21 The Lord is My Helper
21.1 My Story
My wife’s diagnosis of Melanoma cancer broke my heart. I promised myself I would be there for her. I would be there in good times. I would be there in bad times. I would care for her and celebrate every time we received good news. I would be there to hold, comfort, and pray for her when the diagnosis was terrible and when she had a bad day.
My ego initially got in the way as I wanted to prove I was the super, best husband ever. I tried to model for the world how to love your wife and care for her.
If I were sincere, I wanted the pat on the back and acclaim of family, coworkers, and friends for being the gold-standard in caregiving. I know I also wanted a well done from Jesus.
After her initial surgery, many people offered help. I took off a couple of weeks from work to care for her. Her sisters flew into town to see how she was doing and help.
All this time I declined more help than I accepted. My Bible fellowship class provided meals and gift cards. They were a blessing.
Over time we settled into the long adjustment to the treatments, a new life normal, and we received fewer offers of help. My stubbornness to accept help continued.
As time passed, I grew weary and had caregiving start to consume most of my waking hours. My saying no to offers for assistance and help was especially true when Miss Benita had follow-up surgeries. Through this time, I found myself feeling guilty when someone else helped. I felt like a failure. It was as if I wasn’t doing it all myself; I wasn’t the man or husband I was supposed to be.
During her 1001 days after the initial surgery, until my wife passed away, I was faithful in spending time with the Lord. However, the caregiving took a toll. I developed oral lichen planus, lichen planus, and irritable bowel disease while caring for my spouse. All are autoimmune diseases, and the physicians think stress can contribute to the illnesses. I handled the situation so poorly I made myself sick.
I wonder how much more challenging it would have been if I hadn’t spent time with the Lord daily and asked him for his help?
In the last five months of my wife’s life, I had someone with me daily helping. I know God touched my wife’s sisters’ heart to be with her. Family surrounded my wife when she passed away. I was holding my wife’s hand and talking with her. Her sisters were present. All three of our children were there. Her best girlfriend from high school was present. Only God could have brought all together.
In the last months, I sometimes let the family take my wife to the doctor and radiation treatments from time to time without me. It allowed them to help and see what she was going through. I let her sisters go to the oncologist and hear the reports first hand. Allowing this improved their engagement in caregiving.
21.2 The Lord is My Helper
Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is allowing the Lord to be your helper.
When you or our loved one faces a chronic or severe illness, you need the Lord’s help as our helper. You also need the courage to face the next hour and the challenges of everyday living. With Christ, you can meet each day without fear.
21.3 Bible Verse
Hebrews 13:6 (KJV), “So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”
21.4 What the Verse Means
Without any hesitation or doubt, in all times of difficulty when we don’t know how to pray or how we will make it even through the night, we have an assurance that God will not leave us to suffer.
What can we fear if we have the assurance that the Lord is on our side, and that he will help us?
We fear nothing. Man can do no more to us than God permits, and no more than will be for our good.
We know under whatever trials we may face, we need to be under no extreme anxiety, for God will be our protector and our friend.
21.5 Pray Using Scripture
- Heavenly Father help me to cling to You and keep my total trust in You.
- Lord Jesus, give me the courage to say You are my helper and ask You for help.
- I pray for fear to flee from me. I will not fear what man or disease shall do unto my loved one or me.
21.6 Responding to God’s Hope
- Are you trying to do it all yourself? Be honest. Ask God for His help. Let others know you need help.
- Do you have friends and family that have offered to help with the caregiving? List them by name. Consider allowing them to assist.
- You are not a failure or letting your loved one down if you need to have help. Do you belong to a Bible fellowship class that can help? Maybe there are a ladies Bible study groups that would help. How about friends or family? For example, make them aware that you could use someone for sitting with your loved one when you go buy groceries.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
This blog post is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Kepler, Ed.D.
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