Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Wise Caregiver

Care-giving is one of the most challenging endeavors an individual may have to face in life. This is especially true, if one’s loved one for whom one is caring is either terminal or enduring a long-term illness. In such cases a grief process already begins to take place the day of diagnosis. I know it did for me. As a caregiver if I had not had a solid faith foundation, I would have folded under the emotional and physical pressure of care-giving. 
That reminds me of the parable of the wise and foolish man in the Bible (Matthew 7:24-29). The wise man built his house on the rock. When the rains and winds came and the streams rose the wise man’s house stood, because it was built on a solid foundation. The foolish man built his house on sand. When the rains and winds came and the streams rose the foolish man’s house fell flat.
This parable is so applicable to care-giving with all its heartaches, storms, and challenges. Wise caregivers will dig deeply into God’s Word. They will hear, read, and obey God’s Word. They will rest in God’s promise that He will always be with them and never forsake them. They will believe the Lord their God when He tells them of His love for them. They will look for and trust God’s guidance and strength in facing the discouragement and sometimes agonizing decisions of care-giving. 
Wise caregivers will often experience difficult emotions and even spiritual storms, as they go through their care-giving experience. They sometimes feel as if they will not be able to hold up under the pressure of the whole care-giving experience for even one more day.  When that happens they once again look to God for strength to face each moment of every day.   Wise caregivers have learned that they should not seek to be self-reliant, but they must rely entirely on the Lord God.  They know that their lives are based on the sure promises and the sure foundation of the Bible and of Lord God Himself.
Dear caregiver, make sure you are not trying to persevere in the storms of care-giving alone. Perseverance is a good virtue, but sometimes we have to reach out to other people for help. We are not meant to live this life in the power of our own perceived resources. Most importantly, we have to make sure we are relying on the sure foundation of God’s Word, the Bible, and on a saving faith in the Lord God. The storms of care-giving are often extremely intense. Hence, it is essential that we are standing on God’s sure foundation instead of the unstable sands of our own feeble efforts.  

(This post is also found as a chapter in my book: DEAR CAREGIVER Reflections for Family Caregivers. Links to my book are found on the right hand side of this page.

On an another very personal note will you please pray for my daughter-in-law's sister. I cannot give details here on social media, but it is an urgent potentially life and death matter.)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Strong In the Lord

Do you ever feel overwhelmed and discouraged by your care-giving responsibilities, dear caregiver? Recently in my devotions I was struck by a passage in Judges 6 and 7 in the Old Testament. The Israelites, God's Old Testament people, had been under severe and brutal attack for many years by an enemy nation.

One day God came to a man named Gideon and said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12b.) Gideon response in effect was as follows, “But Lord, what about all the horrific things that have happened to us the last years? If you are with us, Lord, why has this happened? Why have you abandoned us?” God's response to Gideon in return was “Go in the strength you have and save Israel---am I not sending you? (Judges 6:14.) Finally Gideon said, “How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in the family.” (Judges 6:15.) The Lord replied, “I will be with you.” (Judges 6:16a)

Have you, dear caregiver, ever asked the Lord why he has allowed the difficult circumstances of your loved one's disease? God did not give Gideon answers to his “why?” questions. He just told him to go in the strength God and given him and to do the task God had assigned him. He even called Gideon a “mighty warrior” in spite of the fact that Gideon felt as if he was the weakest of the weak. God will not usually give us the answers to our “why?” questions as well, dear caregiver. He just asks you to lean on Him for strength, as you go about your care-giving tasks. He understands your feelings of weakness and even discouragement at times. He asks you to do the “impossible tasks” knowing that He uses weak people in powerful ways. Dear caregiver, He even calls you His “mighty warrior!” He is our peace.

My years as a caregiver for my husband and my years as a widow since have taught me much about the need for dependence on the Lord. When I am weak, He is strong. God does not want self-reliance. He wants God-reliance in our lives. Tremendous victories come from that. It did in Gideon's life (Judges 7). It will in your life as well, dear caregiver.

Your victory may be different than Gideon's victory over Israel's enemies. God may choose to heal your loved one on this earth. God may also choose to take your loved one Home to Him in eternity. There is victory either way for your loved one. No matter what happens there is victory for you as well, dear caregiver. God will use your story to touch lives. He will make beauty come from ashes. He will use your weakness by giving you His strength. You too, dear caregiver, are God's “mighty warrior,” for in your weakness God is and will continue to use you in mighty ways! So persevere, mighty caregiver! God is with you!

(On another note I recently gave my personal testimony in church. It you want to listen to it go to my church website here: Then click on sermons. Then click on “by month.” Then click on “recent.” After that scroll down to the evening service for March 29, 2015 entitled “patient endurance in trials” based on James 5:7-11. I would recommend you listening to the whole sermon, but if you wish to just hear my part go about 30 to 32 minutes into the sermon, and it will be mostly just my testimony which is about 6 minutes. The text of what I said is actually in my blog here a couple blogs posts ago called “My Personal Testimony.”)

Sunday, April 12, 2015


The word reality can seem like a harsh word. It often reflects the gap between what we would like life to be like and the actual circumstances of life. In March of 2009, almost two years before my husband’s death, I wrote about what reality had come to mean in my husband’s life and in my life as his caregiver.  

I wrote the following: “The reality I daily face is seeing my husband continue to have to use his walker for basically almost every step he takes. Reality is my husband sleeping 9-10 hours a night and still dozing in his chair during the day. Reality is that my husband’s speech is so poor that communication between us is very difficult. Reality is very seldom seeing a smile on my husband’s face. Reality is that there will most likely come a day in the future when I will not be able to take care of him by myself. Reality is that life is not like it was for many years of our married life. Reality is seeing this disease slowly taking more and more from my husband’s ability to function in this world. Reality is discouraging sometimes.”

As I mentioned before my above comments were written in March of 2009. Reality in actuality became even harsher. Before my husband’s death in early 2011 his mobility and a host of other issues declined even more. By that time my husband had graduated to a wheelchair, and we needed a lift to transfer him from place to place.

Even in March of 2009 I knew that there was another reality in place also, however. In that same journal post I wrote the following: “Reality, however, also is knowing that I am not in this alone. My Lord and God is with me every step of the way. He will give me the strength and courage to press on. My Lord God will continue to add many blessings in my life also. Reality further is knowing that there are many people who care about us and are praying for us.”

Care-giving was the task that God had given me to do. It was not the task or life for which I had aspired. The life of my dreams and which I had envisioned was much different than reality. I am sure the same is true for you also, dear caregiver. The gap between what we envision and reality as we live it forces us to run to God. Our Lord God is our great Reality. He is unchanging. He also loves us and promises to never leave us alone.

It is also God who places us where we are in life. Even in the challenges and grief of care-giving caregivers are right where they belong. They are doing what God has called them to do. In the measure they accept and receive this set of circumstances humbly, quietly, and thankfully they will be blessed; for they are indeed doing God’s work! 

(This post today appears in my book DEAR CAREGIVER Reflections for Family Caregivers. April of this year marks the one year anniversary month of the publication of my book. Having been a caregiver for my husband, I understand the struggles family caregivers encounter on a daily basis. My book represents my passion to help and encourage family caregivers. It can be purchased at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and e-version.

You can also purchase it directly from me by contacting me by e-mail for specifics at  During the month of April, the one year anniversary month, if you get it directly from me by e-mail you can purchase it for the special price of $13 which includes shipping. This is barely above my cost.)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter's Meaning for the Caregiver

(I am re-posting a post I wrote at Easter last year.)

We are celebrating Easter today. What does Easter mean to you, dear Christian caregiver? How does it relate to family care-giving? 

Easter means that the Lord Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life for you and me. He later died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and then He arose again on the third day to prove that He had won over sin and death and Satan. If you and I have accepted his gift of salvation by repentance and faith, we are His child now and for eternity.

Easter also means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, identifies with your pain and the pain of your loved one, dear caregiver. As you struggle to help your loved one who is perhaps fighting against an incurable disease, He identifies with you. Having suffered the worst possible pain for us on the cross He is able to sympathize with our heartaches and weaknesses. He is also an all powerful Savior to whom we can freely go for grace in our moments of sadness and overwhelming and crushing needs.  Check out Hebrews 4:15-16 in the New Testament.

Because of Easter and Christ's sacrifice you can freely approach God the Father Himself with your and your loved one's needs, dear Christian caregiver. You can cry out to Him for help and call Him your “Abba Father,” because He considers you His special child. (Romans 8:15) Easter also means that when your heart is so weighed down with the heartaches and overwhelming circumstances of family care-giving that you do not even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for you! (Romans 8:26)

Easter for the caregiver means that although you will always face trials and troubles in this world, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  He is also your source of peace even in the most challenging of times. (John 16:33)  Even in the overwhelming circumstances of family care-giving, even when we do not understand God's ways in allowing certain things in our lives, and even in the most unthinkable circumstances God is working for our ultimate good. We are victors in Him! (Romans 8:28)

Dear Christian caregiver, my hope for you would be that your loved one is healed on this earth. Whether he or she is healed on this earth or not, however, a child of God is whole and perfect upon entering heaven. No matter what happens in your care-giving situation you too, dear caregiver, will slowly heal emotionally and spiritually. God will always be with you, and joy will return one day. His love for you will never fail. He proved that love for you on the cross. That is the meaning of Easter for the caregiver and for all of us.