New King James Version (NKJV)
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
As an Alzheimer's and dementia caregiver, I often wondered if this was the norm! It certainly felt like it. Some days it still feels like it.
I admit, the other day I had a breakdown. If I were to describe it, truthfully, it was a temper tantrum. The temper tantrum wasn't directed at anyone but myself.
You see, I was overwhelmed; I caved into frustration, and in turn my feelings 0f frustration led to anger. My anger was directed at my own health.
For those who do not know, I have Type 2 diabetes. My diabetes became my forever friend during the pregnancy of my firstborn, Katey. Every physician, nurse, pharmacist, health care professional, and friends/family told me "gestational diabetes usually goes away after pregnancy." I guess I am unusual in the fact, that 9 years later, I am still diabetic.
I have done a pretty good job of managing my diabetes, but with the onset of so much extra stress (related to family, business and becoming a family dementia caregiver again) it has made managing my diabetes a daunting task. So, much so that I went in to my doctors last week and was given additional medication to help lower my blood sugars.
The final straw for me, the other day, was in spite of taking my new medication, my blood sugars were not improving at all, and it was causing nausea and diarrhea.
I felt let down. I felt abandoned. I felt tested!
I am far from perfect, but I have been a pretty obedient person and Christian. Besides offering my life for the Lord's purpose, I have also committed a lot of my life to taking care of others. I am a nurturer, a caregiver.
And, it seemed like one of the few times, that I needed God's healing miracles, just for me, I was denied. With so much on my plate, I have been praying, just help ease the burden of diabetes. I can manage the rest then. And, instead of getting an immediate Yes, I have been bore down with even more hurdles to overcome and responsibilities.
Have you ever felt like that? Have you felt forsaken by God, by your loved one, by family or friends, by doctors, by the facility you work for, or by healthcare members? The list could stretch for miles.
Then pull a seat up next to me, and share. You can even start with tears, and I'll do my best to help you leave with psalms of encouragement!
Why can I say this, after what I just shared about my feelings? Because I came to the realization that my feelings were getting the better of me. I want to stress it was not an immediate realization! I was angry, cursed, withdrew, for all of the day. And, you know what, it's okay that I did! It's okay if you have those moments too!
The lesson to be learned is that feeling forsaken is okay. It's actually good. "Feeling” forsaken is usually reserved for the more determined disciples of Jesus Christ – for those who can handle the trial, as I learned as I let go of my anger, set my feelings of being abandoned aside and went to the Lord in prayer and scripture. I was also led to a great blog post titled, "In the desert of feeling forsaken by God?" by Norm Rassmussen. It is a long read, but, oh so worth it!
What resonates with me from Norm's post is this quote, I share with you now, "Precious one – God is as close to you in times of your suffering as He is in your times of refreshing. However, when you are in the desert of “feeling” forsaken, the test by its very nature is designed to do just that: tempt you to believe God actually has forsaken you … to see what you are going to do. Have you come to that realization yet?"
Even Jesus was tempted; even our Lord cried out "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). His crucifixion was the most painful trial Jesus was ever put through. God the Father allowed Jesus to go through the most painful test/trial ever experienced by anyone who has lived on this planet.
In the desert of feeling forsaken by God? continues "Dear one … try to take comfort in your pain that the Father did not exempt Jesus from the test of being allowed to “feel” forsaken. It’s key to understand that God didn’t cause it – God allowed it. There is a big difference! Why would God allow such a thing? Isn’t that cruel and sick, we ask? From our human perspective, most would agree it was cruel. From a heavenly, eternal perspective … cruelty didn’t enter into the picture. It was setting up a catalyst for Jesus to experience greater joy throughout eternity than what any of us can possibly comprehend. God never allows suffering in those who keep placing their trust in Him to go wasted. God is too loving and too wise to allow such a thing.
God allowed Jesus to suffer so much pain and to feel forsaken for a greater purpose. His sacrifice was revealed 3 days later, when he arose from death, from the grave, fulfilling God's promise to us that Jesus would become our sacrificial lamb, and take our sins for us. All we have to do is confess our sins, and ask Jesus into our hearts.
Praise God, for heavenly perspective! For, if it was up to our human perspective, we may never have had the opportunity for a close, personal relationship with the Lord, even one that involves feeling "forsaken" at times.
The best way I can make sense of how feeling forsaken is good for the soul is to reflect on my being a Mother and rearing my young girls. Children never fall short of "wants" without realizing that they are not "needs". "Mom, I want this; I want that." My role, as a parent, is to help teach my children the value of taking care of our needs first, and not giving in to immediate gratification all the time.
Most of the time, my kids think that I don't understand them, that I am a big meanie for not giving them what they want; that I have forsaken them. They fail to realize my vision for their future lives is broader and farther reaching than their limited "I want" eyes can offer. My love for them is stronger than giving into every want. And, If I can realize that my children need this type of firm love, than I should be able to accept it in my life too. I should realize God is teaching me patience and endurance, and knows and loves me enough to understand that I am strong enough to pass this trial, as long as I put my faith in Him.
I had made the mistake, and all too often, to fail to see what God was trying to help me understand, that in times of hardness, when I feel alone, it is then, most, that I turn to Him to see what he desires out of my life. His purpose, not mine. My vision is limited. His is eternal.
As an Alzheimer's caregiver (or any caregiver for that matter) you are in constant need of answers to hard questions. You want the answer now! I know I did and still do. Patience is difficult for anyone, especially for caregivers.
My heart goes out because from an earthly standpoint you deserve the answers or relief now. I wish I could take away whatever you are wrestling or struggling with now! Do you have a loved one, or resident, pace and wander? Or is your struggle in finding the right words to communicate with? Finding more time for yourself can be exhausting too!
As caregivers we can also underestimate the challenges that come with caregiving. As a result, we are not prepared for the difficulties we face, and can react in a depressed or angry way, and lose our patience. Dr. Amy D'Aprix, MSW, PhD, CSA, a life transition consultant, author, professional speaker, facilitator, coach and expert in aging, retirement and caregiving with caregiverstress.com offers 10 tips for helping caregivers find more patience in her article, "10 tips to develop patience."
There are many areas in a dementia caregiver's life where you feel abandoned, alone, angry, forsaken. I pray, that you are able to come to the realization, that God is preparing you for joy in ways we cannot comprehend yet.
Your suffering is qualifying you to experience greater joy throughout eternity than what any mere mortal can possibly comprehend this side of heaven. Just don’t quit on God. That’s all you have to do – not quit.
When you heart is overwhelmed and you cry out, remember "Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, A strong tower from the enemy."
May your feelings of being forsaken lead you to much joy in your strength. I am proud of all of you champion Alzheimer's caregivers!
Last modified on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 18:40