Monday, May 26, 2014


Memorial Day which was originally called Decoration Day is a day when we remember those who have died in service of our country. It is also a day when we often remember loved ones who have gone ahead of us into heaven. 

Remembering is a good thing especially when it reminds us of happy memories from our past. Dear caregiver, perhaps you are remembering happy memories from your past experiences with your loved one. Although your loved one is still with you, perhaps things have changed due to your loved one's illness or disability. You may be wishing that the days gone past could return, and your heart aches with longing for those days now past.

Remember something else, however, dear caregiver. You are exactly where you are supposed to be in your life right now. It is a God's ordained thing that you are your loved one's caregiver at this moment in time. Remember too God has promised to always be with you. He has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you. (Hebrews 13:3b) Care-giving can be very discouraging and tax all your emotional, physical, and spiritual strength, but the Lord is with you each step of the way. 

There were many days when I was my husband's caregiver that I felt as if I could not go on one more day. Yet God always provided a way. He will do the same for you, dear caregiver. There is one verse in Psalms 32 which has become meaningful to me. It says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you (Psalms 32:8 NIV). Often in my care-giving days and even in my post care-giving days I didn't/ don't have a clue what I was doing, but God promised and continues to promise to lead me. He will do the same for you dear caregiver.

Remember too that others are watching you, as you care for your loved one. They see Jesus in you. I know you are saying “But they don't see all my moments of impatience and sometimes lack of joy in what I am doing.” Remember, however, that the Lord sees your sacrifice and love for your loved one. So do others who are watching. 

Recently I was in a store. I saw a man helping his disabled wife or mother buy clothes. I am pretty sure this was outside his comfort zone, but he was making this love gift for his loved one. I was so touched by what I saw that I went to the car and got one of my books and gave it to him. I told him how much I appreciated what he was doing. Others are watching Jesus in you as well, dear caregiver. You are doing God's work. Praise God for what you are doing! 

Finally, remember that care-giving is shaping you to become an even more beautiful reflection of Jesus in the days ahead. No difficulty in our lives is ever wasted in God's kingdom. God is using you today, and He will use you in the future because of your care-giving experiences.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Care-giving and God's Word

There are so many negative emotions which can accompany care-giving. These emotions often are intense. In many situations, care-giving involves seeing the one that you love deteriorate step by step before your very eyes. As a caregiver for my husband battling with a serious neurological disease, I too experienced many of these emotions. On December 23, 2008, I wrote the following comments:

Lord, help me in my struggle to remain humble, patient, kind, and unselfish in my dealings with my husband. Help me concentrate on the blessings I (we) still have and not on the way things used to be. Help me to not be angry, but joyful. Fill me with Your wisdom and lack of fear about the future. Sometimes it is tempting to feel all alone in this, Lord. I know that isn’t true. Many people care, but they do not fully understand. Why do the prayers and concern always seem to be about the one sick and not the caregiver? Yet I know many people are praying, Lord. Most of all, I know You understand, Lord. Thank you that You are in control. I wish I could cry more, Lord; but You understand when my heart is weary and sad. I praise You for the hope I have in You, Lord.”

Fear, discouragement, impatience, grief, and feelings of being overwhelmed are all emotions which can accompany care-giving. One of the things I learned through my years of care-giving is that I could not do it myself. I had to lean heavily on God’s promises in His Word, the Bible. I needed to dig deeply into God’s Word. I needed to do whatever it took to get God’s Word into my heart and into my mind. God had an answer for every negative emotion and challenging care-giving situation that I faced as my husband’s caregiver. I still need to remember that as I mourn his death.

Care-giving is so busy and time consuming. Take time in God's Word each day, however, dear caregiver. It is so important to your well being, both emotionally and spiritually.

(This post today is a re post of one of my first posts at this blog site. It also appears in my new book DEAR CAREGIVER subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers. You can obtain a copy of my book by clicking on the link to my publishing company below the picture of my book on the right hand side of this page. It is also available at Amazon at:

and at Barnes and Noble online.)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

His Strength

Caregivers and their loved ones have lost so much in this life, but the Lord has promised to be their strength and song when they reach out to Him.  They also know this life is not the end of their story or of the story of their loved ones.  They know eternity is in their futures. 

In the meantime, however, they sometimes struggle with getting up each day and meeting that day’s challenges.  They know that they do not have the strength on their own to face their overwhelming challenges, and they know their strength must come from the Lord.  They know they need the Lord desperately.   

Joni Eareckson Tada is a well-known person in Christian circles.  She became a quadriplegic many years ago as a result of a swimming diving accident.  She talks about having some of these same feelings when she wakes up in the morning.  She shares that she finds her strength only at the cross.  She further points out that she and we all desperately need the Lord to make it through the hardships (sufferings) of this life.   

Dear Christian caregiver, click on the link below.  Listen to Joni inspire you with the subject of hope and needs met.  It is less than five minutes long.  It will bless your heart and encourage you, however.  In fact, you may just find yourself (like me) coming back to it over and over again.





Sunday, May 4, 2014

My Personal Care-giving Story

(In this blog post I am retelling my own personal care-giving story. I first told my care-giving story in my very first blog post at this site. I also tell my story in the introduction to my new book DEAR CAREGIVER subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers. This is followed by over a one hundred mediations meant to encourage family caregivers.)

I was a caregiver for four and one half years to my husband who had a devastating neurological disease. Sadly, my husband died on January 2, 2011. Having been a caregiver myself I know that caregiving is a stressful and sometimes discouraging venture. It is my desire that my experiences during those four and a half years will not be wasted. It is my passion that I can perhaps identify with and help other family caregivers.

In 2006 my husband, Wayne and I had already weathered the challenges of raising a family including a few times of unemployment. The most recent time of unemployment had been in 2003 when Wayne’s company (for whom he had worked for 39 years) moved out of country. In April of 2006 Wayne had been again employed for over two years. In many ways we were enjoying our “empty nest” time of life.

Then in April of 2006 Wayne went into our family doctor for a routine check-up. It so happened that an intern doctor saw Wayne before our regular doctor came into the room. This intern noticed that my husband’s speech and his gait was not quite right. The upshot of all this was that an MRI was ordered for Wayne. The MRI showed deterioration or shrinking of his cerebellum. Wayne was then referred to a local neurologist and ultimately to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. We were at Mayo Clinic for over a week in late August of 2006, and we also returned to Mayo Clinic in October of that same year for a few days.

Mayo Clinic believed Wayne had a rare neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy Type C. It has some Parkinson disease-type characteristics, but it moves faster. The prognosis is eventual total disability. Wayne’s disease affected his speech, balance, small motor skills, and a host of other involuntary body activities. Although he still ate well, later in the disease Wayne had to have his liquids thickened. This was to prevent those liquids from slipping down too quickly and going into his wind pipe.

In the midst of this came my own diagnosis of breast cancer in July of 2007 and my subsequent eight months of treatment to fight my cancer. I praise the Lord that as far as I know I am now cancer free. My care-giving role in many ways was a more difficult role than was the cancer victim role, however. The emotional feelings that surface with such care-giving can be intense at times. I missed and I mourned the way things used to be in my and Wayne’s relationship. Also the physical demands (like pushing wheelchairs and helping him with the lift) were very heavy. Finally, more of the decisions fell on me.

After being diagnosed with his disease in 2006 Wayne worked for some time. Between the summer of 2006 (when Wayne was diagnosed with his disease) until January 2 of 2011 (the day of his death), Wayne went from still working, to walking with a cane, to a walker, to a wheelchair and then the need for us to get him to a standing position with a sit to stand lift in order to transfer him from place to place.

We were told at the beginning and every thing I read since Wayne’s diagnosis indicated that life expectancy is 6-10 years after diagnosis. Wayne lived only four and a half years after diagnosis. On January 2, 2011 when my son and I went to wake Wayne up for the morning, we discovered that he had died sometime during the night. We were not expecting his imminent death, and hence it came as a total shock.

Since I grieved each step down that Wayne took during his illness, however, I had anticipated that with his eventual death I would have an easier time with the grieving process. I did not find that to be the case. I grieved what Wayne had to go through, and I grieved what I went through. I grieved Wayne's absence. I have learned, however, that pain has a purpose, and pain does not equal peace.  I had to make many baby steps towards healing.

These challenges of the last few years have drawn me closer to my Lord God and strengthened my faith and character. If it was not for the promises and encouragement of God’s Word, however, I would have folded under pressure long ago.