(Below is another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
In my last meditation we talked about some of the life lessons taught by care-giving. There are so many lessons a caregiver can learn through his or her experience with care-giving that it can not be contained in just one entry, however. I am sure we could fill many pages talking about life lessons learned while being a caregiver.
Care-giving by its nature teaches what is important and what is not important. It teaches that frivolous material things are NOT important. Family and relationships ARE important. As a caregiver, I was also reminded that my treasures did not lie in earthly things but it heavenly things. My faith in my Lord God and my relationship with Him was and is alone of supreme value. Care-giving, because of its challenges and sometimes heartaches, further often tested my beliefs between what I said I believed and what I really believed in regards to my faith in my Lord.
Another important truth learned from care-giving is that God is good. Circumstances may be bad, but God is good. God is the very definition and essence of goodness. He proved that by sending His son on the cross. Thus, He can help and guide caregivers who are struggling to make their way through the maze of making impossible and confusing decisions about their loves one’s care. He can help caregivers who are struggling to keep emotional and spiritual equilibrium in the midst of the heartaches of seeing their loved ones decline in their health.
Care-giving further teaches that joy can coexist in the midst of the heartaches and grief that often accompany care-giving. This is because joy is not based on circumstances which are favorable or perfect. Rather it is based on a relationship with the Lord.
Finally, care-giving teaches that God is sovereign and in control. Nothing happens to a Christian caregiver (or his or her loved one) that is not filtered through God's love. This is true even in the heartbreaking events which often accompany care-giving. When this truth is accepted, it a soft place to land when overwhelmed with care-giving difficulties or life’s difficulties in general.
Knowing I could trust that God loved me and was in control in the midst of the confusion and grief of my husband's disease and eventual death made and continues to make all the difference in the world. Dear christian caregiver, never forget that the Lord loves you; and He is good. He is in control.
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