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 JAN - FEB 2004
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COVER: Renee Bondi
How Long do I Have
to Live with This, Lord?
Talking to Your Spouse About Your llness: How Much is Too Much?
Medical Records: Aren't They Mine?
Increasing the Odds:
Disability Resources
to Get You Organized
What I'd Like to Tell My Pastor About Chronic Illness
10 Ways to Save $ in 2004
Talk Over Tea with the Editor
Tell Us Your Thoughts
Strive to Thrive Health News
Joy Bites
Strength in the Shadows
Volunteer Corner
Book Review: Examining Alternative Medicine
Ask the Doc
hopenotes: hopekeepers
Group & Leader Information





Strength in the Shadows

In the process of loving someone with a chronic illness, we often feel a recurring pang of grief and fear that overshadows the happy moments of our lives. Because the shadow never lifts completely, we must depend on the healing power of love when medical science has no answers. I have come to understand that love endures when it is based more on friendship, respect and commitment than on romance. Such love carries with it a sense of belonging, a feeling of home. Couples who deeply love each other become so interwoven that it is difficult to tell where one stops and the other begins. They think alike, talk alike, even begin to look alike.

As one devotes one's self to caregiving and weathers the storms of illness and recovery, you discover that your heart is stronger and your ability to love is greater. Love accepts responsibility without complaining and has integrity and persistence. Love is kind, thinks in positive ways, and finds joy in the midst of pain. Its unconditional nature allows the hurting person to pour out their worst in order to receive the best. God has shown us His unconditional love and now we must show it to others-especially to those who need our constant care.

The knowledge that nothing can take God's love away from us empowers us. "For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," (Romans 8: 38-39). In the face of chronic illness and pain, deeply loving someone with the unconditional love of Jesus is a powerful blessing.

As we begin 2004 in our care- giving roles, let us remember that love will enable us to face each day with a cheerful heart. The words of the apostle Paul in I Corinthians 13 give hope and assurance that when all else fails, love never will. "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails," (I Corinthians 13:7-8).

Lora Chandler has been in a care giving role since 1982 when her husband began his life-long struggle with pain due to a bone disease. Lora welcomes your comments at lorac@yucca.net.

This article was featured in our January February 2004 issue. Subscribe today so you don't miss our next issue. You can also order back issues while supplies last at our bookstore, The Comfort Zone. We also gladly accept orders by mail, FAX or phone. REST MINISTRIES, PO Box 502928, San Diego, CA 92150, FAX 800-933-1078 or phone 888-751-7378..


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