There were so many things we talked about doing. We both believed that God had called us to build a thriving mission-minded ministry. We wanted to travel and one day retire to our front porch swing and watch the sunsets together. None of that mattered now. Or did it? My husband was sick, and I was his caregiver. Given what we were facing, what was I supposed to do with the unfulfilled dreams, hopes, and expectations?
I had to choose whether to lean into what was required of me in that season or to live resentful and isolated. I’d like to tell you that I jumped right in, never looking back, but honestly, it was a choice I had to make over and over again.
Scott was a godly husband and father who loved his family. But it was still difficult when my strong-willed, 48-year-old husband was diagnosed with cancer. It forever changed our lives. As Christian pastors, we believed in divine healing. We prayed in faith, believing that God would restore Scott’s health. As his illness progressed, it forced us to let go of the dreams we had for our future and lunged us into survival mode.
Constantly balancing my attention and activities proved challenging for me. One night, he dismissed the sitter after I’d gone out for the evening. Another time, he called a friend to pick him up and checked out of rehab while I was out of state at a women’s conference. I knew his actions were about maintaining independence, and I respected that. But I’m not sure he understood the peace of mind component that I sought.
My training as a critical care nurse equipped me to care for his physical needs, but my nursing degree did not prepare me for the emotional drain. I chose to lean into each day, no matter what it brought. Sometimes I functioned because it was my duty as his wife, but it was my love that kept me choosing over and over to serve my husband in such an intimate way.
Being a caregiver for a decade taught me about the faithfulness of God and the true meaning of the marriage vows- “to love in sickness and in health.” I made mistakes along the way, but I kept showing up. I sat with him on the summer day of June 2008 when he received the cancer diagnosis, and I was there on the summer day of June 2018 when he went to heaven.
I never set out to be my husband’s caregiver. It’s just the direction our lives took. But once we were there, I chose to care for the man that had cared for me from the day we met. I am comforted knowing my husband is with the Master Caregiver, never needing my care again. And I look forward to the day we are together in heaven.
Evelyn Johnson-Taylor is a women’s ministry leader for nearly thirty years, helping women navigate many of the seasons of their lives. Her vision is to encourage, empower and equip women to win in every season of life. She uses God’s Word, and her life experiences to fulfill this vision by coaching, mentoring, training, speaking, and writing books. The biblical principles that she teaches when applied, will encourage, empower and equip women to walk in the fullness of all that God created them to be and accomplish.
Evelyn is an ordained minister who served with her late husband, Pastor Scott Taylor, as the founding pastors of Good News Bible Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Good News Global Ministries in Wesley Chapel, Florida. She also served as founder and president of Women of Promise International Ministries Inc., a nonprofit outreach ministry offering hope and healing to women, for fourteen years. She is a theology professor at Grace & Truth Christian University in Tampa, FL.
She has earned an AD in nursing, BA in Women’s Studies, and MA and Ph.D. in Ministry.
She was a caregiver for her husband during his illness from 2008–2018. As a 10-year caregiver, she offers a message of hope and encouragement to those caring for loved ones. Her work with community organizations keeps her in touch with the needs and resources available to caregivers.
God has blessed Evelyn with multiple guest appearances on HomeKeepers with Arthelene Rippy, Atlanta Live, and other media platforms to share her passion to empower women and the importance of self-care for caregivers.
Evelyn is the mother of two adult daughters and one son-in-love.
More times than not, loved ones find themselves in the position of caregiver to a family member. I hope you are encouraged by this Caregiving Straight Talk series. Feel free to share your story or comments.
MORE CAREGIVING Information:
Caregiver’s Corner Newsletter
I invite you to join my author friend, Tracy Crump’s monthly newsletter for caregivers. Here’s her information.
Caregiver’s Corner shares short stories of joys and heartaches along with tips now and then to help you survive this season and even make sweet memories. Together, we’ll cheer and encourage each other through the caregiving journey.
Link to subscribe to Tracy’s blog
Tracy Crump knows from experience the burdens caregivers shoulder after caring for both her parents and her 100-year-old mother-in-law. A former ICU nurse, Tracy dispenses hope in her award-winning book, Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness Twenty-two of her stories have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and she has published hundreds of devotions, articles, and short stories in diverse publications such as Guideposts books, Focus on the Family, Woman’s World, and Ideals.