Thirteen months ago I got sick and never recovered. This led to a very different kind of year. We’ve gone from the early stage, when I was quite fragile, of my wife looking at me teary eyed and saying, “Don’t die” and needing to be by my side 24-7 to the adjustments and mental hurdles that go along with caring for a person with a chronic illness.
We have been SO thankful for the Lord’s ever-present grace and the many lessons He has taught us over these months. He is an infinitely trustworthy Heavenly Father! We can trust Him with everything and see where He has placed us as a gift. This is an opportunity to accept His plan by faith, knowing that we are not outside of His! What a joy and comfort during a time of trial!
Our theme verse for this season of our life is, “God sent me here.” (see Gen 45)
Supporting my caregiver
So, as the sick partner in this marriage, how do I support the caregiver? As I sit here I don’t know if I have done a decent job of this or an AWFUL job, but this is what I try to do by the Lord’s grace.
1. Pray for her
The Lord says He sits on a throne of grace and that we should come boldly that, “We may obtain mercy and find grace TO HELP IN TIME OF NEED” (Heb.4:16) How encouraging is that?!?! I see my wife Lynn carrying the trash out and doing dishes and laundry and reminding me what meds I’ve taken and when to take the next batch. I see her running about with the kids, and basically doing all that would normally be done by father and mother. I will see many times where she needs grace and help.
I may be unable to help her, but I have a God who waits to give grace when asked, and it has been a huge joy and privilege to see the Lord give my wife everything she needs to honor Him and serve Him in the circumstances that He has placed her in for His glory! It is a joy to watch my wife thriving this year, growing in her walk with the Lord, having joy from day to day. This is all a gift of grace from such a good God, and to be able to go to the Lord and see Him provide all that my wife needs is such a joy and a blessing!
2. Seek to lead her, love and appreciate her
I call my wife my “Abigail.” She is a wise, beautiful and strong woman. Yet she still needs me to fill my God-given role as leader of our family, being, as it were, from a chair or bed. I would be a foolish husband not to notice her needs! Sometimes she is overworked, exhausted and spent, and she needs to be given the opportunity to slow down and “restore her soul.”
Sometimes she needs me to sit the kids down and steer the family in a specific direction. She needs me to continue to, “inquire and investigate,” like 1 Peter 3:7 tells a good husband to do in order to love and appreciate her.
3. Help whenever possible
On a rare day when I am able to get around a bit, it’s good for me to be able to serve my wife.
During prolonged sickness, we need to be able to laugh together and maintain a good attitude and a Christ-centered perspective.
As I write this I haven’t been able to walk hardly at all on my foot for 5 days. I have been hobbling around either with my great-grandfather’s cane or with crutches for days now. I have been kept up at night with the pain. Long story short, it has been a pain in more ways than one!
In these types of circumstances I find I can either look to the Lord in faith, get the grace I need to honor Him, or get frustrated, selfish, bitter, etc. What a massive blessing to get grace and joy rather than sinking in self-pity, frustration, etc.
I lovingly encourage all of us to get the grace we need to be like Christ in and through trials. That way the Lord gets the glory due His Name. The blessings to us are manifold. It’s a much different experience for the caregiver to take care of a person with a joyful attitude as opposed to a bitter one!
I’m so weak! BUT the Lord is so strong and able to make us stand! Praise the Lord for all of His wonderful grace.