(The post below is one of the chapters in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
The years that followed my husband's diagnosis of his neurological disease in 2006 were the most difficult and challenging years I have ever experienced. The heartbreak of witnessing his continual declines was extremely difficult. Those years were also extremely stressful years. Being responsible for the well-being of the man I had loved for many years, not knowing how long I would be able to care for him by myself, and feeling so alone in all this was very challenging.
I still find myself thinking about those care-giving days at times. If it were not for the fact that I knew the Lord was with me during those care-giving days and in the days since my husband's death, I would not have survived. Knowing this has also given me-and continues to give me-joy in the midst of life's pain.
Quite some time ago I did a Bible study lesson on the goodness of God. The lesson reminded me of the good reasons why we suffer. It reminded me that God is more interested in our inward characters and conforming us to the image of Christ than in our comfort. Conforming us to the image of Christ is one of the reasons for trials in our lives.
The lesson went on to say that sometimes the pain seems to outweigh the best of benefits. We may understand reasons and answers in our heads, but those reasons do not always reach where it hurts in the heart. The challenges of care-giving or other life trials can be so painful that it is difficult to see how the growth in our character compensates for the pain we are experiencing.
Perhaps there are no answers to the "why" questions in our lives that will completely satisfy us. God does not always give us reasons or answers. God does something better than giving us answers, however. He gives us Himself. Also, He explained Himself on the cross. His goodness displayed in His sacrifice of Himself on the cross is really the only proof we need of His love and goodness. Believing in the goodness of God does not mean that heartaches will completely disappear. It does, however, help us move forward and persevere in life.
I find those thoughts comforting. If I did not believe in the goodness and presence of God I am not sure where I would be today. Thank You, Lord, for that blessed reality! Thank You that You are there in the moments of heartache.
Dear Christian caregiver, please turn to the Lord for strength and help during your care-giving days. Please do not turn away from Him, because you do not always understand His ways. Trust in His goodness.
(As stated above this post is a chapter in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers. You can purchase it at Amazon. The link to the order page on Amazon for my book is here: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1401458206&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Caregiver You can purchase both a hard copy or Kindle version to my book there. My book is also available at Barnes and Noble where you can purchase a hard copy or Nook version. Finally, I have seen my book available elsewhere online as well, or you can purchase one directly from me by sending me an e-mail at Jesuschild54@hotmail.com. and ask me for specifics. It is not too early to think about a Christmas present for yourself or someone you love.)