A Caregiver You Know Might Need This Book

Dr. Bengtson Releases a Hope Prevails Bible Study Guide

BengtsonNot Knowing That I Stood in Need

When my husband miraculously recovered from non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with Central Nervous System involvement I knew I should feel grateful and blessed. I did, mostly. But a heavy blanket of depression crept over me and sucked the color out of my days. I felt as if an angry monster lurked inside, ready to lash out at any moment. I had no idea that I needed something.

It took me awhile to acknowledge that perhaps I suffered from depression (after all, shouldn’t I feel blessed? Which just made me feel guiltier and more depressed). At the time, I found a good resource that helped me understand my feelings and start traveling out of the darkness.

I wish I would have had Hope Prevails Bible Study: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengston. Not only has Dr. Bengston traveled through depression, she has experienced seasons of caregiving as well. In fact, her husband received a cancer diagnosis on the day her first book, Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression launched last year. Dr. Bengston knows first-hand how caregiving can wear a person down and how maintaining a positive attitude of hope plays an important role in a caregiver’s life.

Dr. Bengtson graciously answered a few questions about the unique challenges that caregivers face.

What lies do caregivers need to be aware of both during and after a loved one’s illness?

Dr. Bengtson: Caregivers need to be aware of the lie that somehow our loved-one’s well-being depends on us. It doesn’t. God has them in His hand and He cares for them so much better than we ever could. We just need to cooperate with Him.

We also need to be aware of the lie that will scream that their healing isn’t permanent. Only God knows. So, we rejoice in the promise that God says that by His stripes we are healed. We don’t know if that will be this side of heaven or not, but we thank Him that God’s ways are best.

Caregivers also must be careful to guard against the lie that says that more we do, the better off they will be, or that no one can care for them as good as we can. We need to take time to rest ourselves so that we can care for them. And sometimes resting means delegating or allowing others to step in and help.

As a cancer caregiver yourself, what extra advice would you give a caregiver who struggles with hopelessness?

Dr. Bengtson: As a caregiver, we have to be careful to guard against hopelessness. We have to be careful not to let anxiety have a place in our mind. One of the best ways to do that is to repeat God’s promises out loud, such as Psalm 39:7 “”But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.” and Isaiah 40:31 “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Go to Him. Share your burdens. He wants to help you carry them. He wants to be your strength. You do not have to go through this alone. Even when friends and family do not understand, he does!

Who Needs Dr. Bengtson’s Book

If you act as a caregiver to someone, I strongly recommend that you read this book as preventative maintenance! Traveling through a caregiving journey calls for extra fortifications—something this book provides. If you know a caregiver, consider giving the book to them as a gift. Often times caregivers look fine on the outside, but inside they feel lost and abandoned. The easy-to-use and understand Bible study takes the reader on a journey of hope. I found the play lists of hope-filled songs especially helpful. Dr. Bengtson has curated a wide variety of Christian music artists to help lift the listener’s spirits throughout the day.

Inspire Me Monday Instructions

What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:

1. Link up your favorite posts from last week!

2. Visit TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.

3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer—just do it!

Don’t forget to visit the other #InspireMeMonday host site: www.anitaojeda.com

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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.

Please note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Amy

    Oh wow, this post and recommendation is timely. I want to pass it on to a couple friends who are walking this path. Thank you!
    ~FMF Neighbor this week

    • Nice to meet you, Amy! Thanks for stopping by. It’s a wonderful book.

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      Amy, I’m so glad to hear it. I pray it will be a blessing to your friends. I can say, having been there, that I wish there had been a book like this when I was in the middle of my mess.

  • Yes, Michelle’s book is a great encouragement! So happy to see it featured here!

    • Thanks, Michele!

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      Thanks Michele. The Bible study is now a companion to the original “Hope Prevails” written in response to reader requests to go even deeper! Thanks for your continued support.

  • Tara Ulrich

    I need to check out Michelle’s book.

    • It’s really good!

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      I hope you will Tara.

  • Wonderful book and you have made a much needed application, Anita! Wonderful book and interview!

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      Thank you Joann!

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  • The sounds like a great resource.

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      I hope you’ll check it out Barbara. Even if you don’t struggle, I guarantee you know someone who does.

  • Melissa Haag

    I’ve read the book, I’ll have to check out the study!

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      I hope you will, Melissa. It takes the reader deeper, and was written in response to requests from readers like you!

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Anita, I’m not in a cdaregiving position right now (well, unless you count keeping track of two teen boys), but I still have to remember that making everything work out in life is not my job. God never put me in charge of making sure everything happened. I can especially see how, in a caregiving role, we can fall into the trap of believing that we know what needs to be done, and we know the best way to do it, and no one else can do it. Not really. So we’ll just do it. Or am I the only one who falls into that faulty line of thinking? This book and Bible study sound very pertinent for today’s caregivers.

    • Dr. Michelle Bengtson

      No, you aren’t the only one who falls into that faulty line of thinking. Even when I’m not in caregiving mode, we all fall prey to the lies of the enemy when really we must stand on the truths of God’s word, and THAT is what this book is really about. Because of Him, #HopePrevails

    • I suffer from that “I know the best way” syndrome. Michelle’s book helps keep me on track when I get down about everything that isn’t going as I think it should.

  • I have a distant friend who could really use your precious words, Anita. Her husband is going through cancer, and for the most part, they’ve kept it to themselves. I can’t imagine how isolated she must feel having to be the caretaker without a lot of support herself. It sounds like this book is a great one for anybody, whether or not we’re going through something at the moment.

    • Oh, I’m feeling all the feels for your friend, Lisa. Everyone journeys in a different way. I’ll be praying for her!

      • Thanks, Anita! The doctor told them this week he only had a week or two left to live. All were shocked by that timetable. So those closest to him decided it’s time to share the news so they can be supported.