Monday, November 3, 2014

Reaching Out in Friendship when You Have a Chronic Illness

I am excited to have my friend, Dorina, writing here today! Dorina and I met in Bible college 15 years ago, and within a couple of weeks we were the best of friends. She is one of the few people who have known me very well in my healthier days and in my very sick days. She is my original "Cranberry Tea Time" friend, so it is fitting to have her here for this Chronic Illness and Friendship series.

Dorina is here today to write specifically to those of us who have a chronic illness. I have asked her to share some ideas for how we can reach out to our healthy friends in meaningful ways. Please join me in welcoming Dorina to Cranberry Tea Time!

Friends are great! When you have a chronic illness it may seem impossible to show your friends how much you care. It can be hard enough on good days, but when “good days” are few and far between, it can feel like you are failing as a friend. Your energy, and therefore time, is exceedingly precious, and quickly and easily spent. I would hope that your friends understand and appreciate this. Despite the fact that you may not often, or ever, be able to get up and about to “do, do, do” for your friends, there is soooooo much that you can do just as you are. 

I must first state that the best friendship is built and centered on a personal, saving relationship with Christ. He is the only friend that will ALWAYS be there for you, ALWAYS understand, and NEVER give up on you or disappoint you. He loves you no matter what you are able to do, how you look, or how you are feeling on a particular day. With Jesus as your best friend, you can follow His lead for other friendships.

If you have a chronic illness, here are a few things you can do to reach out in friendship to a healthy friend:
  • Pray for your friend.  Jesus was often (and is still) praying for His friends. It may seem cliché, but praying for your friend is the best thing you could ever do for her. Many people are so busy “doing” that they don’t stop and take time to pray for the ones they care about. Not only does this bless the person for whom you are praying, but it blesses you as well!
  • Send your friend a message. You can send whatever you have the energy to compose. It can be as short as a one-liner text message saying, “Hi,” or a longer email or web message. If you have the time and energy, you could even write her a letter and send it through the mail. I get so excited when I get “real mail” in my mailbox!!
  • Talk with your friend. Telephones are a great convenience that allows you to speak with your friend even if you cannot get together in person. For some of you, talking might be more taxing than writing, but if it is easier for you to talk on the phone, then go for it! If needed, you can even make appointments to speak to each other. Skype is another option, and it adds the visual aspect - you can see and hear each other!
  • Listen to your friend. Sometimes we all just need a listening ear. Listening to your friend can help her relieve stress, figure out problems, work through feelings, or just connect with someone who cares.
  • Encourage your friend. Encouragement is something that means so much coming from a friend who knows our good, bad, and ugly. Your encouragement will help her to keep on as she faces challenges in life.
  • Lovingly correct your friend when you see that it is needed. Correction is best received if we know that is comes from one who loves us and is concerned for us. Sometimes correcting your friend will be a superhuman act of love. It is hard, but as a friend, she may need to hear it from you.

These are basic, but important, things that you can do for your friends without chronic illness. The variations and combinations of these are positively endless!  You have a lot to offer just as you are.

Please comment if you have any other ideas to share!!

Dorina Stanton was born and raised in Alaska. She is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior and is excitedly waiting for His return. In the meantime, she occupies her time as a domestic engineer specializing in childhood development.  Her hobbies include reading, running, knitting, swimming, sewing, and cold process soaping.

Dorina lives in North Pole, Alaska with her husband and three daughters.  They enjoy gardening, biking, teaching Sunday school and AWANA, baking warm goodies, skiing, sledding, shoveling snow, visiting the World Ice Art Championships, and watching the northern lights.

This post is part of the Chronic Illness and Friendship series.


  1. I am drinking a cup of homemade cranberry tea as I read your current post. Lovely. I juiced the cranberries (along with other fruits) and then cooked the 'mash' with spices and water. Added boiling water to a cup and filled it with the 'cranberry tea' mixture. Lovely afternoon treat. Hope you are enjoying a cup of tea now, too.

  2. Oooh, that sounds lovely! And it makes me so happy that you are reading on Cranberry Tea Time while drinking cranberry tea! I just have my water bottle with me right now, but I will be getting a cup of tea this evening. Rooibus is one of my current favorites.

  3. These suggestions are dead on!! Thank you again for another great post and so happy to "meet" your friend. And that cranberry mash sounds delightful to sip on, may have to splirge a bit!!!


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