This has been one of those weeks where the enormity of the tasks I have laid out for myself seem less manageable than I had previously thought. The list of “to-dos” is not different, just my confidence seems to be shifting as unexpected events and general disappointments pile up. Sort of a more losses than wins kind of week if you know what I mean! As I endeavored to get my arms around the uncertainty, I realized I was only seeing part of the picture. Along with all the tasks, curveballs, and noise I came to acknowledge the emotional and even spiritual toll caregiving has on all of us. I was feeling the losses, the uncertain future, and the feeling of being completely alone in all of the decision-making. We don’t often think about those components and instead wonder at our reaction and our own ability to deal with the “tasks”.
This caregiver stuff is hard! We all want to do a good job at those things we are committed to, or perhaps more succinctly for those people who are looking to us for care, guidance, and support. For many of us, that goes far beyond just our struggling loved one, but I wonder when we think about letting someone down whether we ever put ourselves on that list? Or in my case, maybe even God. Am I focused on the right things, putting my energy in the right places, and fulfilling my desire to do His work as a caregiver? Are these efforts somehow in conflict? Is it too much? Am I even capable of doing it?
The “fight, flight, freeze” component of all that emotional fear ultimately gave way to a realization that I am doing the best I know how to do and asking everyday how I might be able to do it better. With it comes a certainty that God is here with me, knows of my struggles, and because of my faith I am reminded that I am never alone. It also reminds me that all of this is ultimately in His hands and what is meant to be, will be. With that, I can only hope for the strength, discernment, and stamina to see it through! And, as if to bring my thought processes full circle to punctuate the point, I thought about how far I have already come on this journey!
I suspect we all are a little amazed with how we have weathered our situation, how strong we are compared to when we began, and what clarity we have now about things that used to be impossible to even imagine. I have nothing but hope that it will continue. I have no reason to believe it will be all bad or that I will fail miserably. So far, the track record is pretty good, and my faithful co-pilot is still here with me every day. Jeremiah 29:11 is the Bible verse for the week for me … “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This week especially, I am really holding on to that hope!!
Up for Discussion: How do you hold on to hope as a caregiver? Are there certain Bible verses, mementos, or wisdom that help you remember that hope is sometimes the only antidote to fear?