Since my husband, Bob, became critically ill 6 years ago, I’ve been referred to as his anchor. Mostly by his medical care teams and by his friends whom he confides in about what direction my role has taken in our marriage.
Being a caregiver to a spouse who has been hospitalized at least 12 times in 6 years with many of them being 1-4 week hospital stays has been daunting.
At the beginning of this journey, I knew that the only way that I was going to be able to fulfill my calling as Bob’s caregiver was to make sure that I took care of myself as well.
That becomes difficult when you feel the pressure to be the anchor of the family. The one who keeps the ship (so to speak) stable, secure, supported and free from floating erratically in the wind of the storm, keeping it in our safe harbor protected from invaders … or in our case, pathogens that can infiltrate the weak and vulnerable one on board.
The anchor is lifted when we have to sail to another medical procedure, treatment or check up and anchor in that harbor until it’s time to return to the safety of our home. Anchor down. Our life once again lived in our isolated stable environment. It takes its toll at times to be the support in turbulent times.
God knew long before I knew that this was going to be a difficult storm. One that would not be over quickly or easily and that Bob would be on deaths doorstep several times and I would be called upon to buoy him up and hold our ship steady. Miraculously his life has been spared time and time again and most recently when a palliative care/hospice physician released him from his care with the words, “Not time yet.” God knew and His plan prevails. How grateful I am to still have Bob here with me.
At the outset of his illness I knew that part of taking care of myself was remembering that I wasn’t capable, in my own strength, to be an anchor. It was too heavy for me. When I tried, when I became overwhelmed, I needed someone to help lighten the load. God provided everything that I needed in Jesus and through the harshness of the forces coming against us He became enough. He is still enough …
- Enough to plant a deep faith in me
- To show me daily what I need to add or subtract from my life to keep me in His peace
- To supply the desire and strength to walk 2-3 miles most days to keep my body and mind healthy
- To provide me with good nutritional choices to make balanced meals
- To bring me resources to help keep my mind and emotions healthy
- To give me gifts and hobbies to use and enjoy
- To move in the hearts of family and friends to call or text me when I need encouragement
- To show me who I can share my deepest thoughts with
- To have good listeners available when I need to talk
- To lead me to friends who won’t judge my words or emotions
- To keep me from sharing too much so I don’t become a burden
- To encourage me to share my story to help someone else
- To reveal to me the good in the hard
- To fill me with joy and all the other fruits of the Spirit
Enough, enough, enough…He is always enough.
And definitely enough to help me take on this assignment with grace for such a time as this. I feel deep in my soul that this is my best work. A deeply spiritual work. A job here on earth with remarkable meaning and purpose. A holy work. This job of taking care of someone who relies on me as I rely on God is truly holy work. I have to be mindful of this daily and to practice the presence of my Lord and talk to him throughout the day and not just during my designated prayer times. He is the anchor of hope and the anchor of storms.
That’s not to say Bob doesn’t rely on God. He does. I could never take that number one place in his life. Nor would he want me to. Bob has a solid faith, his soul is healthy and strong but his body is weak. Our anchor, our God, our all in all, is the one anchoring our lives in this storm.
15 thoughts on “An Anchor in the Storm”
This, my dear friend, is exactly what I needed today……so powerful…so true…so helpful. I thank my God upon remembrance of you. I know there are many times being the rock is not easy at all….thank you God for giving you the strength to be that to Bob and your family. It can be very tiring. Love you.
Love you too, Bonnie. I’m thankful you found this helpful at this trying time in your life. Bob and I are praying for Tom and you daily…actually throughout the day. God bless you both!
This entry paints quite a picture in words Nancy. Loved it😌. You’ve done an amazing job as a caretaker. And I love how you value taking care of yourself while you’re doing the caretaking. It’s so important. I loved your bullet points of how the Lord provided everything you needed in the midst of your on going storm. It’s encouraging. And He’s given you an amazing gift to be able express your feelings and experience in such a beautiful way through your journal writings. God bless 💕🙏 you & Bob with continued good health and all you need now and in the years ahead and tell Bob I said Hi🥰!
Thank you so much, Vickie. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Bob said HI! ❤️
It’s amazing what God has done! So thankful for both your testimonies. He puts the right people in our paths at just the right times. So glad you both didn’t have to go through this during the pandemic. Although I know it would have worked out. But having a sister with cancer during that time was heartbreaking as she had to do so much on her own. I will always remember her strength and faithfulness. She is healed and in God’s arms. Sending my love and prayers to you and Bob. And rejoicing that He is there for us everyday and in every situation. 🙏💜
Oh Pam, That must have been so difficult for your sister. Having to go through cancer appointments and treatments alone would be so hard. I can’t even imagine … but thankful to God that he carried her through and you have memories of her strength and faithfulness. Rejoicing with you that she’s healed and in God’s arms.
During the pandemic Bob was hospitalized a few times but I was able to be with him and once I stayed in his room for 10 days (after they made sure I had a negative covid test) but I couldn’t leave or they wouldn’t let me back in. But thankfully his hardest days were before the pandemic!
Thank you for taking the time to comment on this post. I appreciate it. Sending love …💜
Nancy, This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom. Having taken care of my husband for 24 years, I have learned the same lessons that you have, the main one being that Jesus is our anchor in all the storms of this life. Some of those lessons you mentioned I didn’t learn until later, which I regret. It was my honor to take care of my husband, even in the exhaustion of it all. I miss him so much, but wouldn’t want him back in his suffering. Now that he is gone, I sometimes feel I have PTSD from watching him suffer and from the close brushes with death. May God bless you and continue to strengthen you as you take care of your dear husband. He is truly blessed to have you as his second anchor next to Jesus. 🙂
Dear Mary, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on this post. Within the last couple of months, I returned to this blogging community after taking a 4 year break. And before that I wasn’t posting consistently due to the responsibilities I’ve had in caring for my husband. One of the first things I did upon returning was go to Bill’s blog and was heartbroken to learn of his passing. He was such a beautiful soul and an inspiration to me and so many others.
I can relate to those feelings you describe of PTSD. I’ve watched my husband suffer so much and be close to death numerous times and then miraculously recover. The joy of still having him here is mingled with the stress of all the trauma we went through to get to this point.
But it’s nowhere near what you’ve gone through for 24 years and I can only imagine how hard that was and still is for you.
At the present moment, we’re in a good place. Bob’s health is fragile and he can’t over exert himself because of his breathing difficulties but he can get around on his own and take care of himself … like taking showers, getting dressed, making himself a light lunch or snack, etc.
God bless you and keep you, Mary. I will pray for you as you continue to to live life without your beloved Bill❤️
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Thank you for your kind words about Bill. I didn’t know you followed his blog.
Yes, I figured you knew what I meant about PTSD when I read some of your other blogs about the hospital stays and just dealing with his illness on a daily basis. God’s grace got us through.
I’m so happy to hear Bob is better, and you are back to the blogging world. Your blogs are very encouraging and hope filled. Thank you for your prayers.
I saw recently where you visited and followed my blog. Thank you so much. I felt a connection immediately after reading your post here and your “About’ profile information We have a few things in common, First off, I have a biological sister named Nancy, too who I am close to. I am also a mother of two grown girls and a grandmother of four wonderful grandchildren. I also love to write, take pictures, share my thoughts, my perspective and my faith, like you. I guess the most significant thing is that I too am a Christian and without Jesus as my anchor I would be lost. As I have grown older and through the years I too have seen real difficulties and challenges that have tested me and ultimately made me more dependent on the Lord as I have grown more spiritually through those times. I went through a very difficult time and struggle a few years ago with my husband of 52 years suddenly becoming mentally ill and very challenged with Bipolar I disorder as our world and our marriage fell apart. I shared much of this on my blog site in past posts as well. It is hard to diagnose, explain or understand why or what it is that we face in our life that becomes something that we feel we cannot bear or beat any more and our lives change in such a way we either have to grow, or muddle through it but hopefully always with Jesus at our side as our anchor, as you put it so well. And like scripture says, we are like a ship lost at sea without Him as the rudder to guide us through the storms of life.
Thank you for sharing your story and your heart, and thank you if you for reading just a bit of my own. God richly bless you in al yo do, write and journal. It is so refreshing and wonderful to meet other Christians on Word Press.
Hi Joyce! Nice to meet you and learn a little more about you. We really do grow through our trials and I’m so thankful to have Jesus to help us through them. There’s a wonderful community of Christian writers on WordPress and I’m glad that you and I connected here. I look forward to reading more from you.
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May our LORD continue to strengthen you! You are definitely his anchor, guided by God!
Thank you, Andy. I definitely couldn’t do it alone. Life would be unbearable without Jesus.
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You are a beautiful soul! I know God was my anchor as I tried to care for my mom before she passed away. In these storms, we learn so much about life and ourselves. I wish you all God’s blessings, now, and always. This is an amazing post…
You’re so sweet. I appreciate your encouragement, Linda. God is always at work and I do see growth in my life. God bless you!