Sunday, July 30, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: When the Caregiver Needs Some Care Given

It's a good thing my friends are looking out for me. If not, I'd probably have collapsed by now. 

For those who don't know, my elderly neighbor Sam moved into my home earlier this week. 

He was already on the farm when I moved here in 1989. He worked for me until his health began to fail. He still lived in the one bedroom cottage he's occupied since 1960 until his move a few days ago. 

I've looked after Sam ever since his wife died. Carried him to the grocery, helped him with his food, prepared meals for him, managed medications, and gone with him to doctors' appointments. In addition to full-time ministry, writing, and caring for my own home and property, it's been overwhelming.

The move and those first few days were stunningly hard. Sam had problems I hadn't foreseen, and we needed solutions right away. Frankly, I was so stressed about then that I couldn't come up with a solution if my life depended upon it.

That's when the body of Christ stepped in and did what Christ envisioned. 

One of my friends called from the grocery store. "What do you need right now? I told her. "I'll be there in thirty minutes," she assured me. And she was.

Another friend called with the same question. I could only find one pair of Sam's pajamas. That was no problem. She came bearing two new pairs of pajamas so I wouldn't have to wash so often. 

Those sweet actions are the hands and feet of Jesus in action. 

The dogs needed grooming in the worst way. I've been doing their grooming for nearly two years in an attempt to trim expenses. This time, there was no way I could wrangle enough hours out of the day to make the attempt, so I decided to take them to a new groomer. 

I texted my friend. "Do I have to have them there by 9 am? Because I'm not sure I can get Sam up and out in time." No problem, she assured me. She'd come get them and drop them off. I could pick them up later. When she arrived and saw our situation, she decided to bring them back, too. And take them to the vet for me to get the shots they needed. 

The hands and feet of Jesus were in action again.

Sam was sick on Friday. I'd done all I knew to do, including pray over him and beg God to help. Finally, I asked God to send someone to pray with us. And He did. 

Two friends came by, brought peaches and prayers, and read from the gospel of John. Sam and I were worn out, and it was balm to both our souls.

The hands and feet of Jesus arrived just in time.

When our friend brought lunch yesterday and saw the difficulty Sam was having, she didn't hesitate. "I have exactly what you need at home. I'll be right back." She was. I had no idea what to do, but she'd been in our situation before, and she was right. 

By yesterday afternoon, I was exhausted and ready for a moment to myself. Another friend came with snacks to eat, rocks to paint, and supper to stick in the fridge. Before fun, though, she intended to help me do whatever task needed doing. We did the one I'd dreaded the most, and spent the rest of the time visiting over paintbrushes and rocks.

Last night, I crawled in bed less tired than the night before. As I've looked back over the last few days, the thing that's most remarkable is the love that's been lavished. I've taken my needs to the Lord and He's met them through His people. No one person has done all the work, but many hands and hearts have helped us, supported us, loved us. 

It has taken the body of Christ to do this hard work of loving my neighbor as I love myself, and we, Christ's hands and feet, have done it together. 

There are people all across this world who are loving others by being caregivers. Unless you've been there, you can't imagine how very hard it is. We, body of Christ, can share the load, if we will. 

Today, consider who in your circle of friends and family is serving as a caregiver and ask our Lord how you can help. 

Some of the help I've been given requires hours of time. Others spent less than thirty minutes helping. It's not the duration of the help that's mattered so much. It's the timeliness of it. 

When you help a caregiver do what must be done, you, too, serve as the hands and feet of Jesus. You, too, become the one who loves your neighbor as you love yourself. 

Some of us are called to take our neighbor into our homes. Others of us are called to help them. We all have a part. Which part do you have? Let's be sure to step up and reach out. 

Someone is counting on you.

"Do unto others as you would like them to do to you." Luke 6:31 nlt
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Guest Blogger Debbie Pharr: Words of Faith or Words of Fear

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