Monday, May 18, 2015

When the Caregiver Needs a Caregiver

Have you ever felt terribly alone and hopeless? I think those feelings come with the caregiving package as a general rule and perhaps everyone has felt them at one time or another. But when stuff starts to pile up on you it can make an already difficult situation even harder to deal with. The aide doesn't come in, the van broke down, or you, the caregiver doesn't feel well. Any of these can make for difficult days but then there are times they all happen at the same time. Even though we'd like to we just can't give up. What would we give up to? Where would we go? Despair can easily set in when situations are overwhelming. But one look at our loved one and we remember why we are doing this "job" to begin with. Somehow they help us keep it in perspective.

We can think of their vulnerability, their needs and just the fact that we love them and want to protect them and it helps us adjust our own attitude. That's when we seem to reach down a little further and dig out a better attitude and strength we didn't even know we had to face one more day. Are there ever days when you wonder if someone would have that kind of stick-to-it-iveness for you? Maybe we wonder that but we don't have time to dwell there - there's too much to get done to spend time thinking about that.

I'm thinking that God is the only one who is really sticking to it for the caregiver. We get weary, people who help us get weary - but God never gets weary. Some days I can feel like the energizer bunny and I keep going and going. Other days, I wind down and it takes all my energy and strength to just get out of the bed in the morning. God never feels that way. As a matter of fact, in Isaiah 40, verse 28 states that He never gets weary or tired. And the next verse says He gives strength to the weary. Days like today I have to raise my hand and say, "Me! I need strength to make it today!" And He always equips and encourages me from the inside out.

I am amazed at how He can encourage when there is no hope and strengthen when there is no might. So far I haven't seen an intake valve - but He puts it in there somewhere. Knowing He is with me and hasn't abandoned me along the way encourages me to take one more step. This morning I was reading in Psalm 95 where it says we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. I wondered why the psalmist says people of His pasture and not the sheep of His pasture. Then I thought, it really covers everything. By being the sheep of His hand  puts us in His hands, where we are near His heart. And the people of His pasture puts us where our needs are met- we are well taken care of by the Master Caregiver.

Caregivers need to be reminded that as much care and love we put into taking care of our loved ones - God matches it in taking care of us. He watches us more closely and covers us more fully. I take comfort in the fact that He is my caregiver today. And for today - I can rest in that.

Today as I care for my son - I will look at each act of kindness and love and think about how God does that for me. My thoughts will be on His tender, loving care for me as I care for His child. And I will rest content in His arms as a small sheep trusts and relies on the shepherd. Will you join me?

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