Wednesday, September 22, 2021

The Potter


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

The Bible teaches us that the Lord God is the Potter in our lives, and we are the clay in His hands. He is in sovereign control of our lives, and He controls all the events of our lives. All the events of our lives are used to make us more like Jesus. God especially uses problems, difficulties, and trials in our lives to mold us into the kind of people who truly reflect the Lord Jesus. The Lord wants to bring us ever closer to the center of His will. This is also true about the difficult challenges and trials of family care-giving. Difficulties teach us to not rely on our own self-effort and devices. Difficult times in our lives teach us to rely and trust only on the Lord. This became abundantly clear to me when I was a caregiver for my husband. His disease was incurable. It was out of my control. The only recourse was to seek to rely and trust in the Lord.

Difficulties in our lives also help to remove the impurities of sin from our lives, and they help us to grow in our love relationship with the Lord. When spiritual impurities come into our lives the Lord God recreates and molds our lives to be more in tune with His will. Our prayer to God should be that He will make us into beautiful vessels of purpose for Him. When we fail and allow spiritual impurities into our lives, we need to pray that the Lord will take us back to His Potter’s wheel. We need to pray that the Lord will then reshape us and form us into something more beautiful for Him. From the broken fragments of our lives, the Lord can make us into beautiful vessels for Him!

From experience, I know the pressure of family care-giving can feel overwhelming and unbearable at times. We must not fight against or question the Lord’s molding of our lives, however. We need to pray that each touch of the Lord’s hand on our lives will help us to become whom He wants us to become. The Lord knows just the right amount of pressure to put on our lives. We must also remain thankful for how He has made us and thankful for how He is working and leading in our lives! We must persevere in our willingness to submit to the Lord's will. We must be submissive to the Lord even in trials and difficult times in our lives. The Lord has promised to be with us all the way.

Finally, we must also ask the Lord for the filling of the Holy Spirit’s power and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must yearn for the Lord to control our lives completely every hour and every day!  Dear caregiver, trust you life and your care-giving journey to the hand of the great Potter. He know what He is doing even when the path becomes very difficult.

Here is a link to song about God being the Potter and we being the clay in His hands:

Friday, September 17, 2021

Story Behind My Wall Photo


In late July I purchased this wall photo at a craft show.  It is now hanging in my home.  When I first entered the booth of the man selling his wall photos, I thought they were paintings.  His pictures which are scenes from nature all have that paintbrush sort of abstract look.  I soon found out they are photos beautifully mounted on a metal surface with a lovely hanger on the back. 

The story behind this photo and all this man's photos are amazing, however.  When young this man was exposed to a chemical which resulted in involuntary tremors.  For many years this was a source of frustration and even bitterness in various areas of his life.

The man was especially frustrated that he could not take a clear picture with his camera because of his tremors.  He asked his Lord many times, "Why?"  Finally the Lord told his spirit that he had been given a gift.  He consulted other artists, photographers, and designers.  They all thought his pictures were beautiful just as they are.  God uses what is outwardly a terrible disability to make something beautiful and wonderful.

In the same way God uses our weaknesses and make something wonderful and beautiful from them.  When the apostle Paul repeatedly asked God to remove some "thorn" in his life God said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness."  Paul response was "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.---For when I am weak, then I am strong.  (II Corinthians 12 9-10 in the New Testament of the Bible.)  Beautiful things come from our weaknesses submitted to God, so He can fill us with His strength and beauty.

(P.S  The photographer is Ken Voigt, and his business is called Freedom INK of WI LLC, if you want to research his work some more.  He has not asked me to promote his work.  I just had to share this wonderful story.  

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Caregiver PTSD?


Recently my new husband of two years, Bob, had what started out to be a viral head cold type illness and which developed into a bacterial infection resulting in an ER visit and being put on antibiotics.  Although that week or two of illness was not fun, it was nothing compared to my years of caring for my first husband, Wayne.

Yet those few days of caring for Bob brought back memories of those difficult years of care-giving for Wayne, my first husband.  I am glad I had the opportunity to care for Wayne, but those years definitely taxed my endurance.  I am happy for the way my faith and love for my Lord grew during those times.  Yet they were difficult days watching my husband deteriorate step by step before my eyes.  I am thrilled by how good things came from that care-giving experience like my book, my blog, and my testimony to others.  Yet those years of watching my husband deteriorate step by step and then pass away, I would prefer to not relive.  (The picture above shows one of Wayne's last weeks on earth when all his children and grandchildren happened to be together at our house for a holiday, and tucked him in bed for the night.  Yet many times I felt very alone in this care-giving job.)

So when Bob was sick for a few days some of those old emotions of anxiety, fear, sadness, loneliness, and hypervigilance resurfaced again.  Were these feelings a type of caregiver PTSD perhaps?  I think that is a distinct possibility.  When the negative emotions surface it is important that we take care of ourselves with enough exercise, sleep, and good food.  Because our disordered emotions come from sin's curse on the world and sometimes from within ourselves, however, we need something much more fundamental.  Even children of God vitally need the Holy Spirit's comfort, and we need to feed on the promises of God's Word.  Then we need to live our lives in trust and obedience to His Word even when our unreliable emotions tell us to do otherwise.      

So I spend each morning in a time with my Lord in reading Scripture, with devotion books, and prayer.  In this way I am continually reminded that God will never leave me or forsake me.  Verses like these verses in Psalm 94 assure me each morning:  "When I said, “My foot is slipping, Your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul---But the Lord has become my fortress and my God the rock in whom I take refuge."

I thank caregivers everywhere for what you do for your loved ones.  I understand your emotions.  So does the Lord.  Turn to Him for strength for each new day.  You also might find the following short three to four minute message from John Piper on fear that I ran across recently very helpful.  Just click on the following link to hear it: