God's Purpose in Caregiving

“Some people spend a lot of time thinking about what God wants them to do with their lives,” said Dan Frazier. “I’m thankful God has already made my purpose clear and filled my schedule with caring for the woman I love most in the world as she fights leukemia. Caregiving is a privilege and a joy, and I feel like it is part of the work God has appointed me to do (Ephesians 2:10).

“I knew nothing about cancer when Deb was diagnosed, and I’ve watched the woman I love go through terrible pain throughout her treatment. At one point, she had a wound in her chest, and I had to pack it every day with silver sulfate. That was very hard. I don’t always enjoy everything about caregiving. But I do enjoy being with the woman I love every single day. That is what I give thanks for.

“It is only by God’s grace that I’m able to be kind and gentle as I care for Deb. Until about five years ago, I had a real struggle with anger, and it did not have anything to do with Deb’s cancer. That is what drew me to the re:generation recovery ministry at Watermark. I’d never looked at anger as a spiritual issue, but I learned that it definitely is. Before biblical recovery, I would get so frustrated with people at the store I would jeopardize any future relationship. Every time I did that was a lost opportunity to share the gospel. God, through community and other believers, is helping control my anger.

“Deb and I have been Christ-followers since we were very young, and we’ve always wanted to be the best laypeople we could be. I’ve worked all over the place, from law enforcement to accounting to advertising, and went to school at Dallas Theological Seminary as well. Deb and I have been blessed with four children and eight grandchildren.

“Because we have a heart for ministry and service, Deb and I were ecstatic when we first came to Watermark. We met so many people who were following Jesus and serving Him in creative ways. I also loved that serving God was not just a Sunday thing with the people I met. I love our times of worship, but I think I love our weekday ministries even more. It’s a privilege to be a leader at re:generation, and I am thankful to participate in Summit Men’s Bible Study. I’m thankful for a place where I’m called to do more than attend. Both Deb and I have become leaders here at Watermark, and I can’t think of anything else we’d rather do than serve our King.

“Another opportunity to serve and lead came when Jim Wimberley, John Elmore, and others asked us to help launch Refuge, Watermark’s ministry for both the chronically ill and caregivers. Refuge is a place where people facing illness or caring for the chronically ill can put Psalm 46:1 into practice as they trust God as ‘our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.’ I want people to know that illness and caregiving do not have to drag us into the pit or make us bitter. Refuge helps people be encouraged and become equipped with God’s Word so they can be fully devoted followers of Christ right where they are.

“The challenge with illness and caregiving is that it can be isolating. Sometimes people don’t know how to care for you, so they avoid contact. Because caregiving is around the clock, your schedule is different because you’re giving a unique kind of service to your family. That can be lonely, and we would feel lonely too, were it not for God’s purpose in all of this. Our community group and the people we’ve met through Refuge have prayed with and for us, and have been a real source of fellowship. One evening, Deb was released from the hospital at 5 pm, and we made it to Watermark by 6:30. That’s how much we look forward to being here.

“It might surprise you to hear me say that cancer has not been the worst chapter in our marriage. The worst times have been when we have disagreed on things that have absolutely no eternal significance. Deb sometimes wonders if, after losing 60 pounds and enduring several surgeries, I might lose my desire for her. Nothing about this illness has affected how I feel about her. I still think she is beautiful, and we spend so much time together I feel like we are dating each other all over again. Sometimes I see her kneeling by our bed praying, and I thank God for her faithfulness. I’m so grateful that God didn’t allow me to follow my lust years ago and marry another woman. I am so thankful for my wife, and grateful God has given me the privilege of caring for her. Caregiving is changing me and making me more like Jesus.”

REFUGE

Do you battle chronic illness or serve as a caregiver? Find encouragement and hope during trials alongside a community of others who understand. Join us as Refuge, a ministry of hope for the chronically ill and caregivers, launches our spring session. See watermark.org for details or email refuge@ watermark.org.

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