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Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick by Dr. Linda Cobourn

Posted by Julie on October 25, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Caregiver Guilt: Confessions of a Walking Glue Stick

By Dr. Linda Cobourn

 

I’m rubber, you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

 

My father-in-law blamed me. It was unreasonable, hurled out of frustration while we stood in the trauma unit, waiting to see if my husband would survive. I was thirty miles away in a graduate class when the driver of the pick-up truck broadsided Ron’s Taurus, but the reproach stayed with me for seventeen years.

 

I’m a walking glue stick.

 

Guilt is a common emotion for those who find themselves in the position of caregiver. The 2015 State of Caregiving Report noted that 81% of spousal caregivers feel guilty, making guilt the #1 emotional trap. We think we should do it all without complaint and we become frustrated with ourselves because we can’t. We self-punish for simply being human.  I beat myself up for an accident I did not cause, questioning every decision I made concerning my husband’s care. Yes, I agreed to the emergency surgery and it damaged his heart. My fault. Yes, I let him be put into the rehab unit where his slippers were misplaced and he caught pneumonia. My fault.   I even had occasional thoughts that it might have been better if Ron had not survived the accident.

 

That thought stuck on with Gorilla Glue.

 

But God is a solvent to even the strongest of adhesives. I began to search the Scriptures for a way to dislodge my self-reproach. One day, I was led to this verse in Joshua 5:9:

This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.

 

The Israelites had been so beaten down by 430 years of slavery they no longer believed God could love them. Before they entered the Promised Land, God told them that the shame they carried was rolled off them. They were not stuck with the reproach of Egypt. They could stop being walking glue sticks.

 

So could I. It took time, prayer, and counsel from friends to realize that the guilt I bore was irrational. I held myself responsible for things that were not my responsibility. God had forgiven my shortcomings; I needed to forgive myself. Time to learn to be more like rubber, repelling thoughtless remarks.

 

Just the other day, someone ventured to criticize a decision I’d made for my husband’s well-being. I let it bounce off me.

 

Because it really is better to be rubber.

 

ABOUT

Dr. Linda Cobourn is a Literacy Specialist who works with at-risk learners and non-traditional college students. She holds Instructional II certificates from Pennsylvania and Delaware in Elementary Education K-6 and Reading PK-12. Dr. Cobourn earned her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership, focusing on the use of critical literacy in middle school. Currently, she teaches at Springfield College in Wilmington. She was recently cited by the Mayor of Philadelphia for her work constructing literacy programs for inner-city youth. She is the author of three published books and writes a blog at http://writingonthebrokenroad.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

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Transforming for a Life Worth Living by Sue A. Fairchild

Posted by Julie on January 20, 2017 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Transforming for a Life Worth Living

By Sue A. Fairchild

When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.

At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.

But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.

My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.

My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.

But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.

Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.

During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.

Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.

******************

Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.

Sue A. Fairchild’s Post: Transforming for a Life Worth Living

Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?

Purchase WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW HERE

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Surrender Story: Jean Ann Williams and Her Healing Book

Posted by Julie on January 26, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Julie’s note: Jean Ann Williams is my guest blogger today sharing her surrender story.  I think you will be encouraged and inspired. I was!

So many of my struggles with insecurity stem from my childhood when my mother began the decent into mental illness. As the eldest child and only ten years old, it fell to me to raise my six brothers and sisters. The youngest was a baby brother and newly born.  I became more overwhelmed as the months and years passed, but as I look back, and it wasn’t lost on me then either, God provided mentors. The mentors helped me on my journey of me being a child raising children.

You may wonder what happened to my dad. Dad was an alcoholic who chose to not deal with my mother’s problems. Actually, he only made them worse. But, to give him credit, my dad did recognize my hard work. He gave me my own room, where the other children had to share a huge bedroom upstairs. Then, when I became a teenager, my dad knocked out walls and made my room three times bigger.

It was something, but still not enough. I remember calling my neighbors more than once to help me with a sick or hurt child when my parents were gone or Mom locked herself in her room and Dad at work.

Fear, incompetence, guilt, they have been my battle. And now, at sixty-two, and with my debut book Just Claire, which released 1/7/16, I feel a bit of hope. Hope for others who read this book.

In writing Just Claire, I set out to tell a story to show young readers they are not alone with their sorrows. In the process of writing Just Claire, though, I was surprised when one day I no longer felt angry and shamed with my mother. This hole in my heart I felt Mom had left there was mending. How did this happen? Several critique partners told me Just Claire was my healing book. How neat is this? A double blessing.

Jean Ann Williams shares her surrender story.

Jean Ann Williams shares her surrender story.

ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.

With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Downloads available at Amazon: http://ow.ly/XmCJ5

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/just-claire-jean-ann williams/1123223218?ean=2940157880842

Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/just-claire

See the trailer: https://youtu.be/s8x5lJKZFHU

Jean’s blog: http://jeanannwilliams.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JeanAnnWilliams

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Jean-Ann-Williams-848295125269670/?ref=hl

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/

JacketPhotoJean 07 2015_editedAuthor Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, this is her first book. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.



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