Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from April, 2011

Who's Chasing Who?

Of all the troubles we can face I think one of the hardest things to do is concentrate on Him. I know each day many times we are just trying to make it through, and some days are better than others! While some days seem like they will never end... Somehow those overwhelming days seem a little shorter and a little lighter when I take a minute to concentrate on Him. If I take even a few minutes out of all the necessary activities that caregiving demands and meditate on Him - it helps to lighten the day's load. This life is about relationships. Those who work enjoy their jobs when they can work among others with whom they have good relationships and rapport. Let the relations between coworkers become strained and a once loved job is a drudgery! Serving God is not supposed to be a drudgery either. It can be a very enjoyable experience when we focus in on maintaining a relationship with Him. It's not a relationship if we are reading the Bible simply to survive (although that&#

Back to Basics

Emotions can run high for many caregivers. We keep them all stretched out all the time. When things like recent natural events like the tornadoes in Alabama occur it seems to stir them up even more than usual. For me - I cannot even watch real intense movies or TV shows because the emotions are simply too raw most of the time. The emotional strain of caregiving can be very overwhelming - and difficult to control. Then add in a terrible tragedy like the recent devastating tornadoes and they can be difficult to get it all balanced and manageable again. During the times that emotions are running so high it can also be difficult to find something solid to cling to. We know the Lord is our rock, our refuge and our constant hiding place but when the world is falling apart we need something to hold on to while we are hiding in Him! These are the times we may find it beneficial to go back to what I call the basics. The most basic truth we learn as Christians is God's unfailing love . N

Taking Care

As with any type of trial, caregiving has bad days and better days. Each day is filled with its own struggles and hopefully triumphs! But there are those days that there has to be  conscientious effort to lay our burdens on Him. And because we are superman in so many ways, this can be a difficult task. I mean face it, we are the ones expected to hold it all together...but what if we are falling apart? Oh trust me, we are good at this and we will hold it together to get our loved one through the day! Even if it means we sneak off to our room now and then to let it all out! But those times when we are so totally overcome by exhaustion and emotionally wiped out there's only one thing to do. Lay it at His feet. One of the scriptures we are taught at a very early age is 1 Peter 5:7. We are taught to cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you. And I think there are two ways to interpret this verse. One of course is that He is a loving, caring Father and we can give Him all our

The Power of Seeking

The story of Gideon is one of my favorite Bible stories. He has been called a coward by many since he was technically in hiding working the wheat. And yes, I'll admit he was hiding from the Midianites but it's the why he was hiding that intrigues me. He was hiding from the enemy to preserve his family. I don't see cowardice as others have, but I see determination and courage. To me Gideon's heart was set on not   letting the enemy have his wheat. He took all the necessary measures to make sure that they would not get it and his family would! He was risking losing it all, but here he was working away when the angel found him and hailed him a mighty man of valor. Notice that Gideon didn't take issue with whether he was a couragous warrior or not, but began asking where God was. What the angel said to him has given me much to think about. In response to Gideon's question   if God is with us why has all this happened? The angel said - go in this your strength

Everyday Pressures

One of the things that others don't understand is the day to day pressures that we deal with. Even on the best good days we have there is so much to deal with. And really, when we are experiencing a good day any simple thing can wreck our emotions and we have to sweep them up for the rest of the day! Honestly, I'm not sure why that is except that we run so tight all the time. Our emotions can be stretched between pleasant and unpleasant emotions so tightly we are like the proverbial taut rubber band. So tight, in fact that any simple motion can set it off. We all deal with the emotions of being a caregiver in different ways. Some of us may find a place and cry it out, others get angry and some just hold it all in. No matter how you deal with the huge responsibilities and load of being a primary caregiver we all know we must have Him to carry us through. When we can admit we really cannot do it on our own - He can step in and lift us up. Lamentations 3:19-24 offers us grea

Faith and Stuff Like That

A day can bring so many various moods and emotional swings. For some it means rejoicing one moment in small progresses and then grieving over the things lost. As Christians how are we to deal with these emotional swings? Many try to tell the caregiver that they lack faith or trust...but I believe the fact that we keep going in the face of adversity speaks of a much higher faith than many possess. We simply trust Him. Who holds on as long as a caregiver? If there is one tiny ray of light, one single glimmer of hope we will go until there is no more strength...and then some. Each day our loved one is breathing - there is hope. And we will hold on to that as we lift it up to God and pray for strength to make the day while we pray He answers our heart's deepest cry and helps our loved one. That's faith. Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. We keep trusting in Him whether we ever literally see any substance or

Songs of Deliverance

David talked about God encompassing us with songs of deliverance . Sometimes this can take on a very real look in our lives. On those days when we just don't feel like we can put one foot in front of the other He may do just this in some very unusual ways. You know the drill. A normal day for the caregiver is full of all sorts of challenges that other families don't have to think about. It's full of transfers, feeding and just general care giving specific to the needs of the loved one. And many forget that on top of all the things that caregiving demands we still have to do the normal day to day things too like cook, clean and laundry.Add to our daily regime a sickness or anything else and it can be overwhelming. And that's not even giving considerations to financial aspects! Let's face it, we need His song! Last night in a dream I actually had a friend singing me a song "she wrote." Now she is not a song writer or even a singer and the song was one

Waiting on Patience...

I know patience is  virtue. It is also a fruit mentioned in Galatians 5. This just means that it won't happen overnight and we will have to be patient while waiting on patience to develop in our lives! And the waiting is the hard part, of course! The caregiver waits for everything , or that's how it seems to me. We wait for supplies each month, for doctor's reports, prescriptions, We wait for help to arrive, for visitors and for pain or fever to subside...you would think we'd be the most virtuous, or patient, people on earth! I don't see it in myself at all! ...maybe it's just well disguised! The good thing about waiting is that even when we don't see it we are gaining strength. Isaiah 40:31 talks about those who wait on the Lord renewing their strength. I am convinced that this strength is what gives us the ability to wait once again on Him. It's a wonderful cycle actually. We wait on Him and He gives us strength to wait on Him some more! Be encou

Fuel for the Journey

Did you ever have one of those days where you wish you could find the off switch? Or think about the luxury of crawling back in the bed for the day? We know the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation, and don't you just love it when someone starts going down the list of all the really bad things that can be caused by not getting enough sleep? Like we can do anything about it! It's the same as if we went to an impoverished country where they didn't have enough food available and tried to tell them they need to eat a balanced diet! There are just those days when caregivers give out. It won't last too long though because there's simply too much to do to even get to sit and think about it for more than a minute. And if we have more than a minute to sit it's likely we'd nod off! lol! Where does the strength to carry on come from? - the Lord is the obvious answer! I have found that when I really cannot go on putting one foot in front of the other He will c

That Was Some Fight

Today's daily reading was in Joshua. It was this really awesome story about how the sun stood still so the Israelites could fight their enemies. And some of the story was where God rained hailstones out of the sky on the enemy's army and wiped out a bunch of them. All through chapter 10 it talks about how the Lord fought for them. I cannot imagine seeing huge hailstones fall from the sky - and quite honestly would not want to. But when I imagine this scene I think about how vehemently God was fighting for His people. The thing that I got from it is that we are still His people and He still pursues and protects us with the same passion as He did back then. He never changes... When tragedy struck my trust factor was really messed up because I had trusted that the Lord would protect my children from harm and he hadn't, at least not the way I wanted Him to. But as the days turned into weeks and weeks into months...and now years...I realize He protects that part of us that i

When We Feel Alone

The lack of socialization can really hit the caregiver hard. For some of us, there basically isn't any. Perhaps an occasional family outing or someone stopping by. But really, when it comes to our emotional health, family doesn't count! We need friends. But where do they come from when you cannot get out like others do to meet them? The times we are consumed with this alone-ness is when we must be reminded that He will not leave us but is always with us. The journey doesn't get too long for Him! Scriptures are full of times He was with people. He showed Moses He was with him in the burning bush, and then told Joshua that he was going to be with him just like He was with Moses. psalm 46 says two or three times that the God of Jakob is with us. Jesus told His followers that He would not leave them alone and Hebrews 13:5 quotes the promise He gave Moses and Joshua - He said He would never leave or forsake us. But sometimes when it's quiet I need to be reminded that

Our Heart Contains the Directions for Using the Mouth!

The scriptures in James about taming the tongue have always been interesting to me. Not that I have mastered the content! lol! That's way beyond me now...as my frustration level can be high on any (or every) given day I find it difficult to not say things out of anger or frustration. I'm mostly alone here anyway - who will hear? The frustrations come for caregivers because our plate is so full all the time! It just seems sometimes that it gets piled higher and higher and nothing ever goes away. That's how it feels some days...most days. Then any little thing is like more than what can be handled in the moment... and it can be something pretty insignificant but because of the already heavy load we carry it sends angry words off the tip of the tongue. (maybe that's just me?) But as I was reading this morning I saw in Joshua 1:8 ( a very familiar scripture) in a new light. God told Joshua to not let the Book of the Law depart from his mouth .. to me that means he was

My Comfort is...In My Affliction...

I know  I sort of left that hanging there...but it's from Psalm 119:50. The entire verse says something like This is my comfort in my affliction - that Your word has quickened me! I love that verse. I am really glad it didn't read finally, after the battle was over Your word gave me life... Even though God did not keep the trouble from happening - He didn't stop the affliction from occurring, but in it   His word brought life. And that is a comforting thought to me. Here we are in some of life's toughest situations yet His word still brings encouragement and life. And to me that is very comforting! I always thought it was sort of odd when Jesus was telling Peter that he was going to be sifted like wheat , that He didn't tell him - but I will make it pass quickly; or I won't let it happen at all! But rather, Jesus told Peter that he was going to go through and that He would pray for him that his faith wouldn't fail. I was always like, sheesh, why not

God is Working

Yesterday the scripture we discussed allowed us to see God as the giver of encouragement and endurance. Today we'll take a short look at James 1:3. It states that the testing of our faith produces steadfastness . I don't know about other caregivers, but lots of times I feel anything but steadfast. My head swims with tons of questions and whys. My heart weakens as I wonder if the rest of my life will always look like this...and trying to adjust to it...without accepting it as finality. Our emotions can be a real maze to work through some days. But you know what? Caregivers are amazing... they just keep on going. Of course, if it's called to our attention we will say something like we have no other choice. But you know what - if we take a good hard look at all we do for another and how we don't get a real day off...and we just keep on believing no matter when the medical profession or others have given up on our situations...we have to admit that He really is working

The God of Endurance and Encouragement

Here we go, ready to face another day and take all the challenges that will be thrown at us straight up! That's what caregivers do - like Benaiah who ran into the snowy pit to kill the lion - we take on each day full force and straight in! (2Samuel 23:20-21) And we are here ready to take on our most challenging battles too! Did you ever wonder what it would be like to go back to having normal days? Days without mobility issues, incontinent issues or feeding someone else? It's not that we mind the caretaking, it's what we do! Remember the days when we used to get up to go to work - and complain about that instead? lol! Hindsight makes us long for the things we used to dread! huh? One of the questions that arises in my heart is will the rest of my life look like this? It can be haunting to think I will live out the next however many years simply caring for my son. It's not that I mind and can make the mental adjustments but it's like is this all there is? And t

Can We Swallow Our Pride?

Have you ever been tired just by getting up? All the things that have to be done for the day are already nagging at your mind and it seems overwhelming. As a caregiver there's not an "off" button or and I'll-do-it-later clause. We have to keep moving putting one foot in front of the other. Personally, my son is quite a bit larger than I am and I am a pretty small framed woman. Some of my friends admitted later that they had all sorts of doubts when I said I wanted to bring him home from the nursing home. I was scared too. And sometimes all those thoughts can still be rather overwhelming. But as we face each day with even what seems like insurmountable tasks we can rest in the truth that the Lord is my help. Isaiah 50:9 states exactly that Behold the Lord God helps me ...Most of us are pretty quick to recognize that without His help we could not do what we do! Psalm 121 comes to mind too. In it the psalmist asks, where does my help come from?   Then he answers

Tender Nurturing

Being a full time caregiver is a tough job. There are many days we may only hear our own voice. Some days we can get out - but many days we are sitting staring at the same four walls. Sure, whenever our personal "tragedy" happened (whatever form it took) there were tons of people around. All or most of them assuring us they would walk it with us. But gradually, they all go about their lives and leave us to suffer in ours. I don't blame anyone for that...they meant well and probably genuinely cared. But then when it came to the reality of the circumstances they didn't know how to incorporate us back into their lives as everything had changed. Well, it does hurt some - but no reason to be angry or take it personal. From what I understand it's just the way it is. It's always happened this way for everyone! So we are not so special! lol... The psalmist cited in Psalm 27:10 that even though my father and mother forsake me ...the Lord will take me up. And w

There Are No Days "Off"

Did you ever just wake up tired? It's a tired that goes beyond physical.  The kind of tired I am talking about is physical, emotional, mental...you name it just tired through and through. We will never be able to sleep that tired away! It is simply too deep! I was putting my son back in the bed this morning and I told him he could lay down early and we'd take it a little easier   today. I said, "We don't really get a day off , but we can make a day a little lighter." So we are...today. But then when we try to relax, as caregivers, their is the guilt that is associated with it. Thoughts start coming like, I'm not doing enough to care for my loved one..... or... I am not taking good care of him... these can just nag away at our mind and soul - if we let them. Even when we take a day somewhat easy - there's not any time to be off . We can't just not do   all the things that need to be done. They have to be changed, tube fed, turned in the bed, entert

Who's Gonna Carry Me?

Recently I watched a very inspiring video. A college student hit her first ever home run but tore something in her knee and couldn't make it past first base. The other runners ran for home but she was stranded on first. Her team couldn't help her because it would forfeit the run and make it only a two run single. A couple of young ladies on the other team picked her up and carried her across the rest of the bases to home plate! I was so inspired...then I started thinking about it...I've been in this pain (which can be immobilizing at time for the cargiver) for 2 and a half years. What if I cannot get past a "first base" that may come up in our lives? Who would carry me to the goal? In the video it was the opposing team's members who carried her. Now you know, our opponent is Satan and he ain't gonna help us out in the least! lol! But when I am wounded, or hurting, or can't go on... Who's gonna carry me? The church disappeared a short way into t

Challenges are...Well...Challenging!

Many times caregivers are faced with huge challenges. It can sometimes simply be trying to make it through a particularly rough day. These are different for each of us. For my situation it's been transfers. That's not the only one of course - but that was the scariest part of bringing my son home. As he has improved and I have improved my techniques it has become quite easy - or at least I don't dread it as much. I used to sit and contemplate each transfer and worry about it. Then after it was done I'd be relaxed and reward myself with a cup of coffee! Now it is just part of the day... We start to get used to our own surrounding no matter what type of challenges they present to us. And maybe it doesn't get any easier, we just get more accustomed to doing them. We adapt to inadequacies and learn how to do what we have to do. Face it - we really have no other choice - it has to be done! I've often wondered if God looks at us in our own frail state and conte

Through the Storm

There are many ups and downs in the life of a caregiver. One minute (literally) there can be excitement and the very next emotions can totally bottom out. Believe me - this is no indication of sanity or the lack thereof! We know days, moments, and seconds can go up and down. There are good days and bad days. Some days it seems easy to keep a handle on things (ie - things are going well!). Other days it seems like life has passed us by and there is so much on our plate and it's just difficult to handle even the little things. Days like that make it difficult to remember that He directs our steps. Actually, when things are difficult it's easy (at least for me) to become angry with God because the steps of life have taken this direction into full time caregiving... He never promised us that everything would be easy or simple. He did not even create the earth as one great plain with no ups and downs. He created the mountain heights as well as the valleys low. And it all balan

Just Capture A Moment

So I was meditating on the topic of John the Baptist and different prophets in the Bible. I was thinking about how each one was called. This was my mental preparation for the weekly newsletter that I send out through my ministry. (Dove's Fire)  As I thought about John the Baptist I thought there is no record of his calling into ministry . He just appears out of the wilderness full of the fire of God! Then the thought occurred to me that his mom was Elizabeth. And when she conceived John the Baptist instead of publicly celebrating the removal of her reproach, she hid  herself away to celebrate with God. And now here's her son who we know nothing about except his birth and short-lived ministry. He appeared out of the wilderness...and I wondered if he did the same thing his mama did. Did he feel that urge to be with God and go spend time with Him until he was prepared? I think it's a safe assumption although I cannot prove it in scripture (yet...). There is a lot to finding

O What A Savior!

That old hymn just was running through my head. O what a Savior, O hallelujah! I guess that's because of the verse I was meditating on earlier this morning. In my reading I found Joel 3:16. The latter portion of the verse says The Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. It is one of those times when something just kinda reaches out and grabs ya! I thought of all the things my 50 years has seen and how He has indeed been that refuge. He has been there all the time. When I was ill with the mystery illness that doctors never found - He was there . When I was in a wreck with a bus and was thrown out of the vehicle - He was there. When I went through a divorce and raised my children as a single parent - He was there. And now that I am a full time caregiver for my son who was injured in an automobile accident - He is still there. He will always be my refuge - my safe place to run and hide from the storm. Dennis Jernigan is one of my favorite psa

Hidden With Him

This morning I was researching a topic when my devotions led me to Luke 1. One little phrase caught my attention; it had to do with Elizabeth. She was older and barren but the scripture says that she and Zechariah were both righteous before God. (v 6 ESV) That's an interesting point in itself as many probably thought it was God's judgment that didn't allow them to have children. That's just the way it was back then. If you had children you were blessed and if not then you were cursed, at least that's the way the culture leaned. So that's point number one. Many people think because something we deem as bad has happened to us that it is God's way of cursing us. There can even be accusations from "Christians" to the extent that they say we are in sin since God didn't protect us from something terrible happening to us. Elizabeth was barren - but she was righteous ! Just because we cannot live our lives like the "rest of the world" do

God's Little Smile

Moving can be a huge task no matter what the circumstances. But as a caregiver (and a single one at that) it is more than overwhelming. All the decisions you are making for someone else and making sure it will all work for you and them. There are so many questions wondering how the daily tasks will be carried out and can wheelchairs and other necessary equipment will fit with ease... just so many things to consider on top of the regular moving worries. Then for me, there's all this second guessing after the decision is made. Will he adjust well, be comfortable and accept a new place. You know how stressful it can be! The day after I signed papers on the new apartment I came by to take a quick look before the real moving began. I went out to the patio because the tiny backyard was a plus! And there smiling up at me was a beautiful tulip! It was not even visible the day I viewed the apartment and there is was so colorful and majestic in its own way. It may sound weird but it actu