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Showing posts from February, 2012

After the Rainbow

In my reading this morning I came across this passage in Psalm 105. It's speaking of Joseph and how God sent him before to prepare the way for his family. I'm not sure that being sold into slavery by his own brothers is the way Joseph would have chosen to see God fulfill His word in his life - but that's the way it occurred. Verse 19 says that the word of the Lord tested Joseph. He knew God's promises but found himself sitting it out in a jail cell for a crime he did not even commit. How difficult it can be to be sitting on the promises! As caregivers living in the furnace sometimes it can seem like all the promises of God have faded away. When  Noah came through the most horrific experience of his life (the flood), God made him a promise and sealed it with a rainbow. How easy it must have been in that moment standing at the altar of sacrifice and seeing the first rainbow - to believe God's promise. But one day - it rained again. It's easy to believe His pr

Keeping Faith

Think about all the things you have done before you found the time to read this short devotion. Personally, I have been up every two hours through the night to turn, change and check on my loved one. Then when I scraped myself off the sheets to get up a little bit ago I had to check his temperature, O2 levels and do a tube feeding. And now I am at the computer writing a devotion! And the day has barely started... do you relate? Our daily lives are full of taking care of our loved ones, making plans and appointments for them, fighting with doctor's offices and waiting to see if aides will show up today or not! It can be crazy and it can all chip away at our emotions and our faith. Sometimes we can sort of numb up and suck it all up to make it through a day. And you know what - it's okay! Each of us has our own unique situation to deal with and we have to do it the best way we can...putting one foot in front of the other and moving ourselves forward through the next 24 hours.

Praise in Adversity

Most of the time when we live in such a stressful state we do not think about praising God. We ask Him to help us get out, but praise is not always on our lips. The prophet Jonah found himself in a very deep, dark place - the belly of a whale. The difference, of course is that Jonah had disobeyed God and this was his punishment. Personally, I wrestled with whether I was going through this deep trial as punishment for some sin I had committed; or something I had omitted. We have all probably had those moments where we questioned why adversity had to happen in the first place, most of us at least thought we had our religious t's crossed and i's dotted. Unlike Jonah, our circumstances are not punishment for something we did wrong. We are not off course - and we must learn to rest in His peace and embrace His love for us once again. But Jonah had run the opposite direction to avoid what God had told him to do. He found himself in the deepest, darkest parts of the earth...the b

Faith-filled Tears

Many times as caregivers, we walk around in a painful numbness. Are you familiar with it? It's like everything hurts until we go numb on the inside, but it still hurts. (You really won't be able to understand that unless you've walked it!) Of course, stopping for a day is not an option for many so we continue putting one foot in front of the other, continuing through the tasks that each day demands. That's not a complaint - just the way it is. So what do you do when the situation is overbearing? When you are overwhelmed with the day? I think Psalm 61 can help out a little. I found myself singing it to my son last night. The psalmist says Hear my cry O God; give heed to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint, lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been a refuge for me, a tower of strength against the enemy. There really is faith in crying out to Him. Last night the part that really stood out in my mind was the c

7 Mountains

This morning as I was praying I had a familiar scripture come to mind. It is found in Psalm 125:2 and it says, as the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. I had some idea of what that meant, but I did a small bit of research and found that there are 7 mountains around Jerusalem. And 7, of course, is the number of completeness - wholeness. It was interesting as I went through several maps and various information to see that these 7 mountains are indeed all the way around Jerusalem. And the same way that they cover all the edges of this great city, God surrounds us - all the way around. The other interesting fact to me was that where you have mountains - you also have great valleys. And in general, valleys represent the low places of our lives. But in reality - these valleys added an extra layer of protection for the city - the city that is surrounded by mountains. For me as a caregiver, I needed to know today that He is

Even in the Furnace

Life brings us many days filled with many things. Living in the furnace (of caregiving) can get hot and stay hot. Sometimes that is the most difficult part - the fact that there is no real relief. Getting out for a few hours can bring a little relief, and much needed breaks - but then we still have to come back to an unchanging furnace. What a trial of faith... yet we just keep going; putting one foot in front of the other. Isn't that what it's all about? Just keeping on moving no matter what comes our way - no matter what our days look like - no matter what we must face today...that's faith.  We are to be examples of faith and believing even in the furnace. Actually, without the furnace to try our faith we would not be able to recognize it as such. Having faith means that we do keep going no matter what we see, no matter what we feel, no matter what is going on around us. We just continue to stand...because we have Holy Spirit in us to strengthen us and carry us on thro

Any Given Day

For the caregiver we never know what types of situations may be presented to us, on any given day. But then of course, our regular day is filled with all sorts of stuff too. There are so many things that must be done in the course of a day that each day is already full. But then there are those times when any little thing can set the day on a totally different trek!  It might be a delayed delivery, a cancelled doctor's appointment, an aide who did not show up, or any number of seemingly small or large difficulties that arise. Quite honestly, our days are difficult enough to handle physically, emotionally and even spiritually without any kind of unpleasant surprises. One thing I am finally learning is to not stress over the things that I cannot change. It's a difficult thing for me too - trust me.  But as I was reading along the other morning I happened across a scripture that I use to quote a lot - especially in my youth pastoring days. It's Philippians 2:14 and is si

Looking for Some Shade...

Last summer was the hottest summer ever on record in Oklahoma. The temperature was over 100 degrees for more than 60 days. Sorry I don't remember the exact number of days, but it was a very long time, trust me!  It was smothering hot and the times of day that should bring relief like early in the morning - just weren't working right. It was hot; and it was hot all the time. When I saw this scripture from Isaiah 25:4 I understood it a little better. The prophet says For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat. ...  When it is so hot outside you can barely breathe, it is great to be able to sit in the shade for a few minutes. You really cannot do much more than that since it's so hot. Many people get very sick when they get too hot; so it's best to just sit and be still when it gets hot outside.  For the caregiver - it can seem hot all the time due to the intensity of our tria

His Unchanging Promise

If we are breathing we have experienced change. The caregiver has no doubt seen many changes in their lives that have brought them into the position of providing care for their loved one(s). As we age, things change. Our children grow older, they have children, our jobs change and in general our lives are lived on a platform of change.  The only thing that doesn't change is God; and His attributes. He remains the same as do His promises concerning us, His children. Ephesians 3:14-19 reminds us of some of these precious, unchanging promises. Holy Spirit lives in us. That is something that will not change for the believer. Paul prays in verse 16 that his readers would be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. That is my prayer for caregivers, and His children today. May we realize His strength in us to carry out our daily tasks today - simply because He lives in us.  Verse 17 reminds us that Christ dwells in our heart. Do you see the common theme? He is w