Only You Can Determine if Caregiving is a Burden or a Blessing

You get to choose your attitude

Only you can choose whether caregiving is a burden or a blessing!

My Story is Your Story

My life has been marked by many events. which if I am honest, made me who I am today. Life lessons abound and are interspersed with several periods of putting my plans on hold in order to care for others. During the 31 day writing challenge, I read many posts about caregiving and the journey these people traversed to get to where they are now. I am intrigued by their stories and my heart feels deeply for them. Until recently, I did not understand that the words I read are ones that mirror parts of my own story.

2 Cor 9-7

As I struggled to balance a two week period recently, where my dad was in the hospital and his apartment needed to be cleaned out before the end of the month, I had a conversation with one of my brothers. I voiced concerns, frustrations and finally named my struggles with these words, “I am a caregiver.” He didn’t patronize me or downplay all the feels I was feeling at that moment. He came alongside and acknowledged this truth. I had never spoken these words out loud to anyone before this.

I am blessed by a wonderful family who cares deeply for each other and willingly supports a member when needed. But, they all live out of town and when you are craving a physical presence to sit next to you in silence or in shared words, reality reminds you that you are alone. Caregiving, when alone, takes on a new level of staying strong and leaning on the one who you can always count on – God!

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Throughout my life, I have played the role of caregiver. My first experience was caring for my former husband, who endured one physical problem after another. I learned quickly that caring for young sons, as well as a husband, was a full time job. However, I already had a full time job as a teacher. I carried an “I am fine” persona with me at all times and from the outside looking in, I had it all together. I still wear a strong outer shell as a result of my years of living life through the challenges as well as the joys. This last experience with my dad is creating a softening of my heart and a deep desire to not just care for someone, but bless them with my time.

My brother spoke truth into my heart during that phone conversation and his wise words have stuck with me. He changed my perspective of caregiving by saying he looks at it as a way to serve a loved one. My attitude of trying to get it all done while remaining strong, is slowly falling apart, one piece at at time. I can choose to bless someone with the gift of time or carry the burden of feeling like my time is not my own. There is nothing easy about either choice, but God loves generosity and presence.

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

You might also be in a position of caring for someone that feels burdensome at times. God is cheering for you as you give the gift of being present. Perhaps, like me, you did not even recognize that the role you were playing was caregiving. It took me many years and one conversation with my brother to understand I was a caregiver. We need to embrace the positions God calls us to in our lives. This little blip along the road will be used for God’s glory, when we see the blessing of time that is inherent in caregiving.

I am slowly learning to bless others with a cheerful heart, knowing that my time is not really my own. We belong to God and giving of our time, serving others, or blessing all with a smile is building God’s Kingdom. A blessing that in turn blesses you more in return.

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Mary Geisen is the mom of two amazing, grown sons. She is blessed to be a retired 3rd grade teacher and a woman seeking God in the ordinary routines of life. Lover of the beach, coffee and long walks outside are coupled with a love of reading. God’s story for her life blossomed into written words that begged to be shared with others and then her writing journey began. The power of God’s words has inspired her journey of healing and drawing closer to God through the power of grace.

Join Mary on her grace journey by connecting with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • One of the biggest impacts for me of being a caregiver is that realization that my time is not my own, but I need to change the emphasis in my thinking of blessing others with the gift of time rather than feeling that the demands on my time are a burden. Thanks for this perspective.
    Barbara H. recently posted…Book Review: The YearlingMy Profile

    • I am still a work in progress, but God loves using me to break my heart open wider for Him. I have felt like you for a very long time. I am learning that I need to bless my dad with the gift of time with him especially since he is 94 years young!

      I pray everyday that my heart will soften and my attitude be one of grace. I will pray for you too. Thank you for being here, Barbara!
      Mary Geisen recently posted…My Story is Your Story … Guest PostMy Profile

  • What an important change of perspective, Mary. I really needed that too. Caregiving can become such a chore for me as well. Thank you for shifting my attitude here. You are such a blessing to so many, my friend, including me :). And I really want to tell you again how fabulous your new profile picture is! It truly captures your inner and outer beauty. I smile with you every time I see it. Much love to you as you continue to serve with a cheerful heart, something I definitely need to work on.
    Candace recently posted…The Truth About MarriageMy Profile

    • My attitude change is still evolving. I pray often that I will be loving and grace-filled in all that I need to do especially for my dad. He deserves my best and so does everyone else around me.

      Thank you for the beautiful compliment about my picture. I love it too!!! We can work together to support each other in this walk of caring for others with grace and love.
      Mary Geisen recently posted…My Story is Your Story … Guest PostMy Profile

  • THIS: “You might also be in a position of caring for someone that feels burdensome at times. God is cheering for you as you give the gift of being present.” Sometimes it is so easy to find caregiving as burdensome, but you are so right…God does love a cheerful giver. It reminds me that by caring for Mom, I am stewarding my time. And yes, caregiving for her not only has blessed Mom, but it has blessed my sister and I too. We just maybe don’t always see it at first.
    Tara recently posted…A-Zs of Thanksgiving (Part Two: N-Z)My Profile

    • You have a unique story of caregiving and one that requires much perseverance as well as blessing your mom with your time. You know when a visit means so much because they in turn show you in their actions how much you are appreciated.

      Thank you for your diligence with your mom and the for spending time blessing me with your encouragement. Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!
      Mary Geisen recently posted…My Story is Your Story … Guest PostMy Profile

  • Oh, Mary, I am so with you. With a disabled son and an elderly mother I guess I really am a caregiver. Like you I have struggled sometimes with just trying to get things done rather than determining how I can bless by my actions. God is showing me the better way and I’m so glad to know I am not alone. Thank you for sharing your story! Blessings to you!
    Gayl recently posted…Thanksgiving Greetings from Our House to YoursMy Profile

    • Thank you for sharing more of your story. I was not aware of your situation. I understand the desire to just get things finished because you have the rest of the family that you need to care for too. God is honored by your willingness and care for your mom and son.

      I am so blessed you stopped by and please know that I am praying that God continues to soften both of our hearts toward caring for others with love and grace. Blessings!
      Mary Geisen recently posted…My Story is Your Story … Guest PostMy Profile

  • Mary, I love reading your blog and getting little glimpses into your life of following Christ. Like you, I’m the “local” daughter — my sister is in Alaska and I’m in Maine — so much of the day to day is in my court. You have done well to put voice to your thoughts with your brother. We are both in the process, I think, of learning to let go of the veneer of “independence” and to accept our neediness before God. Blessings, Mary, and Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing here.
    Michele Morin recently posted…Grant Us Grace to AskMy Profile

    • I am blessed that you stopped here today to encourage me as well as cheer me on in this caregiving journey. I feel fortunate that we have connected through our blogs and always love learning more about the community, I call home. I pray your Thanksgiving was blessed and you find the chance to let God find you in this season of Advent.
      Mary Geisen recently posted…My Story is Your Story … Guest PostMy Profile

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  • At some points caregiving really can be considered a burden, like carrying somebody else’s cross. I’ve done these kinds of support to my mom also, and like you, it was never easy, but I still wanted to be the one to support my mother cos I cannot help but feel the need of taking care of your own parent. After a few months, I knew I cannot carry on doing these tasks, so I opted to go hire a caregiver, someone more experienced, and knows what exactly what to do, however I never fully give the responsibility to them cos I still wanted to be hands on to my mom. It really is a fulfillment knowing that you did your best in giving back what your parents gave when you are little. Anyways, God bless you Mary and your family! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring story.
    KimberlyGayeta recently posted…Bathroom Safety Tips for the ElderlyMy Profile