Is it always right to ‘bear’ someone else’s ‘burden’?

Is there anyone in your life who is dependent on you?

Sooner or later most of us want to sit down and plan our future, or at least make a “five-year plan”. Yet if you are a caregiver, this can be difficult.

The Bible tells us to “bear each other’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2) – But, when those burdens interfere with your personal goals, are you allowed to set them aside?

Is it possible to love your sick family member, and at the same time plan a future for yourself?

Why is it more difficult to plan for the future as a caregiver?

Planning for the future is hard for everyone. Whether you have too many possibilities or not enough, it’s difficult to figure out what something we have never experienced will look like.

Most of us have dreams we’d like to see become reality, or at the very least we dream that one day we will have dreams.

Considering our future in the presence of chronic illness is even harder. Illness is unpredictable. We can’t say how long our family member will need us, or how soon they will take a turn for the better or the worse.

We need to be realistic, but also hopeful.

Loving someone who is ill or aging means that whatever decisions you make, you are making them for two. That is a lot of responsibility, and there is a huge pressure to ‘choose right’.

Today I am posting somewhere different: Read more about bearing burdens are caregivers here!

 

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Talking about suffering: Why answering ‘That Question’ is so difficult

Are you a chatterbox? Bring up ‘Sherlock Holmes’, the latest book you’ve read, or something God’s been teaching you… and chances are, I won’t be closing my mouth for a while.

Although I’ve written before about thinking before talking, and even (on occasion!) not speaking at all, the truth is…

I rather like talking.

Yet there are other topics which are less guaranteed to set off an avalanche of words. I suspect it’s the same for you.

I also suspect that one of these might be: ‘why does God allow suffering?’
It’s an important question – so why do we find it so difficult to talk about?
Continue reading “Talking about suffering: Why answering ‘That Question’ is so difficult”

Talking about suffering: When NOT to answer The Question

Some questions should not be answered.
This is not because they are silly or childish (there’s no such thing as a stupid question, remember?)
Or because they are too difficult.
Or even because the answer is too scary.

No, the only reason you should not answer a question is when you have something to offer that is more important.

But what’s more important than an answer?

Talking about suffering: When not to answer the question

Let’s go back to my friend from the last post. She’s struggling from a mental illness which invades her days and eats away at her personality.

Upset and tired she asks me,
‘Why does God allow this?’

Now there is an answer I can give to this. It is a theologically sound answer.

It is correct in every sense of the word. And there’s nothing wrong with my motives – I love my friend, and want to see her comforted and at peace with God and herself.

All the boxes are ticked… and yet depending on the situation my answer could be extraordinarily hurtful to her. And yet, it might not be!

How do I know? Continue reading “Talking about suffering: When NOT to answer The Question”

How to love children with chronically ill parents

Most of us know someone who struggles with their health. Perhaps they’ve been diagnosed with a physical chronic illness, or they struggle daily with their mental health. As their friend, we seek to love and serve them in their suffering.
But how often do we remember their children?

What about the children with chronically ill parents?

Helen recently shared her story of caring for her chronically ill daughter – and now it’s time to think about what it’s like when the situation is reversed…

Three ways children with chronically ill parents can suffer:

READ MORE (first published on the Glorious Table as a guest post)

 

[Don’t have time to read right now? Pin for later!:]

//Do you know what it’s like to be a child of a chronically ill parent? If so, I’d love to hear your story!

 

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Twenty-Seventeen – your favourite posts

Only a few days left of twenty-seventeen! I hope you all had a lovely, rest-filled, Hope-filled Christmas.

For those of you who didn’t, I pray you were able to cling onto the hope that one day Christmas will conquer chronic illness.

It’s time for some stats! Out of the 54 posts published this year, let me share which ones you liked the most, and then I have a huge favour to ask you…

(These do not include the introductory – But what is Watching? and the About Me pages, both of which were very popular.)

So, without further ado –
Continue reading “Twenty-Seventeen – your favourite posts”

Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)

What I’ve learnt from blogging about chronic illness on Called to Watch

At the moment, even as I’m preparing to look forward to Christmas, 2018, and the future – I’m also looking back.

This is what I’ve learnt:

1. I have everything to gain and nothing to lose

Blogging over the past year has taught me that Watching is a ‘thing’. By this, I mean, loving someone with a chronic illness is a state of being worth talking about. It’s a relationship worth sharing.

It’s actually an important part of who I am – just as it’s a crucial element to who a lot of people are!
Continue reading “Why my blog will never go viral (reflecting on 2017 as a Watcher)”

Christmas & Chronic Illness… friends or enemies?

Chronic illness or Christmas? Which would you prefer?
I know which one I’d choose. But too often we don’t have a choice – and this is very evident during the holiday season.

Over Christmas we often spend more time with family, and for many of us, that means spending more time with Chronic Illness.

Chronic Illness doesn’t go on holidays over Christmas…

While the shops and the media try to convince us that by November 1 we have entered into a ‘new world’ of perfectly laid tables, wrapped gifts and dizzying heights of tinsel – most of us know that’s not quite true.

Nothing’s really changed.

Certainly not our loved one’s health struggles.

The rest of the country may be feeling care-free and relaxed – but often our Loved One’s have more cares than ever before. Continue reading “Christmas & Chronic Illness… friends or enemies?”

Friends, we are not doctors. (Is it wrong to want your chronically ill Loved One cured?)

When I was little I toyed with the idea of becoming a doctor. Not because I had an undying desire to see sick people healed, but because there was one ill person I wanted to cure. I longed to take away my mum’s pain with a single flick of a pen on a prescription pad.

While my career aspirations soon headed off down a different track, I think this desire is something we can all sympathise with. To some extent it never does away.

As care-givers and support-bearers and Watchers we would love to see our Loved Ones healed. Yet it can become dangerous when this simple desire begins to morph into something subtly different: a belief that it is our responsibility to cure them.
When this happens we swap our role as a Watcher for that of a “doctor”.

Watchers we are not… doctors

Do you ever feel the need to cure your chronically ill loved one?

Have you accidentally become a “doctor”? Do you ever:

  • Feel your goal in the relationship is to bring healing?
  • Spend time collecting remedies (via Google, word of mouth etc) and offering them to your Loved One?
  • Feel better when you can diagnose the cause of your Loved One’s distress that day. Does being able to rate it on a scale of 1-10 and use the appropriate words to describe and understand it, reassure you?
  • Feel like a failure when you are unable to reduce your Loved One’s suffering, or bring them relief?

“Watchers, we are not doctors. We have a higher calling.” Tweet @calledtowatch

Continue reading “Friends, we are not doctors. (Is it wrong to want your chronically ill Loved One cured?)”

How to sympathise with "first world" problems

Some struggles win our sympathy easily.
My mother died.
I have cancer.
We are being evicted.

These announcements normally evoke an emotional response. We recognise them as huge, world-breaking problems. They are tragedies with capital ‘T’s.

For this reason it is often easier to sympathise with our chronically ill friend, than our whining-about-their-chipped-nails colleague. And yet, we’ve discussed that as humans (and even more so as Christ-followers) we really ought to sympathise with both.

Easy to say.

Hard to do.
Continue reading “How to sympathise with "first world" problems”

Why you should sympathise with first world problems (when your own are much bigger)

I stubbed my toe.
I can’t afford concert tickets.
There’s no chocolate in my house.
Who hasn’t heard such complaints? From friends, colleagues – perhaps from yourself.

We often label them “first world problems”.
And they can be annoying. Especially as Watchers.
Continue reading “Why you should sympathise with first world problems (when your own are much bigger)”