Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not About Me - Keeping balanced!

Some of the best advice I received in Bible College could be summed up in two short words from  L.E.Maxwell, the founder of the Prairie Bible Institute. 
What were those two words? 

This morning before my feet hit the floor and I was soaking up the last bit of comfort of being under warm covers in a soft bed, my thoughts turned to the "Not About Me" challenge from Laura.  Caregivers immediately came to my mind - caregivers of all kinds, those who are not only carrying their own load, but are carrying the burden of meeting others needs, many of them having to do it 24/7. 

Taking care of Grandma Reba

I thought of grown children who care for their aging parents, many of them still having their own children at home that need them.  I've been there -  holding a nursing job while trying to juggle the every day crises that arise with teenagers,  aging relatives needing help with shopping, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, doctor appointments, and general care, as well as trying to be a help-mate to a busy husband involved in a political career and the challenges of owning his own business.

As I lay there, I thought about parents who have special needs children.  As a Home Health nurse, I saw many of these parents s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d thin with all the caregiving requirements.  I saw spouses putting their own needs on the back burner as they were stretched thin emotionally and exhausted physically - "looking out not only for their own needs, but for the needs of others" (Philippians 2:4).

So, when I write this "Not About Me" note, ...what about them?  For some of them it's been "Not About Me" for years, and they are about to fall apart.  They need some time apart to care for their own bodies or they will not be able to provide care for others. 

Did Jesus have anything to say to caregivers?  I think so.  In Matthew 11:28 He urges people to come to Him to find rest.  In Mark 9:2-13 Jesus does this as He takes Peter, James, and John up on a high mountain away from all the demands of ministering, and reveals His true identity to them.

Taking time to spend with God and His Word, making sure I eat right, get plenty of rest, and plenty of exercise - that's taking care of myself so that I can take care of others.  That is actually part of what "NOT ABOUT ME" is all about! 
But like Mr. Maxwell challenged us, sometimes the hardest thing in life is to 



Kelly said...

Those are very good points. I stretch myself thin a lot and then get frustrated and take it out on my kids (ie yelling). If I were to keep balance, then I woudln't be so exhausted all the time. Something to think about for next year.. I'm swamped right now.....

Kaye - SandwichINK for the Sandwich Generation said...

Amen and AMEN! As a full-fledged member of the Sandwich Generation - several times thru my life, including now when caring for elderly parents and babysitting grandchildren - I totally agree with you about how vital it is for us to spend time daily in the Word of God, soaking in the encouraging and comforting Bible verses God gives us each day. Sometime I do it by reading in my Bible and making notes. When I am on the run from one house to the next, I love to listen to excellent verse by verse Bible studies and sermons on my iPod. It makes such an important difference in my heart, my attitude, my life. Thanks for a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post. :)

Crystal Mary said...

Hello Easter Joy, It is not easy at all being a caregiver. Its especially difficult when one person is given the job 24/7 without anyone realising they need some time on their own. I cared for one mother-in-law for almost three years as well as having a large home, and four children. Her own son went out almost every night while I was tied down. We had a business in partnership with his brother, so I had to take mother-in-law there with me two days a week. She had alzhiemers and wandered, it was so hard. Prior that I had had my own father on and off before he passed away.
Then when I met my now hubby I had no idea I would get his mum 24/7 for 5 months with hardly any rest. My hubby left it to me. We were newly married and his only brother lived alone and couldn't cope with her. She was dying with CA of the lungs. My hubby's grown son acted like there was nothing wrong with her because I had her pain well controlled. This lady was a beautiful person but with occassional hypoxia even though on 2 lts of 02 she became sometimes became nasty. It was so hard. Yes caregivers are forgotten. In Australia they are now recognised with an extra pension, and thank God for respite. In TN I was frowned upon when my M.I.L. went in once briefly. God Bless you for bringing this to the surface. Oh, my knee is so much better. I still can't do everything and get pain, but I know it will keep improving. Hey check out my Health Blog, you won't believe your eyes.

Pamela said...

I was a caregiver for my mother-in-law and I think the best thing was that we hired a day nurse. I know not everyone can do this, but for us it meant we could enjoy her last days without 24 care. I still needed to hook her tpn up each night, etc. but didn't have a lot of other care. Even still our church family helped out with meals and other things. I believe God desires His children to bless caregiver families in this way.

Charlotte said...

Keep Balanced. That's very good advice. I think people in the situations you describe need to spend a lot of time in prayer. Of course they probably don't think they have time to pray but of course we should be in the spirit of prayer all the time. The Bible says to pray without ceasing. It can't mean to literally be on our knees 24/7. I think posts like yours helps because it reminds those who are in these circumstances that they are not alone, and that in itself is helpful.
Thank you for sharing again, Esther Joy. You bring joy into many lives.