As we age we typically become more limited in our physical ability. In addition to not moving as fast as we used to, we also grow slowing in our thinking and processing of information. As we age, we often need a little more help. You may find yourself being the one giving the help. As a spouse or child, you are likely to be called on to be a caregiver. Some people experience life in the sandwich generation, having to care for their children and their parents at the same time. Caregiving can be overwhelming and frustrating. It is important that you care of yourself while you are caring for others. Below are some ideas on self-care as you provide care for your loved ones.
• Prioritize your relationship with God. God can give you the proper perspective that you need as a caregiver. Allow God to care for you as you care for others. He will give you strength and empower you to show grace and mercy (Read Isaiah 40:28-31).
• Accept help from others. Assess and clearly communicate the kind of help you’d find most useful. Ask for help from family members, friends, and outside sources like state agencies, senior centers, and your brothers and sisters in Christ. When people offer to assist you with various tasks or invite you to take a break for a few hours while they sit with your loved one, allow them to minister to you. It can be as simple as someone doing your grocery shopping or preparing dinner for you. Ask God to help you locate the right helpers to come alongside you in the journey.
• Remember that this is a temporary season in your life. Knowing that things won’t always be like this should inspire hope.
• Cherish the moments and take advantage of the opportunities to honor your parents and demonstrate your love for your spouse.
• Don’t neglect your other relationships. Be intentional about your time. Continue to date your spouse. Love on your children. Communicate with your friends.
What things have you found helpful in caregiving? Write a note and share it with someone who is a caregiver.
On Saturday, August 13, 2016 Marsalis Avenue Church of Christ held our 8th Annual Back to School Community Fair. In four hours we were blessed to touch approximately 500 people, many of whom have never been to our church building before. Thank you to Melissa Bradford, Perry Cole, Laymonde Lee and all of the members of the planning committee. We also want to thank all of our members who prayed and volunteered to make this year’s fair a success. God answered our prayers in a powerful way, and held back the rain during the time of the community fair.
Since the fair is over, the question emerges, “Now what?” We touched the lives of about 500 people who aren’t members of the body of Christ. Now what? We gave away backpacks and school supplies. Now what? We had vendors who provided goods and services designed to better the lives of others. Now what? The work of the community fair didn’t end once the cleanup was over on Saturday. While we were able to meet some of the needs of those who attended on Saturday, there is still a great need that is unfilled in the lives of many of those who we touched. That need is the need for Christ and salvation. It is the need to connect or reconnect with God.
As we focus on making and developing disciples, we encourage you to be prayerful. Pray that God will send laborers into His vineyard. Pray that people will be receptive to the invitation to study. Pray that the seed of the gospel will fall on good soil. Pray that much fruit will come from the community fair. Pray that the saints of God stay encouraged and grow in courage to share the message of Jesus. Prayer is the starting point of “now what,” but it is not the end. After prayer comes action through ministry and teaching. As you pray, understand that you are part of the answer to the prayer that God send out workers into His harvest (Matthew 9:35-10:7).
This week, we conclude our reflection on having a Caleb-like spirit that is different from others. This different spirit sees God, not giants (Numbers 13:31-33; 14:6-9). Ten men saw how big the people were in the land and were terrified. They said we look like grasshoppers compared to them. Caleb’s spirit said, “Forget about your statistical analysis. Forget about who is currently living in the land. It doesn’t matter how tall they are. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will give us the land. Don’t be afraid of the people and don’t go against God because we’ve got this!”
In Joshua 14-15 we discover that the very men that the ten spies and the rest of Israel feared are the same people that Caleb defeated. For 45 years Caleb held on to the promises of God because he knew that God didn’t bring him that far to leave him.
Caleb gives us the key for staying on the Lord’s good side. Make sure God is happy with you. When God is happy with you, He will give you what He promised. Don’t rebel against God. Don’t stand in opposition to what God is planning to do. Don’t be afraid of your enemy because God has removed their protection from them and He is with us. And the beautiful thing about living life on this side of the cross is that God is not just with us. But God is in us.
Caleb was sold on God’s vision. He was all in. He decided that He was going to follow God wherever God led him. Will you have a different kind of spirit?
Minister Ross' creativity, wisdom, and insight have inspired community, church and corporate audiences throughout the United States.