Personally, I've dealt with depression which is common for caregivers. I mean come on, we deal with a LOT! And it's day in and day out. We carry a heavy load, many of us by ourselves. Taking care of an entire other person is a difficult task. It's actually very complicated yet many of us have mastered it. We know how to get what we need for our loved ones, we are accustomed to their schedules and accommodating to adjustments that need to be made. It can be exhausting. And it can be rewarding. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other and moving through our days, weeks, months, and years. Because we love them.
Jesus told us that there is no greater love - than to lay down our lives for our "friends." I have to take from that statement that there's no greater love than laying down our lives for our loved ones. We are a picture of love. I truly believe I understand one fragment of the love for us that held Him on that cross - because it's the same love that holds us by our loved one's side even when it hurts.
We all learn to cope in different ways, and I've developed some of my own strategies for battling depression and other negative emotions that can try to sweep me away. Last night, as I was preparing for a lesson I did on Facebook live I found myself in an interesting passage. I was teaching out of Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were thrown into jail. They didn't give up. They didn't pout (I have!), they didn't sit there and cry or moan (I've done both!). They didn't cuss (I've done that too!).
At midnight - the end of one day and the start of another - they sang praises. We wouldn't have blamed them if they'd cried or fussed a bit! We'd have said to them what I'm sure has been said to you - it's okay to feel this way. And it IS! But there's a better way too. As they praised God even in their circumstance, their chains fell off and the doors sprung open.
I'm learning I can change the course of my day, my emotions, and my thoughts by taking a little praise break here and there. It can change the climate of my home and heart to find something (no matter how hard I have to look) to thank Him for. Psalm 77:11 says to me - if I don't see something He's doing right now, then I will thank Him for what He's done in the past. We can find something to thank Him for - and that's the place to start.
Today, I will be purposefully thankful. No matter how hard or long I have to think - I'll find something to be thankful for. My thoughts will be on Him and how great He is - no matter what may be staring me in the face. I will turn my meditations to all He is - and all He's done and let them overtake negative thoughts. I will set my mind on Him - and I will LET His peace rule in my heart one more day. Will you join me?
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