11.1 My Story
In August of 2016, my wife Benita and I took a lengthy “bucket list” trip. In our forty plus years of marriage, she had never been to the northeastern USA. She had heard stories from my early teens when I lived in New England as a military brat. She also had never been to New York or the middle Atlantic states.
The trip wasn’t easy. Even with her Melanoma cancer her employer initially said no to her being off work for multiple weeks. My day job also lacked compassion. We both found the situation frustrating as we had more days of vacation accrued than needed for the trip. Finally, both employers agreed to let us off work.
The trip required a small refrigerator for the car as her chemotherapy prescription meds required refrigeration. The bulky lymphedema therapy machine had to be loaded and loaded each day along with scheduling time for her to do an hour’s therapy per day.
Many day’s it would be as later as 10 AM before we were able to get checked out of our hotel. Most days we were checked into the hotel by 5 PM in the evening. When you drive those few hours in a day it takes a long time to drive the over 2,200 miles from Dallas, Texas to Northern Maine.
Out lengthy trip included stops at places like Niagara Falls, NY, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory just outside of Burlington, Vermont. We visited university campuses like Dartmouth, Harvard, MIT, Bowdoin College, Brown, Yale, Virginia Military Institute and their libraries. Miss Benita saw where I attended junior high school in Portsmouth, New Hampshire and the famous Philips Exeter Academy. She saw the Atlantic Ocean for her first time. The State of Liberty and NYC and Philadelphia were on the bucket list as well. We also went to Gettysburg, the Hershey Chocolate Factory, and all the Washington, DC sites.
We skipped the National Football League Hall of Fame, Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She said I could go back to those places after she was gone as she had no interest.
The trip was hard for her. She was so glad we made it. She told me she appreciated my patience. She knew I was up hours before her. I sat patiently while she slept and rested. I also sat reading when she did the lymphedema therapy. She had the TV remote in the hotel.
I got very tired of hauling the luggage, medicines, and medical equipment into and out of the hotels. I admit that. I couldn’t trust the bellhop at the hotels to treat the medical equipment with the tender loving care it needed. The only time I entrusted the equipment to one I found disconnected hoses and a power cable that had fallen off and was in the middle of the hallway.
The entire bucket list trip was an adventure in trusting God. What if we had trouble with her chemo meds while 2,500 miles from home? We did and God cut through the red tape to take care of it.
My attitude, trust in God, and love for my wife somehow allowed me to navigate the journey he had for my loved one and me. He’ll do the same for you.
11.2 Trusting God
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is trusting God. When dealing with a protracted disease sometimes it is tough to maintain focus or have peace of mind.
The person battling the ailment often finds themselves dwelling on what is happening to them physically, fiscally, and thinking if they’ll even have a future. It can be hard.
As a caregiver you may feel like all you do is manage schedules and provide taxi services. You find yourself longing for the good old days before the illness took over your life.
Today’s verse gives us hope as it tells us peace of mind is available. The way to peace is to focus on God, not your problem. It is to trust God.
11.3 Bible Verse
Isaiah 26:3 (KJV), “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”
11.4 What the Verse Means
The key word is trust. We have a requirement to trust God. Trusting in God, that is when our mind is focused on Him, not our troubles, allows us to be kept in God’s perfect peace.
11.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father help me to keep my mind steadfast on you.
- Thank you for the peace of mind that can only come from God.
- Lord Jesus, help me to take my refuge in you.
- God, I know you are my only hope in battling my chronic illness.
11.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Name one area where you need to let go and trust God.
- Are you thanking God daily for guiding you through the daily challenges? If not, do so now and every day.
- Are you truly trusting God? Ask God to help your unbelief and lack of trust in and for all things.
Photo Source: Taken by Jimmie Aaron Kepler on Thursday, August 11, 2016, at 2:38 pm. The photo location was Rye North Beach, New Hampshire. The Atlantic Ocean is behind her. I can still recall the broad smile and wide eyes when she saw the Atlantic Ocean. The response was unusual for her as she preferred the mountains over the beach and had said no many times to a beach vacation.
This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.
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