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."