(Dear caregiver, I hope you can handle one more post on gratitude. The following post can be found in my book DEAR CAREGIVER Reflections for Family Caregivers. Links to order pages for my book at Amazon and Xulon are found on the right hand side of this page. It can also be found at Barnes and Noble online, or if you want to get the book directly from me just e-mail me at email@example.com for specifics.)
As a caregiver I often found myself overwhelmed and discouraged with the challenges of care-giving. It was so easy to focus on the negative aspects of care-giving and forget about the blessings which still overflowed in my life. The Lord wanted me to first of all focus on Himself and not on the challenges. He also wanted me to recognize the many blessings which He daily gave me. On February 6, 2009 I wrote the following words:
“It is so easy to feel sorry for myself when I think about what both my husband and I have gone through in these past few years, but I have so many blessings yet. I have a home, food, clothing, and the love of family and church people. Most of all I have my Savior who loves me. In the Biblical parable of the prodigal son, the older son became jealous and angry when the father lavished gifts on his returning formerly wayward son. The father said to this older son in effect, ‘Why are you jealous?’ He went on to say, ‘You are always with me, and everything I have is yours.’ I also always have my God with me even in the hard times, and every spiritual blessing God has He has given to me. Yes, life is very difficult sometimes; but this life is not all there is. Also my God provides joys and blessings even in this life. If I could only always keep focused on that beautiful truth.”
As a caregiver I needed to remember God’s past workings in my life, and I needed to look for and be thankful for His present blessings and workings in my life as well. I definitely saw God’s working in my life during the care-giving years. During my care-giving days my husband’s mobility capabilities deteriorated to the point that by late 2010 I knew I could not continue to take care of him by myself. At that low point in time in my life my son was able to greatly step up and help. Soon after that I heard about a sit to stand device which we could also use with my husband. I believe with all my heart that God was leading me step by step. Again I learned, however, that I had to look for the workings and blessings of God in my life. I also learned that an attitude of gratitude is essential. On Feb 7, 2009 I wrote the following words:
“I wonder if difficult times in our lives sometimes makes us more appreciative of the little joys and blessings. Thank you, Lord, for daily blessings even the ones we do not always recognize.”
Dear caregiver, when you become overwhelmed with the difficulties of care-giving focus on the Lord. Also look for His workings and blessings in your life. It will keep you encouraged to persevere in the challenges of being a caregiver.
(Let me close with a quote not found in my chapter in my book. I do think this quote is very profound, however: “Gratitude consists in a watchful, minute attention to the particulars of our state, and to the multitude of God's gifts, taken one by one...And all our whole life is thereby...filled with a gladness, serenity, and peace which only thankful hearts can know.-H.E. Manning.)
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