What Comes After Caregiving?

At times, I wondered if the constant round of caregiving worry and stress would ever cease. First, during the year of my husband’s cancer and second, during the year of our daughter’s undiagnosed mental illness. I knew without a doubt that God had things under control during those times of caregiving, but I would indulge in whiney fits at times where I wondered, “When?! When will things turn around and back to ‘normal’ again?”

after caregiving

In his time. Not mine. The lessons I learned whilst caregiving have drawn me closer to God, strengthened my faith and taught me much-needed lessons in patience, grace and humility. God wants good things for his children, and sometimes, those good things consist of lessons we need to learn. Sometimes, those good things consist of material blessings—which have a way of teaching us even more good lessons.

Sometimes the good things #God offers come in the forms of lessons we need to learn. #write31days Click To Tweet

Two years ago I took our car in for its regular maintenance check at the local Toyota dealer. Whilst wandering around the lot, I came across an almost-new-but-used Toyota Tundra with an incredibly low price tag. I texted a photo of the fiery-red max crew cab truck to Pedro. He texted me back and assured me that it probably didn’t have all the features that he’d dreamed of. And believe me, he has spent plenty of time over the years researching the Tundra.

I checked the sticker for the ‘dream features’ and couldn’t believe it when they all matched up. Two hours and two test-drives later, I had signed the deal on Pedro’s Father’s Day gift. Pedro named the truck “The Beast” for its powerful engine and ability to pull heavy loads with little effort.

Using Our Blessings to Bless Others

Most people might not consider a truck a vehicle for ministry, but let me assure you that it is. For the past two years we have used the truck to take students mountain biking on the weekends. The boys vie for a place in the truck and stretch out their long legs in the ample crew cab. Those who have ridden before quickly put in their request for ‘that Toby Mac song’ or that ‘Capitol Kings’ song.

By the end of a trip, the boys have songs about Jesus stuck in their heads and they’ve experienced the natural high of invigorating exercise in the great outdoors. I’d call that ministry.

I’d also call it growth for Pedro and I. We happen to suffer from stuffism. We have always used our stuff carefully and taught our kids to respect the stuff, too. After having an empty nest for a few years, we found ourselves feeling a little fusty about keeping our stuff nice looking. Boys and nice-looking stuff seem mutually exclusive. We’ve learned to focus on the kids and not worry so much about the mud on the shoes, the spilled food or the dirty feet on the dashboard. After all, we can replace stuff, but we can’t replace hurt feelings or crushed spirits.

We can replace stuff, but we can't replace hurt feelings or a crushed spirit. #write31days Click To Tweet

Beauty and the Beast

You’re probably wondering what a post about a truck has to do with 31 Days of Living in Beauty. Consider it the prequel. The truck purchase opened up a whole new chapter in our lives where we learned things about beauty that had never crossed our minds before. And something more.

Beauty Tip: We can replace stuff, but we can’t replace hurt feelings or crushed spirits.

Q4U: Have you ever found yourself valuing stuff over people?

You can find the next installment of the story here.