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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdLQZRYNhb0