Are you looking forward to spring and the renewed hope it represents? Me, too, but just when you think it’s finally here—ding, ding, ding—you get a notification about a winter storm coming. Spring is unpredictable, and so is caregiving.
On any given day, your plans can change in ways you didn’t see coming.
- Your loved one suddenly needs medical attention.
- An unforeseen work issue forces you to arrange backup caregiving on the fly.
- You become ill and land in bed for a day or two.
What then? I’m sorry to tell you this, but God will not be driving you to the hospital, arranging an emergency caregiver so you can stay at work, or miraculously rescuing you from the flu (although, He could). Instead, He stands with you, equipping you in and through each caregiving event.
What I listed above is perhaps the tip of your caregiving iceberg. But unfortunately, these very possible scenarios float through a caregiver’s brain regularly, triggering complicated emotions like fear, anxiety, anger, resentment, sadness, and grief.
They loom over us like leafless trees after a cold winter storm, weighed down under a thick, icy crust left behind. When we’re in the storm of caregiving, the days can become quite dark, especially for those in long-term, full-time family caregiving situations. Even a short-term crisis can have the same effect.
It may feel like an endless winter, but it’s not. Spring always follows winter; when it arrives, we can say, “Thank you, God, I made it!” We can trust He’s working in our lives even when we can’t see it.
Hope is just a thought away
The good news is that God is predictable, unlike the weather and our emotions. He doesn’t change (James 1:17). His character remains faithful and dependable. We can count on Him always, cry out to Him, and trust Him in all circumstances. He is our hope (Psalm 62:5).
In Romans 5:2-5 (NASB), we read:
“…this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God.” (v. 2b)
Because we stand in His grace, we can celebrate in hope.
“And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.“ (vv. 3-5)
Celebrating our tribulations is quite another thing. I agree. It’s not easy to wrap your head around, especially when your life is in knots.
So, take a breath.
Remember, God is with you.
The hope of results worth celebrating
When Paul said, “celebrate in our tribulations,” in Romans 5:3, I don’t think he meant we should go out and celebrate the bad news of cancer, Alzheimer’s, loss, or how our loved one’s circumstances spill over into our already stressed caregiving lives. But the results, what we learn in our tribulations, and how God uses them are worth celebrating.
Don’t you wish we could see those results right away? It’s not usually how it works, though. But we can trust that God doesn’t waste anything. He is working in our lives even when we can’t see it.
Often, only later do we recall how God brought us through, what we learned from the experience, and how it’s helping us navigate life today.
There is renewed hope in God’s unchanging character
That’s right. As the scripture promises, perseverance develops layer upon layer of character, which helps us withstand present and future challenges, protects against negative thinking, and aids better decision-making.
The challenges don’t become lighter, but caregivers become stronger and equipped to walk through them with hope because we’ve learned to trust God for the outcome.
Our hope comes from God’s unchanging character. God was with you, is with you, and will be with you even on your darkest days. Therefore, as Romans 12:12 (NLT) tells us, we “Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.”
He is where our hope comes from.
Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. –Psalm 62:5-6 (NLT)
Renewed hope manifested in spring blooms
I love the way God illustrates hope through creation. And although unpredictable weather may delay our spring flowers, we can rest in the hope they represent.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”–Romans 15:13 (ESV)
My sister, Michelle, enjoyed our walks through the garden and the nearby nature trail (click here to read a funny “head of wheels” story). It felt like we stopped at every new bloom,
smelling the roses, touching the soft petals, and enjoying a gentle breeze swaying flowers back and forth, like a beckoning wave welcoming us into their world.
Spring will be different this year.
Michelle left us in January 2023. Alzheimer’s took its toll on all of us, but we still have hope because we know she is nestled in our Father’s arms. We trusted God for the outcome knowing He is faithful.
Watching our loved ones succumb to the inevitabilities of life is hard, but as believers, we know where they’re going. And while they are with us, we know God is present in our caregiving journey.
No matter how dark it seems today, my caregiving friend, we still have the hope God illustrates for us through the changing seasons. We know this is true. Spring always follows winter, and with it comes renewed hope—a beautiful reminder of God’s gift of hope through His son, Jesus.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. –Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
A caregiver’s prayer for renewed hope:
God of hope, I need you today. Caregiving is depleting my energy, and I’m finding it hard to stay hopeful. Unexpected events continue upending my plans and trigger uncomfortable emotions ranging from anger to anxiety. Help me remember You are in control and with me always. I’m so sad to see my loved one suffering, and sometimes I feel I can no longer carry this burden. Lord, give me renewed hope. I know you have a purpose in all this, so help me trust You even when I can’t see it. Help me apply the lessons you teach me today to circumstances I’ll experience tomorrow. Remind me of the gift of hope we find in Jesus, and guide me through another day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Or you could work through them here.
- Do you find it difficult to find hope as you care for a loved one? Take a few minutes to share that hopeless feeling with God and ask Him for renewed hope.
- Can you look back on your life, maybe even before caregiving, and see how God helped you through a difficult event? Then, write a prayer of thanks.
- What lessons have you learned by persevering through challenging circumstances? Take a few minutes to identify one important thing you learned.
- How have the lessons you learned in the past influenced how you handle challenging circumstances today?
Click here for more about our hope in Jesus
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Such a beautiful and helpful post, Suzette. I appreciate the encouragement you share as well as the practical advice for times we never seem prepared for. Loved seeing the photo of Michelle, I cannot imagine how much you must miss her.
Thank you for your tireless work at encouraging others on the hard caregiving paths.
Hi Donna. I’m glad you were encouraged. I do miss my sister and all the things that could have been without Alzheimer’s, but God had so much better plans for her future. Thanks for your heartfelt comment.
I’m sad that Michelle won’t be with you this Easter, Suzette. 🙁 But I’m glad you find hope in your faith. My mother died from Alzheimer’s 13 years ago; I look forward to seeing her again one day on the other side of this life, in all her glorious new self.
Thanks, Lisa. I’m sorry you had to run the Alzheimer’s gauntlet with your mom. But I trust that both my sister and your mom are in heaven now free of their burdens. Happy Easter!