For the past three years I have led a bi-monthly Caregiver Support Group. We paused for a month during the pandemic, tried zoom, and then began to meet socially distant in person. Our caregivers decided that their self-care was more important than the concern over meeting, due to the virus. They did not let their fear keep them away from their need of getting and receiving support. They realized that they needed to come and empty their bucket of care and leave lighter! Some have continued their pause on Support Group and that is their choice. If they need support, they know they can call and check in.
Weekly I hear from at least one caregiver, who may not even be part of the group, but has a need for resources, a listening ear, a prayer, or, as Jesus would say, “A cup of cold water.” It is my honor to be at the other end of their call by listening, seeking discernment from the Holy Spirit, and attempting to meet them in their crisis with a calm and loving voice. Caregiving is challenging and should not be attempted as a solo run. Can I repeat myself at the risk of sounding redundant? Caregiving is challenging and should not be attempted as a solo run! A wise caregiver asks for help and as the Rosalyn Carter stellar workshop, Dealing with Dementia, states “you must have a care team!”
I’d been pondering for a week or more what my next blog would be about when the reality of caregiving slapped me upside the head in the form of a phone call from a caregiver whose unique situation was overwhelming! There seemed to be no “great answer” to her need. What do you do when you are faced with the end of your rope, so to speak? You turn to the One who holds that rope and cry out for help! You ask others to remind you of the truths of how, as Christians, we walk out life. We serve Jesus Christ Who is the Promise Keeper. We remind each other of His great and precious promises. And then, on the next day, we do it again. Hebrews 3:13 reminds us to encourage each other while it is Today so that we are not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. The lies the enemy throws at us are that we are all alone; we don’t know what we are doing; and we are a failure as caregivers. And when we lose our cool, and trust me, we will, the lies are that we are incompetent and shouldn’t be doing this holy job!
If I could encourage you tonight with one truth, or maybe two or three…You, dear child are NOT alone. The God of the universe Who formed you and your care partner is with you and WILL NEVER forsake you. The second truth is the promise that Jesus told His disciples that when He died and rose again, that He would give them the Comforter-the Holy Spirit Who will remind us of all things; teach us all things. Our part is simply to ask. “HELP me or I need You or Show me or Protect me.” He tells us to ask and it will be given to us. I have to believe He will answer that prayer. You are not a failure because you are in the midst of caring-whether in home or in facility. You have not abandoned your post!
The years I directed the respite ministry for adults with dementia I tested these truths out, DAILY! Whether it was in the heat of the moment with a person who was struggling or on a phone call with a harried caregiver, prayers were constantly being prayed and answered. People would tell me that something was different when they entered the doors of Grace Arbor. It was because the Holy Spirit was invited and welcomed and asked to be present with us!
What if you began to believe and walk in these three truths? What if you recognized that you are NOT alone? That you plus Jesus could do all things? What if you invited the Holy Spirit into your care situation? How might your stress level change? Your strength and energy change? Your perspective change? Your creativity flourish? I hope that you will step in and see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! I promise He will not let you down! Let Him be your beacon in your caregiving storm! Let Him be the source of your joy, as well! I am praying for you!