March 5, 2012
Caring for the Overlooked
"Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
I can count on my fingers the number of times I showered during the last couple of months of Ron's life. My husband was confined to a hospital bed in our living room, and hooked up to a morphine drip that he'd try to pull out of his arm when he'd wake disoriented. And we had a three-year-old little boy who liked to toss things into the toilet bowl and stir them around. I couldn't take my eyes off of either one of them.
But I needed to bathe and brush my teeth. I had groceries to purchase, mouths to feed, bills to pay and trash to take to the curb. Several times throughout the day, I needed to go to the bathroom. I depended on others to help me "carry" all these things.
Once a week, a Hospice volunteer sat with Ron so I could take a shower and a nap. My mother and sister-in-law picked Nick up a couple of times a week so he didn't witness things with his dad that a toddler shouldn't see. There were occasional visits from friends and other family members, but most kept away because it was too difficult for them to see their beloved Ron deteriorate so quickly.
I understood. Really, I did.
But it was hard.
I felt alone and helpless.
Hungry and tired and dirty.
And I was watching the love of my life die a little more each day.
I wouldn't trade those final days with Ron for anything in the world. I would not have wanted (or allowed) anyone else to care for him. Love gave me strength and God carried me when I had no energy left. Yet, while the role of caregiver is one I cherished, it was filled with so many challenges and hardships.
Do you know someone who is caring for a chronically or terminally-ill loved one, an elderly parent or a young child?
As today's verse in Galatians tells us, we are called to be compassionate, to love, and to carry each other's burdens. When we do these things in His Name, we demonstrate His love to others. It is our responsibility as Christians. And it's our privilege.
From a heart that has been there, may I encourage you? Don't overlook the caregiver. Love on them. Encourage them. And be the hands of Christ, helping carry their burdens, in the midst of their weariness.
Dear Lord, please give me Your eyes to see the struggling caregivers around me. Strengthen and equip me to help carry their burdens. Help me to see when help is needed and when I would be more of a burden than a help. Show me tangible ways that I can make a difference, bring encouragement, and share Your love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Do You Know the Greatest Comforter?
Words of Comfort for Times of Loss by Cecil Murphy and Liz Allison
Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone in your life, at work, or in your church that is currently the primary or only caregiver for someone? Let them know that you are praying for them and that they matter.
Offer your assistance. If they are hesitant to accept, find practical ways to help like bringing groceries or stopping by with a hot meal and laundry detergent. Do a load of laundry. If they have children, offer to take them to the park or on a play date with your kids.
John 13:34, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." (NIV 1984)
© 2012 by LeAnn Rice. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105