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Showing posts from May, 2011

Faith is the Substance

Hebrews 11:1 has long been misunderstood, or at least our overall concept of faith has been at best misinterpreted. The faith-ers would like for us to believe that "faith" is this force field that surrounds us and keeps bad things from happening. But there are too many examples throughout scriptures of those who went through the fires of life with their faith in tact. Actually Peter said that the trial of our faith is more precious than purified gold. While taking a serious look at the heroes of faith, even just the ones listed in Hebrews 11, we can see that it was their faith in God that carried them through. Without the struggles - we could have skipped this chapter altogether! We've seen church faith to be two things. One that faith is the force field to keep bad things away; and two faith is the substance has been interpreted to bring substance. However, Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is the substance . It's the substance that keeps us running back to H

Passion or Fear?

In Matthew 13 there is a very interesting story about a storm. Jesus sent the disciples across the sea and while they were headed across a storm came up. On the water in a storm has to be a very scary place! Here in Oklahoma we can have some pretty rough storms and I would not want to be out on the water when one blew in! Jesus saw the storm and headed out walking on the water to meet his frightened disciples. That's one thought in itself isn't it? Jesus' attention was not averted away from those He loved just because of a little storm! He headed right out to them without a second thought. As He got close to His trembling disciples, Peter called out and said If that is You,Lord, bid me to come!  That was a crazy thing to say - for anyone! Jesus told Peter to come on out on the water. Peter jumped out of the boat momentarily oblivious to the tumultuous water and waves and headed for Jesus. The question here would be did Peter jump out of the boat and head toward Jesus o

Oblivious to God

Everyone seems to be living very hectic lives these days - not just caregivers. It's interesting that with all our modern conveniences we actually have less time to spend with people. We have machines that wash and dry our clothes, wash the dishes and phones so we do not have to travel about to get things done. We even have the internet to pay bills and conduct business. There are microwaves to cook our meals quickly and crockpots to cook them all day! Yet we have less time it seems to be still before the Lord. A friend sent me a scripture the other day from the message Bible and I felt it was very appropriate for the caregiver. We have so many responsibilities to do every day that we can easily become overloaded. From Romans 13 (the Message)  - But make sure that you don't get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.  It is so easy to get busy with our day to day activities

Two Unchangeables

Psalm 15 is a short psalm but it is powerful when we can get ahold of it. David begins with a question in verse 1 and then the other 4 verses are his answer. His question is Who can abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? Then he lists the qualifications. There are several but we'll only talk about the first one today. David said that those who walk with integrity can dwell in God's tent. Let's add to this thought another Psalm David wrote. In Psalm 101:2 he made a commitment to walk within my own house in the integrity of my heart. If there was any place we don't have to put up appearances it is certainly inside our four private walls! But David said decided that he would have integrity with God - whether anyone was around to watch or not! There are many things that change around us all the time. Many of us became caregivers because of one incident that happened suddenly. In one moment our worlds changed. But two things did not change just because th

Chasing What Matters

Life BC (before caregiving) was probably full of all sorts of activities that just are not possible anymore. For some of us, church was a regular Sunday activity. But attending isn't always feasible for the caregiver. Possibly, it's because our loved one isn't mobile, or it's too early to get up and out. For many it just isn't a practical or even possible. And the church doesn't really know what to do with us since we don't fit the mold. That can leave the caregiver feeling abandoned and really out of place with the religious world. The inability to "go" to church really stumps the religious folks. How many times have we been "pressured" to  go somewhere. These are well meaning people who really do not understand or comprehend the enormity or the impossibility of the task. But where does that leave the caregiver? James 1:27 says this: Pure and undefiled religion in the in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and

Jesus Had Schedule Busters Too!

For the caregiver (as with anyone) there are certain things that must be taken care of each day. And there can be a rather lengthy list of more than just important items, many related to health issues, that must be carried out in any given day. And there are things from the other extreme that although they are not pertinent directly to our loved one's health they are important; you know, things like resting, or just watching a movie! How we react when our schedule gets busted tells us a lot about ourselves. The reactions can range from totally crazy and out there to a quiet, sullen response. A lot of this may depend on your particular personality type as well as your state of mind at the time! Jesus had a schedule buster too. In Mark 6 He had sent the disciples out to minister. Upon their return they reported all the things they had seen while they were out there. He then told them that it was time for them to go away and rest. (I wish He'd tell me that!) So they went away

Perspective: Bondage or Challenge?

Sometimes we can get so caught up in the feelings of entrapment. There is not always the liberties of a "normal life" for caregivers. Even if we can come and go at will it can be so much work to accomplish a simple outside task. I am still so amazed with the book and character of Daniel in scriptures. He was actually a prisoner. His body had been disfigured and tormented. Yet we never hear any complaints coming from the book of Daniel. It's amazing how he made that choice to not defile his mutilated body. His, as well as the three Hebrew children's, tenacity in serving God in spite of their circumstances is inspiring. In looking at the turmoil in their situations I wondered about how they worked through to find the freedom to serve God even in the midst of their obvious bondages. Did they see their circumstances as such, or did they decide that it was more of a challenge to figure out how to serve God with their whole heart even in the midst of adversity? What

One Step At A Time

One thing that I have learned since becoming  caregiver is that I was taking life for granted. And there are times when I miss my "real life" as I call it. But I am learning to live this one better all the time. I just have to enjoy and embrace each moment as it comes. I am also a runner (see related blogs!). So I really do understand just putting one foot in front of the other! When I ran my first half marathon I thought about that some. I would pick a target out in front of me and think just run to there. And of course when I got there I'd choose another. Then before I knew it  as already at the 9 mile marker. I was like, wow! that was fast! I could not run the whole marathon all at one time it could only be done one step at a time. A day can offer many emotional changes and challenges. But it is wisdom sometimes to not look at the entire picture, but only the part you have to handle today....then just walk today out one step at a time. It only takes finding pea

Looking At Today

Each day we get up - seems to look a lot like yesterday. Most days seem to be the same and it seems silly to expect anything different of today. Sometimes it seems that days are cyclical and just go round and round again with identical tasks repeating themselves...and so we face another day... It can be easy to get emotionally sucked in when days seem to be the same. And just as easy to sink into the longing for days gone by - you know, back when we had a real life. Back when we could come and go at will and enjoy the park or the zoo for an afternoon. And other luxuries such as shopping for groceries without watching the time so closely, or catching an afternoon movie.But letting the thoughts run freely through the freedoms that have been lost will only bog us down...we really must move into today and embrace it. It's not the grieving over our lost past that causes the biggest problem; it's thinking it will always be this way that gets to us. Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 do n

Anxious Thoughts - This Early?

For the caregiver thoughts can run away very quickly; and that's just planning out today! Early in the morning I sit and sort of plan the day, don't you? My mind goes through all the things that need to be done just to get through the day. Of course number one is taking care of our loved one. Everything else has to revolve around that...if it gets done at all! There's feeding, changing, transferring, making sure they are comfortable, any medications given, dressing...and that's just a few of the things for every day. Don't forget all the arguing you do with the medical profession - pharmacists, therapist (or the lack thereof..)....That doesn' count all the surprises that may come up in a day. And even within the best laid out schedule there has to be much flexibility as you never know what a day will bring! Add to that just the daily stuff - cooking, laundry, housework, managing finances...and for me - trying to secure enough work online to pay the bills...a

We Have What Is Needed

There's an interesting scripture in the first chapter of Daniel. It says And God gave these four men an unusual appetite for learning the literature and science of the time. It's interesting in several different ways. For one, the church and science tend to be at odds a lot of the time, yet we see here that God caused them to enjoy science (and I'll throw in math too!! lol). Sometimes education and "faith" can collide as they seem mutually exclusive - even though they are actually very complimentary. But the most interesting is that God gave Daniel (and the three Hebrew boys) the ability to learn. They were captives in a foreign land. They had been elevated to live in the castle with the king, but only to see if they could cut the mustard and achieve the high slave status of serving the king. Yet God gave them the ability to learn. Basically, God put in them what they would need to make it through their trial. And trust me, they were tried! First they are ta

Consider Job?

Sometimes Sundays are the most difficult since I spent years going to church. Some caregivers can get out a little more freely, but that certainly does not mean it's as simple as jumping in the car and heading out. There are so many other aspects to take into today I decided to consider Job again. I read the first chapter where he really lost everything. Yet he still worshipped. I don't think  I have passed that test! Actually, I'm pretty sure I didn't! One phrase in the first chapter stands out. When the enemy came to ask permission from God to tempt Job to give up - he said this: Does Job fear God for nothing?   See, Job had everything possible back then. He was one of the richest men in the land and had everything going for him. It seems like when everything is going our way it comes easier to trust God. At least on the surface level it seems so. With these thoughts it seemed like a good time to stroll through an old favorite again. I thumb

Healing the Wounds

No doubt life brings many wounds, I don't think anyone would argue with that. Many times they even come through well meaning (and not so well meaning ) friends! But then for the caregiver sometimes life just hurts! This is where I was this morning when I woke up. There were tons of questions flooding my heart and mind and not one answer to be found. And it just hurts. There are so many whys and why not s. It can all be so frustrating and painful at the same time! But while I was thinking and trying to find answers I realized that I just simply need Him. And I really can't work through it without Him. And so these lyrics came into my mind and I wrote them down. Within a few minutes I had a song written entitled simply, Holy Spirit I Need You. Here's the lyrics and you can see the video on my facebook page if you want. Holy Spirit I Need You to come touch my heart and make it brand new without You I really don't know what to do but I know I'm in desperate need

Me, Myself and I

Sometimes it is really difficult to think outside of our box. Well, think about it a little bit. We are pretty much at home all (or at least most) of the time. Social interaction can be almost nonexistent as when we do get out it is only to run necessary errands. We listen to sermons who encourage us to reach out to others and most times we are the ones who need a helping hand! James doesn't help any as he says in the first chapter pure religion and undefiled before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself unspotted by the world. How are we ever going to measure up when we cannot get out of our space? It's time to be creative! It will totally change our perspective to see our selves as givers rather than takers. One thing that is simple and inexpensive is to call someone else who you know to be shut-in or in the hospital. It doesn't take but a minute - but you know how much one cheerful phone call can change your day! Sending cards

Cultivating Faithfulness

I think it is pretty well understood that there are good days and bad days. Some days caregiving can be a joy and very rewarding. Then there are days that are dreaded almost before we get out of the bed...One thing we talk about here a lot is that God is faithful...period. No matter what the circumstances and no matter how low we can go it is one thing that we can hold on to; even if we can't quite explain it from here ... This morning I was reading in Psalm 77 as I return there frequently when my mental questions get too many to handle. This time I saw the faithfulness of the writer. We talk about God's faithfulness to us a lot...but what about ours? It's not like we deserve some reward here on earth and we don't even want any recognition at all - but do a self inventory real quick. Are you still believing Him in spite of circumstances? No matter what happens - are you still looking to Him for comfort and strength? Do you continue in His word even when you don'

Circumstance and Faith

Caregivers can come under fire from the church community and be accused of lacking faith. It's a sad truth,but it does happen. Hopefully, you've been spared from such accusations. It's not the church's fault - they really don't know what to do with us because our situations are very different. Some actually expect us to be able to function just like normal people. But we do not have the liberties that many others enjoy.Lots of caregivers are pretty much stuck at home without the freedom to come and go as we would like. It can be devastatingly lonely at times. And then the church ignores us pretty much...maybe they don't know how little it takes... How can they say we have no faith since our loved one isn't healed? When Jesus went to the pool of Bethesda  there was a multitude of those who were sick, blind, lame and withered . Yet He only healed one of them. Did the entire multitude fall into the ranks of the faithless? I think not. To me they had some me

Can I Call In Today?

Do you ever feel like that? You know, like back when we had real jobs and we could just call in if we got up in the morning and needed a day off for whatever reason. Caregivers do not have that option. Even if we get a "day" off it takes quite a lot of organizing and planning to make a short escape. And you can't do it too often because others get tired . Hm... Anyway - after the big Mother's Day activities and all the emotional swings that goes with that I just wanted to call in this morning. But of course I realized that there's no one to call! It just does not happen and it's not available as an option. So we have to make it through another day! I am so glad that the Lord doesn't need a day off. And as I was wondering how He was going to have the strength to carry me through another day of caregiving, I came across a very familiar scripture. It's in Isaiah 43:1-3. It is a very familiar passage but there is still living comfort in knowing that

Happy Mother's Day! What are you thinking about today?

Holidays can be more stressful than "regular" days. I'm not sure why but it seems they can many times add some additional stress value to the day! And sometimes it can be that it's just another day for the caregiver and that's what the stress is about. It can be for many reasons and in various areas of life that stress comes at a time that is supposed to e beneficial for families...but for the caregiver it can be just one more thing... Today is a good day to work on directing our thoughts. We will no doubt spend some of the day in reflections about motherhood or our own mothers. And there can be some wonderful thoughts and memories stored away! But because of the delicate condition of our emotions it can end up with adverse effects. So after thinking and appreciating motherhood take your thoughts back to Philippians 4:8. Paul told the Philippians to think about the good stuff! He said to keep our minds on what is pure and lovely. The easiest way to do this is

Circumstance and Worship

Sometimes in life as a whole we can all get lost in the shuffle from time to time. It's so important especially for the caregiver that we know who we's too easily laid aside as we care for our loved one. In the temptation of Christ the enemy was attacking who Jesus was. He kept saying if you are the son of God ...and Jesus never addressed it - He as always went to the heart of the matter. It wasn't a question to Him, wasn't debatable and evidently not even doubted enough to speak to. He knew who He was period. The other thing that stood out to me in this morning's reading was that Jesus wouldn't let Satan touch worship. That's when He drew the line and basically said, get outta here! These are two key concepts for the caregiver. We must   know who we are and we cannot let worship be disturbed. Our situation does not affect who we are...and that's what we must hold on to. Ephesians and Philippians are great for helping us learn a lot about

Ever Feel Like the Energizer Bunny...?

I'm wondering right now if the energizer bunny was on steroids...the commercial always said it keeps going and going... and of course it was advertising long battery life! Well, I'm not on steroids and I'm not really too full of energy but you all know that as caregivers we really don't have any other choice other than to just keep going and going...and going... What are we supposed to do when we don't feel like going on? There's no choice - we keep going. What do caregivers do when we get tired but it's morning anyway?  - we keep going. What if we don't feel like cooking or doing laundry? - we keep going... And the list of things we do could literally go on forever I think; with transfers, feeding, purchasing incontinent supplies, looking for the best prices online for various supplies, bathing, etc....we just keep going.There's really no time to consider our own needs or how we are feeling, things have to be done for another and we are the on

Why Are You In Despair My Soul?

These are the words of a psalmist perhaps he was simply asking himself why he kept finding himself a the point of despair. He asked it several times in two psalms. I don't dare ask myself this question as I could probably take a few minutes to go down my personal list of why I am depressed items! It can be so easy to slip under the load we are carrying. Then it is difficult to climb out to see daylight in our emotions again! Te psalmist asked himself why are you in despair my soul - then he gave himself the solution - hope in God. The solution has not changed through the years. When we feel we cannot go on one more minute in our situation - our hope is in God. Emotions may be frazzled, strength wasted away, tiredness has set in - and it's only 8 AM....but our hope remains in the God of hope. He will strengthen us for the journey - and He has not called us to walk it alone. It may feel like a very lonely people are sparse. But when our brothers, sisters, frien

God of Hope

Yesterday I participated in (and finished) a half marathon. After about 9 miles my body was hurting and by 11 miles my feet and toes and back and...pretty much everything was hurting so badly I really wanted to quit. Since it was raining I didn't wear my mp3 player so I had lots of time to think. The pain was pretty intense and I wanted to stop because of it. This made me think of the caregiver quite a lot. Our entire situation can be filled with intense emotional pain. We have pretty much lost the life we knew to take care of a person we love. Emotions run in many directions from being saddened by our loved one's condition, to the loss of their mobility and independence and the loss of our own to all sorts of painful decisions that must be made almost daily. But like the marathon runner we just cannot stop for the pain. I think the difference is that there is no finish line   to run towards. It's never really settled, it just goes on. But we keep running anyway. Every