those challenges to have inappropriate or disproportional weight or influence. So, now and then we tried to dream up some remarkable things that would stand out in their memories alongside the blessings and challenges of being a special needs family. For example, our vacations opportunities were rare and challenging but we did what we could to make some happen. Sometimes that even meant planning an epic staycation. But we also tried to make special things out of everday stuff. The phrase “power fold” is packed with nostalgic meaning for our family. That story is for another day.
In a similar way, I think we have a need and opportunity to be intentional about creating memories of this time too. I’m been thinking: how can we honor and care for each other beyond the handwashing and social distancing — especially to honor those who will live on and those who gave everything for us?
We can work with great intention NOW to make sure that the lasting message of this season — the legacy of this time — is a helpful one. We can do this for the sake of those who gave so much, for the sake of our children and for the sake of future generations. We can work with intention to care well for each other — not just in protecting each other’s physical bodies from harm of the virus but also by caring for each other’s souls (our minds and spirits). We can remember God. We can share hope. We can lead in faith. As special needs parents, we can feed our own souls and find others who will lead us well so that we can, in turn, lead our families well.
God has been telling us to “remember well” since the earliest days of mankind. He showed us how to throw feasts and gave specific instructions about what to celebrate at those feasts. God knows our need to focus our minds rightly. The Old Testament feasts helped our ancestors do that. Practicing things like communion and Christian holiday worship services help us remember and enjoy God’s presence and power among us. When people looked back on their memories with a focus on regret or longing for the former times, God warned them. He said there was a better way.
God knows our need to focus our minds rightly.
At Walk Right In Ministries, one of our favorite examples of God showing his people how to remember well happened at the Jordan River at the brink of the Promised Land. The story is told in Joshua, chapters 3 and 4. That experience inspired the name of this ministry. You can read about it here.
Now, because it is Good Friday, I got thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice and how we remember that. Do you see the “rabbit trail” I’m on here?
What does it look like for me to remember and honor Jesus’ sacrifice well?
- Today especially, I want to acknowledge my depravity and self-centeredness
- I’m trying to express deeper and more frequent gratitude for what He gave up for me
- I want to own my faith story and live it well so that others will see that God is faithful
1 Peter 3:15
Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.
So what do you think the legacy of this pandemic will be? There are a lot of people speculating about that.
- Today, I want to suggest that we NOT PASSIVELY WONDER.
- I want to suggest that we start today BEING INTENTIONAL about creating memories.
This doesn’t need to be a big or complicated master plan. I think the power lies in a combination of two things:
- Being attentive to God’s prompting in simple moments during the day or week.
- Thinking creatively about a few grand gestures.
Some of my most treasured simple moments so far have been learning how to sign the message of “Happy Easter” with Carly, baking cookies six times more often than usual, playing Family Farkle on Zoom with extended family, sharing goofy Marco Polo chats with our daughter across the country and having daily conversations with my husband about our fears, frustrations or hopes. When it comes to the grander gestures that will likely flavor the way we remember this time, a couple of things that come to my mind are two birthdays we celebrated during the pandemic, the tremendous sacrifice Carly’s caregivers made to help us through (and that are allowing me to share with you like this right now) and a special Easter egg hunt we created for a couple of neighbor kids.
What I want to help others remember most about this pandemic experience is three things:
- This was a time when we learned to enjoy each other much more meaningfully.
- This was a time when we learned to experience God more intimately.
- This was a time when we learned to share God’s love with others in ways that were both profoundly satisfying for their souls and highly honoring to God.
Joshua 4:21-22, 24
Then Joshua said to the Israelites, “in the future, your children will ask, “What do these stones mean?” Then you can tell them…”He did this so that all the nations of the earth might know the power of the Lord, and that you might fear the Lord your God forever.”
Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.
Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.
John 14: 12
“I (Jesus) tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.”
Would you like to connect in a private small group setting to dig deeper into God’s word and grow with others who are caring for a loved one with disabilities?
I’m so excited to invite you to join me and other special needs family members for a new weekly Zoom video conference called Real Talk Multiply! We love shared stories at Walk Right In Ministries — especially when they bring encouragement and/or Christ-pointing insight within community.
Real Talk Multiply also offers a private Facebook group for ongoing discussion outside of the video conference gatherings. We simply ask that you keep those conversations confidential, respectful and spam free.
The Real Talk Multiply community begins April 14th, 2020 and will continue every Tuesday from 2:00 pm until 3:00 pm (Central). Holiday and vacation exceptions will be announced in the private “Real Talk Multiply” Facebook group.
Join us whenever you can!
Lisa Jamieson is an international speaker, author, caregiver advocate and licensed pastoral counsellor. Her passion is spurring special needs families toward growing intimacy with Jesus and thriving relationships with each other. She is co-founder and executive director of Walk Right In Ministries and leads the Minnesota Disability Ministry Connection. Lisa is a member of the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling certified in Christian temperament therapy. Her books and Bible studies include Jesus, Let’s Talk which was inspired by her daughter, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Lisa and her husband, Larry, have been married for 31 years and have three grown daughters.