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PRAY: Prayer for Those Giving Care to a Loved One

This week marked the anniversary of my father’s death on June 10, 2012. I spent that day working and also thinking of the many ways he influenced my life and the person I have become. But I can’t think about my dad without also thinking of my mom and her many years of caregiving. Dad endured a two-plus year battle with oral cancer (and no, he never smoked or used tobacco) that metastasized. Mom transported him to countless medical appointments, waited for him during surgery, drove him five days a week for two different sets of radiation treatments, and managed the special dietary needs that came with the associated swallowing and other problems that developed. The accompanying picture was taken near the end of this difficult season. But Dad was also a diabetic for more than forty years. He suffered multiple toe amputations and other foot surgeries as well as dealing with neuropathy, glaucoma, and other diabetes-related issues. I know he would not have survived as long as he did without Mom’s patient weighing of portions, balancing of carbohydrates, dressing of wounds, and constant adjustments as his needs changed over time. To be honest, it took a while for me to think of her as a caregiver. To our family, and to Mom herself, she was simply doing what she did: loving my dad and taking care of his needs. And that’s what I see so many caregivers doing today. If you’re in that category, or you know someone who is, perhaps you’ll join in this prayer: Lord, Today I lift up those giving care to a loved one. I know they are on a journey that may seem without end—or without an end that provides relief. You are not only the great Physician but the One who knows, the One who sees. I praise You for Your choosing and calling of each one who cares for someone they love. I thank You for equipping them for this wonderful, terrible task. Some of them are taking this journey willingly but sad that it is needed. Others never wanted to begin traveling but felt they had no choice. Some would love to find another road. Some are clinging to both the journey and the one for whom they provide care. Father God, You see their needs. You know their hurts and joys. Would You reach down today to touch those who care for loved ones? Would You give them a smile when circumstances bring tears? Would You add extra strength to all they extend? Would You rise up within them to give just the right word, just the right touch, just the right encouragement at just the right time? Our...

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READ: Review, Because You Care by Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk

“How is he?” I find myself asking when I see my friend. Her husband suffers from dementia, and although both are aging, she has become the gentle caregiver for her often-childlike spouse. “Lord, give her the strength to meet his needs today.” I pray these words often for my mother, now my father’s caregiver. Diabetes and three cancer diagnoses have changed him from an active, robust man to one whose narrow world revolves around doctor’s appointments and treatments. When I opened Because You Care: Spiritual Encouragement for Caregivers by Cecil Murphey and Twila Belk (Harvest House, 2012), I expected to find a gentle, peaceful read—and I did. Beautiful photographs add to the book’s overall aura of calm. But I also found something unexpected: conviction. As Cec, Twila, and selected others shared thoughts about their own caregiving experiences, I reflected on the growing number of caregivers I know. The journeys described in this brief (48-page) volume challenged me to become more sensitive not only to those who require long-term care, but to the heart-breaking responsibilities of their caregivers. How much should I do for him? How will she know I truly care? What will the future hold? The authors’ honest reflections on these and other questions provide empathy and inspiration to caregivers and those who love them. The prayers, summary statements, and practical suggestions presented in a brief, easy-to-manage format make this book a perfect companion for caregivers’ busy lives.   Thank you, Cec and Twila, for this thoughtful, transparent work. Next time I see a caregiver, I’ll ask, “How are you?” before I ask about anyone else. I’ll focus my prayers as much on the needs of the caregiver as on the one who receives care. And I hope to display more sensitivity to the delicate balance of the caregiving life. I plan to give a copy of Because You Care to my mother, but I’ll donate my review copy to someone who leaves a comment below. Tell us a bit about yourself as a caregiver or another caregiver you know. I’ll choose one reader at random to receive my review copy which you may share with your favorite caregiver. US addresses only, please, and include your email address or link to it in your comment.  Find a local Christian bookstore Find this book on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, or at Christian Book Distributors (FTC Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to post a review or a positive...

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