We have a lady in our church whose husband was just deployed to . She has three little boys 5 and under. They are newer to our church (they moved to this area not that long ago). I was wondering what things would be really helpful or encouraging to her.
I think her parents are in the area, but I don't know about any other family. I told her yesterday to let us know if she needs anything (including a man's help with something around the house), but I know sometimes people don't feel comfortable asking.
The biggest help to me was our church, so you are definitely on the right track.
Many times, I would wake up/come home and the work was just done -- without asking, without warning. Mowing the lawn, weed-eating the edges, shoveling snow; I never once had to ask. It was such a blessing and a great relief, as I was too embarrassed to ask for help with what I felt I should be able to do myself.
There were also several ladies that had me over and that helped ease the loneliness. Sherry would always ask how I was doing, and I knew she genuinely cared (I knew this because she backed it up with sweets LOL); Jenny and Lindsay would alternate every week and had me over for dinner with their families; my SIL Jessica would email me to see how I was doing and offered plenty of sisterly love; my best friend and sisterchick was, of course, always available.
Point being: there were many that offered the usual "call if you need anything" platitude, but there were even more that proved their sincerity with a plan of action. I really think that is what made the difference for me.
Ask me again in a few months, and I'll let you know if I have more to add to this post...
Any suggestions you ladies have to offer?