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Looking for Peace?

The caregiver's life is never dull. There are all sorts of activities and duties that demand our time and at times it can be very hectic. Some days come and go peacefully without any huge mishaps; and some days there can be one thing after another that occurs to disrupt our peace. Some think that just because we are basically home bound we sit around bored all day with nothing to do! The caregiver doesn't even have time to think about getting bored most of the time! We are more likely looking for 5 minutes to grab here and there where we can just sit and breathe! Peace can seem far away...  I stumbled across this scripture in my reading this morning and it have given me much to think about concerning peace. Isaiah 32:17 says this: and the work of righteousness will be peace, and the service of righteousness quietness and confidence forever.   How does one do the work of righteousness ? We are righteous by the blood of Christ...this is not speaking of getting righteous; but

Where Else Could We Go?

Jesus was talking about His death and resurrection in John 6 when He offended many of His followers. He was describing to them how He was the true bread who came from heaven and we must partake of Him. It seems the disciples were having difficulty with His statements; perhaps they just really didn't understand the spiritual implications. Confusion comes quickly when we try to drag eternal stuff into time's understanding. Jesus saw that they were not real happy. He also saw many followers walk away at this time. He looked at the 12 and asked them, you want to go away too? Peter's answer indicates to me that he had thought about it already. Peter said Where else would we go? I think he had already contemplated an exit.  I wonder sometimes how people who are going through very difficult times find faith, hope, encouragement and strength to go on. Don't you? And there have been times caregivers hear that question, how do you do it? I think I feel a little like Peter

For Those Who Are Alone

Sometimes all we can do is trust. There are lots of questions and rather than providing a nice distraction,holidays seem to create more dilemmas and questions than answers. It can be funny if you want it to - if you can lighten up a little bit. If you think about it long enough and how difficult it can be to get through even just a normal day - and then add to that the hectic-ism of the holiday plus the fact that everyone else thinks we should be excited about it - it really is kinda funny! This is for all of those who are overwhelmed by the holidays rather than enjoying them. Perhaps you have found yourself alone once again; or maybe it is insurmountable situations that are nagging at your heart. Yeah, sure everyone thinks you are supposed to be happy just because it's Christmas - but that is really only in the movies. Santa Claus doesn't really come! lol! And a cheerful heart doesn't magically appear! So how do you hold on in the season where everyone else is rejoicing

My Hiding Place

This time of year can get very crazy real quick! For those who are shut in (or mostly shut in) it can be very difficult. Everyone is even busier trying to get all their shopping done and all the arrangements made for their celebrations. But for the caregiver many times, things do not change just because it is Christmas; or any other holiday for that matter. Because of the busy-ness even fewer people come or call. On one hand, it is understood; on the other the loneliness can deepen.  But during this very busy time of year we must remember that He remains our hiding place. The psalmist said in Psalm 9:7: You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. And He does! Whether our lives have become extremely hectic this time of year, or extremely lonely He continues to protect us and to hide us in His shelter.    I think the part I like even more about this verse is that while we are hidden in Him - He surrounds us with songs . I like t

The Judge is Our Stronghold

These handful of scriptures in Psalm 9 really say a lot. Verses7-8 describe the Lord, our God as a judge. He sits on His throne which He established for judgment. Our concept of judgment is a harsh, cruel rule. But it is simply making decisions regarding matters. Which of course, God always does in righteousness. Think about the decisions that you have to make each and every day. This can be a huge responsibility. Yet God makes decisions about all humanity - and all who have been and will be throughout time- all the time. What a huge responsibility! He has the weight of the world on His broad shoulders! Yet this judge - this righteous decision maker - is our stronghold. He will not forsake those who trust in Him. It is easy to feel forsaken. And it's not one of those real to me kinds of things. Many times we have truly been forsaken. Friends, church and even family do not always know what to do with us as our lives are lived so differently. In many ways, our home imprisons us

Waiting in Silence

Have you ever just waited in silence for God? A lot of times I find myself whining, screaming and crying at Him! But there are those times when words for whatever reason just do not seem appropriate, or they seem unnecessary. Like there is some sort of mutual understanding. I do not need words, I just know that He understands my painful heart. Perhaps that is what David was sensing when he penned Psalm 62:1. He speaks of waiting in silence for the Lord.  David speaks twice here about waiting in silence before the Lord. He says one time it is because his hope is from Him and the other his salvation is from Him. But then two other times David says this: He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. That's in verse 5, but in verse 2 he says I will not be greatly shaken . I do not know about you but there is a great shaking of the faith when tragedy strikes. At least it is perceived as a shaking of faith - circumstances only shake what we have been taugh

But As For Me...

Psalm 59 was written during a very troubling time for David. I admire his writings because David was so open and honest with his emotions and his feelings. He didn't hesitate to say what he really felt. And in general, you never have to ask yourself, I wonder what he meant by that? Psalm 59 doesn't stray from this pattern as David talks about what he hopes God does to his enemy!  Just about the time the reader thinks that surely David is way off and has lost it he redeems himself with this statement in verse 16: but as for me... This phrase is then followed by David's declaration over his own heart. He says that he will sing of the Lord's goodness. He says he will not only sing, but do so joyfully. I cannot honestly say that I have been singing joyfully through adverse circumstances. David concentrates on what God is doing and who He is rather than the adversity surrounding him. He says he will sing of the Lord's strength - not his own. He'll sing of H

Because of the Enemy

For the believer there is no doubt that Holy Spirit lives in us and strengthens us. Ephesians 3:16b says it this way: ....be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man... Take a second to think about that. We are strengthened from the inside out - because Holy Spirit lives inside of our very being.  Holy Spirit resides in us to give us the strength to remain in Christ no matter what the circumstances. And actually, our circumstances many times drive us straight back to Him. You may be rocking along thinking life is good and some tragedy or trauma wakes you right out of your stupor. We tend to start trying to figure out where we left God! Or where He went that this terrible thing has occurred. But He never moved. He is everywhere - all the time and will be for all time...even throughout eternity.   In an odd way, adversity has its way of driving us to Him. In Psalm 59:9 the psalmist says this: because of his strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold

The Hidden King

Psalm 57 has been a passage that I have held on to for many years now. I was sick in 1987 with a mystery illness that none of the many doctors ever figured out. All we know is everyone thought I was going to die and then one day I started slowly getting better, obviously touched by His hand. During that time I discovered Psalm 57:1 - Be merciful unto me O Lord, be merciful unto me for my soul trusts in You, and in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge until these calamities are past. Well, eventually the calamity passed but in the process I did learn much about trusting Him and hiding in His shelter.  The other verse in this Psalm that sticks out to me is verse 7. David (hiding in the cave from King Saul) starts out by talking about hiding in the Lord's shelter and in this verse it seems to me that he is making a declaration about his own heart. The hiding king states: my heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast...I will sing, yes, I will sing praises! To me he is

Just Like Everyone Else

The life of a caregiver is certainly not an easy one! Yet I am sure that there are far worse circumstances to have to deal with. But this can be a lonely and painful walk. Each day can present various situations that must be overcome; obstacles that seem insurmountable.But we are still breathing; and we are still caregiving - so we must still be learning to trust in Him to take us one more day! Challenging pretty much sums up our lives, doesn't it? lol!  I have found that just because my life is lived in a cave of adversity, it does not exempt me from the requirements laid out in the Word. So far I have not found one time when there was a command given and special stipulations were given for caregivers; or any other sufferers for that matter. (but I am still looking! lol!) Jesus did not say give to those who ask and do not turn away from those who want to borrow - unless you are a caregiver in which case you don't have to worry about it! It does not read like that anywhere!

Who Do You Compare To?

The life of a caregiver really cannot be compared to any other situation. And among caregivers each situation is so unique that it is really difficult to compare each one. All of us have some areas that our situation is better in some respect than others; and we also each have some worse areas than others. But really this is true in general.  We all have such different circumstances and backgrounds that no two lives are exactly the same. There have never been two people anywhere that have had identical experiences. This is so even for children who grow up in a home together. My point is that we really cannot compare ourselves among ourselves and come up with any wisdom! (2 Corinthians 10:12)  However, in Psalm 119:6 we do find a measuring rod with which we can determine where we stand in life. David says in v. 5-6: Oh that my actions would consistently reflect Your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with Your commands ! I think many times we can get t

His Signature

I have read the scripture Haggai 2:23 many times. In it, God is telling Zerubbabel that he was like the king's signet ring, the ring that the king uses to seal his signature. This ring is very valued and protected. Sometimes as caregivers we get so caught up in caring for someone else and concerning ourselves with protecting them, that we forget that the Lord protects us and considers us as valuable as a king's signet ring. Actually, the King values us as His signature here on earth. If you take a quick look at the verses preceding this scripture you'll find that there was soon to be all sorts of turmoil going on. This is something we like to conveniently overlook when we are pulling out scriptures for ourselves. But God was assuring Zerubbabel that even in the midst of total chaos (which can be like many of our days!!) God still values him as much as His signature.  The king's signet ring was his seal on a matter. It finalized it and no one could argue with it or c

He Will Lift You Up

James is one of the shorter books in the New Testament, but it is certainly full of many key scriptures. From James we learn about how to control our lives with our tongues! This is really one of the most interesting letters written by these early apostles. But in James it seems that to me personally, chapter 4 has always stood out.  Verse 8 has been a mainstay - Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. I have read it, taught it and practiced it for years. But this morning a different verse grabbed my attention. It's on down in verse 10. It simply states: When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on Him, he will lift you up and give you honor. Many would like to stress the latter portion of this verse - but I want to major on the first part.  When we can come to the point that we remove ourselves from the picture and realize that our strength does not and cannot come from ourselves - He will give us strength. And His strength can carry us much further

The Truth About Faith

There is a freedom that comes in being totally honest with yourself about your emotions and your situation. And quite frankly you simply cannot be honest with God until you are open and honest with yourself. How can you cast you cares on Him if you do not acknowledge that you have them?  There is a barrier that is erected when we do not look at our situations and ourselves in truth. We cannot ask for His strength until we realize we have none; we will not look for faith until we see ours has been shaken; and we cannot ask Him to carry a load for us that we will not admit we have.  Faith is not ignoring the obvious and trying to walk blindly through life as if hardship does not exist. True faith rises up in our hearts in the midst of the longest storm, the darkest night and our loneliest moments and grabs hold of Him. But we must admit our circumstances to be able to reach for Him. Remember Jesus said those who seek Him must seek Him in spirit and in truth .  Faith is not a mask

When Others Don't Understand

Many people really do not understand the life of a caregiver. Of course, they should not be expected to if they have not lived it themselves. It puts a strain on every part of your being: body, soul and spirit. Some days are emotionally draining and many times there are many physical challenges for us as well. But as each day unfolds before us, we simply press on. In my personal blog I spoke of the three things that will always remain: faith, hope and love. They will not fail us. (I Corinthians 13:13) (www.macdingolinger.wordpress.com)  As we have learned to embrace these three elements and let them carry us through we do some things that others just cannot understand. Like the nameless woman in Mark 14. She entered where Jesus and His disciples were dining and poured some very expensive perfume on his head. Everyone got mad, because they didn't understand ...why would she waste the expensive perfume anointing Jesus? It could have been sold ....  But Jesus told the disciples i

The Dark is Light to Him

My alarm is set to go off to a local radio station. This morning while I was fumbling with the snooze button I heard them share a scripture. It's found in Psalm 139:12 and it says even the darkness is not dark to You and the night is a s bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. My first thought was that He cannot see the darkness of my struggle. But as I meditated on it a little bit my perspective changed.  As I get older, my dislike for driving at night grows. It seems like it is more difficult to see at night and the headlights on our vehicles are only made to help us see a few feet in front of us at a time. I do not like my vision being obscured by the darkness. Sometimes I feel like that as a caregiver. I can barely see a tiny bit in front of me (if any at all) and I simply can't see or even dream past that. Losing the ability to dream can be one of the biggest handicaps for the caregiver.  So I pondered for a minute on why He could not see my darkness -

And So We Wait.

It seems that the topic in my heart returns frequently to waiting on the Lord. I am not real sure what I am waiting for; if I am waiting for Him to do something, say something or move something...but I wait. That is really where I am today just waiting. I do not really know how to pray sometimes, so I wait. My emotions run dry, nothing I can do to change today; so I wait.  Psalm 25:5 says this:   Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation for You I wait all the day.   There is nothing wrong with just being silent before Him. There are just those times when words do not seem appropriate. Our religious background can make us feel like we must pray, speak, talk, do...all the time. But sometimes the greatest faith is expressed in silently waiting for Him. It is in these times we grow.  Today, let us wait on Him to see what He will do next. His peace is priceless, His grace is endless. I choose today to walk in His grace and peace no matter what is going on

It's Still A Waiting Game

This morning my insides are singing. It's a scripture song and I had some friends that had great harmony and boy could they sing it! It was beautiful - and I can remember just like they used to sing it! It's found in Psalm 27:14 and it says:   wait on the lord and be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart Sometimes the waiting seems like the hard part. I'm a mom and I want to fix things; get them back up and going. But in caregiving situations it does not always work like that which can cause great anxiety for us fixers! I have to take myself back to this scripture and remind myself that the only way I can find the strength for today is to wait on Him .  Waiting sounds so easy - but in actuality it is so difficult. I want life to return to some sort of what I used to call normal and it just isn't going to happen. Even if there was a miracle and God touched my son today and made him whole... there's still no way life could be like it was. I have changed

Consider the Source

Psalm 84 has been a long time favorite of mine. My favorites change of course, depending on the need of the day! But there is a verse in this particular psalm that had me puzzled for awhile. The second portion of verse 11 says no good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly . Now like you, I have heard this one twisted by the religious world; and I think we do not have a proper definition of good things .  Religious thinking quoted this scripture and used it for monetary gain. I guess they decided that a Mercedes or a Cadillac was a good thing so they deserved for God to give them one. And for many years I tended to agree with this interpretation. But you know how your perspective changes as you go through life's stuff? Mine has done a complete turn around.  Don't get me wrong - I totally believe in God's provision. I have watched Him provide every single need  and much more through this journey. And I do know people personally that He has blessed financia

Content with Weakness

This phrase is taken from 2 Corinthians 12:10. The writer, Apostle Paul, made the statement that he was content with weakness. A few years ago in my life I would not have been able to agree. I have always been a very independent person (which sometimes causes relationship problems) and a I-cab-do-it-myself type. I do not take time to ask for help - I'll figure out how to get it done. The last 3 years of caregiving has changed some (but not all) of that. There are times now where I really do just have to ask for a little bit of help. Think about it - how often does someone call you and say, "Hey, I'd love to come sit for a couple hours so you could get out and see a movie..." (or buy groceries, get a haircut, walk in the park,.. etc...) It just does not happen. So we are in a position to have to request help occasionally.  Paul goes on to say in this passage that he is also content with insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties.  Notice they are all plurals!

Choose Your Attitude

As caregivers we are all in situations that do not match our dreams. Where we are today most likely was not in the plan when we were setting our life goals. Yet, we are here. Now we must deal with each day as it is given to us; and choose to make the best of it.  Today is Thanksgiving Day. And while I could go through the list of things I wish were different, I will choose to concentrate on the things I am thankful for. I have found this practice helps me through many days. It is amazing once I start purposefully finding things to be thankful for, how my whole perspective can change. In a matter of minutes I am no longer being swept down some deep, dark emotional river. Instead I find myself taking a deep breath of air. Sometimes it's simply to remind myself that I am indeed still alive!  But as I choose to turn my heart to one of thankfulness I find that many of my deepest concerns are carried away, perhaps in the river of doubt that wanted to wash me away!  So today I am th

If Anyone Loves Me

I found this to be very interesting this morning. I was reading in John 14 and came to verse 21. Jesus is speaking and says that those who love Him He and the Father will love. And then Jesus says that to those who love Him, He will disclose Himself to them. I have read this scripture many times before. But this morning the next verse really jumped out at me.  Judas (not Iscariot - the good one) asked Jesus in response what has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world? Did that sound like a "church person's" question to you? We always like to think that we are the special ones, like we have a one-up on everyone else because of some position or something. And yet Jesus appears to just be talking openly about people who love Him and how they will embrace the word and be loved by the Father.  This is evident in the way Jesus answered Judas' egotistical and religious question.He begins with if anyone loves me ...no other stipulatio

We are All Fruity!

As a caregiver, we can feel fruitless. For many of us, our lives changed abruptly with many dreams left unrealized, leaving us with the feeling that we cannot bear fruit since the picture of our life doesn't look like we thought it would. An old favorite scripture came to mind this morning as I was thinking about fruitfulness. It's one of those that we sing, shout and proclaim while we think we will never really need it. It is in Habakkuk 3:17-19. I'll let you read it yourself but I think you'll remember it as it starts like this: though the fig tree does not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines.... and it ends with yet I will praise Him! It's a clear declaration that whether my field ( life) if fruitful or not I will spend my breath praising Him. But as we all know, we don't really think we will ever be in a place to have to force the issue... but here we are. Many of us in circumstances that can make us feel or think that we are fruitless; however

With Thanksgiving...Let Your Requests Be Made Known

It is certainly that time of year that most of us like to take some time for reflective thinking and thanksgiving. It's a very good thing, of course. I have found myself lately trying to turn my heart more to one of thanksgiving when I seem overwhelmed. It does not matter how "good" of a situation we are in as caregivers, depression and sadness can just slip up on you.  For me, I see my son how he is and miss who he was. My emotions can slip away in a heartbeat. Just like the our lives can slip away and change forever with one phone call.Well, lately when I look at my son and see him so immobile I turn my heart to thanksgiving. I make myself be thankful for anything I can think of!  Philippians 4:6-7 says this: Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your heats and your minds in Christ Jesus. I know we are talking abo

The Lord of Peace

When Paul wrote his letter to the Thessalonians, he was writing to a group of people who had been under attack. Actually, he began this particular letter with some kudos for the congregations there. He recognized their enlarging faith and how they were growing in love toward one another. Then he goes on to notice their continued perseverance and faith in the midst of persecutions and afflictions. Is this not our goal as caregivers? To continue to hold on to faith and continue to persevere even in the midst of the things we face each day? I am sure you can admit with me that there are days when this task is easier than others!  Paul began this letter with such warm words about them and perhaps what he shared with them near the closing is key. In verse 17 of chapter 3 Paul prays this for the believers Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! He did not pray for the circumstances to change, or for the persecution

His Protection

Staying with our 2 Thessalonians theme we're going to look at chapter 3 verse 3 in today's devotion. In the midst of tragedy, or living a life as a caregiver I think this scripture takes on a different feel. It says this: But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. If we can be brutally honest - sometimes in the midst of our trials, it really doesn't feel like it. It may even seem like God failed at His end of the "bargain."  Somewhere along the way Christians tend to get the idea that when we serve God He puts out this protective shield around us and nothing bad is ever supposed to happen to us. No one gets sick, has a stroke, is involved in a car wreck or gets diagnosed with the most feared diseases like cancer and such. Many of people have walked away from God when circumstances popped their little bubble. But the Lord is faithful.... even in the circumstances.   He will strengthen you..and protect you from the evil

Power of Adjectives

Second Thessalonians is a very short book, but it has some powerful phrases in it. I mark my Bibles up in these 3 little chapter as there are several scriptures that are great to use to pray for people. I call them "generic" because they will just fit no matter what the circumstance is that they are facing. One of these prayer/scriptures is Chapter 2, verses 16 and 17.  It says this: Now may the Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.  (NASB) This morning I read it over and over again. Some key words stood out to me. But before I go there, let's adapt it to the caregiver.  It asks that the Lord will strengthen your hearts in every good work ... that is not limited to inside the four walls of the church. Actually, very little good works goes on from inside the church building itself. You'll find that most of the time what God

God is At Work

Just because we do not get exactly what we ask for does not mean that God is not working. I thought about Joseph this morning and the years he spent locked up in prison. I am sure he thought about his dreams quite a lot. In Psalms it says that the Word of the Lord tested him. No matter how you look at it this can sure chip away at our theology.  I do not think that God is sitting up there waiting for ways to make us miserable just to see if we will continue to trust. However, life does bring with it a series of testings and opportunities to continue to believe. Life just happens, and so do bad things. It's not that God prevents everything bad from happening so that we have a nice cushy stay on earth... it's just that He works in the midst of them. 1 Thessalonians 2:13b says that His word performs its work in you who believe. The only stipulation here, if there is one, is that we believe. God's word does not stop carrying us because we hit tough times or things in lif

It's Just Part of Living

There is no escape from pain in this world. I hear of people every day who are in situations like ours - caregiving. But I also hear of all sorts of other painful situations that are being endured. It's all just part of living . There is no way to get away from the pain; the trick is finding out how to deal with it appropriately. No amount of crying, moaning, screaming or cussing brings any real relief does it?   Pain is not foreign to our Bible heroes either. Check out how the Psalmist described his painful situation in Psalm 102:4-8.   My heart is sick, withered like grass... and I have lost my appetite. Because of my groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like an owl in the desert, like a lonely owl in a far-off wilderness. I lie awake lonely as a solitary bird on the roof. My enemies taunt me day after day. They mock and curse me.  I think this is an accurate description of some days for me. I feel cut off, not "normal" and all alone. And in the midst of t

But What About Me?

In a discussion yesterday I was talking about some of the emotions that are part of the caregiver's package. I was expressing the feelings that make it seem like God has abandoned us. While we know He didn't...it can certainly feel at times as though He did...and that He is far away.  In Psalm 13 we can see that the psalmist David had some similar feelings. How long O Lord will you look the other way? somehow there is a small amount of comfort in knowing that we are not the only persons in the world who have ever felt like God is not looking on us with His favor - or looking our direction at all!  Even though David pours out all of his anguish before the Lord - he ends up in the last verse of this psalm with this phrase... but I will trust in Your unfailing love. Isn't that where we are today? Some days we are unable to feel or sense God in any way...yet we will trust in His unfailing love. Psalm 19 ends with one of these types of thoughts as well. He prays let the w

Plain and Simple

In preparation for a teaching I will be doing later this week via Skype, I was reading Micah 6:8. This may sound kind of silly, but as a caregiver sometimes it seems like the way we have understood some scriptures through our traditional church teachings...from here they just don't fit the way we learned them. (that may just be me...)  For example (and this is just one of many), forsake not the assembling of yourselves together ...has been taught as though it is some grave sin to not go to church on Sunday morning. So what are you supposed to do when you are shut-in? (God forbid it be taught to go out and visit those who cannot come!!)  But anyway - Micah 6:8 is one of those that is so simple it works anywhere for anyone. It's a scripture that there just is no way of reasoning around or making so religious that it no longer applies to real life! It's pure and simple and exempts no one.   do what is right love mercy walk humbly with your God These are required from us

Furnace Walkers

My friend used this term when she replied to one of my blogs.It's the one where I try to dump all my emotions so I can have my heart and mind clear to be able to concentrate on the rest of my day which is mostly caregiving or writing. (www.macdingolinger.wordpress.com) It's actually called from the furnace and I try to share how I hold on to faith while going through this furnace. Sometimes I am barely keeping it in my grasp and sometimes it sure seems to slip away! But eventually, no matter how dark - faith always comes back.  I was thinking of others this morning who had their furnace. Some like the apostle Paul. He turned his heart toward God while in the furnace and we ended up with 2/3 of our New Testament! I suppose this is our greatest task right now - while in our own personal furnaces - to turn our hearts to Him. For the real believers - it's impossible not to. It can actually be frustrating to try to walk away... like ... where would we go anyway? There is no

Sleep is Overrated!

I am certain that sleep is overrated! I have always wondered why God made our bodies to need a certain amount of sleep every night. It seems like such a waste of time. Didn't He know how much I could get done if I did not have to lay down for that minimum of 6 hours a night?  I was thinking about this last night as my son was waking me up every hour on the hour until about 3 this morning. All the things I needed to accomplish today were running through my mind as I was griping about having to give in to the tiredness. I even thought, why did You make us have to sleep? You never sleep ?  ....but He did rest ...from all His works!  So here it is 3 am and caregiving is stealing my sleep that I didn't really want in the first place and now my mind is racing. He does not ever sleep. He does not grow tired.... but I do! As I lay there frustrated and trying to decide if I should just get up and stop fighting it; asking all these questions - I was pretty sure I was not disturbi

Fear Not - You Worm...?

I was reading along this morning and found a great scripture that contains a wonderful piece of instruction to Jacob: fear not. I let my eyes rest on those two little words for a few seconds as I thought about how many fears I face almost every day. ( I'm afraid I'll do something wrong while caring for my son, afraid I am not stretching him enough, afraid I'll drop him, afraid I won't stay on top of my growing work load, afraid I'll gain more weight, afraid I won't get to run soon enough.... got the idea? 'cause I can go on!!)  Fear not. Simple, but complex, isn't it? It's easy to say - but difficult to do. Just help me find the button to turn my thoughts off for a minute and maybe I can shut down the fears that come with the situation. I really don't think it's the deepest sense of the word, fear . Sometimes it's healthy to be afraid. Like when you are going to cross the road on foot and there is traffic. It's actually a good thin

In the Seeking...

Caregiving is an endless job and it does not take long to feel safely isolated away from the rest of the world. There seems to be times that I want to withdraw on purpose and live safely in my cave. Some of those times can be a good thing, allowing me to gather my thoughts and emotions so that I do not explode on anyone negatively should I have contact with the "outside world."  But there always comes the times to emerge...it's almost like a fresh new start on a very strange level. There are times the isolation of caregivers is good and there are times that the world is a real place for us once again. Either place can be the right place for the moment, neither to be totally embraced, or ignored. No matter which extreme we seem to be living in - or anywhere in between - there's a continual longing, or seeking for Him.... waiting for Him to show up one more time ...  David said in Psalm 63:1    O God, You are my God; earnestly I seek you;  my soul thirsts for You; 

A Small Comfort at Last

Please forgive me for being so lax on doing this devotional. I needed help myself for a few weeks. I know you are most likely very familiar with what I call the "caregiver's fog." It can sweep you up and suck you down and leave you in a state of nothingness for days on end. It can fry your emotions and leave you scratching your head barely making it through each grueling day beneath its pressure.But alas...I am finally emerging. I will try to do a better job at keeping my head above and completing this task. My purpose really is to encourage but quite honestly I just have not had it in me! But I'm back now!!  I think what helped me start the difficult dig out of the hole was the other day someone made mention of a particular scripture and I began talking about it. I was so stirred up it got me to thinking about it and many others on the topic. One thing I have tried to do is to begin to read the scriptures without my old religious thinking...it's very difficult

It Says What?

In my morning devotions I was reading through Psalm 68. I have always enjoyed this psalm and I think it may be because we taught the first verse to the children's church crowd back in the day. To me this is a very rich psalm and speaks to many areas in our lives. But today I got to verse 19 and stopped.  In the NASB verse 19 says this: Blessed be the Lord who daily bears our burden, The God who is our salvation. But I had a note in my margin that reminded me of how this particular verse is translated in the old KJV: Blessed be the Lord who daily loads us with benefits; even the God of our salvation. These two phrases: loads us with benefits and bears our burden  do not really seem close. How could the same phrase be translated two different ways? That I may never know - but ...  In my thinking it sounds like it is to my benefit that He carries my burden ! He not only took my sin to Calvary - but He walks with me through this journey we call life. He is the one who gives us th

Daniel on Prayer

While I was studying this morning my Bible kind of fell open to Daniel. I didn't really read but a verse or two, but I just started thinking about this man. He is one of my favorite Bible characters and I know I mention him a lot. But I just cannot imagine enduring the things Daniel had to face in his lifetime.  He was pretty young when they went into captivity at which time he was castrated and was basically made a slave. He was trained for service to the king, but he lost his life, dreams and hopes in the process. He would never do the normal things like get married, buy land and have children. It had all been stolen from him.  Yet even when Daniel faced such great adversity, he continued to pray daily. It was not just a fluke, he was not trying to use prayer to make anything better or even to get out of captivity at this point. It seems his prayers and efforts did not turn that direction until he found where God has specifically told Jeremiah that it would be 70 years of ca

And the Point Is.....?

Psalm 42 has been sung for years. It starts out speaking of how the psalmist was longing for the Lord as a deer thirsts for water. He goes on to talk about that intense longing to just be with Him...a very familiar feeling. And in verse 5 he says this: Why are you cast down O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God.  By the time he gets to the last part of his thoughts that helped to form this psalm he mentions it again. (v11)  And here's what's interesting, in the next psalm verse 5 says the same thing again. On one hand it seems like it's not that big of a deal; like maybe he was trying to talk himself into trusting in God. And I know caregivers must work through that process many days! But, he was not trying to do that. Psalm 42 was written for the sons of Korah...we are talking Moses' day. But Psalm 43 was written by David. That means it was important enough to him for him to repeat it to himself.  I think the point is this: that even when we

The Caregiver's Fog

I know all the true caregivers out there no exactly what I mean by the caregiver's fog. It usually descends slowly and overcomes you until you cannot find a way out. But you're already suffocating before you realize how bad it is. Well, that's where I have been. I hate it when I do not get on here to do a devotion - but there are days I just can't find one and I am not going to throw some empty words out here --that helps no one~!  Sometimes, crawling out is as easy as opening up the Bible and letting His word wash it all away. But then there are those times when opening the Word actually adds frustration. You see the miracles He performed and wonder why you didn't get one. Or read scriptures about His great deliverance from Egypt and just scratch your head... sometimes I really cannot see for the fog.  But every time He comes through. I don't really know what His big fog-blow-awayer looks like... but it can come in the form of a phone call or card from a

How Big is Your Shovel?

I was reading Psalm 88 this morning. This particular psalm is how I sound some days - hopeless! It is strange how it is comforting to find out that someone else has the same questions, the same lost feelings, and the same hopelessness that I have experienced! They seem to be digging around in my hole! lol! He is speaking of things like being full of trouble, living in the pit, and how afflicting life can be. I have those days too! Those are the days where I don't feel like my shovel is big enough - or that I cannot find enough fill dirt to fill the hole in!  Isn't it odd that this Psalm is even in the Bible? It's not uplifting at all except to know that someone else did experience the deep questions about pains and life without receiving any answers either! lol! Why was it included? It is not an encouraging Psalm at all. And as I was reading it this morning I kept looking for the but.. but I will sing, but I will praise or something like that. And it's just not there

What I Need to Hear

When I am preparing to do a devotion for caregivers a lot of times I ask myself what do I need to hear today? It helps me at least find a starting place most of the time. And to be honest right now, I just need to hear that God is somewhere...hopefully nearer than I feel! Did you ever feel that way, or is it just me?  This of course is where faith steps in and won't let us believe anything except that He is near . It's so ingrained in us that we know that's the right answer whether we feel  it or not! And it may not look like it to anyone else - but isn't that what true faith is all about...believing is the substance of the things we cannot see...or feel...or sense! But it even goes beyond the shallow religious teachings...because He is not just here to see to it that we attend church! He is with us on the journey. If God doesn't live outside the walls of the church then the caregiver is without hope for our daily lives....and beyond!  The hope He gives cannot

What About the Cave?

This morning I was reading through some of Psalm 18 and how David had triumphed over his enemies. To be quite honest, I wasn't feeling it. So I thought to myself No, I need to read the one he wrote in the cave. So I turned over to Psalm 57. It's the one David wrote while he was hiding in the cave while Saul was pursuing him.  He starts the Psalm out with a prayer asking for God's mercy and then a declaration immediately following. The soon-to-be king cries out to God and says Have mercy on me O God, have mercy on me! He had to be in anguish. Here God had told him he was to be king, and he could battle Saul and rightfully take the position according to the culture of the day. But he (rightly) chose not to lift his hand against Saul...to run instead. And now, he's in the cave...waiting...  But immediately following his anguished prayer for God's mercy he makes his personal declaration: I look to You for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of Your Wings un

Healing Rest

Early in the mornings I go in and feed my son through his peg tube, change him and get him comfortable. Shortly after that he usually goes off into a deep sleep; a restful sleep. I checked on him just before starting to write this morning and he was out ! I thought, he's getting good, restful sleep...healing rest. I figure that when he is sleeping real good and letting his mind and body rest that he is healing. We know rest and healing are connected.  What does that mean to the caregiver? Because as a caregiver, we have pain every day. It never real goes away because we are dealing with a stressful, painful situation all the time; so it hurts all the time. We see our loved one not able to function fully on their own and to need help with simple, daily living skills. They are not who they were and in my case I grieve a lot over the loss of my son - even though he is still here. Yet he's not still here - not like he was. And as we walk out each day, each step along the way

Expectations

Things do not always work out as we expect them to. Seriously, who ever planned on being a full time caregiver to a loved one? We obviously had  much different expectations for our lives. Perhaps we expected to travel the world (my own personal one...), or get married again (NOT on my list), lose ourselves in an enjoyable career, or serve in a local community or church. No matter where we thought we were going with life, I think it is a safe assumption that it has not turned out like we expected. This morning I was reading in Hebrews again (I haven't strayed too far away from it yet), and read this verse in chapter 8.(NLT) When I took them by the hand and led them out of the land of Egypt. In context, God is speaking of the Children of Israel and how He rescued them out of Egypt's cruel slavery. But as He took them out of Egypt the first thing they ran into was a road block that looked like the Red Sea. I really do not think that this is what they expected to happen as He

Not Far Away

I have stumbled over this scripture now for the last two days. I was reading in Hebrews yesterday and it caught my attention. Then this morning when I got my coffee and opened my Bible it just fell open to the same scripture in Jeremiah. Which one am I talking about? The one that says this: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel... I will put My laws into their minds and I will write them on their hearts And I will be their God  and they shall be My people...   Hebrews 8:10 is a direct quote from Jeremiah 31:33. I figured since I kept stumbling across it I should camp there a little bit and meditate. So I did. And in my meditations I realized that if He wrote His word in us - planted it there if you will, we only have to yield to it. How do I do that? Stop. Seriously , all we have to do is stop our heads from running around in circles, get a grip and listen to Him. Be still and know that I am God comes to mind as does The word of God is nigh thee even i

In Everything Give Thanks

This scripture is found in 1 Thessalonians5:18, someone through it out as a cliche this week so I looked it up. And can I be totally honest and say I really do not want to? And I really just can't. I cannot thank Him for the wreck my son was in that has left him impaired. I honestly, just can't do it. And the worse part is I don't care that I can't do it!  But the other side of that is I don't think He requires me to give thanks for the injury, the damage or my son's condition that thrust me into caregiving. However, I do believe that there is a silent power that arises when we purposefully find things to be thankful for rather than gripe about. It's an attitude of thanksgiving that He's looking for...because to literally thank Him for the horrible things in life would (for me) be a lie. And I think He looks more toward an honest heart than for one who is lying just trying to make HIm happy. I really think our honesty with Him is a way

Separation Anxiety

Sometimes there is this huge mental struggle because religion is so works oriented. Maybe it's just me, but there are times I struggle with if He loves me enough...It sounds wrong I know. But we can read through the gospels and see all the miracles Jesus did for others..maybe I'm the only one who wonders why He doesn't come riding in on His white horse for me.  Even the Old Testament is full of various displays of His miraculous powers. Yet my loved one still suffers. And I cannot help but wonder if He loved others more...But then (my busy mind) immediately jumps to what I would do if He miraculously healed my son. How would I explain to someone else that He loves them as much? All this crazy thinking lead me straight to Romans 8. It's a long time favorite isn't it? We quickly quote that nothing can separate us from His love. But sometimes during tribulation it's easy to wonder...But a quick look at Paul's discussion is quite revealing. We can grab the

Streams in the Desert

Overall the life of a caregiver can be stressful; and that's summing it up mildly. We can have so many variables in just one day that it would be wrong to say it's anywhere close to normal . And really for each caregiver the situational demands are so varied there's no way to compare those either. And just like normal people we have good days and bad days...I am pretty sure that's just a given with life! lol!  And for those of you who are not caregivers, just remember that on top of the transfers, feeding tubes, incontinence issues, bathing, physical therapy and a wide variety of other tasks that must be done in a day - we still have those normal things too - dishes, laundry, cleaning the house and keeping up the yard!  But there are those times during the stress and stain of a common day - that He steps in. I am not sure there's a way to explain it; but the peace that comes in those moments where we are so aware of Him carrying us through..well, it's simpl

Bad News Bears

Did you ever read a scripture and find it upsetting instead of comforting? I do sometimes but given enough time I can work back through to peace! lol!  I was reading through Psalm 112 this morning and came across a frustrating verse; actually, two of them in the same psalm! Verse 4 and 6 stuck out to me and my first response was to whine. (I know I am the only one who ever does that!) Actually verse7 caught my eye first: They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. My first thought was I got bad news ...that's how I became a caregiver.  But after I read through the entire psalm a time or two my thinking finally balanced out somewhat. First of all, it does not say they won't ever get  bad news...but that there is no fear in the bad news. And that is followed up by the act of confidently trusting the Lord...even after bad news. It's a matter of trusting Him through whatever life may bring...not avoiding anything we perceive as bad. Th