How to Use Your Remaining Time

How to Use Your Remaining Time

8.1 My Story

“How long …”

I asked the question doctors dread to hear. How long will my wife live? 

I had spoken those words to the physician when my mother had her kidney transplant. I also said those two words when I took my ninety-years old father to the emergency room and found out he had suffered a major heart attack that would take his life in hours. I repeated the words when my wife had Melanoma cancer surgery and had thirty-four lymph nodes removed because the disease had spread into them.

With my spouse, I remember the oncologist giving the five-year survival rate’s very depressing odds. She emphasized enjoying the now. She strongly stressed if cancer recurred it would be terminal. She said, “Live for today. Enjoy every day.”

Less than six months later, the Melanoma cancer returned. My wife lived another two years and two months after the recurrence. She survived nearly two years longer than what we were told to expect.

I worked hard to make each day she lived a positive experience. I also took her on a multi-week “bucket list” trip where we had quality time together.

The trip was challenging as I had to get a refrigerator for our car for her prescription chemotherapy medications. Daily, I also had to pack and unpack a cumbersome lymphedema therapy machine. My wife had to sit for an hour every day hooked to the device to control swelling in her left arm, wrist, and hand.

My point is we made good use of the time available. I made sure my wife saw her sisters multiple times. I made sure our grown children were engaged in her life.

God was gracious and gave her 1001 days from the first surgery. He also gave me the patience and desire to serve her.

The hope we both had through Jesus Christ allowed us to face each day with hope.

8.2 Use the Time God Has Given You

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning to use the time God has given you. The Bible teaches that God has the days of our lives numbered. Here are five examples:

  1. Job 14:5 King James Version (KJV), “Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;”
  2. Job 21:21 (KJV), “For what does he care for his household after him, When the number of his months is cut off?”
  3. Psalm 31:15 (KJV), “My times are in Your hand; Deliver me from the hand of my enemies and from those who persecute me.”
  4. Psalm 139:16 (KJV), “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
  5. Ecclesiastes 3:2 (KJV), “A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.”

8.3 Bible Verse

Psalm 39:4 (KJV), “Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.”

8.4 What the Verse Means

The verse shares thoughts concerning the psalmist meditations on human life. He reflects on life’s brevity, life’s vanity, and life’s sorrows.

He wonders why life was so short. Why was it so vain? Why was it so full of pain?

8.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Father in heaven, thank You for reminding me of how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to use the days I have with my loved one to the fullest.
  • Lord Jesus, thank You for reminding me that You are in control of the length of a person’s life. Help me to trust that You know what is best for me.
  • God, help me remember how short my life is and to live my days to Your honor and Your glory.

8.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you helping your loved live the remaining days of their life to the fullest? What can you do today to make a good day for your loved one?
  2. What can you do to encourage friends and family to engage with your chronically or terminally ill loved one?
  3. Make sure you include rest in the management of your one’s time. What can you do today to make sure you take time to rest?

8.7 Takeaway

The Bible teaches God has our days numbered. We need to live each day to the fullest.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay.

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

The Therapeutic Value of Romantic Comedies

The Therapeutic Value of Romantic Comedies

7.1 My Story

There is nothing funny about a spouse having a chronic or terminal illness. There indeed isn’t anything comical about caring for them and all the nuisances involved with the daily routine.

Over the years, I had heard time and time again that opposites attract. My experience would agree with the statement. Many times I have been told I am the least spontaneous person alive.

Maybe my living my life structured like a German railroad schedule or the fact I grew up in a career military family and then was a US Army officer helped influence me in this arena. My wife enjoyed the structure of routine but also loved the unexpected blessings of life. Where I needed a to-do list and schedule for my day and had my day disrupted with change, she embraced the unexpected.

I also am a very stoic person. Again, being a military officer affected me in this area. I believe nearly twenty-years of full-time Christian ministry also had me being the rock of stability in stressful situations. I was the steady influence, the calm in the storm for so many. It allowed me to officiate funerals of friends and even my parents with a solemn seriousness that my wife sometimes hated and caused others to refer to me as a robot-man.

I remember the surgical oncologist actively encouraging me to lighten up. She said my serious all the time attitude was contagious. My constant seriousness was gloomy and the incorrect disposition for my wife to catch.

The doctor added attitude is crucial when dealing with a chronic illness like my wife’s cancer. The cheerfulness of mind does good like a medicine for the body. Our outlook contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor.

Medical science tells us the red blood cells, most white blood cells, and platelets are produced in the bone marrow, the soft fatty tissue inside bone cavities. Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) teaches, “A poor spirit/attitude ‘drieth the bones’ which produce the needed cells.”

The surgical oncologist encouraged me to watch romantic comedies, funny situation comedies, and even some comedy specials with my wife. She said they would get us both laughing. It would help me to lighten my mood. It would help with my wife’s healing. She said there is therapeutic value in watching romantic comedies.

The medical doctor questioned my expectation of the value of the prescribed treatments asking if I was already given over to my wife’s death to cancer. She said it was too early to give up hope. She said those with a more positive attitude live longer. Her little talk helped me to recalibrate my thinking and adjust my outlook. She said I should embrace the time I would have with my spouse. Maybe my making that small change in viewpoint contributed to my spouse’s living almost two years longer than first anticipated. Only God knows if it did.

By the way, we can learn a lot if we read our Bible.

7.2 Learning to Laugh

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning to laugh.

7.3 Bible Verse

Proverbs 17:22 (KJV), “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

7.4 What the Verse Means

Our attitude is crucial when dealing with a chronic illness. The cheerfulness of our mind does good like a medicine for the body. Our opinion contributes to the restoration or preservation of bodily health and vigor.

7.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Lord Jesus, help me to enjoy the funny things that happen in life.
  • Heavenly Father help me to take life one day at a time.
  • God, help me, and my family and friends to not dwell on the seriousness of the chronic illness, but rather help us to live life to the fullest as we know You hold the future.

7.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. How is your attitude? Do you need an attitude adjustment? If so, God can help. Ask Him.
  2. Are you remaining affirming and confident? Remember, your outlook and attitude are catching. I’m not talking about some false it’s going to be all better attitude but a realistic today is going to be a good day attitude — and I’m going to do my best to make it a good day approach instead of a gloom and doom outlook.
  3. What can you do to bring joy and laughter today? Is there a favorite movie or comedy series you could watch together?

7.7 Takeaway

As you care for your loved one, a positive attitude helps.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

Any Delay Could Be Life Threatening

Any Delay Could Be Life Threatening

6.1 My Story

“I need your decision on starting radiation treatment. What have decided?” asked the surgical oncologist.

“Not today. I can’t make a decision today,” said my wife with angst in her voice.

It was apparent she was overwhelmed with everything.

“Any delay could be life-threatening at the worst and life-shortening at best. You need to decide on when you want to start treatments,” pressed the oncologist.

My wife rolled her tired eyes. She was less than a month from the initial Melanoma cancer surgery and the removal of both the cancerous area and thirty-four lymph nodes. She had a swollen left arm, wrist, and hand. Lymphedema therapy had just started that week.

Miss Benita glanced at me for help.

“Can you go over the treatment options for us one more time? We’ll then go home and have some time to meditate and pray on what she’ll do next. We understand the urgency for beginning treatment,” I said.

My wife exhaled slowly, smiled, and nodded.

This time it was the young surgical oncologist who rolled her eyes. She nodded and dutifully repeated the options. She concluded with a “Let me know soon what you are or are not going to do. While selecting no treatment is an option, not having the radiation greatly increases the chances of recurrence. If it recurs,” she added with a strong emphasis, “the Melanoma will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

“Thank you. We’ll let you know in a few days,” I said as I saw Miss Benita flinch. On the inside, I was mad at how the doctor had restated the obvious — “If it recurs, it will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

On the hour drive home, my wife slept. She was tired and weary. Over the next few days together, we prayed, read Scripture, and then she said, “Call the doctor and find out who I need to contact to schedule the radiation.”

I called the surgical oncologist getting the contact information. Benita called and set up an appointment. 

I was amazed at God’s timing. The radiation doctor had a patient cancel an appointment. If we could come now, they were able to get her in that very afternoon. If we had rushed and said yes to treatment four days earlier, radiation treatments would not have started for nearly two weeks. Praying and seeking God’s guidance allowed treatment to begin almost immediately.

I firmly believe seeking God in her decisions is one reason why she lived over two-years longer than the initial projections.

It’s another example of my wife’s Godly wisdom and God’s faithfulness.

6.2 Hearing God’s Voice

Part of caring for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is listening until we hear God’s voice.

When we face a chronic disease too often, we rush in and try to accomplish everything in our power. We manage this. We plan that. We listen to this aunt or that special trusted friend. We may hear conflicting recommendations from our healing team, that is the doctors, ministers, social workers, counselors, and other caregivers.

While wise counsel is right, we also need to seek God and listen to his voice. We do this through prayer, Bible reading, and listening to sermons. 

We need to encourage our loved one to do the same.

Sometimes we are in such a rush to get to a solution or get things under control that we miss hearing from “The Great Physician.” We need to remember the words of Psalm 46:10 (KJV), “Be still, and know that I am God:”

Sometimes we need to sit and be still before we can hear God.

6.3 Bible Verse

Psalm 143:8 (KJV) “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

6.4 What the Verse Means

As we face trials and hardships, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. When we become inundated by fear, grief, depression, and self-pity, it becomes hard to hear God.

Psalm 143:8 reminds us to spend time with God to begin our day with God. As Christians, we can trust God. We can ask him to guide us. We need to stop, that is too slow down and take time for God. We need to read the Bible and meditate on His Word. We need to listen, that is to hear sermons, hymns, and listen to God’s still small voice answering our prayers.

6.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father draw me to You in the morning where I can hear Your righteousness.
  • Lord Jesus, I place my trust in You. Help me to always put all my faith in You.
  • I ask Your Holy Spirit to speak to my spirit and to guide me in the way I should walk.
  • I pray You would lift my soul unto You.
  • I pray for myself, my spouse, our children, and grandchildren to be drawn to You, to experience You and choose to attend worship services where we can hear Your word preached.

6.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you including God in your decision-making process? James 1:5 (KJV) reminds us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
  2. Are you listening for Gods still small voice? 
  3. Are you slowing down and waiting on God?

6.7 Takeaway

We need to spend time with God. We do this by reading the Bible, listening to Hymns and spiritual songs, listening to sermons, and by prayer and meditation. Spending time with God helps us make Godly decisions as well as helps us to wait upon the Lord and His timing.


If you are not a Christian, accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior is a prerequisite to obtaining God’s peace.
Click HERE to find out how to become a Christian. You can trust Jesus Christ and become a Christian now.

Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog is from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.

To receive a notification when “Caregiving: Biblical Insights from a Caregiver’s Journey by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D. is available and to get occasional updates on the writing of Jimmie Aaron Kepler, please complete the “Email Sign-up” found in the far left column of the blog.

Hearing God’s Voice

Hearing God’s Voice

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic or terminal illness is listening until we hear God’s voice.

When we face a constant disease too often, we rush in and try to accomplish everything in our own power. We manage this. We plan that. We listen to this aunt or to a trusted friend. We may hear conflicting recommendations from our healing team, that is the doctors, ministers, social workers, counselors, and other caregivers.

While wise counsel is right, we need to seek God and listen to his voice. We do this through prayer, Bible reading, and listening to sermons. We need to encourage our loved one to do the same.

Sometimes we are in such a rush to get to a solution or get things under control that we miss hearing from The Great Physician. We need to remember the words of Psalm 46:10 (KJV), “Be still, and know that I am God:”

Sometimes we just need to sit and be still before we can hear God.

My Story

“I need your decision on starting radiation treatment. What have decided?” asked the surgical oncologist.

“Not today. I just can’t make a decision today,” said my wife.

It was apparent she was overwhelmed with everything.

“Any delay could be life-threatening at the worst and life-shortening at the best. You need to decide on when you want to start treatments,” pressed the oncologist.

My wife rolled her tired eyes. She was less than a month from the initial Melanoma cancer surgery and the removal of both the cancerous area and thirty-four lymph nodes. She had a swollen left arm, wrist, and hand. Lymphedema therapy had just started that week.

“Can you go over the treatment options for us one more time? We’ll then go home and have some time to meditate and pray on what she’ll do next. We understand the urgency for beginning treatment,” I said.

This time it was the young surgical oncologist who rolled her eyes. She nodded and dutifully repeated the options. She concluded with a “Let me know soon what you are or are not going to do. While selecting no treatment is an option. Not having the radiation greatly increases the chances of recurrence. If it recurs,” she added with a strong emphasis, “it will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

“Thank you. We’ll let you know in a few days,” I said. On the inside, I was made at how she had restated the obvious — “If it recurs, it will be terminal. There will be no treatment or cure. You will die.”

On the hour drive home my wife slept. She was tired and weary. Over the next few days we prayed, read Scripture, and then she said, “Call the doctor and find out who I need to contact to schedule the radiation.”

I received the contact information. My wife called and set up an appointment. I was amazed at God’s timing. The radiation doctor had a cancelation and they were able to get her in that very afternoon. If we had rushed and said yes to treatment four days early she wouldn’t have been seen for nearly two weeks. Praying and seeking God’s guidance allowed treatment to begin almost immediately.

I firmly believe seeking God in her decisions is one reason why she lived over two-years longer than the initial projections.

It’s another example of my wife’s Godly wisdom andGod’s faithfulness.

Bible Verse

Psalm 143:8 (KJV) “Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.”

What the Verse Means

As we face trials and hardships, we can find ourselves overwhelmed. When we become inundated by fear, grief, depression, and self-pity, it becomes hard to hear God.

Today’s verse reminds us to spend time with God, to begin our day with God. As Christians, we can trust God. We can ask him to both guide us and to lift us up. We need to stop, that is too slow down and take time for God. We need to at his Word, that is to read the Bible. We need to listen, that his to hear sermons, hymns, and listen to his still small voice answering our prayers.

Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father draw me to you in the morning where I can hear your righteousness.
  • Lord Jesus, I place my trust in you. Help me to always put all my faith in you.
  • I ask your Holy Spirit to speak to my spirit and to guide me in the way I should walk.
  • I pray you would lift my soul unto you.
  • I pray for myself, my spouse, our children, and grandchildren to be drawn to you, to experience you and choose to attend worship services where we can hear your word preached.

Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you including God in your decision-making process? James 1:5 (KJV) reminds us, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
  2. Are you listening for Gods still small voice?
  3. Are you slowing down and waiting on God?

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Photo Source: Pixabay

This blog post is adapted from the forthcoming book, “Caregiving: A Biblical Alternative” by Jimmie Aaron Kepler, Ed.D.