I am well acquainted with the life story of a woman who was born on August 24, 1947. Her life has been a fairly simple life. She was born in IA of parents of humble means. She also lived in South Dakota and Minnesota as a child growing up. Her childhood was not marked with popularity or extraordinary talent. Sometimes childhood was difficult in fact. She was blessed, however, with parents who regularly took her to churches which were based on God's Word.
After graduating form college she moved to Wisconsin where she married her husband, Wayne, in 1971. Wayne and this woman loved each other very much. They raised three sons. There were financial struggles from time to time during the child rearing ears. Yet they clung to their God and to each other. These three sons eventually married and had children of their own. This was a blessing to the woman and her husband.
In 2006 this woman's husband was diagnosed with a devastating neurological illness. The next four and a half years were a struggle, as she watched her husband deteriorate step by step. In the meantime in 2007 she herself was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through eight months of treatment. This woman often felt as if she was too weak for the assignment of care-giving. She felt so inadequate for the task. She didn't understand why God had allowed it. Yet that was a good place to be, for it taught her that she needed to depend on the Lord. It taught her that strength could be found in the Lord alone.
Since her husband's death in very early 2011 this woman has had to learn many new lessons of dependence on the Lord. She has learned that the Lord has been with her all the way. She has learned that God has always had a plan for her life and has good plans for her future life. These may not be the plans she would have chosen, but this is the path that was given her to tread. It was a path that God wanted her to tread with joy even when the path was rugged and difficult at times.
During the course of the years since her husband's death her book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers was also published in 2014. 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 This happened because of her passion to help and comfort family caregivers based on her own experiences.
An article about her life after care-giving was also published in Guideposts Magazine in 2015. https://www.guideposts.org/friends-and-family/caregiving/caregiver-burnout/the-gift-of-caregiver-respite She stands amazed how God used her story in this way and in other ways to help others. She knows it was all of Him, and not her, that this happened. She knows it was something God had planned for her before the world began. It was God's best plan for her life.
Then about five months ago after being a widow for nearly eight years she began dating a widower named Bob from her home town. He had read her book and had been blessed and helped by that book when he was a family caregiver for his wife. They also both volunteer at a place called, The Gathering Place, which is a wonderful social program meeting the needs of people with beginning to moderate dementia. In February of this year they were engaged and plan to marry in a few months. This beautiful love story of God turning weeping into joy is also part of God's plan for her.
This woman further knows that the Lord has an eternal home ready for her, but only after her work on earth is finished. She knows the Lord has ordained the number of days she will live on this earth (Psalm 139:16). She often still succumbs to fear, but she remembers that God has told her not to fear. Hence, she seeks to rest in the Lord and not fear the future. She remembers how much the Lord loves her and even delights in her. She remembers that God has said that He will never leave her or forsake her and that God is in her future.
Dear caregiver, I am sure by now you have guessed that the woman to whom I am referring in this post is the author of this post. Dear caregiver, the Lord is working in your life also. He is with you step by step. He is also in your future. Nothing happens, including the difficult moments, that are not filtered through His love. Trust your future to Him. Rest in Him.