Monday, June 24, 2013


Care-giving for a family member with a terminal illness is one of life’s most difficult experiences. It is stressful and very discouraging at times. This is especially true if a caregiver is forced to helplessly watch his or her love one continue to deteriorate in health step by step. I know this is true, because I was my husband’s caregiver for four and a half years.

Remember, however, dear Christian caregiver, that joy is possible in even these circumstances. This is because joy and difficulty and even joy and sorrow can coexist. Joy is also possible in the challenges and heartaches of care-giving, 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 is 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.  

Recently, someone responded to one of my posts at this blog site. She sent 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 caregiver. Revel in and latch on to His promises in His Word. Spend time in prayer. Ask for His strength and joy. Care-giving can be so overwhelmingly difficult and emotionally challenging. Even in those very difficult days, however, dear caregiver, 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. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Tightrope of Care-giving

A little over a year ago on June 15, 2012 some of you may have seen televised Nik Wallenda’s dream come true, as he walked across Niagara Falls between the U.S. and Canada on a tightrope. He covered the 1,800 feet in approximately 25 minutes walking the two-inch wire in elkskin-soled shoes and using a balance beam.

Now I would not recommend viewing Niagara Falls in this fashion. One might even argue the wisdom and even rightness of taking such a risk. I think there are lessons we can learn from this incident, however.

Much of life and certainly caregiving is filled with challenges. Because of the uncertainties and constant changes and declines of caregiving, it can feel as if one is in the middle of a storm or in imminent danger. Especially during caregiving one can not predict what the next year let alone the next month or day will bring. It can feel like one is walking in a fog on a tightrope. As Wallenda made his walk across Niagara Falls he found the heavy mist to be very challenging. Also the winds hit him and were definitely more than he expected. After awhile his forearms started to tense up, and he began feeling numb. The steps and days as a caregiver can feel the same way. 

ABC televised the walk but insisted Wallenda use a safety tether to prevent him from plunging into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls should he fall. I do not know how great a safety measure this was in reality, but I do know that Christian caregivers have a wonderful source of strength and safety in the Lord Jesus Christ. Caregiving can feel like walking over stormy waters, but the Lord is a reliable source of safety. Also Wallenda walked across that tightrope putting one foot in front of the other. That is what Christian caregivers and all believers need to do. They need to take life one step at a time focusing on the Lord and trusting Him.

When Wallenda stepped onto Canadian soil he was immediately asked for his passport, which he extracted from a protective pouch in his jacket. To me that passport is a picture of God’s Word and its promises. It is what helps us walk the tightrope and stormy situations of life like caregiving. 

Wallenda said that the prayers of others helped him immensely. He said it helped him reach the safety of the other side. So we too need to be willing to ask for and rely on the prayers of others when we are going through stormy times. Wallenda further said that in the middle of the wire he started thinking about his great-grandfather. His family’s legacy for performing daredevil stunts is what helped him persevere to the end. So we also can follow the examples of the Biblical saints and our godly ancestors who have gone before us. Their past faith can encourage us to be faithful and to trust God.

Christian caregiver, walk step by step focusing on the Lord as you experience the stormy waters of caregiving. Rely on God’s Word and prayer. Trust that God will get you to the other side. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Focus on the Lord in the Storms

As a caregiver perhaps your dreams for the life you hoped to share with your loved one has been crushed.  My marriage with my husband, Wayne, was a good marriage.  We had faced various trials in our lives together.  We clung to each other and to God during those times.  We also enjoyed many joyful moments together.  Wayne was a loving husband; and we enjoyed children, new daughter-in-laws, and grandchildren together.  Our dream was for a happy retirement together.  That dream was shattered by his diagnosis in 2006.  His neurological disease led to his continual deterioration physically and his eventual death in early 2011.

Family care-giving brings on a storm of problems and emotions.  It creates havoc with and sometimes destroys one's former way of life.  Yet even in the storms, even when our dreams are smashed into a million pieces, God is still with us.  His promises from His Word still are true.  When we are in God's powerful hands, there is no safer place to be even when the care-giving storms are raging around us. 

God also has a new and good life planned for both the caregiver and his or her loved one.  For my husband, Wayne, that was a life in heaven with Jesus.  For me although I grieve my husband's absence from me, it is other ministry for the Lord.  For other caregivers it may be the earthly healing of the loved one and wonderful ministries for both of them in God's service.  God wants us to leave the outcomes of our lives in His hands, to rest in peace in Him, and to keep our eyes focused on Him and not our problems.  He will help us weather the waves of life's storms.  Sometimes it is hard to know why we have to face the difficult storms of life.  Yet trusting in the Lord and in His promises will give us more peace than knowing all the answers to our questions.

Dear caregiver, even in the midst of you care-giving storms the Lord is providing for you.  He can do wonders for you even while the storm is raging.  He cares about and provides for the big problems and the relatively insignificant problems.  Trust Him and obey Him in the process.  God's provision for you will never run out.  Your trust in God and faithfulness to you in the storm will also be noticed by others and in turn bring glory to God

In this care-giving storm you have two choices, dear caregiver.  You can stress and wring your hands in anxiety or you can trust God's faithfulness and power to see you through it.  Make the choice to meditate on God's promises and praise Him.  Don't focus on the problems, but focus on the Lord.  One way or another the storm will quiet in God's perfect timing.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Depend on Him

Dear Christian caregiver, the Lord is your treasure and strength in the storm of family care-giving.  God may be using the storms of your care-giving days to show you His strength in your weakness, as you seek to deal with the overwhelming challenges.  Because of your relationship with the Lord, dear Christian caregiver, you can approach God with confidence and freedom for help and strength as you face each new day.

I felt so inadequate for the task of being my husband's caregiver.  It was not a role I would have chosen, and I certainly felt unprepared for that role.  God, however, delights to use unlikely ordinary weak people to do His will.  When you yield your limitations and even failures to the Lord, dear caregiver, you become a wonderful instrument in the Lord's hand.  His strength and not your own will then fill you.

Also I know of no greater work in the kingdom of heaven than family care-giving.  It is often a thankless job accompanied by grief and perhaps tears, as one sees one's loved one's health deteriorate.  It is never a pointless role, however.  For whatever is done for others is done for the Lord, and it will produce a harvest of blessings and joy in God's perfect timetable. 

The family care-giving role is a role that often feels as if it is leading down blind alleys.  Christian caregivers, however, can be assured that their Good Shepherd is leading and guiding them each step of the way.  The Good Shepherd knows that you are very vulnerable, dear caregiver.  Depend on Him for guidance and protection just as lambs follow their shepherd.  As your Good Shepherd He will walk before you and lead you.  He is your hope for today, as you face your care-giving challenges.  He is also your hope and the hope of your loved one for the future!