|When I Am the Caregiver
January 16, 2018
Read: Matthew 6:26-34
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? (v. 27 NIV)
Before I had cancer, I was the caregiver for my husband, who has been ill for years. As his caregiver, my mantras included: “You need to eat more.” “Don’t you think you need to call the doctor?” “If you get out of bed for a while, you will feel better.” None of these comments were received well. And so, of course, I ratcheted up the advice. In times of frustration, I became mean-spirited. I soon learned, however, that my fixing not only wouldn’t help, it made matters worse.
This behavior, I knew, was based on fear—fear that my husband’s health was getting worse, and fear that I was not a fit caregiver. It also was based on loss, both his inability to do what he used to do for himself, and the loss of what we used to do together.
Finally, as my body began to fail, I realized that as both a patient and caregiver, I was facing the same enemy: my desire for control. I had to surrender my husband’s life to God, just as I was surrendering mine. I had to take Jesus’ words for it: none of my worry or anxiety could add a minute to either of our lives. I had to surrender my worry and my meanness to God and receive in exchange patience and self-control. This transformation, like most, is a process, undergirded by prayers and fueled by opening my spirit to God’s Spirit. —Karen Bables
Prayer: Lord, govern my heart and behavior so I can serve.