Monday, November 28, 2011

Caregiving is Doing God’s Work

Recently the October, 2011 issue of Tabletalk magazine from Ligonier Magazine came into my hands. This particular issue is dedicated exclusively to dealing with death and disease. A friend of mine thought some of the articles in this issue would be helpful for me to read since I went through four and a half years of caregiving with my husband, and then I experienced his death on January 2, 2011.

One of the articles in this issue of Tabletalk is by Ken Tada, Joni Eareckson Tada’s husband. As her husband Ken is one of Joni’s caregivers. In fact Joni was disabled when Ken married her. He shares some of his experiences as Joni’s caregiver and husband in this article.

The name of the article is “Caregiving: A cause for Christ.” I invite you to copy/paste the internet address listed below into your search engine in order to be able to find and read his article. It will be worth your time!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

On Nov 25, 2009 I wrote the following words:
“A caregiving friend of mine said the following, ‘I’ve never known anything so heartbreakingly difficult, but yet can be so rewarding and feels like a gift.’ Our caregiving role is a difficult gift that has been given to us.

So often I feel that I could do without this difficult ‘gift’ in my life. I often long for the days when things were different. If I am honest, however, I know I have grown spiritually, emotionally, and in character through this experience. If I am honest I still see many other blessings in my life also.”

Dear Christian caregiver, I hope you will find reprieve and blessing this Thanksgiving. In the midst of the chaos and difficulties of caregiving may you find the peace and the presence of the Lord. May you find a thankful heart even in the difficult times, for in this way you will also find true joy. Happy Thanksgiving, dear caregiver. May God bless you richly for your role as a caregiver!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

On most Wednesday mornings I give my daughter-in-law a little respite by helping with two of my granddaughters’ home schooling. I did this for her even before my husband’s death on January 2, 2011.

One day in November of 2009 when I was helping with home schooling the girls sang a Scripture song they were learning for their Bible class. It was based on the Scripture passage in Jeremiah 29:11 which tells us that God has good plans for our lives and wants to give us hope and a future.

I asked my granddaughters that day, “Is this true even when sad things happen? They said, “Yes.” So I said, “What about Grandpa not being able to walk?” They had to think about this, but still said, “Yes.”

Then one of my granddaughters said, “One good thing is now that Grandpa can’t work, he can come to the Thursday night suppers at our house.” Out of the mouths of babes! Finding little blessings in difficult situations.

Those words from my granddaughter’s month that day in 2009 reminded me that I needed to strive to see the blessings in my life and to not focus on the difficulties and challenges of my caregiving role at that time.

Dear caregiver, there are many heartaches and challenges in being a caregiver. This is especially true if you are caring for a terminally ill person and only see declines in his or her health. In spite of all these things, dear Christian caregiver; keep your focus on the Lord and not the problem. Look for the blessings! It will add to your joy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Letting Go

Often caregiving for a terminally ill loved one can become so overwhelming that it can stir up all kinds of negative emotions. I think this is also true of any difficult or heartbreaking life challenge.

I was a caregiver for my husband for about four and a half years. By the fall of 2010 my husband’s disease had progressed to the point that he was pretty much dependent on me for everything. At that time I found myself becoming increasingly stressed. By God’s grace through the extra help of my son and a lift we were able to navigate through that period of time. Little did I know at that time that just a few months later on January 2, 2011 my husband would pass into eternity.

In November of 2010 I was challenged to write about my thoughts on the idea of letting going. Below are the words that I scribed at that time:
“I want to let go of fear for the future. My husband’s health is declining, and there have been significant changes lately. It is easy to fear the future, but I want to let go of fear, and I want to just trust. I want to let go of fear and replace it with trust, faith, and peace. I also want to let go of the daily stress or any form of self-pity I feel and just take a more peaceful attitude about the events of the day. I want to approach them calmly step by step.

I want to let go of “what ifs” and “oh nos” from my thinking. I want to let go of how I wish things were in my life, and I want to truly accept things as they are. I want to let go of both the expectations I have in my life of myself and the perceived expectations I think others have of me. I also want to let go of the expectations I have of others. I want to let go and watch God work.”

Dear Christian caregiver, what negative emotions do you need to work on releasing? Releasing them will add to your peace and even joy.