“Life becomes harder for us when we live for others but it also becomes richer and happier.”
― Albert Schweitzer
These last few months have brought new challenges and many heartaches as I had to tell my husband that he had to stop driving. This was not easy for either of us and continues to be a source of aggravation. Then we went through the trauma of Hurricane Harvey disrupting our lives. Thankfully, we didn’t have any water enter our home, but there was much to be done before and after the storm. Now, we are facing an office visit with a new neurologist. This is stressful for both of us as my husband, Ed, is faced with his disease and I must relate to the doctor all the many ways he is struggling. In the midst of these struggles I have found wonderful encouragement from my support group. If you have not discovered the way others can relate to your problems, go find a group as soon as possible. You will be pleasantly surprised to find you are not alone in this caregiving adventure.
So, you might ask, what does all this have to do with joy? Well, it is in serving that Jesus said we would find joy. In John 15: 9-13, Jesus asks His disciples to follow God’s commands. What is God’s commandment? That you love one another. How do we show this love? In Galatians 5:13 we are told to “let love make you serve one another” (GNT). Many times, I do not feel happy or joyful as I serve my care receiver. I struggle with depression, frustration, anxiety, and loneliness. However, I have discovered that having a pity party will do no good and will not bring joy back to my life. It is only when I look to the Lord that I can put my life into perspective. I agree with Hannah as she prayed: “The Lord has filled my heart with joy; how happy I am because of what he has done! I laugh at my enemies; how joyful I am because God has helped me!” (I Samuel 2:1, GNT) Alzheimer’s is my enemy, I refuse to remain fearful because I know God has helped me.
It is important to journal and write down the times you were blessed as God helped you. When I had to confront my husband about driving, I had dozens of people praying. Ed’s family came to the house and we talked with him together. Then a true miracle occurred, Ed gave his truck keys to his brother so the truck could be sold. God had reached down and touched Ed so he could see the truth, even if it was just for a few hours. This was a miracle because the next day Ed was back to not understanding why he cannot drive any longer. So goes the caregiver marathon in my house. I pray that you will find joy in serving as you seek God for your support.
“Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion. Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times” (Romans 12: 11b-12, GNT).
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society