Gene, Everywhere

Talya Boerner is a master storyteller.

Gene Everywhere took me back to the three-years period of time I was my 90 years-old father’s caregiver after my mother died. So much of what the author wrote tugged at the memories and experience I had with my father.

The prose is spectacular.

Talya’s prose is spectacular. Her picture painting and showing the story transport you into her home. You smell the smell, hear the sounds, and feel the genuine love she developed for her at times crotchety father-in-law. Without giving any spoilers, you’ll experience a beautiful story unfold, have your heartstrings tugged and be flooded by memories if you ever cared for a parent or parent in law. Again, the books’ prose is exceptional. I highly recommend the book.

Resting in the Lord

4.1 My Story

You may be like my late wife was when she was battling Stage Four Melanoma cancer. She found herself very tired. She needed rest. My daily caregiving also left me weary. Like my wife, I needed rest.

The managing of my wife’s schedule took a skillset even an air traffic controller would envy. First, she had the neverending visits to her primary medical team. The army of medical doctors was the primary care physician, the surgical oncologist, managing oncologist, dermatologist, gastro endocrinologist, thyroid doctor, cardiologist (the heart must be healthy enough for the treatments) and radiologist medical doctor. They did the routine checks, prescribed the medications and treatments, performed biopsies and surgery as well as ordering the tests.

A group of medical technicians did the grunt work of tests and treatment procedures. In this category was blood work, PET scans, CAT scans, MRIs, days and weeks of radiation treatments and the lymphedema therapy.

At home, my wife did months of daily chemotherapy prescription medications, spent hours waiting for UPS or FedEx to deliver the refrigerated prescriptions from the exotic, super expensive pharmacy, did 24/7/365 lymphedema therapy at home with the machine that sounded like Darth Vader with a sleeve that looked like the nose of Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street.

Added to these challenges was managing her work schedule to maintain health insurance. These alone were enough to have her constantly exhausted. Unfortunately, more daily challenges were adding to her fatigue.

My wife’s eating schedule controlled her life. She had to take the prescription meds and wait two hours to eat or eat and wait several hours before she could take the medications. The routine dictated the time of day when she woke and went to bed.

You get the picture and can relate. Like my wife, you get tired. Yes, the patient gets tired. The caregiver also gets worn down. The caregiver makes sure the loved on stays on schedule and task. As the caregiver, you need to rest. You need God.

4.2 Resting in the Lord

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness understands the need for resting in the Lord.

Caregiving for a loved one with a chronic illness can leave you tired and weary. I am talking about becoming bone tired. I am talking about the type of fatigue that vacations or even a sabbatical cannot cure.

4.3 Bible Verse

Exodus 33:14 (KJV), “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

4.4 What the Verse Means

The Lord is telling Moses that God will personally go with him. The Lord will give him rest. He is informing Moses that everything will ultimately be fine for him.

For the caregiver, this doesn’t mean that your loved one will be healed in this life. Final healing may not happen until heaven.

The application for the Believer in Christ is the Lord also personally goes with us, gives us rest, and promises to sustain us during our caregiving journey.

4.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father thank you for your presence going with us.
  • Lord Jesus, thank you for the rest you give us.
  • God, we ask to experience your rest again this day.
  • Let us use Sundays as the day of rest and worship.

4.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Remember a recent time you felt God’s presence. What were you doing? Recall how you felt his presence.
  2. Ask God to go with you and be with you today as you work and go about your caregiving responsibilities.
  3. Are you getting enough rest? Are you reading your Bible regularly? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you taking time to be still?

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


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.

Tears Are Normal

3.1 My Story

“I removed the tumor. The tests also showed it has spread to her lymph nodes. I removed thirty-four of them,” said the surgical oncologist.

I stared at her. She was slowly becoming out of focus as I became teary-eyed. I knew the initial diagnosis of Stage 3 Melanoma Cancer was terrible. I knew the Melanoma spreading into the lymph nodes was very bad. I knew this would kill my wife. Even though I was trying hard not to, I started sobbing.

The surgeon then said the words I needed to hear. She said, “It’s okay to cry.” She took me in her arms, and I wept.

With her four simple words, I stopped pretending to be a macho man, let down my guard, and let the emotions of the moment take over. Today wouldn’t be the last time sobbing would overcome me. I would cry many more times over the next thirty-four months. Even now at one year since my wife’s passing, the crying returns from time to time.

Remember, it’s okay to cry.

The Bible tells of Jesus crying when Lazarus died. The Heavenly Father cares about our tears. Today’s Bible verse tells what God’s word says about crying.

3.2 Tears are Normal

When you’re a caregiver part of accepting the hope available through Jesus Christ is realizing that tears are normal. Daily living with a chronic illness or caring for a loved one with a persistent disease or terminal illness will bring tears. It’s okay to cry. Even Jesus wept (John 11:35 KJV, “Jesus wept.”).

3.3 Bible Verse

Psalm 56:8-9 (KJV), “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.”

3.4 What the Verses Mean

Why would God keep tears in a bottle? The idea behind the keeping of “tears in a bottle” is a remembrance. King David, the writer of these verses, is expressing a deep trust in God. He knows that God remembers his sorrow. He knows God remembers his tears. King David also is sure the God will never forget about him. David is confident that God is on his side.

3.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, thank you for making us where we can cry and experience the emotional release of the resulting tears. Teach me to understand and accept that my tears help me identify and help me deal with my feelings.
  • Lord Jesus, thank you for letting me know crying is okay.
  • Almighty God, it is comforting to know that you notice and keep track of my tears.
  • I turn the sorrow concerning the chronic illness of my loved one and my ability to care for them over to Yahweh-Rapha (God that heals).
  • I pray that my family and I would feel the freedom to cry out to you God and let the tears flow when the release is needed.
  • I pray that my family and friends would be supportive, loving, and understanding during the times the tears flow.
  • I pray I would hold on to God during these times without questioning and accept God’s comfort.
  • Help me to have the confidence of King David, the author of these verses, and say with him – for God is for me.

3.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Have you given yourself and your loved ones permission to cry? Remember it’s okay to cry. Share with your family members that there are times when you cry. Your sharing will permit them to shed tears. There are times when they need to cry.
  2. Remember that God will not forget about your loved one. He does not forget about you or the other caregivers. Thank God for remembering you and not forgetting you.
  3. What is the first concern you think of when it comes to caring for your loved one? Tell God what that concern is and remember, it’s okay to cry. Tears are normal.

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


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.

How to be Courageous

How to be Courageous

2.1 My Story

One of the first thoughts I had when my wife received the diagnosis that she had stage three Melanoma was how am I going to care for her and love her unconditionally until she dies.

I knew the Melanoma was going to kill her unless God intervened. I wondered if she would follow the doctor’s orders. Would my wife let me help her? How would she react? Could I handle being her caregiver?

In time all the questions were answered. The solutions didn’t happen in one day. There was some give and take.

My spouse had to have a heart to heart with me along the way, which included telling me to back off and give her some space as I was smothering her with kindness and care.

She didn’t need me reacting as if every little event she encountered was a life or death situation. I learned what she needed was for me to be there. She desired my calm, steady presence.

A simple example was when I had a ball game on the television, and she came into the room, I would change channels on the TV to her favorite HGTV program. I stayed in the room with her instead of going to the bedroom and continuing the ballgame. If I were cleaning, doing other housework, or even reading, I would stop, give her my attention, and be with her.

In her last days of hospice care, she told me how much my just being there meant to her. She said I could get the house spotless after she was in heaven, but until then, she needed the ministry of my presence. She needed me to be courageous as I spent time with her.

2.2 How to Be Courageous

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands how to be courageous the Lord.

Caring for a person with a chronic illness is a scary daily challenge for both the person with the disease, their family, and you as the caregiver. Through Jesus Christ, we can be strong and courageous.

How can we do this?

We cannot do this in our strength. Daily the Lord Jesus our God goes with the Christian. We need to remember, He goes with us. We need the Lord to strengthen us.

Today’s Scripture tells us the Lord will not leave or forsake the Believer in Jesus Christ.

2.3 Bible Verse

Deuteronomy 31:6 (KJV), “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”

2.4 What the Verse Means

Because Christians have God with them, they should be of good courage. The courage comes from their confident assurance in God, which faith gives. This faith in Christ allows us to face each day bravely knowing we shall have the ultimate victory through Him. 

2.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, please help me and my family to continue to be courageous in the face of this illness.
  • Holy Spirit, I ask for Your comfort. Help me to not fear or be in dread of the challenges I face as a caregiver. Help me not to grow weary.
  • Thank You for letting me know it is the Lord our God who goes with me and that He will not leave me or forsake me.
  • I pray my family and loved ones’ would confess faith in Jesus Christ where they too can experience the comfort available to Christians.

2.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. What are two areas that you are fearful of failing in as you care for your loved one? Name them.
  2. Take the two items you identified in question one. Admit your fears to God. Ask God for the faith you need to face fear courageously.
  3. Realize that God has entrusted you already with your loved one’s care. He’s put them under your supervision; God will equip you for the daily challenges you face. Thank God for the confidence He has placed in you, and for the way, He helps you daily as you care for your loved one.

2.7 Takeaway

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands how to rely on the Lord.


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 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


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.

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


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.

How to Hang On

How to Hang On

23.1 My Story

The date was April 11, 2018. The day of the week was Wednesday. I had awoken at the usual time of 5 AM. I stepped into the master bedroom where my wife was resting. I took her hand and held it. I leaned over the hospital bed and kissed her forehead first. I said I love you. She squeezed my hand, and her lips moved mouthing I love you. I softly kissed her lips. I could feel their warmth and her returning the kiss.

We were blessed with a critical care registered nurse in our home twenty-four hours a day. I looked at the nurse and said I was going to Starbucks for a couple of hours to have morning coffee and write. I would be back home by 8 AM. I reminded her two of my adult children, and my wife’s sisters were in the house if needed. I would only be ten to fifteen minutes away. I made sure the nurse had my contact info.

I then read Psalm 23 to my wife, prayed with her, and feed her a container of flavored shaved ice before I stole another kiss and then headed to Starbucks. As I drove to the coffeehouse, my heart was heavy. Death was near.

Around 7:30 AM, I had a telephone call from the hospice supervising nurse. She was at my house, checking on the situation. She had arrived at the shift change to speak to the overnight nurse and brief the incoming nurse. She told me she felt death was imminent. She encouraged me to get home as soon as possible to say any final goodbyes.

Miss Benita and I had already said our goodbyes. I never left her side without saying a final farewell, just in case she died when I wasn’t there. I wanted to be present with her, holding her hand when the time came for her to depart to heaven, so I hastily retreated to my house.

When I arrived, I could see a marked change in my wife. In only two hours, she had moved much closer to death’s doorway.

No, she didn’t die on April 11. Benita Kepler passed away at 3:54 pm on April 12, 2018. I wrote that day, “She is in Jesus’ loving arms in heaven. She was surrounded by her husband, children, sisters, and friends when she went to be with Jesus in heaven.”

23.2 Hang On

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of hanging on to God.

You will get to the point in caregiving that only with God’s help can you make it through the next few minutes or day. You are exhausted mentally, physically, and spiritually

All you can do is grab hold of and hang on to God. Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.

23.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV), “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”

23.4 What the Verse Means

The best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself. Here are Biblical principles that explain the verse. These seven principles give the Biblical alternative of how to hang on when you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.

  • Principle One: I must not forget God loves me. Don’t lose heart!

2 Corinthians 4:1(KJV), “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;”

1 Corinthians 15:10 (KJV), “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

It’s not who we are. It’s whose we are!

Remember, our performance does not give us our worth. God’s grace provides us with the power to start over.

Romans 8:37 (KJV), “Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

  • Principle Two: I must keep a clear conscience.

2 Corinthians 4:2 (KJV), “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

We must have integrity. We must have character.

  • Principle Three: It is not about me.

2 Corinthians 4:5 (KJV), “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”

Your ego will only take you so far.

  • Principle Four: I cannot do it all.

2 Corinthians 4:7 (KJV), “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

We must pace ourselves. Life is a journey, not a sprint.

  • Principle Five: Love, love, love.

2 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV), “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.”

  • Principle Six: Take time to refresh, renew, and revive.

2 Corinthians 4:16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

  • Principle Seven: I must keep my eye on the goal.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (KJV), “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember, you cannot do your best at caregiving if you do not face your troubles and hang on until you reach your goal.

23.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to cling to You.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to ask Your help daily as I keep on keeping on.
  • God Almighty help my eyes to be fixed on the unseen.

23.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Do you remember God loves you? 
  2. Is your conscience clear? Maybe you feel bitter about having to care for your loved ones. If so, ask God’s forgiveness. 
  3. Are you seeking God’s help and guidance? Ask God for his help. 

23.7 Takeaway

Holding on to God allows you to finish strong.


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 Zdeněk Chalupský from Pixabay 2017.

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.

How To Be Comforted During Times of Hardships and Trials

How To Be Comforted During Times of Hardships and Trials

22.1 My Story

I thought I knew how to minister to hurting families and person’s facing death. My hubris said I was an expert. After all. I was a seminary trained minister and an ordained minister as well as an ordained deacon. I had made thousands of hospital visits, nursing home visits, and been with numerous persons and their families when death visited. I also had cared for my mother-in-law, and both my parents.

It wasn’t until I was holding my wife’s hand, praying as she took her last breath and hearing the hospice registered nurse pronounce “the time of death was 3:54 PM, April 12, 2018,” did I understand the sacrifice in time, emotion, and love that a family member makes in caring for someone they love more than they love themselves.

During the time of my wife’s cancer journey, I had with her permission started a Facebook secret group. The group’s description was, “A place for those that unconditionally love and care about Benita as she battles Neuroendocrine Carcinoma and Melanoma Cancer. A family of friends, coworkers, and prayer warriors.”

As I posted daily updates on her condition, shared how the group members could pray for her and wrote a short daily devotional thought to encourage both my wife and those praying for her something magical and mystical happened. My wife Benita and I began ministering to those who were praying and ministering to her.

I was surprised when I received the first request for permission to share my daily devotion. The reader asked if it would be okay to copy and send it to a friend that was battling cancer. I had several cousins fighting cancer. A couple of them told me how they looked forward to my posting of the devotion every day. One cousin committed that the short devotional post ministered to her because she knew we were living what she was experiencing. The devotion was a real, first-person experience and prayer instead of just words on a page.

It was with her words that I realized how God was using the bad in our life for good to others. My wife would write and send cards to others up until about ten days before she died. Miss Benita would share encouragement and how God was sustaining her during her cancer experience. She was able to comfort others in spite of her tribulation.

22.2 Developing Compassion for Others

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is developing compassion for others. Caring for a person with a long-lasting disease affects people in different ways. Depression may come to reside with some people. Other persons can become bitter. Withdrawal from friends and family can occur with some. You will find yourself tired, more tired than you thought you could ever become.

For the Believer in Jesus Christ, the chronic illness often mellows our heart to make us more compassionate. The persistent disease allows us empathy. It often becomes the point of rapport where we can care for and minister to not only our loved one but others now walking down the pathway we have recently or are currently helping our loved navigate.

22.3 Today’s Bible Verses

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV), “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

22.4 What the Verses Mean

The verses are a reminder of what a wonderful God we have. He is the one who comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.

Why does He do this? He does this where we can help others.

When family, friends, or coworkers are troubled, needing our support, sympathy, and encouragement, we can pass on to them the help and comfort God has given us.

22.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father, I praise You for how wonderful you are.
  • I acknowledge You are the Father of the Lord Jesus.
  • I proclaim You as the one who wonderfully comforts and strengthens me in hardships and trials.
  • Thank you for teaching me how to soothe others by your example to me where I can give sympathy and encouragement.

22.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Who do you know that could use a word of support today? 
  2. How can you prove that supportive word? A card, a phone call, an email or text? 
  3. Name two things you learned in your journey as a caregiver that help you comfort others. 

22.7 Takeaway

As a caregiver, we can pass on to others the help and comfort God has given us.


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 Goran Horvat from Pixabayr 20, 2017.

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.

How to Let the Lord Be Your Helper

How to Let the Lord Be Your 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 adjusted to the treatments, a new life routine, 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 that I wasn’t the man or husband I was supposed to be.

During her 1001 days after the initial surgery, 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 as she passed into eternity. Her sisters were present. All three of our children were there. Her best girlfriend from high school was frequently at our home. 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 caring 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 our total trust in You.
  • Lord Jesus, give us the courage to say, You are our helper.
  • We pray for fear to flee from us. We will not fear what man or disease shall do unto us.

21.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you trying to do it all yourself? Be honest.
  2. Do your friends and family that have offered to help with the caregiving? List them by name. Consider allowing them to assist. 
  3. 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 is a ladies Bible study group 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. 

21.7 Takeaway

With Christ, you can meet each day without fear.


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 andreas160578 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.

Faith Frees Me From Fearing Death

Faith Frees Me From Fearing Death

20.1 My Story

As death was imminent for my wife, for some reason I did not feel sorry for the brevity of her life. Oh sure, I would have preferred her being healed and having another thirty plus years with me. After all, dying at sixty-one years old is dying too young.

However, I understood that God has our days numbered. From the beginning of time, he knew when you would be born and when you will die.

Psalm 139:16 King James Version (KJV) says, “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” In modern English, the verse means that God has ordained or predetermined for me the numbers of days a person will have in their life. He knew when I would be born and knows when I will die. God has this information already written in His book of life.

I found great comfort and security in knowing that God has my life so ordered that I will neither die a day sooner nor live a day longer than what has already been recorded in his book. You see, life and death are far above my pay grade, so I will happily let Father God take care of that department, thank you very much.

Without a doubt I know I clearly understand this divine principle. Because of my understanding, I am freed from fearing death. My faith which frees me from this fear allows me to live the life God had designed for me.

Knowing and trusting that God knows best allowed both my wife and me to enjoy the time we had. Instead of weeping over her upcoming death we were able to reflect and reminisce. We looked at old pictures remembering the wonderful shared events of our family, thankful for our time together.

I still recall Miss Benita thanking me for loving her and staying with her until “death do we part.” I know it was I who was the real lucky one. I give thanks to the Lord for the forty-three plus years we were married. I thank God for what we had.

When I miss her and feel sad, I focus on the memories, ask God’s forgiveness for my failures and regrets, and look forward to the Heavenly reunion I’ll have one day with late wife, Miss Benita.

I am thankful for the assurance of Heaven for the Believer in Jesus Christ.

20.2 The Value of Giving Thanks

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness understands the value of giving thanks for what you have.

When you care for a person with a chronic illness, too often you focus on the negative and the bad. Instead of focusing on the adversity of the situation you are living through, you should give thanks for what you have. 

For the caregiver and their charge who are Believers in Jesus Christ, this includes being thankful knowing that death is not the end. That separation is temporary. You know you will again see each other in Heaven.

20.3 Bible Verse

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV), “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

20.4 What the Verse Means

The verse reminds us that Christians should not only to pray to God but also give thanks to Him. We should thank him for everything, in every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow. 

20.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me always show gratitude to family and friends who aid and support us.
  • Lord Jesus, help me to praise God daily for who He is and for His love and care.
  • God Almighty, I thank You for a loving church, Bible fellowship class, our brothers and sisters-in-Christ who help and support me.
  • I give thanks for the quality medical care and counsel I have as well as the health insurance that pays for so much of the treatment and prescriptions.

20.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you thankful for the days you have with your loved one? 
  2. Are you grateful for the memories you have? I am amazed God created us with the ability to have remembrances. 
  3. Have you told your caregiving charge that your thankful for them and the opportunity to serve them? 

20.7 Takeaway

We should thank God for everything, in every circumstance, in joy as well as in sorrow. 


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 Axel Schäfer 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.

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

I’m Not Going to Sit and Wait to Die

19.1 My Story

I’m sure my late wife grew tired of me asking, “What did you weight this morning?”

She would dutifully look at me and then give me the number. It was almost always the same weight. Oh, it may go up or down by a pound or two but generally was the same.

One day she replied, “You’re asking my weight to see if cancer is causing me to lose weight. Am I correct?”

Guilty as charged.

Then she schools me. She said, “You’re dying like I am. It may not be cancer that’s getting you. It’s old age. Even though you look a decade younger than your years, Father Time is getting you. The sands that count your days are slipping through the hourglass at an ever-increasing rate — and they’ll run out one day.”

I nodded.

“I am not going to sit on the couch and wait to die! There is no way I’m going to sit on the couch, wasting away. God still has a purpose for me.” She then reminded me she still read her Bible daily, prayed for herself, and interceded for others.

She pointed out that God was renewing her inner person daily. Oh, the body was decaying, aging, suffering the ravaging of cancer, but God had her spirit, and inner parson renewed daily.

My wife was smart. I may have had the formal seminary and graduate school education with a couple of fancy masters and a doctoral degree, but she knew so much more than me from a deeper walk with the Lord in Bible reading, scripture meditation, and time in prayer.

She taught me that we shouldn’t be obsessed with the physical body. The Christian’s faith is far from a fatalistic acceptance of suffering and awaiting death. Every believer in Jesus Christ needs their eyes opened to something else. That something is the continuous restoration of the inner person.

When my late wife was in her final days in hospice care, the incredible calming power of God’s word was apparent. I would read from the Book of Psalms in the Bible to her. The occasional anxiousness she had from the terrible pain she suffered would melt away and transform to calm when the words of the Bible were read. Playing favorite hymns and worship songs worked the same miracle. It reminded me of the way she used breathing techniques to mitigate pain when in labor during the delivery of our children. She was so brave. Her tumor was located in the area of the brain that controlled pain and nausea. Because of the location, normal pain and nausea management medications and techniques did not to work. 

I had witnessed Scriptures’ calming power on the life of a Believer of Jesus Christ for two-plus decades as a full-time minister working with responsibilities with older adults and pastoral care. Many times as I would read familiar Bible verses, the chronically or terminally ill person would transform from anxiousness and fear into peacefulness. Sometimes they even from memory would say or quote the Bible verses with me.

The power of God’s word is incredible.

19.2 Not Losing Heart

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is learning how not to lose heart and help your loved one not develop a gloom and doom attitude. God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life. It enables you to keep the faith.

19.3 Bible Verse

2 Corinthians 4: 16 (KJV), “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.”

19.4 What the Verse Means

Christianity understands the steady decline of the physical body. Though we are rescued from spiritual death and alive with Christ, our bodies remain in the process of decay.

The follower of Christ should recognize that our outer bodies are wasting away. From the moment of birth, we begin to die. It is inescapable unless the Lord Jesus returns first.

The Christian should be aware of increasing inner, spiritual strength. God does not forsake his children, but he gives us growing supplies of grace.

The Holy Spirit works in us as an infinite well of life. We are in a constant process of renewal. The Lord does not allow us to be born again and then ignore us. No, He gives us daily spiritual energy.

May we never forget the physical and the spiritual are part of your life every day.

19.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father help me to not focus on my decaying or diseased body, but to realize that my inner self is being renewed daily.
  • Lord Jesus, help me look to the things that are not seen, not the which are seen.
  • God, help me look to the eternal, not the temporal.

19.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Are you spending time in God’s word? If not, I encourage you to return to reading your Bible or being today for the first time. You can start with just a verse or two. God will speak to you. 
  2. Are you spending time in prayer? If not, I encourage you to start today. A good beginning would be praying, “God, help me spend time reading your Bible. Lord, teach me to pray.” 
  3. Are you obsessed with your loved one’s physical appearance? Radiation and chemotherapy take a toll. They may lose their hair. My wife had no hair her last five months of life. I didn’t see her hairless head. I saw her beautiful smile and radiant countenance. She was comfortable without a wig and would wear a chemo beanie when she went to the doctor or on days when she was able to go out for a walk or meal. 

19.7 Takeaway

God’s word helps you to have a confident acceptance of the reality of life and enables you to keep the faith.


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 StockSnap 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.