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.