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.