Caregivers walk their own unique path through chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, and disability.
A caregiver’s role can be both rewarding and exhausting, difficult and joy-filled, meaningful and frustrating, isolating and inspiring. Step into hope, find purpose, embrace worth, and encounter God’s joy as you care for your loved ones with chronic illness, mental illness, chronic pain, or disability.
Caregiving is a journey we didn’t choose, didn’t expect and sometimes feel wholly unprepared to take. Some days, the negatives outweigh the positives. Just when we start to feel like we know what we need or how others can help, people stop calling or checking in with us. Those offers of help seem to evaporate in the afternoon sun.
Yet God sees what others don’t. He sees every sacrifice and every tear. He holds in His hands every lonely, overwhelming moment, offering us this invitation:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
NOTHING ESCAPES GOD’S NOTICE
Nothing escapes the notice of our Heavenly Father. He knows us, He sees us, and He hears the cries of our hearts. He is with us always, through every overwhelming, exhausting, and difficult, moment.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5)
God knows how overwhelming caregiving can be, how it can throw the whole balance of our lives inside out and upside down. Yet He still calls us to be care givers. Why? Because those He has called us to care for are His beloved children too. It brings Him great glory when those of us with plenty supply what His children in want need, so that in turn, others can supply what we need. (2 Corinthians 8:14)
As caregivers, we focus on meeting the needs of others, often ignoring our own needs. It can be easy to get lost in caregiving, becoming invisible, and feeling like everyone else gets to live a normal life except us.
DEALING WITH EMOTIONS AS CAREGIVERS
Sometimes we give and serve and strive to be a perfect caregiver. Somehow we believe we’re not supposed to experience frustration, anger, sadness, or other negative emotions. This quickly leads to caregiver burnout.
Anger is a complicated emotion, but it doesn’t mean we’re angry with the person we are caring for, and it doesn’t mean we love them any less. Often what masquerades as anger is actually fear, hurt, or sorrow.
Sorrow or grief is our body’s response to loss. Whether we are grieving our loved one’s loss of memory, health, or ability to care for themselves independently, we need space and time to process these emotions.
For some of us, caregiving draws us closer to God, but others haven’t felt God’s presence for some time. God brings good from our suffering always, for suffering teaches us, shapes us, and can open our eyes to the Presence of God in so many small moments throughout the day.
Being a caregiver is both a challenge and a privilege. God calls us to intentionally, generously, and sacrificially care give – to take His yoke upon us, for it is easy and it is light. (Matthew 11:29)