(This post is from a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
Recently a caregiver on a care-giving site online wrote about her frustrations with always feeling that she had to wait. She talked about waiting for a doctor’s office to call her back and waiting for lab results concerning her loved one. She talked about waiting for the next step. She talked about waiting for her loved one to get sicker and her eventual death. She also talked about waiting for a cure for her loved one’s illness and wanting to wait for something good to happen but seeming to only think of the reality of her loved one’s illness and not the miraculous. She further talked about waiting for appreciation for all the things she does in her care-giving role and waiting for life to be normal again when she knows it never will be.
She said she feels like she is always waiting for something but doesn’t know what. She also talked about her life consisting of waiting potentially life and death decisions, and the pressure of knowing that she holds somebody’s life in her hands by the decisions that she makes. Finally, she talked about waiting on God to show her how to fulfill her purpose.
Looking back on my care-giving days I can so identify with many of her emotions.
We all would like to get better at waiting, because we do not feel that we do a very good job of waiting.
Recently I read a devotional on waiting which I thought was so applicable. The devotional pointed out that productive waiting involves waiting on God and directing our attention to Him in anticipation of what He will do. It involves trusting Him with every fiber of our being. It involves staying conscious of Him, as we go about our daily activities. It involves total dependence on Him realizing we cannot do it on our own.
I too so remember those stressful care-giving days when I was caring for my husband. I so remember the heartache of all the declines and the dread of how I was going to handle the future declines. The truth is that God was with me every step of the way. I see that in an even more focused way, as I look back on those days.
I think all the struggles (and waiting is part of those struggles) makes us stronger people. It helps to shape our characters. But this kind of character building is so painful, isn’t it? In the struggles of my personal life the last few years I have often thought, “I can do with a little less character building now, Lord.” You may have thought the same thing, dear caregiver, but there is a purpose in all this. It will also shape your future life.
Dear Christian caregiver, as my recent devotional went on to say God does give blessings to those who wait on Him in the measure that they wait on Him. He gives renewed strength, hope, and an awareness of His continual presence. I fell so far short of resting in Him during my care-giving years. I often let stress and anxiety come to the surface. Knowing He was in control, however, helped me through those days. Rest in Him, dear caregiver. Wait on Him.