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Compassion and the Family Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
May 5, 2021 11:46 am

Compassion and the Family Caregiver

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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May 5, 2021 11:46 am

Compassion Radio's Bram Floria interviewed me for a two part series on the family caregiver. 

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This is Michael Carbone with the Truth Network. We're partnering with Bible League International on Open the Floodgates, Bibles for Africa.

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That's 800-937-9673. Thank you for caring. Obligation, guilt, resentment, despair, heartache, anger, all those kinds of things, but those are all common to everyone. We deal with those things that are often relentless, overpowering, and we feel like we're just losing our footing. Hi, Bram Florio here with Compassion Radio, the daily journal of what God's people are up to, where they're doing it, and how God is making it all make sense in the big picture. If there's any particular group of people quietly going about the Lord's work in an unassuming way in the world, it's got to be caregivers. By that I don't mean people who have a lot of natural sympathy. Feeling warm fuzzies for others is great, but it's not particularly useful for the heavy lifting of agape-style love. You know, the kind of love that Christ himself demonstrated. Whether caring for those suffering from COVID, long-term illness, or mental decline of aging, there are millions right now who take the lead in providing compassionate care for others.

Often with little or no training, love simply required it. Our guest for the next few programs knows a thing or two about it because he's seen a thing or two. He and his wife have been through the wringer for decades, and frankly it's to our benefit, even though that'll sound like a brutal assessment once you hear his story.

We'll just start out with this thought. Thank God for those willing to say yes to one of the hardest jobs you could ever love. On today's Compassion Radio, we're welcoming back a friend that we haven't talked to in a while, but man, the ministry needs he's facing have not diminished in the least, especially during the age of COVID. Peter Rosenberger for Standing with Hope. Welcome back to Compassion Radio. Thank you very much. It's great to be back here with you. It has been a long time, hasn't it?

Yeah. I'm glad I got some FaceTime with you as I was going across Montana this month, and to see that God's still preserving you and your ministry with your wife, Gracie. You have your hands on a whole bunch of things, but the thing that people know you most for, I guess in the United States now, is for your growing radio ministry of your own called what? Hope for the Caregiver. Hope for the Caregiver, broadcast across this nation on another network, and we're glad that you're doing the work you do. Tell me what it's like to be getting up early on a Saturday morning to listen to people call you seeking solace and looking for encouragement and hopefully to download a story or two and maybe laugh a bit along the way. Well, I didn't set out to be in radio, but I've discovered that I have really come to cherish it, and I do love it, and I don't even mind getting up early.

My time out here in Montana, I don't get up late anyway. I get up early as a caregiver myself for 35 years, and so I get up. That's actually my time for myself, and I find that for a lot of caregivers that we get up early and kind of base the day and get meals planned and things such as that. As I talk to my fellow caregivers, I've structured the show so that it's not me lecturing or saying here's how to be a better caregiver kind of thing because I have no qualifications to tell anybody how to be a better caregiver. I can speak out of my own experiences and say here's what I've learned that has helped me when this hits, but I think what brings me to you today, Bram, and you and I have talked about this, that caregivers don't live with anything on a core level, on a heart level that is not common to all of humankind.

Let me explain on that. The basic things that we deal with as caregivers is fear, obligation, guilt, resentment, despair, heartache, anger, all those kinds of things, but those are all common to everyone. We deal with those things framed in this caregiving journey that are often relentless.

They're often nuclear. They are often overpowering, and we feel like we're just losing our footing, and so that's where I've approached this. I've been a caregiver now for 35 years for my wife. Let me just stop on the issue of caregiving right there because obviously the word caregiver is going to be mentioned a number of times in this program, but it does have a specific realm that you were discussing, and that has to do with the long-term care that you have to offer to somebody who needs it physically, emotionally, medically.

Your situation is a pretty intense one, so just give us a quick breakdown of how you and Gracie have navigated the past 35 years. Well, and that's a good point because a lot of people think, well, how do I know I'm a caregiver? A caregiver is somebody who puts himself voluntarily between a vulnerable loved one with chronic impairment and even worse, disaster. Okay, that's the starting point because a lot of people say, well, I'm a parent. I'm taking care of children. Well, it's a parent that's your parent, but that's not a caregiver. Those children are expected to grow, mature, and become functional, independent individuals, but that doesn't always happen when you're dealing with a caregiving situation. You've got somebody who has cognitive or physical developmental issues or impairments that are brought on by trauma or disease or things such as that. To my knowledge, I'm the only one that has any kind of national show that deals with alcoholics and addicts because that's a chronic impairment. Even if you're sober, even if you're clean, you're still going to be dealing with the reality of a chemical or alcohol dependency and your loved ones around you will be dealing with that and learning how to process what happened to you through that process and how you're working through recovery or not working through recovery. Yeah.

That's the overarching thing I come into it with my situation. Gracie had a traumatic car accident 38 years ago back in 1983 and to date that I can count, she's had 80 plus surgeries, 150 smaller procedures, both of her legs amputated, over a hundred doctors have treated her and now 13 hospitals. You're looking at well over now $11 million. It just keeps growing. It's hard to even count it. It's hard to even keep track of it.

These are all ballpark numbers at this point. She lives with intractable pain. She's not known a day without pain since Reagan's first term. And through this journey, at one point when we were dealing with one pain management specialist, they took her into the world of narcotics and pain management stuff. She never abused it, but she was taking over seven figures worth of painkillers, narcotics, opioids. And nobody ever said to me, hey, you know, we're putting a lot of behavior altering chemicals into your wife's body. You might want to get some help for yourself. Not one pharmacist, not one doctor, not one nurse ever said this to me.

Yeah. And so I'm saying it to my fellow caregivers. I'm bringing the lifetime of experience I've had to help point a path to safety to say, okay, here's the path to safety. And it's not this thing where I'm like providing answers because I can't.

I don't know how to take care of your situation any more than you know how to take care of mine. But what I can do is go back to, okay, what the scriptures say, number one, and how does that apply to us as caregivers, number two. So for example, I had a lady that called into my show and she said, well, I guess God put me on this earth to be a caregiver. Shorter catechism, Westminster confession of faith says, what's the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That's our highest purpose. Now for a lifetime, for a season, for decades in my case, we may be a caregiver, but we have a greater purpose than just limiting ourselves to that journey.

And if we see that it's a game changer for us. People say erroneous things like, well, God never asked you to do more than you can handle. You've heard that one before. Well, that's not scriptural.

No, it's not. He always asked you to do more than you can handle. He asked a man with a withered hand to stretch out his hand. He asked a blind man to see.

He asked a dead man to come out of the grave, but he never gives us more than he can handle. And there is a difference, theologically speaking and doctorally speaking. And functionally speaking.

Functionally speaking, yes. Your faith, you and I have talked about this before, that faith is obviously a verb. It's not just a description of a thing that happened or an object or a place in the past. Faith is the thing that gets you out of bed and in your slippers and making coffee at 4 30 in the morning, or you're not going to be able to meet the objective you have that morning to do something like get to a doctor on time or get a bath done or get a house clean. You exercise the faith that you will have what God will provide for you. And more than just the grit of getting through the negatives and having to survive or endure, you've been discovering through all this too that somehow, in the midst of all of that torrent of responsibility and difficulty, that there's real joy in there.

That God shows up and He's with you in this. There's a lot of people listening to our program right now, Peter, that are at the same time of day. It's early morning where most people hear this program. They might be caregivers themselves and are up because of that reason. So I do want you to be speaking as if you're part of family here.

What is it like then for you to make that decision to say, I can be competent and qualified to do this job because of Christ and because of the love He puts in me, because of my commitment, my covenant with my wife to be there till death parts us and still enjoy it. Talk about that. Well this is the problem a lot of caregivers struggle with. They feel like they've got to put their life on hold until their loved one gets better or worse.

And usually it's worse. They die and then we'll get on with our life. They've got to put not only their life on hold, they put their joy on hold. They put their business on hold. Everything is on hold while I go throw myself recklessly into this situation and I say no.

Gracie and I have been doing this now for 35 years. I can't put that much life on hold. It's not going anywhere. If you have a special needs child, for example, if you have a child with autism or a child with Down syndrome, you can't put your life on hold.

You have to adapt and be flexible, yeah. But life is worth living. I don't have to put my humor on hold. I don't have to put my joy on hold. And this is the mistake.

It's a trap that a lot of caregivers fall into and we struggle with this and I think, no, wait a minute. This whole world is broken. Everything about this world is broken. Are we going to extrapolate that we can't live an abundant, victorious, meaningful life of substance in the midst of a broken world?

We got to wait till everything's fixed. That doesn't make sense in the light of everything that Scripture says and what Christ came here for. In the most recent episode of The Chosen, I've been watching that. I've really enjoyed it.

It was episode two of the second season. The character of Jesus said, I've come to talk about another kingdom. It's not of this world.

The kingdom is not of this world. In that world, all is being made right. All is right. But in this world, you're still going to have bones that break and hearts that break.

And I'm paraphrasing the dialogue, but that's the gist of it. There are things in this world that are just heart-rending. We're going to weep. In fact, I'm going to be doing a whole series on the show about mourning, because I think it's important to learn how to mourn healthily. We're going to mourn. We're going to weep. The calling to lament. Yeah, but we don't have to do it with despair or with rage. And that's what I'm looking for for my fellow caregivers is to say, okay, can we do this in a healthier manner for ourselves and recognize that this is mourn worthy? Jesus said, blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. But I see too many caregivers who are raging out or are sinking into despair or a combination thereof.

I'm the same way. I've done it myself. Been there, done that.

I'm the Wile E. Coyote of caregivers. There's the real risk of self-righteousness in these things and justifying our anger and deciding that whether we'll say it or not, that God only owes us something and we are right in our undignified rage. We won't say it, of course. We don't want to really deal with those feelings and be called out. You know, I found that for me, the best antidote to that is to have a clear picture of my black heart. Once you get a grasp of just how vile your sin is to God, it really torques that whole self-righteousness argument. For those who are dealing with that particular issue, yes, I would say let God crack their head a bit if they're acting super pious about something and being duplicitous about their attitudes. Well, if you notice in scripture, God saves, Jesus saves all of his outreach for the pious. Yeah, he does.

Every bit of it. And he has this tender heart to the broken hearted. He's near to the broken hearted. And when you get into this, well, like somehow God owes me or I deserve this or I'm entitled or I don't need redemption as much as that guy.

You know, I thank the Lord that I'm not like that guy. There's nothing like hanging on to Christ while in the fetal position to drive that point home, you know, because that's all you got. And until you understand that on a way that is life-transforming, that tendency to somehow think more of yourself than you really ought, yes, we get frustrated. And we do get frustrated as caregivers. We get angry we get resentful.

We get all these things. So what grounds us back to reality? And that is understanding the gospel and people who can help share the gospel in that caregiving context so that we can clearly see here's the path back to safety. Peter Rosenberger will be back in a moment to share more about how the calling of the caregiver is both impossible and full of possibilities. If you are a caregiver, I hope that what you're hearing today encourages you and the work that you do. Peter is both a great mentor and a wonderful worship leader. I've arranged to make his comforting piano performance CD available to you for your support of Compassion Radio today.

So don't hesitate to ask for it when you call or give through the website. In one way or another, we're all being called to care for others in some really trying times. By God's grace and sticking together, we can get through it.

We might have to see some of God's best work in the process. Thank you for standing with Compassion Radio as we bring daily encouragement, inspiration and challenge to you each day. We literally cannot come to you each day without your prayerful and generous support. If you find any value in what we do, we need to hear from you today. The easiest way is through our website compassionradio.com. You can also reach out through our toll-free order line 1-800-868-2478. If you call before or after Pacific Time business hours, just leave us a full message and your best callback number. We'll return it as soon as possible. You can also mail us at Compassion Radio, P.O. Box 2770, Orange, CA 92859. Now, I've heard that our local post office has returned a number of listener letters recently and for reasons unknown, and we're working on a solution to that particular annoyance.

If this happened to you, please let us know right away through our toll-free line, email or contact page on our website. And now, back to my special discussion on caregiving with Peter Rosenberger. There's nothing like hanging on to Christ while in the fetal position to drive that point home, you know, because that's all you got. And until you understand that, on a way that is life transforming, that tendency to somehow think more of yourself than you really ought, yes, we get frustrated, and we do get frustrated as caregivers. We get angry, we get resentful, we get all these things. So what grounds us back to reality? And that is understanding the gospel and people who can help share the gospel in that caregiving context so that we can clearly see here's the path back to safety.

I want to make clear that we're not making a statement that everybody starts in this position attitudinally. There are millions of caregivers out there that they've already learned from grace how to overflow and be a spring of living water. They're tapped out quite a bit, but they do trust and love Jesus with all their hearts, and they're not resentful. And for those people, I say, I just want to sit at your feet and be comforted by you, because you've got it. You're in touch with the Spirit of God here, and I miss that so many times.

So for those people that are just like anybody would be, worn down from time to time, but they are not resentful and are grateful for the place of ministry that God has given them as a caregiver, how do you offer encouragement and buck them up when they need it? Oh, I think it's the same way. We're all going to go through these cycles of this. It's not a one and done. One and done is teaching me how to give an injection. I remember the first time I gave injections to Gracie.

I missed that day in music school when they showed us how to give injections, and I was quite nervous and a little bit queasy about it and all that kind of stuff. Well, now it's no big deal. I've done plenty of them. I've changed very complex dressing where I've had to gown up and so forth. I've learned how to deal with insurance companies. I've learned how to deal with doctors. But I don't have to have refresher courses on that.

But I have to have refresher courses on matters of the heart. I have gospel amnesia. I've got to hear the gospel repeatedly. If I have gospel amnesia, how much more so am I going to have caregiver amnesia? If I've got to hear about the redemptive work of Christ on a regular basis, how much more so am I going to have to learn how to still my heart, how to strengthen myself in the Lord as David did at Ziklag? How much more am I going to have to learn how to do these things if I am forgetting about the redemptive work of Christ on any given day? This is the journey for all of us as caregivers, and I've approached this thing from not teaching people how to caregive, not from teaching people of the nuances of caregiving.

Sometimes we swerve into that if the occasion represents, but it's no big deal. Where I spend 99.9% of the time is asking people how they're feeling in this journey right now. Well, that's the first question I ask any caller in my show, how are you feeling? And it's going to vary from sometimes I feel grateful, sometimes I'm just worn out, I'm perplexed, I'm frustrated, I'm angry, I'm resentful, I'm despairing.

It's all over the map for us as caregivers. And if you do this long enough, you're going to go through all of that and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it. And it's okay. That's the human condition. That's the way we all are on any given day. But we're not, with caregiving, you don't really get a chance to kind of reset the button very quickly.

So we're forced to deal with it. I think in musical terms like you do, the thing you keep coming back to is your refrain. And the word itself, of course, in standard English refers to the reticence to let something go or to let loose on something, to hold back. In music, it means almost the opposite. It means coming back around to, wholeheartedly, the heart of the musical piece. In worship, we sing refrains and we come back to remind ourselves of what the core message of the worship song is. And we gladly sing that refrain.

Often refrains are the highest emotional peak of a music piece. So what are the refrains that you keep steering people back towards and in that find the joy and the centeredness? Well, the first one is that healthy caregivers make better caregivers. That is the main chorus that we sing regularly with everything I do, understanding that it is not only okay, but it is imperative for you to be healthy as a family caregiver. And that means and that means healthy financially, healthy emotionally, healthy spiritually, healthy physically. A huge issue for a lot of caregivers is excessive weight gain.

A lot of them do it. And I don't want to shave them. I got there myself. I got so big, I broke my family tree. I mean, my picture fell off the wall.

It took two dogs to bark at me. So they call it comfort food for a reason. And the stress hormones too, I imagine.

People's stress actually makes it maintain that mass. Oh, and you reach for comfort food. Yeah.

And I get it. One of the saddest things I see often is somebody who's in a wheelchair being pushed by somebody who is morbidly obese. And the greatest weight they carry is not the weight that's on their body, it's the weight that's in their heart.

Yeah. And so the refrain I come back to is healthy caregivers make better caregivers. I want to drive that point home. I will take a hymn each week on my show and I'll do it kind of like, okay, tell me if you know this hymn. And the reason I do that is because some of these hymns are so familiar. But if you think about the text of this hymn, particularly the chorus, then in the context of caregiving, that maybe you'll remember that we did, he touched me the other day, the old Bill Gaither tune. Oh, he touched me. Yeah.

Most people don't know the verse, but they know the chorus. Right. And so I want them to see, oh, he touched me. And oh, the joy that floods my soul. Something happened. Now I know.

He touched me and made me whole. Now that is implying a touching noun, not waiting until we're raptured into heaven or our loved one has passed away. Right now. Yeah.

Right now. And I want them to sing that. I want them to sing, and can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood? Amazing love, how can it be that thou, my God, wouldst die for me?

Yeah. That refrain of that song, to God be the glory, great things he has done for lovely the world. And then we get to the chorus. Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.

Let the people rejoice. And if we can understand these texts, these refrains, which is a great point that you brought out of what that means to us, then in those moments when our hearts are sinking, we can remember it is well, it is well with my soul. We can remember those little snippets of phrase that give us just enough light, enough lamp to be able to see the next step and say, okay. There may be more people to jump into this pool with you and offer advice and do a talk-based program. I think one of the distinctives that you will always have with your particular ministry is that you have a musician's heart and training. So you don't just imply the need for worship, you worship on the program. And by leading people through those beautiful hymns and your keyboard playing, just to reset on the emotional level on all those other senses that need to be massaged as much as sore shoulders might need to be massaged. You do that in your ministry.

And I'm thankful for that. In fact, you have some music that you produce over the years, and I'm going to be encouraging our listeners that if you like what you're hearing from Peter's lips, you're going to like hearing more what comes from his 10 fingers. And I'll be happy to go buy a few of those CDs and send them to our listeners out there. So just write us at Compassion Radio to let us know that you would like to hear Peter's music for worship, and I'll get one to you. So so so Peter's wonderful worship CD that includes the song you're hearing right now is available for your gift of Compassion Radio to keep us on the air today. Just let us know when you call or write us.

We'll have more from Peter on coming programs, so make sure to tune in then. We really need each other if we're going to see victory over fear and all the other enemies to a real faithful living in this world. Please know that we deeply appreciate and value you. You, your prayers, your support, and friendship are what keeps us going. Thank you. Your courage and faithful giving keep us on the air in the arena standing with you to help the kingdom keep growing in the 21st century.

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We'll see you tomorrow. On today's Compassion Radio. When you're in anguish, when you're in sorrow, when you're in loss, when sorrows like sea billows roll, that is when we are driven to our knees to cry out to this Savior who is eager and waiting to minister to us. But we have to accept the fact that we have a need. And it is so difficult for so many of us to do that.

I know it is for me. I'll fix this. I can do this. I got it. I got it. No, I don't.

I've caused a great deal of carnage before I came to the point where I realized I can't do this. When God says, I've got this, what's your first reaction? Relief? Annoyance? Encouragement? Envy? It seems like we sometimes have a very hard time letting our Heavenly Father pry our white knuckles off the thing we're holding on to so hard, trying to make things work out when we're least equipped to handle it.

Seems silly, but it's often true. Hi, Bram Floria here with Compassion Radio, the daily journal of God's courageous and humble people who are learning to let go and let God as the saying goes. Peter Rosenberger knows a bit about this, and I'm understating it a bit. As a full-time caregiver for 35 years to his wife, Gracie, he's experienced everything you could imagine on a daily basis just to provide the care she requires as a survivor of a near fatal car accident when she was just a teenager. These days, Peter is bringing his talents as a caregiver and worship leader to a whole new ministry that cares for the caregivers themselves through his weekly Hope for the Caregiver broadcast.

We'll start today's program right where we left off yesterday. I think one of the distinctives that you will always have with your particular ministry is that you have a musician's heart and training, so you don't just apply the need for worship, you worship on the program. And by leading people through those beautiful hymns and your keyboard playing, just to reset on the emotional level on all those other senses that need to be massaged as much as sore shoulders might need to be massaged. You do that in your ministry, and I'm thankful for that. Well, to your point, Bram, Martin Luther said, next to the Word of God, music elevates the soul like nothing else.

And so when I play these hymns, I go back on my CD, for example, Songs for the Caregiver, I did hymns very specifically addressing the core need of a caregiver. Like the first hymn is, there is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God, a place where sin cannot molest. And I can guarantee you, there are people listening to this right now, this interview with you and me, who have felt like they have just been molested by sin. Some of them actually physically have been, but so many people are living with the trauma of sin's molestation. That's harsh language, but you're right. It is harsh language. It's a harsh world. Sin is a harsh business, and what happened on the cross was a harsh remedy. And so that's where I want to drive people to understand just how magnificent the cross is, so they can understand this in the context of the suffering that they have to watch.

We are sharing in the sufferings. When Jesus stood at the grave of Lazarus and he groaned within him, most commentators are saying that Jesus got angry. He was angered at death. He knew what he was about to do. He knew what was going to happen with this. He knew who he was, but he was angry at death. God hates death.

He hates it so much that this is what he did to fix it. That's the point I want to drive home, that as we are walking through this often very long valley of the shadow of death with somebody who suffers, somebody who is impaired, somebody who is treating us like garbage while we're trying to wipe them and everything else. This is what the reality is for caregivers.

I know people who are getting cussed out while they're changing adult diapers. This is the reality for so many, and I want them to understand that grieving Savior who understands—He was acquainted with grief—that merciful Savior who understands this in ways that we can't possibly do. And I love in the Chronicles of Narnia, in the first one, the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when Edmund, who was a traitor, was in danger when he was ransomed. And Lucy said to Aslan, who was the Christ figure, can anything be done to save him? And Aslan responded, the words, so beautiful, C.S. Lewis wrote this, yes, all will be done, but it may be harder than you think. And I think that we take for granted this magnificence that was done on the cross on our behalf, and it puts everything, Gracie's trauma, amputated limbs, Alzheimer's, Down syndrome, autism, all of that, then look through the light of the glorious cross, changes everything for caregivers, and it gives us strength for today, as the hymn writer says, and bright hope for tomorrow. Indeed it does. It's a day-by-day thing.

It's new mercies every morning. I want to make sure we don't feed people to think that because you group those things together, that Gracie has suffered all this physical trauma, and has Alzheimer's, and has Down syndrome, everything else. She doesn't have every malady known to man, so she's dealing with obesity.

It's very to me, so that gives her an edge, and so, bless her heart, she has to suffer quite a bit with me. No, she doesn't, but I have a niece that's 32 years old. She has cerebral palsy and severe cognitive impairment.

She's like an 18-month-old, but she's a grown woman at 32. My brother takes care of her. My father has Parkinson's. My mother is virtually blind, and my first cousin has a special needs daughter who's 16, and basically like a two or three-year-old, non-communicative, and requires full care of everything. I can go through the list of my whole family's intersecting with this, but also just throw in the fact that you're dealing with somebody in this world who will live with alcoholism. There are people right now listening to this show right now who have an alcoholic in their life, and they're watching these people spiral out of control, or an addict.

They're spiraling out of control, and they're throwing enormous amount of resources, physical and emotional and financial resources at helping these folks, and it's crushing them, and they don't know how to respond to it. And I thought, I'm going to speak to that too, with the hope of the gospel in a way that caregivers can understand. And in some respects, our greatest mission, what did Jesus say? Go and make disciples. Well, it's very difficult to share the hope of the gospel to in any way educate people, to any way point them to their safety, if they can't understand you. So I speak fluent caregiver.

Yeah, and you do it with the kind of humility and humor that is almost off-putting to those who think you have to be in a certain mode to be a caregiver. You do upset the apple cart a bit on purpose, and you get people really thinking about what it means to be human again, not just in the role as if that's the only identity they have. As you said earlier, the chief end of man, and we all accept this throughout Christendom, especially in the West, this is it. To glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. And to enjoy is supposed to be an experience.

It's not just intellectual assent to His sovereignty. It's to say, would you be with me in this, in the now, right here? How do you restore yourself, Peter?

How do you and Gracie build memories and times that are tender and are enjoyable, so you have something to keep putting that pin on the board, saying, we did this together? Just yesterday, I saw that you guys made a quick run down to Yellowstone National Park, because that's fairly near to where you live in Montana now. Is that the kind of thing, and if it is, what did you learn this time around when you were out there communing with God and nature?

Well, first off, I learned that this is the better time of the year to go, because there's less crowds. Yeah. And so we had a lot of space there, that we live in a place where we have a lot of space anyway. Montana, you know, they've been social distancing since 1889. And they want to keep it up.

The state motto now is, y'all go back home now. We do several things, and it's important. We do them individually, we do them together.

Yesterday was one of those ones where we just kind of looked at the beauty of this world and tried to leave as little mark on that beauty as possible, and just appreciate it for what it was. The other thing is, we do music together. And that's an important part of our life, where we have that. I find those places of slowing down. A guy gave me a great piece of advice when we first moved out here, he said, drive at the pace you're comfortable slamming into the ditch at. And that's a great piece of advice for life, because I think we're going to end up in a ditch. But if we could slow down and slow our hearts down and realize, oh, wait a minute, it's really not all up to me. You know, my wife has a savior. I'm not that savior. And I tell myself and my fellow caregivers, look down at your hands.

If you don't see nail prints, this ain't yours to fix. And so then that frees me up then to go and you know what, I'm going to go outside. I just got back from before we did this interview together and you heard me huffing and puffing.

You mocked me. But I was out walking, just enjoying the beautiful weather out here and taking a moment just to go outside, just to clear my head. In the wintertime, I beat the horses on a snowmobile and I pull a little sled with hate on it and the horses come running up beside me. There is nothing like racing through a snow-covered pasture with horses ticking up the snow everywhere to change your perspective on life.

I'll get up there and go on the hot summers and soak my feet in a cool stream and just be still for a moment. The other thing I did, Bram, you would appreciate this. I turned off a lot of network television and the news because I think that the news in this world is designed specifically to keep us ramped up. I had a knee surgery last fall. They had to fix something on it. And while I was recuperating, I watched a ton of documentaries, just a ton of them on everything from Lewis to Tolkien to Spurgeon and Huss and Luther and just all of so many different things I was watching. Number one, I felt smarter for doing it instead of watching network television, which I always feel stupid for doing. But then I was also struck by these guys, particularly the Reformers, how anchored they were on the Word of God, how solely they based everything, their well-being, their emotional well-being, everything on the Word of God.

It provided a place that they could go to and stand on, but everything looks like it's all just falling apart. And how restorative that is to our souls and what that means now. And maybe as I get older, I appreciate these things a little bit more.

I don't know. I spent a lifetime trying to solve a problem that was not mine to solve. And I learned that God owns this. I didn't do this to Gracie.

I've done my own share. I've caused my own heartache. But I didn't do this to her. She had a car wreck before I ever met her. I didn't do this to her.

I can't undo it. So what's my role? And my role is stewardship and to do the best I can with it. And in the process, she deserves to have a healthier, calmer, and even a more joyful caregiver. And we've had extremely tender, beautiful moments in the midst of craziness. Changing a dressing with a really ugly wound. You know, she's had seizures. She's coated.

She's choked. And all these things, you know, I'm there for her in these moments. And then following these moments that are so traumatic, we can just kind of be still. And she's had humiliating moments where she's not able to do certain things. And in those moments, I just told her, I said, sing, Gracie.

And she's like, praise the name of Jesus. And these humiliating moments, those are restorative moments as well. You know, and so this is our journey. And this is a journey for so many millions of people around the world. And your show is global.

And it's common to everyone. Caregiving transcends everything. Religion, grace, grief. If you love somebody, you'll be a caregiver.

You live long enough, you're going to need one. It's just that simple. And so here's the message that I have come to understand. And like I said, I speak fluent caregiver, but the greater news, the greater news, the greatest news is that it's our Savior's native tongue.

Indeed. I don't think that if God had a plan for this world in the face of death for us to do anything else but ignore it and hope for another life to come, we'd be totally wasting the very existence He gave us. I do believe that there was something special that can only happen in this realm that won't be possible in the realms to come as good as heaven will be. How much suffering can there really be where there's nothing but perfection? And how much do we actually learn the heart of our Savior and how wonderful it is to connect with other people, especially our loved ones, unless we've had to face difficulty and even pain or suffering with Him?

I do believe there's a beauty in that that cannot be experienced anywhere else, period. And so what you're exemplifying for us, Peter, is not just something we are needing to be afraid of, and God forbid it should ever happen to me, but God that we would be, as we see in Peter and Gracie, when the time comes for us to be receiving or giving the kind of grace that's necessary for us to draw close and not be pushed away, not to be spiritually and socially distant the rest of our existence. There is something about what you do, Peter, that draws you into the very heart of God. Peter Rosenberger will be back in a moment to share more about how the calling of the caregiver is both impossible and full of possibilities. If you are a caregiver, I hope that what you're hearing today encourages you in the work that you do.

Peter is both a great mentor and a wonderful worship leader. I've arranged to make his comforting piano performance CD available to you for your support of Compassion Radio today, so don't hesitate to ask for it when you call or give through the website. In one way or another, we're all being called to care for others in some really trying times. By God's grace and sticking together, we can get through it.

We might even see some of God's best work in the process. Thank you for standing with Compassion Radio as we bring daily encouragement, inspiration, and challenge to you each day. We literally cannot come to you each day without your prayerful and generous support. If you find any value in what we do, we need to hear from you today. The easiest way is through our website, compassionradio.com. You can also reach out through our toll-free order line, 1-800-868-2478. If you call before or after Pacific Time business hours, just leave us a full message and your best callback number. We'll return it as soon as possible. You can also mail us at Compassion Radio, P.O. Box 2770, Orange, CA 92859. Now, I've heard that our local post office has returned a number of listener letters recently and for reasons unknown, and we're working on a solution to that particular annoyance.

If this happened to you, please let us know right away through our toll-free line, email, or contact page on our website. And now, back to my special discussion on caregiving with Peter Rosenberger. There is something about what you do, Peter, that draws you into the very heart of God. To your point, Jesus obviously felt that way because he condescended down to our suffering.

He took on all of this himself and was present with us. There's a wonderful author, and I would encourage all of you to read this book. It's a hard book. You're not going to thank me for reading because it's a hard book.

It's Suffering in the Heart of God by Dr. Diane Langberg. You know, a lot of times we use the word they inappropriately. We say, well, if they didn't do this, they wouldn't have to do this.

If they didn't do that, somehow like somebody else's moral choices or life choices are in more need of redemption than our own. And she said, the only person who can say they is him, and he became like us so there wouldn't be any they. He was there with us in our distress and is there now.

That's the whole point. When he sent the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in the church calendar, he sent the Holy Spirit. What is the Holy Spirit called?

The Comforter. Why would he send the Holy Spirit if we didn't need comfort? And what is it about this that he wants to model his own heart, that he was willing to put this on himself and be with us in our misery, in our heartache, and share in it with us, take it all upon himself? That's the whole concept of understanding of the Gospel, and I think you're right.

I think that in this sanctification journey we're on in this life, he uses suffering as a teaching tool. I don't like it, but he didn't ask me my opinion. I don't know that anybody likes it.

Anybody tells you they do, they're kind of sick. There's nothing to like about it. That's not healthy to like it, but we can respect it for what it is and appreciate the work of God in it. Paul said, look, take this away from me three times. He said, nope, my grace is sufficient for you, and by weakness his power is made perfect. And there's a principle here to learn that even the greatest of all of his called individuals that we look at in history, these great big heroes, they all had to learn this principle. Every one of them. There's not anybody I see in scriptures that did not have to struggle through this.

Yeah. When we talk about God using suffering as a tool, I want to be careful because we don't have great language for this. When we say tool, it seems hard and unforgiving and very impersonal, as if he's just trying to get an outcome from us rather than a relationship. And as you described, the Holy Spirit reminding us again that his name and his job is comforter. If we don't accept comfort or we don't ever accept our need for comfort, then we're missing out on getting to know who God is, because that is the personality of the Holy Spirit.

We're purposely saying we don't want him. If we think we'll never need comfort or that the need for comfort is somehow an insult to us, to our pride, then we're really going to miss out on who God is, because he is so ready. He exists to comfort those who hurt, because he knows it exists and he knows it's real.

It's not a figment of our imagination. Suffering is real, and he wants to be there with us in it. His desire is to be right there to be the caregiver.

I love that you're tapping into that very passionate pursuit of humanity that God's about. The Holy Spirit is a caregiver and wants to be yours, and Lord knows we're going to need him in many ways leading us in this so we can emulate him well when the time comes for us to do that job ourselves. What else can you add for us, Peter, about the scope of what a caregiver is and how we need not fear if it or when it comes, but how do we prepare for appropriately and how do we respond to it well?

Here's the deal. The caregiver is somebody who is keen, is provided enormous opportunities to see the human condition. It's in that repetitive nature of seeing the brokenness and the human condition that Christ came to say that we are afforded the opportunity then to trust him in this, and in a way that we didn't expect. There's one minister I've heard said all we need is need. The only thing we need to bring to Christ is nothing, but how many of us have nothing?

When you're in anguish, when you're in sorrow, when you're in loss, when sorrow's like sea billows roll, that is when we are driven to our knees to cry out to this Savior who is eager and waiting to minister to us, but we have to accept the fact that we have a need, and it is so difficult for so many of us to do that. I know it is for me. I'll fix this. I can do this. You know, I can do this. I got it. I got it.

I got it. You know, and no, I don't. I caused a great deal of carnage before I came to the point where I realized I can't do this, and it takes sometimes those of us with a little thicker skulls than others to recognize that we're not up to this, but he is, and there's the greater principle at work here, and there's not some kind of sick perversion that we suffer more for Jesus, so therefore we're more noble. No, it's just there is an understanding that God desires to meet us in our greatest need, and oftentimes the only way we can see that is through this broken fallen world of suffering.

Jesus said that it's difficult for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, not because he's castigating people's wealth. God wants to shower abundant wealth on us more than we could even possibly imagine, but the deeper point is, do we really understand our need before Christ, and are we willing to subject everything to that? As caregivers, we see that because we're dealing with such sorrow, and now my question is, instead of letting it turn us into rageful or bitter or resentful people, are we willing to take a tiny leap of faith and trust that his scarred hand is holding our scared hand, and are we willing to do that? Are we willing to see his provision in this in ways that maybe you couldn't otherwise, and that there's beauty and there's joy and there's tenderness and there's meaning in substance, not in the grotesque and the heartache, but in the growth of who you are as a person.

And I would say to you as caregivers, we're never going to feel better about what our loved one endures. We're never going to feel better about it, but that's not the goal. The goal is to be better in it.

That's my final thought. There you go, it's perfect timing too. To be better. This two-part series you and I have just done is something that is organic. We didn't plan to make specifically two programs out of this, but it is a good point for us to break now and take a sailor, a rest, because it is like drinking from a fire hose to jump into these big streams, and caregiving is a non-stop raging river for many. So I'm glad, my friend, that you have learned to navigate these waters and you can move your dinghy about the current well and help those who feel like they're drowning or are drowning, and not just buck them up and give them false hope, but present them a Jesus who is all hope. And for that reason, I am grateful that you and Gracie have had to suffer the way you had together so that the world is better because He's using you, and you said yes. So I'm proud of you for that, and I'm proud of God for choosing you in this. But I'm also with great fear and trembling saying, I'm glad that He gave us you, but man, I'm so sorry, and I still am, that both of you had to go through it as you had. But from what I know of you, Peter, I can't imagine any other way than being refined through fire into pure gold at this point in your life, or as your head would tell me, pure platinum. Well, you know, with great hair comes great responsibility.

Enough to scare the horses out there. You know, I love what we get to do. Somebody asked you about, would you do it all over again? I don't deal with hypothetical.

I got enough problems with reality. But all that to say, I love the way I play the piano now. I love the way I write. I love the way I communicate. I love the way I see the beauty around me. I hate how I got here, but I'm grateful for what I'm learning through this process, and I'm grateful for the greater understanding of God's grace. I need a grace so much, I married a woman named Grace, and I'm grateful for the understanding of that, that I have, that I would not have had, had we not gone through this thing. I leave your listeners with this. One time somebody asked Fanny Crosby, probably the greatest hymn writer of all time, certainly of modern times, and she was blind, and her story is worthy of seeing, and they asked her, said, how can you trust in this Jesus when he allows you to be blind?

She said, only you don't understand. The next face that I see will be the face of Jesus. And that's an astonishing statement. It's worthy of our aspiring to that level of understanding, of trusting God with difficulties. And experiencing God now, so that when you see him later, you'll recognize him.

You are building a deep reservoir of relationship and a true wealth, and the people that are coming to you on your Saturday morning program, I know are dipping their cup into that saying, this is the purest well I've drank from in my life. So thank you for ministering to them day by day. And for those who are hearing this program, we have Peter's music available. I'd love to send one to you. So just let us know here at Compassion Radio that you're interested in learning more about Peter and Gracie Rosenberger and their standing with hope ministry and their fine music.

Just let us know when you write us or contact us on the website today. Peter Rosenberger, thank you so much for spending this time. I know it's tough to get back into the mode and keep putting out and speaking, especially as you need to do for this kind of medium, but thank you for giving us the energy you have on top of your other responsibilities. Well, Bram, it's a pleasure.

And every time I talk about these things, I'm able to be strengthened myself through it and banging these ideas around and looking at them again freshly. So thank you very much for the privilege and thank you for all that you do around the world on this program. Thanks again for being on Compassion Radio today. You're courage and faithful giving keep us on the air, in the arena, standing with you to help the kingdom keep growing in the 21st century.

Here's how. Just visit our website, compassionradio.com, or call our toll-free order line, 1-800-868-2478. Our mailing address is Compassion Radio, P.O.

Box 2770, Orange, California, 92859. And remember, none of this is possible without you. If you believe hearing the good news from the front lines of faith builds your faith, then let us know today. We'll see you tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-21 23:12:18 / 2023-11-21 23:34:14 / 22

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