Tuesday I reviewed Pamela Thorson’s new book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, and yesterday I posted Part 1 of my interview with the author. Today, I’m posting Pam’s answers to my last four questions.
5. What is the most difficult aspect of your caregiving journey?
Dealing with the loss, especially in the early years. I talk a lot about this in my first book. In his book, Traveling Light, Max Lucado talks about grieving over the “nevers” in our lives. Kevin’s injury was so devastating, we were first told he would never move or breathe on his own again. He could never come home to live. He might not even live at all. He nearly died twice times during the first weeks.
He recuperated enough to come home. He eventually breathed on his own again and regained some feeling and movement. But other layers of loss unfolded around us as new “nevers” loomed ahead: He believed he would never marry and have the family he had always dreamed of. He would never feel the grass beneath his feet, throw his arms around us in a hug, or feed himself a real meal.
We had “nevers” of our own. Our other children lost a normal childhood. We lost the dreams of retirement and travel, or even a whole weekend alone together.
Eventually, joy has replaced the “nevers.” We have gained so much more than we have lost. Caring for Kevin has been an honor. We have a more profound appreciation of the sacrifices our Savior made to care for us when we were broken.
6. Pulling questions from your chapter on burnout, what daily stresses push you close to the edge, and what strategies do you employ to keep yourself sane on really bad days?
After nearly seventeen years of caregiving, it’s not the care so much that pushes me to the edge. It’s the unexpected barrage from other sources that takes me there: the new washing machine that breaks down; the phone call that a family member is ill; a flare-up of my own health issues.
On the really bad days, I go into survival mode. I don’t do anything I don’t need to do, in order to conserve energy. I tell myself we’ve been here before, and it will pass. I try to keep my eyes on God, read His Word, and resist the urge to dwell on the pain. My favorite strategy is to surround myself with Christian music.
On the worst days I literally walk outside and focus my mind on the beautiful world around me. I praise God for feet to feel the green grass, for eyes to see the baby blue sky, for my husband’s hand in mine. I thank Him for the ability to breathe, to hear, to think. This gets my mind off my own problems and back on God.
7. If you could give only one piece of advice to other caregivers, what would it be?
Remember this one thing and you will be okay: No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can’t find you.
8. What message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
My hope is that readers will come away from the book with a new sense of wonder at the great honor it is to serve the living God. It is my prayer they will be refreshed and will have a deeper understanding of the God who cares for them.
Thank you, Pam, both for your candid answers and for the beautiful book you’ve written. I wish you the best with this book and with your caregiving journey, and I encourage all my readers, caregivers and non-caregivers alike, to get a copy of Out from the Shadows: 31 devotions for the Weary Caregiver.
About the author:
Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), pulls back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Pam resides with her family in the Northwest. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can’t find us.
Does the suffering you witness or experience seem pointless? Do you feel like your problems are endless? Do you wonder if God cares about you?
Caregivers live in the daily shadows of death, countless duties, and shattered dreams. But they don’t have to exist in the shadows of their faith.
Nurse and veteran caregiver Pam Thorson offers weary families hope and insights gained from her own struggles. Out from the Shadows is a collection of thirty-one stories that pull back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Each devotion draws from the author s own experiences to reveal a fresh understanding of Jesus call upon our lives as we care for others.
I heartily recommend this book for anyone and everyone who deals with disability in the family! – Joni Eareckson Tada
Book Link & Info:
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas