(This post is a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
Care-giving by its very nature, tends to teach valuable life lessons. In many ways, care-giving is a grief process for caregivers as they see their loved ones continue to decline. As a caregiver for my husband for over four and one half years I also found the care-giving experience to be a great teacher, however.
I think care-giving and its challenges teach us that God uses even the difficulties and heartbreak of care-giving for ultimate good. Care-giving (and life in general) is often difficult. Yet we know that God does not waste our sorrows. When we think of Jesus on the cross we know that eternal life came from that death on the cross. From something as awful as Christ’s crucifixion came the best thing that could possibly happen, namely our salvation. So very good things come from very bad things. The cross illustrates that to us. In the same way, God brings ultimate good out of the heartbreak of care-giving. He uses care-giving to build our characters and draw us closer to Himself. God never wastes our sorrows.
I think care-giving also teaches us that life is always out of our control. Hence, seeking self-sufficiency is a terrible place to be. Delusions of strength and self-sufficiency will, in fact, hurt us. Caregivers soon realize that the role of care-giving is too big for them in their own strength. Realizing their need for their dependence on the Lord is essential. Acknowledging one’s weakness and dependence on the Lord is a good thing. It is a valuable lesson to learn. Care-giving often teaches that lesson.
For a variety of reasons sometimes others will let us down and not be there when we need them. The Lord, however, will never let us down or betray us. He alone is the One to whom we can go and pour out our hearts, and also allow Him to speak to us. The Christian caregiver can speak to the Lord all through the day, at any moment. Care-giving and it’s difficulties allows the caregiver an opportunity to pray like never before. I do not know what I would have done without the presence of the Lord in my life during those difficult care-giving years. So care-giving teaches us the value of prayer
Finally, care-giving teaches the need for the promises of the Bible to sustain us. As a caregiver, I found that it was essential to try to begin every day in God’s Word. God’s Word contains so many awesome promises of His care, guidance, and presence. Hence, I found the promises of the Bible comforting and necessary in my duties as a caregiver. Care-giving is so very emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining. Without the promises of God’s Word I do not think I could have survived my care-giving days.
Dear Christian caregiver, read God’s Word. Study it, meditate on it, memorize it, and internalize it. Christian caregiver, lean on the Lord and on His promises in the Bible; and trust that He will bring good out of the chaos of care-giving.
Here is the link to the order page for my book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482027543&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Caregiver It is also found at Barnes and Noble and elsewhere online. Finally, you can contact me personally for a signed copy. Email me for specifics at firstname.lastname@example.org