This post is a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
When we are stripped of the things we are depending on outside of the Lord and when we are stripped of thinking we are strong in ourselves, we begin to trust and lean on the Lord instead. We begin to see how weak we really are without the Lord. In this place of desperate clinging to the Lord, our acknowledgment of our weakness makes room for the power of God in our lives. It also makes our love for God become more intense. Care-giving-with all of it's overwhelming challenges-and the years since my husband's death has taught me the lesson of how weak I am in myself and how desperately I need the Lord. It may have done the same for you, dear caregiver. That is actually a good place to be, for here you reach out for God's all powerful strength.
Fear and love for the Lord do not belong together, because love that flows from God and is perfected by God drives out and removes fears (I John 4:18). So often during my care-giving days for my husband I succumbed to fear about the future and sometimes even fear of what that day would bring. Yet the Lord commands us over and over in Scripture to not be afraid.
The Lord also holds us when we are overwhelmed by life's trials. He holds us and comforts us and loves us during those times. The Lord knows your care-giving sorrows, dear caregiver, and He loves and comforts you through the process. You know He loves you so much, because He sacrificed His very life for you on the cross. He has proven His love for you, dear caregiver.
In Scripture, the devil is portrayed as a roaring lion who wants to devour us. The devil knows when we are at our lowest and weakest and loves to try to prey on us in those moments. God's advice is to humble ourselves before Him and not be anxious, because He cares for us and will protect us. His advice is to also stand firm in our faith (I Peter 5:6-9a). It is so easy in the care-giving scenario to become discouraged. Yet the Lord has promised to be with us, if we turn to Him.
Dear caregiver, trust in the Lord's strength, not your own. When your recognize your own weakness and lean on the Lord's strength, you are strong. Do not fear, for the Lord is with you. Rest in His love. Also avail yourself of His comforting arms around you. Finally, be alert for the devil's attempts to discourage you. Turn to the Lord instead.