Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Caregiver's Race

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

Living life on this earth, in many ways, is like running a race. In fact, the Bible refers to our lives as a race which must be run with perseverance. I think this is especially true for caregivers. Care-giving for a family member with a terminal or long term illness involves a determination and perseverance not found in many other of life’s experiences.

Running the care-giving race requires energy. It is demanding and emotionally and physically exhausting.  It is a race which is never ending. To run this race successfully, caregivers needs to rely on God Himself to supply them with the energy and strength to carry on day after day. Caregivers often feel low in energy, but God has promised to supply the strength to continue. It is also so important for caregivers to feed on God’s Word, so that they will have the spiritual nutrients to continue the exhausting care-giving race in which they are participating.

As I mentioned before, running the care-giving race also requires perseverance. It requires a consistent determination to keep going even when tired or when uncertain where the road ahead will lead. This race can also feel very lonely to caregivers. As a caregiver for my husband with a long term terminal illness, I so remember those feelings of fatigue. I also remember those feelings of fear and uncertainty about the future and the loneliness.

However, the Lord has promised to always be with us in all of life’s challenges. As He was with me, He will be with you also, dear Christian caregiver. He will never forsake you. He will help you run your care-giving race with perseverance! Dear Christian caregiver, run the care-giving race keeping your eyes upon the Lord. Do this, for He alone is your source of strength. He also will keep you from quitting the race.

Everybody has a race to run in this life. The caregiver’s race is different than other people’s races.  However, it is the race you have been assigned, dear caregiver. Run it in confidence trusting that you will be given the strength and energy to persevere.

Below is the link to the order page for my book at Amazon:

You can also contact me personally at for information in getting a signed copy directly from me.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Seeing Messes or the Miracles?

It so easy to get bogged down with the messes of life that we no longer clearly see God's presence and His miracles.  Sometimes the struggles of life can wear us down physically, emotionally, and even spiritually.  I felt that during my care-giving days when my husband's body became more and more disabled.   I continue to feel that at times as I face other situations in my life alone, humanly speaking, as a widow.  This past year in particular has been difficult with some physical pain issues and also some big issues that loves ones are facing.

In times like these we need to stay focused on the blessings, the daily miracles that are in our lives. We need to remember all the times the Lord has been with us in the past, and we need to trust that He will be with us in the days ahead.  We need to fix our eyes on the Lord and trust His promises to always be with us.

Recently in my devotions I was struck by some comments by Lysa TerKeurst in her book entitled, Embraced 100 Devotions to Know God is Holding You Close.  She wrote, "I get so focused on the mess, I miss the miracles."  Later in that same devotional she prays this prayer to the Lord, "Please don't let the messes of life harden my heart and blind me to Your presence.  Instead of being so terrified in the midst of the mess, might I keep the picture of You, watching me, always watching me.  And might I find courage in the assurance that You will come to me with Your miraculous presence."

So may we also focus on the miraculous presence of the Lord in our lives; as we face life's trials, troubles, and messes.  May we exchange our negative emotions for "a crown of beauty," with "the oil of gladness," and a "garment of praise" (Isaiah 61:2-3).  Life is sometimes difficult, but focusing on the blessings and the wonderful presence of the Lord is the key to peace in the midst of it. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Joy and Peace

As I think back on those days when I was caring for my husband, I remember the steady decline of his body.  I remember how his neurological disease step by step robbed him of his ability to function.  I also remember the anxiety and grief I felt as this was occurring in our lives.  I remember other difficult times when I have also felt that same kind of anxiety and discouragement as well.

Yet the Lord tells us that we can have joy, peace, and contentment in all situations.  This comes through right praying, right thinking, and right acting.  The apostle, Paul, wrote one of the most beautiful chapters of the Bible in Philippians chapter four.  Paul speaks of these things in that chapter of the Bible.

Below is the link to a post from another blog I write, a devotional blog.  In this post I discuss Philippians chapter four and the beautiful truths about being able to have joy and peace in the midst of the difficult moments of this life.  Just click on the link before to get to this post:

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Life's Unexpected Twists and Turns

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

By early October of 2010 a few months before my husband’s death, my stress level was often extremely high. Things seemed to be getting more and more difficult in caring for Wayne.  I knew God was guiding me, I had seen that over and over, but it was still difficult.

In early October of 2010 I wrote, “Frankly, there are days when I am not sure how much longer I can do this.  However, it seems like every time I am at the end of my rope, some other help falls into place. I will have to keep trusting. I realistically need to also at least look into all the options, including possible nursing home in the future. I hope to avoid nursing home if at all possible, but I may not have a choice.”

Then by middle October 2010, life took some fairly rapidly developing twists and turns in just one week's time. My husband’s motor and processing skills became increasing more limited and my husband’s transfers become increasingly difficult.  I was becoming increasingly concerned, and I was  feeling that I could not handle my husband's needs any longer. In the mix of all this, my son had lost his job. So in a way, we had two families in crisis.

After somebody talked with me at church on a particular Sunday morning around that time showing concern for my well-being in all this, I decided to have a talk with my son and his wife. I told them that I was getting to the end of my strength in physically handling my husband and that I needed to at least check out nursing homes as a undesired but possible option. My son had already started helping me on nights when my CNA lady did not come. I felt that even that was not enough, however, as I still was handling the days alone at that time.

The upshot of all this was that my son decided (since he was not working) he would come four times a day most days to help me with transfers to the bathroom etc. of my husband. We now had a scheduled plan for this. The idea was that this would buy me time to at least check out other options.

This was definitely God’s timing. A few months after Wayne’s passing on to heaven, my son found a new job (another story of God’s mercy and grace). In the meantime, God provided me with the help I needed as Wayne’s caregiver. It was such a spirit lifter. My son and I were able to care for my husband’s needs until the day of his death, and my heart’s desire of avoiding putting Wayne in a nursing home was fulfilled.

I would not want to relive those difficult care-giving days, especially the last few months. In fact, even remembering those days is difficult. God was with me through it all, however. He always provided. He will provide for you also, dear caregiver.