During song request time at our nursing home service recently; Bella raised her hand and asked; “Can we do something different today?” Then she wheeled herself to the front of our little room and plugged in a cassette player. When she pushed the play button the room was filled with the sounds of a lady’s trio from her church singing a song which she had written many years ago.
The experience was eye opening to me. As I heard the music and words I realized again that not only Bella but everyone in that room had something beautiful to give. No matter what chapter we are at in our lives today; God still has some surprises to tell us about if we will listen for them. It may be that things seem dark and confusing in your world or in the life of someone you love for whom you have become a caregiver. If the waves seem to be filling your little boat faster than you can bail them out; why not consider the words from the chorus of Bella’s song this morning?
The Raging Storm
In the midst of all this raging
Comes a loud and piecing cry
In the storm and in the tempest
Be not afraid – For it is I!
God has not forgotten us. He specializes in commanding storms and calming fears. He is with us all through every part of our journey. If we open the ears of our heart we will hear Him calling; “Don’t be afraid because I am right beside you!”On the cross as Jesus took the penalty for our sins He cried out; “Why have you forsaken me?” in order that He would have to never leave us and He has promised to be with us to the very end!
I coined the term care worker to indicate that long term care ministry encompasses as wide a field as being a care giver. Whether we are making a hospital visit, spending time with a shut-in or singing for a special needs child we all share something in common. We are providing a shepherd’s care.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Genesis 4:9
Cain’s 6,000 year old question reflects in a strange way his brother Abel’s vocation as a keeper of sheep. His bitter rejection of any responsibility as a care giver is still being asked in our society today. When does God expect us to provide shepherd’s care for someone else? The answer is “Any time we can”. God has given us opportunities in our community to serve as care workers. We do not need to wait till by necessity we are “care givers” for a friend or family member. Any day is a good day to be a shepherd. There is no experience required and free training is always available!
The still unfolding story of yet another deranged man with a gun – this time at a nursing home touched a nerve with me tonight. Whatever the motivation for the violence will soon be lost in another shouting match over 2nd amendment rights and gun control. The three dead employees will soon be forgotten by everyone but God. But in spite of the night of hatred, division and fear that seems to get darker by the hour there is still hope. God has not nor will He ever abandon us. If we cry He is listening. When we lie awake sleepless with anxiety, He stands watch. In the deepest despair He plants a seed of hope. God’s kingdom whether in the life of an individual or a community always starts with the tiniest of seeds. Will you plant your seed of hope with me tonight in prayer that together we might see it grow one day into a mighty tree of faith?
Are you ever called not to bear another’s burden? What about planning your own future, even when you’re someone’s caregiver? What if their “burdens” interfere with your personal goals for the future, are you allowed to set them aside?
There are some things that are so difficult even to think about as a care giver. I love this post because it is both practical and loving in its encouragement and advice. Thanks Emily for sharing this excellent post!!