Saturday, August 1, 2020

For Those Who Are Receiving Care

Recently a friend on mine,who was a caregiver for her husband, Walt, until his death posted on her Facebook status.  What she wrote was very profound.  So I asked her, if I could share her words on my blog.  She addresses her words to those who are the recipients of care from someone else.  This is what my friend wrote:

"I am bringing this up because there are a few of my dear friends here who are struggling with guilt and feeling like a burden with having a family member or friend become their caregiver. When Walt was first diagnosed with his brain tumor, he turned to me and said. "I would not blame you if you left me...I don't want too.." I stopped him before he could finish. I told him to never go there again. I told him that I am here and he is here, and we are a team. We are going to walk this journey together each step of the way no matter how painful or difficult.

It was an honor to be the one to walk with him. It was an honor that he put all his trust in me when the time came for me to take over all his care. Please don't waste precious time feeling guilty or feeling like a burden to those who are caring for you. Take that time to tell the person who is by your side how much you love and appreciate them.

I have a letter from Walt that he had written to me while he was still able to write. In one part of the letter, he talked about how well I was taking care of him. This letter meant everything to me. After Walt died, I would often have thoughts that I did not do enough, or I could have done better....a lot of guilt. I would turn to Walt's letter and his words would tell me to stop thinking like that. If you are able to write or even record a message for the person who is caring for you..do so now. Just because you are being cared for doesn't mean that you can't care for others. You just may have to do it differently then you have before. God still has a purpose for you, so ask Him how you can help others while being helped."

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Joy



Joy is possible in even very difficult circumstances. This is because joy and difficulty-and even joy and sorrow-can coexist. Joy is also possible in the most difficult challenges and heartaches, because joy in not dependent on circumstances. True joy is experienced as a result of living in the presence of the Lord and though deep communication with Him. True joy and peace are experienced when we know God is with us in those difficult situations. It is knowing that He is keeping us, protecting us, and strengthening us in those situations. Joy and peace is knowing the Lord God is in control.  

Someone once sent me this formula for joy and strength: Thankfulness = joy = strength. If we can somehow thank God in all things, knowing and trusting that He is indeed in control and loves us deeply, we can began to experience joy. Joy then turns into strength to face life's challenges. (Nehemiah 8:10b)

Spend time in God’s Word, dear reader.  Revel in and latch on to His promises in His Word. Spend time in prayer. Ask for His strength and joy. Life can be so overwhelmingly difficult and emotionally challenging.  However, even in those very difficult days, dear reader, you can find joy in the Lord. He will get you through those days step by step. Though you do not know what lies ahead, He will lead you. He will give you His strength and joy. 

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Preparation for The Valley

(Following is a chapter from my book:  Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)  It is also a repeat of  posts I have published in July in past years.

Seeking to provide for my husband’s needs during my care-giving days could get emotionally heavy at times, but I feel my past experiences helped to prepare me somewhat for the care-giving challenges. One of these experiences actually coincided with the beginning stages of my care-giving days. That experience was my fight against breast cancer.

In July of 2007, about a year after my husband was diagnosed with his disease, I noticed a swelling in my right breast and under my arm. I was able to book an appointment with my physician’s assistant. She sent me for a mammogram and MRI the next day. A couple days later I received the devastating news that I did indeed have breast cancer and that the cancer had invaded my lymph nodes. The tumor in my breast was very large, and my doctor told me later that my lymph nodes were all gummed together.

A few days later I found myself at my oncologist’s office, and after a full body scan at the hospital I began chemo. I began chemo by the end of July of 2007. All together I had 8 chemo treatments in 3 week cycles, mastectomy surgery with all my lymph nodes under my arm removed, and 6 1/2 weeks of radiation daily. Side effects of chemo were fatigue, mild nausea sometimes, food tasting like cardboard, loss of all of my hair etc. Radiation caused some burning, but it was manageable. All treatment was completed in April of 2008!

During the time of my cancer treatments I had a host of people praying for me-even people across the ocean! We also had people from our church bringing in meals twice a week for a long time. I further had church people bringing me to all my chemo treatments and most of my radiation treatments. The medical people at my cancer care center were wonderful.

Cancer treatments would not be a time that I would want to go through again, but at the same time it was a time of blessing as well as hardship. It is hard to explain, but I became more free in my spirit and less concerned about other’s opinions as a result to this cancer experience. I experienced the love of other people, and most of all I experienced the love of my Lord and Savior in a new and fresh way. I learned dependence on the Lord God during those many months, and I grew in my faith. The Lord’s strength and His love to me demonstrated through others helped me through those months.

I still am miles away from having it altogether. Just perhaps, however, I will be able to face today and the days ahead with more of God’s strength, because of my cancer experience and my experiences with the heartaches of care-giving. The memory of those days will never go away. It has changed whom I am forever mostly for the good.

I know that there will always be problems in this life, but I am further certain that my Lord and Savior will be with me all through my life. I know He will give me the strength to handle anything I need to face in the future. Even in hard times God has promised to be with me and bless me and someday take me to live with Him eternally. Dear Christian caregiver, rest in Him.



(Look on the side of this home page for a link to the order page for my book on Amazon. The book is also available at Barnes and Noble and elsewhere online.  If you prefer a signed copy from me directly, just e-mail me at jesuschild54@hotmail.com for specifics.)

Monday, July 13, 2020

One Year Anniversary

There is a verse in the Bible which speaks of beauty coming from ashes.  Those who read my blog posts know that I have found that to be true in my life in my walk of faith.  I was my first husband's caregiver for a few years.  I eventually lost him to death.  One year ago today on July 13, 2019,  I remarried.  Last year I wrote about my care-giving years with my first husband and my anticipation of my upcoming wedding in a couple weeks.  You can read that blog post here by clicking on the link:  https://christiancaregiving.blogspot.com/2019/07/wedding-day-is-near.html

This week I will enclose a couple pictures of Bob and my wedding one year ago as well.  Next week I hope to return to my regular care-giver format for my blog posts.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Past Grief Feelings Revisited

Even though others read this blog as well, this blog was set up some years ago to encourage family caregivers. Sadly, part of family care-giving sometimes involves the death of one’s loved ones for whom one is caring. Soon after my first husband’s death nine and a half years ago, I began attending a program called Grief Share. One of the things they suggested was to write a grief letter to family and friendsI did write such a letter via Facebook around six months after Wayne’s death.  I recently ran across that letter in my Facebook Memories.  The words for that letter are below.




July second it will be six months since Wayne’s (Dad’s) death. In some ways it seems like a lot longer than that, and in other ways it seems just like yesterday. These last six months have been far more difficult than I could have imagined. I am told I need to be patient. Grief processing takes months and sometimes years, but the pain will get better.

Grief is always with me. There are many joyful moments, but grief is still there just below the surface. There are also really sad moments where it is hard to pull out of the sadness. Emotions during grief are unpredictable and intense. Grief emotions can ambush at unexpected moments. It is a very difficult and tiring process to go through. Yet I know what I am experiencing is normal grief emotions.

I would so appreciate your continued prayers. Please know too that I do not need fixing. Only God can do that in His timetable. You do not need to say the right thing or even say anything. Your presence, hugs, phone calls, short notes, and listening ears is all I need. Sometimes I will want to talk about my feelings. Sometimes I would rather talk about other things. Sometimes I need a mixture of both. I always like to talk about Wayne (Dad).

I still cry nearly daily. Sometimes the tears ambush unexpectedly. Don’t be uncomfortable, if that happens in your presence. I do not apologize for the tears. They are not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. They are God’s gift to me of release, and they are actually a sign I am slowly recovering.

Please pray that God will use this time of grieving to grow me and quip me to minister to others with greater compassion than ever before. I will not just survive, but full joy will return. (Psalm 30:5b) That is God’s promise to me, and I claim it. If you have suffered a similar type loss, please feel free to share it with me. It will help me rather than make me feel worse.

Thank you for caring about me. Thank you to those who listen and pray. It is a gift to me for which I will always be than
kful.




Then this is what I wrote two and a half years after losing my first husband, Wayne, to death and previously having been his caregiver four and a half years before his death.  I recently ran across this as well in my Facebook memories:  

Two and a half years today; four and a half years before that; years including fears, grief, overwhelming feelings and circumstances; depending on the Lord's strength; God's awesome grace; His leading when I didn't know what I was/am doing (Psalm 32:8); a closer and more precious relationship with the Lord than ever before; God's faithfulness; returning and new joy in the Lord in spite of waves of grief which though smaller still hit; greater empathy for others; new areas of service; the Lord being my heavenly bridegroom (Isaiah 54:5); a time for everything; everything beautiful in its time even when it has not always felt that way (Ecclesiastes 3).

Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to trust in Jesus,
I've learned to trust in God;
Through it all, through it all,
I've learned to depend upon His Word.


Since that time I have continued to grow in my faith. God has used that time of caring for Wayne and his death in many ways for His glory and to help others. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am remarried to my new husband, Bob.  Bob and I used the song, "Through It All" in our Wedding nearly a year ago.  Although life continues to have struggles, Bob and I are happy that we have each other in those struggles.  Sometimes it seems that our prayer list for others that we love is so very long, yet God is with them.  He is also with us, as we pray for them. Further, we know that the God who brought us through past struggles will continue to help us in the future and will eventually bring us to our eternal home. I pray the words I wrote only six months and later two and a half years after my first husband’s death will somehow help someone today.




(Next week I might post on Monday instead of Sunday, since it will be the one year anniversary of Bob's and my marriage.)



Saturday, June 27, 2020

Something to Bless You Today

With all that is going on in our world we need the Lord and His Word to cheer us and encourage us.  Many of us are also experiencing difficult circumstances in our personal lives.   We also need the Lord and His Word to cheer and encourage us in those personal trials.

The beauties of spring and God's creation that are all around us can further help to uplift and cheer us.  I have been posting pictures on Facebook from time to time of flowers popping out on our yard.  I would like to feature some again today on this post.  May it be a blessing!  Remember creation's beauties are God's love gifts to you!












Sunday, June 21, 2020

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the United States, so I am taking a bit of a break from my regular format.  I am thankful today for my Dad who showed an immense amount of patience and perseverance in his life.  He patiently endured the struggles that most farmers endure.  He always put his trust in the Lord during those moments.  I also saw his patience, perseverance, and trust in the Lord during those years of major health problems.  I still have a postcard that he sent me while he was in the hospital.  He wrote this that day, "I feel a little blue, but there is One Almighty above who loves and cares."  My Dad always read Scripture and prayed at the table as well.  His example helped me to persevere during some very difficult moments in my life like caring for my first husband, fighting breast cancer, and losing my husband to death.

Today I also am thankful for my first husband, Wayne, who was the father to my sons and now lives in Heaven.  His Godly example to his sons and his gentle and loving nature were wonderful examples to all who knew him.  He was a hard worker, and loved his family very much.  He also persevered until his death though some very difficult health problems.  In many ways he reminded me of my Dad.

Finally, I am thankful for Bob who became my husband a year ago this coming July.  He is a loving and concerned father to his daughters and also grandpa to his grandchildren.  He is very concerned about their welfare.  He also cares about my children and their welfare.  He further loves me.  He often reminds me of God''s blessings to us.

Today, dear reader, thank God for the blessing of Godly men in your life as well.