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.