Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Daddy- Don't Get a Divorce

Dear Daddy,

God just really had it on my heart tonight to write you this letter. I recently heard this song on the radio, and I really felt like I was supposed to tell you what it meant to me. The song is called “Lead Me,” by Sanctus Real. It’s a song about a man looking at his life, and realizing it’s not everything that other people think it is, and even not what he thinks it to be. He realizes that he needs to be there to lead his whole family, and that they need him to love them, fight for them, and never leave. At the end, though, he realizes that what he needs most is to pray earnestly for God to help him…he realizes he can’t do this alone.


“I look around and see my wonderful life

Almost perfect from the outside

In picture frames I see my beautiful wife

Always smiling

But on the inside, I can hear her saying...



“Lead me with strong hands

Stand up when I can't

Don't leave me hungry for love

Chasing dreams, what about us?



Show me you're willing to fight

That I'm still the love of your life

I know we call this our home

But I still feel alone”


This part of the song is obviously about the man’s wife, and I can’t help but relate it to mom. I know that you know deep down inside, that she prays this prayer every day. All she wants from you is love. A love that will lead and guide her when she needs help, and that will never leave her side. I know you say that you both have had problems for a while, but think for a moment- does it really matter what problems you guys may have faced? Do you just automatically give up when things get hard and you see no way in fixing anything? Dad, when you said, “I do,” to mom 26 years ago, did you really mean it? I believe you did…or I wouldn’t be here.

Don’t you want to be a man of your word? You can’t honestly say that you fought for mom, because you didn’t. You gave up. You left her, and no matter what you say…you left us. If you really loved us, you would come back home. All mom wants you to do is fight for you guys, and fight for the life that we all can have as a family. Like it says in the song by Warren Barfield, “Love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for.”

I want you to hear the rest of the song… really listen to these words…


“I see their faces; look in their innocent eyes

They're just children from the outside

I'm working hard; I tell myself they'll be fine

They're independent

But on the inside, I can hear them saying...


“Lead me with strong hands

Stand up when I can't

Don't leave me hungry for love

Chasing dreams, but what about us?


Show me you're willing to fight

That I'm still the love of your life

I know we call this our home

But I still feel alone”


And this part is what I want to tell you everyday…but never can find the words to tell you so.

Dad, I need you. I need you to love me, guide me, fight for me, always be there for me…and never leave me. But I can’t trust you anymore. As hard as it is for me to say that, it’s true. You have lied to us so many times, that I question almost everything you do, or say you are going to do.

I have lost faith in you. Dad, if we were really still the “love of your life,” you would be at home with us. You never would have left. You would fight to save your marriage, and to be my hero.

But even if you don’t want to do it for me, do it for my brothers. They are crying out for you in their own ways, and you are just ignoring them. All these guys want is someone they can trust, and someone they know will never lie or leave again. These guys need you just as much as I do. They need you to hear them out, and to be patient with them when they struggle to find words to really explain how they feel. You may think these guys are just lazy and rude…but they are not. They are just hurt and afraid. They need you as a strong dad to show them just what kind of man to grow up to be, and especially how to treat their wife in the future.

Now look at yourself right now. You are living a life of lies, deceit, and adultery. Is that how you want your son to grow up to be? I sure hope you would say “no”!

And then there is my littlest brother…he is so young that he really doesn’t understand much, but he knows something is wrong… he just doesn’t know how to process it all. He knows something is wrong, but he doesn’t understand why you are acting the way you are. You may think the little guys are being overly sensitive or afraid of a lot of things. But that’s not the case. They are just confused and sad. That is why little things that normally wouldn’t bother them, now are making them very upset. But it’s nothing they have done wrong…it’s all the changes in you. All the guys miss you being at home with us. They miss playing with Hot Wheels or building Lego’s or watching football together. They miss seeing you every night before bedtime, and every morning not seeing you when they wake up. These boys want to grow up to be good dads, in fact one of my brothers even said this about you not long ago,

“When I grow up, I don’t want to work as much as daddy does, so I can be home and play with my little boy.”

Doesn’t that break your heart to think that he wants so bad to have you as a good role model, yet you don’t seem to be doing anything about it.

Dad I need to be loved and listened to! I deserve to live life knowing that you are always there for me and my brothers, and that you will never leave us. Don’t get mad when you see the boys acting out…they are only doing it because of the stress of having very little stable in their lives right now. Pretty much every day is a new challenge for all of us, because of having to always go back and forth between home and your apartment; it’s harder than you could ever realize. Why can’t you sit down and play with the boys again, or just sit and watch a game? Why are you are always on the phone, or out running errands instead of really spending time with us? We need you in our life, but even more than that… Dad we need you to just come home.


“So Father, give me the strength

To be everything I'm called to be

Oh, Father, show me the way

To lead them

Won't You lead me?


To lead them with strong hands

To stand up when they can't

Don't want to leave them hungry for love,

Chasing things that I could give up


I'll show them I'm willing to fight

And give them the best of my life

So we can call this our home

Lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone


Father, lead me, 'cause I can't do this alone.”


Dad, this is the prayer you should be praying every day. You need God so much more than you think, and you can’t do ANYTHING without Him. You can fix anything…if you just ask God to help you. He wants more than anything to mend our broken home, and He’s just waiting on you. He has never left you, Dad, and those times when you’ve felt the most confused…those are the times that God was speaking to you the loudest, and you were ignoring His voice. All you have to do is pray for courage to stand up for what you know deep down inside is the right thing to do, no matter what anyone else is telling you. You have to beg God to help you fight for this family, because He will always help when His children call. Pray for selflessness, and strength.

And lastly, pray that God will lead you. He will only lead someone who has surrendered their will, though. Therefore, you need to die to your selfishness and pride…and let God consume your heart. All He wants is your heart, Dad, and He can make everything right again. In the end, it doesn’t really matter how much you’ve done to try and “fix” things how you think they should go…you will not be successful unless you have God, and you are living for Him. There’s one quote from the Fireproof movie I really want to leave you with.


“You can’t just follow your heart. Your heart can be deceived.

You have to lead your heart.”


This means that you can’t live by feelings, because feelings can deceive you. You need to live by the faith that God can heal anything, if you let Him. You need to lead your heart. That means that you need to be in control of your actions, and not base them on temporary feelings. Emotions can “feel” good at the moment, but they falter and fade. The one thing that stands the test of time is love. You need to lead your heart, Dad. You know what the right thing to do is…so do it. Be courageous. Don’t be afraid of what other people may think, what will have mattered is that you did the right thing.

I love you so incredibly much, Dad. And I hate to see all of this happening. But what makes me the saddest is that it doesn’t look like you have done anything to try and fix it. Please, I beg you…come back to God…and come back home. His arms will always be open, and so will ours.

I love you and I miss the father and man you used to be.

Where did he go?


Love always,

Your Daughter… forever

Dear Ann Landers

I found after 19 years of marriage that my husband was having an affair. I demanded that he leave but he refused to get out and begged forgiveness.
Instead of hiring a lawyer, I asked myself some hard questions:

1. Would the children benefit emotionally and financially from a divorce?
No. Their lives would be disrupted. They would miss their father a great deal.

2. Would my career benefit from a divorce?
No. My job requires total concentration, 40-50 hours a week.

3. Would my husband’s family (elderly parents, close siblings) benefit from a divorce?
No. It would kill his mother. She believes him to be the perfect son, husband and father.

4. Do I want to change my lifestyle?
No.

5. What is the bottom line regarding my feelings?
Wounded pride because he preferred her to me.

6. Can I live with and recover from wounded pride?
Yes.

My husband and I talked at length. We agreed on two things:
1. I would never mention his affair or the woman again.
2. He would end the affair and never have another one.

It is 5 years later. We both have lived up to the agreement. It was not easy for me. I had to learn to put the other woman out of my mind.

When we argue, it is about the matter at hand. I never bring up the past. I do not think about “What if?” “Where is he?” “Will he again?”

He is a better husband than before, more caring, more compassionate and sexier. We value each other and all that we have.

My pride? I have more self-esteem than ever, knowing I did the right thing and knowing I can face and conquer most anything that life can throw at me.

I just received a promotion at work. Our children are happy and well-adjusted. His mother died last fall with a loving, intact family at her bedside.
“Been There” in D.C.

Dear D.C.: You used the old Ann Landers formula-you asked yourself, “Would I be better off with him or without him?” The answer was “with him” and you decided on the basis of what was best for you. Bravo! I wish all women would behave so sensibly.


SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel

A Standers Affirmation

Author Unknown

I AM STANDING FOR THE HEALING OF MY MARRIAGE!...I will not give up, give in, give out or give over ‘til that healing takes place. I made a vow, I said the words, I gave the pledge, I gave a ring, I gave myself, I trusted GOD, and said the words, and meant the words…in sickness and in health, in sorrow and in joy, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in good times and in bad…so I am standing NOW, and will not sit down, let down, slow down, calm down, fall down, look down or be down ‘til the breakdown is torn down!
I refuse to put my eyes on outward circumstances, or listen to prophets of doom, or buy into what is trendy, worldly, popular, convenient, easy, quick, thrifty, or advantageous…nor will I settle for a cheap imitation of God’s real thing, now will I seek to lower God’s standard, twist God’s will, rewrite God’s word, violate God’s covenant, or accept what God hates, namely divorce!
In a world of filth, I will stay pure; surrounded by lies I will speak the truth; where hopelessness abounds, I will hope in God; where revenge is easier, I will bless instead of curse; and where the odds are stacked against me, I will trust in God’s faithfulness.
I am a STANDER, and I will not acquiesce, compromise, quarrel or quit…I have made the choice, set my face, entered the race, believed the Word, and trusted God for all the outcome.
I will allow neither the reaction of my spouse, nor the urging of my friends, nor the advice of my loved ones, nor economic hardship, nor the prompting of the devil to make me let up, slow up, blow up, or give up ‘til my marriage is healed.


Courtesy of
Rejoice Marriage Ministries, Inc.
PO Box 10548
Pompano Beach, Fl. 33061
http://rejoiceministries.org/

Friday, September 17, 2010

Equipping With a Cure

by John C. Maxwell

It began as headache, and quickly overtook her with fever. She was confined to bed-too weak to speak and barely able to lift a finger. Then red bumps popped up on her mouth and tongue: telltale signs of the deadly disease sweeping the continent. She despaired for her life as the bumps swelled into sores and then blistered open, leaking pus into her mouth and down her throat.

With alarming speed, a rash flared up on her face, crept down her arms, and covered her body in pimples. When awake, the minutes dragged by slowly, and she wondered if each hour was her last. At night, her fitful sleep was tormented by nightmares. Anytime her caretakers dared to come near her, they murmured amongst themselves in hushed, worried tones.

About a week-and-a-half after appearing, the boils on her skin crusted over with blood-red scabs, and the fever subsided. She was well enough to talk with her physician who assured her the worst of the sickness had passed. While grateful that death had not taken her, she felt only sadness as she inspected the ugly scabs dotting her arms and legs.

Day by day, the scabs flaked off of her skin until they were gone completely. But they left pockmarks as a grim reminder of their residence. Although she had regained her health, she would bear scars on her face for the rest of her life.

Smallpox Epidemic

The lady was Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and the disease she had contracted was smallpox. In 18th century Europe, smallpox ran rampant, indiscriminately taking the lives of kings and peasants alike. One of ten babies in France and Sweden perished from smallpox, as did one of seven infants in Russia. Highly contagious and untreatable, smallpox killed 400,000 Europeans per year during the epidemic's peak. Who knows what fate would have befallen Europe without the courageous activism of Mary Wortley Montagu, a smallpox survivor who equipped the continent to defend against the disease?

An Eye for Solutions

In 1717 Englishwoman Mary Wortley Montagu found herself in Istanbul on account of her husband's job as ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. While there, she was astonished by the absence of smallpox-a disease she had endured two years earlier. After making several inquiries, Montagu discovered the method used by the Turks to fend off the disease. Elderly women collected ooze from the infections of a victim with a minor case of smallpox. Then, the women assembled their family members. One by one, each person was given a small cut on the arm, and a tiny dose of the smallpox virus was inserted into the wound. The people being inoculated briefly fell ill with a mild form of smallpox, but they recovered quickly having gained immunity to the ailment.

Having discovered a deterrent for smallpox, Montagu wasted no time inoculating her 5-year old son. Observing the success of inoculation in Turkish society and witnessing its effects on her own child, Montagu resolved to equip physicians back in England with the knowledge to prevent smallpox.

Proving Her Case

While Lady Montagu had the advantage of being a well-connected aristocrat, she faced two obstacles to spreading the word about smallpox prevention. First, she was a woman at a time when men dominated society. Second, she had no medical credentials. Consequently, she had a tough time getting her message across to prominent doctors in Britain.

Insistent of the benefits of inoculation, Lady Montagu finally was able to convince physicians from the royal court to be on hand as she immunized her 4-year old daughter. The procedure was a success and made an impression on the doctors in attendance. Even so, they had reservations about adopting inoculation as standard practice for protecting against smallpox.

Continued lobbying by Lady Montague persuaded prominent surgeons to test pilot inoculation on prisoners. The inmates were granted pardon in exchange for their participation in the experiment. Each of the convicts was injected with smallpox and then placed under observation. All of them developed resistance to the disease.

Spreading the Solution

The experiment on prisoners added credibility to Lady Montagu's claims and won over many members of the royal court. One in particular, the Princess of Wales, pledged her support for the cause. Bolstered by her patronage, Lady Montagu was able to publicize smallpox inoculation throughout the British Isles, and in a few short years, inoculation became standard practice throughout England.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu equipped an empire with a defense against the scourge of smallpox. Her story yields powerful insights for leaders desiring to learn how to equip their organizations for success.

#1 Be a Student of Success

Likely, several English visitors to Turkey had noted the peculiar absence of smallpox in the country. However, Lady Montagu took initiative to investigate the anomaly until she understood its cause. In doing so, she discovered the medical practices by which the Turks protected themselves from smallpox.

Leaders in the 21st century have no shortage of information at their disposal. Seemingly we swim in a sea of data. What separates equippers is their ability to focus on meaningful information and to extract wisdom from it. Having done so, they are positioned to share their insights with others.

Lady Montagu's example instructs us on where to look for important data: wherever you find positive deviation from the norm. In short, pay attention to success. When you come across an unusually gifted person or a particularly profitable organization, explore what makes them great. The lessons you learn can be applied personally and passed on to those you lead.

#2 Inject Wisdom with Passion

What separates those who are indifferent from those who are willing to make a difference? Passion. Lady Montagu felt compelled to equip her countrymen with a deterrent to smallpox. Her knowledge of inoculation would have been useless had she not been impassioned to share it with physicians across England.

Where does passion come from? Often it can be traced to the hardships we endure in life. Lady Montagu had nearly been killed by smallpox, and her face was forever marred by the scars it left behind. She knew firsthand of the agonizing effects of the disease, and her brother had died from the sickness. Her personal experiences with smallpox burdened her to do everything possible to halt its spread.

#3 Make Personal Sacrifices

To equip another person, you have to give something up yourself. Lady Montagu gave of her time and wealth to educate the British public about inoculation. She even sacrificed security, hazarding the health of her daughter to convince royal surgeons of the value of immunization. If you hope to equip others to change their behaviors, then prepare to part with comfort, security, or popularity.

#4 Seek the Support of Top Decision-Makers

When Lady Montagu returned to England from the Ottoman Empire, she took her cause straight to the top, announcing the benefits of inoculation to the royal court. She understood the imperative of winning over the men and women who held the most sway over the public. That's why she invited the king's personal physician to witness the inoculation of her daughter.

Before you can equip an organization with a new strategy, you must garner the endorsement of the uppermost decision-makers. While everyone has a degree of influence, some allies are far more advantageous than others. Take notice of power structures where you work and prioritize winning the support of authority figures before attempting to introduce change.

#5 Be Willing to Start Small

If you see what needs to be done to equip your company for the future, but you aren't the one in charge, then be willing to start small. Course adjustments demand a sizeable commitment of organizational energy. Most leaders are reluctant to redeploy substantial resources until they're convinced a solution works. Test-piloting a new initiative allows you to demonstrate the strength of your strategy without asking your higher-ups to put the business at risk.

Royal physicians in England did not give Lady Montagu their unqualified support until they had tested inoculation on a handful of prisoners. For Lady Montagu, who was firmly convinced of the need to inoculate Britons, the experiment may have seemed like a pointless delay. Yet although it took time, it gained her the official sanction needed to educate the public about immunization.

#6 Leverage the Influence of Key Leaders

Once you've won over leaders at the top, leverage their influence in your efforts to equip others. Lady Montagu borrowed influence from the nobility supporting her in order to communicate effectively to an entire empire. For example, after she secured the backing of the Princess of Wales, Lady Montagu made the most of the princess' platform and popularity to spread the word about smallpox inoculation.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Reaping a Multiple Reward

By Jim Rohn, Master Coach



For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards. That's one of life's great arrangements. In fact, it's an extension of the biblical law that says that if you sow well, you will reap well.

Here's a unique part of the Law of Sowing and Reaping. Not only does it suggest that we'll all reap what we've sown, it also suggests that we'll reap much more. Life is full of laws that both govern and explain behaviors, but this may well be the major law we need to understand: For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards.

What a concept! If you render unique service, your reward will be multiplied. If you're fair and honest and patient with others, your reward will be multiplied. If you give more than you expect to receive, your reward is more than you expect. But remember: the key word here, as you might well imagine, is discipline.

Everything of value requires care, attention, and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct, or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confused results.

Remember the law: "For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards." Learn the discipline of writing a card or a letter to a friend. Learn the discipline of paying your bills on time, arriving to appointments on time, or using your time more effectively. Learn the discipline of paying attention, or paying your taxes or paying yourself. Learn the discipline of having regular meetings with your associates, or your spouse, or your child, or your parent. Learn the discipline of learning all you can learn, of teaching all you can teach, of reading all you can read.

For each discipline, multiple rewards. For each book, new knowledge. For each success, new ambition. For each challenge, new understanding. For each failure, new determination. Life is like that. Even the bad experiences of life provide their own special contribution. But a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life's disciplines: Everything has its price. Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time.

That's what we call the Law of Familiarity. Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life's not a practice session.

If you're often inclined to toss your clothes onto the chair rather than hanging them in the closet, be careful. It could suggest a lack of discipline. And remember, a lack of discipline in the small areas of life can cost you heavily in the more important areas of life. You cannot clean up your company until you learn the discipline of cleaning your own garage. You cannot be impatient with your children and be patient with your distributors or your employees. You cannot inspire others to sell more when that goal is inconsistent with your own conduct. You cannot admonish others to read good books when you don't have a library card.

Think about your life at this moment. What areas need attention right now? Perhaps you've had a disagreement with someone you love or someone who loves you, and your anger won't allow you to speak to that person. Wouldn't this be an ideal time to examine your need for a new discipline? Perhaps you're on the brink of giving up, or starting over, or starting out. And the only missing ingredient to your incredible success story in the future is a new and self-imposed discipline that will make you try harder and work more intensely than you ever thought you could.

The most valuable form of discipline is the one that you impose upon yourself. Don't wait for things to deteriorate so drastically that someone else must impose discipline in your life. Wouldn't that be tragic? How could you possibly explain the fact that someone else thought more of you than you thought of yourself? That they forced you to get up early and get out into the marketplace when you would have been content to let success go to someone else who cared more about themselves.

Your life, my life, the life of each one of us is going to serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition... or an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed, and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.

Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly Newsletter. To subscribe, go to www.JimRohn.com All contents Copyright © JimRohn.com except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

Strength in Weakness

by Dr Tim Clinton

God is not wasting the pain in your life. He never wastes a wound. As you go through the dark, deep valleys in your life, remember that the great Apostle Paul was even pounded by the evil one. All hell seemed to be against him. In his moment of darkness he begs God to get rid of this thorn in his flesh, this messenger of satan that was harassing him. (II Corinthians 12:8)

What messenger of satan has come your way? Does it feel like there is a thorn deep in your flesh, and you can find no relief? Have you pleaded with God to just take it away? Paul did. He cried out to God not just once, but three times. And still God chose not to remove his thorn.

In all of this Paul learned something special. God simply spoke to him and said, “I have provided grace for you. Sufficient grace. Grace to remind you and reassure you that through this weakness, I will show My Power.” Paul got the message. He declared that he would be, not just “ok” with this, but that he would be most glad about it. He went on to say that he would not only be content with the “thorn” but also with insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities. He understood that you can’t control your life. God will be at work. He will use the “thorn”…the messenger of satan, to remind you that He is all you need. He is in control. Look around you. Can you see it? Grace… more and more grace…



“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for Righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.” Matthew 5:6

"Conversations With Those Who Care"

A 6-part video series with helpful ideas for home-bound Alzheimer's caregivers
hosted by family counselor & author Dwight Bain

Part 1 - So What Now? Warning Signs/Diagnosis
Part 2 - Being a Caregiver
Part 3 - How Safe is Safe?
Part 4 - Everyday Events: Bathing, Dressing and Mealtimes
Part 5 - Behavior Is Communication
Part 6 - Comfort Care in the Later Stages
View all 6 sessions at no cost by visiting this direct link at AlzOnline

http://alzonline.phhp.ufl.edu/en/classes/cwtwc/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Florida Elder Helpline: 1-800-963-5337

National Eldercare Locator: 1-800-677-1116

"Conversations With Those Who Care" is sponsored by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, the Administration on Aging, and Share the Care, Inc. and is managed by the Center for Telehealth and Healthcare Communications at the University of Florida

Caregiver Stress- The Dangers of Being a Good Samaritan

By Dwight Bain
Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach





CBN.com – “Don’t take life so seriously, you’ll never get out of it alive,” was the simple advice I saw on a greeting card once and it makes sense, especially when thinking about the incredible pressures placed on those in the important role of caregiver for a loved one. You’ve got to lighten up the load to prevent major burnout.

Many times it’s easy to overlook just how tired, frustrated, or angry someone feels when they are buried in the dozens of day-to-day tasks required of a primary caregiver. This special report is designed to help you spot the warning signs when you’ve done too much for too long and don’t have enough energy left in the tank to help anyone, including yourself.

There was a popular song many years ago that had the lyric, “he ain’t heavy- he’s my brother” which isn’t exactly accurate. If you are piggy-back riding your brother, sister, child, or any other family member, their actual weight is still the same, but because you love and care for them, you have extra energy to serve them. Love will allow you to carry someone you care about for a while – but after a while they do get heavy again, and you will feel the pressure to want to take a break. That’s normal and not a sign of lack of love, rather just a sign of being human. So what does it mean to be a ‘Care-Giver’ anyway?

To be a Caregiver is to provide financial, relational, physical, spiritual, or emotional support to someone who is unable to live independently like:
— newborns or small children
— those recovering from an injury or illness
— aging loved ones
— anyone facing a terminal illness
— those who are disabled in some way (physically, mentally, emotionally)

This just about covers parents and people from all walks of life and all ages, so it probably impacts you or someone you care about. Let’s un-package this important issue to understand the dangers of being a ‘good Samaritan’ and find out how to avoid the often overwhelming stress that can come from being a compassionate parent, adult child, or primary caregiver.

Let’s start by defining the difference between CARETAKERS and CAREGIVERS.

A caretaker provides a level of compassionate service for someone in need, often for a fee or salary of some kind. They may feel a special calling to help out (like nurses, teachers, doctors, counselors, or pastors), yet at the end of the day, it’s their job and they are compensated in some way for their services. Caretakers can do their important work in many ways. For instance, they can work with children, with patients, wounded people, or by managing property or running a museum. It’s important work, often tiring, but not usually overwhelming enough to create compassion fatigue or massive distress because there are clear boundaries, defined duties, and reasonable expectations, as well as defined hours of service.

Being a caretaker is much less complicated than being a caregiver. Caregivers do the same work, but often with greater intensity, since they often aren’t compensated in some way and just work out of the goodness of their hearts to show compassion to the person in need. They often give and give expecting nothing in return, yet that is often why they run out of energy and burnout. They don’t have defined hours, schedules, or budgets. It can get very stressful, very fast because they can’t do everything for everyone all the time without it leading to caregiver stress.

Consider the following warning signs I first learned from my friend June Hunt to see if you are experiencing this type of roadblock to healthy relationships.

The Caregiver Stress Checklist

In asking yourself these questions, honestly assess your feelings to determine if it could be time to seek professional help to overcome caregiver stress.

· Am I easily agitated with those I love?

· Am I becoming more critical of others?

· Am I having difficulty laughing or having fun?

· Am I turning down most invitations to be with others?

· Am I feeling depressed about my situation?

· Am I feeling hurt when my efforts go unnoticed?

· Am I resentful when other family members are not helping?

· Am I feeling trapped by all the responsibilities?

· Am I being manipulated?

· Am I missing sleep and regular exercise?

· Am I too busy for quiet time with God?

· Am I feeling guilty when I take time for myself?

Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress:
___ Physically – exhausted and worn out
___ Emotionally – resentful, stressed, bitter
___ Relationally – feeling used or unappreciated
___ Financially – overwhelmed or depleted

It’s right to care for people in need. It’s healthy to show compassion. Those are good things and make us feel better for having made a difference in the lives of others. You can show care in a lot of ways and should. Consider the meanings of the verb care: “To have a personal interest in, or be watchful over, to be affectionate toward, to look out for, to be concerned about, to provide for, to give serious attention to and to keep safe.” Caring is important, but there are some hidden dangers if you care too much.


Hidden Facts About the Good Samaritan

There is no better example of being a compassionate caregiver than the timeless story taught by Jesus about the good Samaritan. You may remember the story – a man is mugged by thieves and left for dead on the side of the road. Then a pastor and a lawyer pass by on the other side to avoid getting involved. Finally, a man from another cultural background stops, applies first aid, transports the victim to a respite center, and pays for his care. Jesus showed that the person who really showed love for his neighbor wasn’t the most religious or best educated, or even from the same culture; rather, the one who showed the greatest compassion was the only one who fulfilled the great commandment to 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

This is a life changing spiritual teaching for anyone, yet one should not miss some basic factors to protect the good Samaritan from compassion fatigue. Yes, he jumped in to help a stranger, and, yes, he showed great love for another human being, but he didn’t do it alone! The good Samaritan started a healing process in the life of a wounded man and allowed others, like the inn-keeper, to be part of the team to make a positive difference in helping a man rebuild and recover. When you are part of a team helping someone going through a crisis, you are less likely to burnout. And that’s a good thing for everyone so you can have a lot more energy to help others for years to come.

Self Care Comes First

Chaplain Max Helton worked next to me at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks in New York on 9-11-01. He taught me a wonderful process in dealing with overwhelming situations. First, focus on ‘self-care,’ then ‘buddy care,’ and finally ‘other care’. This way you can protect your own energy, help others facing the same care-giving challenges, and then together be much stronger and more focused to better serve others.

It can be done, but it can’t be done alone. God designed us to work together in partnership with others. Moms and dads, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, fellow church members, neighbors, co-workers, community members, basically anyone could be in a situation to be a caregiver. But remember the principle to not go it alone. Let others help you.

If you are facing a major care-giving role alone, let me challenge you to reach out for some help. It could come from friends, family, pastors, churches, a MOPS group, or other supportive group, but whatever you do, don’t try to do it all yourself. Caring is good; exhaustion isn’t. If you are aware that you are feeling pressure to do it all, take the checklists and insights from this article to review with someone close to you for an objective point of view just to keep you from the stress of caring too much that you get lost in the process. Or perhaps you have a friend, co-worker, or family member that appears to be struggling with compassion fatigue that you could invite for a cup of coffee to review the key points and then open up a discussion on how you might be an encouragement to help them better manage the stress of caring for someone in need.

You don’t have to do it all alone, but you do have to openly bring up the subject to let the people who care about you know that the pressure is building and that you need some help. Here are some strategies to guide you with a sense of balance as you willingly share your heart of compassion without getting crushed from too much care.

How to prevent being so full of “care” that you can’t care for yourself

1) Be aware of the common stress signals that come with being a caregiver:
___ irritability or moodiness
___ feelings of resentment
___ loss of sleep or feeling frequently exhausted
___ increased susceptibility to colds and flu
___ feeling guilty about taking time for yourself

2) Be aware of the pressure of care-giving and that it builds over time.

3) Be aware that as care-giving goes up, additional coping skills should go up, too.

4) Be aware of your own needs and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

"You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage -- pleasantly, smilingly, non-apologetically -- to say 'no' to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger 'yes' burning inside. The enemy of the 'best' is often the 'good.'" — Stephen Covey

5) Be aware of the resources around you, and be willing to take a respite.

Tips to add compassionate care - Send cards and handwritten notes - Make visits to the hospital or nursing home - Send flowers or small gifts - Provide food and occasionally an entire meal - Volunteer to be a driver (transportation) - Entertain children or other family members - Shop for needed items - Set aside time for regular reading aloud - Take walks and do other outdoor activities - Offer to do laundry and housecleaning - Be a willing and attentive listener - Extend emotional and physical affection - Provide financial assistance - Pray for someone in a crisis and ask others to join you in providing spiritual support for those in great need.

6) Be aware that sometimes you need to just sit on the floor and laugh or cry.

"I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all." — Laura Ingalls Wilder

7) Be aware that care-giving is hard work and often you may want to quit, yet it is still one of the most loving acts of Servant Leadership.

For the heartsick, bleeding soul out there today who is desperate for a word of encouragement, let me assure you that you can trust this Lord of heaven and earth.There is security and rest in the wisdom of the eternal Scriptures. I believe the Lord can be trusted, even when He cannot be tracked. Of this you can be certain: Jehovah, King of kings and Lord of lords, is not pacing the corridors of heaven in confusion over the problems in your life! He hung the worlds in space. He can handle the burdens that have weighed you down, and He cares about you deeply. He says to you, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalms 46:10 — James Dobson, Ph.D.


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Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group, www.LifeWorksGroup.org eNews (Copyright, 2004-2010, by the LifeWorks Group in Florida. 407-647-7005 begin_of_the_skype_highlightin end_of_the_skype_highlighting).

About the author
Dwight Bain is dedicated to helping people achieve greater results. He is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Certified Life Coach, and Certified Family Law Mediator in practice since 1984 with a primary focus on solving crisis events and managing major change. He partners with media, major corporations, and non-profit organizations to make a positive difference in our culture. Access more counseling and coaching resources designed to save you time by solving stressful situations by visiting his counseling blog with over 300 complimentary articles and special reports at www.LifeWorksGroup.org