"Caregiving often calls us to lean into a love we didn't know was possible" - Anonymous
Illness and disease affects the whole family. Daniel's Heart purposely assists families who are caring for their loved one at home because we understand how tough managing those details can be.
With the changes in one's disease, the caregiver must adapt and find new solutions to providing quality care. We see family members often who are carrying the burdens of work-life, normal stressors of their everyday, all the while trying to maintain face as they work hands-on to meet the needs of their loved one. The carer is often overlooked, but they too are "pressing forward toward the goal" and we want to encourage you today.
As a caregiver, remember it's ok to: ask for help, take time to step away, and do things to support your well being. Grief comes with changes in your loved one's needs. You might reflect on how they "once were" and miss the lifestyle you had with them. Processing those thoughts can feel overwhelming. It's easy to feel over burdened by the physical act of caregiving but also the mental transitions too. Remember God calls us to certain seasons for a reason, and it helps to move forward in every scenario if you can find glimpses of gratefulness. Thankfulness is a learned discipline of the heart of the believer. Practicing thankfulness in prayer and even claiming the air space in your home by proclaiming God's goodness or scripture, helps us remember how temporary moments of hard are, and how to trust God who knows every step before we do. There's a peace that comes with a grateful heart. It can turn a tough situation into one of worship and rest.
Daniel's Heart assisted Shae a couple of years ago. We continue to follow her story closely and pray for her, as she still suffers post brain surgery. Her Mom, Stephanie, recently shared what it's like to be a caregiver.
"Life can change quickly and we can unexpectedly find ourselves on an unfamiliar road. We expected my daughter to return to college a few months after her brain surgery, over two years ago, but complications from the surgery resulted in several regular weekly appointments as she works to steadily regain and rebuild her strength and skills. The carousel effect can be disorienting. The rhythms of our life have shifted to weekly loops of going for infusions and multiple PTs along with a neverending kaleidoscope of specialists and tests. It's exhausting for all of us.
At first I thought that the breakthrough or end point was just around the next corner. I finally came to accept that this is our new normal and it is long term. It took over two years to identify as a "caregiver." I had just seen myself as a mom taking care of a sick child. Now I am a caregiver helping a previously independent, adventure seeking, globetrotting, adult child navigate daily life. There is grieving that comes with that.
Through it all, the Lord has been faithful. He has consistently provided for us. Everything from the support from Daniel's Heart Foundation, to being with us in dozens of waiting rooms, many endless long nights, and the simple isolation that comes with being a caregiver of a long term medical issue. Through the constant movement from appointment to ... I am reminded over and over to, "Be still and know that I am God." I know that I am not alone and I don't have to carry this alone. I draw comfort from His love, compassion, and faithfulness. He gives me peace when I can't find it" - Stephanie, Vancouver, Wa
Grief and lament can be expressed in a holy way. A way that's pointed to a perfect peace instead of chaos. The toil and pain is never for nothing. It draws us deeper in to the most extravagant love we'll ever know, through Jesus.
If you're struggling to find purpose as a caregiver, reach out. We'd love to pray for you and over you. You are not alone!
"I'd like to say there are only four kinds of people in the world. Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers." - Rosyln Carter