It’s Okay to be Afraid

1.1 My Story

My eyes locked on to the bloody spot on the lower left front of my wife Benita’s blouse.

“What’s going on? What’s with the blood?” I asked pointing to the half-dollar sized strain.

My heart was aching. It looked terrible, scary. I knew this couldn’t be good.

Miss Benita gazed down toward the damp crimson. Her eyes looked tired, sad. She said, “It’s my mole. It started bleeding.”

I recalled the small mole I had first noticed over forty years earlier on our wedding night. I had playfully kidded her about it that night calling it her beauty mark. I found out that was the wrong thing to do. She was sensitive about the mole.

“What’s going on?” I said. I could hear the fear, concern, and the demand for an answer in my voice.

She lifted her eyes meeting mine. I could see the tears forming. She smiled weakly and then said, “I think I must have scratched or irritated it, maybe at work. It started bleeding a couple of weeks ago. It scabbed over a couple of times, but when I thought it was healing, I would do something to cause the scab to bleed. I thought it would get better. Instead, I think it may be getting infected. It may be getting worse, and it’s not healing,” she said.

Melanoma Cancer, I thought.

“Has Dr. Z looked at it?”

She shook her head, “No, not yet. I didn’t want to mess up our vacation to Colorado and your writer’s conference,” she answered with a forced smile and then lowered her eyes.

I took her hand, lovingly squeezed it, and hugged her holding her close. We were out for an afternoon of shopping in a local furniture store and enjoying each other’s company.

I nodded and then said, “Let’s go home where I can look at it.”

She stared at me, our eyes locking for a few seconds. It was as if she was saying I’m sorry. She looked sad. Then she nodded.

She knows this is very bad, I thought.

We held hands, walked unhurriedly through the store, and to the car. I drove us home in silence.

Once home, I led her to the bedroom and closed the door. She unbuttoned the blouse and removed a blood-soaked gauze bandage. The mole was oozing blood through a cracked dreadful-looking scab.

The mole had grown from the size of an eraser on a number 2 pencil to about the size of a quarter. It had changed from a light brown to a horrible black since I last remembered seeing it.

Melanoma Cancer, I again thought.

“Let’s call the dermatologist. I think that’s Melanoma Cancer,” I said with a seriousness that scared even me.

Miss Benita’s lips tightened, and eyes narrowed at hearing the words. She shook slightly and exhaled.

I asked, “Do you want me to call and get you an appointment or do you prefer to call?”

She glanced at herself in the mirror looking at the mole. “I’ll call the dermatologist. Dr. Z will refer me there,” she said.

The dermatologist performed the same day an in-office surgery removing the mole and adjacent tissue. The physician had the test expedited. She called late that night with the biopsy’s results.

“I wrote down what the doctor told me. She said, ‘It’s malignant. It is a type of cancer called Melanoma, and it’s an advanced stage three. The depth of cancer determines the stage. It’s within one centimeter of being stage four.’ I know it’s bad. I could hear the doctor’s quivering voice and her choking back tears. She told me this is serious and could kill me,” said a shaken Miss Benita.

The dermatologist acquired an appointment with a surgical oncologist. She said I needed to go to the office with my wife. Her finding us an appointment the next morning at 8 AM showed the urgency of the situation. My wife had surgery within a couple of days.

The surgery’s findings were terrible. It was Melanoma Cancer. The cancer had spread to the lymph nodes.

The oncological surgeon removed thirty-four lymph nodes. The physician told me the five-year survival rate for these findings was less than ten percent.

While my wife was still in recovery at the hospital, the surgeon told us some of the treatment options and that when not if, cancer recurred it would be restaged to Melanoma stage 4 and would be terminal. There was no cure. She said death was the ultimate destination of this journey barring providential intervention or a new medical and pharmaceutical breakthrough.

I knew Melanoma stage 3 was too big for me to handle. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had already moved into a new role as a caregiver. I also realized the future my wife and I had planned together had suddenly changed.

Our hopes and dreams vanished. They were replaced by feelings of fear and hopelessness. I was overwhelmed just thinking about the day to day struggles of caregiving. I faced the fear of the unknown.

So many questions flooded my mind. Would my wife survive? How long would she live? What would be the quality of her life and mine? How would we pay the medical bills? How much help was she going to need from me daily? How could I be strong and help her? How was this going to affect our day jobs?

I also was concerned for our three grown children and granddaughter. What I needed was hope.

The purpose of this book is to share the hope Christians have and the hope that my wife and I exercised through our faith in Jesus Christ. It shares my journey as a caregiver.

“Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” offers Biblical guidance and support helping you in your role as caregiver. It will help you connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ.

The day I noticed the blood on Miss Benita’s blouse, my wife and I prayed together. We shared I love you and claimed, Psalm 56:3 (KJV), “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee” and 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your cares on the Lord for He careth for you.”

This story does not have an Earthly happily ever after ending. My wife lived 1001 days from the first surgery. Then she died. The faith we both had in Jesus Christ allowed us to face each day with hope.

Yes, even with our hope because of our Christian faith we still were afraid. However, our trust in Jesus Christ leads us through the process moving us from fear to a calmness that could only come from God. The fact that my wife was a Christian gave us a real-world spiritual happily ever after ending. She is in heaven today, and one day, since I am also a Christian, I will join her there.

1.2 It’s Okay to be Afraid

Fear of the unknown and fear of the journey you are beginning is part of the process of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness. It’s a scary assignment. When you’re a caregiver, it’s okay to be afraid.

You also need to learn to accept the hope for the caregiver that’s available through Jesus Christ. The hope available through the love of Jesus Christ will help you face and handle the fears you will encounter in your journey of caregiving.

1.3 Bible Verse

1 John 4:18 King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

1.4 What the Verse Means

John says that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment. It casts out fear.

How does the perfect love of Jesus Christ accomplish casting out fear? Perfect love casts out fear because it produces a likeness to Christ and Jesus Christ is the Judge.

There is another way in which love produces boldness. It does this by its casting out fear. The entrance of perfect love through Jesus Christ is for fear a “cease and desist” letter. It is an order to quit.

When love arrives, it brings hand in hand with itself courage. Boldness is the companion of love, only when love is perfect. Only professing Christians can experience this perfect love of God, a love that casts out fear.

As Believer’s in Jesus Christ, we can face the future, including being the caregiver of a loved one with a chronic illness, and even death with the peace that only comes from Christ’s perfect love.

If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.

1.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Lord Jesus, thank you that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
  • Heavenly Father help me to keep my mind focused on you and your love for me.
  • God, help me remove any fears I may have as I look to the future by turning them over to you daily and as new ones occur.
  • Provide your grace to meet the challenges I encounter daily. I cannot travel this journey alone but can with you.
  • Help me to know without any doubt that as a Believer in Jesus Christ my ultimate future is in Heaven. Help my loved one to trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior if they are not a Christian. Prepare their heart to hear the Gospel and to accept Christ as Savior.

1.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. List two examples of times you have been afraid (Psalm 56:3 and 1 Peter 5:7).
  2. Remember two times you have trusted in God since your loved one’s diagnosis with a chronic illness (Psalm 56:3 and 1 Peter 5:7)
  3. List two cares or concerns you are facing. Cast (or give) those cares to the Lord remembering that “He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7).

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog is from the book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. The book is available in paperback or eBook format at Caregiving: Biblical Insights From a Caregiver’s Journey


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It’s Okay to be Afraid 

When You’re a Caregiver, It’s Okay to be Afraid

Fear of the unknown and fear of the journey you are beginning is part of the process of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness. It’s a scary assignment. When you’re a caregiver, it’s okay to be afraid.

A Biblical Alternative

You also need to learn to accept the hope for the caregiver that’s available through Jesus Christ. The hope available through the love of Jesus Christ will help you face and handle the fears you will encounter.

My Story

My eyes locked on to the bloody spot on the lower left front of my wife’s blouse.

“What’s going on? What’s with the blood?” I asked. My heart was aching. The half-dollar sized stain looked terrible, scary. I knew this couldn’t be good.

My wife gazed down toward the damp crimson. Her eyes looked tired, sad. She said, “It’s my mold.”

The recalled the small mold I had first noticed over forty years earlier on our wedding night. I had playfully kidded her about it that night calling it her beauty mark. I found out that was the wrong thing to do. She was sensitive about the mold.

“Talk to me. What’s going on?” I said.

She lifted her eyes meeting mine. I could see the tears forming. “I think I must have scratched or irritated it, maybe at work. It started bleeding a couple of weeks ago. It scabbed over a couple of time, but each time I thought it was healing, I did something to cause the scab to bleed. I thought it would heal. Instead, I think it may be getting infected. It’s getting worse,” she said.

Melanoma Cancer, I thought. “Have seen a doctor? Has the doctor looked at it?”

She shook her head, “Not yet. I didn’t want to mess up our vacation to Colorado and your writer’s conference.” She forced a smile then lowered her eyes.

I took her hand, lovingly squeezed it, and hugged her holding her close. We then walked to the car and drove home in silence. Once at our house, I led her to the bedroom, closed the door, had her unbutton the blouse, removed a blood-soaked gauze bandage, and looked at the mold. It was oozing blood through a cracked black scab. The mole had grown to about the size of a quarter since I last remembered seeing it.

“Let’s call the dermatologist. I think that’s Melanoma Cancer,” I said with a seriousness that scared even me.

The dermatologist did a biopsy. The physician had the test expedited. She called the same day with the biopsy’s results. 

“It’s malignant. It is a type of cancer called Melanoma, and it’s Melanoma – Stage 3,” said the young dermatologist with a quivering voice. 

The dermatologist obtained for us an appointment with a surgical oncologist. The urgency of the situation was shown by the dermatologist finding us an appointment the next morning. My wife had surgery within a couple of days. 

The surgery’s findings were terrible. It was Melanoma Cancer. The cancer had spread to the lymph nodes. The surgeon removed thirty-four lymph nodes. The physician told me the five-year survival rate for these findings was less than ten percent. 

She told us some treatment options and that when, not if, cancer recurred it would be restaged to Melanoma – Stage 4 and would be terminal. 

I knew Melanoma – Stage 3 was too big for me to handle. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had already moved into a new role as a caregiver. I also realized the future my wife and I had planned together had suddenly changed.

Our hopes and dreams were erased and replaced by feelings of fear and hopelessness. I was overwhelmed just thinking about the day to day struggles of caregiving. I faced the fear of the unknown. 

Questions flooded my mind. Would my wife survive? How long would she live? How would we pay the medical bills? How much help was she going to need from me daily? How could I be strong and help her? How was this going to affect our day jobs? I also was concerned about our three grown children and granddaughter. What I needed was hope.

The purpose of this book is to share the hope I have experienced through Jesus Christ. “Hope for the Caregiver” offers Biblical guidance and support helping the man or woman accepting the role as caregiver. It will help the caregiver connect with the perfect love which casts out all fear, the love of Jesus Christ.

The day I noticed the bloody spot on her blouse, my wife and I prayed together. We shared saying I love you and claimed, Psalm 56:3 (KJV), “What time I am afraid I will trust in thee” and 1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your cares on the Lord for He careth for you.” 

My wife lived 1001 days from the first surgery. The hope we both had through Jesus Christ allowed us to face each day with confidence. Yes, we still were afraid. However, out trust in Jesus Christ leads us through the process with a calmness that could only come from God.

Bible Verse

1 John 4:18 King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

What the Verse Means

John says that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment. It casts out fear.

How does the perfect love of Jesus Christ accomplish casting out fear? Perfect love casts out fear because it produces a likeness to Christ and Jesus Christ is the Judge.

There is another way in which love produces boldness. It does this by its casting out fear. The entrance of perfect love through Jesus Christ is for fear a cease and desist letter. It is an order to quit.

When love arrives, it brings hand in hand with itself courage. Boldness is the companion of love, only when love is perfect. Just professing Christians can experience this perfect love of God, a love that casts out fear. AsBeliever’s in Jesus Christ, we can face the future, including chronic illness, and even death with the peace that only comes from Christ’s perfect love.

If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace. The last section of this chapter explains how to become a Christian. You can accept Jesus Christ today. See the end of the article for information on How to Become a Christian. 

Pray Using Scripture

  • Lord Jesus, thank you that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
  • Heavenly Father, help me to keep my mind focused on you and your love for me.
  • God, help me remove any fears I may have as I look to the future by turning them over to you daily and as new ones occur.
  • Provide your grace to meet the challenges I encounter daily. I cannot travel this journey alone but can with you.
  • Help me to know without any doubt that as a Believer in Jesus Christ my ultimate future is in Heaven. Help my loved one to trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior if they are not a Christian. Prepare their heart to hear the Gospel and to accept Christ as Savior.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. List two examples of times you have been afraid (Psalm 56:3 (KJV) and 1 Peter 5:7).
  2. Remember two times you have trusted in God since your loved one was diagnosed with a chronic illness (Psalm 56:3 (KJV) and 1 Peter 5:7)
  3. List two cares or concerns you are facing. Cast (or give) those cares to the Lord remembering that “He careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)).

Photo Source: Pixabay

This article is from the forthcoming book, “Hope for the Caregiver: A Biblical Alternative to the Traditional Approach.”

Accepting God’s Love

Part of learning to live with a chronic illness is accepting God’s love.

What do you do when the lab results or physician’s diagnosis erase the future you or your loved one had planned?

As you or your loved one confronts a chronic illness, you may feel uncertain about tomorrow. Your hopes and dreams at best are placed on hold. At worst, you face an alternative future to the one you had charted. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and helplessness may engulf you.

When you are uncertain about the future, you need a perfect love which casts out all fear. You need the love of Jesus Christ.

If you are a caregiver, you may ask, “What is a chronic illness or disease?”

A chronic disease is one lasting three months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic illnesses generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. Examples of chronic diseases are:

  • Alzheimer disease
  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • COPD
  • Crohn disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart Disease
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Oral lichen planus
  • Parkinson disease
  • Sickle cell disease

Today’s Bible Verse:

1 John 4:18 King James Version of the Holy Bible (KJV), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

What the Verse Means:

John says that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment. It casts out fear.

How does the perfect love of Jesus Christ accomplish casting out fear? Perfect love casts out fear because it produces a likeness to Christ and Jesus Christ is the Judge.

There is another way in which love produces boldness. It does this by its casting out fear. The entrance of perfect love through Jesus Christ is for fear a cease and desist letter. It is an order to quit.

When love arrives, it brings hand in hand with itself courage. Boldness is the companion of love, only when love is perfect. Just professing Christians can experience this perfect love of God, a love that casts out fear. AsBeliever’s in Jesus Christ, we can face the future, including chronic illness, and even death with the peace that only comes from Christ’s perfect love.

If you are not a Christian accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace. The last section of today’s blog explains how to become a Christian. You can accept Jesus Christ today. 

Personalized Prayer Using Today’s Scripture:

  • Lord Jesus, thank you that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.
  • Heavenly Father, help me to keep my mind focused on you and your love for me.
  • Remove any fears I may have as I look to the future.
  • Provide your grace to meet the challenges I encounter daily. I cannot travel this journey alone but can with you.
  • Help me to know without any doubt that as a Believer in Jesus Christ my ultimate future is in Heaven.

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN

Being a good person doesn’t get you to heaven. Being “saved or born-again” does. Here’s my story of how I accepted Jesus Christ and became a Christian.

On July 11, 1977, my life changed. If you look up that date in history, you will find nothing historically significant happened on that Sunday. It was a remarkable day for me. Sunday, July 11, 1977, was the watershed event in my life.

While attending First Baptist Church of Lakewood in Tacoma, Washington, I noticed a group of men that seemed to have what I was missing. I attended a Bible study with them.

Here I found that God has given us an essential manual for life — the Bible. God has the answers to the problems and emptiness we may face. I found out I was here for a purpose, and not by accident. I learned Jesus loves me and desires to have a personal relationship with me. However, sin separated me from Him.

I realized I had a sin problem.

The Bible says in Romans 3:23 (KJV), “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

But no one is perfect! We have all sinned and therefore cannot save ourselves by just living a good life.

Why not?

I learned there was a penalty to be paid for my sin.

The Bible says in Romans 6:23 (KJV), “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

I learned God gives us a promise.

The Bible says in John 3:16 (KJV), “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

I learned that God made a provision for me.

The Bible says in Romans 10:9-10, 13 (KJV), “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

I prayed to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus.

I prayed, “Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that You died for my sins and rose from the grave so that I might have eternal life in Heaven with You. I willingly repent of my sins and ask you to come into my heart and life. Take control of my words, thoughts, and actions. I place all of my trust in You for my salvation. I accept You as my Lord and Savior, and this free gift of eternal life. Amen.”

Since then my life has not been perfect. It’s been far from it. I’ve messed up from time to time, sometimes failing miserably in my decisions and choices. However, I have had direction and purpose in my life. I know where I am headed. I have the Bible to give me the principles for daily living. I am never alone. I have had real peace for the last 40 years.

How about you? Have you ever been “saved”?

You can do like I did.

Romans 10:9-10, 13 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Why not pray this simple prayer and accept Jesus Christ today?

If you prayed the prayer you can leave a simple “I prayed the prayer” in the comments section. It will encourage me and others. May God bless you.


Photo Source: Pixabay

Thy Will Be Done

Today’s blog post is from the book “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler. It is available in print and on Kindle for Amazon at Amazon Print or Amazon Kindle.

If you are an Amazon Kindle Unlimited member the book is available to read for free in Kindle format. Over the next two months, I will publish each chapter as a blog post

 

God’s Love

flowers-2313874_1920

What do you do when the future you had planned is suddenly erased? A person confronting a chronic illness may feel uncertain about the future. Their hopes and dreams may be placed on hold or have to be altered. They may feel hopeless and helpless. When they feel uncertain about the future, lead them to that perfect love which casts out all fear. Share the love of Jesus Christ.

What is a chronic illness? A chronic disease is one lasting three months or more, by the definition of the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics. Chronic diseases generally cannot be prevented by vaccines or cured by medication, nor do they just disappear. Examples of chronic illnesses are:

• Alzheimer disease and dementia
• Arthritis
• Asthma
• Cancer
• COPD
• Crohn disease
• Cystic fibrosis
• Diabetes
• Epilepsy
• Glaucoma
• Heart Disease
• HIV/AIDS
• Multiple sclerosis
• Oral lichen planus
• Parkinson disease

Today’s Bible Verse:

1 John 4:18 (KJV), “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

What the verse means:

John says that perfect love produces courage in the day of judgment. Why? Perfect love produces a likeness to Christ. Jesus Christ is the Judge. There is another way in which love produces boldness. It does this by its casting out fear. The entrance of perfect love through Jesus Christ is for fear a cease and desist letter to quit. A persons cannot both love and fear the same person or thing. When perfect love comes in, the darker fear departs. When love arrives, it brings hand in hand with itself Courage. Boldness is the companion of love, only when love is perfect. Only professing Christians can experience this perfect love of God, a love that casts out fear. As Believer’s we can face the future, including a chronic illness, and even death with the peace that only comes from Christ’s perfect love.

Praying using the verses:

  1. Lord Jesus, thank you that there is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.
  2. Heavenly Father, help us to keep our minds focused on you and your love for us.
  3. Remove any fears we may have as we look to the future.
  4. Provide us with your grace to meet the challenges we encounter daily.
  5. Help us to know as Believers in Jesus Christ our ultimate future is in Heaven.

Photo Source: Pixaby