Jill Armijo is committed to training family caregivers with TLC and real tools to say “no” to becoming overwhelmed and feeling trapped, so they can have the life they want while caring for a loved one. Jill lives with her husband, Joe, and her two dogs in Lehi, Utah. She became her husband’s caregiver in the late 1990’s as a young mother of two boys, and a baby on the way. Through her journey of trying to get her husband medical care to cure him and get him back to the man she once knew before the Gulf War, she’s realized he’s wonderful just as he is. She’s learned valuable tools that help her get through all the valleys with her emotional, physical and spiritual health intact. In her coaching practice, Jill helps other caregivers who feel frustrated, overwhelmed and need more “ME time” to create the life they want and deserve.
Have you ever had the awkward ministering moment where your minister asks you what they can do to help, and you have no idea what to say?
The Needing, Knowing, and Asking Danger Zone
Or have you been on the doorstep ministering to a sister or brother with dark circles under their eyes, a baby in her arms, a crying child clinging to his pant leg, an interesting smell coming from within, a lawn with grass going to seed, or icy stairs leading to the door? You KNOW they need help, and you WANT to help. You’re CAPABLE of folding laundry, playing with children, mowing the lawn or shoveling the walk, but when you ask if you can help, they say brightly, “Oh, we’re fine here … everything is all good.” Do you feel helpless and inadequate?
I mean, you could just barge in and take the baby, do up the dishes, or drag out the vacuum, but would that be presumptuous and rude?
Every minister at some point says those nine most useless, though often heartfelt words, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do.”
Oh, you’ve done your homework. You know they had a new baby, mom had some complications, and dad just got laid off. You know life has got to be mayhem for them right now, but they just aren’t sure what to ask of you.
Maybe you’ve been the one being ministered to, who needs help so badly, but when someone is standing at your door, the sixteen things you thought of during your prayers that morning just fled your mind. You know you could use help, but the minister doesn’t look like he’s dressed to get on the floor with the kids. I mean, he has a suit and tie on! Or the kind, elderly sister who dearly wants to help, but has no business climbing on the roof to replace the six shingles that blew off in the rainstorm last night.
So when your dutiful minister stops by and says those blessed words, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do,” you say, “Okay, I’ll call if I need something,” and close the door.
This ministering flop calls for a box of tissues, a couple dozen Oreos, or some unkind words of self-cross examination, whether you’re the minister or ministeree. I know, I’ve been there. The problem is simple, but it is double faceted.
- Your minister doesn’t know what you want help with.
- You have no idea what your minister can do or is willing to do.
What every minister and ministeree needs is a tool that will save both of you from the difficulty of matching needs with can-do’s.
Our (Very Brief) Story
When my husband was very ill and our children were little, we were blessed with amazing visiting and home teachers … sometimes. It was hard for me to know what to ask them to do, partly because my husband, who is schizophrenic, wasn’t able to communicate with them, and couldn’t abide people in the house. I wanted someone to help, but was afraid to ask, for fear he would get angry and say they did it wrong, wonder why they looked at him “that way,” or if I was attracted to them. Lots of drama.
When we moved (several times) he wanted me to do all of it. I put my foot down and asked the ward to help us, always receiving tons of help gratefully. But typically, getting help was kinda sketchy.
The Breathable Solution
So I made a tool for ministers and ministerees to help them get the communication part of it done smoothly. It’s gotten some rave reviews, and I’d like to share it with you, too.
You’ll love this guide that matches your needs with your minister’s talents. Just download the guide, print it, or be able to bring it up on the computer at a moment’s notice (or have your minister do it).
You’re welcome to modify it by adding or subtracting from the list of suggestions according to your specific needs and personal situation. When someone asks those nine words, point them to the guide and invite them to pick something they can and are willing to do, set a date, and get YOU some love.
Some of the “9 Ways” to get help are related to care-giving duties, since that was a big part of my needs for a long time, and I know many other people are caregivers also. If those pages don’t apply to you, just ignore them, as you would ignore the children’s section if you don’t have kids. I tried to make this as comprehensive as possible to meet a wide range of possible needs.
This guide is meant to be a springboard to ignite ideas in the minds of each minister and ministeree to figure out what it is they really need, so no one has to say those dreaded nine words ever again.
I hope you’ll use this tool for yourself, by handing it over when your ministers come by. You can tell them I made you do it.
Remember, it is okay to make a suggestion of something you’d like to do for those you minister to, but it would also be wise to give them a copy of the list for them to pick something that you may not have suggested. You will discover true ministering that is simple in concept and execution can be life altering, and in some cases absolutely life saving.