Caring for the Caregiver

 

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Caregivers must be intentional about caring for their own health. In the process of caring for someone else, it’s easy to neglect yourself. Just as you make a schedule for your loved ones, make a schedule for yourself. Schedule down time for yourself even if it’s sitting outside in the fresh air.  You are valuable, if you do not take care of yourself how will you care for others?

My husband has an aide that comes three days a week, it’s only for an hour or so but that an hour that I can use to get out of the house. She will call and let me know when she is on her way and I immediately begin to gather what I need so that I can walk out the door as soon as she walks in. I usually use that time to get in some form of exercise.

Exercise has several benefits, one of which is that it improves your mood while also decreasing anxiety and stress.  During exercise your body releases chemicals that improve your mood. As little as 30 minutes of exercise can have  positive results on an individual.

I know from personal experience that I am happier when I exercise. I walk away from a workout with a feeling of accomplishment that I have done something good for myself.  While we as caregivers are busy doing for others, do not overlook yourself. If you want to have something to give to the one you care for be sure to nourish yourself, otherwise you will be empty. You will have nothing for yourself and certainly nothing to give others.

Caregivers start moving.

 

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Evelyn Johnson Taylor

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Caring for the Caregiver

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My book See Me Hear Me Know Me from The Heart of a Caregiver I share my journey of being a caregiver for my husband. Next month will be 10 years that I have been his caregiver. It has been quite an interesting journey to say the least. With the fluctuation of his condition you would think it would make my job easier.  Well, sometimes it does but to be honest most of the time it does not. It’s the not knowing what to expect that has been one of the great challenges for me. One day he is quite independent than the next day he is dependent.

Scott, my husband has just come home from nearly a one-month stay in the hospital. With this new discharge brings new challenges. When I wrote this book, my goal was to give a voice to caregivers. To add validation their emotions and let them know that they are not alone.

 It has been one of my great joys to hear from caregivers who have read the book and to learn how much it helped them. Sharing our story has opened doors for me to speak to Caregiver Support Group where I have met some amazing individuals. Caregivers work hard doing a job that no one really asks for.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 

The answer that Apostle Paul received in this Scripture is not the answer we seek when we go to God with an issue, but it was a good answer. The Apostle was assured that God’s grace was sufficient for all his needs. Even in his infirmity that could have hindered his effectiveness, the grace of God was sufficient. As caregivers, know that whatever demands your role as a caregiver puts on you, the grace of God will see you through. His grace is often in the form of tools and resources that come to assist caregivers.  Be wise and take advantage of every opportunity to receive the help you need. Caregivers must take care of themselves so that they can continue to care for the most vulnerable among us.

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Evelyn Johnson-Taylor PhD

Grace

 

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Have you ever had a day when you thoughts, “I’m not going to make it?” There is not a day that goes by that I am not thankful for the grace of God.  I see His grace upon my life daily. The ultimate gift of grace is demonstrated to us when we remember the sacrifice of God giving His Son and the sacrifice of the Son giving His life for the sins of the human race. Grace speaks of God’s divine favor and influence upon the heart of mankind. Grace is not only His favor but grace is God doing for me what I could not do for myself.

I grew up in a Christian home with parents who loved us and loved God. We were taught the principles of the Scripture from a very young age.  But the truth is the love of Christian parents would not redeem me from the curse of sin.  It would take the grace of God to do for me what no one else could do. I deserved the penalty that accompanied sin but He who was sinless took my place.  The sins of mankind were placed on Jesus and in exchanges we can become the righteousness of God if we believe and accept Jesus Christ as Lord.  “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21(NKJV)

Grace is continually being extended today, not only for salvation but for daily living. In those times when I walk outside of God’s plan for my life, His grace is available to forgive and restore.  When I totally mess up big time, His grace is not taken away but it remains.  In the midst of life’s challenges when I feel like throwing both hands up in walking in another direction, God is there, doing for me what I cannot do for myself. He is encouraging me, strengthening me, and empowering me for the journey. That’s the grace of God.

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor

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It’s Okay To Be Selfish

 

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The road of the caregiver brings lots of challenges and many opportunities for sadness, but keep your eyes on Jesus and maintain a heart of gratitude. Remember, it could always be worst and the best is yet to come. I tell myself almost daily that “my best days are ahead of me and not behind me” and that puts a smile on my face and joy in my heart. No, I am not happy about my 10 year journey as a caregiver and the many situations that come up. But once I cast my eyes beyond the present, my strength is renewed because I know in who I trust.

Caregivers must learn to take care of themselves. In my book See Me Hear Me Know Me, from The Heart of a Caregiver, I shared what has been helpful to me over the past decade as a caregiver for my husband.

 

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Sending love to caregivers everywhere! You are a special person.

Interruptions

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What do you do when the best-laid plans do not turn out the way you thought? I had an experience recently that I would like to share with you. We took The auto train from Florida to the Women of Promise  International Ministries conference in Maryland. I had so many things to transport for the conference: packets, bags, books, T-shirts, folders and notebooks, etc. The auto train appeared to be an excellent way to travel. We could pack the car, get on the train, and sleep as we took the 17 hour train ride to Maryland.

We had an uneventful trip, a very nice assistant on the train and things went really well. We had a great conference, and we were scheduled to return home on Monday September 11, but hurricane Irma came through the state of Florida. We didn’t have to worry about whether or not we should evacuate for Irma because we were already out of town attending the conference. Unfortunately, the storm rendered the train tracks impassable and our Monday’s return trip was canceled and rescheduled for Thursday.

Well, that didn’t seem like such a bad thing because I had promised myself that the next time I was in the area on a Sunday morning that I could visit Greater Mt Calvary Holy Church.  I also wanted to tour the African-American Museum in Washington DC and visit a friend in West Virginia. Now, with the train delay I would fulfill all three of those desires.  As a special bonus, I was able to minister the Word on Wednesday night in West Virginia. What a great experience.

Our Thursday train ended up being cancelled as well because of the residual from the storm.  We were told that the tracks were still under water in some of the areas of our route back to Florida.The next available seat they had for us on the train, not a sleeper but a business class seat would be on September 21.

My friend was very kind and offered for us to stay as long as we liked to but we realized we really needed to get home. With a goal in mind, we set out driving with me as the only driver. I figured no matter how long it took we would surely arrive before September 21.

My GPS showed our destination as nearly 1000 miles.  I certainly was not looking forward to that as I had made a decision not to do long-distance driving after experiencing horrible sciatica pain after my last road trip a year prior.

We were looking at nearly 15 hours of driving. After praying we started our journey. I stopped frequently and after eight hours in the car we checked into a hotel for the night. We had been warned about gas not being available on some exits. We were told that the traffic would be heavily congested with people returning to Florida after having to evacuate and that some hotels would be closed.

God granted us favor as we spent the first night and headed out again the next morning. The second night we stopped after seven hours in the car to rest deciding to do the final leg of the trip home on the third day. We ran into minor traffic congestion a few times. Gasoline was readily available and the hotel we chose on our final night had just opened the day before after being closed for a week.

So what do you do when life gives you an interruption?  Apostle Paul writes in 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.” When interruptions come, I stand on what I know to be true about God. He is faithful and He does not lie. I am confident that this interruption was somehow working for my good. There might have been something that God wanted me to learn, or something He wanted to show me, but nevertheless I must always keep moving forward.

Let me encourage you my friend, because I know life has a way of giving us all kinds of interruptions whether it be a long-term illnesses, loss of job, loss of home, a hurricane, or death of a loved one.  There are all kinds of things that interrupt our lives, but even in that we give thanks.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV) “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

It is in those moments of interruption that we must resist the temptation to complain. The key to  maintaining our joy is to not complain when things do not go according to our plans. In the midst of interruptions I have learned to offer God praise.

I had an awesome opportunity to minister to some lovely woman. God provided for our needs as we traveled and when we arrived home there was no damage to our home from the hurricane.

Interruptions are just an opportunity to offer a praise of thanksgiving to an awesome God.  What started as a 6 day voyage turned into a 10 day trip, but at the conclusion of it all, we ended up right where we needed to be.

HOME!

 

Evelyn Johnson-Taylor

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One Bite at a time

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Have you ever come to the end of a week and all you could say is thank God it’s Saturday? Well, I have had one of those weeks. A week packed with Demands, projects, deadlines, and responsibilities. Each day when I open my eyes I thank God for another day. More time to work on projects and to complain about deadlines.

Seriously, I am so grateful for the opportunities God has granted me this week to show forth His love in all that I do. I led a Facebook discussion this week, and participated in an online Bible study. I also conducted a conference planning meeting, finalized our agreement with the conference venue, and reached out to several vendors/businesses regarding conference sponsorship. In additional to the above I prayed and assisted the sick and bereaved, worked on two speaking contracts with Christian Speakers Services, took my car in for service, met my husband new home care health nurse, physical and occupational therapist, ordered and shipped books. All while I have continued my regular weekly responsibilities.

It sounds like a lot and it is, but I am so thankful that God has strengthened me for the task. So how do you accomplish everything that comes at you day after day? I adhere to the One Bite at a time philosophy. It makes perfect sense to take one step at a time. If we are to achieve what is needed, we must start moving toward the end game.

So while I thank God it’s Saturday. I also thank Him for Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Evelyn Johnson Taylor

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Life on my own Terms

images (6).jpgI’ve heard it said many times, “I’m going to live life on my own terms.” Well, I do not wish to live life on my terms but on God’s terms. Even when we think we know what is best for us, many times we do not. I want to be where God wants me to be and when He wants me there.

I do not wish to arrive too early or too late. My timing often is off, but His timing is always perfect. When we try to do things on our own, we struggle for years trying to accomplish what could have been done in one day. Have you ever experienced something just open up to you? Something that you have been trying to work out on your own and it suddenly works. Timing has everything to do with us accomplishing our dreams in life.

Isaiah 40:31“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” God will renew the strength of those who wait for His perfect timing. Stop worrying so much is easy to say but not always easy to carry out.  Many times when people say “I’m not going to worry about it,” what they really mean is I’m not going to talk about it. I can tell you from experience, not talking about an issue does not mean you are not worrying about it.

We all can agree that worrying does not change anything. I recommend that you go to bed, get a good night sleep and allow God to work things out in His time. Many times while we are resting, He is working. Things tend to look better in the morning. His timing is not our timing but His timing is best. Make a decision today to stop living life on your own terms and live them according to the plans that God has laid out for your life.

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