To The Care-Giver

16 Jan

This is an article I wrote several years ago. I was taking care of my Mother – my favorite person in the world. She had Alzheimer’s and I was doing all I could to keep her at home with me. I loved her with a love I can’t explain. I wanted so much to take care of her until her time came to leave this earth. Being a care-giver is the hardest thing I’ve had to endure in my lifetime.

My Mother was used by God on this earth to bless so many people – she was, and still is, my hero. She was the perfect example of what a disciple of Jesus should be. The love of God was with her every moment and drew everyone to her side. Taking care of her was the biggest gift God has given me.

As hard as the task was, God was with me every step of the way. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t hesitate. I cherished the time we had together. The biggest blessing of all was that my Mother remembered me on the day she died. What a gift from God!

If you are a care-giver – please know that God knew you would be the one He could trust with the care of the one He loves so much. He sees all you have to endure – Lean heavily on Him. Don’t fret over any guilt about how you feel. Take good care of yourself and don’t let the enemy make accusations that take away your joy. This, too, shall pass, and, when it does, you have fulfilled the Scripture as follows:

John 15:13

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

NIV

 

 If all that a man has he will give for his life, he that gives this for his friend gives all, and can give no more; this may sometimes be our duty, 1 John 3:16.

(from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

 

I like what Matthew Henry’s Commentary has to say about these words that Jesus spoke in the book of John. Somehow it gives me great satisfaction to know that as I give my life to take care of my loved one, I give all that I am and can give no more. My own interpretation of this would be that God sees the sacrifices that I am making for my loved one and He knows I am doing my best. It also makes me feel better to know that it is okay if I am doing this as a duty and not because I think I am qualified or even good at it! This takes some of the pressure and guilt from me, since I don’t always perform my care-giving with the right attitude.

Some of the pressure I place on myself comes from my own idea that I should like what I am doing – but I don’t.  Most of the time, I feel angry that I have no choice.  Because this is one of those things I do as a duty and not necessarily because I want to, it doesn’t take away from what Jesus said in this Scripture from the Book of John. Duty is a good thing – it comes from internal integrity.

I am grateful that God’s Word ( John 15) it  doesn’t say I have to feel a certain way in order to demonstrate my love. It is the act of providing daily care for my loved one that God wants from me. I’m not saying that my attitude shouldn’t be right. I know it should. But, at least God knows my heart and He knows what a struggle this is. I have to seek God continually to help me correct my attitude as I am doing things I would rather not be doing.  This brings a greater peace to my heart and helps me feel less stressful.

As I write about my care-giving experience, I notice how many times I use the word “feel”. Truthfully, I’ve never been so aware of my feelings – possibly because I’ve never walked through such agonizing pain, or experienced such intense emotions.

As care-givers, we find ourselves so entangled with our loved one that we can’t deny the heaviness of it.  Therefore, we are forced to deal with our feelings and emotions. And there are soooo many!

President Reagan’s wife, Nancy,  put it this way,  “. . . it is like saying a long goodbye”.

The good news is that we will meet again in Heaven one day.

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