Caregivers Corner: A Year in Review

By Dr. Jeanne Porter King

We are at the two-year mark of Caregivers Corner, and I am beyond grateful. This blog started as a response to a calling from God that I could not deny. And now, it has become a safe space for people to learn from one another and share their experiences. The willingness of so many people to share their experiences has truly turned this blog into a wealth of knowledge. 

There were so many different perspectives and valuable lessons learned that were shared. Here are a few highlights and takeaways from the past year.

Different Perspectives with Shared Lessons

We had diverse perspectives as caregivers, including caregiving from the perspectives of a spouse, son to mom, an only child,  to sharing responsibilities among a big family, just to name a few. There are many who felt called to do care give, while others went into it reluctantly at first but embraced it over time. But despite the circumstances, God used them to be a blessing.

In A Life Centered on Caregiving by Sanreka Watley, she shared her caregiving journey as someone who does not care for close family members but is instead fulfilling a calling from God to coordinate care services for super-agers.

In Husbands, Love Your Wives by Bob McGee, he shares his journey in caring for his wife and the triumph of being married for 50 years. He shares why faith is so important. “Taking care of a sick, loved one changes a lot of things. But your faith and your relationship with Jesus Christ should remain unchanging”. Bob and his wife Therese were recently featured in the University of Chicago Hospital News Magazine, which details their faith, commitment to each other, and her groundbreaking cancer treatment. By the grace of God and an amazing team of doctors, Therese is now cancer-free. You can read the article here:  How CAR T-cell therapy helped a 72-year-old lymphoma patient become cancer-free.

In Embracing Caregiving as a Calling by Carla Chavis, she discusses following her calling as a caregiver. “ Embracing caregiving is in the details of what you do daily. It means observation, diligence, being mindful of body language and how you speak, and having a true sense of the needs of the person you care for.”

Although we may have different experiences as caregivers, there are lessons we can all learn from each other. 

Patience

Several topics this year covered patience. Patience is especially important in caregiving, as it is a major factor in protecting your peace. In The Patience to Care, by Sabrinia Allen, she states that “rather than focusing on frustration, focus on understanding what God is teaching you.”

Frustration is a part of the process you can’t run from. It’s okay to say,  “God, this is hard.” Even when you are called, even when it is someone close to your heart, like a parent, it is still hard!

In The Ministry of Caregiving, Evangelist Amy Neal shares the perspective of caring for a strong-willed parent while functioning as an only child. Through her experiences, she learned unconditional love, authenticity, and sacrifice. 

Mastering patience is what will get you through your caregiving journey. Take the time to learn it and embrace it!

Accepting Help

This is hard for most of us, isn’t it? We pray and pray for God to help, but when God sends it, we have a hard time accepting it. Our writers shared stories about the difficulty yet benefits of accepting help. 

In Son to Mom. A Caretaking Experience, Antonio Monteiro shared that even when being offered financial compensation for caring for his mother, it took three months and encouragement from his mother to accept it. That is a good lesson learned for all of us to embrace assistance. 

Even in situations where you feel you have no control, you can still find peace. In Sharing the Care: A Family Affair by Valerie Stoudemire, she details how her family took the reigns and came up with a strategy that allowed them to share the responsibility to find peace and order. 

 Accept help in all forms, whether it is emotional support, financial, or otherwise. Help is what gets us through this. We are not meant to go through this alone.

The Importance Of  Self Care

You cannot properly care for someone else until you care for yourself. In Spiritual Care for the Caregiver by Dr. Julie Welborn, she states that “there is healing in surrendering and allowing God to give you peace of mind.” In the same way that you take care of your body and your mental health, the same focus should be given to spiritual health and remaining close to God.

Another important part of self-care is trusting yourself and God’s timing. We should not spend time worrying about things we cannot control. Rest in the fact that God is in control. Rev. Dr. Lorri E. Baldwin mentions in her post, In God’s Perfect Timing, “When God charges us with a task, God also gives us the skills and strength necessary to do what God asks us to do, no matter what challenges we face.”

Take care of yourself, and rest in the fact that God will provide what you need.

Thanks again for a great year!

I am grateful for all of the contributors for the past two years. Caregivers Corner will continue to evolve according to God’s plan. Next year, we plan to publish quarterly and continue to share a wealth of knowledge about caregiving. Stay tuned, and I appreciate your support!

Continue to follow our caregiving blog series at https://www.drjeanneporterking.com/caregivers-corner/

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