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.
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