Sunday, July 29, 2018

Wedding Anniversary Reflections

Forty-seven years ago tomorrow on July 30, 1971 I married my husband, Wayne, the love of my life.  He was a wonderful husband, and we had a good marriage.  We raised three sons together and were able to see each of our sons marry Christian woman.  For two of these weddings we had to travel internationally to witness the weddings.  (God has a way of bringing surprises into our lives that we could never have envisioned.)  Wayne and I were also able to experience together the birth of seven of our nine grandchildren.  The last two grandchildren were born after Wayne's death.

As I said before our marriage was a good marriage.  We faced some trials, but we faced them together with the Lord's help.  Wayne was the love of my life.  But the last few years of Wayne's life and of our marriage were very difficult.  As you know from my previous blog posts these years were the years of Wayne's neurological disease.  These were difficult years, as I saw Wayne deteriorate step by step until he was completely disabled.  They were emotionally and physically draining years, and they took all the spiritual reserves that I had.

As I think about this anniversary of my wedding to Wayne, I am thankful for who Wayne was to me in my life.  I am so thankful for the love that he showed me in so many ways.  I also am saddened by the years that his dignity was slowly taken from him by his disease which step by step made him increasingly disabled.  I am saddened by what I went through as his caregiver during those years.

Yet I am also joyful in the thought of Wayne being free from all that now and with the Lord.  I am joyful in the realization that I know the Lord was with me every step and will continue to be with me every step of the way the rest of my life.  Yet I miss my husband even after seven and a half years, so I ask that you will pray for me especially tomorrow on the anniversary of our marriage.

I have learned so much through my care-giving experience, my early grief experience, and in life's struggles that have followed.  I have learned that dependence on the Lord is the only way to navigate this life.  I have learned that weakness in my self is a good place to be, for then the strength of the Lord can be shown.  Another words, I am the strongest when I recognize my weakness, because then Christ's strength flows through me in amazing ways.  I have learned that I am in control of nothing, but I am never alone.  The Lord is with me step by step.  My relationship with the Lord has become so very sweet, and I know He loves me and delights in me.  I have learned that He is sufficient.  Others may fail me, but He will not.  I may not always understand His ways, but I can trust Him.

So, you too can depend on Him, dear caregiver.  He is your strength in your weakness.  He is in control and will walk with you each step of your care-giving journey and throughout your entire life.  He loves you and will be with you, dear caregiver.  Because of my experiences as a caregiver, it is my passion to encourage you in these things as a caregiver.  That is why I write this blog, and that is why I wrote my book.  I care about you, dear caregiver.  God bless you in all you do.

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.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Lord is Your Keeper

Last Sunday evening a guest pastor in our church preached on beautiful Psalm 121 found in the Old Testament of the Bible.  It is a wonderful Psalm filled with promises of God's watchful care and keeping of us in all life's circumstances.  This Psalm is for anyone who loves the Lord and finds themselves on this pilgrimage of life on this earth.  This Psalm is for you, dear caregiver, if you are facing difficult challenges in your role as a caregiver.  It is for you, dear former caregiver, if your care-giving days are over due to the death of a loved one; and you are grieving that lost.  It is for you, dear child of God, no matter what your circumstances right now.

I would suggest reading Psalm 121 in a couple different translations.  Let it soak into your spirit.  Let it calm and assure you, as you pilgrim through this life. Then allow me to take great liberty in paraphrasing this wonderful Psalm below:

I  lift up my eyes to the hills-where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth, the one true God, the King of all creation.  He will not let your foot slip off His chosen path, no matter how difficult the circumstances you are now facing may be.   He guards your footsteps, and has the power and desire to help you. 

He who watches over you and keeps His people will neither slumber nor sleep.  The Lord watches over you and keeps you-the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day nor the moon by night.  He protects day and night.  There is total keeping of you at all times, in all places and in all things even when you sometimes do not always understand His ways.

The Lord will keep you from all harm.  You are always secure.  He will watch over and keep your life, and He preserves your soul.  The Lord will watch over you and keep you in His care in your coming and going both now and forevermore.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Lord Will Provide

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

One of the most discouraging aspects of care-giving for family members with a terminal illness is witnessing the continual deterioration of their bodies. When my husband was first diagnosed with his neurological disease (Multiple Systems Atrophy type C) in 2006, he was still able to work for over a year. After he quit working, he gradually moved from a cane to a walker to a wheelchair, and then finally I had to use a lift with him the last months of his life.

The last months and perhaps weeks of my husband’s life, the progression in his disease seemed to take more rapid dives downward. One good thing at that time was that I was able to rent a sit-to- stand lift. Someone from the office of aging and disability told me about this possibility, and so I pursued it. So in late October of 2010, my son and I went to take a look at this sit-to-stand lift at the Home Care Resources store in a local town. A few days later, the lift was delivered.

It took me a couple weeks and a couple of demonstrations to begin to feel comfortable using this product. After I had all my questions answered about the proper use of the product and  had practiced using it, I felt fairly comfortable using it. With the lift, I could get my husband transported from one of his chairs to the toilet, to bed, etc. right on target. It was awkward using this lift, and it involved some heavy pushing. It was doable, however.

Those days were difficult, but when I look back I am amazed at God’s provision step by step. I am amazed that God provided this lift so that I could keep Wayne out of the nursing home. I am amazed that I learned to use this device by God’s grace. I am amazed that God provided my CNA lady, who helped some evenings, and my son to help me during those last months. My house at that time began to look like a nursing home with all the disability equipment standing around, but the Lord provided.

God never promises us a life free from trials. He does promise to be with us each step of the way, however. I have a picture in my kitchen which says, “The Lord Provides.” He surely does provide. Whatever heartaches and challenges you are undergoing, dear Christian caregiver, know that the Lord is indeed with you step by step. He will provide.

(Below is a rather shadowy snapshot of that picture that stills hangs in my home.  The only difference is that now it hangs in my living room.  The words although difficult to read on this picture say, "The Lord Provides.")


Sunday, July 8, 2018

Keeping Your Eyes on the Lord

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

As we discussed previously, life is like a race. It is often a difficult race filled with obstacles and challenges. It is a race of faith. It is important that we keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus. This is especially true of the care-giving race.

Dear Christian caregiver, keep you eyes on Jesus and not on others as you run with faith the care-giving race. If you look around at others it will discourage and distract you. If you concentrate on another’s race, it may seem to you that their life is much easier than your life. First of all, you do not know the struggles they may be facing. Secondly, it may cause envy in your heart. God has assigned you the race that is meant for you, and that is the care-giving race. Or perhaps if you concentrate on others you may see others who seem to be “holding it together” better than you are. Again, you do not know their struggles. Concentrating on others will only distract and discourage. It will hinder you. Concentrate on the Lord instead.

Also dear caregiver, do not look inward. If you focus on your limited resources and strength and your own issues, you will become very discouraged. You may even want to give up. The truth is that we are very weak in ourselves. We are totally dependent on the Lord. I remember those days during my care-giving years when I felt as if I could not go on one more day. That was a good place to be, because it made me realize that I was totally dependent on the Lord. Do not look inward, dear caregiver. Look to the Lord.

Finally, dear caregiver, do not look back.  It is tempting during care-giving days to to look back with longing to the way things used to be. As I saw my husband deteriorate before my eyes, step by step, I grieved each step backwards. I also sometimes longed for days past. That really serves no useful purpose, however, except to discourage and impede.

Dear caregiver, God has assigned you the difficult but vitally significant job of family care-giving. Trust Him to give you the strength to run your care-giving race, and run that race with your eyes focused on the Lord. Don’t look back. Focus on Him.

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, July 1, 2018

Grief After Care-giving Ends

Most of my posts are directed to current family caregivers.  Having experienced first hand the challenges of caring for my husband and watching his body deteriorate step by step, it is now my passion to encourage current family caregivers.  Having said that, however, I also know that eventually losing a loved one to a disease and the resulting grief is also sometimes part of family care-giving.  This was part of my care-giving experience.  So this post is directed to past caregivers; because in a sense, once a caregiver one is always a caregiver.

I recently found something in my Facebook memories that I wrote on June 27, 2011 about six months after my husband's death.  This is what I wrote:

"July second it will be six months since Wayne’s (Dad’s) death. In some way it seems like a lot longer than that, and in other ways it seems just like yesterday. These last six months have been far more difficult than I could have imagined. I am told I need to be patient. Grief processing takes months and sometimes years, but the pain will get better. Grief is always with me. There are many joyful moments, but grief is still there just below the surface. There are also really sad moments where it is hard to pull out the sadness. Emotions during grief are unpredictable and intense. Grief emotions can ambush at unexpected moments. It is a very difficult and tiring process to go through. Yet I know what I am experiencing is normal grief emotions.I would so appreciate your continued prayers. Please know too that I do not need fixing. Only God can do that in His timetable. You do not need to say the right thing or even say anything. Your presence, hugs, phone calls, short notes, and listening ears is all I need. Sometimes I will want to talk about my feelings. Sometimes I would rather talk about other things. Sometimes I need a mixture of both. I always like to talk about Wayne (Dad). 

I still cry nearly daily. Sometimes the tears ambush unexpectedly. Don’t be uncomfortable, if that happens in your presence. I do not apologize for the tears. They are not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. They are God’s gift to me of release, and they are actually a sign I am slowly recovering.

Please pray that God will use this time of grieving to grow me and equip me to minister to others with greater compassion than ever before. I will not just survive, but full joy will return. (Psalm 30:5b) That is God’s promise to me, and I claim it. If you have suffered a similar type loss, please feel free to share it with me. It will help me rather than make me feel worse.

Thank you for caring about me. Thank you to those who listen and pray. It is a gift to me for which I will always be thankful."

Seven and a half years later I can now say, "God is good."  The emotional ache has not gone away completely, but I have learned to rebuild my life around the ache.  My life still has struggles, and it would be nice to have my husband with me in those struggles.   Yet the Lord has helped me use painful past and current struggles for His glory and to help others.  My faith has become so much sweeter in the process.  God's joy is present.

Dear former caregiver, rest in the Lord and go deep in His Word.  Trust Him to guide and protect. Then the joy will return.