Tuesday, November 3, 2015

National Family Caregiver's Month -- Here's to YOU!

Blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] is the man who is steadfast under trial and perseveres when tempted; for when he has passed the test and been approved, he will receive the [victor’s] crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.
~ James 1:12, AMP ~

Dear Courageous Caregiver,

I'm celebrating YOU this month!  It's National Family Caregivers Month, and while people often associate caregiving with helping elderly parents or spouses, I know that this is an even longer role for YOU.

I'm cheering for you this month because you are a survivor.  You were thrust into this role, most often in shock, confusion, or dismay.  You likely didn't go to school for anything like this, and if you did, it surely feels different than what you may have anticipated.  That's true if you adopted a complex child as well.  There are too many days where you feel like you have been hit by a truck, but you keep getting back up again to do it another day.
I'm cheering you this month because you are resilient, adaptive, and flexible. You may have been expecting the celebration of a typical child.  Those expectations have been exchanged for a diagnosis, but you love that child fiercely in spite of it.  You have learned to find joy in life's trials and storms.  No one can tell you that there's only one way to do something or that nothing can be done.  Your relentless advocacy has taught you otherwise!  Despite walking through a life that often looks like a minefield, you find a way to move forward.  

I'm cheering for you this month because you are wise.  The school of hard knocks has taught you as much about medicine, mental health, insurance, and education law as those who have multiple letters after their names on a business card.  You have gained the ability to teach others how to navigate IEPs, guardianship, and government programs.

I'm cheering for you this month because you have a heart of gold.  You know that the life or lives you care for matter.  You treat others with the tenderness with which you would like to be treated.  You are truly the hands and feet of Christ, day in and day out, when no one else is there and the tasks are thankless.

I'm cheering for you this month because you have persevering perspective.  Despite tube feedings and wiping butts that are too old to still be in diapers, despite special diets and countless therapies, you know this is all worth it in the end.  You have a wicked sense of humor, which helps you get through the ugliest parts.  And because of your experience, you also know how to be helpful when your elderly parents are facing many of the same obstacles as your child.

I want you to know, Caregiver, that I see you!  More importantly, GOD sees you!

While your stomach churns with worry about the future, and your nights are endlessly deprived of sleep, there is One who stays awake with you through it all.  He sees.  He cares.  He provides everything you need to just put that one foot in front of the next, which is all you can do most days.  He is cheering you on too, "Well done, good and faithful one!"  

As you rise to the challenges of caregiving, never forget this!  Encouragement is there for you.  He will wipe away every tear and assure no more death or sorrow or pain.  Until then, He holds you upright with fresh strength for each new day.

Much Love,
Barb Dittrich

PRAY:  El Roi, thank You for seeing everything we endure as caregivers.  Bring us fresh encouragement and strength during this National Family Caregivers Month.

November became National Caregivers Month after a 1996 proclamation of President Clinton was signed celebrating a week of caregivers.  Since that time, many resources have become available.  Here are just a few:

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