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.