Monday, November 2, 2015

What about Jakob?

I've read and reread the story of Joseph, and growing up in church it was one of the common Bible stories that we heard over and over. On one hand I think the caregiver can learn from Joseph's patience. He had a dream that seemed could never come true. Life betrayed him. I know the scriptures don't go into Joseph's thoughts but he had to have some serious dedication to God to not lose it during those waiting years.

I think of the betrayal by his brothers. Then the betrayal by Potiphar's wife. Not only did his brothers put him in a pit until they could sell him to the next passerby, Potiphar has him thrown into prison for something he didn't do. He spent a lot of time waiting, wondering, and trying to figure things out I would assume.

While our stories usually focus on Joseph and his determination to serve God through his trials, this weekend as I was rereading the story once again, I thought about Jakob.

In Genesis 37, it says that Jakob wept for Joseph and goes on to say he refused to be comforted. His other children all tried to console him, but his reply was I will go to my grave mourning for my son. He had no idea that Joseph was going to be his leader some day and he had no reason to believe that Joseph was alive - no hope that everything would be okay one day. He lived in grief.

The caregiver can experience what is called a living grief. Depending on the particulars of our situation, we can lose a lot. For my situation, my son is gone, but his body is still here. I have grieved the loss of my son but can't quite "put it away" since there was no funeral or burial. The grief continues. It's the same with my mom. She's experiencing dementia and is not really who she used to be. I have to grieve the loss, even though she's still technically here. 

Many caregivers experience this living grief and it can be some very complex emotions to work through.You can't just "move on" but there's still a sense of loss. Caregivers have given up something on some level no matter what their situation. Some give up jobs, freedom, friends, and many other aspects of life to care for a loved one.

1 Corinthians 1:3 says that God is the God of all comfort.  I really like this little word, all. God can comfort Joseph sitting in the prison cell wondering where the promise is; and God can comfort Jakob who feels like the promise was stolen and is gone forever. God can feel us. He gets us. And He will comfort and strengthen our hearts.

Today I will turn my thoughts to the fact that He gets me. He understands everything I am going through and He pours His strength into me - and gives me strength for today's journey. (everyday is a journey for caregivers) My meditations will be on the truth that He loves me with the same love I have for my son. (Insert whoever you are a caregiver for.) And instead of focusing on the loss today - I'll focus on His provision, His love, His strength, His patience with me and the grace He gives me to make it one more day. Will you join me?

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