Monday, March 25, 2013

Praise the Lord

Family caregivers often face overwhelming physical and emotional struggles, as they care for their loved ones. This is especially true, if their loved one has a terminal disease and is deteriorating in his or her health month by month and sometimes day by day. In many cases the caregiver's dreams for a beautiful future with their loved one has been shattered. They also often feel weighed down with fears about the future.

Dear Christian caregiver do not let Satan discourage you by his schemes at times like this. Satan is a liar, and he wants you to forget that you are a child of God with the power of God on your side. Satan wants you to forget that you have Christ's resurrection power in you to live for God and carry out your difficult care-giving role. Trust in the Lord. Rest in Him, dear caregiver.

One way the caregiver or anyone for that matter can fight Satan's schemes to discourage us is to praise the Lord in the midst of difficulties. It seems to go so against our instincts to praise the Lord during difficult times, but thankfulness takes the sting out of trials and adversity. The chains of discouragement and despair drop behind us when we praise the Lord. I read somewhere recently that if we give thanks to God in spite of our feelings, He in turn gives us joy in spite of our circumstances. We sense God's presence when we are praising Him in a way that we can not do in any other way. It is said thanksgiving and praise in our hearts squeezes difficult circumstances until joy oozes out of it. Praise for the Lord gives us glimpses of heaven which in turn gives us further reasons to be thankful.

I still remember very vividly those care-giving days taking care of my husband with a rapidly deteriorating neurological disease. Those days were very difficult. This was especially true the last months of his life. It is hard to feel thankful and full of praise in such moments. God asks us to make a SACRIFICE of praise, however, even in those difficult moments. If we do this we will find peace and joy, as we are resting in Him. We may not always understand God's ways, but He does have everything under His control.

Praise the Lord in the midst of all the challenges and difficulties, dear caregiver. It will lift your load.

I have a link posted below. It is a song from the Imperials and it is called Praise the Lord. I hope you will find it a blessing, dear caregiver.

Monday, March 18, 2013

His Abounding Love

God is a God who is abounding in love.  Sometimes in the storms of care-giving challenges it may not feel that way.  Feelings do not change the truth of God's unfailing love for you, however, dear caregiver.

If you think of your life as a building; the Lord is your sure foundation, dear caregiver.  He is guiding you through the difficult challenges of care-giving.  He is guiding you with His wisdom and knowledge when you feel like you are hitting your head against brick walls.  Many times when I was a caregiver I felt so alone.  Yet I always knew God was with me, and now as I look back I see how He lead me each step of the way. 

Every building also needs a door.  Prayer is the door or access to the very presence of God.  So is trust and thankfulness.  As we trust in Him with a thankful heart, He will pave the way.  Family care-giving is overwhelmingly difficult at times.  I know that, dear caregiver, because I lived it.  Yet God's presence is with you all the way.  You will sense that presence more, as you pray to Him and trust Him with a thankful heart.

Every building also needs a security system of some kind.  This is to prevent others from coming in and doing damage to property or people.  The caregiver's life needs a security system also.  That security system is the Word of God.  As caregivers listen and wait for God to speak to them through the promises of His Word, they are able to fight off the devil's attempts to discourage them.  They are able to rest in the abounding love of the Lord God.

Dear Caregiver, there is not even one area of your life that the love of God is not able to reach.  God's wide and loving arms are able to reach around any care-giving challenge in your life.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  His love is deep enough to meet your deepest discouragement, as you go about the business of caring for your loved one.

Not only is His love with you, dear caregiver, but so is His all-sufficient power.  He can calm your fears.  In your own strength you can not possibly face the challenges of family care-giving, but He has promised to give you His strength in you!  With His strength in you and with His abounding love surrounding you, you can do whatever He asks of you, dear caregiver.  Rest in Him!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Life After Care-giving

Dear Caregiver, do you ever wonder what life will be like after your care-giving days are over? Today I am going to share a little about my life after my care-giving days. I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to you.

It has been two years as of January 2nd since my husband's death. The last four and a half years of his life I was his caregiver. I witnessed his physical decline step by step during those years because of his incurable neurological disease. It was a very difficult time for me as his wife and caregiver.

So what happens after care-giving? Life after care-giving for me was a slow process of grieving my husband, Wayne, and processing all that transpired during those care-giving days. In some ways it is a process which I feel will be lifelong. Yet I am so thankful to God for the healing that has occurred. I still miss Wayne and have lonely moments almost every day, but new purpose has also come to my life. I have learned so very much from those care-giving days and during the days since Wayne's death. My faith in my Lord has deepened, and my relationship with Him has sweetened.

At the beginning of 2013 I begin to pray about a verse in the Bible which says God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)  My desire was for more than just strength to get through the day but for so much more. Through no effort on my part a few weeks later I was approached to see if I would be willing to do an interview with an New York Times blog writer about my feelings and emotions during and after care-giving. This interview took place on February 7 with Judith Graham. Judith Graham's blog post based on this interview and another caregiver's interview was posted on March 7.

The day of the interview I was nervous before the interview. I had asked others to pray for me, however, and during the interview I felt quite calm. I was able to say much of what was on my heart. When I initially received this request to do the interview I was rather blown away with the “wow” factor of it all. Opportunities like this do not happen to me. It was certainly immeasurably more than I could imagine happening. The blog post based on this did not publish until a month later, however, so there were moments when I wondered if it was going to happen.  When it did publish I was once again blown away by this opportunity that had been given to me. If this New York Times post or my small blog posts here helps even one caregiver, I am blessed.

If you want to read the post go to   The post contains my story and that of another former caregiver.  My story is about in the middle of the post.

Dear Caregiver, care-giving is emotionally and physically draining. You also may be afraid of what life will be like after care-giving. Trust Him to guide and direct your path for the future. Trust Him to comfort and strengthen you.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Fighting Discouragement

Satan loves to try to discourage us and rob us of our joy as believers. Satan can never snatch us out of the hand of our Lord God, for we are safe in the hands of the Lord forever. So Satan tries to do the next best thing in his eyes. Satan tries to rob us of our joy and effectiveness as Christians.

As a caregiver it is so easy to become discouraged. The heartaches of seeing one’s loved one suffer and deteriorate in his or her body can be very overwhelming. Even the psalmists in the book of Psalms in the Old Testament often expressed feelings of discouragement. In some cases they were experiencing deep trials in spite of their present faithfulness to the Lord God. Hence, they sometimes felt abandoned, crushed, and devalued by God.

Often the psalmists expressed discouragement and perplexity in the midst of their trials. They also, however, expressed faith and confidence in God’s ability to help and restore them. The psalmists further used good battle strategies in facing discouragement. Dear Christian caregiver, perhaps you feel perplexed and discouraged by the difficult circumstances of your care-giving days. The Psalms speak words of advice to you and to all of us in facing discouragement.

One strategy for fighting discouragement demonstrated in the Psalms is prayer. Prayer should be our first recourse for help, deliverance, and restoration in times of trouble and challenge. Prayer should also be our first recourse in fighting the discouragement which sometimes accompanies difficult times. Through the avenue of prayer we can gain peace, joy, and relief from discouragement in facing life’s challenges.

Another strategy for fighting Satan’s attempts to discourage us is a firm confidence in the Lord’s directing and unfailing love, kindness, and faithfulness. We must also pray with the psalmists of old for the Lord God’s guiding and directing light and truth on our paths throughout this life. If we saturate our lives with prayer and the truths of God’s Word, we will have the confidence of the Lord’s presence in our lives. We will also have His joy in full and a song in our hearts. (Psalm 42:8)

Remembering and praising God for His past mercies among His people and in our own personal lives is another great way to fight Satan’s attempts to discourage us. A powerful deterrent to discouragement in present trials and in future challenges is remembering how the Lord God has helped us in the past. (Psalm 77:11-12)

Yet another strategy for fighting discouragement is God-directed self-talk. (Psalm 42:5 & 11 & Psalm 43:5) Saturating one’s mind with God’s Holy Word and then verbally reminding oneself of the awesome truths and promises of God’s Holy Word is one of the best prescriptions against Satan’s discouraging lies.

One final strategy in fighting discouragement is to vow to praise God during our trials and in excited anticipation of the Lord’s answers to our prayers and wonders in our lives. (Psalm 43:4) May the Lord God’s song and joy not Satan’s discouraging lies reside in you, dear caregiver, and in all of us!