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photo and graphics: Martha G. Brady

Click this link for the other days in the 31 DAYS OF CARETAKING: ONE DAY AT A TIME.

  • Spiritual Enrichment and Worship-This is an area where you are bound to need help. When you are going through hard times, your view of GOD, not your head theology, but your functional theology, is challenged. All the things you believed about GOD, have are turned on their head…just like your life is now. The Bible, in its entirety, has all the truth you need to know about Him, but often you and I have only been thinking about or listening to the things we wanted to hear, not the things we needed to hear. These times of suffering and world upside-downedness teach us the things we need to hear and learn and learn well.
    • Personal time with GOD-Reading His Word and praying-Often it can be difficult to split the two apart. Praying GOD’s Word back to Him, praying my feelings as I read His Word and wonder and ask my questions. You see it often in the Psalms and Job, but other places as well. There may be books of the Bible you have barely read. If you don’t have Bible Gateway, I recommend it. I find it helpful on a variety of levels. One way is to take a keyword and search it in any version. (Some are translations, others are paraphrases.) It works like a concordance and will show you that word in every occurrence. When I find it, I open the chapter and read the verse in its context and learn a lot! Reading a few occurrences of the word in context often gives me more depth on the use of that word in the Bible…especially if it is a translation.
    • Sunday Worship-This is one place we have been commanded to participate in each week. Obviously, there are times when we can’t get out because of the illness of our loved one, but often we are able to get family members to trade off so we can get to church for worship on occasion. It is different going to your home church, worshipping together, singing, praising GOD, praying together, hearing GOD’s Word read aloud, confessing our sin, being reminded of GOD’s pardon and hearing the preaching of the Word. That doesn’t compare to watching a service on TV.  There are reasons each of these items is in a worship service and have been down through the ages of time. Have you ever sat in church and been comforted or touched simply by hearing GOD’s Word read aloud? I have. That’s why I get testy when I hear some pastors say, “We don’t have time to read the Bible today.” What? Don’t have time? That’s the most important part! If we don’t have time for something, we need to have less time for his words or less time for some other part of the service, but not enough time for reading His Holy, Inspired Word?! ARGH!
    • Time for Bible study or fellowship with a small group-This can often be a group that will help you during this time of caretaking. Right now, we are in a small group as a couple. I’m also in a small group with other women once a week. More recently, Ron has gotten into a men’s small group as well and it has been very helpful to him. Now that he isn’t able to drive, they have even helped by picking him up. Whether the small group is more helpful in terms of fellowship and prayer for each other as Ron’s is (they also read a book together and discuss a chapter each week) or have a Bible study and pray together for each other as mine does, or meets mostly for fellowship, food and some prayer as our couple’s group does, find a group that works well for where you are…and participate to the degree you are able. Some meet weekly, others monthly. Just find one that works best for you.

These are the major areas we need to be concerned with. I know it took three days to discuss them. But there you have it. Start looking at them one at a time. Start working on the area you feel needs the most help for now. Remember, take baby steps. If you feel the need for another person to help you take those early baby steps, talk to someone you are close with. Tell him/her where you are struggling.

If you feel the need for another person to help you take those early baby steps, talk to someone you are close with & ask for help. Click To Tweet

In the middle of my darkest days, I had some very helpful, strategic conversations with my children, their husbands, and some of my close friends. Some conversations were difficult to hear. Others helped me learn that I was moving in the right direction in my thinking, still, others helped me come up with some very tangible solutions to problems where I could see none! All of the conversations were necessary. I am thankful for each one.

 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
  and make straight paths for your feet,
so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.
  Strive for peace with everyone,
and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God;
that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble,
and by it many become defiled;
that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau,
who sold his birthright for a single meal.
For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing,
he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent,
though he sought it with tears.

Hebrews 12:12-17