You can find joy – the spiritual confidence that all will be well, even in the midst of your caregiving challenges – by trusting in God’s promise to work all things out for a good purpose in your life. (reference to Jeramiah 39:11) Remember that God is always with you, even in the middle of the toughest circumstances. Let your sorrow lead you to joy by helping you discover God’s sufficiency in deeper and more meaningful ways.
It is sad to watch our loved ones suffer or watch their capacity diminish. We shed tears of grief as we see these things, but they can be turned into tears of joy. How?? With His help. There is joy in living out God’s will for us to care for our loved ones. We might have to work at bringing joy to the forefront, but it can be found, with the help of prayer. When we ask the Lord to help us find joy in the difficult moments, He will show up. You’ll see.
Many people choose joy, even when they aren’t feeling joyful. It’s important to try to stay away from complaining. This is a huge thief of joy. Of course, we may need to unload on a trusted friend or family member or two. But try to remember to turn to Jesus first. He can take it! He understands. Remember, he had moments when he felt overwhelmed and frustrated too! Look to what Jesus did when he felt this way. He spent time alone with God. He rested. He delegated. He trusted his Lord. We can follow His example.
Galatians 5:22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Romans 15:13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with JOY and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We often hear people talk about relying on God’s strength through the difficult times. But what does that look like? How do we find strength for the long haul, especially when we are so tired?
We can learn from the ways Jesus handled His own caregiving responsibilities while on Earth.
- He frequently spent time alone in prayer
- He often prayed with His closest friends
- He publicly thanked God the Father for what God had provided.
- He faced each crisis with calm assurance because He had placed His confidence in God
- He delegated work to other people
- He grieved the losses of those He loved with a sense of hope, because He had an eternal perspective
I am sure if you think and pray upon it, you will find many examples from Jesus’ life that model for us the attributes that can make our caregiving more rewarding and fulfilling. But even if we just focus on the above points, we can grow closer to our Lord as we do the work of being His hands and feet for our loved ones.
Look to Jesus as your ultimate model of a Giver of Care (emotionally and spiritually), and follow His example in your own caregiving work. Obviously prayer is an important part of this, as ½ of his techniques involved prayer. If you are at a loss for prayer, don’t worry. God already gave us one; The Lord’s Prayer. Don’t forget to ask others to pray for you and your family as you navigate this difficult time of life. I know when I have had my greatest pain and hardships, I could actually feel the prayers of others when I felt too lost to pray myself.
Jesus faced each crisis with calm assurance because He had placed His confidence in God. We need to ask ourselves if we are keeping God’s promises forefront in our mind; which can be difficult to do when overwhelmed with your own life, plus taking care of someone. How can I switch over to this calm assurance? For myself, I leave post it notes on the mirro in my bathroom. Little inspirational sayings or bible verses. Goodness knows that my mind is so busy thinking of what I have to do next, that these positive thoughts might never enter my brain if I don’t have some sort of reminder. The same goes for the eternal perspective. Reminders and prayers work.
Yes, Jesus delegated. You can too! Using the Genus™ app, you can create a care circle of friends and family to provide respite care or perhaps a meal. If your church is involved with using Genus™, then maybe you can enlist help there as well. Don’t feel you shouldn’t ask for help. Jesus asked for help. Remember that you are providing an opportunity for others to be blessed by being His hands and feet for your loved one. Being a martyr and trying to do it all yourself doesn’t honor God or your loved one.
Jesus did all these things and more. We can use him as our Givers of Care Role Model. He wants to help. All we have to do is ask!
Being a caregiver for chronically ill patient can take its toll on Givers of Care. In fact, we often just avoid thinking about it because even that adds to the stress. Doing your homework on combating stress will benefit you and your loved one. If we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? And if we don’t take care of ourselves, then our loved ones suffer as well.
This article from the Mayo Clinic addresses this issue and provides some helpful tips for combating stress. In a very clear, organized fashion, the Mayo Clinic staff has gathered information on signs of stress, risk factors, and strategies for dealing with caregiver stress
The person of care in your life isn’t the only one who needs you – your family and friends do, too. In this article, Carol Bradley Bursack dives into the difficulties we face in finding balance, and how to re-prioritize.