How can I keep my faith to make it through another day?

17 answers | Last updated: Oct 19, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I wish it's all over. I am almost 47 years old with PC that is not operable. Although chemotherapy is somehow working, I am terrified of being dependent with ADL's and my children don't really understand that I am just being kept alive. I just want to be free, whatever that means, But chemo is not really a way of doing it. I just want to be this over, I am not patient enough and I wish either for 100% of recovery or death but not by chemo which is kind of a slow death anyways, after all it's just a matter of time. I can't stand it anymore, I want to live but I don't want to be dying slowly. Am I loosing my faith? If yes, how do I get it back? I just hate to be waiting and live one day at the time. I used to plan weeks, months or even years ahead, now I can't and I don't know how to deal with that. I want to be thankful for each day i am around but I am not naive. I want to believe in miracles but I am not patient and I just can't live one day at the time. I used to like to dream but now I can't because I don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. How do you live one day at the time?


Expert Answers

Shelly Beach, MRE, is a seminary graduate; instructor at Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan; author of seven books; and contributor to The NIV Stewardship Study Bible. She speaks nationally on faith, writing, and caregiving and is a host on the website Help for My Life in roundtable discussions on care issues. Beach's most recent release is Ambushed by Grace: Help and Hope on the Caregiving Journey.

You're facing one of life's most difficult challenges, and your feelings of ambivalence, doubt, and fear are common. May I express my support and prayers for you at this painful time in your life.

Your question cuts to the core of the issue faced by many patients diagnosed with terminal illness"”how do we live one day at a time when we don't know how much time we may have remaining in life? The question has both spiritual and practical roots.

Faith and an Uncertain Future

Christianity teaches that death here on earth is not the end for us. Our life continues beyond the grave. Facing a terminal illness often stretches our focus beyond this world to the next as we prepare to cross from this world into eternity. Those of us who believe in the Bible find hope in a future that has been secured for us beyond death. Yet death is a painful wrenching from all we know here on earth. Jesus, who conquered death for us, was moved to tears at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, even though he raised Lazarus from the dead just moments later.

Living one day at a time gives us the opportunity to evaluate what is important in life and order our spiritual priorities. The following things can help us when we face the crisis of a terminal diagnosis:

"¢ Talk to your pastor or priest, or spiritual leader.

"¢ Lean on the support of your church and faith community.

"¢ Seek the counsel of others who have experienced a similar journey.

"¢ Gather a circle of friends to support you in prayer and in practical ways.

"¢ Consider the role of hospice to assist you in working through the spiritual and physical challenges of your journey.

Prioritizing the Time In the face of an uncertain future, consider investing as much as possible, both spiritually and relationally, in each day.

"¢ Reconcile with loved ones. We all manage to jostle our way through life and produce bumps and bruises. Pray about who you may need to reconcile with or leave with parting words of grace.

"¢ Establish priorities. Focus your energies on the things that matter most, especially things that will have lasting value eternally and in relationships.

"¢ Things left undone. Accomplish as many things that you wished you could have done earlier in life. Engage loved ones along with you, and make as many memories as possible.

"¢ Things left unsaid. What wrongs should be set right? What grievances should be forgiven? What final words do you wish your loved ones and friends to hear? Be sure you write them down or record them.


Community Answers

Loving husband answered...

Faith is the most important thing. I lost my wife to leukemia nine months ago and until the end, she spoke of having faith and was visited by our pastor several times in her final months. Although losing her is still painful to this day, remembering her words to me about trusting in God to carry you through help immensely in carrying on with life without her. Although it is not easy to live one day at a time, you realize that it is now a part of your life with which you must deal and faith is an important part of this process also. Each evening, my wife and I spoke of things that needed to be done and she seemed to have a plan in this respect because each night's conversation was about something different. Many people are under the false impression that when you know your time is near, you should cram as much into that time as you can in haste. This leaves you with the constant feeling that there is something that you forgot to do or address. Living day by day allows you to have a peace of mind that you are addressing issues both fully and intelligently and actually your chances of neglecting or forgetting something are greatly reduced. May God be with you and yours.


Joan whitlock answered...

Dear Anonymous,

Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. Having been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2008 I would not be here today if I took a fatalistic attitude. Everyday we live, we die a little, however everyday we live we get to live another day to the fullest. You say you would like to believe in miracles. What's a miracle to us is easy for God. You say you are not patient. You don't need to be patient. You just need to live your life with expectancy. Each day you are alive is another day for a cure to be found or a "miracle" to happen. The Bible says that if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you can tell that mountain (disease, poverty, whatever) to move and it will move. I go about my life just as I did before, and maybe a little better than before. I won't stop until God stops me. Go out and help someone who has it worse than you. Talk to people. You never know who needs to hear what you have to say. Have hope, keep the peace, and never ever give up. Peace and love, in His Name.


Frafra43 answered...

Having gone thru radiation and chemo last year for small cell lung cancer and being pronounced cured in Dec. Had another good report on March 1, I was shocked when I had what they thought was a stroke on April 14 and turned out to be a lung cancer tumor the size of an egg in my brain. I consider it a miracle. God has come into my life stronger than ever = I finally figured out Jesus in the trinity. I have talked to my kids and they know I have a very limited time. I have shared with them my phylosophys and a whole lot of memories . I have gotten very close with my brother (who has stage 4 lymphoma) and my sister. I don't sleep a lot and I sit outside at night and talk to GOD aloud I ask for strength to do what I need to do. I say the serenity prayer a lot. I am on facebook (Robin Moon Nash ) if you want we can be friends and I will be there for you as much as possable. May God keep you in his loving hands and help you through today


Arnick answered...

Dear Anonymous , Please dont give up. I have read all of the comments above and I agree with them all. Even when we don't have a terminal diagnosis,we still live one day at a time. We don't know how many days we have on this earth only God does. So we trust that He will wake us everyday that He has promised us, and then we will be with Him for eternity. Know that every day that you wake up is another day that you will get to spend with your loved ones. And most of all another day they will spend with you. Tell them everyday that you love them. You still have your faith ,I don't believe that you are losing it. Wow, look at how many people out there that God is using just to assure you that you still believe.Continue to trust God ,He always brings us through. We don't always understand why and what He does. But we can always trust that He cares and is always near to hear our every prayer. Know that you are loved and you and your family are being prayed for. May God bless you and your family.


Evec answered...

My husband was diagnosed in 2008 with Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. After prostatectomy, we followed up with 9 months of chemo and continued hormone therapy. His PSA is rising, but we're not giving up. We've had two good years with the children and grandchildren, and will continue to enjoy them as long as we are able.
When his older brother died of kidney failure, I felt his most valuable and beautiful gift was to camp in the back yard for the last two weeks of his life with all of his children and grandchildren, sharing memories and experiences. As a result, when he did pass away, his family was at peace. His faith was a factor, but his loving compassion was the gift. Please don't shut your children out, and try not to give up. Concentrate more on what you can share and realize how much a parent means to a child.


Frafra43 answered...

Dear Annon, and anyone else out there who is interested,Fathers Day can be a great time to gift your children. If the finances are going to be such that there will be an inheritance for your kids, gift them now to alleviate the tax burden ( you can gift up tp 13,000)with no tax. Even a small amount will show them you are thinking about them with love. Besides the govt will get it anyway =lol I did this for Mothers day and they were all shocked = but very appreciative. May God give you another day to touch someone elses life like you have touched mine, bless you. Robin Moon Nash


Frafra43 answered...

Dear Annon, and anyone else that is interested, If your are financially able send your children a Fathers Day gift. You can gift up to 13,000 with no tax burden to them. Even a small gift makes them aware that you are thinking about them with love. I was able to send mine a goodly amount for Mothers Day (after a big fight with my husband, even tho it won't hurt him at all) they were all shocked ,but very appreciative. thank you for touching my life and I hope you touch someone elses today with Gods guidence. Robin Moon Nash


Valerie waldean answered...

My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in July 2008. He bravely went through chemo, and we spent the sweetest twenty months together as a family before he passed. If I didn't have that time, I don't know how I would get through this loss. The memories we made are a lifetime's worth. Little things like a drive in the country, lunch at the lake, going to the beach, watching a show together and laughing. These are what get me through the day. YOU are giving your family memories to cherish.


I want to live answered...

Thank you all for you precious responses, I just don't want to be a burden to anyone and having my pain back seems like one. I do understand one thing though, Jesus died in pain and I know that I can do it as well because I hate pain pills. I know HE will give me the strength at the end so I guess I am not loosing the faith after all. I just don't want to be a burden to anyone I love. I don't know why this is so important to me but I guess it's because I was always on my own and I was the ONE helping people. Why is it so difficult to ask and accept a help for me?


Frafra43 answered...

Dear annon, I think we are kindred souls. I too have always been the one to help rather than ask for it (never let them see me sweat). I too hate taking pain meds. I don't like to feel sorry for myself. Thru the miracle of my brain tumor I have learned it is a gift to others to let them help you ( I have a 92 yearold mother-in-law close by who has become my best friend and sounding board) I pace my pain meds so I dont wake up hurting even if I dont hurt at bedtime. I watched my brother smoke marijuana' tho I never have and hate it with a passion. I have watched my children (3 )bond with each other and it warms my soul to the core. I give myself the right to feel sorry for myself( in 15 minute increments lol.) TAKE THE PAIN MEDS you wont have time to become an addict anyway. The Lord loves you and so do I. May you bring a smile to someone today. Robin Moon Nash


Valerie waldean answered...

Taking care of my husband was the most beautiful thing. I cherished every moment. He stayed here at home and we were togetter with a nurse once a day. I would not have had it any other way. I WANTED to do it, and he learned to love having me take care of him. I'm sure he didn't want to be a burden to anyone either, but when that time arrives, it is the most natural thing in the world to have your loved ones be able to share their love by ministering to your needs. Being fed and bathed and such seems weird to us, but when it happens it is the most normal thing in the world. It is a loving act, and as such gives my daughter and I many cherished memories.


Shelbyzgrammy answered...

I agree with the others opinions on living one day at a time. I am almost 2 years out from breast cancer and still have to deal with the surgical and chemo side-effects. But I have realized EVERYONE just lives one day at a time...we just don't realize it. My husband says it best when someone, especially a MD, asks him how he is. His response is "I woke up this morning and am here aren't I". Faith is just that...it is knowing that God has our lives mapped out for us. Most people make the best decisions they can with the free will we are given by God. My faith is all that gets me through in the end. I LOVE my friends and family, but in the end it's just God and me. I too, at age 50, have had to become dependent on others. I don't like it one little bit. But I think of those who have no one and then become thankful. None of us know what the end of this time on Earth is going to be, or when it will be. I am just trying to get all the messages God is sending to me. I often say he tried tapping me on the shoulders over the years to get his attention...and I thought I got it. But, now I realize I needed a good knock on the head to get the REAL message. Just think about how good you make (or made) others feel when you could help them...that's how they feel now. At least that's what helps me accept help from others. And if you were my brother, just being there would make my day !! Take care and God Bless :)


Scottybeammeup answered...

Don't Give up. God is providential so is the following his answer? Look for other answers. There are alternatives. I had a growth in my chest about 9 years ago and I began juicing fresh vegetable and some fruit for flavor and in 2 days the growth began receding. 6 to 8 months later it was gone. This is one way to attack the cancer. I have 2 more.

Go to the following blog: http://tiny.cc/bm4n5 . There is a person that took this product and in 3 days there was improvement. Then 30 days latter her tumors were gone...............

There is another product and I know the guy who is marketing it and he has helped more than 450 people including himself. He is 90 years old. He and all of those people don't have cancer anymore. Improvement in one week. .... If you would like info on this, let me know.... Godspeed, Scott


Shirleybill answered...

You need to take some time and pray. The reason i say this, is because you are not communing with God. You are just wanting this over with, and it may not be His will for you to be done with life yet. He may have a specific purpose just for you. If you take the time to commune with Him, then He will show you what it is.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Someone else, I just told about the precious water a few weeks ago and they wouldn't try it because the doctor didn't recommend it. Now 3 weeks later he has passed and he didn't need to. But, it must of been God's plan because that is what happened. I can't tell anyone that I have an an answer in medical terms but I do have an answer that can change peoples situations and get them back to living and planing again....


Loving husband answered...

Please don't give up. Since I lost my dear wife two years ago to leukemia, I have found myself wanting to give up so many times. But I keep remembering what she told me when she was near the end. God has a plan for all of us and when you have fulfilled your requirements here, you will move on. Faith is fleeting so you must hang on to it with both hands and with your heart very tightly. It can sometimes get away but when it does, go after it and make every effort possible to recapture it. I personally have found myself chasing it more often then I should but because of her words to me and the love I will always feel in my heart for her, I chase it down and thank God I have so far been able to recover it. My life is a day to day one now also because I lost her but never be ashamed of this for as long as the faith is there also, you somehow find the will to go on - be it more slowly and planned then before. God Bless.