A few days ago it was my youngest son and his wife's 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years ago my husband, Wayne, and I were in London, England for that event. It was a lovely event and a lovely time being there. Less than a year later Wayne was diagnosed with his neurological disease. Below is a picture of Wayne and I at the wedding of our son.
As I look at this picture I feel an ache for the loss of this special man and sadness over what we experienced in the decline of his body. Yet I also feel thankfulness for this special memory I have. I also feel thankfulness for all God has accomplished in my life through and in the trials of seeing his body deteriorate during those years that I was a caregiver for my husband. I am so thankful for the treasure of the Lord in my life through it all.
The Lord has taught me that I am in not in control. He alone is in control. Therefore, I need to rest in Him. I know it is a lesson I will have to learn over and over, but being a family caregiver showed me like nothing else that God alone is in control. It is so difficult to do in the midst of the drama of family care-giving, but seek to rest things with the Lord, dear caregiver. In the measure that you do this, it is a soft place to land.
Rest in the knowledge of the Lord's faithfulness. Keep your eyes focused on the Lord and trust in His promises. Family care-giving and the years since my husband's death has taught me that I can have greater confidence, because I know He is in control. At the same time, it makes me see my desperate need to depend on Him alone.
Caring for my husband and seeing his body deteriorate during those four and a half years of his illness was the most difficult experience I had ever encountered. Yet through it all my faith has grown and has sweetened. Family care-giving can be difficult and challenging. It can also be heart-breaking, if one has to view constant decline in the health of our loved ones. We need to acknowledge that pain. God does not expect or want us to pretend that the experience is not emotionally painful. Yet I promise you, dear caregiver, that the Lord never wastes our difficult experiences. They all point us to the Lord so that He becomes our sufficiency alone. They make us let go of our dependence on ourselves or our perceived strengths. They help us prioritize what is really most important in life and cause us to fall more in love with the Lord.
Dear caregiver, don't waste energy in asking the why questions over and over, as you perhaps witness your loved one's decline in his or her health or ability to function in this world. Instead focus on the One who is able to see you through the experience with His strength and comfort. Focus on the One who can give you joy and peace even in the midst of heartaches and pain. Focus on the One who can redeem the worst of circumstances and use it for His kingdom. Focus on the One who has promised to never leave you or forsake you. Focus on the Lord who has promised to love you with an unfailing love. Focus on the Lord, dear caregiver.