Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Joy and Stress in Caregiving

Ginger is a mom of many (natural and adolpted) that I interviewed several years ago for the class I taught on counseling children. I had emailed her asking for the link to "Are You a Good Person?" that she has on her blog, Clark Chatter hereFrom Ginger's busy life she thoughtfully wrote back today:
I'm praying that you will continue to find joy not only in loving your husband, but in serving the Lord through your service to the man you love.
Thanks, Ginger! I count on those prayers.  I didn't get the fancy widget, and I tried, but I did put it in the links below.

This reminded me of my husband's prayer here that the LORD would give me a shot of joy.

It also reminded me of the post I put together on 15 things a caregiver can do to be joyful here. That post has had nearly 500 views to date. People need joy.

Yet it is no small thing to have joy in caregiving. After all it is indeed stressful especially when it is your loved one. You become like a parent raising a very difficult child, with one difference: this adult child will never grow up, but will deteriorate and the demands will increase. Hence stress.
My cousin Nanci Alcorn and her husband prolific author Randy Alcorn have just released the 2013 edition of Women Under Stress and they send me a copy. You can order it here  from Randy Alcorn's blog. I read their 1986 edition at a time in my life that indeed had been very stressful. I know Nanci has been a caregiver for her parents, my dear aunt and uncle, as well as for her mother-in-law early in her marriage to Randy. Nanci's own daughter went through a huge medical crisis last year. The Alcorns do indeed know about dealing with stress.

I began to read the new edition yesterday while I was substitute teaching. I had been trying to up my production here going through The House That Cleans Itself and often feeling inadequate and wondering if you all in the blogosphere are wondering when I will get the next area finished. Then in Women Under Stress I took the test. Folks, I am not Type A person, but am between Type A and Type B. This is encouraging to me. I do not have to be that driven woman and maybe am not slated for that heart attack any time soon. The Alcorns write:
Type B's are mellower, low-key, less driven, unhurried, more patient with others, and generally have less to prove than type A's. Not only can they take a vacation, they can have a great time on it. Type B's enjoy life more, and have more time for people. B's tend to be people-oriented, while A's focus on the products. (p. 28)
Today I stayed home and gardened and made pizza. My hubby smiled when I told him my joy with being his wife the homemaker gardening and making pizza.

I reflect that at first when my husband was diagnosed with dementia, I was depressed and didn't talk with him about it. We tended to not have the best connection then and probably the world didn't make sense to him. I remember when six months after the diagnosis he was very confused about retiring from his work and I was beside myself trying to wonder how the finances would work out. I guess you might say I was angry with God. But that has changed now as this stress is being transformed by my faith.
Time does not heal all wounds. Time alone will only allow the cancer of bitterness to grow. When we refuse to cater to our emotions and refuse to indulge our fatal tendency toward bitterness, only then will time bring healing. . . . There is no sin Christ didn't die for, no sin He cannot forgive, and therefore no sin that we, in His strength, cannot forgive. (p. 80)
Yes, as Randy points out, depression can come, but our LORD can transform it. Hope and heaven are around the corner. Joy is every day.

Stress, you do not own me. Joy does.  
I want to talk about the plants I repotted
and the pizza I made
and JOY.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great book & a great attitude. And did you say pizza?