Posting along with the Five Minute Friday writing community where each week we gather around a single word writing prompt to free-write for five minutes flat, then read each other’s posts to spread the love and encouragement. This week’s FMF writing prompt is: SETTLE

This is the inaugural post for the Confessions of a Caregiver page where I hope to engage other caregivers or those who see caregiving in their future, to share tips and tricks or blow off steam, but mostly to find encouragement. It is a rewarding challenge to care for those you love, and still love them in spite of the physical and emotional hurdles involved. For me, this can be done only with Jesus leading the way.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.

What tips can you share for settling into this caregiver’s life? How do you handle the unpredictable nature of the caregiver’s life? What is your favorite place of respite?

I struggled to recognize this new caregiver role. I know, it doesn’t make sense. We redecorated a room, bought a bed and dresser, moved her clothes in, set-up automatic deliveries of personal supplies, and stocked the pantry with her favorites. All the while I kept planning vacations, leading a bible study on Wednesday nights, and taking my evening walks.

Nonsense! I can’t plan a two-week vacation, commit to leading let alone preparing for that bible study, and I’ve already written about giving up my evening walks. I’ve continued to whittle away the things that take me out of the house and now I’m working on other things that waste my time while at home. The life of a caregiver is unpredictable, at least mine is, so wasting time is not an option.

This is not a pity party. I love my sister and taking care of her was always in the plan, but settling into this caregiving life has been difficult. It is getting easier as my resistance wains. Resistance to giving up my space, my inner space, to fill it up with the needs of my sister and mom.

There is sorrow at the loss of freedom and spontaneity. That my calendar is heavy with doctor appointments and not much more. I am thankful that the appointments are not for me, so there’s that. If there will ever be a vacation, a respite away from caregiving, some advanced planning will be required and that still may not work out. I haven’t tried this yet because I’m simply not confident it can happen.

Since Alzheimer’s is progressive planning too far in advance is hard. Things don’t change for the better, so why plan at all? We are not meant to sit and wait for the next bad thing to happen. But that is what I find myself doing.

I’m beginning to settle into the belief that there just isn’t any point so put those plans on the shelf, in the utility closet, at the back of the basement…you get the picture. I don’t want to think about them anymore, or for now anyway.But life must go on.  I want to replace those former plans with new ones. God is doing a new thing in my life (Isaiah 43:18) and I want to step into it with faith and confidence in the Devine Planner.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength

I suspect, seizing the moment and making the most of each one is one way to approach this new life, but then that would be about me taking charge. That doesn’t typically work out well, but in Christ, it can be done.

I prefer to rely on God, in humility, to show us the goodness in His gifts regardless of our circumstance and finding peace there. Through Christ, peace is possible in any situation.

2 Thessalonians 3:16a Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. 

Questions for Caregivers: What tips can you share for settling into this caregiver’s life? How do you handle the unpredictable nature of the caregiver’s life? What is your favorite place of respite?