Sunday, December 27, 2015

The God of Healing

As a caregiver have you ever wondered why God does not heal your loved one’s devastating disease? Why did your loved one get his or her awful disease in the first place? Jesus Christ performed many miracles during His lifetime. Why doesn’t He perform a miracle in your loved one’s life? As a caregiver have you ever asked yourself these questions?
Jesus’ miracles in the Bible prove that He is a God of compassion and a God of healing. It proves that He cares about people with great needs. These miracles also prove that He is the Son of God. They further prove that He is a promise keeping God.
So why does God heal some people and not others? About a year after my husband was diagnosed with His serious neurological disease I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After eight months of treatment including chemo, a mastectomy, and radiation l am still doing well several years later. After four and one half years of suffering the declines and indignities of his disease, however, my husband died on January 2, 2011. So why was I healed, and my husband was not?
God IS a God of healing, and He DOES care about us, but He sees the big picture when we do not. He says to us as His children, “I am the One who was promised to you long ago. I am the One who saved you from your sins and made you My child. That in itself proves I am a God of miracles, and I have done a miracle in your life. I am the ultimate answer to all of your needs.”
Some people believe that Jesus Christ’s miracles prove that He will heal all of our bodily diseases. God at times has a reason for not healing all of our bodily diseases, however. Sometimes He has a greater purpose for those people who are not healed from their diseases. Often people can bring greater glory to God through their steadfastness in the midst of their disease.
For those who believe God will heal every bodily disease God says, “You have missed the point of my healing! You just don’t get it! You are so focused on what you hope to receive from Me that You have missed ME. I am the great God of the universe who loves you with an infinite love, and I want to give you much more than physical healing. I want to give you MYSELF!”
Dear Christian caregiver, embrace the God of ultimate healing and the God who will meet all your ultimate needs. Ask Him to give you a willing heart to embrace His plan and purpose for your life even in the heartaches of care-giving and often seeing your loved one decline in his or her health.  Embrace Him.

(This post is a chapter in my book Dear Care-giver Reflections for Family Caregivers. It can be purchased from Xulon, my publisher, and also from Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. The Amazon link to the order page for my book is here:

Also consider visiting my other blog, a devotional blog. The link for that is posted at the top of my November 22 blog post here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Christmas Hope Not Worries

(The following post is from a blog post that I published in 2014.  Once again, I pray that the Lord is blessing your Christmas with His love and comfort, dear caregiver.)

December is the month that we think of Christmas and hope.  Dear caregiver, is your life weighed down with care and worry this Christmas season; or is it filled with hope?  I remember my care-giving years during which I saw my husband continue to decline in his health step by step.  It was tempting at such times to give up hope.  Hope is something all of us can possess no matter how difficult our circumstances, however.

During the holiday season we are reminded of the birth of Jesus Christ.  Over two thousand years ago before Jesus was born most of the people were living without very much hope.  Then in Luke chapter two of the Bible we read that an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she was being blessed by God's grace in becoming the mother of Jesus.  Jesus Christ was coming as the Savior of His people!

Mary's response to this was openhearted acceptance (Luke 1:38).  Mary would suffer many immediate problems being the mother of Jesus.  She would experience many heartaches in her future. Because Mary now had hope, however, she was willing to accept God's will for her life with joy.  A life secure in the Lord's hope can move with confidence through life in spite of difficulties and challenges.

Life as a caregiver can be very heartbreaking and challenging.  There are times when the circumstances of care-giving can be overwhelming.  But like Mary in the Bible we too can have hope no matter what our circumstances.  Dear caregiver rest your care-giving heartaches with the Lord. Know that He is the source of strength and hope.  His hope is not a wishful thinking type of hope, but it is a hope based on His certain promises in the Bible.  His hope is secure and will never leave you.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Wonderful Gifts

(I am bringing back today a post that I published in December of 2013.  I hope you are experiencing a blessed Christmas season, dear caregiver.)

What kind of Christmas do you anticipate this year, dear Christian caregiver? Perhaps your Christmas will involve a lot of extra work for you in addition to the challenges and responsibilities of care-giving, or perhaps you are feeling isolated and ignored and all alone this Christmas in your care-giving responsibilities. Instead, however perhaps you will experience Christmas this year as a reminder of your blessings and as a blessed respite from the drama of care-giving.

Whatever we experience this Christmas and with every gift we receive at Christmas or at any time of year we have to open our hands to receive the gift; or the gift does not benefit us or give us any joy. The gifts we receive which are eternally precious, however, are the gifts which God wants to give us.

The Lord first offers us the gift of salvation which is what Christmas and walking with the Lord is all about. He further offers us the accompanying gifts of joy, peace, and hope. They are ours for the taking; and yes, dear Christian caregiver, they can coexist with the pain and heartache which often are present in care-giving. Further, the Lord promises us a happy ending. That happy ending is eternal life. Christian caregiver, the heartaches that sometimes accompany care-giving are but a comma in your life story. They are not the end of your life’s story. They are not the end of your loved one’s life story for whom you are caring either.

We also can all receive other gifts. We can receive the gift of trust in God and letting Him control our lives. We receive this gift by resting in Him and by letting go of anything which we are holding onto too tightly or trying to control. As a former caregiver I know how much we want to stop the progress of our love one’s disease, but much of this is beyond our control.

We also all have to let go of feelings of unforgiveness for people who have not been there for us. We further have to receive the gift of forgiveness for ourselves We have to bring to the Lord any true wrongs, and ask for His forgiveness. Further, we often carry around a lot of false guilt about things beyond our control. So whether false guilt or true guilt we need to let it go. We need to give it to the Lord. Trust and letting go are great gifts to have in our lives. Caregivers often carry around a lot of guilt. Dear caregiver, receive the gift of releasing it to the Lord.

One great gift we can give ourselves is the gift of acceptance of our situation. We often waste so much energy wishing circumstances were different, but we can rest assured that we are right where we are supposed to be in our lives. Dear Christian caregiver, your responsibilities are emotionally overwhelming at times. I know that because I experienced it, but in the measure that you can accept where God has placed you now in your life you will find joy. It is a great gift you can give yourself.

Yet another wonderful gift we can give ourselves is the gift of being still in the presence of God. (Psalm 46:10) Doing this helps us grow in peace, wisdom, and insights. Finally, we can give ourselves the gift of gratitude. When we are grateful in spite of our circumstances our joy and blessings will multiply and resentments will flee.

Christian caregiver, you have many challenges and sometimes you experience much emotional upheaval as a caregiver of your loved one. Would not these be wonderful gifts to have in your life? These are wonderful gifts not just for Christmas but all year long!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Delight Yourself in the Lord

Do you sometimes struggle with some of the promises of Scripture; as you care for your loved one, dear caregiver?  Psalm 37:4 in the Bible says, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."  As a caregiver for my husband, I sometimes struggled with that verse. Watching my husband's body deteriorate step by step certainly did not feel like the desires of my heart were being met.  Losing him eventually to death certainly did not seem to meet that criteria either.  In both cases I felt my heart was breaking.

So what does the promise in this verse really mean?  I believe it means that if we delight ourselves in the Lord He will give us our greatest desire.  He will give us Himself.  It is only the Lord that can fill that longing we have in us for intimacy and for eternity.  We know this world is only temporary and does not satisfy.  Only He can satisfy that empty place within our souls.  I think this passage also means that if we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires He wants us to have and not our own selfish or unwise desires.

That kind of delighting ourselves in the Lord is the only source of peace in times of trial.  It may be your only source of sanity and joy; as you face the often challenging and sometimes overwhelming moments of caring for your loved one, dear caregiver.  Your love for your Lord and your delight in the Lord is the only thing which is going to get you through those days.

Delighting in the Lord is like a refreshing oasis in the wilderness of family care-giving.   Just gritting our teeth and plowing ahead in our care-giving duties will eventually wear us out.  Seeking the diversions of the world's pleasures for respite will only prove temporary.  Finding pleasure in the Lord can get us through the most difficult of moments.  The Lord wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love Him in an all-consuming way.  Sometimes difficulties in our lives (like family care-giving) actually awakens our hearts and emotions to the Lord.  It grows our love for the Lord and our intimacy with Him.  It helps us to delight ourselves in Him.  Rich blessings come from that in the midst of the challenges.

Dear caregiver, delight yourself in the Lord.  Love Him with all your heart.  Rest in Him.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving and Family Care-giving

(The below blog post is a repeat of a post I published at this blog last year at this time of year.  I hope it will prove to be a blessing to you again.  Because I will be away from my computer I will not be posting here next week.  The next new post will be December 5 or 6.  Use this time to read some of my older posts here at Christian Care-giving.  You can also check out my other blog, a devotional blog here: )

Family care-giving can be very discouraging especially when one's love one continues to deteriorate in his or her health.  It is difficult to find things for which to be thankful in such a scenario.  It seems impossible to have a thankful heart under such circumstances.

Yet a thankful heart opens up blessings from heaven and foretastes of heaven that cannot be attained in any other way.  A thankful heart further revives hope and allows us to communicate on a more intimate level with the Lord.  A thankful heart does not deny the reality of life's challenges, and care-giving certainly presents a host of problems and heartaches.  A thankful heart does, however, recognize the Lord's presence and joy in the midst of those problems.

So perhaps the best place to start, dear caregiver, is to thank the Lord each day for His presence and peace.  Also as you go through the day look for even the Lord's tiny treasures which He has placed on your path.  Look with spiritual eyes for His wonders in your life.  I have mentioned this before but I remember as a caregiver being challenged to write down each day at least three things for which I was thankful that day.  That helped me immensely in persevering in the care-giving role.

It is said that a thankful heart takes the sting out of trials and adversity.  Family care-giving often facilitates many challenges and trials.  Yet we are commanded in the Bible to give thanks in everything.  We may not always FEEL like giving thanks, but when we offer a SACRIFICE of thanks in spite of our feelings or circumstances, God gives us joy in spite of our circumstances.

That does not mean we always feel happy.  Happiness and joy are not the same thing, but joy in the Lord and grief can coexist.  It may seem nonsensical to thank God in and for difficult circumstances. Yet in the measure that we do so we will be blessed, even though the adversities may remain.  Dear caregiver, thank the Lord today for His blessings!

In the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day this week.  It is a day when we especially try to remember to thank and praise God for the blessings of the past year.  Care-giving is often challenging and difficult.  Yet there are many blessings in our lives even in the most difficult of moments.  Dear caregiver, thank the Lord for your blessings daily and not just on special occasions. It will lift your burdens and add joy to your life.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

God's Faithfulness

When I was a caregiver for my husband I remember the struggles and heartaches along the way.  It was heartbreaking seeing my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  Sometimes it felt like a battleground, as we were fighting a long four and half year losing battle against his disease.  As a widow I continue to face struggles along life's way.

Yet I never have been and never will be alone.  When I look back I see how far I have come through God's grace.  Each step of the way the Lord has been with me.  I look back and see the Lord's faithfulness, and I see all he has done in my life,  Not once was I alone.  Not once will I be alone in the days ahead.  God is a faithful God, and He will always be a faithful God.

There was victory in it all too.  Yes, my husband eventually succumbed to his disease.  Yet there was victory in even that.  My husband, Wayne, is with the Lord now, singing His praises.  Wayne is free from all sickness and pain and experiencing pure joy.  I miss my husband.   Yet there is victory for me also, as I rest in the Lord's provision and power in me.  I was then and continue to be carried by the Lord's grace and continue to be held by Him. 

Dear caregiver, you also are never walking alone.  You serve a faithful God who is carrying you each step of the way along the challenging path of family care-giving.  In Him you are an overcomer! Recently I ran across the Matt Redman song "Never Once"  which speaks to these sentiments.  Click on the link below and be blessed by the words and music of this song:    

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Caregiver's Great "I AM"

In the Bible God has many names. The names of God reveal His character. When God revealed Himself in the burning bush to Moses in the Old Testament of the Bible God said His name was “I AM.”  God as the great “I AM” means that God is everything any human heart might need. God is even everything the caregiver’s heart might desire and need.
Care-giving is often one of the most difficult challenges any individual might face in this life. Our God says He is with us in life’s trials and difficulties, however. He says that He is the great “I AM.” So how is God the great “I AM” in the caregiver’s life? God says, “I AM the caregiver’s strength. I AM his or her source of guidance and wisdom in the many decisions that need to constantly be made in regards to his or her loved one’s health. I AM the Christian caregiver’s peace in all the chaos and discouragement of care-giving. I AM patient and forgiving, and I AM love personified. I AM the caregiver’s life, and I AM all he or she will ever need. I AM the caregiver’s salvation and righteousness. I AM the caregiver’s all in all.”
When God calls people to the task of care-giving He is calling them to a very important and significant task in this world. The challenges of family care-giving can be overwhelming and often are not pleasant, but nonetheless care-giving is a holy calling from God Himself.        

Likewise when God spoke to the Old Testament Moses in the burning bush, He called Moses to another overwhelming but God ordained task. You can read about it in Exodus 3 in the Bible. Moses did not want to undertake the task God had assigned him. Moses was afraid and filled with confusion. He felt overwhelmed by what God was asking of Him, and he felt that he was not able to do what God had asked of him. God reminded Moses that He would be with him each step of the way. He reminded Moses that He was the great “I AM.” God would be for Moses everything Moses needed Him to be, so Moses would be able to complete the task that God had assigned him.
Especially during the last months of my husband’s life my care-giving responsibilities became very overwhelming. My husband could do next to nothing on his own, and the deterioration of his body was heartbreaking. I sometimes felt as if I could not continue in God’s ordained task for me of caring for my husband for one more day. I am so glad I had the great “I AM” with me during those days and months and years.  Dear Christian caregiver, the Lord God is also your great “I AM.” He is your all and all. He will be with you each step of the way, dear Christian caregiver, rest in faith in your great “I AM.” 

(This blog post is one of the short chapters or meditations from my book: Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.  My book can be found at Xulon, my publisher and also at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. The Amazon link to the order page for my book is here:

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Blessings in Gratitude

Dear Caregiver, it is so easy to become discouraged in the daily struggles and challenges of family care-giving,  Yet there is blessing in thanking the Lord through it all.  In fact, praise ushers us into the very presence of God.  It helps us focus on His attributes and helps us receive what we need from the Lord in our discouraging moments in life.

This is a lesson the Lord began to lay on my heart as a caregiver for my husband for over four and a half years, and it is a lesson He continues to try to lay on my heart today in the challenges of being a widow.  He did that again recently in my morning devotional time.  I use more than one devotional book along side Scripture reading in my time with the Lord in the morning.  On this particular morning more than one of my devotional books spoke of the need for thankfulness even in trials and the need for focusing on the Giver instead of the gift.  Below are some of the quotes from those devotionals:

First this devotional: It is as if Jesus if speaking. "The best response to losses or thwarted hopes is praise----Remember that all good things-your possessions, your family and friends, your health and abilities, your time-are gifts from Me. Instead of feeling entitled to all these blessings, respond to them with gratitude. Be prepared to let go of anything I take from you, but never let go of my hand." (Jesus Calling-Sarah Young)

From this devotional: "In the wake of losing everything he owned, and nearly everyone he loved, Job fell to the ground expressing gratitude, not just for the blessings God had given him, but amazingly, for everything God had taken away.---(Job 1:21)---We tend to think the possessions we have, the positions we hold, and the people we love are ours-that we earned them, that we deserve them. But the truth is they are a gift.---Genuine gratitude is a response not to the worth of the gift, but to the excellence of the Giver.---So would you turn your eves from your loss and disappointment to the great Giver, asking Him to reveal more of Himself to you so that you may grow in gratitude?" (The One Year book of Hope-Nancy Guthrie)

Then this devotional: "---it is so essential to turn your thoughts away from your suffering and to His sufficiency, to replace the pain of your trials with the reality of His triumph. Worship the Lord who can and will help you. Rejoice and be glad that He is with you and will never fail. It is when you refocus your attention on Him that you will see victory as a possibility. That, friend is the true power of praise." (Psalms to Soothe a Woman's heart)

Then this verse from Colossians 2:6: "So then just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness."

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Sunshine and the Rain of Life

Care-giving like the weather always had its ups and downs for me. As a caregiver some days felt stormy, and on those days I felt that I couldn’t persevere in my care-giving responsibilities any longer. On other days life tended to take on a certain rhythm and pattern and was workable.  In 2009 in the midst of my care-giving days I wrote the following:
 “It is a rather cold dreary day outside, as I write my blog post. We have been having some rainy days of late also. I guess we all prefer the warm sunny days, but we need the rain also. What a picture of our lives also. The plants would shrivel up and die, if they received only sunshine and no rain. So we also would shrivel up into something undesirable, if we did not have the rain and the storms in our lives.
Care-giving with its responsibilities at times brings on a storm of emotions and/or dreariness of spirit in my life. Sometimes I long for the way things used to be before my husband was diagnosed with his neurological disease. Then, however, there would have been lessons in character building and faith building in my life that would have gone untaught.” 

Life always tends to be a mixture of joys and sorrows, but I think the experiences of care-giving tends to highlight these swings back and forth in one’s emotions. As a caregiver I was joyful in my faith and in my relationship with my Lord. I was thankful that I knew He was always with me. It was difficult living with the reality of my husband’s disease, however. I was happy that the struggles of life were making me stronger in my character, in my faith, and as a person.  I struggled with the fact, however, that care-giving often had to be so emotionally exhausting, and I wondered why life had to be so difficult.
I mourned the fact that my husband’s balance issues, mobility, speech, and a host of issues continued to decline. I mourned the flatness of his personality and the changes in his personality from what I had known for so many years previously. I, however, found joy in the times we spent with our grandchildren and in our pleasant times with family. I found joy in my faith and in the comfort and strength my Lord gave me. I found joy in the promises of God’s Word. I found joy in the beauties of creation all around me.  
The care-giving years were very difficult years in my life. I realized that I had to cling tightly to my faith in order to survive. I also learned that I had to look for the blessings in my life. Finally, I discovered that the joyful things in my life were definitely better because of the sorrows.
Dear caregiver, life is a mixture of joys and sorrows. There are a number of deep heartaches in caring for a loved one with a terminal illness. In spite of all this look for the joys and blessings in the midst of the storms in your life. It will help you persevere.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Panic or Trust

What do you do, dear Christian caregiver, when your care-giving responsibilities become increasingly overwhelming; and you do not know what to do next? A few months before my husband’s death it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to take care of my husband’s physical needs. As a caregiver maybe you can identify with some of the feelings that I experienced at that time. I hope my sharing those feelings will be helpful to you, dear caregiver.  On September 25, 2010 I wrote the following paragraphs:
“Things definitely are changing with my husband, Wayne. Transfers for my husband to the bathroom, back to the chair, etc. are getting more difficult; and I have been finding myself becoming increasingly stressed. I find myself dreading and consumed with thinking about the next transfer. I also keep wondering what my next step needs to be. Keep doing it myself? Try to hire more in-home help? Pursue nursing home options?
Last night my son came over. He was very stressed because of a serious job issue. He was basically in panic mode. It was and is a serious situation, as his job may be on the line. My first reaction was to think, 'I do not need this. I have enough stress of my own.'
Then, however, I found I could relate to him and thus calm him down. I told him about my heavy stress level and how we just need to trust. Nothing happens by chance, and we are being guided. I also told him that what will be will be, and we will be okay. I asked him if he had prayed about it, and he said 'Yes.' He then asked me to pray for him. I did that, and we both felt better. I do not think I could have helped him as much, if I had not been as stressed as he was. I could relate to him, and therefore what I said to him had validity. It helped both of us.
This whole incident reminded me that everything has a purpose even the difficulties of care-giving. Because of the stress I was experiencing with care-giving I could help my son. We also shared a prayer and a hug together. That was a special blessing in spite of the situation we both are in. What could be more beautiful than that?”

Dear Christian caregiver you do not need to live in a state of panic. The Lord will guide you step by step. Care-giving will never be easy, but God’s purpose will be fulfilled in you through your care-giving role.  What you do in care-giving is important, and it has eternal consequences.  The trials of care-giving are forming your character to become stronger. Do not focus on what you see but on what will be and on what is good in your life right now.  Focus on seeing the small miracles of each day, and know and trust that they will continue.  God’s love is always with you, dear caregiver. 

(This blog post is one of my chapters in my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers. My book can be found at Xulon, my publisher, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble online. The Amazon link for my book is here: )

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Contentment and Joy

I have been camping out in the book of Philippians in the Bible the last few weeks. I have been doing this with the help of a book called To Live is Christ, To Die Is Gain by Matt Chandler. Philippians is such a beautiful book.  It shows us that we can have contentment and peace in even in the most difficult of circumstances.  It was written by Paul while he was in prison for his faith!

I especially like Philippians chapter four.  In chapter four Paul tells us to rejoice and to not be anxious about anything but to bring our concerns to the Lord with a thankful heart.  Paul says he has learned to be content in all circumstances, in both the pleasant and in the difficult circumstances and in times of plenty and in times of want.  Paul knew that joy and contentment comes only from the Lord,  If we have all our dreams fulfilled and are living in plenty, we will not necessarily be content.  This is because contentment can only come from the Giver and not from the gifts He gives.  Without the Lord being the center and focus of our lives, there is still restlessness and emptiness.  Likewise in difficult times we will give way to despair and discouragement, if we are not looking to the Lord.

Yet if we are seeking the Lord, He is sufficient no matter what our circumstances. God is powerful enough, perfect enough, and loving enough to meet ALL of our needs.  When I was a family caregiver it was so easy to begin to give into despair, as I saw my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  Yet as I look back on those days, I see that the Lord was faithful step by step.I have learned through experience how good and sufficient is my God.  

I sometimes still am tempted to give into fear and discouragement, as I face problems as a widow   It is sometimes difficult to be content in the extreme highs and lows and changes and challenges of life. Yet God has promised to meet all my needs "according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)

He promises the same for you, dear caregiver.  Family care-giving can be challenging and sometimes discouraging and even sad.  Yet it is often during these times that we learn that God is sufficient.  We tend to search for Him in those times; and in the Lord's presence we find peace, joy, and contentment in the midst of the difficult circumstances.  Joy and contentment is not found in perfect circumstances but in the presence of the Lord.  Keep turning to Him, dear caregiver, when the clouds of discouragement appear on the horizon of your life.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Guideposts Magazine Article

Guideposts Magazine has been publishing stories this past year about family caregivers.  I find this to be an exciting development.  Last summer I was contacted and then later interviewed by Guideposts Magazine concerning my care-giving experiences and my experiences since my husband's death.  It is my joy to announce that the story they did on me was published in the October issue of Guideposts Magazine.

Then recently the story was also put on their web page.  They don't include as many pictures on the web page, and the title is "Never Forsaken" in the magazine; but the article is the same.  The link to the article on the web is below.

Those days of caring for my husband were very difficult, but God has used that time in my life and in the lives of others in many ways.  I stand amazed at the Lord's workings.  Wayne, my husband, is free of the limitations of his body, and God is using our story in ways I could never have imagined.  God will do the same for you someday, dear caregiver.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Losses of Care-giving

If your loved one has suffered with a terminal disease or with a disease which has caused a severe disability, your loved one has experienced serious losses in his or her life.  You as his or her caregiver have also suffered serious losses. You have most likely suffered the loss of a relationship as it once existed and the loss of time doing fun things together with your loved one.  Dear Christian caregiver, those losses can really hurt. I think the loss or change in a relationship that one once had with one’s love one is the most difficult of all losses. 

You have also suffered a loss of dreams for the future. As a caregiver you may have further lost the help of your ill loved one with duties around the house.  Finally because of the expenses of care-giving you may have lost possessions and financial security.
In September of 2009 I wrote about yet another loss.  This loss was the loss of my husband’s leadership in decision making due to his illness. I wrote the following words: 

I do weary of being responsible for so many decisions. When we bought a different vehicle this summer, I did all the talking and dealing. When there are telephone calls to be made or problems to be solved it is I who has to take charge. Soon we will have some major insurance issues to consider. That will be mainly my responsibility. We may have a chance to move from our apartment to a condo. There is a condo in our price range available, but all the things to think about in regards to such a possibility are a bit overwhelming.
I love the good times my husband and I still have together, but I miss the way things used to be. I miss the times when my husband took more responsibility for these type things and decisions. I miss the person my husband used to be.”
The losses and the stresses of care-giving can be overwhelming at times. Always remember that the Lord God is with you in the losses, dear Christian caregiver. His plans for your future are also good. He can turn the chaos and heartaches of care-giving into something beautiful in your character and in your future. Rest in Him.  

(This blog post can be found as a meditation in my book: Dear Caregiver (subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.) My book can be ordered at Xulon, my publisher and also at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. The amazon link is here: If you want a copy directly from me e-mail me at for details.)

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Care-giving not only involves the tasks of caring for one’s loved one, but there is also much emotional turmoil which can accompany the family care-giving process. I found this especially true in the later months of my husband’s illness. Transfers to the bathroom, bed, and car were becoming increasingly difficult; and I was finding myself fearfully anticipating each next transfer.

God wants us to do everything in dependence on Him. Care-giving began to teach me that self-sufficiency would not work. Apart from God we can do nothing of eternal value. God’s deepest desire for you, dear Christian caregiver, is that you depend on Him in every situation. There is no other way to travel through the challenges and sometimes grief of care-giving. Rely on the Lord constantly. Let Him fill you moment by moment with His strength. You do not have enough strength on your own, dear caregiver, but He will give you enough strength for the day.

As I think back on my days as caregiver for my husband, I remember those days as being very difficult days. My husband’s disease was a terrible disease which made him completely dependent on others especially near the end of his life. Through it all as I look back, however, I can see how God provided step by step. I clung tightly to God during those days. Perhaps my emotional stress would have been lighter, however, if I would not have tried to anticipate the future. I needed to rely moment by moment on God alone.

The Lord wants to give you His peace in the midst of the chaos of care-giving, dear Christian caregiver. Take time each morning to sit quietly in His presence through prayer and Bible reading. Then walk through the day constantly reminding yourself of His presence. The peace which will come from remembering His presence in your life is a rare and beautiful treasure.  That peace will help you stand up under the struggles of the day. Wear God’s peace throughout the day.

He will refresh you when you are weary, dear caregiver. He will give you what you need when you feel as if you cannot persevere for even one more moment in your care-giving duties. Also do not become discouraged when your emotions so overwhelm you that you do not feel that peace, dear Christian caregiver. God understands our weakness. On those days just turn back once again to the Lord.  

(This blog post on peace can be found as a meditation in my book: Dear Caregiver (subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.) My book can be ordered at Xulon, my publisher and also at Amazon and Barnes and Noble online. The amazon link is here: If you want a copy directly from me e-mail me at for details.)

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Light and Momentary Troubles

A week ago tomorrow it was Labor Day in the United States.  I wrote some thoughts that day, and they are written below:

Today is Labor Day.  Today I am spending the day alone.  I do remember past Labor Days, however, which were spent with family.  Every year over Labor Day week-end there is a county fair in my area.  For many years my husband, Wayne, and I took our three young sons to the fair over Labor Day week-end. They loved seeing the farm animals and other exciting things at the fair.  When Wayne and I became empty-nesters we went to the fair as a couple.  The fair is basically the same thing every year, but we enjoyed walking over the grounds hand in hand.

According to my Facebook memories six years ago today some family members helped me take Wayne to the fair using his mobility scooter.  By even that time Wayne was having serious mobility and other issues.

Then five years ago today was my mother-in-law's funeral.  She had lived a healthy life until about two years before her death, but the last couple years she had ovarian cancer which finally took her life.  She was 88 years old when she passed, but we still grieved her passing.  Some of the grief that I felt at the time over her decline and death were mixed with my feelings of grief over Wayne's continual decline.  I remember feeling so stressed the day of her funeral wondering if Wayne would be able to attend. The day before the funeral he had had a very difficult day.  As it was Wayne was able to attend the funeral, and he had a relatively good day the day of his Mom's funeral.

Four months after his Mom's death, however, on January 2, 2011 Wayne also  passed into eternity. So today I have some sad feelings.  I am sad about the heartaches of seeing Wayne deteriorate in his body during the four and a half years since his diagnosis.  I am sad about what we both went through.  I am sad that he is no longer in my life.

Yet I am glad that Wayne, his mom, my dad, and other loved ones who have gone on ahead are with the Lord.  I am sure Wayne is saying that his "light and momentary troubles" have achieved for him "an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." ( II Corinthians 4:17)

So whatever your care-giving heartaches may be today, dear caregiver, trust your Heavenly Caregiver to be with you each step of the way.  I still feel heartache about those difficult care-giving days.  I still feel loneliness without Wayne in my life.  Yet I also feel the Lord's presence in a rich and fuller way.  My faith has never been sweeter; nor has my love for the Lord been stronger.  God has used our story in awesome ways.  Persevere in the faith and in your noble calling of care-giving, dear caregiver.  God is already using YOUR story as well.  He will be with you each step of the way.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

God's Sure Love

It is so difficult in our human minds to reconcile two truths. One truth is that God loves us. The other truth is that God allows us to face very difficult challenges and even suffering in this life. Sometimes the challenges and suffering we face tempts us to doubt God’s love for us.
Care-giving by definition is challenging at best. If a caregiver is put into the position of witnessing his or her loved one’s health continue to deteriorate step by step; that caregiver might also experience discouragement, grief, and a host of other negative emotions.  Though God’s ways are difficult to understand sometimes, one truth to which Christian caregivers can cling is the truth of God’s overflowing and certain love for them.
God is the very definition of love. We tend to think that when life is easy and comfortable God must love us. Conversely, if things are difficult and challenging in our lives; we may be tempted to think God no longer cares for us. If we begin to see things from God’s perspective, however, we realize that suffering and challenges have purpose and meaning.
Christian caregivers know that the emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges of care-giving are molding their characters. They know that somehow God is going to bring good out of the chaos, heartache, and overwhelming challenges of care-giving. They know that God will be with them each step of the way supporting them and sustaining them with His love and power.
Dear Christian caregiver. Rest in the truth of God’s love for you in the midst of all the negative emotions that care-giving can produce. Trust that He in His love will lead you through this difficult process. Trust that good will come out of all of the heartaches and challenges of care-giving. Just rest in trust in His love.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015


(Today's post is from a chapter in my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers. Links to the order page for my book at Amazon and Xulon can be found on the right hand side of this page.)

I happen to enjoy reading novels with an Amish setting and Amish characters. I also enjoy reading Christian historical novels. I think I like these kind of novels because they portray a simpler way of life. In spite of this, however, the characters often have similar struggles and emotions; as we all do as human beings. 
Some time back I completed a novel trilogy in which the main character, Hannah, undergoes a number of very difficult trials and struggles. In spite of all these difficulties, she struggles through the bitterness and hurt, and she comes to the realization through her faith that there always is a “nevertheless” in every overwhelming and sad circumstance in her life. I thought that was such a wonderful concept that I made a picture with the word “nevertheless” on it. I then framed it and put it on my kitchen counter. 
As my husband’s caregiver, there were many emotional struggles as I saw my husband’s health deteriorate step by step before my eyes. Also, about a year after my husband was diagnosed with his disease, I went through eight months of treatment for breast cancer. 
Nevertheless, I grew in character during this time.   

Sometimes during those difficult  care-giving days and after my husband’s death on January 2, 2011, I have felt all alone. Nevertheless, the Lord has been with me through it all, and His presence in my life has become increasingly real to me in a new way. During the years I was a caregiver for my husband, the Lord supplied love and help to me through others and through His presence, and He continues to do so today after my husband's passing to Glory. 

 “Nevertheless” is such a powerful word. It is such a liberating word. Dear Christian caregiver, there is always a “nevertheless” phrase that can be added to every heartache and challenge you face as a caregiver, and in life in general. Based on your own care-giving experience, I challenge you to complete the following sentence for yourself, dear caregiver: Care-giving is often so discouraging and heartbreaking, nevertheless…."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There Are No Accidents With God

As most of you readers know, I was my husband's caregiver for four and a half years.  I lost him to a devastating neurological disease in early 2011.  Recently I read a statement which has stuck in my mind.  The statement was this:  "Widowhood is not God's plan B for your life."  Care-giving with all it's challenges and heartaches also was not God's plan B for my life.   I was chosen by God for both care-giving and then later widowhood.  They were both God perfect will and plan for my life.  God's plan for my life is not what I would have chosen for myself, but it is God's first and best plan for my life.

God has chosen you as well for the noble task of care-giving, dear caregiver.  I know it can be overwhelmingly discouraging at times, but God has chosen you for this.  He has chosen you for this job to refine you and to grow you in your faith.  He chosen you for this task to make you fall more and more in love with the Lord.  Finally he has chosen you for this, so you can be a blessing to your loved one.

Recently I read a wonderful article online entitled "There are NO Accidents with God." This is difficult truth to accept at times, but it is a blessed and soft place to land when we do accept it.  Read that wonderful article by clicking the link below.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Care-giving and Forgiveness

Forgiveness and struggling to forgive is always a part of any grief process or sense of loss in one’s life. Furthermore, there is a grief process that accompanies long term family care-giving. I know as I witnessed my husband’s health continue to decline step by step, I definitely went through a grief process.

Whom, then, might we need to forgive in the grief process that often accompanies care-giving? First of all, we need to accept God’s forgiveness of ourselves. As a caregiver, although devoted to my husband and my marriage vows, I was less than perfect. I often felt impatient. I know there were times that I said and did things which showed this impatience and which were not up to God’s standard of love.  

To reject God’s forgiveness for these things would be a slap in the face of God. God pardons and forgives our sins. In fact, He delights to show us His mercy; and He smashes our sins underfoot and throws those sins into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:18-19). I also tended to put false guilt on myself at times for things that were out of my control. These too needed to be turned over to the Lord. I suspect this is true of most every caregiver at one time or another. 
Secondly, we need to forgive others. Unless others are caregivers themselves, they cannot begin to  understand the heartaches and challenges of being a caregiver. Hence, they may say trite and hurtful things. Also, the people who one may think would be most likely to step up and help are often not there to assist.  Either they are not able to empathize because they have not gone through the same care-giving experiences, or they have issues and responsibilities of their own.  They also may not feel emotionally equipped to get into the process of helping. As a caregiver, however, one has to let go and forgive. We are commanded to forgive, and a lack of forgiveness will only add to the emotional struggles which sometimes accompany care-giving. 

Thirdly, it is also necessary at times for a caregiver to forgive the loved one for whom one is caring. No human being is perfect, and the caregiver’s loved one will not always show the love and gratitude to the caregiver that he or she might expect. As a caregiver, I remember thinking that it would be nice to be thanked occasionally for all that I did for my husband. I do know my husband loved me, however, and we have to forgive and overlook these things. We need to forgive these things because Christ has forgiven us. We also need to overlook them for our own emotional health.  

Finally, we need to be careful that we do not blame God for our loved one’s ill health and for the trials of care-giving. We will never understand all the “whys,” but our best course of action is to trust our Lord God and to run to our Lord for strength and comfort.  

Sunday, August 9, 2015

My Passion for Caregivers

This week Friday night I will be selling my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers, at Heritage Day.  Heritage day is a festival/celebration type event we hold every other year in my small town.  I like doing these book events, as it gives me a chance to hopefully get my book in the hands of current caregivers, past caregivers, or anyone who is going through a difficult time.

 Life is difficult, but God is good.  He is in control and is leading us through the difficult moments with His guiding hand.  We need to keep looking to Him.  This is especially true for the family caregiver.  This is the theme of my book.

As I talk about my book at these events I feel passionate.  This is because I feel passionate about family caregivers.  I feel passionate about helping them.  I also feel passionate about their loved ones for whom they are caring.

These events where I promote my book are emotionally draining as well, however.  It brings up in me the emotions of those days as a family caregiver.  I remember the stress and sadness of seeing my husband's body deteriorate during those four and a half years that I cared for him.  I remember the emotions of worrying about giving my husband everything I could and doing everything I could for him in the battle for his health which we knew from the beginning would be a losing battle.

Yet I also remember that the Lord was with me during those days, and He has been with me in my post care-giving days as well.  I want caregivers and anyone else's life I touch to know that the Lord will be with them as well. That is my passion and that is why I write this blog and why I wrote the book.

So I ask that you will pray for me on Friday night, August 14 between 4:00 and 9:00 P.M. Central time.  I wish you could all greet me at my table.  Since at least most of  you can not do that, consider ordering my book online.  It can be found at Xulon, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.  Links to my book on Xulon and Amazon can be found on the right hand side of this page.  My book contains over 100 meditations or short chapters to encourage family caregivers.

Please forgive this diversion from the usual type of thoughts that I post here.  Know, however, dear caregiver that I care about you.  What is more important to know is that the Lord loves you and cares for you.  He is with you, dear caregiver, on this difficult but noble undertaking in your life!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Shifting of Roles

(This post is another chapter from my book. Links to the order page for my book at Xulon and Amazon are found at the right side of this page.)

It’s becoming difficult to remember what it felt like when he wrapped me in his arms, and I felt secure and wanted instead of motherly and needed.” Such was a comment made by Jennifer, a woman on an online care-giving site. Those words so echo the feelings I experienced as a caregiver for my husband. My husband’s neurological disease robbed him of so much. It also robbed our relationship of so much. When a relationship becomes a caregiver to care receiver relationship, things change. 
For a period of time during the progression of his disease, my husband Wayne enjoyed listening to audio books. One day almost three years into the progression of his disease, Wayne was listening to an autobiography about a man who suffered through MS. My husband’s disease was a different and (I would say) a worse neurological disease, but there was much in the book with which my husband could identify.  
While my husband was listening to this audio book on this particular day, I overheard a few comments made by the author of the book. The man was speaking about how much the disease had robbed them of his and his wife’s relationship with one another. He said that their relationship had become more of a mother or caregiver to a child relationship than a wife to a husband relationship. I also felt the loneliness of that reality so often myself with my husband’s disease. That shifting of roles was so difficult sometimes. I loved my husband, but this was not how I had envisioned living our retirement years.  
I look back now with pleasure on the many good years my husband and I had together. I thank God for the blessing of a husband who loved me, protected me, and was my life’s companion. His disease and subsequent death changed that. Life has a way of changing things. So is there anything in life we can count on not to change? 
My Lord God never changes.  Although my husband could not be there for me as he had been in the past, God was there for me. When I longed -- and still long -- to be wrapped in my husband’s arms, my Lord wraps His arms around me. He is my source of security and joy.
Dear Christian caregiver, sometimes the pain of care-giving can be so intense that it is difficult to feel God’s presence, peace, and joy. His presence is with us at all times, however, in spite of our feelings. Trust Him. Rest in Him. In the measure you do this, you will begin to feel His presence above the noise of your pain. You will feel His arms wrapped around you in love. You will feel His strength.  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

God is Good All the Time

There are so many emotions going through my being, as I write this post.  As I wrote in my last post, this has been a month where there were moments when I felt very vulnerable.   Yet I have also seen God's hand in abundantly providing.

After I returned home from my trip to visit family in Iowa and Minnesota in early July, I was also able to enjoy some quality time with some grandchildren who live closer by but whom I also hadn't seen for a little while; because they also now live three hours away.

I also had an interview with Guideposts magazine.  They called me a few weeks back about doing an interview with me.  That phone interview took place a little over a week ago.  It was an hour and a half interview.  It was a very good interview.  Good questions were asked, but I was a bit emotionally drained afterwards.  Then on Tuesday of last week they sent a local photographer to the place where I volunteer for a photo shoot.

Guideposts is doing a whole series of articles this year on family caregivers.  My article is scheduled to be in the October issue and will center on the idea that once a caregiver always a caregiver.  This is because my volunteer work involves giving respite to family caregivers through a wonderful social program three times a week for their loved ones.  I personally volunteer one of those three days.  So look for my article in October, if you have access to the Guideposts magazine.  Also read the other articles on care-giving in their magazine this year.  It is so good to see a magazine giving acknowledgement to all that family caregivers do for their loved ones.!

In addition to these things there are other day to day issues which have come up in my life recently which needed tending.  Also this week on July 30 would have been my 44th wedding anniversary.  I ask for prayers for me on that day.

Please forgive me, dear caregiver, as I have diverted a bit in this post to talk about personal issues.  I guess one of my main reasons for sharing this with you here is to encourage you that God will use your care-giving experiences in the days ahead in ways you never imagined.  He is transforming you and growing you in your character and in your love for the Lord through this experience.  He also may use that experience in other people's lives.  Also I believe God uses these experiences to teach us to lean on the Lord and to see His protecting and guiding hand through it all.  I see and have seen that over and over.  I sometimes struggle with how the good things which have come from my experience can possibly ever make up for the pain of seeing my husband's body deteriorate during those four and half years of his illness and then my losing him.  Yet God is good all the time.  He knows what He is doing.  Rest in that, dear caregiver.        

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Life is Fragile

Life is fragile, and it can change in a moment.  I saw that as a caregiver.  One moment I thought I life was "normal," and the next moment I found out that my husband had something wrong with him and needed a MRI.  This in turn led to a series of doctor appointments and tests in the months ahead which confirmed that my husband did indeed have a serious and rare neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy.  Perhaps the signs were there before diagnosis, but I had not picked up on them.  The next four and half years of my husband's life reinforced the fact that life is fragile, as I saw my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  It also reinforced in my mind, however, that God was faithful and that He was in control.

I saw that again recently when I was gone for a few days in early July.  My friend and I were traveling together on a 500 mile trip to IA and MN.  We both have family in the same general area there. While we were traveling to our destination we were sideswiped by a motor cyclist.  The motorcyclist never fell, and everyone is okay.  Yet I was reminded that life is fragile, and it can change in a moment. There is another factor in all this, however.  God is in control.  He was protecting us, and He was protecting that young man on his motorcycle.

While I was gone on my trip for a few days something else happened to show that life is fragile and to make me feel very vulnerable.  The engine light in  my car came on, and my car was acting very strangely at times.  It was determined that is was a sensor issue.  I was 500 miles from home, and it was likely but uncertain if I could make it home safely,  The nearest place to fix my car was an hour away, but my sister and her husband were able to take me to pick up the needed part; and a local neighbor in their area was able to put the new sensor on my car,  All this was accomplished at minimal cost for me.  Life is fragile, and I felt so vulnerable in this situation.  God's fingerprints of protection and provision were all over that situation, however.

Then just recently after safely returning home from my trip a nineteen year classmate of my niece in culinary school was killed in a car accident.  Once again I am reminded that life is fragile.  These kinds of things are so difficult to understand.  They make us stop in our tracks and perhaps make us feel very vulnerable.

I remember also having many vulnerable feelings as a caregiver.  I wondered if I would be able to continue to  handle caring for my husband in the days ahead. Later in his disease I wondered if I even would be able to handle the next transfer to the bathroom or bed.  Yet as I look back, I see that there was always a way. God was and is faithful.  I did not like the difficult circumstances which God had allowed, but God was with me.  He was teaching me that I was not in control.  He was teaching me that I needed to depend on Him.  He was bringing about greater intimacy between Himself and me.  The Lord continues to do that even now since my husband's death.  I want freedom from problems.  He wants me to grow in grace and love for Him.  He wants to show me that He is a God of power and awe even in "impossible situations."  He wants to wow me with His faithfulness.

Dear family caregiver, trust in the Lord.  Depend on Him.  He will be with you step by step even in the "impossible" challenges of family care-giving.  Look for His wonders.  We do not always understand His ways, but we can count on His promises and on His faithfulness.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

God's Great Love Story for You

 (The below post is a chapter in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers. My book is available online at Xulon, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Links to Amazon and Xulon are on the side of this page.)

If I were to write a book about the story of my life, I wonder what events in my life I would include in my writing. Would I write about all the sad things that I have experienced in my life, or would I concentrate on the joys of my life? What about the care-giving chapter of my life? Would I concentrate on the discouragement and grief of seeing my husband continually decline in his health and eventually pass away, or would I concentrate on the blessings and joyful moments of my life even in the midst of care-giving? 
What about you, dear Christian caregiver? If you were to write an autobiography of your life, what would the story of your life be like? My guess is that you would share many special and joyful moments, but I am equally convinced you would share moments of heartache and pain. No matter whether you would be sharing joyful moments or sorrowful moments, however, as a child of God the chapters of your autobiography would reveal that your life’s story is a love story. Your life’s story is a story of God’s love for you. In fact, perhaps especially in the difficult moments of your life’s story, God’s love for you would shine forth the brightest. 
The pain and discouragements of some of life’s circumstances do not define who we are. God’s unfailing love for us in all circumstances shapes who we are now and who we are becoming by His grace. If no one else knows or loves us, God does. God’s love for us is everlasting. It never fails (Jeremiah 31:3). God’s love for us is passionate and comforting. It is also a powerful and personal love. God actually says that He delights in us! (Zephaniah 3:17.) 
As we become more and more spiritually rooted in the knowledge and experience of God’s love, we begin to grasp the vastness and depth of His love. His love for us is so great we will never fully understand it completely, but in the measure that we do begin to understand the fullness of His love, we will be filled with the fullness of God Himself in our lives. We will slowly begin to reflect Him more and more in our lives. Also, we will begin to see in deeper ways His workings, love, and guidance in our lives. 
Your and my life’s stories with both their difficult moments and pleasant moments are beautiful stories of God’s love for us. We are also part of God’s story for the world around us. Even when we do not understand the tragedies of our lives, God still loves us. We just have to trust and rest in His love for us. Dear caregiver, as you face the heartaches, difficult decisions, and challenges of care-giving; never forget God’s love for you!  Your experiences are part of God’s great love story for you! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Difficulties of Going Away

One of the difficulties I experienced as my husband’s caregiver was trying to transport my husband to places outside of our home. On May 17, 2009 I wrote the following: 

Yesterday at my husband’s suggestion we went out to eat. He so seldom wants to go anywhere let alone suggest it, so I readily agreed. It was very windy, however, and so we took the wheelchair. By the time I had wrestled the wheelchair in and out of the trunk of the car, gone through the buffet line for my husband and then for myself, and then basically carried on a conversation with myself during lunch; I began to wonder if it was worth it.” 

Sometimes my husband, Wayne, and I were invited to eat with some of my husband’s family. That was enjoyable, as it gave my husband and me a chance to get out of the house. Yet going out to eat with my husband’s siblings presented me again with the same struggles of helping my husband in and out of the car and into the restaurant.  When I saw other couples both in good health I was happy for them. It did make me long for those days when that was true for us also, however.  I longed for a “normal” life.  

Most Thursday nights we would go to our local son’s family’s home for supper and the evening. My son was always so helpful in getting my husband in and out of the car and into their house. First we did this with a walker. Later we had to use a portable ramp and the wheel chair. My son was always helpful when he was with us, but so often I struggled alone when we left home to go places. 

I always knew that there was a divine purpose for all that was happening in my husband’s and my lives. I knew all things would work for my ultimate good as a child of God. I knew I still had overflowing blessings in my life, but that did not stop the sadness in my heart at seeing my husband’s body deteriorate. It also did not stop the struggles of providing for my husband’s needs.  

I certainly did not choose the care-giving role that God had assigned to me those years during my husband’s illness, but I do know that God was with me each step of the way. As difficult as it was, I would do it again. I had to cling very closely to the Lord during those days, as I still need to do now. The Lord God had to give me the grace and strength for this role. He was with me in my unique struggles. He guided me, loved me, and forgave my many moments of impatience.  Dear Christian caregiver, the Lord God is with you also. He knows your unique struggles and heartaches. Lean into His strength. Trust His love for you.

(I will be away from my computer for a few days, so my next post will not be until July 12 or 13. Use this time to read some of the older posts. You can also use this time to order my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers which is available at Xulon, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Links to the order page for my book at Amazon and Xulon are on right hand side of this page.)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Focus on the Lord

A few days ago it was my youngest son and his wife's 10th wedding anniversary. Ten years ago my husband, Wayne, and I were in London, England for that event. It was a lovely event and a lovely time being there. Less than a year later Wayne was diagnosed with his neurological disease. Below is a picture of Wayne and I at the wedding of our son.

As I look at this picture I feel an ache for the loss of this special man and sadness over what we experienced in the decline of his body. Yet I also feel thankfulness for this special memory I have. I also feel thankfulness for all God has accomplished in my life through and in the trials of seeing his body deteriorate during those years that I was a caregiver for my husband. I am so thankful for the treasure of the Lord in my life through it all.

The Lord has taught me that I am in not in control. He alone is in control. Therefore, I need to rest in Him. I know it is a lesson I will have to learn over and over, but being a family caregiver showed me like nothing else that God alone is in control. It is so difficult to do in the midst of the drama of family care-giving, but seek to rest things with the Lord, dear caregiver. In the measure that you do this, it is a soft place to land.

Rest in the knowledge of the Lord's faithfulness. Keep your eyes focused on the Lord and trust in His promises. Family care-giving and the years since my husband's death has taught me that I can have greater confidence, because I know He is in control. At the same time, it makes me see my desperate need to depend on Him alone.

Caring for my husband and seeing his body deteriorate during those four and a half years of his illness was the most difficult experience I had ever encountered. Yet through it all my faith has grown and has sweetened. Family care-giving can be difficult and challenging. It can also be heart-breaking, if one has to view constant decline in the health of our loved ones. We need to acknowledge that pain. God does not expect or want us to pretend that the experience is not emotionally painful. Yet I promise you, dear caregiver, that the Lord never wastes our difficult experiences. They all point us to the Lord so that He becomes our sufficiency alone. They make us let go of our dependence on ourselves or our perceived strengths. They help us prioritize what is really most important in life and cause us to fall more in love with the Lord.

Dear caregiver, don't waste energy in asking the why questions over and over, as you perhaps witness your loved one's decline in his or her health or ability to function in this world. Instead focus on the One who is able to see you through the experience with His strength and comfort. Focus on the One who can give you joy and peace even in the midst of heartaches and pain. Focus on the One who can redeem the worst of circumstances and use it for His kingdom. Focus on the One who has promised to never leave you or forsake you. Focus on the Lord who has promised to love you with an unfailing love. Focus on the Lord, dear caregiver.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Heavenly Minded to Do Earthly Good

We have all heard the saying, "He is so heavenly minded that he is no earthly good."  Yet is this a true statement?  I suppose it would be if one would just sit in the chair and gaze at the sky.  Yet if we are doing our work here on earth out of a love for the Lord and with the Lord and heaven as our focus, it is only then that we are truly any earthly good.  It is then only that we can experience joy and peace.

Family care-giving with all its responsibilities, challenges, and heartaches can leave us feeling burdened and discouraged at times.  Other life's challenges can do the same.  As caregivers it is sometimes difficult to understand why our loved ones have to undergo the indignities of disease or old age.  It is sometimes difficult to understand why we have to endure the challenges of seeking to meet their needs.  Yet Romans 8:18 says that "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us."

Life on this earth is always challenging.  There are many blessed moments, but there are also many difficult moments.  Yet knowing we and our loved ones have an inheritance in heaven makes all the difference.  If we truly value what we will gain in our heavenly inheritance, we do not have to wallow int the grief  of the losses and heartaches here.  This is because the Lord Himself becomes our greatest treasure.  Knowing someday we and our loved one who love Him will be able to spend eternity with Him becomes our greatest joy.

Knowing this can add joy and purpose to our lives right now.  It makes us more earthly good because we our heavenly minded and focused.  The challenges of this world keeps us from falling in love with the temporary securities and pleasures of this world and keeps us focused on our permanent and only secure inheritance in eternity.

Sometimes life's struggles and pressures can wear us down.  This is certainly true for the family caregiver.  But the Psalmist in Psalm 43:5 asks himself why his soul is downcast.  The psalmist knows that his hope is in God and in his eternal inheritance.  He knows his hope is in God's help and deliverance.  He knows his joy is in praising God through it all and in response to God's help and comfort in the process of it all.  Dear caregiver, praise the Lord in spite of the heartaches.  Keep your focus on the Lord and praise Him.  Finally, keep your eyes focused on the Lord and eternity.  Then you will be the most earthly good to your loved one and others.  Then you will experience the most possible joy and comfort even in the heartaches.

Sunday, June 7, 2015


Like the storms of nature the storms of life can come in many forms. Sometimes we know a storm of life is brewing on the horizon. Sometimes it comes unexpectedly. Either way we usually cannot choose our life’s circumstances. We do have a choice, however, in our responses to life’s storms.
I was not prepared for the “storm” of my husband’s diagnosis of a devastating neurological disease in 2006 followed by my own diagnosis of breast cancer in 2007.  I am thankful to report that today I am a survivor of breast cancer. The same was not true for my husband, Wayne, however. For over four years I saw his continual decline until his death in January of 2011.  In 2009 I wrote the following words:
Care-giving like the weather always has its ups and downs. Some days feel stormy, and on those days I feel I can’t do it anymore. On other days life tends to take on a certain rhythm and pattern and is workable. Life always tends to be a mixture of joys and sorrows. I am joyful in my faith and in my relationship with my Lord. I am thankful that I know He is always with me. It is difficult living with the reality of my husband’s disease, however. I am happy that the struggles of life are making me stronger in my character, in my faith, and as a person. I struggle with the fact, however, that it sometimes has to be so emotionally exhausting, and I wonder why life has to be so difficult.” 

One of the things the storms of the heartache and pains of care-giving taught me was that I could not rely on my own strength and that I really was not in control of anything. I think this is an especially difficult lesson for a caregiver to learn. This is because caregivers are constantly “fighting” for the best health and well-being of their loved ones. This need to try to control and do it in our own strength has to be offered up to God on the altar of surrender, however; if we are going to be strong in the storms of life.

During my care-giving days the Lord was also trying to teach me that concentrating on the pain and heartaches of the storms of life often can blind us to the rainbow of the Lord’s presence in our lives. We have to look for the wonders and workings of God in our lives. We have to look for His presence. Out of the heartache and brokenness He can make something beautiful in His perfect timing.  

Dear Christian caregiver, the storms of care-giving and life in general can be very brutal and even devastating. Know that the Lord has the answers when you don’t. Know that He is with you each step of the way. Know that He is in control, and He is very present in your life and in the life of your loved one. Finally, know that He sees your stormy days, and is loving you through the storms of care-giving.