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Caregivers and Contentment

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger
The Truth Network Radio
February 18, 2024 10:50 am

Caregivers and Contentment

Hope for the Caregiver / Peter Rosenberger

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February 18, 2024 10:50 am

People become disoriented in the journey of caregiving.

Caregivers often think,

"Okay, if I could get them to stop acting like this, if I could just get through this next procedure; if we could just see if we could stop this particular thing from happening, then we can have the contentment and the peace and the satisfaction or the stability that we're craving."

How's that working for you?

How's that working for any of us?

It's like we have this stick out in front of us, dangling this carrot of things going how we want them to be, but we can never get to it.

And we're constantly striving for that because we see it.

And if it would just be this way, we'd be okay.

But see, that's the kind of thing promulgated in our society.

That is the conventional wisdom of this world.

"Get What You Want, Get What You Think You Need, and You Can Be Settled in Your Spirit, and You Can Be Happy, You Can Be Content."

That is in direct opposition to what Scripture teaches.

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Hope for the Caregiver
Peter Rosenberger

Welcome to Hope for the Caregiver here on American Family Radio.

This is Peter Rosenberg. This is the program for you as a family caregiver. Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. How do you feel today? You healthy? Emotionally? Physically? Professionally? Financially? Spiritually? If not, well, you're in good company.

Sadly. Because that's the way most people are. We're not healthy on all these levels. But, the great news is, is that we can be. We can move towards that. Every day, right now, starting right now. You don't have to wait until this program is over.

You don't have to wait until this block is over. You can start right now becoming a healthier individual by turning away from the things that are causing you to become unhealthy. Whether it's food, relationships, out of control spending, rage. All those things are part of the journey of a caregiver's life.

Where we're looking to somehow satiate the angst that we're feeling. One of the foundational points of this program is to help move caregivers back from the ledge where they are in real danger and help them assess what's really going on, honestly accept it, and then let's start developing healthier strategies to move forward. That's the whole purpose of everything I do is to help talk my fellow caregivers off a ledge because people have done this for me.

You get so disoriented in the journey of caregiving. You're thinking, okay, if I could just get them to stop acting like this. If I could just get through this next procedure. If we could just see if we could stop this particular thing from happening. Then we can have the contentment and the peace and the satisfaction or the stability that we're craving. How's that working for you?

I gotta ask you, how's that working for any of us? Because it's like we have this stick out in front of us dangling this carrot of things are going the way we want them to be, but we can never get to it. And we're constantly striving for that because we see it. And if it would just be this way, then we'd be okay. But see, that's the kind of thing that is promulgated in our society.

That is conventional wisdom of this world. Get what you want, get what you think you need and you can be settled in your spirit and you can be happy, you can be content. That is indirect opposition to what scripture teaches. Look what Paul says in Philippians 4 verse 11, not that I am speaking of being in need for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low. I know how to abound in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. He's learning to be content. Now he wrote this in a prison. How content do you think people feel in prison? And yet scripture teaches that you can be, or in a hospital room, or in a rehab center, or in a funeral home, or in divorce court. There is no scenario that scripture speaks to that you cannot be content if you are trusting God with this. That's a rather direct statement. But that's what it teaches. Now the question is, and you hear me say this a lot on this program, do we believe this or not?

I got to tell you, I struggled with this for a lifetime. If we could just get through this surgery, if we could just have this happen, and I had all these contingencies on my contentment until I came to understand what scripture teaches is that I can be content in anything, will I trust Him? Will I trust Him with Gracie, surgery after surgery after surgery? Will I trust Him when she's in so much pain that she can't see straight and I'm all that's there for her, physically? Will I trust Him when I'm bone weary and doing laundry after laundry after laundry, grocery shopping, making meals, trying to work, doing this program while on the fly?

Will I trust Him with all these things? That's the invitation. And we're either serious about it or we're not. And part of the problem is we have this mentality that creeped into our culture that says, here's what is required for us to be content. And we bought it.

Where scriptures already said, here's what's given so that you can be. But we don't like that. We want to be happy, happy, happy all the time, time, time.

And I get it. It's the human condition. We always want what we think is going to make us feel better. And I'm telling you, this is at the core of so many caregivers and their struggles because we feel it so acutely because it's up in our face all the time. If we could just get them to stop acting like this, if you've got somebody that's an alcoholic or an addict, if they would just, if they would just, if this doctor would just, if we could just, and we just play out these scenarios that put all these contingencies on whether or not we can be content.

But the only consistent thing about all of that is that we're placing this on other people, other events happening outside of ourselves and we're depending on external to fix the internal. And what did Jesus say? My peace I leave with you, not like the world leaves. Well, what kind of peace does the world leave? What kind of peace does the world leave? I mean, think of somebody, you know, who seems content, not necessarily happy.

I love that song that Alison Krauss did. And there's a line that says, I'm not looking for bliss. I'm looking for contentment. That's a wise statement. I put that in my book.

I love that statement from her. I'm not looking for bliss. I'm looking for contentment. How many people do you know who are content?

Do a mental inventory. Who's the first person that comes to your mind that's content? What, what do they have that gives you that impression?

Describe them. Are they wealthy? I've known people who are extremely wealthy and they're not content and they stay churned up. I know people who are extremely poor and they're not content. They stay churned up. I know people who are very healthy and they're not content.

They stay churned up. I know people who are very sick. I've seen it from all walks of life, but the ones who are content, they had this common thread. There's a common thread to all of it. And you know what that common thread I have found, what I've seen is that they accept what is. They accept reality for what it is with its disappointments, with its flaws and ugliness or whatever, they accept it.

They don't have to like it, but they accept it. And that's been one of the hardest things for me as a caregiver is to accept this is the way it is. That this, as I said on my program last week, this is my life. This is, Gracie and I are not going to get through the next surgery, then we can get on with our life.

We've been doing this for 40 years. This is our life. I accept that. And once I made that decision to accept this is our life, I learned to be content with it, with whatever God provides. And I got to tell you, I'm ashamed of how long it took me to even make that statement. I mean, I'm embarrassed by that, but here I am and I'm learning to be content with my embarrassment.

It is what it is. You hear me say that a lot on my program and I kind of wear it out, but it's been a hallmark moment for me to learn to turn into this and not say, Oh, I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish. Am I willing to trust God with the disappointments, the brokenness, the failures, the ugly things. I've learned that when I make that statement, when I am willing to do this, that's when the contentment starts to come. And I can be content just like Paul said, I can do all things through him who strengthens me. I don't have to fight this. I don't have to wrestle with reality. I accept it for what it is.

And now I'm free to live in it and see the beauty that's all around. This is what's given me hope. That is hope for the caregiver.

This is Peter Rosenberg and we'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver. Glad to have you with us. Hope for the caregiver.com.

Hope for the caregiver.com. We're talking about contentment. We're talking about learning to accept reality for what it is.

We don't have to like it, but we must accept it or we will go barking mad. And this is what you see across our country. You see people who refuse to accept reality and therefore they come up with these incredibly complex and elaborate and destructive ways to avoid having to deal with it.

Whatever they choose. I mean, you've got alcohol, you've got drugs and addiction. Look at the stuff that's going on. Look at the mental health issues going on. What do you think is driving a lot of this? Not all of it. I mean, I'm not a psychiatrist or a psychologist. I can't speak to everything, but look at it. People don't want to accept what is.

There's so much trauma in their life and in order to deal with the trauma, they choose these escape hatches they think give them the relief. You know, if you have feelings of this way, well, you know what, let's just change our gender. Or worse yet, if you have feelings this way, let's project that onto our children and get them to change their gender. The list goes on and on.

Now I'll probably get letters for that. So again, you always send the letters of complaint to peter at the internet dot Google. I'm just telling you, there's, there's a, it's hard to even describe the mental dysfunction that's going on in our world today. And it seems like instead of pushing against it, we just want to just parade it on out there. And, and let's just go ahead and display whatever kind of dysfunction we got, just so we get some kind of sick attention on that.

Whereas scripture teaches the opposite. We're going to accept what it is. We're going to mourn over it. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. The comfort's not going to come if you're raging at it, despairing at it, or denying it.

There's not going to be any comfort. You're just giving yourself this anesthesia. If something is broken in your body, anesthesia is not the solution. That is only a tool to be able to work on that area without causing brutal pain.

I've seen this many times with Gracie. They can't do surgery without anesthetizing her, but anesthetizing her is not the goal. And, and you, you, if you look around in our society and our culture, you just see anesthesia being promulgated in whatever destructive form it takes.

And of course, certainly the ones that are most obvious are alcohol and drugs, but it's, you've got sex, you've got feeling better has become the preeminent goal of our culture. And I got to tell you, I've, I've seen Gracie in many situations where they're treating her. And when she is anesthetized or has locals in her body, she doesn't get the pain. Gracie lives with pain all the time.

Her body's just broken. And so when she gets any type of anesthesia and she's still conscious to numb that pain, it gives her a reprieve and it, it feels better. You could just see her relax a little bit, but she knows she's been doing this a lifetime. And I know, and all of her doctors know that the goal is not to anesthetize Gracie. She could be out of pain today, but she wouldn't be able to function. She'd be either so numb or so sedated. She couldn't live life, but she wouldn't be in pain. That cannot be her goal. She knows this. The goal has to change to, okay, what best equips me to deal with this pain?

And part of that is I accept that this is what it is. My body is just broken. That's, that's the first line that she has to step up to. Her body's broken and accept that. Of course she has, and she knows she's never going to be out of pain. I, I heard a remarkable statement from her one time when she learned how to snow ski.

And Gracie was a very good snow skier. We used to hope that one day she can return to that. I don't know. She says she will. I've learned not to argue with her in that regards because you don't go toe to toe with a woman who hasn't got any. Okay. Write that down.

You might, I've been saying that for years. You might want to write that down. You don't go toe to toe with a woman who hasn't got any, but she trained with the disability ski program out here in Montana for years. And she learned to be quite a good skier. She went down mostly blue slopes and one black diamond, and she's pretty good at it. But when she started doing this, some people, including me, were a little bit apprehensive. You know, I mean, she'd been through a lot. You know, she's doing this as a double amputee now.

Okay. And she, she skied on her prosthesis with what they call outriggers. So she's four tracking. She has the, each outrigger has a little ski.

I was like crutches with skis on it. Then she has the skis on her prosthesis. She didn't want to sit in the chair and do it. She wanted to do it standing up, which now you know why my hair is white, but that's a separate story. But I asked her when she started this process.

This is many years ago. And she looked at me with great clarity of thought in mind. And she said, I'm going to be in pain no matter what. I might as well have a good time and enjoy life. What a statement, what an extraordinary statement.

And it was one of the more prouder moments I've had with my wife. And there are a lot of them where I thought, wow, that takes an enormous amount of contentment that this is my life. I live in a broken body, but I'm going to enjoy it to the max of what I can, even though I'm going to be in pain. I'm not trying to get out of pain. I'm trying to live life. Now contrast that with what you see around the country, around the world.

There are people, many of them in a panic to get out of pain so they think they could go live the life that they think is for them. But what I learned from my wife, and more importantly, what I've learned from scriptures, this is the life I have. And I can be content in all things. And I can see beauty and joy.

I learned this from reading Viktor Frankl's book. And I learned this from reading The Hiding Place with Corrie Tim Boona and others that I've read, that they learn to be content with where they are. That they learn to see beauty and they learn to trust God with where they are.

You've heard me often say, they let his scarred hand hold their scared hands. And that is the invitation for us as believers. Are we willing to trust God with the uncomfortable and sometimes even horrific things that we see? Can we trust it?

Do we trust it? Those are two very important questions to ask. And once we wrestle with those questions, it's a game changer for everything else. And for caregivers, we live in this place of acute challenges of discomfort, of unsettledness, of often chaotic events. All of those things work to create this bubbling cauldron that is our life at times.

And where, you know, everybody goes through these kinds of things, at some point in their life, they're going to have things that are very troubling. But as caregivers, the reprieves are few and far between. And so we're forced to deal with this. We don't get to put it down and go have a break, go on a vacation to do this. We don't get to do that.

It's right there in front of us for so many of us as caregivers. And I say, that's not a bad thing. Hear me out. It's a hard thing. But just because it's hard, just because it's difficult, just because it's painful, just because it's something we don't particularly enjoy doesn't mean it's a bad thing.

If it drives us to our knees, how is that a bad thing? Scholzen Itzen understood this. And I love his quote. I put his quote in my book. It's 27 years in a Russian gulag. And he said, bless you, prison, for the change you've made in my life. For there upon that rotting straw mattress, I learned that the goal of human existence is not prosperity, as we are told, but the maturity of the human soul. He blessed the prison. Joseph looked at his brothers.

You remember the story? And he said, you meant this for evil. God meant it for good.

That's an extraordinary faith that's willing to trust God with. And you think about what Joseph had to go through. Sold into slavery. He got into Potiphar's house. He was wrongly accused. He went down to prison.

I mean, he just had a horrific, about 13 years of this. And yet he said to his brothers, you meant it for evil. God meant it for good.

And you go back and look at so many examples. Remember the disciples brought the guy that was born blind to Jesus, who sinned, this man or his parents? And Jesus said to them, and I'm paraphrasing in the New Southern translation, boys, y'all got it all wrong. This is done for God's glory. And so my question to you, fellow caregiver, whose glory are we looking for? Are we looking for our own? Or are we looking for His? Somebody who's looking for their own glory will do almost anything to feel better.

Somebody who's willing to trust God will trust Him no matter what's going on around Him. And again, I will go back to my wife. I give her such amazing props for what she has taught me coming out of surgery after losing her remaining leg. She's now a double amputee. One leg is scarred over and it's all healed from four years earlier. And the second leg has tubes and a bloody bandage around it. She's laying on a gurney. They're taking her to intensive care following surgery. I watched it happen. I was there.

I saw it with my own eyes. She's halfway sedated. Both legs are gone. Her hands are lifted heavenward. And she was singing, praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts.

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. She was singing that from a gurney. Halfway sedated.

Both legs gone. It was one of the most powerful moments in my life that I've ever witnessed. And it is one of many moments that I've had observing my wife that remind me of how grateful I am to know such an extraordinary human being. The goal is not to feel better. The goal is to be better. I know that what we carry as caregivers is difficult. It's brutal.

It's vexing at times. But we can learn to be content in it. And that is Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg.

We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberg and this is the program for you as a family caregiver.

Healthy caregivers make better caregivers. How do you feel today? Hopeforthecaregiver.com if you want to let us know.

Tell us what's going on in your life. There's a place to do that out there. Also, I do want to pass along information on Standing with Hope, which is the presenting sponsor of this program. If you want to be a part of that, please go out to standingwithhope.com.

You can see or you can go to Hope for the Caregiver. Either way will get you there and see how you can participate in one of those is we're always looking for used prosthetic limbs. Now that sounds like a strange thing to collect, but we do. You go out to standingwithhope.com and at the top you'll see a little tab called prosthetics. And then under that little arrow you'll see donate a used prosthetic limb.

And you click on that and there's a form that you fill out. And it shows you all the different things that we recycle. Because we do. We recycle the leg.

The only thing we don't recycle is the socket. And that is the part that is custom fit to that patient. We make those on site with our partners and our team in West Africa and Ghana. And you can see more about that at the website. But we will strip all these things down and there's a prison in Arizona that works with us.

It's an outfit that is run by CoreCivic and they have these a lot of faith-based programs. And inmates will volunteer to help us disassemble the limb and then we will send those parts over to West Africa. So we're always looking for those. So please go tell friends you know.

Send them to the website. It's very easy to do and we would welcome all those things. You could see a picture of all the things that we could recycle and then some. StandingWithHope.com slash recycle hyphen limb. But just go to StandingWithHope.com and click on prosthetics.

You can't miss it. It's very easy to find and it means the world to somebody who needs a limb. This was Gracie's vision. I mean you just heard me say what she did right after losing her leg. But that was on the way to ICU.

A week later she was in her hospital room recovering. I walked in and she had again her hands lifted up and she looked over at me she said I know what I'm going to do. Y'all have to know Gracie. And I was a little bit shell-shocked and I was thinking okay you just had your legs amputated and you're in bed now both legs are gone and what are you going to do. She said I'm going to create a ministry that provides prosthetic limbs to my fellow amputees and tell them about Jesus. Did I mention to y'all my hair is white?

You have any idea what it's like to live with somebody as high octane as Gracie. And I was like yeah whatever babe it's all good. But she would not be put off and here we are now standing with hope has been in existence for almost 20 years. She persisted until you know I just I remember getting on the plane with her going to Africa and I thought I'm not doing this.

I'm on the plane and I'm not doing this. They say that once you get the dust of Africa on your feet it calls you back and it does. And we've been working with the folks over there for a long time and we're always looking for used prosthetic limbs that we can recycle. Now we'll purchase various other equipment that cannot be recycled and we can purchase some of that locally there in Ghana. We can also have certain things shipped over here that we purchase.

In fact I'm working on that right now with some carbon fiber. So anyway take a look and see if you can share this with somebody you know. It's an extraordinary program and if you want to be a part of it in financially supporting it or supporting this radio program whatever's on your heart to do we would welcome that.

Okay that's standing with hope dot com slash giving standing with hope dot com slash giving. Back to our regular schedule program I've been talking with a friend of mine this week and we're talking about reality and learning to accept what is learning to be content in it. Doesn't mean we have to like it but it's important for our own mental health and stability for us to recognize that we must we must shake hands with reality.

Otherwise we doom ourselves to a life of medication or mental illness of anesthesia but not living as I said earlier. I've got a friend of mine whose daughter is having a terrible time right now and we've been talking back and forth and she drugs and alcohol involved and she's in her 30s and she and her husband and they're not children. They are but they're dealing with very very serious realities with her where she's just creating havoc. I mean it is a real mess. And her husband is outmatched. He's out he's outmatched and they are they're fairly newly wed and they've got there's there's a lot of baggage that came on both sides of it. I'm not gonna try to give you the whole scenario but you guys can fill in the blanks. Okay. They got problems just like everybody else but they got some big ones right now and she continues to create chaos.

I mean there's law enforcement in there. I mean it's a real mess. And I've said very clearly to this young man the words that I'm going to use are going to sound harsh but stay with me. I said she may not make it but you have to.

She may not make it but you have to. You cannot ensure that someone else who is bent on destruction will not succeed in their own destruction. You cannot make sure of that.

But what you can do is you can learn to be healthier in it and you can seek the help you need. It's like driving down the interstate with somebody who's doing 75 miles an hour going the wrong way. If they are bent on doing that there's not a lot you can do except try to take the wheel from them and cause an even bigger wreck but you can jump out of the car. It's gonna hurt. It's gonna hurt. You're gonna get a lot of trauma.

But you're not gonna hit a semi head on. This mixed up woman is creating havoc. Not just one law enforcement multiple law enforcement encounters and it's getting, it's really pretty rough. And this young man is beleaguered with this and doesn't know which way to turn. And he's got into a treatment program for himself that she just refuses to go to.

And her dad and I have said the same thing to him. You stay the course. You get into this program. You get the help you need.

You get the tools you need. That sounds pretty harsh. And I know it sounds harsh. But the reality for so many of us as caregivers is that we live with harsh things and it requires clarity of thought and brutal honesty and acceptance of what's really happening. I've got another set of friends who have a son with mental illness and the cops are caught up to the home so many times. And it's a dangerous situation. And they're just, their hearts are in their throat every time. And the police that come to his home, I mean, one time he came out with a paintball gun.

Do you realize how quickly that thing could have turned into a horrific tragedy? And they're just on pins and needles at times. And I've had a friend of mine who's a police officer on this program to talk about the calls that they have to those kinds of situations of domestic abuse and violence.

And those are the most dangerous and volatile calls that law enforcement get called to for what he said. I have talked to so many people in desperate situations. And in order to offer any assistance in that, there has to be clarity.

Clarity of thought concise to the point where they have direction. She may not make it, but you have to. That's clarity. And I say to you, my fellow caregivers, that your loved one may be in desperate straits. And if so, I hurt with you. I get that.

I truly get it. But you are no good to them if you collapse. You are no good to them if you're broke. You are no good to them if you're a train wreck, emotionally and physically and spiritually. They may not make it, but you have to. You have to.

That is not selfish. That's clarity. But now what is making it look like?

Making it looks like you turning into this, shaking hands with it and recognizing God is still sovereign in this. He's not abandoning you. This is hard.

This is hard. But it doesn't have to defeat you. Do you understand?

Can you hang on to that? Because some of you are in that place right now. You don't have to abandon your loved one, but you cannot force them to change their lifestyle if they don't want to.

And sometimes we look with tears. Go back to the rich young ruler that came to Jesus. He said, what do I got to do? And he was very flippant about it.

Oh, I've done all that. And Jesus said, well, then sell everything to the poor. And the guy said, I don't want to do that. And he walked away and Jesus looked at him sadly. He let him go. He's not going to try to force him.

He let him go. Go back and look at Abraham. When the Lord decided he was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham argued with Gomorrah, what'd you do if you found 50?

You know, he just wanted to negotiate down and he saw where this was going. And God was merciful and condescended to Abraham's request. But if you look, there's one place where Abraham says, shall not the judge of the earth do right. And it's hard in the English, I think, to really capture the feelings that Abraham was possessing when he was saying that.

But you really unpack that and you see that Abraham is recognizing that God is judge of the earth. He's going to do the right thing. He's going to do what is right. Even if we're doing it wrong, God is not going to be thwarted by us. Joseph said, what you meant for evil, he meant for good. And right now for many of you, you may be in a place where you have a loved one who's acting out, doing something that they mean for evil or that somebody else has done to you and you are struggling under this. I get it.

I get it. Would you be willing to trust this great God with those things? Would you be willing to trust that what others may mean for evil, he can mean for good? This is Peter Rosenberger. We'll be right back. Welcome back to Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. This is the program for you as a family caregiver, hopeforthecaregiver.com.

I want to end this program today. Basically, we've been hitting on contentment and all of that comes down to, do we trust him? Do we really trust him or do we think this is up to us? And you've heard me talk about the fog of caregivers, fear, obligation and guilt. It's a plague on caregivers. We all get into that fog and we lose our way. We become disoriented. We can't see properly. You can't put on your high beams in a fog because it'll just clear back at you.

Well, the same thing in the fog of caregivers. You can't put on your high beams. You can't try to see too far out in the future. You're going to have to deal with where you are. Again, shake hands with reality. It's hard to be content if you're so busy living out too far or regretting the past and living in the past. We regret the past. We fear the future. All of those things work against us if we're trying to live in the moment of accepting this is what it is and we're going to deal with right here and right now. We're going to deal with it as reality. We're not going to try to medicate it. We're not going to try to escape from it. We're going to be content in it. We're going to trust God in it. Can we do this? Well, scripture says we can't. Can we do it on our own?

No, but scripture says we don't have to do it on our own. That's the whole point. But that fog of caregivers, fear, obligation and guilt has caused many caregivers, including myself, to run off the road into a ditch, hit a tree and cause all kinds of damage. So what do we do? Well, when you come to a fog, you slow down. So let's just slow down.

Let's just think through it of where we are. That fear, obligation and guilt. I want to talk about that obligation. This is from my book, A Minute for Caregivers, When Every Day Feels Like Monday.

And this is chapter 43. It's stewardship instead of obligation. Stewardship instead of obligation. I love that word stewardship. It's a little old fashioned.

And clearly we don't know a whole lot about stewardship in our country because look at the debt we're in and look at the mess we're in. But I can't solve that. That's beyond my abilities. I'm going to have to deal with me. It's like wearing a hula hoop. Whatever's inside that hula hoop, that's my responsibility. Okay. And I would suggest the same for you if you want to try that analogy with yourself.

Whatever's inside that hula hoop that you've put on, that's your responsibility. But here's obligation. I've got to, I need to, I have to, I must, I should. You ever say those words to yourself or to others? I've got to, I need to, I have to, I must, I should. Every caregiver at some point will make those and other similar statements and sadly all too frequently.

I know I have. The feeling of obligation drives us to push ourselves to dangerous stress levels for our health, finances and emotional stability. Does that sound like you today? It sounds like me on a regular basis.

That's why I read my own book. Despite our best efforts at solutions, we usually come up short, mostly because fixing the problems often remains way above our pay grade. What have we been talking about this whole program about learning to be content, that fixing the problems is not the goal. We either Gracie lives with things I cannot fix. I am powerless over amputation.

How many of you all know that? I'm powerless over chronic pain and backs and orthopedic things. I have no power over these things. Even her surgeons, as good as they are, have not been able to fix Gracie. We've mitigated stuff, but we haven't been able to fix it. You are powerless over your loved one's affliction. How many of you all by raise of hands can do anything about Alzheimer's? How many of you all can solve cancer? How many of you all are good at fixing somebody who has an addiction or mental illness? Go down the list of whatever afflictions our loved ones have, we're powerless over them. Yet we will push ourselves to insane levels to try to fix it, but we can't. As caregivers, we're not owners of the circumstances our loved ones face. We're stewards.

Embracing the concept of stewardship frees us to accept we are doing the best we can with what is within our power and abilities. Again, picture that hula hoop. I love that analogy. Put on a hula hoop. I've used that.

I think I use that every week to somebody. Imagine you're wearing a hula hoop. Whatever's inside that hula is your responsibility.

Whatever's outside it is not. I can't control anything other than my own thoughts, words or deeds. Feeling obligated quickly makes us resentful, compromising our ability to live healthy lives and serve as healthy caregivers. How many of you all feel resentful today? Do you feel resentful?

How much resentment do you carry? I'm not saying this to embarrass you. Again, I'm so far down the path of failure. You'll have to work extra hard to catch up with how many failures I've made.

I would love to tell you I'm wise. I don't think I am. I think I'm just tired. It's exhausting to stay resentful. It is exhausting to stay angry all the time. It is exhausting to go down this path. And there's a point where you just want to say, ah, heck with it. I'm just going to stop because I'm just tired. I can't play a piano with clenched fist.

I can't push Gracie's wheelchair with clenched fist. I can't live resentful. But feeling obligated creates that resentment.

I mean it takes nanoseconds. The moment you feel like I have to, I must, I'm supposed to, I should be doing this, I should be doing that, you're going to start resenting your loved one and who knows who else. You'll probably resent yourself for getting yourself into this mess. Is this how you want to live? Scripture says you don't have to. Cast all your cares on him for he cares for you. Come unto me all you are weary and heavy laden I will give you what?

Rest. You don't have to strive at this. You're not obligated. You're not capable of doing it.

So it would stand to reason you're not obligated. I am not obligated to fix Gracie's legs and her body. It is not mine to fix. I don't own this situation. I didn't do this to her.

I can't undo it. That's not my role here. I'm a steward. I'm here to care for her and to minister to her, to comfort her, to strengthen her, to point her to Christ. That's my responsibility.

Not fixing it. So the coulda, woulda, shoulda's, have to, must, that stuff's got to be put aside. You realize that God owns this situation. Adopting an attitude of stewardship helps us breathe easier and treat ourselves with mercy. All of which equips us to be better caregivers. How much mercy have you shown yourself?

I was talking to a lady just a couple of days ago and she started in on commiserating on how poorly she's done as a caregiver for her husband who has some significant issues. And I looked at her and I said, well, your attendance record is flawless. And immediately you could just see the change on her. I mean, her shoulders lifted, her eyes brightened up and she even smiled and she realized the truth of what I just said. Her attendance record was flawless. She kept showing up. How's your attendance record? I bet it's flawless. Do you show mercy to yourself?

What does that even look like? And part of that is realizing that mercy helps us understand what is ours and what is not ours. If you are trying to wear something that doesn't fit you, go back to that story. I've told it many times of David trying to wear Saul's armor. Saul thought it'd be a good idea to put his armor on David. Well Saul was a big old tall fella. David was not. Didn't fit him. He was going to go out and fight this giant and something didn't fit him.

Was it his? How many things are you trying to wear that aren't yours? How much are you putting on you that isn't yours?

That is beyond your capabilities. You show mercy to yourself when you realize, oh, I don't own this. If somebody that you love is drinking or doing drugs, how much of that do you own? You are not responsible for what somebody else puts in their body. If somebody you love has cancer, when's the last time you came up with a cure for cancer?

If somebody you love is dealing with mental illness, how much practice have you had at solving mental illness issues? I will close with the quote I put at the end. You know, I put a quote at the end of every one of my chapters. People seem to like my quotes. I come up with very odd quotes and people seem to like them. But this quote about obligation in the last sentences, however, adopting an attitude of stewardship helps us breathe easier and treat ourselves with mercy, all of which equips us to be better caregivers. And the quote is from Mother Goose.

All the king's horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Do you understand the principle? These things are beyond us, but they're not beyond the one we serve. And we can be content knowing that he who began a good work is faithful to complete them. To the day of Christ Jesus, let him have this. And you be content to be a steward in the midst of this. That is a healthy journey. And that is hope for the caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger.

We'll see you next time. You've heard me talk about Standing with Hope over the years. This is the prosthetic limb ministry that Gracie envisioned after losing both of her legs. Part of that outreach is our prosthetic limb recycling program. Did you know that prosthetic limbs can be recycled?

No kidding. There is a correctional facility in Arizona that helps us recycle prosthetic limbs. And this facility is run by a group out of Nashville called CoreCivic. We met them over 11 years ago and they stepped in to help us with this recycling program of taking prostheses and you disassemble them. You take the knee, the foot, the pylon, the tube clamps, the adapters, the screws, the liners, the prosthetic socks, all these things we can reuse and inmates help us do it. Before CoreCivic came along, I was sitting on the floor at our house or out in the garage when we lived in Nashville and I had tools everywhere, limbs everywhere, and feet, boxes of them and so forth. And I was doing all this myself and I'd make the kids help me.

And it got to be too much for me. And so I was very grateful that CoreCivic stepped up and said, look, we are always looking for faith-based programs that are interesting and that give inmates a sense of satisfaction. And we'd love to be a part of this.

And that's what they're doing. And you can see more about that at standingwithhope.com slash recycle. So please help us get the word out that we do recycle prosthetic limbs. We do arms as well, but the majority of amputations are lower limb.

And that's where the focus of standing with hope is. And that's where Gracie's life is with her lower limb prostheses. And she's used some of her own limbs in this outreach that she's recycled. I mean, she's been an amputee for over 30 years. So you go through a lot of legs and parts and other types of materials, and you can reuse prosthetic socks and liners if they're in good shape. All of this helps give the gift that keeps on walking and it goes to this prison in Arizona, where it's such an extraordinary ministry. Think with that. Inmates volunteering for this, they want to do it.

And they've had amazing times with it. And I've had very moving conversation with the inmates that work in this program. And you can see again, all of that is standingwithhope.com slash recycle. They're putting together a big shipment right now for us to ship over. We do this pretty regularly throughout the year as inventory rises and they need it badly in Ghana. So please go out to standingwithhope.com slash recycle and get the word out and help us do more. If you want to offset some of the shipping, you can always go to the giving page and be a part of what we're doing there.

We're purchasing material in Ghana that they have to use that can't be recycled. We're shipping over stuff that can be. And we're doing all of this to lift others up and to point them to Christ. And that's the whole purpose of everything that we do. And that is why Gracie and I continue to be standing with hope. Standingwithhope.com.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-23 12:15:50 / 2024-02-23 12:33:40 / 18

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