Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 5:3
— Proverbs 5:3
Watching our loved ones lose many abilities, choices and self control over the time we care for them is painful. The last period of life for many is an experience of losing more and more of independence and personal functions. The reality of death is a legitimate topic of discussion to talked about and even embraced. It is not realistic to believe that our loved one would not die. So to hope that our loved one would not die at some point would be a false hope. Life can be filled with many false hopes. And false hopes will disappoint. Yet the human spirit needs hope for a better day.
Peter in his letter to a suffering people in the early days of the church spoke about a living hope, one that will not disappoint or be false. It was a hope in Jesus. A hope for a better life for our loved one through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This was a very personal hope for Peter. He was a first hand witness to Jesus’s resurrection. He was there, ran to the empty tomb, saw Jesus appear in the upper room, saw him ascend from the earth. He remembered all the teaching of Jesus pointing to the kingdom of God. The living hope was Jesus, himself. He knew Jesus lives. He knew because Jesus lives, those who look to Jesus and confess faith in him will live with Jesus forever. He remembered Jesus saying he went to prepare a place for us and will come back to take us to be where he is, his home.
Stephen Covey teaches successful people begin with the end in mind. You need to know where you want to go to plan and do the steps that will get you there. Keeping the end in mind helps to order our daily tasks and attitudes. Having our living hope in mind helps us plan our tasks and shape our attitude in our daily challenges.
Peter talks again about this hope in I Peter 1:13, “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” Call it the big picture.
It is so easy to loose sight of the big picture when we are steeped in the worries of all the distractions in caregiving. The hurtful words, resentments and regrets along with the physical and emotional exhaustion involved in caring take its toll. We can easily loose focus and also hope.
Martin Luther wrote these words of encouragement to those carrying burdens. “Pray and let God worry.” That can be hard to do. Hopefully, as we gather together in our Christian Caregiver Support Group we find encouragement in the listening ear of other caregivers. Somehow, we feel understood and not alone. We might pickup up some helpful ideas. We might feel a sense of peace and relaxation in our restful sabbath time. We pray together and feel we are not alone in our worry. We leave with God’s blessing and strength for another day.
When Christians pray, share and look at God’s word, we experience the Body of Christ. In some way Jesus Christ is with us. Our hope is renewed. It is a Living Hope. The disciples talked about how their hearts were stirred when Jesus was with them That Living Hope stirs our hearts, also.
We may be uncomfortable talking about end of life with the one we love. Your loved one may want to let you know their wishes about dying and it may be your gift to listen. Be ready to give spiritual encouragement. Don’t neglect sharing the living hope that we have in Christ Jesus. Make your last conversations express love. Remember, we are spiritual people having a human experience. Strengthen the spiritual.
Sue Brettmann RN has been devoted to Caregiving both in her career as an RN, Parish Nurse and caring for her aging parents through the last 40 plus years. She has experience in trauma, home care and hospice. Her strong faith walk and relationship with Christ has always been a part of her care and she is committed to helping others see the gift of Christ in their personal journey's.