What a Friend we Have in Jesus

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What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear…

I was in tears. Becky, the music therapist, came again today. Dad requested more hymns this time. And hearing Becky sing How Great Thou Art and Amazing Grace was balm to my soul.

Because it’s been a tough week. A few days ago I had called 911 for my mother-in-law with fears that she was having a stroke. Thankfully she wasn’t, and she’s doing well now. But she spent a night in the hospital with all the anxiety that surrounds that.

We’ve had other stresses I won’t share here, except to say caregiving can strain relationships. And life doesn’t stop because you are caregiving or since someone you love is in hospice. It keeps flowing on, and problems and conflicts and emotions keep crashing like waves, threatening sometimes to flood your heart and pull you down under.

But something about hearing the strum of a guitar, and a lovely voice singing, O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry, everything to God in prayer, becomes a life raft to collapse on in the storm.

I looked at Mama reclining in her chair, as Becky sang. Mama looked so pale and still. She seems more quiet this week and I’m afraid maybe I really am losing her. Because even though she’s in hospice care, there’s a big part of me that’s in denial. I’ve heard of people living two years in hospice care and I’ve been counting on that all along. At least two years.

But when I see her eating less. And talking less. And moving less– it’s harder. And more fearful. I looked at her today and made sure she was breathing. I remembered how, a few years ago, Dad had called me to come help because Mama had fallen. When I’d walked into the living room Mama was lying on the floor on her side singing, What a Friend we Have in Jesus. And I thought, at the time, what a perfect song to sing when you’re stuck on the floor and waiting for help.

And I wished Mama could join in and sing with us again. But she just rested, pale and quiet. And I blinked back tears.

Dad told Becky that he had altered some of the words to You Are My Sunshine. Instead he sings:

You are my sweetheart, my only sweetheart. You make me happy when days are gray. You never know dear, how much I love you. Won’t you be my sweetheart today.

So Becky sang the song Dad’s way. And Dad’s chin quivered. And my eyes watered. And Mama opened her eyes. So Becky sang it again.

It’s been a tough week. It’s been a hard day. But I’m thankful for the support of our hospice team as they surround us and hold us up with love and caring hearts and hands-on help.

And I’m thankful for the gift of music and the comfort it shines on us, like sunshine breaking through a storm cloud. It’s still raining, and yet somehow we are warmed and cheered in a ray of sunlight at the same time.

And most of all I’m thankful that we truly do have a friend in Jesus. And He does bear my sins and griefs. And I can go to Him in prayer and pour out my heart to Him and know that He is carrying me, and Mama and Dad and my family. We are in His strong arms. We can trust Him always.

Jesus won’t drop us. He won’t let go. He can calm the storm or He can walk on the waves. I can rest in Him and know that He is faithful and good always. What a friend we have!



    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Maxie. I’m so thankful to hear what I’m sharing gives you strength! It helps me to write things out, and I’m doubly blessed when I hear it helps someone else. May God bless you as you care for your mother. ~Cheryl

  1. Thank you for sharing this; it is encouraging to us in our ministry, I will be sharing this with all our volunteers at Eldermusic, Inc. “restoring joy and hope through live music.” We bring live interactive music sessions to the residents of memory care and Hospice facilities. Participating in live music is good for the body, mind and soul. The great old hymns of the faith are hidden in their hearts, and they still sing them with vigor.

  2. Cheryl, every time I read your writings it brings me to tears. You and your family are in my prayers daily. Please give my love to Eunice.

  3. I started following you 3/22/16 and I honestly don’t know how I found you then BUT my mother died 4/17/16 after being in hospice care for only 4 months. I lost both my parents within 6 months of each other….my father from a massive heart attack in October of 2015. After that mother did start a decline, but actually was still able to get her hair done until Feb when she became bed ridden. This is such an awful process to watch and I feel for you. We did have round the clock care and they were great and I am so thankful that she was able to stay at home BUT with me living next door…..I was there all the time. When it started taking 2 people to change her I was the 2nd person and could leave when she took her naps. I was able to spend most nights at home, but after daddy died I stayed every single night until she went to sleep. Its been a hard journey and now I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Hang in there and always know that you are doing what you need to be doing at this time in your life. Most of all don’t lay a guilt trip on yourself. Prayers and Blessings

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. What a comfort I’m sure you were to your parents. May God bless you for all you did and comfort you with sweet memories and His presence. Thank you for sharing your story and for your encouragement.

  4. Oh my, Cheryl! Your posts always bring tears to my eyes. I am so sad for you and the heartache and pain you are feeling. I can relate SO completely to what you are going through. When I was a caregiver to my parents, I had so many of the same thoughts, experiences, and fears that you are now experiencing (you are not alone!!). And music–and even many of the same songs–was very much a part of my caregiving time with my parents. It is a heartwarming, yet tear-provoking and emotional experience to watch your parents, at this stage in their lives, lovingly relate together through music. It is a blessing though, and I know you believe that. Treasure these moments with every fiber of your being. And keep putting your faith in Jesus. That’s the best you can do, along with being the very loving, selfless, supportive daughter that you are. God is so pleased with you for honoring your parents and caring for them at this difficult time in their lives. You have my prayers for God’s grace and peace. And please be sure to take care of yourself and be gentle on yourself. God bless.

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