A thankful heart is something God expects of us. Thankfulness can also add joy to our lives in spite of adverse circumstances in our lives. Being a caregiver of a terminally ill loved one is one of life’s greatest challenges and heartaches. Finding joy in the midst of it can seem like an impossibility. As a caregiver for my husband for four and a half years, however, I knew I needed to find things for which to be thankful in order to emotionally endure and survive.
It is best to start thanking God for His presence and peace. Then try to write down at least three things each day for which you are thankful. I did this while I was a caregiver, and I found it very helpful. No matter how difficult your caregiving situation, there is something for which you can thank and praise the Lord each day.
A thankful heart opens up the very windows of heaven. Thankfulness gives one a foretaste of heaven itself. In the process these experiences provide even more reasons for gratitude because of the joy which enters your life through the avenue of a thankful heart.
Thankfulness comes from focusing one’s heart on the Lord throughout the day. It also come from looking for His wonders and treasures throughout the day. Remember, however, that sometimes these treasures come through pleasant experiences; and sometimes these treasures come through the difficult moments. (See Isaiah 45:3 in the Bible.) Valuable lessons are often learned in the dark and difficult experiences. Sometimes these experiences are the only way to learn dependence on God and trust in Him. This was and is certainly my experience as a caregiver for my husband and then during the grief time after his death.
Sometimes it seems so contrived to express thanks to God when we are feeling really down in the pits. It is best to express thanks anyhow, however. This is because thankfulness is the road to the presence of God and His peace. It is amazing, but in the measure we give thanks regardless of our feelings, God gives joy in spite of our circumstances.
Caregiving is an often overwhelming challenge. The difficulties and heartaches will not go away by simply pursuing a thankful heart. Those who are thankful, however, will be blessed even though their caregiving heartaches remain. Joy and pain can coexist. So dear Christian caregiver, what are you going to thank God for today?