Nov 07

Kudos to Caregivers!


In honor of November being National Family Caregivers Month, I’d like to offer some special encouragement to all the weary folks who faithfully attend to the needs of loved ones.

You’re physically tired. Probably emotionally exhausted. Maybe even running on spiritual fumes. Been there…done that. Way too many times. I’ve cared for relatives with dementia, others with cancer, COPD, and failing kidneys.

I spent several months last winter caring for my husband through his bilateral knee replacements, surgical hematoma evacuation and physical therapy. My caregiving turn should have been done for a while, right? Nope. Had to do it all over again this summer when one knee got infected, the prosthesis had to be removed and eventually replaced (after six weeks of immobilization and daily antibiotics administered via PICC line by guess who?) And it certainly didn’t help my caregiving stamina when less than 48 hours before my husband’s second surgery, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease. (I was feeling as if there was a bull’s eye on my back literally and figuratively!)

Did I mention that in the middle of caring for my husband, our 12-year-old cat, Ty, started losing weight and acting strange? I tried coaxing him to eat with all sorts of special treats and offered my best TLC for weeks, but it was cancer and we had to put him to sleep.

Still, I am a fortunate caregiver because all the sick folks I’ve cared for have been appreciative of my efforts and told me so.  (Even the cat purred right up until the end. 🙂 ) Maybe you’ve been thanked for your efforts, but some of you are caring for people who either can’t or won’t express gratitude for your sacrifices..and that makes it all the more difficult.

I’d like to share with you Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-40 because I believe they contain wonderful encouragement for caregivers.

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink?  Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’”

Imagine that. Jesus says that He sees all the “little” things we do for others and promises we will be rewarded for those good deeds. And even more amazing, He tells us that every time we perform one of these actions, we really are doing it for Him.

When you took time off work to go to the doctor with your loved one, you did it for Jesus.

When you spent all that time fixing food you hoped would nourish them, you did it for Jesus.

When you got up in the middle of the night to get their pain medicine, you did it for Jesus.

When you rubbed a back, cooled a brow, cleaned up a mess or sat through yet-another tedious test, you did it for Jesus.

Whether or not you got any thanks from your loved one here and now, Jesus saw your kindness and He will bless you for it. After all, you did it for Him.

To enjoy Scott Wesley Brown’s “The Language of Jesus is Love,” open in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DYucfd-5QUQ