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Health & Fitness

With Peter Rosenberger

August 7, 2019

Mother’s Death Leaves Caregiver Feeling Without Purpose

AFR_LOGO.jpgHOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER is broadcast LIVE each Saturday at 8 AM Eastern on American Family Radio.

 

Peter: Hank in Virginia. Hey Hank, how are you feeling? 
Hank: Oh, I'm confused. My mother moved in here almost five years ago now. But then she died November 5th. Okay. My sisters all say I'm building castles in heaven because of what I did. But my problem is that now that she's gone, I feel incredibly guilty because I didn't …I wasn't nice enough to her.

I just, I didn't like my mother, but she was my mother. You know, my sisters called me and said, all these religious holy rollers that you live with, now that you become reborn,  …what do they do with their parents when they have to put them in a nursing home? I just laughed at them because they "put them in their basement," they don't send them anywhere.

So, my mother moved in with me and my sisters, I mean, they helped, you know, they all live on the left coast. They're all …nobody's near me. Well, my one little sister is in Maryland and she's up in Baltimore, but I saw her like every other weekend. We had a woman who did the woman's stuff a couple of times a week, but other than that it was me, 24/7.

Peter: Well Hank, I tell you what, can you hang on through the break?

Hank: Sure.

Peter:  Listen, don't go away because I want to talk about this with you. We want to

unpack this a little bit more for you. 

Hank: I don't know if I called the right place.

Peter: You absolutely called the right place. This is the place for you to call and we're going to spend as much time as we can with you. All right? 

Hank: Okay, sorry.

Peter: You got people here that are pulling for you. We're going to talk about this. Don't go away. This is Hope for the Caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger. We'll be right back. 

 

[Music]

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Gracie: Have you ever struggled to trust God when lousy things happen to you? I'm Gracie Rosenberger and in 1983 I experienced a horrific car accident leading to 80 surgeries and both legs amputated. I questioned, why God allowed something so brutal to happen to me, but over time my questions changed and I discovered courage to trust God. That understanding, along with an appreciation for quality prosthetic limbs led me to establish, Standing with Hope.

For more than a dozen years, we've been working with the government of Gannon, West Africa, equipping and training local workers to build and maintain quality prosthetic limbs for their own people. On a regular basis we purchase and ship equipment and supplies and with the help of inmates in a Tennessee prison, we also recycled parts from donated limbs. All of this is to point others to Christ, the source of my hope and strength. Please visit standingwithhope.com to learn more and participate in lifting others up, that's standingwithhope.com. I'm Gracie and I am standing with hope. 

Peter: Welcome back to the show for caregivers about caregivers hosted by a caregiver. This is Peter Rosenberger and we are glad that you are with us. We're talking with Hank and Virginia. Um, Hank let me go back to some things that you were talking about earlier. It sounds like you

are struggling with a lot of different conflicting feelings. If you had to just sum up one thing that you're feeling right now, what would that be? 

Hank: Um, huh. I thank Jesus and I live in West Virginia, West by God, Virginia [Laughing] 

Peter: West by God, Virginia. 

 Hank: Yes. Uh, and I found the Lord here were, I let him in anyway. I never knew who he was. I always knew there was a God. I always knew there was something greater than me, but I never understood the Jesus thing. And when I did, I mean, I didn't even believe he was talking to me, you know, like, but... 

Peter: But, but how, how are you feeling today Hank? 

Hank: Uh, depressed. Um, worthless. Look, um, I'm pretty busted up. I'm pretty disabled in my own right. I have a hard time getting around, walking, doing whatever. At least when my mother was here, I had a purpose. You know, I was doing something, and I thought, she's going to be here for the next 20 years. I really did. I thought I was doing penance for being in the child that I was but uh...

Peter: Well let's unpack it a little bit cause we only, I want to spend as much time as I have with you, but I want to go back ...you were not doing penance. Okay?

Hank: I know, it's a joke. It's a joke. 

Peter: Okay, well I'd say I'd, it's radio so I can't see you. So I don't know for sure, but I want to make sure you know that and the audience knows that this is not penance because there are a lot of people that do feel like it's penance. 

Hank: Um, okay. I apologize. 

Peter: No, no, don't apologize. Look, we're caregivers here, all right?

Hank: I know this is serious. I know this is serious and I know, I mean I found you guys, I've listened to you for the last few years, you know, so I know what you do and I, I just never thought it applied to me. I just thought because my heart wasn't in it.

Peter: And yet, and yet you still did it. 

Hank: Yeah. Now, you're sound like my sisters.

Peter: Well, maybe they had some good words for you, but the point is you still did it and a lot of caregivers tend to beat themselves up for their job performance while completely overlooking their job attendance record. 

Hank: Okay. 

Peter: And you kept showing up, you kept doing it and, and I also want to tackle that issue that you said that you felt like, you know, you had a purpose. You have a purpose period.

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. That's catechism number one in the shorter catechism, the chief end of man that is, that is our purpose, is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Now, some of that may be involved and may be manifest in us being a caregiver for someone. We may have some conflicting feelings. We may not even do it very well, but our chief purpose is not to be a caregiver. Our chief purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever and he may call us for a season to do certain things. Now that season may be a lifetime. I mean, I'm 33 years into this. That season may be how long did you take care of your mother? 

Hank: About four and a half years. 

Peter: Okay, so for four and a half years, you had an intense situation where you were doing this and you felt like you were kind of in the zone of what your purpose was doing to get up and do these things. All right, but that doesn't mean that that, that your life is over just because your mother passed away. God has things for you to do as well and things to, to reveal to you about you and more importantly about him and he hasn't forgotten about you, he hasn't abandoned you. Your life is not over. Are you involved in church? 

Hank: I have a church that they, yeah, I'm, I'm like the black sheep. They love me very much. Yeah. I came to the Lord. Most of them, most, most all of them gave thanks. 

Peter: Well, actually the day that you came to the Lord Hank, all of Heaven rejoiced. (Luke 15:10)

Hank: Well, yeah, I know. I know. 

 

Peter: Do you really? Do you really know that? Do you really know how important you are to Christ?

Hank: I believe I truly do. I don't know why, but I truly do. 

Peter: Well, we don't need to know why 

Hank: He knew me like this, you know? Before you know, before he, before my father knew my mother, he knew me. He knew I'd be here. 

Peter: Yeah, he did and he knows 

Hank: I feel kind of lost.

Peter: Well, you sound kind of lost, you know, but that's okay. That's just where we are today. He has known you before the foundations of the earth. 

Hank: Amen. 

Peter: All right. And he stretched out his arms and died for you and he took all that on for you. You know, he died for all of us, but he died for each of us. 

Hank: Amen. All right. 

Peter: These are words that mean something, Hank. They mean something. They mean something to a caregiver to know that, “…wait a minute, this is not the end of the story!”

 That your mother's funeral was not the end of your purpose, that your disability, that things that you're struggling with just to get around. All the sins that you committed; he knew all of that. Every bit of it, Hank. There was nothing hidden from him. And as I said at the beginning of the show, all you need is need and he understands what you're going through right now. And so, you're calling the show on Saturday morning just to have a conversation with somebody who can speak back to you. These, there's an old hymn that I love, it's called a “Wonderful Words of Life.”

 “Beautiful Words, Wonderful Words, Wonderful Words of Life…”

And if you don't hear that on a regular basis, hey, if I don't hear that on a regular basis, we both have Gospel Amnesia and we'll forget it. And we need to be reminded of it daily, hourly, you know, that old hymn, “I Need Thee Every Hour?”

Hank: Amen.

 

Peter: You know that hymn?

 

Hank: I do not, but I know...

 

Peter: There's a wonderful hymn called, I Need Thee Every Hour” and you know why it was written because nobody had written, “I Need Thee Every Minute” yet. I think I'm gonna write that one.

 

It's okay to feel that way because now your prayers change. Now we're getting serious about this thing with God and He wants to speak to those things …and He does speak to those things with you  …and there's no need for you to continue to just beat yourself up about being the black sheep. There is nobody, there is nobody, I promise you there's nobody that has ever lived on this planet that is somehow earned the grace of God. 

Hank: Amen. I get that part.

Peter: Okay, do you really get it because it doesn't sound like you do? 

 

Hank: No, no. It's a gift. It's a gift that you have to accept. 

Peter: No, you don't have to accept it. No, no. You're, you're, you're parroting back words to me …that I know that you know …but in your heart, I could just sense that you have just been so beaten down and I don't want you to feel that way anymore. I want you to, I want you to see yourself as God sees you. When He looks at you. He sees Christ. 

Hank: Oh man. [Choking up]

Peter: Yeah, he does. He doesn't see all that nonsense because you were covered under that. It's the called the great exchange. He took on all of your filth, all of your brokenness, all of your sin, and he swapped it for all of his righteousness. He looked at Christ and saw all of that stuff that you're struggling with right now. That's what Christ has done on the cross …so that He could just wrap his arms around you and say, “Hank, dude, glad you're here! Come to the table. Sit down right here.” 

Hank: “Well done. Faithful, servant.”

 

Peter: And He will say that to you, but I'm asking you. I'm giving you an invitation here to stop parroting these words back and just listen to what they really mean. I know you know a lot of the words, but your heart is just torn apart for whatever reason. 

Hank: The truth, the truth really, really is. It's that Jesus is what changed my mind. I knew all the words. I knew all the stories; I'd heard it all. I'd been baptized, confirmed, all that stuff. I just didn't get it but once I understood than it is very simple. You just accept the gift that he's offered you. 

Peter: Well, I know that. I know that. 

Hank: I just don't want to sound like a parrot. 

Peter: Well, that's why. That's why I'm asking you to....

Hank: I really truly believe; I really truly do. 

Peter: I don't doubt that you do, but I think that there's so much brokenness in your own heart that you're standing on the sidelines looking in and trying to convince yourself of these things, …and I know that you believe it, but do you really believe it in all the broken places?

 [Do you really believe ] that none of that escaped God's sovereignty in his hand … and He was there watching all of these things happen and still weaving out his purposes in your life?

He watched my wife slam into that concrete abutment. He watched it. God allows what He hates in order to achieve what he loves. 

 

If you, if you get nothing out of this conversation today, Hank, God allows what He hates to achieve what he loves. Can you hang onto that? I'm sorry, we're up against the end of the show on the clock, but I wanted to make sure you had something tangible you could hang on to is, is that okay? Can you hang on to that for me? 

 

Hank: You have done more for me than you understand. 

Peter: Well, listen, it's a privilege because people have done more for me …and I'm going to be a good steward of it. 

CaregiverPodcast.jpgHey, this is Hope for the Caregiver and we're out of time, but we'll see you next week. Go to hopeforthecaregiver.com for more and you can get this podcast.

 

Peter Rosenberger is the president of Standing With Hope which sponsors HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER. Your support helps make this broadcast possible. Please consider a tax-deductible gift to this ministry today!

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