Monday, April 29, 2013

Personal Reflections

I hope you will forgive me, dear caregiver, as I share a little of my story and feelings today. Seven years ago about this time in late April my husband, Wayne, went in to the doctor for a check-up. This began the process of us knowing something was wrong with my husband. In May of that year Wayne saw a local neurologist, and in August and October of that year we went to Mayo Clinic. He was diagnosed with Multiple Systems Atrophy type c, a rare neurological disease which resembles Parkinson's but moves much more quickly. The next four and a half years were difficult years, as I witnessed Wayne's decline step by step and found that he had passed away during the night on the morning of January 2, 2011.

About a year after Wayne's diagnosis, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I had 8 months of treatment including chemotherapy, a mastectomy, and radiation. I had an oncologist appointment this past Friday. This was my first appointment in a year. All looked good, and I will be a 6 year breast cancer survivor in July, the Lord willing!

So these past seven years since Wayne's diagnosis have involved difficult care-giving days, breast cancer treatment, and now nearly 28 months of living my life as a widow. I think difficult times has produced in me a greater desire for a sense of the presence of the Lord in my heart. It has also made me more aware of His presence. My longing for God is deeper and also is my sense that this earth is not my final home even though God still has work for me to do here.

While I was a caregiver for my husband, Wayne, and saw him deteriorate; the words of Psalm 84 became very meaningful to me especially verses 5-7. Check out those verses for yourself, dear caregiver. The valley of Baca referred to in these verses means the Valley of Weeping. So this passage in effect told me that I would be blessed, if I found my strength in the Lord and set my mind on Him even in the difficulties of care-giving. It also told me that as His child I would go from “strength to strength” and victory to victory, as I treaded the difficult path of caring for my husband. The passage reminded me that God would somehow make the trials of my care-giving days into “a place of springs” and blessings. Dear Christian caregiver, these promises are for you as well!

I am thankful to the Lord for His physical and emotional healing in my life. I wonder sometimes though why I am here and why Wayne was taken. It feels like my life should be doing great things for the Lord, because of all He has done for me. Yet it is not about that, and it is not about me. It is about seeking intimacy with the Lord. He will use me as He sees fit. God is infinitely wiser than I am. It is the same for you also, dear caregiver.

Yet I feel so many emotions. I am feeling a thankfulness/joy/awe for my healing and for the good things that God has brought to me as a result of the past years-changes in my character for the good, greater intimacy with the Lord, and even ministry. I am in awe of His grace. Yet I also feel a sadness that somehow Wayne could not still be a part of all this.

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