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Thankfulness in the Furnace

Colossians 4:2 says to devote yourself to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (NLT) It can be far too easy to allow the responsibilities and daily grind of caregiving to lull us into a spiritual sleep. Taking care of another person takes a lot out of us emotionally, physically and even spiritually. Over time we can tend to relax spiritually if we do not guard our hearts.

Personally, I am a very structured person. I set my schedule and just keep it. Well, that's how it was BC (before caregiving) anyway. I got up early enough when I was teaching school to have my coffee, Bible study and prayer time long before the day got out of hand. When I first brought my son home, I tried to do that again. Honestly, I was worn out all the time and soon it went out the window. Recently, I've been able to come back to some type of schedule but of course remain flexible for caregiving's sake.

It's so important to keep our spiritual guard up. We have to maintain our spiritual tenacity. This can be such a difficult thing and if we are not careful we  can fall into the trap of self-condemnation when we don't. First of all, remember (like it's easy to forget) that we are operating under huge amounts of stress and there are some days it takes all of our effort to simply breathe. It took me a long time to be "okay" with that and to give myself a break. When we don't have time - we just don't have time. And we certainly don't have time to condemn ourselves for not having time!  Secondly, remember that He alone is our source - and He understands us. God is walking through the furnace with us. He is the good Shepherd, we just have to follow Him and allow Him to feed us.

We can still devote ourselves to prayer, and we can do it with a mind that is alert as well as a heart that is thankful. It took me a long time to recover a thankful attitude. I was just too mad at God for letting this happen to my son. But as time went on I found I could not live my life without Him (God). Soon I found that thankfulness once again. We cannot base our thankfulness on our lives - but on His goodness and His character. I'll be the first one to tell you I am not thankful this happened. But I'm also quick to tell you that even in the situation and as it continues to unfold, I can find things to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for many of the life lessons I've learned on this CG journey. I'm thankful for the closeness I've found with God. I can be thankful that I've learned the true value of friendship - and learned who were my real friends. Thankfulness abounds as I've learned to trust Him even more. There is always something to be thankful for; we just have to search harder to find it when the going gets tough!

Today I will purposefully look for things to be thankful for; and I will remember to tell God thank you. I will consciously keep my mind on Him today and focus on staying alert spiritually. I will not allow caregiving to lull me to sleep spiritually. Are you with me?

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