Monday, September 30, 2013

Not Your Normal Post

I am recovering from sinus surgery that I had on Wednesday, the 25th, so I decided not to post my normal post today.  It was a rough few days, but I am starting to feel some better.  I go back to the dr. tomorrow.  In the meantime prayers are appreciated. Please use this week to go back and read some of the old blog posts.  See you next week Lord willing. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Him Bearing Your Burdens

The path of being a caregiver for a family member is sometimes so steep and so exhausting.  If caregivers carry a load of fear and sometimes false guilt on their backs, the way is going to be even more difficult.  If a loved one is terminally ill and deteriorating month by month before a caregiver's eyes, it is easy to feel a sense of false guilt when a caregiver witnesses these things in his or her loved one's life.  As a caregiver I remember having these feelings.  The truth of the matter is that it is totally irrational to fear or feel guilty about the uncontrollable.

It is important at such times to remember that God is the one who is in control of our lives and not us.  The Lord God also wants us to remove the heavy emotional loads we put on ourselves.  In Matthew 11:28-30 in the Bible the Lord invites us to come to Him when we feel weary and emotionally weighed down, and He promises to give us His rest.  He invites us to yoke or tie our lives to Him, and He promises to lighten our load.  He will then be carrying our load.  This is the way to true freedom.

It is His unconditional love and presence that can free you, dear caregiver, from the fears and other negative emotions.  Spend time in His presence each day through prayer and Bible reading.  Bask in the light of His promises and presence in this way.  Your care-giving heartaches and problems will not magically go away, but the Lord will be beside you each step of the way.

Monday, September 16, 2013

The SON'S Presence

I love to begin my day sitting by my big window in my living room and having my devotions. I love soaking up God's Word and also seeing God's creation from my window. As I write this post for publication in a few days I am remembering the beautiful sunrise I saw from my window this morning. It was such a beautiful reminder of God's power and beauty in creation and in my life. Not too much later the sun went behind the clouds. Still later the sun could again be seen in all its glory. Now, however it is again hiding behind the clouds, and it feels as it it could rain any moment.

How like that is our lives. In this life we get glimpses of God's glory and of heaven. Sometimes life can feel cloudy and gloomy, however. When the sun is not visible to us it does not mean it is not still there. It is just hiding behind the clouds. So also when our lives feel like they are lacking in joy or we are struggling with difficulties, the SON is still there. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is always present right beside us. Our feelings may tell us otherwise, but feelings are fickle and unreliable. Feelings are not based on truth. God's Word teaches us that God will never leave us or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5b) We can count on that truth even in the most difficult of times. 

Being a family caregiver presents many challenges and heartaches. Especially if one's loved one's illness is terminal, it can be overwhelming. Life at times can feel very lonely and gloomy. A caregiver can feel that he or she is alone in this experience. Yet remember, dear Christian caregiver, in the same way as the sun is always in the sky even when we can't see it, so the SON of God is always present with you also. He sees and cares about your care-giving struggles. He promises to teach you and lead you when you feel like you don't have a clue what you are doing. He promises to counsel and to watch over you and your loved one when your path is very unclear. (Psalm 32:8)

When I was a caregiver I often felt fearful of the future. I certainly felt as if my challenges were far more than I could handle. Yet as I look back I see how the Lord was with me all the way. Those care-giving years were very difficult years. Yet God taught me so much in those years about His faithfulness and my need to depend on Him. He helped me grow in in my faith and love for Him. Even in the midst of those difficult years I had a sense of His presence. It may have appeared as if the SON was hiding behind the clouds of discouraging challenges, but He was not hiding at all. He was always present and near at hand.

Dear Christian caregiver, always trust that the SON of God is with you. Life may not be the way you planned it or hoped it would be. Yet God knows what He is doing, and He will be there to help and sustain you and your loved one. He may chose to heal your loved one on this earth, or He may chose to heal him or her in heaven. Either way the SON of God can shine in your heart, because He is with you all the way. He alone gives your life light, joy, peace, and purpose! Trust the SON, dear caregiver!

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Exchanged Life

Dear caregiver, do you ever feel all alone in the challenges of care-giving?  You may feel this way sometimes, but remember feelings are fickle and unreliable.  God's Word tells you that you belong to the Lord.  His faithfulness will never end.  His love for you will never die.  He will be with you all the way and guide you through the sometimes difficult twists and turns of care-giving.

Because of God's grace we are now new creatures in Christ! (Galatians 2:20). Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross we now belong to Him. As His children you and I have relinquished our lives to Christ. We are no longer in sin's grip or in the devil's grip.  We belong to the Lord now, and His Spirit in our hearts guarantees us eternal life.  (II Corinthians 1:22). Instead of living in Satan's realm we now have relinquished that life for an exchanged life in Christ.  Dear Christian caregiver, because of that exchanged life you can know with certainty that the Lord is guiding you even in the times when you see only declines in the health of the loved one for whom you are caring.

As followers of Jesus Christ our lives in Him are characterized by a walk of faith. Our lives in Christ are trusting lives. In our lives in Christ we can come to the Lord with all our needs and trust that He will always be with us.  We can trust that the Lord will always be our source of comfort and our friend. We can trust that He will always guide and protect us.  We know we have a Savior who loved us so much that He was willing to give Himself on the cross to pay for our sins. 

As His children we now can live victorious lives in Christ. We can do this; because Jesus Christ lives in us, giving us the power to live for Him. Christ died on the cross for us, and He lives within us. Hence, we can now live lives of trust and faith in Him! Praise His name! 

Dear Christian caregiver, sometimes the heartaches which often accompany care-giving are overwhelming.  Try not to concentrate on the heartaches and problems.  Remember, you are living an exchanged life in Christ.  He loved you enough to die for you.  Can you not trust Him to see you through your daily challenges with care-giving?  Can you not leave your needs and the needs of your loved one in the capable hands of such a wonderful Savior? 


Monday, September 2, 2013

Memories and Their Place

Today is Labor Day in the United States. It is a day when we honor with a day off from work those who labor faithfully at their jobs all year long. Unfortunately this is a day when some people still have to work especially store employees.

In my community the county fair runs from Friday through Monday, Labor Day, each year. I can remember years in the past when my husband and I would go to the fair walking through the animal barns and other exhibits with our children. My husband and I had both grown up on the farm as children, so we enjoyed exposing the farm animals to our children. Later as empty nesters my husband and I enjoyed going on our own to the county fair and just enjoying each others' company walking hand and hand.   

There have been other years when we attended the fair as well. One year was when my husband, Wayne, was in a wheelchair. Yes, other family members were with me helping me with Wayne; but somehow it was not as much fun. Then there were the last couple years after Wayne's death. I was with family, but it was not the same as it had been in former years.

Memories of holidays or other significant events can bring on a longing for former days. I think this is especially true for family caregivers. Caregivers and former caregivers would so like to turn back the clock and return to the days when our loved ones were healthy. The truth remains, however, that things do change. Sometimes we are thrust into changes and roles we do not desire. We don't understand the reason for why God has allowed these difficult changes in our lives. 

I think that is when trust and resting in the Lord needs to become our refuge. God does know what He is doing even when we do not understand. We do know that through all of life's events and especially in the difficult moments the Lord is refining us and maturing us to become more like Him. It is making us more aware of the need to depend on Him alone and giving to us the mind of Christ. It is increasing our faith and teaching us to give thanks in times of difficulty.

So dear caregiver, enjoy the memories of past days when your loved one was healthy. It is good to remember those days, as it gives perspective to your current situation by remembering the person your loved one was before he or she became ill. Yet also trust that the Lord is with you now and doing good things in your heart and in the heart of your loved one. Trust that there is a good future for you and your loved one even if that future is eternity for your loved one. God is good all the time, dear caregiver!