Friday, January 31, 2014

His Strength to Persevere

Family care-giving can be challenging and overwhelming.  I know this to be true, because I lived the life of a family caregiver myself.  God does not want us to allow any set of circumstances to intimate us, however.  He does not want us to ever live in fear.  The more challenging our circumstances and day becomes the more His power is available to us.  Dear Christian caregiver, do not assess the difficulties which lie ahead of you based on your puny strength.  The Lord has His strength available for you in accordance with the difficulty of each day that you face. You just have to be willing to avail yourself of that strength and depend on Him alone.  Watch for what the Lord can do for you!

The Lord walks beside you, in front of you and behind you.  More importantly, Christ is in you, dear Christian caregiver; and you are in Him.  The light of His presence and power shines upon you and is within you.  An awareness of God’s presence and power in you gives you joy and the strength to persevere under the sometimes heavy load of care-giving.  This awareness opens up peace and hope, as your walk the care-giving road.

The problems of care-giving are often many and heavy.  Do not focus so intently on the problems, however, dear caregiver, that you forget to focus on the Lord.  Do not think you have to conquer the everyday problems immediately or on your own.  This method only leads to anxiety and defeat.  Instead when a care-giving problem rears its ugly head bring the matter to the Lord and talk with Him about the problem.  Suddenly you will then be able to see things from the Lord’s perspective.  You will also remember that He is with you and in you with His power and presence helping you face these problems.  You may often wonder how you can find your way through the difficult maze of family care-giving.  Remember the Lord holds your hand and will guide you through this.  You only have to see the few steps ahead of you.  So focus on Him and trust Him to lead you through the maze.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Race You Cannot Lose

I recently viewed a short video that touched my heart as a former caregiver.  In fact it had me crying.  Picture with me in your imagination a man pushing a younger disabled man in a wheel chair.  They appear to be participating in some kind of race. The older man is running down the road at a quick rate of speed.  Next after swimming some distance the older man is seen lifting the disabled man out of a boat, carrying him some distance and then transferring him to the front of a bike for two.  He then proceeds to vigorously bike down some trails with the disabled man as his passenger.  During the last part of the race the older man is again seen pushing the disabled man to the finish line.  They are both aglow with victory, as they cross the finish line.  The video then ends with Philippians 4:13 which reminds us that we can do everything God asks of us in Christ's strength.  All through the video the music is also reminding us that we can know our Redeemer lives.

The video brought to my remembrance days of pushing my husband in a wheelchair and days of caring for him in other ways.  The days were exhausting physically and emotionally, but my Lord was with me all the way.  Dear caregiver, care-giving is a difficult race.  Be assured, however, that the Lord is with you all the way.  Your Redeemer lives; and He is with you, dear caregiver. 

Someday the care-giving race will be over.  Both you and your loved one will experience victory.  Your loved one who was ill or disabled may be cured on this earth, and you may both be rejoicing in that blessing.  Perhaps also your loved one will only be healed in eternity, and he or she may be running into the arms of Jesus.  You will be rejoicing for them also in that scenario.  Yet you will be grieving their loss to you on this earth.  In that scenario do not engage in the "could haves" or "should haves" of what you could or should have done in your loved one's care.  It was the homecoming day for your loved one ordained by God Himself.  You were chosen to care for your loved one for awhile and to help to bring him or her to the end of his or her life's race into the very arms of Jesus.  Now your care-giving race is over, but you have other life races to run until God calls you home.

Dear care-giver, you are still running the race of caregiver.  It is a difficult race, but also think of it as a glorious race blessed by the Lord Himself who loves you and your loved one with a perfect and eternal love.  Persevere, dear caregiver.  No matter what happens you cannot lose this race!

I have posted a link to this video below.  Hopefully you can see it.

Monday, January 6, 2014


My computer reads -17 degrees F this morning. I am told that the wind chill factor makes is feel like approximately -44 F. Conditions outside make it dangerous to be outside for any length of time. Right now I am safe and protected in my warm home. Since I have electric heat, however, I would be in a vulnerable situation should the electricity go out. Yet I know in this storm as in any storm of my life the Lord is in control. I can truly rest this in His care.

There are other kinds of storms that sometimes hit our lives as well. One of these storms is the care-giving storm. I so remember my care-giving days especially the last months and year of my husband's life. I am only a five foot two inch female. My husband was about five foot eleven inches and weighed possibly close to two hundred pounds. During the last months of his life due to his neurological disease he was completely disabled. I had to do everything for him with the help of a lift and the help of my son. These were days of great emotional stress and sometimes fear. I could not have survived those days without the Lord.

Yet in this care-giving storm God was with me and provided for me step by step. I can see this with more objectivity and clearness now, as I look back on those days. Although my first reaction often still is to panic and then turn to the Lord when I face a new fearful situation, I think I face the future today with greater confidence because of the lessons I learned during my care-giving days.

Dear caregiver, rest your fears and care-giving storms in the Lord's hands. I was reminded in my devotions today that in the very difficult and extreme circumstances of life one is more likely to see the glory and power of God at work. There is perhaps no more difficult experience than being a caregiver for a loved one who is continually deteriorating in their health. Yet God will and does show His glory in and as a result of these difficult circumstances. Look for God's wonders in your life now and in the days ahead. God may heal your loved one on this earth. Even if the Lord does not heal your loved one on this earth, however, He will be with you. He will do “immeasurably more” than all you “ask or imagine” in your life, as you rest in Him (Ephesians 3:20-21) 

So, dear caregiver, approach this new year with courage and not fear. God said to Joshua in Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with wherever you go.” Hold tightly to the Lord's hand and to the promises of God in Scripture. God is in control. God has the power to heal your loved one, if He so chooses. It is in His sovereign will. (Matthew 8:2) Your times and your loved one's times are in His hands. Trust Him. (Psalm 31:14-15a)

When I was younger I used to think that two things I “knew” I would not be able to handle would be the loss of my husband and the loss of a breast. During the years I was caring for my husband I lost a breast because of breast cancer. I also lost my husband to his disease on January 2, 2011. I also felt woefully inadequate for the job of being my husband's caregiver. God asked all these things from me. Yet you see, dear caregiver, it is not about our strength; it is about His strength. He loves it when we recognize our own weakness, and He is delighted when we rest in His strength. Rest in His strength this year, dear caregiver, and do not give into fear.