Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving in the Trials

Thanksgiving season is upon us again.  Care-giving can be difficult and all consuming, dear caregiver, but the Lord is with you each step of the way.  For what are you thankful this Thanksgiving?  For what are you thankful each and every day?

Thank the Lord each day and throughout the day for His peace and presence even in the midst of the turmoil of family care-giving.  He has promised us that He will never forsake us and that He will always be with us.  Thank Him for that, dear caregiver.  Also the best way to receive the wonderful gifts of His presence and peace is to thank the Lord God for these gifts.  This is because praise and thanksgiving puts us in a right relationship with the Lord which in turn opens up the way for His awesome riches to flow into us.

A thankful heart does not involve a denial of the reality of life’s many problems.  The path of a family caregiver is often laced with problems and heartaches.  Thankfulness, however, allows us all to rejoice in the Lord and concentrate on the Lord in the midst of the trials.  Thankfulness also takes some of the sting out of life’s trials.  When we give thanks in spite of our negative feelings we receive the Lord’s joy in spite of our circumstances.

Concentrate on your blessings still remaining in your life, dear Christian caregiver.  Remember how the Lord showed His love for you on the cross.  Remember that absolutely nothing can separate you from His love for you, dear caregiver.  As you go through the day open your eyes and look for God’s blessings and treasures for you.  Our minds can think of only thing at a time.  So when we are busy thinking about God’s blessings and thanking Him for them we are less wrapped up in our worries and heartaches. Also not only does a thankful attitude give us earthly blessings, but it also gives us a glimpse into heaven and eternity.  It allows us to experience wonderful foretastes of our eternal and ultimate home.

We do live in a fallen world.  It is said that we are either in a trial, about to enter one, or just recently were experiencing a trial.  Family care-giving often entails one of these times in life of deep trial.  As a former family caregiver I remember those days well.  A constant focus on the trials in our lives, however, will defeat us as Christians.  We can have joy in the midst of the trials.  We can give thanks in the midst of the sorrow.  This is way of the Lord and of personal peace.




Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Caregiver's Rest and Peace

Family caregivers often face huge obstacles.  Although care-giving for a loved one is an extremely important mission in life, it is also often physically and emotionally exhausting.  Caregivers must find their rest, confidence, help, and peace in the Lord alone.  Psalm 62 in the Old Testament of the Bible says that God alone must be our rock or firm foundation and our fortress or source of protection.

Family caregivers and all of us for that matter can and must find our confidence and help in the Lord alone. If we put our confidence in anything or anyone but the Lord, we will often be disappointed. We, however, can go to the Lord at anytime and anyplace; and He will be our help and strength.

Hence, the Lord alone is the caregiver’s source of peace and repose in the heartaches and discouraging events of care-giving.  Care-giving can become very overwhelming at times.  I remember it was that way for me.  As I helplessly watched my husband’s body deteriorate, I often felt very discouraged.  Psalm 62 reminds the caregiver and all of us that no matter what we are facing we need never be shaken, because the Lord is our rock or foundation. We can trust in the Lord at all times. He is our sure foundation even when it seems as if our world is crumbling and falling down around us. The Lord is also our salvation. He is our Savior from our sins. He further saves us from many unseen perils and pitfalls each and every day. The Lord is our fortress or protection. Hence, no matter what is going on in our lives; we need never give up and be anxious in our spirits.

This is not to say that family caregivers should not use community resources and other resources in the overwhelming challenges of caregiving.  God has placed those resources there to help the family caregiver.  Too often caregivers try to do everything in their own strength, however.  God alone is the caregiver’s source of strength and wisdom.

Family care-giving can present many difficult challenges.  In spite of all life’s troubles, however, we all must learn the secret of waiting and resting in the Lord. So often when we face a crisis in our lives we try to work out the adverse situation or circumstances by our own devices.  Often we go to the Lord only as a last resort. We need to go to the Lord first.  Rest and peace for our souls can be found in the Lord God alone. Then nothing can ultimately shake us.  No matter what the situation we can trust the Lord and rest in Him in quiet submission. Our well-being for time and for eternity depends on the Lord God alone. He is our sure foundation and refuge.

 We have the absolute assurance of the Lord's protecting presence in our lives at all times. Thus Psalm 62 reminds us to trust in God in all situations and at all times.  We must pour out our hearts to Him for help in facing the difficult situations, for God is our help and refuge.   The Lord will never fail us. The Lord understands us and our needs perfectly. The Lord understands our needs and sympathizes with us better than anyone else is able to do. Resorting to our own devices to get us through a crisis will prove to be of no avail, but our God is our refuge and help. We serve a faithful God. We also serve a loving and powerful God! If we trust in the Lord, He will direct our paths!  He will direct your path also, dear Christian caregiver!  You can count on it!


Monday, November 11, 2013

God's Provision

Sometimes it is easy for a caregiver to feel all alone in the struggles of care-giving.  I know I had such feelings when I was a family caregiver.  Yet as I look back I can see that the Lord was with me each step of the way.  Sometimes the struggles were difficult and unpleasant, but the Lord always provided in His own way and in His own perfect timing.

The Lord is sovereignly providing for you as well, dear caregiver!  Recently I read a blog post by a widow friend of mine.  She wrote a thought provoking article about how she imagines God ordered and provided for her during those difficult moments of her husband's illness and after his death.  The name of the article is "The Meeting."  I have a link to her post below.  Click on the link, and read this post.  I am sure you will find it to be a blessing!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Take Courage

Perhaps you remember as a child being afraid of thunder and lightening.  Maybe you have experienced fear in the midst of a tornado or a hurricane.  There are also other kind of storms in life.  When the circumstances in our lives are of such a nature that everything in our lives seems to be crashing down around us we are also experiencing a storm.  Difficult trials or storms in our lives are never something we enjoy.

Care-giving for a loved one with a terminal and long-time illness is one of those storms.  I so remember the stress and the heartache of caring for my husband who had a rare and devastating neurological disease.  God, however, often allows these trials or storms in our lives to stretch our faith, and He is always with us in those storms.

In Matthew 14 in the Bible Jesus sent His disciples out into a boat to cross to the other side of the lake.  Meanwhile a fierce storm arose on the lake.  Even though they were in the midst of this storm and thought they were alone without Jesus' help Jesus was still with them.  Jesus saw the difficulties they were experiencing.

Jesus is also with us in the storms and trials of life.  The Lord is with us even during the times when we feel all alone!  He is with you, dear caregiver, when you feel so overwhelmed in your care-giving role that you do not think you can go on one more day.

In the story in Matthew 14 Jesus came walking out on the lake to the disciples!  Jesus said to the disciples, "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  Jesus in effect said, "Cheer up! I am more than a match for any storm, so do not be afraid!"  Then Peter one of Jesus' disciples, said to Jesus, "Lord, if it's You---tell me to come to You on the water."  Jesus told Peter to come to Him on the water.  When Peter stepped out in faith and kept his eyes focused on Jesus, Peter actually walked on water!  However, then Peter took his eyes off the Lord Jesus and looked at the waves and storm around him.  Peter became afraid and began to sink when he took his eyes off the Lord and focused them on the storm around him.  Jesus stretched out His hand and caught Peter and said, "You of little faith,---why do you doubt?" 

As we experience storms and trials in our lives we also have a choice to make.  We can either be overcome with doubt and fears, or we can keep our eyes focused on the Lord and trust Him to be with us in the storms.

Dear Christian caregiver, trust the Lord to be with you through the storms of care-giving.  Trust the Lord to calm the storms and be with you in the storms.  Then you will be able to walk triumphantly over the angry waves of the storms and trials!  Our Lord is faithful, and He will be with us through every storm.  Focus on the Lord.  He alone can calm every storm and fear.