When our son Kevin was injured in a fall nearly two decades ago in another country, all I cared about was keeping him alive and getting him home. Once his condition stabilized, he was flown to a hospital in the States. We nearly lost him twice in the ensuing days. Eventually he again stabilized enough to be transferred to a rehabilitation hospital. The staff there told us what to expect when he came home and prepared us to deal with his extensive medical needs.
Learning to cope with the emotional and spiritual cost was more difficult. We struggled through long seasons of despair and loss as we cared for Kevin year after year. We slowly learned to surrender our dreams in exchange for God's plans. We eventually moved from denial to grief to acceptance.
Finding joy was a surprise.
Everyone told us caring for him would be impossible. No one told us that caring for him would bring us joy. In the years since his injury, we have learned much about courage in the process. Kevin has fought for his faith as valiantly as he fought for his life. He built a 3-D graphics studio with his brother and founded a popular Christian music website. He lives each day with trust and without complaint.
Certainly these years have been hard. But when I see Kevin laughing as he races us in his wheelchair on a seaside boardwalk, taking his dog for a stroll, working with press agents and music companies and recording artists, or rolling down the aisle to be his brother's best man, I am reminded of all the beauty no one told me to expect.
Today, if you're a mom or dad or grandparent or spouse to someone who needs a caregiver, I want you to know this:
Caring for others is the most important job you will ever have.
The life of another human being is in your hands. Your work is important, unseen, and sacrificial. Your dreams for tomorrow have been set aside for the realities of today. You endure incredible daily stresses, often alone. Sometimes it feels like no one cares for you, and it would be easy to let the night fall on your faith.
But you can leave the shadowlands behind, because Someone does care for you.
There is no place so dark that God can't find us.
I know, because I've been there. But He wouldn't let me stay in the shadows. Thank God for giving me renewed hope and light for the journey! May He grant you light and joy for yours.