Friday, March 18, 2016

Easter's Meaning for the Caregiver

(I am re-posting a post I wrote at Easter the last couple years. I am posting a couple days early this time, and I will not be posting next week, so the next post will be April 3 or 4.  Use the week off to browse some of my older posts and have a blessed Easter.)

We are celebrating Easter this month. What does Easter mean to you, dear Christian caregiver? How does it relate to family care-giving?

Easter means that the Lord Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life for you and me. He later died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and then He arose again on the third day to prove that He had won over sin and death and Satan. If you and I have accepted his gift of salvation by repentance and faith, we are His child now and for eternity.

Easter also means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, identifies with your pain and the pain of your loved one, dear caregiver. As you struggle to help your loved one who is perhaps fighting against an incurable disease, He identifies with you. Having suffered the worst possible pain for us on the cross He is able to sympathize with our heartaches and weaknesses. He is also an all powerful Savior to whom we can freely go for grace in our moments of sadness and overwhelming and crushing needs.  Check out Hebrews 4:15-16 in the New Testament.

Because of Easter and Christ's sacrifice you can freely approach God the Father Himself with your and your loved one's needs, dear Christian caregiver. You can cry out to Him for help and call Him your “Abba Father,” because He considers you His special child. (Romans 8:15) Easter also means that when your heart is so weighed down with the heartaches and overwhelming circumstances of family care-giving that you do not even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for you! (Romans 8:26)

Easter for the caregiver means that although you will always face trials and troubles in this world, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  He is also your source of peace even in the most challenging of times. (John 16:33)  Even in the overwhelming circumstances of family care-giving, even when we do not understand God's ways in allowing certain things in our lives, and even in the most unthinkable circumstances God is working for our ultimate good. We are victors in Him! (Romans 8:28)

Dear Christian caregiver, my hope for you would be that your loved one is healed on this earth. Whether he or she is healed on this earth or not, however, a child of God is whole and perfect upon entering heaven. No matter what happens in your care-giving situation you too, dear caregiver, will slowly heal emotionally and spiritually. God will always be with you, and joy will return one day. His love for you will never fail. He proved that love for you on the cross. That is the meaning of Easter for the caregiver and for all of us.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Care-giving Storms

Family care-giving can often feel like a storm.  In a storm there are often things going on in nature which are out of our control.  I remember feeling that way about family care-giving.  As a caregiver I remember my husband's disease continuing on a downward spiral sometimes at an alarming rate, and there was nothing I could do about it.  I often was beset with fears and doubts.  As we talked about in the last blog post, caregivers like to be control.  We really are in control of nothing, however.

Yet God is in control.  In the measure we focus on Him and not on the storms of our lives we can have peace.  I hope that you will forgive me as I link you once again to a blog post I wrote at my other blog, a devotional blog called "Moments With God."  This post was written in middle February. The post talks about Jesus calming the storm and about our need to focus on Him.  The link for that post is below:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Control and the Caregiver

Caregivers, by their nature, tend to be planners and well-organized. They have taken on responsibility for the care of another human being who needs their help. They also often have to be advocates for their loved ones, and they often have to fight through the “red tape” of government rules and the medical profession. Hence, as a caregiver there is a tendency to feel that one always has to be in control. In the end, however, none of us are in ultimate control. Only God is in control. We are mere instruments in His hands. 

As a caregiver, I too often felt as if I had to keep things under control. Deep in my heart I knew, however, that I needed to release these things to the Lord. Care-giving was too overwhelming to try to try to “keep all the balls in the air” under my own power.  In the summer of 2009, while I was in the midst of my care-giving days for my husband, I wrote the following thoughts: 
I am enjoying my Wed. night women’s Bible studies so much. They apply so much to what I am going through in this whole care-giving scenario. One thing we talked about last Wed. night was that our attempts to grip so tightly to our plans and our control of things are pointless.

Our control of things is really an illusion. God is the One who is in control. So all we have to do is rest in God where He has placed us and experience the freedom of following Him. Where He has placed me in life as a caregiver is not always easy. I am trying to continually remind myself, however, that I could have less feelings of stress if I would always completely rest everything with God. I have so many things that need my attention in the next weeks, and it is difficult attending to these things on my own when I was accustomed to my husband taking care of many of these kinds of things. I am not alone, however; God will direct me as He has in the past. Now, to keep remembering that! 
     Dear Christian caregiver, care-giving is probably the most difficult job you have ever experienced. It can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually overwhelming at times. Trust that the Lord God is in control of it all. He will guide you. Remembering that will lighten the load. 

(This post is taken from a chapter from my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  A link to the order page for my book can be found on the right hand side of this page.  If you are receiving this post by e-mail click the Christian Care-giving link to get to the home page of my blog.)