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: