Excerpt from HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER on American Family Radio: 8/24/2019
It’s starting to dawn on a lot of us …some of who are newer to this, not so much, but a lot of us have that realization, “Man, this thing is not going to have the happy ending, it's not going to have the happy ending that we want, it's not going to get pretty. In fact, it's going to probably get worse.”
And what do you do with that information? What does hope look like in that?
And as I've struggled through these things and I've worked through these things myself, I determined I was going to offer this to my fellow caregivers to ways that they can point them to safety, point him to high ground where they can just catch their breath. And I got people that call in to the show that want to kind of insert their story into it, you know, “I've been taking care of my children,” but they're not special needs children, they're just children, I've got children.
But this is not “Hope for the Parent;” this is not “Hope for the Homeschooling Parent,” …this is Hope For The Caregiver.
This is not to teach you how to care-give, this is not to do any of those things, this is Hope For The Caregiver, who… that one person who is up night after night after night doing laundry.
Back and forth at doctors’ offices.
Looking at the bills mounting up.
Listening to somebody who…they are wiping their bottom… and getting cussed at by the same person.
Somebody whose father abused them as a child and now they're having to help him go to the bathroom.
This is who the show is for …to let you know that God has not forgotten you, He has not abandoned you. This is not some kind of curse from God, that's not what's going on here.
And this is your time.
As it was said in the scripture at the beginning of it, “Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad; a good word makes him glad.”
How many of you right now are feeling so anxious, that are so weighed down? I can't take this burden off of you, you can't take mine off of me, but what we can do is help each other adjust this pack a little bit easier, and what we can do is we can build each other up and equip each other to be stronger as we carry it. What's happening is we're trying to muscle our way, white-knuckle our way through this and we're getting weaker by the day. I get that.
And so, what I'm trying to do on this show, what American Family Radio is helping me do is to come along and strengthen you for this journey. That's what it means when we bear one another's burdens. We're equipping each other to do this. We're not going to let you just get crushed by this. We want to point safety and we want you to know that your peace is available, it's right now, that peace that you're craving is available right now!
You don't have to wait for the funeral to be over… to have peace in your heart, you don't have to wait for that magical surgery that's going to fix this or that, whatever that treatment is.
You don't have to wait for that you don't have to wait for your loved one to stop acting the way they're acting, to stop drinking …stop putting drugs into their body.
You don't have to wait for that to have peace, you can have that right now; no kidding, right now.
It's not going to come without tears and it's not going to come without reinforcement and work and somebody pointing you to that place.
And I floundered around for so many years where people came… when people came up to me and just offered me stuff that we just looked at them like, “What's the matter with you?”
But I was young …and I didn't know much, and I didn't know how to respond to that. I didn't know how to push back on that and say, “No, this is not wrong.”
And bad theology has caused more damage for people, and we've got a lot of bad theology going on out there. So, when we sit down here with this network we said:
“You know what? We're going to put good theology in a way that caregivers can really understand into their hearts. We want to make sure that you clearly understand what the gospel means in this situation, that even as you are doing the things that you're doing, changing a dressing or a colostomy bag or picking up your special needs child and getting them to the toilet, that even in those moments when your heart is breaking, that the peace of God which transcends all understanding can still flood your heart in those moments; that's what the show is about.”
Peter: Ernie in Alabama. Ernie, good morning, how are you feeling?
Ernie: Good morning at Mr. Rosenberger. I should call you brother Rosenberger. Thank you for taking my call.
Peter: Well, you can just… how about you just call me Peter? You can just call me Peter.
Ernie: Peter, well, thank you thank you, Peter, thank you for your program, it's amazing. It has to be providential, I was telling the lady when I call that we’re caregivers for our granddaughter along with her mother. She's a teacher and so we take care of her, and she's 5 and a half years old, she’ll be 6 in October, so she's almost 6, and he suffers from FOXG1 syndrome. And FOXG1 is a deletion of 1 little gene in the 14th chromosome, and the symptoms are that she cannot… she cannot fit by herself nor stand by herself, she can support weight, but you cannot walk, she cannot crawl, she cannot sit from lying… in lying position, she cannot talk. She loves music, she loves people, she's aware of her surroundings, she understands her name and she cannot sing or do her ABCs. We take her to school, they have a real nice class, the… that happened at conception when the deletion misconstruction of her genetic code. And also, her problem also is the communication between her little brain to the different autonomous system.
Peter: Ernie, let me… Ernie, let me stop you for a second. One of the things we caregivers are very good at doing is we can rattle off our loved one’s chart, we could get down to the chromosome and DNA level, we could tell everything about our loved one. Ernie, how are you feeling?
Ernie: Yes, and this is one of the reason that it's a miracle, providential I would say. I'm a Christian, I believe in the power of Jesus, I believe in…
Peter: Ernie, I got… Ernie, Ernie, I got all that. How do you feel right now?
Ernie: Oh, yes, it’s exactly like what you say. The theology when people approach you and for example, like they say, “You know, the reason that your granddaughter is the way she is is because God knew that you were going to be a good provider.”
Peter: But Ernie, Ernie, you're still… you’re still not answering my question. I want you to take 1 word and tell me how your heart feels right now.
Ernie: Oh, it's devastating, it is devastating to go through what we go through and…
Peter: Well, it is devastating, and if you could do something for me, can you hang on? Don't hang up because we got to take a quick break, but I want to talk about [feeling] devastated, okay? Can you hang on with me?
Peter: Just hang on, don't go anywhere, we're going to take a quick break and I want to talk about this a little bit more. This is Hope For The Caregiver, this is Peter Rosenberger and this is the show for you as a family caregiver. You voluntarily put yourself in a situation where you’ve got to help an impaired loved on, how are you feeling? How are you feeling? How is your heart doing? Ernie and I are going to talk about that when we get back. 888-589-8840, we'll be right back.
Welcome back to the show for caregivers, this is the nation's number one show for the caregiver and you know what? Because of AFR, we're out in front of this with the gospel.
We're not giving you New Age, psychobabble, Hallmark cards …We're giving you the authority and the clarity of the gospel in your situation as a caregiver. 888-589-8840, 888-589-8840; let me go back to Ernie.
Ernie, you see what I'm talking about here when I ask you how you're feeling and it took you going through your granddaughter’s chart and talked about all the things … you used a lot of words, but when it comes down to really how you're feeling, it's devastating to watch this. And that's what I want to talk about with you, I want to see how are you doing because I want to be able to speak to that devastating place in your heart. It is a hard thing to watch your family member, somebody you love deeply to be this way …and to go with these things and wondering with it. So, talk a little bit more about how are you feeling in this, Ernie?
Ernie: The… Peter, the most devastating part of all is whenever you see her suffering in pain in anguish, whenever you see her going into seizures, the first thing that comes in is to… it tries your faith. And then you would say you will say things like, “God, we've been praying for 6 years and look,” and then you say, “Do you care? Are you listening?” But then as soon as you say it and then whenever the seizures subside and she's feeling better, then the guilt of knowing then I didn’t have enough faith, enough staying on his world to trust him through this awful time. And that’s one… that's the most devastating part is the fact that I know that he cares, I know that he listens, I know that his hand is long to reach and help, but we do not understand why, and it goes to the why. And then so that is… and then you go through the period devastation of our faith, the devastation and, you know, we just feel so low…
Peter: Well let me…
Ernie: .. the fact that we tapped out.
Peter: Let me… let me speak something very specific to you in that, Ernie. And thank you for that, Ernie, thank you for trusting me with your heart because that now we're having a real conversation, because you do, you question why God is doing something, after the seizure is done, you breathe a little easy and then you feel guilty for it.
And no, no, no, I want you to understand that it's not your faith, it's not how much faith you have, it's not the fact that you could squint your eyes real hard and pray, it's the fact that you are calling up to God in the first place. That is the indication of your faith. That you recognize that there is a God and that He is supreme over this.
You don't understand it and it hurts your heart …and it frustrates you to watch your granddaughter go into these seizures, I get that, but the fact that you are calling out to this God at all, Ernie, is an indication that your faith is. And I want you to… I want you… I'm going to give you something very specific today because everything we do here is specific and focused on a caregiver, but I want you to remember this Psalm: Psalm 13.
And I'm going to read it to you, but I want you to look it up, and every time you feel this way, every time you struggle with this, would you go back and look at this Psalm? Let's see what it says,
“How long, Lord, will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God, give light to my eyes or I will sleep in death and my enemies will say, ‘I've overcome him,’ and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”
And here you go, here you go, Ernie, this is for you, this is what David says,
“But I trust in your unfailing love. My heart rejoices in your salvation, I will sing the Lord's praise for he has been good to me.”
Do you see the train of thought that he did as he wrote this Psalm under the guidance of the Holy Spirit? Because he cried out, “How long, Lord?”
You've been praying for 6 years with this granddaughter, you've been watching this situation unfold, and those questions that come, “How long are you going to let me just basically go to bed with his tears pulling… flowing from my eyes?”
But as he as he works his way through this, he comes back he said, “But here's what I'm going to do.”
And this is where you are, Ernie, you're in that Psalm 13 place where it is very, very difficult, and there are so many tears that come and you're saying, “How long?” and yet, you are still recognizing that that you have a Savior, you have a God who is who is keenly aware of this and you're conflicted on any given day.
Every caregiver, every one of us understand that conflict that comes in our hearts. And I want you to know that I appreciate you very much taking the time to just call and share your heart. It takes a while to get down to it because we want to rattle off all the chart, but what we're interested on this show right now, Ernie, is your chart, the chart of your heart, of how you feel.
And does that Psalm 13, can you… would you hang on to that for me? When you get to those places, would you hang on to it and go back and just spend some time reading Psalm 13?
Ernie: I will and I will share it with my wife and my daughter. And I cannot thank you enough for your compassion, for great thing that you're doing. And just yesterday she had another episode, and I was in my way this morning to a Bible study we do on Saturday mornings, and not only that, but there are also people in my group that have Alzheimer's, loved ones with Alzheimer's and I'm going to share this morning as soon as…
Peter: This is the show for your group, this is the show…
Ernie: I will.
Peter: … for your group and your daughter. And would you… would you read…? Do me do me a favor, just I'm asking you to just kind of take a little bit of a leap of faith, not just share this with your wife, but would you and your wife and your daughter sit around the table and would you hold each of their hands and will you read Psalm 13 to them, read it very, very, very slowly.
Ernie: I can do it with them, that would be…
Peter: Now, there will be some… there'll be some tears, there'll be some tears there, Ernie. OK? I'm just giving you a heads up, all of your eyes will fill with tears. But if you will stand in that gap as “the Godly priest of your home manner” …and read these words to your family, I promise you…
Ernie: I’m sure that will be…
Peter: I promise you something, and I want you… actually, I want you to call us back and tell us what happens in that moment. It won't be easy, it'll be… it'll be difficult, there'll be tears, but I want you to have that…
.. Actually, you know what? You don't want you don't need to call us back and tell us because that's a private moment with you and your family and God, but I believe that you'll… you'll know that you are stepping into a different place with your family in your relationship with God. But physically touch your wife and your daughter, hold their hands and read the scripture out loud, and read it slowly, I mean slowly, because our hearts move a lot slower than our mouths and our heads. And thank you for…
Ernie: It’s the correct Psalm.
Peter: Pardon me?
Ernie: It’s the correct Psalm, Psalm 13, so I surely will do that. And thank you so, so much for that, and I know that we expect victory from this, just the fact that, like you said, that he's there and he's there for us and… but…
Peter: The victory is… the victory is already there, this journey is… is honing you down to be in that place with God that you would not be otherwise.
The victory was assured at the cross and we have to walk in that victory.
Now, sometimes we think victory is when they stop having seizures, there's victory when they're having seizures, there's victory when all of this stuff is happening. As my wife groans in pain at various times, there's victory while she's groaning in pain. Somehow we've equated victory with problem-solving, and victory is a whole lot different.
And we can have victory, we can have peace, we could have joy right in the midst of these things. Now, I'm not saying this like I own this I'm saying this like I believe this …and I need to hear it over and over …and over again myself. You tracking with me?
Peter: So, the next time… next time your granddaughter has a seizure, I want you to understand that you have victory even in the midst of that seizure. The victory has not been stripped from you because it was not your victory, it was God's victory through what he did at the cross, that's our victory. And you hang on to that, hang on to that and help your wife and your daughter hang on to that.
Ernie: I sure will.
Peter: And that's how we're going to do it together. And, Ernie, I want you to know how much I appreciate you calling and sharing your family's journey. And you're important to us, we're part of the body of Christ, you're my family and we're going to we're going to we're going to strengthen each other together.
Ernie: Thank you.
Peter: And you've helped… you've helped strengthen me this morning, Ernie, so thank you.
Ernie: Well, thank you, thank you for your program and may God bless you.
Peter: Well he does and he has, and you go to your Bible study right now and share this with the Bible study there and then I'd like to hear from you in the future about just how you doing, okay?
Ernie: I will, thank you.