Giving Care God’s Way

I am blessed to be a guest writer at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood today in the first of a number of posts on caregiving.  Please join me over there.

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But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:31

The LORD is where our strength rests. He has more than enough for each one of us who gives care to another. Our task, besides the giving of care, is to wait upon the LORD.

Oh, my!  You may ask, “How can I wait when I have all of this to do? I don’t have time to wait.” He calls upon us to wait. upon. Him.  He will give us all that we need, all that we don’t even know we need.

As I share pieces of what I know about caregiving each month, let’s make our walk together in a garden setting for there is peace and tranquility, beauty and quiet in such a place.  We need these in order to wait upon the LORD for His direction.  I will focus upon the giving of care to the elderly whether he or she be a spouse, parents, elderly relatives, but you may easily be able to transfer this information for any caregiving circumstance such as an ill child or one who is mentally challenged, each of whom depend upon us for their well-being.

I was a giver of care to my mother for fifteen years.  She lived well over 98 years.  She has been with the LORD since January 30, 2013.  Knowing that there are many in this role of caring for someone elderly or ill, I pray that my experience will benefit each one who reads this in the ways that God knows you need support.  God plants seeds that sprout through rich and watered soil.  When I began caring for Mama, my soil was quite parched, but over the years, the LORD watered me, weeded out that which He could not use, tilled the soil until it became richer for His seeds:  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)  He gave me laughter when times were hard, tears for moments of needed release, a quiet spirit when family members were nasty. Over the years, He filled my soil with plants of His wisdom, of others’ love, authors’ and other caregivers’ experience and wisdom, prayers of many.  If God has called you to tend to another’s needs, I pray that you will allow Him to till your soil and plant His seeds, to water you with His Word and love for He wants to nourish you so that you may be sustained during this season.

I may be on the other side of taking care of Mama now, but that does not mean I no longer understand.  I do ever so much and want to share what I have learned, what I needed, and what I still need to this day.  I want to make this “our garden” for I want you to share your needs as well.  If you work in an assisted living facility, in a nursing home, or through hospice, I want you to share your experiences on the topic at hand.  In this garden we want to care for the precious ones God has given us as though our hands are the hands of Jesus. Let us pray together and pray for one another, encourage and support each other as we do what God has called us to do, or do what we may even feel a heavy burden to do.  It is not easy, but God strengthens us for the task, if we allow Him.    

Today, on this first post, I am recommending a couple of excellent books I have used over the years continually, even now:

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People with Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss in Later Life by Nancy L. Mace, Peter V. Rabins.  In print since 1981, fifth edition.  It is best read by the subject needed at the time a loved one with dementia/Alzheimers is going through that particular phase or has a certain symptom. No two dementia/Alzheimers’ patients are the same as far as how stages progress or the way that the person regresses. The index is the key. I used it as an encyclopedia with each phase that Mama went through.  An excellent resource.

“Quiet Moments for Caregivers–devotional and worship ideas for caregivers and care receivers” by Betty Free, 2002. No longer in print; many booksellers have used/new copies available. I heard James Dobson interviewing Betty Free on “Focus on the Family” in my early days of caring for Mama.  Not only did I need the book, but it is one I have given away to many.  The pages are filled with prayers of praise, adoration, thankfulness, of love and family, of hope, strength, prayers for forgiveness, prayers focusing on Jesus.  Mrs. Free shares her insights about love and caring, about changes, worries and fear, of pain and suffering, even of joy and laughter.  She asks “why” questions, those unanswerable ones, placing them into the hands of God. The book ends with prayers for the care receivers…comforting Psalms, Scriptures, and hymns.  It is a peaceful and comforting book.

LORD, I lift up this precious group of sisters who are under Your care as we care for another.  We ask that we have open eyes, open ears, open hearts to hear from You, to see You, to know Your ways, and to bend our knees in humility and prayer at Your feet.  May we tend to one of your creations as only You desire, cultivating quality of life for them, nurturing them in ways that You prescribe.  I pray also, LORD, that You nourish us through the power of Your Word by Your Holy Spirit in the fellowship of believing sisters, by encouragement, support, and bountiful prayer.  In the very Strength of Your Son’s Name, we pray.  Amen.

Caring through Christ, ~ linda

 

Quietly, I Pray

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With a quiet mind, heart and soul, I pray for the peace of Jerusalem.  God, I have no words but to lift up Your city, Your people, to You and only You.  My heart longs for peace in this world.  There is so much turmoil everywhere I turn.  Yet, it is with the deepest prayer that I call out and pray for Your Israel, Your Jerusalem, Your precious people.  Hear me, O God.  Hear me.  Amen.

Psalm 122

A Song of Ascents. Of David.

I was glad when they said to me,

“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”

Our feet have been standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem—built as a city

that is bound firmly together,

to which the tribes go up,

the tribes of the Lord,

as was decreed for Israel,

to give thanks to the name of the Lord.

There thrones for judgment were set,

the thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

“May they be secure who love you!

Peace be within your walls

and security within your towers!”

For my brothers and companions’ sake

I will say, “Peace be within you!”

For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,

I will seek your good.

Verse 6 of Psalm 122:

 שָׁאַל

sha’al

pray

to ask, to inquire

שָׁלוֹם

shalowm

completeness, soundness, welfare, peace

peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, peace (from war)

יְרוּשָׁלַם

Yĕruwshalaim

Jerusalem = “teaching of peace”

שָׁלָה

shalah

to be at rest, to be or have quiet, to be at ease, to prosper

אָהַב

‘ahab

to love

…human love for another, includes family

…human love for or to God

…act of being a friend

…God’s love toward man…

     …to individual men

     …to the people of Israel

    …to righteousness


From Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Psalm 122:

“This psalm seems to have been penned by David for the use of the people of Israel, when they came up to Jerusalem to worship at the three solemn feasts. It was in David’s time that Jerusalem was first chosen to be the city where God would record his name. It being a new thing, this, among other means, was used to bring the people to be in love with Jerusalem, as the holy city, though it was but the other day in the hands of the Jebusites. Observe, I. The joy with which they were to go up to Jerusalem (v. 1, 2). II. The great esteem they were to have of Jerusalem (v. 3-5). III. The great concern they were to have for Jerusalem, and the prayers they were to put up for its welfare (v. 6-9).

….

“Here, I. David calls upon others to which well to Jerusalem, v. 6, 7. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, for the welfare of it, for all good to it, particularly for the uniting of the inhabitants among themselves and their preservation from the incursions of enemies. This we may truly desire, that in the peace thereof we may have peace; and this we must earnestly pray for, for it is the gift of God, and for it he will be enquired of. Those that can do nothing else for the peace of Jerusalem can pray for it, which is something more than showing their good-will; it is the appointed way of fetching in mercy. The peace and welfare of the gospel church, particularly in our land, is to be earnestly desired and prayed for by every one of us. Now, 1. We are here encouraged in our prayers for Jerusalem’s peace: Those shall prosper that love thee. We must pray for Jerusalem, not out of custom, nor for fashion’s sake, but out of a principle of love to God’s government of man and man’s worship of God; and, in seeking the public welfare, we seek our own, for so well does God love the gates of Zion that he will love all those that do love them, and therefore they cannot but prosper; at least their souls shall prosper by the ordinances they so dearly love. 2. We are here directed in our prayers for it and words are put into our mouths (v. 7): Peace be within thy walls. He teaches us to pray, (1.) For all the inhabitants in general, all within the walls, from the least to the greatest. Peace be in thy fortifications; let them never be attacked, or, if they be, let them never be taken, but be an effectual security to the city. (2.) For the princes and rulers especially: Let prosperity be in the palaces of the great men that sit at the helm and have the direction of public affairs; for, if they prosper, it will be well for the public. The poorer sort are apt to envy the prosperity of the palaces, but they are here taught to pray for it.”

praying-for-the-peace-of-jerusalem

Henry Commentaries on the Whole Bible by Matthew Henry

graphic:  http://gatewaychristiancenter.org/pray-for-the-peace-of-israel/

photo/graphic: http://whowillyouserve.blogspot.com/2012/09/psalm-122.html