Sunday, October 20, 2019

Hospice Care

When is Hospice Care appropriate for your loved one?  When I was a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, I did not use Hospice Care.  I now see that as a mistake.  Both the person who is caring for a loved one with a serious illness and the person who is ill can gain much valuable help through Hospice.  Click on the article below to learn the value of Hospice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/waiting-too-long-to-use-hospice-care-can-make-suffering-at-end-of-life-worse/2017/12/08/a55f6c3e-c3c6-11e7-aae0-cb18a8c29c65


Sunday, October 13, 2019

The Lord Delights in You

Yesterday my husband of three months brought in some beautiful roses from our flower garden.  He not only did that, but he also carefully arranged them in a lovely vase.  It was a love gift to me and a symbol of his delight in making me happy.  My husband's love for me is a also a picture of God showing His love to me and His delight in me in many ways every day.  Zephaniah 3:17 says, "The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."

The Lord has shown His love for me and His delight in me in many ways through the years.  I love the reference in the Bible of Jesus being the Rose of Sharon.  Sharon is the name of a place in the Bible.  Yet because my name is Sharon, I love to think of Jesus as being my Rose-my source of beauty, comfort, and love.  Sometimes the path the Lord has taken me on has been extremely difficult and sometimes it has been pleasant.  Yet through it all God's assurance of His love and delight in me has been the assurance I needed.  No matter what may be transpiring in your life right now, remember that Jesus is your Rose.  He loves you and delights in you as His child.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Joy in Sorrow

I recently read the following from a book by Nancy Guthrie called, The One Year Book of Hope:  "To experience sorrow does not eliminate joy.  In fact, I've come to think that sorrow actually deepens our capactity for joy-that as our lows are lower, so are our highs higher.  Deep sorrow expands our ability to feel deeply.  We feel sadder than we ever knew we could, sadder than we think we can survive.  But our sorrow prepares us to experience  a more solid joy than we ever known before.  When joy surfaces, it allows us to see that deep beneath the chaos and catastrophe is the strong current of confidence that we can be content in the sovereign hands of the God."

It is possible to have joy in the midst of and as a result of deep sorrow.  This comes from a deep relationship with the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit.  It certainly does not come from our own efforts or inclinations.  

I remember the deep sorrow of watching my first husband, Wayne, deteriorate in his health step by step.  I remember the anxiety and concerns of how best to address his needs during that time.  I remember the discouragement of knowing he would not be able to ultimately win the battle against his disease on this earth.  Yet I also remember this as a time when I drew very close to the Lord.  The intimacy of that relationship brought joy and comfort to me.  The same was true when I lost Wayne to death.  The Lord and the promises of His Word became increasingly precious to me.  Also opportunities for minister to other people came about because of the sorrows I had experienced.  This added much joy to my life.

As I have written before, I recently remarried after over eight and a half years of widowhood.  I can tell you that it is true that the joys of the highs and the thankfulness for God's blessings are better because of the past sorrows.  There are adjustments in a new marriage, but one looks at even these minor things in the light of God's love. There is also a family member who is currently going through some difficult struggles.  This family member is someone for whom I have deep concerns and for whom I sometimes grieve.   Yet in the Lord and His blessings, there is a deep joy that only He can give. 

Whether you are a caregiver or have lost a dear loved one or whether you are going through some other deep heartache and sorrow, run to the Lord.  He will give you a measure of His peace and joy even in the midst of the sorrow.  He will also use that sorrow to bring you great joys in the future.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

After Care-Giving Ends

For family caregivers care-giving will come to an end one day-either through the death of their loved one or through their loved one being healed.  I was reminded of this recently in the death of a brother-in-law.  His wife, my sister-in-law, had been a faithful and loving caregiver to him through many difficult days.  I wrote about the end of care-gving in a post earlier this year.  The link to that post is below.  That post in turn features a link to a Guidepost article done in October of 2015.  In the Guidepost article my experences after care-giving are discussed.  I hope it proves to be a blessing.


https://christiancaregiving.blogspot.com/2019/01/after-care-giving-ends.html

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Caregiver's Rest and Peace

(This is yet another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

Family caregivers often face huge obstacles.  Although care-giving for a loved one is an extremely important mission in life, it is also often physically and emotionally exhausting.  Caregivers must find their rest, confidence, help, and peace in the Lord alone.  Psalm 62 in the Old Testament of the Bible says that God alone must be our rock or firm foundation and our fortress or source of protection.

Family caregivers-and all of us for that matter-can and must find our confidence and help in the Lord alone. If we put our confidence in anything or anyone but the Lord, we will often be disappointed. However, we can go to the Lord at any moment and any place and He will be our help and strength.

Hence, the Lord alone is the caregiver’s source of peace and repose in the heartaches and discouraging events of care-giving.   As a caregiver, watching my husband’s body deteriorate, often made me feel very discouraged.  Psalm 62 reminds the caregiver-and all of us-that no matter what we are facing we need never be shaken, because the Lord is our rock or foundation. He is our sure foundation, even when it seems as if our world is crumbling and falling down around us. The Lord is also our salvation. He is our Savior from our sins. He further saves us from many unseen perils and pitfalls each and every day. The Lord is our fortress or protection. Hence, no matter what is going on in our lives; we need never give up and be anxious in our spirits.

Family care-giving can present many difficult challenges.  In spite of all life’s troubles, however, we all must learn the secret of waiting and resting in the Lord. So often when we face a crisis in our lives we try to work out the adverse situation or circumstances by our own devices.  Often we go to the Lord only as a last resort. We need to go to the Lord first.  Rest and peace for our souls can be found in the Lord God alone. Then nothing can ultimately shake us.  No matter what the situation we can trust the Lord and rest in Him in quiet submission. Our well-being for time and for eternity depends on the Lord God alone. He is our sure foundation and refuge.

We have the absolute assurance of the Lord's protecting presence in our lives at all times. Thus Psalm 62 reminds us to trust in God in all situations and at all times.  We must pour out our hearts to Him for help in facing the difficult situations, for God is our help and refuge.   The Lord will never fail us. The Lord understands us and our needs perfectly. The Lord understands our needs and sympathizes with us better than anyone else is able to do. Resorting to our own devices to get us through a crisis will prove to be of no avail, but our God is our refuge and help. We serve a faithful God. We also serve a loving and powerful God! If we trust in the Lord, He will direct our paths!  He will direct your path also, dear Christian caregiver!  You can count on it!


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Never Separated From Christ's Love

(This post is a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

Sometimes the future can seem so uncertain and fearful to a caregiver of a loved one with a terminal illness. As a caregiver I remember having such fears. As children of God, however, we have victory in Christ Jesus, our Lord! We need to fear nothing, for the Lord is on our side! Nothing can separate us from the love of God! What an awesome thought, and what an awesome promise! In light of all this there can be overflowing joy in our hearts!

We are secure in Christ for time and for eternity. Sometimes we may feel as if everything is against us, but the Word of God teaches us that the great God of the universe is always for us and is always with us! Romans 8:31-32) God proved His love for us by sending His only Son to die for our sins. Surely we can trust Him to provide us with everything we need for time and eternity. In the uncertainties of life Christian caregivers can rest in the Lord. They have the Lord God on their side, and they are victors in Him!

Nothing will happen to us that is not in God's plan for our lives, so we need not fear. Finally, Christ is always interceding for His children before God the Father! He is interceding for you dear Christian caregiver! He knows your heartaches, your challenges, and your fears; and He is praying for you! What a blessed promise!

In light of all this, what set of circumstances can ever separate you from the love of Christ, dear, Christian caregiver? (Romans 8:35a) The answer is that nothing can separate us from the love of Christ! No matter what hardship, trials or heartaches you may be experiencing in your life at the moment, dear caregiver, you are never separated from the love of Christ.

In fact, trials in our lives are part of God's plan and purpose for our lives to mold us to become more like Jesus in our character and attitudes. You are not separated from God’s love by the heartaches of care-giving. Rather the Lord is with you in a special way guiding and comforting you.

What is more Romans 8:37 teaches you that you are more than a conqueror! You become a conqueror through the trials of care-giving by patiently enduring these trials and by being submissive to the Lord's will. You become more than a conqueror by using these experiences to grow in your love and service for the Lord.

God always see us through difficult times and brings us to ultimate victory. He will do the same for you, dear Christian caregiver. Victory is always assured for the Christian-if not in this life, then in eternity. Your loved one may be healed on this earth, or he or she may be healed in eternity. There will be victory for your loved one either way. There will be victory for you too, dear caregiver. If your loved one goes to live with the Lord, you may feel as if your life has been shattered in a million pieces, but God will bring ultimate victory and peace for you also.

Absolutely nothing will ever separate us from the love of God and the victory we have in the Lord Jesus Christ! (Romans 8:38-39) Praise the name of the Lord for our victory in Him!



Sunday, September 8, 2019

Changes

Changes, even good changes, are challenging.  I remember the change of marrying my first husband, Wayne, in 1971.  It was a good change, but it involved working together instead of just thinking of our own selfish needs and wants.  I remember the changes of children coming into our lives and later them starting kindergarten and still later going off to college.  I further remember grandchildren entering our lives.  Many of these changes were wonderful.  Some required a little adapting on our part.

There were the challenges of unemployment at a few different times in our lives.  Those were difficult changes and challenges, but through it all we found the Lord to be faithful.  Later there was the devastating challenge of Wayne's diagnosis.  Each change and step downward in his physical functioning was difficult.  Finally losing Wayne to death and then becoming a widow was also a life-changing event.  Yet through those difficult years Jesus Christ became very precious to me.  My relationship with Him and my reliance on the promises of His Word became more and more wonderful to me.  That was a good change.  So even in the difficult changes of life, God can bring wonderful changes in us as well.

After eight and a half years of widowhood I once again married.  My new husband's name is Bob.  We are now married eight weeks.  This is a wonderful change in my life, but it too involves adaptations.  It involves laying down my life for my husband and not just thinking about myself.  It involves finding a new normal in a new house.  It involves putting my former house on the market and a busier life style.  Also as wonderful as my new life has become with my new husband, there are still challenges-like concerns and heartaches for family members.

Yet through all the changes good and "bad," God has been good.  God has grown me spiritually through them all.  What are the changes and challenges in your life, dear reader?  Through the difficult changes and through the exciting and wonderful changes, God will be with you step by step.  Lean on Him.  He will use all the changes for His glory and your ultimate good.