Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Hope Not Worries

(The following post is from a blog post that I published the last couple years.  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 18, 2016

Wonderful Gifts

(I am bringing back today a post that I published in previous Decembers.  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 11, 2016

Would You Stay?

I recently found the below picture and inscription on my Facebook page.  I copy/pasted it here.  I hope you can see it on your screen like I can on mine.  It is a picture of a wheelchair and says, "If your spouse became permanently disabled would you stay with them?"

My answer to that question for me is that through the grace of God I did do that very thing.  My husband was diagnosed with a neurological disease in 2006 which became progressively worse until his death in early 2011.  In the end we had to use a lift with him, and he was confined to a wheelchair.  He was indeed permanently disabled during the last part of his life.

It would not have occurred to me to do anything else but stay with him and care for him.  He had been my loving and faithful husband for many years.  He was the love of my life.  Also I had promised when I married him to be faithful to him and love him including "in sickness and in health." The challenges were difficult and heartbreaking during those last years of his life, but I would do it again.

Many of you are also caring for spouses or other loved ones either in your home or through a nursing home facility.  If you are a spouse you are fulfilling your promise to God and your spouse that you made on your wedding day.  You are also doing it because of the love in your heart. Many of you are also caring for loved ones who are not your spouses.  You made no wedding vows to this person, but you are giving sacrificially of yourself for this person.  Thank you, dear caregiver, for all that you do.  It is not an easy road that you have chosen to tread, but it is a noble one.  May the Lord bless, strengthen, and encourage you in the days ahead.  For those who are not caregivers have you encouraged a caregiver recently?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reliance on God

(The following blog post is another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers)

Perhaps you have heard the popular saying, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” When I was a family caregiver, however, I discovered that I often felt overwhelmed and felt that God had given me much more than I could handle. I experienced these feelings even more strongly with each new decline in my husband’s disease, especially during the last months of my husband’s life when I could no longer physically take care of him on my own.

The truth is God never promised to NOT give us more trials and difficulties than we can handle on our OWN. In fact God often gives us much more struggles than we can handle. God does this, so that our eyes will be open to how desperate we are for Him and for His help and provision.

Rather than striving to be more self-reliant we need to seek to become more God-reliant. As a caregiver I learned that I just did not have the resources in myself to handle the challenges and heartaches of care-giving on my own, so I absolutely had no choice but to rely on the Lord.

As a caregiver I also learned that I had to have help from others. I learned that God sometimes used others to help me. They became His instruments in helping me and in His kingdom. I needed to begin to root out my desire to be in control. The truth was I never was in control of anything. God was in control, and I needed to learn to rely and trust in Him.

Dear Christian Caregiver, what change would it make in your outlook towards your caregiving challenges and struggles, if you saw them as valued lessons in learning dependence on God? When you are at the absolute end of you own spiritual, physical, and emotional resources you can then begin to more fully depend on God’s resources. (Check out II Corinthians 1:8-9!) Total reliance on God is a good place to be!

(As stated above this post is another chapter in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.  You can purchase it at Amazon.  The link to the order page on Amazon for my book is here:  You can purchase both a hard copy or Kindle version to my book there.  My book is also available at Barnes and Noble where you can purchase a hard copy or Nook version.  Finally, I have seen my book available elsewhere online as well, or you can purchase one directly from me by sending me an e-mail at and ask me for specifics.  It would make  wonderful Christmas present for yourself or someone you love.)

Sunday, November 20, 2016


There is always, always, always something to be thankful for.  That sentence on the sign above says it all, doesn't it, dear caregiver?  I remember how overwhelming and discouraging life could become when I was my husband's caregiver.  It was distressing to see the continual declines in my husband's health.  Yet I found that my load could be lifted by looking for God's wonders in my life and thanking Him for them.  For what can you thank the Lord today, dear caregiver?

(There will be no new blog post next week, because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. Use this time to read some of the older blog posts.  The next blog post should be on or around December 4.)

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Your Spiritual Calling

At times, dear caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed or discouraged by the challenges of family care-giving. You also may feel like you are tied down and all alone in the day to day issues of caring for your loved one.  Having been a caregiver myself I understand the emotions that can accompany this undertaking. 

Have you ever considered your responsibility as a family caregiver a sacred calling, however, dear caregiver? Whether you have considered it to be so or not, your position as a family caregiver is indeed a spiritual calling on you life.  If you are a believer you are a living stone in God's spiritual house which has Jesus Christ as the cornerstone and foundation.  You are offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God, and your loving care of your loved one is part of that spiritual sacrifice that you are making to the Lord God. (Check out I Peter 2:4-5 in the New Testament of the Bible concerning this.) If you can think of your care-giving responsibilities in this way, dear caregiver; you burdens will feel less heavy, and your joy will increase.

Knowing this does not eliminate all the negative emotions and difficult decisions, but it does add peace and joy in the midst of it all.  It is easy to become afraid of what lies ahead when our loved ones are perhaps declining in health.  During such moments remember, dear caregiver, that the Lord not only values your spiritual sacrifice, but will also pave the path ahead of you.  The path may be difficult at times, but the Lord will be with you in all the challenging and decision making moments of your loved one's care.

There is always hope for each new day, because the Lord is with you each step of the way.  The Lord is holding your hand and walking beside you.  He is also walking before you and behind you.  He understands your tears and your frustrations.  He will always be faithful to you, dear caregiver, and to your loved one.  Life can be difficult especially as a family caregiver; but remember that the Lord loves you with a passion, dear caregiver.  He proved that on the cross.  Rest in that, and rejoice in your spiritual calling as family caregiver!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Falling Down

When I was in the United Kingdom recently visiting family, one of the places my son and I visited was Tower Bridge in London.  Because of the architecture of this walking bridge I am guessing this is where the song "London Bridges Falling Down" originated.  You can see pictures of this bridge below. The first picture shows me in the picture with the bridge in the distance.  The second picture is on the bridge itself.

Especially from a distance it does appear as if the bridge is falling down.  If you look closely you can see that the bridge is fully solid and secure.  It is the architecture on the side of the bridge which gives the bridge the appearance of falling down.

Do you ever feel as if life is falling apart, dear caregiver, as you care for your loved one?  As you perhaps watch your loved one deteriorate step by step in his or her health, it is easy to become discouraged.  I remember those feelings as a caregiver.  Yet whether our struggles be care-giving challenges or something else, the Lord asks us to look to the Lord and not at our circumstances.  The psalmist in Psalm 123:1 says to God in prayer, "I lift my eyes to You, to You whose throne is in heaven."  The psalmist says later in Psalm 123:2b "so our eyes look to the Lord our God till He shows us His mercy."  Even when it feels as if our world is crashing down around us that is merely an optical illusion like the London Tower Bridge.  God is in control, and he has it all in His hands.

In Psalm 73 the psalmist there had become discouraged by the unanswered "whys" of his life.  Yet I love his triumphant words towards the end of the chapter.  He says to God, "Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And earth has nothing I desire besides You.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:23-26)

So resolve with me to keep our gaze on the Lord and not on our circumstances.  Can we like the prophet Habakkuk in the Old Testament of the Bible also resolve to praise the Lord no matter what?  In Habakkuk chapter three starting at verse seventeen the prophet lists a number of possible yet unthinkable situations that could happen to him in his life.  Yet the prophet says if any or all these things happen to him, he will "rejoice in the Lord."  He says even in the worst possible situation that life can throw at me, "I will be joyful in God my Savior."  May this be your and my resolve and prayer as well.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Goodness of God

(The post below is one of the chapters in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

The years that followed my husband's diagnosis of his neurological disease in 2006 were the most difficult and challenging years I have ever experienced.  The heartbreak of witnessing his continual declines was extremely difficult.  Those years were also extremely stressful years.  Being responsible for the well-being of the man I had loved for many years, not knowing how long I would be able to care for him by myself, and feeling so alone in all this was very challenging.

I still find myself thinking about those care-giving days at times.  If it were not for the fact that I knew the Lord was with me during those care-giving days and in the days since my husband's death, I would not have survived.  Knowing this has also given me-and continues to give me-joy in the midst of life's pain.

Quite some time ago I did a Bible study lesson on the goodness of God.  The lesson reminded me of the good reasons why we suffer.  It reminded me that God is more interested in our inward characters and conforming us to the image of Christ than in our comfort.  Conforming us to the image of Christ is one of the reasons for trials in our lives.

The lesson went on to say that sometimes the pain seems to outweigh the best of benefits.  We may understand reasons and answers in our heads, but those reasons do not always reach where it hurts in the heart.  The challenges of care-giving or other life trials can be so painful that it is difficult to see how the growth in our character compensates for the pain we are experiencing. 

Perhaps there are no answers to the "why" questions in our lives that will completely satisfy us.  God does not always give us reasons or answers.  God does something better than giving us answers, however.  He gives us Himself.  Also, He explained Himself on the cross.  His goodness displayed in His sacrifice of Himself on the cross is really the only proof we need of His love and goodness.  Believing in the goodness of God does not mean that heartaches will completely disappear.  It does, however, help us move forward and persevere in life.

I find those thoughts comforting.  If I did not believe in the goodness and presence of God I am not sure where I would be today.  Thank You, Lord, for that blessed reality!  Thank You that You are there in the moments of heartache. 

Dear Christian caregiver, please turn to the Lord for strength and help during your care-giving days.  Please do not turn away from Him, because you do not always understand His ways.  Trust in His goodness.

(As stated above this post is a chapter in my book Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers.  You can purchase it at Amazon.  The link to the order page on Amazon for my book is here:  You can purchase both a hard copy or Kindle version to my book there.  My book is also available at Barnes and Noble where you can purchase a hard copy or Nook version.  Finally, I have seen my book available elsewhere online as well, or you can purchase one directly from me by sending me an e-mail at and ask me for specifics.  It is not too early to think about a Christmas present for yourself or someone you love.)

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Leading of the Lord

Recently I returned home after spending about ten days in the UK where my son and his family live.  It was a joyous time of meeting my new little grandson, interacting with his siblings, and also spending a very full day touring central London with my son and another partial day with him touring Windsor town and Castle.  This was something I wanted to do for a long time, and finally the timing was right for me to go.

In order to go to UK, however, I had to fly there alone.  I do not mind flying itself, but I hate all that is involved in getting through the airport.  Yet I saw God's leading through it all.  God provided step by step through people he provided to get me to the airport and checked in and also people who got me through security.  Then when the day my son and I went to Central London to visit several historic places my son guided me through the process of boarding tubes (subways) at various stations, so we could visit these various places.  When we would get into particularly busy areas I would latch my arm on his, and he would guide me through.  Isn't that a beautiful picture of Jesus leading us in our life and guiding us especially in the times when we do not have a clue what we are doing or where our life's path is headed?

I am reminded that God also lead me and paved the way through those difficult care-giving years taking care of my husband, Wayne.  It was in those years that I began to realize that I am in control of nothing.  It was in those years that God began to lay on my heart the need to trust Him.  God continues to remind me of that in my years as a widow.  He wants me to just trust Him when times becomes difficult.  He wants me to trust that He will guide.  He also wants me to thank Him for His wonders like the beautiful sunrise He placed in the sky this morning or the joy or a new grandchild.  He wants me to look for these wonders He places in my life.  He even wants me to thank Him for the difficult moments, because it makes me more like Him.  I guess I will always struggle with fears and worries, but it is wonderful to know that He is in control.

Dear caregiver, you have an important but sometimes difficult task as the caregiver for your loved one.  Trust that the Lord is with you and will guide you step by step and day by day.  Rest in Him.  

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Given What You Did Not Choose

I would never have chosen to be a family caregiver.  It was difficult to watch my husband, the love of my life, deteriorate in his body step by step.  The challenges of taking care of him were overwhelming at times.  I would also have not chosen other things that have come into my life, like becoming a widow and facing life's challenges without a mate.

Yet sometimes the things we would never choose for our lives, God allows and chooses for us.  This is because challenging situations makes us to become more like Jesus, if we are His child (Romans 8:29).  They develop our character and perseverance (Romans 5:3-4).  We often only receive the things from the Lord that we need by experiencing the things we never would have chosen or wanted.  We often receive what we need from the Lord by experiencing and facing challenges we thought we could never face.  Also a new freedom often comes into our lives through the times in our lives when we have felt the most broken.

All of us face hardships and difficulties in our lives.  Yet sometimes we think that other people's burdens are easier than our own.  We think other people's "crosses" are easier to carry than our own.  Yet the cross that God allows in each of our individual lives is always the right cross for us to carry.  It is also the kindest and lightest cross for us.

Care-giving for my husband was a difficult cross for me to carry, as I watched my husband deteriorate before my eyes during those years that I cared for him.  Yet care-giving was not God's plan B for my life.  Neither was widowhood.  It was always God's Plan A for my life, so I could become all God meant me be to be and so I could serve Him in the way He had chosen for me.  The same is true for you, dear caregiver!

(I plan to be away from my computer for a few days, so the next post will be on or around October 23, Lord willing.  Use this time to read some of my older posts.)

Sunday, October 2, 2016


Have you ever said, "I can't do this anymore!"  I am ashamed to say that I said that a few times as a family caregiver.  Sometimes the challenges of caring for a loved one become emotionally overwhelming.  Yet if we believe that God is sovereignly in control of all things, we must also believe that He will equip us for everything He has us to do including care-giving. 

Also God delights to use weak vessels to show His glory.  When we feel the weakest He can show His strength in us in the best possible way.  When we know we are weak we depend on Him more, and the Lord is glorified more.  Remember the Old Testament characters of Moses and Gideon?  Moses stuttered, and Gideon was very much afraid and a person of no consequence.  Yet God used these weak vessels in mighty ways.  Naomi in the Old Testament had a bad attitude and was very discouraged, and Martha in the New Testament was a worrier.  Yet God used these weak vessels as well.  Paul, the writer of many of the Epistles had some infirmity which he asked the Lord to remove.  Christ's answer to Paul In II Corinthians 12:9, however, was the following, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."

Also through our care-giving challenges we are reminded of all that Jesus Christ endured for us on the cross.  We are reminded of His promise to always be with us and equip us for every challenge and trial.  He will be with us each step of the way.  Care-giving for a loved one can be an emotionally, physically, and spiritually draining time.  There can be a heavy load of "if onlys" and false and real guilt.  There can be the load of emotional and physical fatigue.  Jesus Christ loved you enough to die for you, dear caregiver.  Trust Him enough to lay your burdens down at the cross.  He wants to carry your burdens for you.

Also a rejoicing or grateful attitude can go a long way towards lightening our loads.  We can negatively choose to sink into despair and discouragement or take our tired overwhelmed emotions out on others.  A better approach is to keep our focus on the Lord.  We can choose to rejoice that the Lord always has been and always will be in control of all things.  It is not about our circumstances, difficult though they may be; but it is about our attitude.  The apostle, Paul, said in Philippians 4:11b-12a, "I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation."  The key to contentment and joy in any situation is to focus on the Lord and to rest in His promises in His Holy Word, the Bible.

Listen to your loved ones when they talk.  Treasure and nurture these relationships and even celebrate life with them in every way that you can.   Thank God for the opportunity to be a caregiver for your loved one even in the very difficult and challenging moments  Rest your burdens with the Lord.  Focus on Him and not on your circumstances.  Rejoice even in the challenging moments.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Unexpected Life Changes

Life can hand us some unexpected life changes.  Some of these can be joyful like marriage or the birth of children or grandchildren.  Some can be difficult and a cause for fear.  Click on the link below, and you will read about a woman who was a missionary with her husband for years.  Therefore she thought she could handle life's unexpected changes.  When her husband was diagnosed with alzheimer's, disease however, she felt challenged and afraid because of these huge changes in her life.  Notice how she clung to the Lord and to Scripture in the midst of it.  Once again click on the link below:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prayer From My Heart

"Lord, help me today to count the blessings and not dwell on the difficult moments. Help me not give into fear about the future, but rather trust that you will guide step by step."  These were the words that I posted about six years ago on my Facebook status.  I recently discovered these words in my Facebook memories. 

These words were written only a few months before my husband's death, although I did not know that at the time.  I knew at the time that my husband was declining significantly, but my brain and heart were not ready to accept the possibility that the end was near.  Yet as I said, the declines in my husband's body were real and significant.  They were becoming increasingly difficult to manage.  In fact, in October of that year we began to have to use a mechanical lift with him. Hence, this prayer came from my heart that day six years ago.

God has answered that prayer for me.  I do sometimes even in my post care-giving days feel anxious and begin to feel fearful.  In those moments, however, I can turn to the One who holds my future.  He has guided me step by step both during my care-giving days and now as a widow.  He has allowed me to go through difficult moments, but He has helped me through those difficult moments.  He has also made me aware of the value of gratitude and has made me think about my blessings.  He has made me love the Lord more and has made my faith sweeter. 

Dear Caregiver, in the challenging and overwhelming moments turn to the Lord.  He loves you so much.  I love you too, dear caregiver.  My prayer from my heart for you today is that you will also be able to dwell on the blessings and not on the difficult moments.  I pray that you will be able to not give into fear, but rather trust the Lord to guide you step by step.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life's Puzzle Pieces

I have never been good at putting puzzles together.  It is not my talent, and I have never enjoyed trying to fit the pieces together.  I have seen completed puzzles, however, and often they portray beautiful scenes.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the completed product of my life's puzzles pieces as well.  It has been challenging sometimes to understand His plan in the overwhelming moments of my life.  As I watched my husband's body deteriorate during those challenging years as his caregiver, it was difficult to see God's big picture in all this.  The same is and has been true in many situations I face/ have faced in my post care-giving days as a widow.   God is so much wiser than I am, however.

Yet I can know by faith that the Lord loves me and is meeting all my needs.  He has forgiven my sins,  and He is fitting what I perceive as the missing pieces of my life into a beautiful picture.  When I look back on my life I can already see how He has used difficult times for His glory and my good.  I can begin to see how the pieces are fitting together.

 I will, however, never fully see the completed and big picture of God's love and wisdom until I reach eternity.  Yet as the picture above illustrates, my life is molded by the heart of God and by His love.  I may still see my life as having missing pieces, but He sees the beautiful finished product.  Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  He is fitting the puzzle pieces of my life together into something beautiful.  Dear caregiver, trust that the Lord is also fitting the puzzle pieces of your life together into a beautiful mosaic of His love!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"My Ducks in a Row"

I need to confess something.  As the expression goes, I am a person who likes "my ducks in a row."  You would think that having been a family caregiver with all its challenges, uncertainties, and chaos would have permanently cured me of that.  Although I learned so much of God's faithfulness and grew in my love for Him during that time, I still fight that tendency to like "my ducks in a row."

I seem to have to learn and relearn, however, that God is in control and not me.  I am in control of nothing.  I read the following in my devotions recently.  It is as if Jesus is speaking:  "Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when.  My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed.  This is how you grow strong in your weakness." (from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

That same day I read this from another devotional book.  It is meant to be a prayer of praise to God:  "Thank You that I can give myself up to be led by You---that I can go forth praising and at rest, letting You manage me and my day---that I can joyfully depend on You throughout the day expecting You to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in me and with me what You desire---that I can count upon Your working in me as a fact, totally apart from sight or feeling---that I can go forth praising and at rest, believing You and obeying You and ceasing from the burden of trying to manage myself without Your wisdom and power (adapted from Dr. John Hubbard).  Thank You that I can throw the whole weight of my anxieties on You, for I am Your personal concern." (from the book 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyers)

I often wonder why my natural first response to a new challenge is a moment of fear until I tell my soul to relax and trust the Lord.  I love Jesus' words in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  This is a promise and a command.  Life can be challenging with unending problems especially as a family caregiver, but let's you and I resolve to rest things with the Lord.  He is in control anyhow, and trusting Him is the way to peace.

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Last week on August 24th it was my birthday.  I am thankful for the many greetings and love I was shown that day.  Above all I am thankful for my Lord being with me and being faithful to me these 69 years in the valleys, mountaintop experiences, and in the in between times in my life.

Last week I was also reminded on my Facebook memories page of another thing which happened two years ago in August.  On that day my local newspaper published a story about my years as a caregiver for my husband.  That article talked about the struggles I experienced as a caregiver, but it also talked about how my faith helped me through that time in my life.  Finally, the newspaper article talked about my book to encourage family caregivers.  Here is the link to that newspaper article that was published two years ago:

I probably posted a link to that newspaper story two years ago when it was just published, but I thought it was worth giving you the link to it again.  It gives a good rendering of my story (or rather the Lord's story) and portrays my passion to encourage family caregivers. 

If you have not ordered my book, Dear Caregiver subtitled Reflections for Family Caregivers, yet, you might want to consider ordering it for yourself or for someone you love.  It contains over 100 short chapters or meditations to encourage family caregivers.  My story is intertwined in the chapters as well.  Here is the link to the Amazon order page for my book:    

Right now my book is the cheapest I have seen it on Amazon.  It is also available elsewhere online as well.  Finally, you can get it directly from me by e-mailing me at for specifics.

I know the challenges of family care-giving, dear caregiver, and I care about you.  Thank you for all that you do for your loved one!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Life Storms Revisted

Last time we talked about how storms can occur in life.  We noted that often birds can be found perched on the branches of trees singing their hearts out in the midst of life's storms.  If birds can do this, we can do this as well.  As we talked about last time, we do not have to live in fear.  God will always be with us.

When I was a caregiver I remember facing life's storms.  They would sometimes come unexpectedly depending on the day.  Also as my husband would take another step downward in his mobility and ability to function, I would often feel a sense of fear.  As I repeatedly became adjusted to a "new normal," in my husband's downward spiral, I would see the clouds on the horizon and anticipate the next "storm" or downward decline.  Yet God tells us not to fear.  He will be with us in each new storm.

I still face storms in life even in my post care-giving days and in my life as a widow.  Doesn't it seem as if life's problems never end, like we move from one problem to the next?  Since the first of the year I have faced house maintenance issues, major computer issues, physical pain issues, and a major expensive repair issue with my car.  I have even watched my sister be diagnosed with breast cancer. 

I wish I could say that I never give into fear and anxiety during these times, but that would not be true.  God knows we are frail, however, and that is why he tenderly reminds us over and over that we need not give into fear.  You, dear caregiver, also perhaps have fears and dread the "storms" of life; as you care for your loved one.  Not only do you have the responsibilities and challenges of care-giving, but you also have to face the day to day challenges and storms of everyday life.  Yet God says to you and to everyone that we need not fear.

In Matthew 8:23-27 of the Bible the disciples were caught in an actual physical storm on the lake.  Verse  twenty-four says, "Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat.  But Jesus was sleeping."  Notice it says that Jesus was sleeping in the midst of the storm!  So often during the daylight hours we wring our hands in anxiety and try valiantly to control or change a situation in our own strength, or we toss and turn at night not able to sleep.  But Jesus slept peacefully throughout the storm. 

When the disciples cried out to Jesus for help He calmed the storm.  Sometimes He will do that for us also.  Other times He will calm our spirits in the midst of the storms as we look to Him.  Jesus also asks us the question He asked the disciples, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"  (Matthew 8:26)  We need not ever be afraid, because God is with us always and will never leave or forsake us.

We also need remember that God often speaks to us during those storms.  We do not seek out the storms of life.  If you are like me, your would prefer to avoid those storms.  Yet if we listen for the voice of God in the midst of the storms, we will be blessed and grow in our faith.  Listen for the still small voice of God; as you face life's storms, dear caregiver.

The storms of life also helps us to see the power of God and cause us to worship Him.  They make us stand in awe of His greatness, as time after time we see His faithfulness in the midst of storms.  The disciples in Matthew 8:27 recognized this in a way that perhaps they never had before because of this storm on the lake and the Lord's presence in the midst of the storm. 

Dear caregiver, don't fear the storms.  Fix your eyes on the Lord.  Listen for His still voice, as you read His Word daily.  Then worship Him and thank Him in the midst of the storms.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Singing in the Storm

I have a small picture in a frame in my bedroom.  It is a picture of a bird resting on a branch singing with all his heart as a storm rages all around him.  There is thunder flashing and driving rain all around the bird.  There are ominous storm clouds in the sky above  The waves in the water below the bird are strong and surging in their power.  Yet this bird seems unruffled by the storm all around him. The bird in the picture is content and is doing what God had called him to do.  He is not wringing his hands or cringing in fear either.

If you are a child of God; you can have that same contentment and lack of fear as well, dear caregiver. God has instructed us to not fear many times in the Bible. He has promised to always be with us. He has promised to never leave or forsake us. God is always faithful and will always keep His promises to be with us.  He simply wants us to go about the tasks God has assigned us with a calmness that only He can give.  For you, dear caregiver, that task is to care for your loved one.

Yet God also knows we are frail human beings.  He knows we will give into fear and/discouragement at times.  I know I did at times as a caregiver.  Care-giving can be overwhelmingly challenging at times.  Some of the challenges I face in my post care-giving days can also feel very discouraging at times.  Yet when these moments come we can and must remind ourselves of God's promises to always be with us.

God says in Isaiah 41:10 in the Bible, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Subject We Like to Avoid

Dear Christian caregiver, there is a discussion we like to avoid.  It is a topic, however, that would be wise to discuss with the loved one for whom you are caring. It would be especially wise to discuss this topic with your loved one if she or he is terminally ill. That topic is death. 
My husband was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy Type C in 2006. At the time of his diagnosis, a time frame of 6-10 years until death was thrown out. Any internet site I visited suggested the same time frame. In actuality, my husband only lived four and a half years after diagnosis. 
A few times during his illness, my husband would say that he did not think he had long to live. At the time I thought that those statements were merely depression speaking. This was logical in my mind, because depression can accompany neurological disease. I felt as if I did not want to feed into that depression. I would often say, “You don’t know that. You could outlive me.” 
Now I believe that was a wrong approach on my part. I believe I should have openly discussed with my husband his feelings about death. It most likely would have been helpful to him on an emotional level to have talked about this with me. It also could have been the source of some deep spiritual discussions, as my husband was a believer and a child of God. Further, it would have helped me to better know his wishes for the funeral and other matters.  I think my husband may have been more in tune with reality at that time than I. Perhaps I was in denial about how close to death he must be in view of his constant physical declines.  
Dear Christian Caregiver, death is not a pleasant subject to discuss; but its reality is not going to go away by not discussing it. Consider discussing these matters with your loved one, especially if he or she brings up the subject. Your loved one’s eventual death is not going to be hastened by your discussion of death with him or her. The date of that death is in God’s hands.  
Unless dementia prevents it, I would strongly suggest having an honest and open discussion with the loved one for whom you are caring.  Openly talk about his or her eventual death. Remind your loved one that the process of dying is not something anyone would choose, but we will all experience it unless Jesus returns first. Also remind him or her, however, that death for the Christian is merely a gateway to heaven and being with the Lord.  

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Anniversary Reflections Revisted

Forty-five years ago yesterday I married the love of my life.  Wayne and I had a good marriage.  Yet the last few years of our marriage were difficult because of my husband's neurological disease. Through it all, however, I learned of the Lord's faithfulness and love.  That is why I have a passion for helping family caregivers today.  This passion for family caregivers is expressed through my blog, my book, and anyway else I can.

Two years ago a few days before my wedding anniversary I wrote at this blog site about my feelings concerning my upcoming anniversary.  Just click on the link below to reread that blog post.  It is called "Anniversary Reflections."    Here it the link:

If you would like to see some sweet memories of Wayne and I, one picture of our wedding day and also some pictures of our children when they were very little; go to the link below.  Here is a link to my Pinterest folder concerning that:

Also if you wish to order my book to encourage family caregivers here is the Amazon link to my order page: 
My book is also found at Barnes and Noble and elsewhere online.  My book is available in Kindle and Nook versions as well as paperback.  Finally, you can get a copy directly from me as well.  Just e-mail me at for specifics, if you wish to go that route.

God bless you for all that you do, dear caregiver!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Good Things Which Come From Stress

There are two mistakes family caregivers and really everyone makes in challenging times.  One mistake is to think one can do it all alone.  It is believing one has to always be in control of everything.  Often we wait until we are desperate to seek help from others and from God.  The truth is that we are in control of nothing.  God is the only one who is in control.  He is directing and leading our lives.

The other mistake we sometimes make is to think that a situation is impossible.  I remember many seemingly impossible situations as a caregiver.  The challenges and changes sometimes came often and suddenly.  Sometimes I also face seemingly impossible situations as a widow as well.  Yet in life's "impossible" situations, God is there.  He we must remember is in control.

The stresses can be overwhelming and unpleasant.  Even the people in the Bible like the psalmists and Paul, the apostle felt them.  Yet stress in our lives serves two great purposes.  They make us see that we are not in control, and they teach us dependence on the Lord.  They make us see that worrying will not change our situation.  We do not have to carry our burdens alone.  Being yoked to the Lord is a much better route to follow.  When we are weary and burdened He will give us His peace and rest (Matthew 11:28-30).

Stress and problem also makes us see God's working in our lives.  If we with spiritual eyes look with expectation for God's blessings and help in our lives, we begin to see God working out the details and heartaches of our lives.  They may not always be on our timetable or in the direction we wanted our lives to go, but God is so much wiser than we are.  

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Depression and Hope in the Lord

Life can be overwhelming at times.  This can lead to depression and despair.  This is certainly true for family caregivers who often carry a very heavy load of responsibility and concern for their loved ones for whom they are caring. That is why it is so important that family caregivers try to nurture themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  It is also important for them to seek help from others wherever possible.

We often have this idea in our Christian circles that Christians should never be discouraged and that they should always have a smile on their face.  It is true that we can have joy even in moments of grief and despair, but it certainly is not true that Christians do not become overwhelmed and even depressed at times.  The apostle Paul readily admitted during moments in his ministry to feeling overwhelmed at times.  In II Corinthians 1:8-9 Paul said, "We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life-----But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raises the dead."

The Psalmists in the book of Psalms also honestly admited to moments of despair and discouragement. In these moments of discouragement, however, the psalmists would turn to the Lord. In Psalm 42 the psalmist reminded himself to not be "downcast," but to put his hope in the Lord.

Despair and discouragement can cause us to seek options that are not God's best of us.  Sometimes we so desperately want to "fix" the situation.  Worst yet we may convince yourselves that the Lord has forgotten about us.  This is never true. God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b).  God will help and provide the best answers, but it is always in His timing.  We often want answers and solutions right away, but that is not always God's best plan.  We need to wait on the Lord.  If we do this we will see the goodness of the Lord (Psalm 27:13-14).

What can we do as we are wait for and on the Lord?  How can we protect ourselves from despair? We need to spend time in God's Word and meditate on and treasure His promises to us.  We need to look for and expect God's goodness to be shown in our lives no matter how long it takes and no matter how difficult life becomes.  We also need to spend time in prayer and communion with our Lord.

Dear caregiver, your burdens and responsibilities can be heavy at times.  When you begin to be discouraged and are tempted to despair, wait on the Lord.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Blessings in the Struggles

I have felt recently that history was repeating itself.  My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  As you may know, if you are a long-time reader of my blog; I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007 in the midst of my care-giving days for my husband.  I write about this in my post back in April of 2012 which you can find here:

When I recently visited my sister just prior to her surgery I saw a sense of peace in my sister that I too felt during those days.  That is not to say that that she and I did not and do not have negative feelings and feelings of fear when trials come into our lives, but we as believers have the Lord Jesus to whom to run in those trials.  Christians are not free from heartache-far from it.   Yet having the Lord as our friend and having the promises of His Word makes all the difference in the world.

Watching my husband's body deteriorate during the four and a half years since his diagnosis in 2006, being diagnosed with breast cancer myself in 2007, and then losing my husband to death in early 2011 have been huge trials in my life. Yet God has been faithful to me in all of it.  My love for Him and faith has grown sweeter through the process.  It has also been a means by which I have been able to help others who are struggling.

Jesus understands our grief and worries and agitated spirits.  Yet He says to us in John 14:1, "Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God.  Trust also in Me." Dear Caregiver, I know that care-giving can be very challenging and even discouraging at times.  Know that the Lord will be faithful and will be with you each step of the way.  He is drawing you and your loved one for whom you are caring closer to Himself through the difficulties.  He is shaping your character through this experience to be more like Jesus.  He is also preparing you to be better equipped for future service in His kingdom. Rest in Him.   Dare I say to embrace the trials for all the good things God will bring from them?

As a footnote I will say that my sister is recovering from her surgery that she had a couple days ago. It appears as if she will not have to have further treatment.  Pray for her as she heals in the days ahead.  Also pray for me as I seek to minister and show love to her as her sister and a "caregiver" who lives 500 miles away from her.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

A Thankful Heart

A thankful heart is something God expects of us. Thankfulness can also add joy to our lives in spite of adverse circumstances. Being a caregiver of a terminally ill loved one is one of life’s greatest challenges and heartaches. Finding joy in the midst of it can seem like an impossibility. As a caregiver for my husband for four and a half years, however, I knew I needed to find things for which to be thankful in order to endure and survive emotionally. 
It is best to start thanking God for His presence and peace. Then try to write down at least three things each day for which you are thankful. I did this while I was a caregiver, and I found it very helpful. No matter how difficult your care-giving situation, there is something for which you can thank and praise the Lord each day.  
A thankful heart opens up the very windows of heaven. Thankfulness gives one a foretaste of heaven itself. In the process, these experiences provide even more reasons for gratitude because of the joy which enters one’s life through the avenue of a thankful heart.  
Thankfulness comes from focusing one’s heart on the Lord throughout the day. It also comes from looking for His wonders and treasures. Remember, however, that sometimes these treasures come through pleasant experiences; and sometimes these treasures come through the difficult moments (see Isaiah 45:3). Valuable lessons are often learned in the dark and difficult experiences.  Often, these experiences are the only way to learn dependence on God and trust in Him. This was and is certainly my experience as a caregiver for my husband and then during the grieving after his death. 
At times it may feel so contrived to express thanks to God when we are feeling really down in the pits.  Even then, it is best to express thanks, however. This is because thankfulness is the road to the presence of God and His peace. It is amazing, but in the measure we give thanks regardless of our feelings, God gives joy in spite of our circumstances. 
Care-giving is often an overwhelming challenge. The difficulties and heartaches will not go away by simply pursuing a thankful heart. Those who are thankful, however, will be blessed even though their care-giving heartaches remain. Joy and pain can coexist. So, dear Christian caregiver, for which blessing will you thank God today?  

( I will be away from my computer for a few days, so there will be no new post next week.  The next post will be on or around July 10.  Use this time to read some of the older posts.)

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Joy in the Caregiver Walk

Being a caregiver for a loved one with every declining health can be a huge burden.  I know because I lived that reality as my husband's caregiver for over four and a half years.  I loved my husband and was dedicated to him, but the worries and burdens were heavy at times.

Yet God wants caregivers and all who are carrying heavy burdens to realize that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10b).  We sometimes think our burdens in life are heavier than other people's burdens.  Yet every person is carrying a burden whether they are a caregiver or are not. Having said that I know that your burden is very heavy at times, dear caregiver.  Know, however, that the Lord, your Caregiver, loves you and understands the burden you are carrying.  There is no burden we carry that He does not understand, because He suffered the ultimate burden of the cross to pay for our sins.

Scripture says that because of the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2).  He knew the horrors of the cross would win His people's salvation and His return to Heaven and the Father.  So this too gives us the ability through Him to endure and not grow weary.

It also gives us the ability to experience joy even in the midst of heartache and challenges. This is because joy is not the same thing as happiness which is dependent on perfect circumstances. Circumstances can change and temporarily ruffle us.  Yet true joy is permanent and internal, because it is based on the cross and our trust in the Lord.  It is based on the fact that we know that this life is very temporary, and a perfect eternity lies ahead of us.  It is further based on God's Holy Spirit living in us.

In spite of this we all become discouraged at times.  That is why we need to spend time in God's Word every day.  Psalm 19 says that God's Word revives our soul, makes us wise, gives us joy, and gives us light or perspective. God's Word is perfect, trustworthy, always right, and pure.  The Word of God is the most precious thing imaginable.

In order to experience these blessings we must spend time in His Word, however, Family care-giving can be immensely challenging and overwhelming.  So can all of life.  It is easy to be like Martha in Luke 10:41 in the Bible who was "worried and upset about many things."  Jesus reminds her, however, in the following verse that only one thing is needed.  That one thing is to spend time in God's Word.  I know, dear caregiver, that you are very busy.  Yet spending time in God's Word is vital. It is vital to your joy even in the overwhelming moments.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

No Pit So Deep

As a caregiver, you may sometimes feel as if you are in a deep pit from which you cannot escape. The emotions of being responsible for the well-being of your loved one who continues to decline before your very eyes can be overwhelming. Below are some words that I scribed on January 23, 2010.  Perhaps you can relate:  
     Last night we watched the DVD The Hiding Place. It is about a Christian family in Holland who hid Jews in their home during the Nazi occupation in World War II. They were eventually found out and captured. The father died about 10 days after their capture, but the two sisters, Betsy and Corrie Ten Boom, were sent to a concentration camp.
     In the horrors of concentration camp, Betsy and Corrie came to the conclusion that there was no pit so deep that God does not go deeper. That movie was a real encouragement to me. Sometimes care-giving can seem like a real pit, but the Lord is with me each step of the way. My life is a piece of cake compared to what those ladies endured.
     Having said that, however, the fact remains that care-giving is often very difficult. I really have to struggle with patience and wisdom. Besides the difficult physical and mobility symptoms in my husband, I am seeing some slowing down in his thinking. It is not that I can’t still rationally discuss some things with him but, as I said, there is a slowing down in thinking.  He sometimes does have trouble controlling his emotions in public. This usually manifests itself in laughing. Then there is the always difficult task of communicating. He speaks with a mumble and does not speak clearly.  Finally, I suspect some depression is going on also. This whole process of decline -- physically and otherwise -- that I see in my husband sometimes seems like a slow death.
     Adding to this stress, we are planning on moving in about 4 weeks. We are scheduled to close on February first on our new condo.  Then we are scheduled to have a wheelchair ramp built starting on February second. The plan is to move into our new condo on February 20. My prayer is that the ramp will indeed be built the week after closing and that it will be easily usable with my husband, Wayne.  Sometimes my stress level feels like about twelve on a scale of ten. 
Dear Christian caregiver, the stress of care-giving can often be overwhelming. It can feel as if one is in an emotional pit so deep that one is not able to crawl out of it. In those times, remember the conclusions of Corrie and Betsy Ten Boom: that there is no pit so deep that God does not go deeper.

(This post is a chapter found in my book: Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  My book can be ordered several places online.  A link to the order page for my book on Amazon is on the side of this page.  If you are getting this by e-mail just click to the christiancaregiving link to get to my home page.)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

His Faithfulness in All Things

Recently I experienced some stressful moments.  I have Windows 7 on my computer,  I had decided that I was not going to download Windows 10 on my computer. Well, in spite of that it tried to download it automatically. I noticed it on a Sunday morning before church. To make matters worse Windows 10 did not even download successfully. I ended up with an unusable computer and a blank screen. 

On Monday of that same week I took my computer to Best Buy where they reverted it back to Windows 7 for me. Best Buy said they are getting a lot of this happening.  The following Friday they called to tell me that my computer was ready for pick-up.

I picked up my "fixed" computer from Best Buy that Friday. Later, however, I noticed that my extra word processing system they had installed was not working correctly, so I made an appointment that same evening to go back to Best Buy. Then when I got home my internet was no longer working. (It had been before.) I called Frontier, my provider. They could not not get me connected via phone. So they ordered an in-house tech to come out. Because of the holiday week-end they said no one would be able to come out until Tuesday, however. 

It is frustrating and overwhelming to face many of these life's situations without my mate. I realize too, however, that I faced many of life's distracting and frustrating situations without my mate's input even before my husband's death.  In his last months and years of his life most of the decisions rested on my shoulders. My husband, Wayne, was incapable of doing this any longer. Perhaps you too are experiencing some of this, dear caregiver.  Yet as I look back at those care-giving years and at the five plus years since, I see God's faithfulness over and over again.  I love to think of the Lord Jesus as my heavenly bridegroom who is always there for me.

So how does my computer story end?  The Lord once again showed His faithfulness! I have internet.  I was told that the in-house tech would not come until Tuesday, since it was a holiday on Monday, Memorial Day. Instead he called me Memorial Day morning and had my internet up and running in about 5 minutes. The timing of his call came right after I had gone to the grocery store and was just back home again.  

The only trouble was that as soon as my computer went to sleep the internet no longer worked wireless.  So the tech was back twice on Tuesday.  A couple issues had to be resolved with my computer itself and not the modem.  (This too is another story, but God had this too.) Why do I fret when God has all things in His hands? 

Dear Caregiver, I know how easy it is to fret.  You are responsible for so many things in regards to your loved one's care.  You are possibly also responsible for a host of other life issues in your family. Remind yourself that the Lord is faithful, and try to leave your burdens with Him.  Also remember that the Lord cares about not only the life and death issues.  He also cares about the "little things."  He loves you that much, dear caregiver! 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Book of Psalms

Recently I once again completed a reading through the book of Psalms.  I have learned to love the book of Psalms in a new and deeper way in the last years. This love grew first in my years as my husband's caregiver and also since that time in the years since as a widow.

The book of Psalms begins with a reminder to delight and meditate on God's Word.  If I do that even in times of weariness and trial, I will be blessed.  The book of Psalms ends with the words, "Praise the Lord."  Praise for the Lord no matter what my circumstances will also add to my joy.

In the middle of the book of Psalms we find every possible emotion and circumstance that living in this world hands us.  This includes deep trials and unthinkable losses.  It also includes the hopes, joys, and promises that can be found in the Lord.  In the book of Psalms we see God's faithfulness in all of life's experiences.  That is why I must praise and worship the Lord even in the difficult moments, because He will never fail me.  He is worthy of my praise.

Even when we understand God's faithfulness we can become weary and discouraged at times, however.  There are many psalms of praise in the book of Psalms.  Yet there are also many Psalms of lament.  I love the honesty of the book of Psalms.  Yet in the midst of the honest negative emotions the psalmists would turn to the Lord.  Psalm 73 is an example of this.  In this Psalm Asaph had almost given into despair, but by the end of the Psalm he says "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

David, who wrote about half of the Psalms, often talked about the trials that his enemies caused him. Though our own trials and challenges may be a bit different than his trials, the Psalms written by David also remind us that the Lord will be our faithful God. David is referred to as "a man after God's own heart,"  Yet the Old Testament records some grievous sins on the part of David.  In spite of this God forgave David those sins and was faithful to David, because in the end David always turned to the Lord for forgiveness and help with his difficult life circumstances.  We can do the same as His children today!

Sometimes life can make us feel weary and overwhelmed.  I know I feel that weariness at times. That is usually a signal to me that I need to rest and regroup. It is also a reminder to me that when I am weak the Lord's grace is sufficient for me, and His power is best shown in my weakness.  (Check out II Corinthians 12:9.)    

The words of David in Psalm 34:17-18 also reminds us that "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them; He delivers them from all their troubles.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."  God's answers to our cries may not always be in the manner and timetable we want them answered, but God is always faithful.  We can count on it. 

I will end with verses five through the seven from Psalm 81 (NIV) which have become one of my favorite verses in the Psalms.  They read like this, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You. who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.  As they pass through the valley of Baca (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools.  They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion."  

Saturday, May 21, 2016

God's Strength in Our Weakness

Does the challenges of care-giving seem over whelming at times, dear caregiver? Do you feel inadequate for the task?  Do you ever ask "why?" when you see your loved one struggle and perhaps decline in his or her health?  Do you ever wonder why God has laid this burden on you or your loved one's life?

Know that the work you are doing is noble work, dear caregiver.  Know that God is using you as His "mighty warrior." in this challenging but wonderful work of care-giving that you are doing in His kingdom.  Know that He will use even the difficult moments to refine and grow you.  Know that God's grace is sufficient, as we talked about in our last post.

In the Old Testament of the Bible God assigned a man named Gideon a task for which he felt very unqualified.  He asked the "why?" question as well, and he tried to make excuses for doing the task that called him to do.  He had to learn the secret of finding his strength in the Lord and not in himself. In fact, Gideon learned that when he was weak, God's power shows through the strongest.

I have another blog called "Moments with God."  It is a devotional blog.  Click on the link below and it will bring you to a post at this blog which tells the story about this man,Gideon.  I think you will identify with Gideon in many ways, dear caregiver!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

God is Sufficient

Care-giving for a loved one is often challenging, at best. Care-giving can also be heartbreaking and overwhelming if one cares for a loved one who continues to take steps backwards in his or her health. As a caregiver for my husband with a devastating and fast-moving neurological disease, I certainly found that to be true.  In January, 2010, I wrote the following words about my husband: 

     How far we have come from him being our family’s primary breadwinner, my best friend, my lover, and my husband. He is still my husband, but how different our roles are now. How could our lives have gone from “normal” to wheelchairs, incontinence products, and immobility in just a few years?
     I resolved at the beginning of this year to look for the blessings and to also look for the faithfulness of my God in my life. I resolved not to stress so much. I am making a conscious effort to do this. I do see the blessings and faithfulness of my God. In spite of it not being a great day, I recognize blessings in my day even today. I really do, but these sad feelings are still there for what is no longer there. 

Dear Christian caregiver, I am certain you experience many emotions of sadness and heartbreak also; especially if you are caring for someone with a long term illness. So where can one run for help with these negative emotions? 
The only source of strength and guidance in the challenges of life is the Lord God. We must spend time in His Word, the Bible, and we must spend time in prayer. This will begin to instill in us an understanding of the depth of God’s love for us. This, in turn, will provide us a peace that only the awareness of the presence of God in our lives can provide. 
As we begin to look for the wonders of God (which are all around us), we begin to realize that we are not abandoned or left alone in this world. Dear Christian caregiver, your feelings may tell you that you are all alone. Daily remind yourself of God’s truth, however. Seek His companionship and counsel. He alone can guide you perfectly as you navigate the often stormy waters of care-giving. God alone can comfort you completely as you struggle with the negative emotions which often accompany your care-giving days. The Lord God is sufficient, however. He is also greatly honored, dear Christian caregiver, when you set your affection on Him in the midst of the heartbreak of care-giving. 

(The above blog post is one of the chapters in my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers. Having been a family caregiver myself I have a passion to help family caregivers. My book contains over 100 short chapters or meditations to encourage family caregivers in their sometimes discouraging but always noble work of caring for their loved ones. My own story as my husband's caregiver is intertwined in the meditations or short chapters in my book.

You can find my book online at Xulon, my publisher, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles. and other places. It is available in kindle version at Amazon and Nook version at Barnes and Noble, as well as paperback version.

This is the Amazon link to the order page for my book:

If you prefer you can order directly from me as well. E-mail me at for specifics, if you wish to take that route.)

Sunday, May 8, 2016


At times, the heartaches of care-giving can cause caregivers to temporarily forget the memories of the good times that they have experienced with their loved ones before they became ill. Caregivers can become so consumed with the challenges of fighting the declines in health evident in their loved ones that the good relationships and past good memories of their interactions with their loved ones get pushed to the back of their minds. 
At one point during my husband’s illness, I retrieved from their storage space our old love letters that we had sent to each other while dating. I spent an enjoyable period of time that day rereading those letters. It was so refreshing and a real spirit lifter. It helped to give me some perspective on things that day.  
After my husband’s death, I reminisced about special memories of our lives together. I recalled some special trips we had taken. I thought about how I enjoyed hiking trails with him from time to time before he became ill. I remembered our excitement over the birth of our children and grandchildren. I also thought about what I had loved and admired about him.  
Dear Christian caregiver, perhaps your loved one’s illness prevents you from doing some of the things you at one time loved doing together. Perhaps the illness has changed your loved one’s personality and quality of interactions with you. Perhaps, however, remembering those good times and thinking about what you always loved and admired about your loved one would help you to get through the very challenging days of care-giving.

Below is some of my memories.  The first picture is of my husband, Wayne, and I when we were dating.  The second one is of our wedding in July of 1971.  The third one is of Wayne and I with our three sons when they were very young.  The last picture is of Wayne and I at our youngest son's wedding about a year before Wayne was diagnosed with his disease.

When I look at some of the pictures of Wayne shortly before he passed away I can feel sad.  But these pictures bring fond memories and joy to my heart. Concentrate on the happy memories and the blessings, dear caregiver.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Taking Care of Yourself

The February 2016 Guideposts magazine posted an article on the need for family caregivers to care for themselves in order to be able to care for their loved ones long term.  An article by Shelly Beach contained five important tips for how to prevent caregiver burnout.

An online version of that article is also available.  It is well worth your time to read it, dear caregiver. Simply click on the link below to access this valuable article:

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Presence of God

Recently I read some devotionals by Nancy Guthrie in her book The One Year Book of HOPE.  These particular devotionals were contemplating the presence of God in our lives.  The presence of God in our lives is a precious and wonderful gift to us.  So often, however, we go about our daily activities and face our daily struggles without really thinking about the presence of the Lord or taping into it's power.   We must make an effort to keep our focus riveted on the Lord God.  Then no matter what is going on around us or no matter what activity in which we are engaged, we will find peace and joy.

We can practice the presence of God by conversing with Him and being aware of His presence in even the ordinariness of life.  Being aware of His presence also helps us in the pain of life.  I remember the heartache in my life as a caregiver for my husband.  It was emotionally painful seeing my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  Sometimes I face trials even today as a widow.  In the measure that I can remember the presence of the Lord in the midst of life's painful moments there can be joy and peace.  Dear caregiver, God never promised us freedom from life's problems.  He has promised us His strength, comfort, and presence in the midst of the struggles, however.  Look to Him in the midst of all of it.  Practice His presence.

As we have already stated God's presence is an awesome gift to us.  Unwrap this gift and embrace it, dear caregiver.  It will provide intense joy and comfort to you in the struggles of caring for your loved one.  Your story, dear caregiver, is an awesome story of God's pursuit of you first to save you and forgive you and then to use your life in His kingdom.  He has promised to always be with you.  Look for evidences of His care and strength and working in your life.  The Lord is using your story as part of His bigger story, as you care for your loved one. 

Enjoy the Lord's presence with you even in the painful moments of care-giving, dear caregiver.  Walk with the Lord.  Ask Him for strength,  Love Him as your all-sufficient friend.  It is not about being a super-hero caregiver but about depending on the Lord step by step and being aware of His presence. Sometimes it is so easy to get so bogged down with care-giving and other life struggles that we fail to see the Lord right beside us.  Focus on the Lord and not the problems, dear caregiver.

Give the Lord all your burdens.  Admit and turn from your real sins and failures, but also give the Lord the false guilt you sometimes heap on yourself as a caregiver for things that are out of your control.  Know the character of the God who is with you.  He is a God who is good and faithful even in the painful moments.  Trust Him.  Rest in Him, dear caregiver.