A caregiver pretty much lives in a state of adaptability. We never know what a day may bring and we have to be ready to change on the fly in order to handle whatever might come up. But we are still sons, daughters, moms, sisters, dads, brothers, etc. Many friends walk away, the church doesn't know what to do with us and usually our jobs either adapt to our new responsibilities as caregivers, we no longer have them or we adjust in some other way like working online.
I think our Christian walk is similar in this way. The second we accept Christ - we are changed. Bam! We are a new creation. But over time a we learn more about Him and become more like Him we see continued changes. This is true for everyone. The more time we spend with Him the more we'll look like Him as He tends to rub off on His kids.
This morning I was reading in Colossians 3 and in verse 10 Paul says we have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him - And then the next verse says there's no distinction - all believers are renewed; the Greek and the Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free - and I'd like to add caregivers or caregivees - Christ is all, and in all.
I stopped there in my reading and thought about that for awhile. Our roles as caregivers take absolutely nothing away from who we are in Christ. For that matter we still have the responsibility of pressing in to Him - no matter what life throws our way. No one ever gets it so bad they get an exempt card.
On one hand, this is good. I am still eligible for His love, grace, mercy, peace, and many abundant blessings. But then I realize that since nothing changes in the spirit realm when we become a caregiver I still have to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. I still have to live out verse 13 - bearing with one another, forgiving each other and put on love.
I'm glad to not be exempt on the good stuff - but can I catch a break on the rough stuff? Do I still have to deal with caregiving and the struggles and still be patient? Even with aids (two of them now) that don't show up for over a week? I still have to forgive? Everyone?
And that might just be the difficult part. But I can't move on to the last three verses of this chapter until I've done these. Only after I embrace his love, forgiveness, gentleness and mercy - can I let His peace rule in my heart and let his word dwell in me richly.
Caregivers are not exempt on either end, and that's a good thing. I also think He works those things in and through us as we learn to lean on Him more for each day's needs. Today I just need grace. At least I already know the aid isn't showing up as he texted last night - so I can adjust my schedule and chores accordingly. But can I forgive the aids for leaving me in a lurch? Can I work through the depression that seems to close in when I don't get those little breaks? Can I forgive them? They really do not have a clue how beneficial their services are - can I just be thankful?
Today I will shift my focus from frustration and fury to forgiveness. My thoughts will be on how patient He is with me - and I pray I can be the same with others. I'll rejoice in the fact that I still have everything Christ has to offer - my status being His - didn't change when caregiving started. And I'll do some inner reflection and let Him shine the light on the things I still need to change. I will yield to Him as He continues to change me into His image one (tiny) step at a time. I'll rest in Him as He brings about change - and I'll trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?