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Celebrating Love and Life

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
August 20, 2023 3:30 am

Celebrating Love and Life

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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August 20, 2023 3:30 am

What kind of relationship withstands the brutal onslaught of nearly four decades of medical trauma and 85+ operations?

Well, ours has - but not because of us. In this episode, I share the origins of our relationship as Gracie and I recently celebrated our 37th anniversary. Despite the challenges, my goofiness, and my lack of abilities, God continues to sustain Gracie and me through "sickness and health..." and equips us to continue "Standing With Hope." See more at 


What do you say to a caregiver?

How do you help a caregiver? I was talking to this billing agent at the doctor's office and said, how are you feeling? And she said, oh great It's Friday. And before I could catch myself, I said Friday means nothing to me. Every day is Monday. And I felt kind of ashamed of that and I'm sorry for that, but I realized that whole principle of every day is Monday. What that means for us as caregivers, we know that this is going to be a challenging day. And I wrote these one-minute chapters.

You literally could read them in one minute. And I'm really proud of this book. It's called A Minute for Caregivers, when every day feels like Monday. It's filled with bedrock principles that we as caregivers can lean on, that we can depend upon to get us to safety, where we can catch our breath, take a knee if we have to, and reorient our thinking and the weight that we carry on our shoulders. If you don't know what to say to a caregiver, don't worry about it.

I do. Give them this book. Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio.

This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. We're so glad that you are here. What is Hope for the Caregiver?

Hope for the Caregiver is the conviction that we as caregivers can live a calmer, healthier, and dare I say it, a more joyful life while serving as a caregiver. It's not easy. It takes work, it takes practice, just like anything that has value does. If you're a musician, you know the value of practice. Anything that requires a skill set requires practice. Repetitive performance of this duty, not repetitive performance of a bad habit. Years of experience at doing something poorly doesn't make one an expert at it.

You think about that. I remember that debate that Trump had with Hillary Clinton, and I'm not going to swerve into all that drama, but it was really kind of funny when Hillary said she had 30 years of experience and Trump went, yeah, bad experience. I thought that was kind of funny, but you know, that's the point is that you don't want to have bad experience. You want to have 30 years of doing it well. Well, what does that look like for us as a caregiver? And that's what this program is about to say, okay, here's what safety looks like. Here's what a healthy place looks like for us as caregivers.

Here's something you can land on that's solid that will support you while you catch your breath and then start building yourself up to this. Because let me just be blunt, your loved one does not need you miserable. You do not serve them well if you're fat. You do not serve them well if you're fat.

You do not serve them well if you are bitter and resentful, if you're broke. So what do we do about it? Well, we have to start taking steps in a healthy direction. That doesn't mean we're all going to become millionaires and all our financial problems are going to go away or anything like that, but we can start making healthy decisions today. You are one second away from a healthy decision.

Put down a soda, pick up water. That's a healthy decision, one step away. And that's how it's done. Just one little tiny victory at a time. I know we're so used to having all kinds of brightly colored and highly promoted packages in six simple steps. You can become this. It's not that way. Every day is a chance to be healthier.

Spiritually, emotionally, physically, fiscally, professionally, with your education, all of the above, and then some. Whatever you can set your hand to do, you can do it in a healthy manner. Okay? That's how it's done.

I'd love to tell you it was something more, but it's not. Now the question is, what's healthy? Alright? With food and exercise and so forth, we can see that. What about with finances? Well, certainly, healthy is watching your budget. Denying yourself certain things because it's beyond your ability to purchase them.

It's really that simple. Dave Ramsey's got that down in spades. Don't go into debt. Don't spend more than you make.

In other words, do the exact opposite of what our government leaders do. You know, they just, it's not their money. What do they care?

So, but the point is, this is your money, and your money is hard won. And so we have to be good stewards of it. What about your spiritual life? What about your emotional life? Do you pray? What do you pray? How do you pray? I mean, you don't have to answer me on that.

That's none of my business on that, but those are good questions we should ask ourselves. Because I've been in that situation many times where I don't know what to pray. Well, what does scripture tell us? How does scripture tell us to pray? Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. And all of a sudden, when we start praying that prayer, it settles our hearts down. Everything's covered in that prayer. Our respect for God's sovereignty, and His holiness, and His majesty. And our understanding that we need to forgive as we have been forgiven. And then we beseech Him to provide for us in our daily needs. That we would not go into temptation, but be delivered from evil.

And then we recognize that His is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, and the majesty. And if that's all you pray, well done. Because that's how your King told you how to pray.

The one who redeemed your soul. That's how He told you how to pray. So when we say we don't know what to pray, well then pray that. And then if you want to go deeper, go through the Psalms. And look how David prayed. Look how other people facing difficult, difficult things prayed. Imitate their prayers. The book of Hebrews talks about that in chapter 13 verse 7.

It says, Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Consider the outcome of their way of life. Who in your life has spoken the word of the Lord to you, has taught you, has been a figure that you've admired, that you see the outcome of their life?

Who is that person? Imitate their faith. And if possible, ask them.

If you can get to them, ask them. I may have gone on to be with the Lord, but look at their body of work. Look at their life. That's how we do it. Again, I'd love to tell you something more complicated. You know, sometimes, you remember that story in the Bible of Naaman who had leprosy, and the servant went to Elisha. Elisha said, Go down there and wash seven times in the Jordan. And he got all offended by that. And the servant said, You know, look, if he'd asked you to do something complex, you'd have done it. He just asked you to go down to the Jordan, washing the water, you know, do something simple.

But that's how we do it. As caregivers, we start slowing ourselves down spiritually. I was following a Twitter thread earlier this weekend. There was a caregiver who was struggling. They couldn't sleep. And I interjected into the conversation that I have found that sleep and rest are two different things. Rest is when we stop striving, when we accept that which we are refusing to accept. And we make peace with it, understanding that this is God's provision for us in this particular case, or this is reality.

This is really happening. But we can't rest if we're so busy striving against it. And we accept that, that this is happening. Doesn't mean we like it. Doesn't mean we're in agreement with it. We don't have to like it. You know, we're not applauding the fact that our loved ones suffer or have chronic impairments.

That's not it at all. But this is happening. You know, as I struggle with the things that I see with Gracie, and I realize, you know, there's nothing I can do about that. But I can't strive against reality. This is happening. And I don't need to strive against reality, but rather I turn into it and accept it.

This is what it is. And I've found that when I stop striving, my spirit is at rest. Then I could sleep. I don't know if that helps you or not, but I have found it very difficult to get a good night's sleep when I'm striving. Striving is not a physical problem. It manifests itself physically at times, but striving is an internal problem.

And I believe this is where caregivers struggle the most, is the striving that we have. We don't like what we're seeing. We don't like what we're doing. We don't like what is happening to us. And we want it to stop and we are striving against it, but we don't have any power over it.

But there's one who does. And if he chooses not to lift that from us, then can we trust him that he will meet us in it and has purpose in it and will give us grace through it as we do this, to endure it? Will we have peace that he promises? Will we have joy that he promises? Do we trust that he will preserve us? Do we trust that he will preserve us? These are the benefits when we put our trust in God, recognizing what he has done through Christ, that we have peace with God, with ourselves, with others. We have joy, not giddy happiness, joy.

And we have that confidence that he's going to preserve us through this. All of a sudden that striving changes and we're on a path towards healthiness that we can't even imagine, maybe even just last week, but we could be there today, start right now. It's not just putting down a soda and picking up water. It's not just going for a walk instead of just sitting on a recliner. It is telling your heart, be still my soul and know that he is God.

Cease striving. This is Peter Rosenberg and that is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger and that is my wife, Gracie. And if you'll indulge me for just a moment, we celebrated our 37th anniversary this week.

37 years. That is no small accomplishment for anyone, but when you factor in the things that Gracie and I carry, it's rather extraordinary. When you say, even if I do say so myself, it's rather extraordinary because I am not taking credit for it. I am giving the credit where it belongs, where God preserves us. Remember we talked about that in the last segment, that he provides us with his peace. He provides us with his joy and he preserves us. And so Gracie and I can look over these 37 years and we can say the Lord has done great things. There is no conventional reason why she's alive and there's no conventional reason why we're married. Other than the Lord, explain it.

You can't. But I will tell you this and I ran into a little bit of a challenge this week. Some of you probably shouldn't say this, but all right, look, what I'm about to tell you all, just keep it twixt us, okay?

Nobody else needs to know, just us. But I was out learning to fly fish. A friend of mine is taking me under his wing. He's a retired outfitter, wonderful fellow, and he's trying to teach me how to cast.

And you've seen people do this in movies and television and so forth. Maybe some of you are wonderful fly fishers. I'm not very good at it, but I'm learning. It is a beautiful activity. I love it.

It's just wonderful. And I came home. I've been out on the river with him and I came home and I was, you know, just kind of messing around the house, doing stuff, some chores. And I did something I don't normally do. I put on a ball cap. Now, I don't wear hats. In the wintertime, I'll wear a cap, snowmobile, I wear a helmet. Sometimes when I'm on a horse, I'll wear a cowboy hat because the sun out here can really beat you up. And when I'm on the river, I have a straw fisherman's hat.

So I wear that. But I normally don't wear hats and I'll tell you why. Because I have hair.

I have great hair there. I said it. Okay.

I said it. I have great hair and I don't have much, but I have great hair. A friend of mine named Hank and he tells the story of when he was interacting with James Brown, the singer, and they ran into him somewhere and Hank said, Mr. Brown, I had seen you in 25 years since you performed at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina. You had changed a bit. And James Brown said, well, if you got your hair and your teeth, you got it all.

So according to James Brown, I got it all. I got great hair. I'm not going to even try to hide it.

It is incandescent white, my hair, but it is there. And I put a hat on. I don't normally wear a hat. I put on a ball cap and Gracie kept making comments about it. She kept looking flustered. And she looked at me and said, you look really good with that cap on.

And she said it several times. And I found out after 37 years of marriage, that my wife is attracted to me when I wear a baseball cap. I had no idea.

I never wear a cap. And now I have this conundrum. I have this enigma. I have this problem.

What do I do? Because I don't really like wearing hats. I've always associated if you wear a hat too much, it'll rub your hair loose and your hair will fall out and you'll be bald. Well, I don't want to be bald, but I want my wife to find me attractive and I'm torn. I mean, should I put a cap over this incandescent white hair? People read by my hair it's so bright. Should I cover that up? Scripture says, don't put a bushel over your light.

Should I do this? I don't know. I am stumped, mystified. But it was, it was funny to look at her while she was looking at me. I mean, I've just, I've never seen that side of her like that, where she was just at a loss for words with looking at me like that. Or at least I, it's been a long time since I've seen her.

We've been married a long time. I, I've really got quite a chuckle out of watching her and I thought, okay, now I'm going to have to start wearing a cap. I don't think so. I think I'm just going to go with it. I mean, when you have hair, you flaunt it, you know, with great hair comes great responsibility.

Isn't that what they say? Now I don't want to go all Absalom on this thing, but... Peter Rosenberger. He's not a preacher, but he's got great hair.

Oh, for heaven's sakes, it just made me laugh to watch Gracie. And I, I'm going to share a few more things like that over this week, 37 years. It's quite a journey for us. It's not a big number that, you know, you celebrate like you do with the 40 year or 35 year or 50 year, whatever. But every year with us is an accomplishment. Every year with us is a milestone.

Every year with us is special. Nobody dreamed that Gracie would live this long. They didn't think she'd live the day of her wreck. Certainly didn't think she'd ever get married and have children and now grandchildren.

And yet here she is. So if you'll indulge me, I will laugh and have some fun with this. I want you all to understand the greater principles I was talking about earlier. We're not waiting to get through this next surgery or that surgery or whatever, in order for us to have a meaningful life together. We can't do that. We've had to accept this is really happening. This is who we are. This is our life. Now, are we going to live life or are we going to postpone living and hope that something is just around the corner that then we can start living? No, no, no.

We're going to start living now. And if my wife thinks I look good wearing a baseball cap, you know what? I'll just have to put on a baseball cap more. I'll just let the hair be what it is.

I have people that literally call me the hair, but my friend Bob Farnsworth and I have the same kind of hair. He's written a lot of songs. He does a lot of jingles for commercials, but he wrote a song that you all may know.

Let me go to the caregiver keyboard here. This song is in a lot of hymnals, which I think is kind of cool, but it's called Pure and Holy. Pure and holy I would be Worthy of your love for me Teach me while your light is clear Change me while my heart is near Holy, holy, holy I love that hymn. I play it all the time and I taught it to my church out here in Montana. I was playing it one Sunday and it was just a real wonderful time of worship there in the service and Gracie's dad was here up with it and he just fell in love with it.

He'd never heard it before, but for me, it's a go-to song that I play quite often. And the fact that Bob is one of my dearest friends, it just makes it even that much more special. And he has this incandescent white hair like mine. And we're both pianists. We're both from South Carolina, the same area. He was from Greenville.

I'm from Anderson, which is only about 30 minutes away. We both have a goofy sense of humor. And I got Bob.

I really got him one time. I was playing this at church there in Nashville and the choir came in as I was playing this as kind of a prelude. The church was rather formal and I'm playing at the front of the church in this beautiful Steinway in the choir area and the choir comes through and Bob's there right there on the front row of the choir. And I'm throwing in chords that are not normally associated with this song.

And Bob, because if you go back and look at it in the hymnal, they're pretty simple chords and very, very nice and tasty, but I threw in a lot of jazz type chords like this one. And I looked at Bob just as I played it and he's trying to be real serious because there's hundreds of people out in front of him. And I shook both of my eyebrows, just kind of give her that raised eyebrow kind of thing and kind of halfway smiled at him. But I did it because he knew what I was doing musically and he was trying so hard not to laugh.

And here I am playing pure and holy in front of hundreds and hundreds of people and I'm making the composer bust up. And so that's just the kind of nut I am, but it also Bob as well. But we both share this blazing white hair. Anyway, that's enough of that silliness.

I just thought, I don't know why I even digressed on this except that my wife thinks I look attractive to her in a baseball cap. And after all these years of marriage, I'll take that. And that's the whole point of this is that we're not going to wait. We're going to find the joy today. We're going to laugh. We're going to love. We're going to just have a great time. I'm going to tease the composer of a song that I love while I'm playing in front of people. We're going to live life.

And you know what? It's our anniversary and I want to celebrate. I want to celebrate my wife and this is her singing the Joy of the Lord with Russ Taft.

Check this out. I mean, she brings it on this. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord will be my strength. I will not waver. Walking by faith. He will be strong.

He will never be saved. And the joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is our strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength. The joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord, the joy of the Lord is my strength. Oh, He's our strength when I'm weak and strong. The joy of the Lord is our strength. I promise I'll be for heaven. All my love, all my life I pledge to you.

Cause I love you, I do. Our love will fly. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver. That is my wife, Gracie. That is a song she cut over 30 years ago called All My Love, All My Life. I wrote that with a friend of mine, Greg Torquist, and I remember her singing this and I was just like floored. And I've always loved listening to her sing this song as we've just celebrated our anniversary. I just love this song.

Listen right here. All my life. May these thoughts that are spoken never be broken. All my love, all my life. All my love, all my life. I love that voice and for now over 37 years I've had the indescribable pleasure of playing for her and listening to her sing in some very tough times. And yet that voice has lifted my heart and inspired me and I just love listening to her sing. I truly do.

And I'll play some more here before we end the program today. We are again talking about living in the moment and not waiting for things to get better before we decide to start living. And Gracie and I have had to learn to live with very difficult things and we forged a marriage. And when I say forged there were a lot of sparks and hammers.

It's been a forging. But here we are and that's worthy of celebrating 37 years through now she's facing her 86th surgery. And during my when I met her she'd had 21.

I went through her 22nd with her I believe is best best count. So you're looking you know two surgeries a year every year of our marriage average roughly. And that's not including all the other hospitalizations and everything else.

And we've spent a lot of time in a lot of doctor's office and a lot of emergency rooms and a lot of hospital rooms. You can't put your life on hold and think you're going to have any kind of quality life. You know you can't do it. You live life today and you live trusting that God is who he says he is. He promises. He provides.

He preserves. And that's what anchors us. I will tell you this.

This is how it all started. I don't think I've ever shared this on the air. But I will tell you this. I probably shouldn't tell you this. Well it's in her book.

Gracie's got a book out called Gracie Standing with Hope. You can get it wherever books are sold. But it's I put this chapter there and nobody notices the title of the chapter until I bring it to their attention. Usually or they have to go back and look at it because it's the titles are written in the font they use. The publisher Liberty University Press. They did it in a kind of a beautiful script. And so they think it says something but it doesn't.

You got to go back and look at it and I will give you what it is after I tell you the story. Friends of ours introduced us at Belmont University in Nashville and they kept telling us about each other. And Gracie was suspect because let's face it I was very young and immature and everything else. But for whatever reason our friends wanted us to get together. And when I met her the first time I saw her I knew that I was going to marry this woman. I'm not kidding.

I knew it. I was captivated by her. She was not captivated by me. But maybe I should have been wearing a baseball cap.

I don't know. But she was not and I had to chase her. And during their stalker.

No I didn't do that. But she we kept talking and she'd gone on a date. She took a friend that she had been quasi dating out to dinner for his birthday.

The night before is at the old spaghetti factory downtown Nashville. And evidently she ate something that just did not agree with her. And she was incredibly sick in the night when I was at the dorm on campus and she had an apartment off campus. And about six thirty morning I got a phone call and she sounded terrible. And she said can you come help me.

I've gotten really sick. Well she'd already had her accident but she had both legs and she was fairly able to take care of everything she needed to do. She used to drive and walk and so forth.

She had to go a little slower. But I was pretty groggy six thirty morning. I was thinking what in the world.

But anyway I go over there. It turns out by the way she had called two other people. Two other guys. Including the guy she had taken out the night before and nobody came.

So I was third on the list. She had to dig deep into the bench. So I show up and she opens the door and my wife is a beautiful woman. And she has always been a beautiful woman. And her beauty was still there but she looked like she felt terrible.

I mean she was not at her best. So I go in and she says could you help me please. I got to go back to bed. And I was kind of puzzled and I think well what is she talking about. And then I saw it.

This is radio so I will try to be kind and gentle and not give too vivid of a description. This woman had literally thrown up everywhere. I mean it was awful.

You cannot imagine this was awful. I mean everywhere. In the little living room area of her apartment. Down the hallway. I go into the bathroom and it is in the bathtub. Not in the toilet. In the bathtub.

The bathtub. And then I go and I follow her and it is in the kitchen. Evidently she had thought of going to the kitchen. And it was just everywhere. And I was like what do I do.

It was 6.30 in the morning and I am thinking oh my gosh. And so I suit up and I put on gloves and get buckets. And I cleaned the whole place up.

I cleaned everything up. And the whole time I am praying please Jesus don't let me throw up. Please Jesus don't let me throw up.

I am wearing a hazmat suit. It looked like something out of the barfinator. A horror movie.

I mean it was just awful. And evidently that was what did the trick. Because we started dating more seriously after that. And then we got married. And I titled the chapter.

And I told you I would tell you the chapter if you go back and look. I couldn't resist this because I helped her write the book. And I put on there a match made in heaving. And everybody thinks it is a match made in heaven.

But it is a match made in heaving. And I was really proud of that chapter title. Because it was so descriptive of how our relationship started.

So if you get the book and you get to chapter 11 and you see a match made in heaving written in beautiful cursive. Now you will know that is how it started. And then we went on really our first serious real date. And I saved up. And I was broke. I was poor. We were Army brats.

Salvation Army brats. And my meal plan stopped at noon on Friday. And then didn't pick up again until Monday morning. So the weekends I was on my own. And I was working. I was cleaning offices and yard work.

Anything I could do to make a living in college. And I remember one weekend I lived on an apple. I was very thin back then. Gracie said I was like dangerously thin. But you know I was poor.

You know how some people are poor and they don't know it. Well I was certain of it. But anyway I saved up. And I saved up to take Gracie out to this nice restaurant. And she didn't really have an understanding of my life. And she wanted to see. I found out later. She wanted to see.

Can this guy really take care of me? And so she was ordering all these things from the menu. That I was calculating the bill the whole time. Thinking okay I'm going to be washing dishes tonight.

They're not going to let me get out of here. I had salt for dinner. And I thought man this girl can put it away. But I didn't realize she was wanting to see if I could take care of her.

I guess I won that contest. And I made her pay the tip because I didn't have it. I didn't have the money. I just looked at her and said I don't have enough for all of this. But she still hung in there with me. And even when I went through the first surgery with her. Which was the May before we got married.

And I've never gone through anything like that before. And she had to have her right ankle fused. Because they were trying to save her right ankle.

Most of what she deals with today. Is because there was so much effort trying to save her legs. That's a different conversation. But I was sitting there at the hospital and the doctor came out.

And said the surgery went real well. We can't see her for a while. You might as well just take a break. Well I didn't know. And so I went and saw a movie. This is in my book. This new book.

It's the first chapter. I went and saw a movie. And man evidently the tongues were wagging. After I left and there was one lady there who came. And I didn't invite her to be there. But she was a relative of a relative of mine. But she was not related to me. But she just obviously gave Gracie's parents the low down.

On how Peter is just not going to be able to take care of Gracie. And a friend happened to be hearing that. And she pulled me aside and said you need to know what's been going on. And all these women were clutching their pearls. And I was floored.

I had no idea. The doctor said you'd take a break. So I took a break.

Didn't realize at the time that my instincts were good. And all these people who thought I wouldn't be able to take care of Gracie. Well I guess I settled that issue.

And it should be noted that the lady who was clucking the most. Never lifted a finger to help me with Gracie over the years. Not one time. So that ought to tell you what I think of people who criticize us as caregivers. But they don't help.

They tell us what to do from the cheap seats. But I digress. I'm getting off into the weeds on that one. I'm sorry for that. But that's how our life started. A match made in heaving.

Almost straight into surgery with her. And here we are 37 years of marriage later. And I'm just taking a moment to celebrate. Because I want you all to know that two things. One of them is love and life are worth celebrating no matter what it looks like.

Whatever's going on. It's still worth celebrating. And most importantly God will preserve. He preserves. He saw to it that Gracie was born.

That I was born. He saw to it that Gracie believed and I believe. And he will see us all the way home.

We're going to talk a little bit more about that when we come back. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is Hope for the Caregiver. Happy Anniversary Gracie. We'll be right back. Music Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver. That is Gracie. I love when she sings that song. I think that is such a powerful anthem for her that she is fighting back against this. She's rejoicing no matter what is going on. And that's how I want to take this last segment that I have and wrap all this up today. I've been celebrating our anniversary thinking about the life we've lived. You can't help but reflect on things when you get to certain dates and events in your life.

And you look back and say, wow, you know, what a life. 37 years of marriage. There's no conventional reason, by the way. There's no medical conventional reason that Gracie is alive.

Okay, you understand that. You all know her by now and you understand this. By all medical conventional standards, she should not be here.

And yet she's here and she lives a life of purpose. There's no conventional reason why we're still married. I look at the things in our lives, the failures that I've had, the heartaches, the challenges we've had.

Basically, we've averaged two surgeries, two major surgeries every year. Our entire marriage. And then all the other ancillary things.

I mean, marriage is hard enough when you start throwing that kind of stuff in there. It becomes brutal. And we carry hardships. Gracie and I carry very difficult things in our lives. But the years have helped me see those in perspective that I didn't used to have. I looked at hardships as things to be done with, cast off, to get rid of so that I can go live the life I wanted to live. And, you know, you can't be happy unless you feel good.

Right? Isn't that what our society teaches us? And yet scripture says something much different. And I've come over the years to look at certain things through the lens of scripture that I didn't used to.

The implications are life altering. And I have shared a lot of funny things, you know, cleaning up vomit and Gracie, you know, thinking I look cute in a baseball cap after 37 years. And all those things with the intent of rejoicing in our life, the life that we've had, the humorous stuff, the funny things that happened to us. And while I love rejoicing in those things, I also want to demonstrate that life is worth living regardless of the circumstances we have. We have that love and life are worth celebrating and God's provision is abundant even particularly in brutal circumstances.

This is what I have seen in scripture over and over and over that God has not abandoned. He's not whimsical. He doesn't, oh man, Gracie had a wreck today.

We need to do something about that. You know, that's not what, that's not how this goes. And the only reason that Gracie is alive and the only reason that we're married is because God decreed it so.

And he has put things in our lives that are very heavy for us to carry. But those things are not meant to punish or to hamper us having a quality life. If you'll indulge me for a moment while I swerve into the political world and just indulge me.

I'm not going to go into a place that's going to cause everybody to start wanting to make phone calls. But there was a statement that Obama made when he was president many years ago. And he referred to the Constitution as being filled with negative liberties.

He didn't like it because it hampered the government's ability to do certain things. Well, those things were there by design. And when you go out to try to circumvent those restraints, lawlessness ensues. And I think we see that now in our culture.

I mean, is that a fair statement? Is that we're seeing lawlessness, we're seeing a justice system that isn't equitable, that's not unbiased or objective? When you remove restraints, sin can abound. Totalitarianism, despotism, tyrannical governments or individuals throughout history.

All of those things have one thing in common. They were unrestrained in their desires. They were unrestrained, unfettered. There was nothing prohibiting Hitler from doing what he wanted to do. From Stalin, from Idi Amin, from pharaohs of old. There was nothing that prohibited them.

There was no restraints. And the founding fathers of this country, I don't know that they were all believers in Jesus Christ. So when you say we're founded as a Christian nation, I don't know how accurate that is. But I know we were founded as a theist nation. It came out of the Reformation.

The Renaissance went out into France, but the Reformation went through the Netherlands and in the United Kingdom. And the founding fathers of this country knew several things. Number one, they knew God exists. Number two, they knew that men were exceedingly wicked. That the heart of man is depraved.

That we, as a species, are capable of all type of mischief and even monstrous evil. And so they put these safeguards in place to watch each other. Those safeguards are what Obama was railing against.

Those, what he called, negative liberties. Well, we're not here to propagate the government. So the government can have unfettered power. The United States was founded on individuals who are accountable before God. And we have this elaborate checks and balance system to make sure that this thing doesn't get out of hand. Which, that ship has already sailed. Now think about that principle though.

What about, how does that work? Does God do that? Where did these guys get the idea from? Well, they got it from scripture. They got it from God who puts restraints on peoples and kings and governments. Even Nebuchadnezzar, when he threw Daniel in the lion's den, he had already made the law and he didn't go back on his own law. He respected the rule of law.

We've lost that. But before we castigate all the people in power, let's look at our own lives. Paul, by the way, begged God to take away a restraint on him. A thorn in the flesh.

God didn't do it. And he said, my grace is sufficient for you. So Paul said, well, I'll boast all the more gladly than in my weakness. For in my weakness Christ's power rests upon me. What about us as caregivers? Have we been striving against these restraints that are on us? Whether it's physical incapacity or the journey we have as caregivers of carrying things that are very, very heavy. We've begged God to take it away, take it away so we can go live our life. As I reflect on a lifetime now of caring for my wife.

And as I've shared some of the funnier moments and the goofy stuff that we've had to deal with. We're living life in it with these very difficult burdens. Restraints, if you will. But the only reason Grace is alive, the only reason we're still married is because God decreed it so. And he has put things in our life that have kept us in a place of great safety spiritually for us.

And that safety looks like being dependent upon him. That's what that means. So that I am forced to bow the knee. I cannot do this under my own power. I cannot make this happen.

I cannot care for Gracie well under my own power. Just like I was cleaning up when she had gotten sick everywhere. Jesus please don't let me throw up.

Jesus please don't let me throw up. That's my whole life. I am begging God to not let me fail at this. Because I know that I am not capable of it. And when I realized that it takes all this pressure away from me. That I filled my life with striving. Trying to solve something. To realize wait a minute. I can lean on him.

He's got this. I couldn't even afford to take her out to dinner properly. But I was never intended to be this knight in shining armor coming to her rescue to do this and this and this. I was meant to care for her out of my own weakness. And boast all the more gladly in it so that Christ's power may rest upon me. There are not negative liberties in my life to paraphrase Obama. My journey as a caregiver is not a negative liberty. My journey as a caregiver has allowed me to explore the depths of Christ's provision. Of God's faithfulness. Of the decrees of God throughout scripture that apply directly to me. Now I can see this.

And I confess and admit with a great deal of embarrassment and a lot of cringing that I have railed against this. God take this away from Gracie and me. Give her some relief.

Give me relief. I asked more than three times. Paul only asked three times.

I've asked, well, I've asked a lot. But as the Holy Spirit continues to teach and work with me, I've realized that these restraints, these things that I carry, these things that Gracie carries are not done punitively, whimsically, arbitrarily. But they're done by God's design to achieve something he loves. And sometimes he uses things that he hates to achieve what he loves.

This is what my friend Johnny Erickson taught us. And I go back to what Schultz and Easton said after 27 years in the Gulag. Bless you, prison, for the change you made in my life, for there upon that rotting straw mattress, I learned that the goal of human existence is not prosperity, as we're told, but the maturity of the human soul. And that's worthy of celebrating. Gracie and I have been married a long time. It's a love that has endured things that are staggering.

And there is no reason that we're here other than God decreed it. And that is worth rejoicing in. That is worth saying, bless you, restraints.

Bless you, challenges, because you have helped me see Christ in ways that I would never have seen him. And Gracie feels the same way. So happy anniversary, Gracie. Many more to come. What a life we've lived. What a journey we've had. From vomit, to baseball caps, to hospital rooms, to all of it, to not being able to afford dinner. What a journey. Here's to many more. Happy anniversary, darling. This is Peter Rosemary. This is Hope for the Caregiver. We'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-26 22:18:47 / 2023-08-26 22:37:26 / 19

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