The word “caregiver” is a tough one for me.
In my head, caregivers are older ladies who work in nursing homes and wear sterile scrubs, keys around their necks, and sour looks on their faces. I think the reason I sometimes don’t like the term caregiver is that when it’s used in a cancer setting, it seems to trump all other roles. Before Jonathan’s cancer diagnosis I was his WIFE. And then, as soon as the C word got written on his medical chart, the other C word got branded on my identity:
CAREGIVER (aka meal planner, barf cleaner, Gatorade fetcher, pillow fluffer, and shot administrator.)
I remember going to Jonathan’s chemo class last December to find out about all the drugs he’d be taking. It was there we met a hospital social worker assigned to all new cancer cases. In the packet of information he provided us, a small line read, “Caregivers: you may also want to consider joining a caregivers’ support group at the hospital.” I never attended the hospital class (I naively thought I wouldn’t need such a thing) but at the suggestion of counselor Lori I tried to find an online support group. Her idea was a good one but the group I joined was not faith based, and as a result there was much complaining and very little encouragement. Which brings me to the point of this post!
This spring I’m leading an online caregivers support group for Christian women through (In)Courage Community Groups. I hope if you’re a temporary or permanent caregiver for someone (spouse, parent, child or otherwise) you’ll join us! In my experience, it really helps to talk to other people going through similar life experiences but sometimes it’s hard to find just the perfect group. The group I’m leading is a private group on Facebook called (In)Couragement for Caregivers, and you must be female and a caregiver to join. Keep reading for more info…
What are InCourage Community Groups:
The (in)courage community groups exist to build safe, Christ-centered, welcoming, small groups for women through the (in)courage website and social media. While I’m co-leading a caregiver specific group, there are actually many other groups to choose from: writers groups, groups for those suffering from post partum depression, singles groups, new mom groups, and much more more. The groups are meant to serve you, just as you are and where you are, in this season. This is a place where you can grow in your friendships with other women and be encouraged to deepen your relationship with God. You can find out more here.
Introducing my fabulous co-leader, Wendy:
I am really blessed to be leading this group with Wendy, who also walked through Hodgkin’s Lymphoma last year with her new husband. Even though Wendy lives on the other side of the world, I am already enjoying getting to know her. While I don’t like the circumstances we share, I am so grateful for another person who understands a lot of what I felt last year, and still feel today. (FEAR being a big emotion I struggle with sometimes!) Wendy writes an encouraging devotional blog called Ilovedevotionals.com that I think anyone, caregiver or otherwise, would really enjoy. Make sure you pop over to Wendy’s post to learn a little bit more about her.
How to sign-up for (In)Couragement for Caregivers:
If you’re a caregiver looking for community and encouragement, please consider joining us this spring. You simply need a Facebook account to participate. We promise this place is a safe one for sharing your prayer requests, asking questions, and connecting with others. You can come and go as your schedule allows, or simply listen and not say much. Sound good? Request to be added to our private group by clicking here. We can’t wait to meet you.
image found here, on Kissthefrogx