Fear

The coronavirus and the stock market’s volatility make this a scary time. We fear for ourselves and our loved one’s health, safety, and financial stability. Here’s a Bible verse that provides me great comfort.

Trust in the Lord

How to be Saved

The peace I have through Jesus Christ is how I face fear and face this time. If you’ve never accepted Jesus as your Savior, you can pray this prayer – Dear Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I am a sinner, and I am very sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived. I repent of my sins and ask your forgiveness. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and shed His blood for my sins. I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. I invite you to come into my heart and become my Lord and Savior. Amen.


Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay

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 Give Your Fears to God

How to Give Your Fears to God

16.1 My Story

My spouse paid the bills each month. Yes, we had a budget and discussed our financial priorities, but she wrote the checks each month and made the electronic payments. We were an old school couple and had a joint checking account.

I had a basic understanding of what bills were due each month but did not know if they were paid electronically or by check. I also did not know the account numbers, contact information, and the like. I was ignorant in these areas.

My spouse clung onto the bill paying. I asked her to tutor or mentor me where I could have some transition if the time came where I had to assume responsibility. She told me if she turned the bill paying over to me she was giving up on life. She added that it was the last thing she was holding on to do. She held on tight to financial responsibility. 

I pleaded with her to show me her system. Finally, less than two weeks before she went into hospice care we talked seriously about finances and bill paying. She started to teach me her system and provide the much-needed information to me but then she just stopped. She said the checkbook is here.

Her next words took me by surprise as she said, “I can’t do this. I can’t talk to you about the bills. You’re a brilliant man and will be able to figure this out. I’m sorry. You’ll have to deal with it when the time comes.”

I didn’t scream or yell. I didn’t even roll my eyes. I remember thinking that Miss Benita had more confidence in me than I did. I felt scared, helpless. I wondered what I would do and how I would do it when I suddenly had to pay the bills.

I also said a silent prayer. I wish I could tell you it was spiritual, but I asked God why she wouldn’t help me. I recall immediately hearing the still small voice of God. In my mind, I heard LOVE YOUR WIFE. She doesn’t need upsetting; she needs to feel my love through you. I’ll help you find the answers you need.

Gulp, I turned my fears over to God, trusted him, and to my amazement am still getting it all figured out. All bills have been paid on time. I have developed my routine. Instead of all the worst case scenarios that ran through my mind. I am wasn’t traumatized. I am surviving.

16.2 God’s Comfort is Available to You

Part of caring for a person with a chronic illness is understanding God’s comfort is available for you. He will help you with your fears.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by your thoughts of how you will be able to handle or manage your loved one’s chronic illness? Have the “what ifs” overtaken you? Are any of your thoughts confused and even torturing you with the cares and fears about the future?

Psalm 94:19 tells us that God’s comfort delights our soul. His promises, contained in His word (the Bible), and the memory of our past experiences of His care and kindness to us, afford us comfort. They can restore our discouraged mind.

16. 3 Bible Verse

Psalm 94:19 (KJV), “In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.”

16.4 What the Verse Means

When we are fearful because of considering various possible outcomes and scenarios, listening to ungodly counsel from well-meaning friends, or just drowning in self-pity, we need to return to the Lord for real rest and comfort.

God’s comfort satisfies my soul. Focusing and meditating on His Word and teachings comfort me and delight me. True satisfaction only comes from God’s Holy Spirit!

Only God can truly remove our fears and give us His perfect peace.

16.5 Pray Using Scripture

  • Heavenly Father I confess too often my thoughts are filled with various and confusing ideas. Protect me from the negative thinkers and their contrary counsel.
  • Lord Jesus, I admit sometimes being tortured with cares and fears about my future due to my loved one’s chronic illness.
  • God Almighty, I praise You because Your comfort delights my soul.
  • I have heard Your promises taught in Sunday School as well as heard them preached in church and have read in the Bible. They comfort me. Your promises remove the fear. Psalm 56:3 (KJV) says, “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”
  • Lord, the memory of my experiences of Your care and kindness to me, affords me such comfort as they restore my at times discouraged mind.

16.6 Responding to God’s Hope

  1. Turn your worries and concerns over to God. Take a piece of paper and write down five worries you have. When you finish writing your five fears say out loud, God, the concerns I have written I now turn over to you. Crumble the paper and throw it into your trash can. 
  2. Do not focus on your worries and fears. Instead, thank God that for your ability to provide some care and comfort for your loved one. Remember, sometimes the essential support you provide is being there with them. I call it the ministry of your presence. 
  3. As I type this, I am praying for the person who is reading these words needs. Know that at least one person has prayed for your needs, cares, and concerns in advance. God ew from the beginning of time that you would have this appointment with caregiving. Maybe that’s why I felt impressed to pray for you as I typed this morning. 

16.7 Takeaway

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)


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.

 


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: Taken by family on October 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.

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.”