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Musings and Memories


Doug Dezotell
Posted 4/1/23

As a pastor I have stood alongside many dear people who have been taking care of a loved one.

Sometimes the one being cared for is a sick child, or a child with special needs.

Sometimes …

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Musings and Memories



As a pastor I have stood alongside many dear people who have been taking care of a loved one.

Sometimes the one being cared for is a sick child, or a child with special needs.

Sometimes they’re a loved one being cared for in their last days.

I have prayed for so many patients in their recliners in their living rooms, or at their bedsides at home, or in the hospital, or in a nursing home or assisted living center.

But in every case there is someone who is there beside them, taking care of them, loving them and helping them however they can.

Day after day…night after night.

Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, and doctors and nurses….

All of those caregivers are HEROES in my eyes.

Some of them are caregivers on purpose, and others by default.

“Caregivers on Purpose” are those who have chosen a career of being a caregiver such as medical professionals, doctors, nurses or nursing assistants.

My wife, Lynn, is one of those caregivers-on-purpose, a professional caregiver. She chose a career in nursing so she could help people. And for years now she has been a labor and delivery nurse helping mothers bring a child into the world.

She is there by the mother’s side through the pains of labor, and there with them through the wonderful miracle of childbirth.

And then there are those who are “Caregivers by Default;” those precious people who step up to take care of their loved ones, a child, a spouse, a parent, a brother or a sister, or another relative or friend.

According to Merriam-Webster that word, Default, means “a selection made usually automatically or without active consideration due to lack of a viable alternative.”

Those caregivers step up, their lives are interrupted without planning, taking them by surprise; and yet they rearrange their lives out of love for their family member or their friend.

So many times we are showing concern, offering prayers, and asking only about the patient, and we forget about those people who are caring for those people.

The caregivers wear themselves out taking care of that loved one, many times doing everything for them…and sometimes that caregiver ends up needing a caregiver themselves.

I have made it a practice to pray daily for “Caregivers.”

So many of my friends have become caregivers-by-default. For many of them caregiving is a privilege, but it can also be so very stressful.

Caregivers need our prayers.

Caregivers like Tracie, who has stepped up to help her parents, both of them using rollators to get around these days. Tracie still has to go to work and yet takes time to help her mom and dad.

Her mother, Hazel, had been helping her husband, Frank, until she suffered from a pinched nerve and other back trouble. And the caregiver then needed a caregiver herself.

These folks are dear friends of mine. Both of them are wonderful Christian people who depend on the Lord, and study God’s Word daily; prayer warriors who have prayed for others many, many times over the years.

My friends, Gene and Darnell, became caregivers when their daughter, Amy, was born more than 30 years ago. Amy’s parents have cared for their special-needs daughter for all these years. They have done it out of love, but with God’s strength and His Word sustaining them.

My friends, Marie and her daughters, Carol and Angela and Diane and Betty, became caregivers when Omar, Marie’s husband, developed dementia. Those precious ladies were by their mother’s side over the years caring for their daddy and supporting their mother until Omar passed away.

Standing with Marie and her daughters were the wonderful professional caregivers from Hospice Care, and the nurses and nurse assistants at the nursing home.

Then Omar’s daughter, Betty, a psychologist who spent years caring for others, developed cancer, and she was in need of care. Her husband is a doctor, and he and their daughter cared for Betty until she passed away.

I recently had the privilege of being on the journey with my caregiver friend, Pam, who became the caregiver for her mother, Jean, in her last days. Pam and her brothers, Chad and Steve, and her sister-in-law, Dana, were there with their mother helping her however they could.

Pam and Jean and I prayed together and shared God’s Word together and we had the privilege of planning Jean’s memorial service together.

My wife and I had the privilege of caring for Lynn’s mom, Cleda, in the last days of her life. We moved her into our home and took care of her however we could. There at the end Hospice Care nurses came in to assist us. And we were so grateful for their kindness and attentiveness.

One of my readers, a dear lady named Annette, called me last week to let me know how she found encouragement from my weekly columns.

Annette had been the main caregiver for her brother Bill during his last days. She found comfort in God’s Word, and God’s presence sustained her through her trying times as a caregiver.

Annette asked me to devote a column to “Caregivers,” and I told her that I would.

I could tell you story after story about people who became caregivers, caring for a loved one at home, or caring for a patient in the hospital. I know so many people who proved heroic in their efforts to do what is needed.

I recently read these words from a caregiver: “Worry seems to be a common theme among caregivers. You worry for your loved ones and you worry about the toll on your own mind, body, and spirit. In my own life as a caregiver, I realized that I was waiting for the ‘bad thing’ to happen every single day. My shoulders and neck would become tense first thing in the morning, and by evening that tension had turned into a headache.

“I worried about things like: Will mom eat well today? Will she keep losing weight? Will mom fall today? How will I have time to cook today? Are they bored? Should I entertain them more? And so many more worries Once I realized that my list seemed to be endless, I knew I had to do something. My time with God was eaten up by my ‘To-Do-List’ that was driven by the ‘List of Endless Worries.’”

That caregiver ultimately found her comfort and strength in the Word of God.

The Bible can help all of us refocus on God and the peace He promises us. When we are feeling overwhelmed, we can turn to Scripture for help. Reading Scripture slows down our frantic, stressed-out thinking, and as we read and meditate on the Word of God we can feel the Peace of God relaxing our minds and bodies.

I want to share some of those comforting words with you.

Psalm 61:1-2: “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. 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.” Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Matthew 25:40: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did it for Me.”

Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Psalm 121:1-2: “I lift my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.”

Psalm 23:1-4: “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”

John 15:12-13: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

Proverbs 3:5–6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him (realize the He is there), and God will make your paths straight (He will show you what to do).”

If you feel guilty about not doing enough: I Peter 5:7 says: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

If frustration is getting the better of you: Colossians 3:23–24 says: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.… It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

If you’re afraid of what tomorrow may bring, focus on today, for Psalm 118:24 says: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

If the person you’re caring for is difficult, ask God for His help, and remember God’s Word in Galatians 5:22–23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

I know that the “caregiving journey’ can be difficult, emotional, stressful, and draining, so I want to pass on to you the words of Moses from Numbers 6:24-26. This is my prayer for you caregivers: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”