Sunday, September 24, 2017

Fiery Arrows

(Today's post is another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections For Family Caregivers.)

As a caregiver do you ever feel as if you are being bombarded by the “fiery arrows” of negative emotions? (Ephesians 6:16) Negative emotions can so easily spring up in the midst of care-giving chaos and heartache.

On June 9, 2009 while caring for my husband, Wayne, I wrote the following words:
“It is so easy to allow myself to get bogged down with discouragement, impatience, and sometimes anger. I realize I need to fight those “fiery arrows.” There is still so much for which to be thankful. I need to concentrate on that.”

Then on June 23, 2009 I journaled the following words:
"The future is unknown and feels scary for Wayne and I, but I do know the Lord who holds the future. I need to focus on that and on the fact that I know my Lord will always be with me.”

One way caregivers can fight the “fiery arrows” of negative emotions is by remembering the good things that still are present in their lives. Care-giving can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. There always are blessings in one’s life, however. We need to look for them and be grateful for them. We also need to look for the wonders of God’s working and guidance in our lives. If we look for these things we will find them. If we look for these things it will also help to soothe the negative emotions.

Caring for someone with a terminal or serious disease can be frightening at times. This is because the future is so uncertain. Hence, fear and other negative emotions can quickly surface. It is wise to take it one day at a time and one step at a time. It is also wise to leave the future in the hands of the Lord. Caregivers tend to be great advocates for their loved ones. In the end, however, caregivers need to remember that they are not in control. God alone holds their futures and the futures of their loved ones. In the measure caregivers can rest in the Lord’s care the negative emotions will be soothed.

As a caregiver for my husband I found that fighting the “fiery arrows” of negative emotions was a constant struggle. If it were not for my faith, I would have not been able to persevere. My faith and knowing that God was in control made all the difference. The promises of God’s Word that He would always be with me soothed my fears and other negative emotions. Finally the weapon of prayer and looking for God’s working in my life was a big help in fighting those “fiery arrows.“

Dear Christian Caregiver, remember that emotions negative or otherwise are just feelings. Feelings are not necessarily based on truth. Only God’s Word and resting on your faith in God is the source of truth. Look for the blessings in your life, and rest in His truth.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Storms of Life All Around

We have heard much in the news of late about devastating hurricanes, massive fires, an earthquake and even another terrorist attack in London.  I don't know about you, but hearing about these events and knowing the turmoil these things are bringing in people's lives makes me sad.

Personal storms in our lives can do the same.  They can make us feel very sad and discouraged. A few days ago I was feeling very troubled about something.  I was reminded that I needed to trust God in that situation.  I needed to be quiet in that situation.  I was reminded of Isaiah 30:15b which says, "In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength."  The feelings have not all gone away, but being reminded of this helps me immensely.   Then I ran across a song by Stephen Curtis Chapman which speaks about being quiet in the Lord.  The link to that song is below if you would like to hear it.   Just click on the link.

I remember also the struggles of being my husband's caregiver a few years back.  I remember the discouragement of seeing my husband's body deteriorate step by step. I remember the sadness and the fear about not being able to provide for his needs in the days ahead.  You may have similar feelings, dear caregiver.  May the Scripture verse I quoted and song link about resting it with the Lord be a huge comfort to you, dear caregiver.  God will always be faithful to you.

Another Scripture passage which is a huge comfort to me is found in the early verses of Isaiah 43.  It speaks of God summoning us by name and being with us through all the rivers and fiery challenges of life.  I wrote about that recently at another blog site of mine called Moments With God.  The link for that is below.  I hope you find this a comfort as well, dear caregiver.  Thank you for all that you do for your loved one.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Specific Scriptures on Care-giving?

Over a year ago I received this e-mail from someone, "You keep saying in your book that care-giving is a purpose filled calling.  Can you give me specific Scriptures on that?'  I replied that although there are no Scripture passages that use those exact words, Scripture does tell us that if we serve others and show love and compassion to others, we are doing it for the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is shown in the Scripture passage about the sheep and goats in Matthew 25:34-40.  I also gave her some Scripture passages which either commands or tells of the rewards of serving others.

Later someone showed me the link to an online post which addresses the question, "What does the Bible say about care-giving?".  Below it the link to that post.  I hope you find it a blessing.  Thank you, dear caregiver, for all that you do!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Words of Affirmation

(This post is a chapter from my book:  Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

Family care-giving demands huge sacrifices emotionally, spiritually, and physically from the caregiver. At the same time it is not often affirmed and recognized by society. Sometimes even the caregiver’s loved ones do not affirm or acknowledge the love sacrifices which are being made for them. They sometimes can not or do not do this, because they themselves are so overwhelmed with their disease. In the spring of 2009 in the midst of my husband’s neurological disease I wrote the following words:

“The other day I took one of those Facebook quizzes. I am never big on these quizzes, because they appear to be a bit of a hoax. The quiz I took this time, however, seemed to match my reality pretty closely. The name of the quiz was “What is Your Love Language?” It said my love language was words of affirmation.

Before my husband’s illness he would tell me I was beautiful, and he would often call me ‘his favorite wife.’ It became a standing source of teasing between us, because my reply would always be, ‘How many wives do you have?’ My husband was always good about giving loving cards on special occasions also. So much of that verbal affirmation is gone now. My husband’s speech is so poor that basic communication between us is difficult. I miss also the basic bouncing of ideas between us.

Yesterday at my husband’s suggestion we went out to eat. He so seldom wants to go anywhere let along suggest it, so I readily agreed. It was very windy, however, and so we took the wheelchair. By the time I had wrestled the wheelchair in and out of the trunk of the car, gone through the buffet line for my husband and then for myself, and then basically carried on a conversation with myself during lunch; I began to wonder if it was worth it. As I said, I miss the verbal exchange.

A day or so ago I read a devotional in my care-giving devotional book about the importance of God’s affirmation of His love for and delight in His children. Knowing this is a source of comfort to me more than knowing what I do in my care-giving role has a purpose and meaning. I need to feel affirmed as me not as my role as a caregiver."

Dear Christian caregiver, the world may not recognize what you do. Your loved one for whom you care may not always be able to recognize and acknowledge what you do. God, however, does see what you do for your loved one. You are doing noble work, dear caregiver. God also delights in you and loves you just as you are! (Check out Zephaniah 3:17 in the Old Testament of the Bible!)