Tuesday, October 31, 2017

When I Take the Time

B&W of Bible, study notes and coffee
Never underestimate the power of quietness. Let me explain. To say my hands are full today is quite the understatement. My hands, pockets, purse, house and heart are full to the brim today. But I love it. I am enjoying taking care of my mom and I'm overcome with a special kind of compassion. That kind of caught me off guard. Double-time caregiving is not for the faint of heart, though, just sayin'! (smiles) It's barely even noon (I know - running late... ), and I'm on a second pot of coffee and need a nap.

What amazes me is when I take the time to just focus on Him for just a few minutes, how He makes it all better. It's funny though, I literally have to "take" the time - it's not handed to me on a silver platter. I have to take that time to find rest in Him. My hands are busy and my heart is full, but when I take a few seconds to acknowledge His presence, to wait for Him, to allow Him to give me rest, He never fails or disappoints.

The prophet Isaiah, in chapter 30, verse 15 called out to the people and told them the secret - in returning and rest you will be saved. Sadly, they would not listen. David, in Psalm 46:10 said, stop striving, and know I am God. The fact that this is in first person lets us know God was talking through David - and admonishing the listener and today the reader to just stop. Be still. Cease striving. And acknowledge that He is God. And you know what?

When I take the time to be still, to return to Him, to rest in Him - He meets me there every.single.time. It's almost like He anticipates my arrival, like He can't wait to see me. It's like He is excited to pick me up - trade my pathetic little strength for His might - and fill me back up until I run out again. Then He waits... for me to take time to come and let Him touch me again.

He is faithful. When we come to Him - He's ready to pour into us. When we realize our strength is gone, He's ready to give us His... while we wait on Him.

Today, I'm going to remind myself that His strength is enough and His grace is sufficient to carry me through. My meditations will be on just knowing He is still God and there is literally nothing that can change that in any way. My efforts will be on waiting for Him and resting in Him and in trading my piddly strength for His might. Will you join me?

Monday, October 30, 2017

All Things Considered

This morning I woke up to a very hectic day ahead. My mom is going to come stay a few days again since my daddy is sick. This just means my usually busy morning got busier since I have quite a bit to do to prepare for her to stay. I also got up knowing it's going to be a full week. It means some schedule changing for me. I won't lie. It's difficult. But I love taking care of my mom. She's so pleasant in her child-likeness that this horrible disease brings on. And she's vulnerable and innocent. I love her.

So this morning's devotions were cut a bit short as I started washing sheets and putting clean sheets on the bed. But, they were so good! I was thinking about how people say "God is good" all the time. But if you notice, they usually only say it when they get what they want. They got a job, God id good. They got a new car (and a large payment) God is good. They were sick and now they feel better - so God is good.  But guess what! He was already good anyway!

I'm so thankful His goodness, His mercy, His love and everything else about Him are not contingent on our circumstances. They remain. He remains. And He is always good.

He doesn't quit being good when something bad happens in our lives. If we get a new job or lose our job - He's still good. If we are sick or well - He's still good. If we are hungry or full - He's still good. His goodness is certain. His mercy is sure. His love is forever. Not one thing about Him changes due to our situations.

Isaiah 63:7 says this  I will tell of the Lord's unfailing love. I will praise the Lord for all He has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which He has granted according to His mercy and love. (NLT) 

Today, first of all, I will praise Him and thank Him for just being good. No matter what. Then, I'm going to purposefully look around my world today to find things to be thankful for. Trust me, there's always something. I'm going to first thank Him for His goodness no matter what my circumstance. And I'll praise Him for being the only constant in my upside down, backwards world! I'll meditate on His goodness toward me - and in me. And I will rest in that. Will you join me?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Watch Where You Step!

This morning I was pouring my heart out to God. That's nothing unusual, He's used to hearing me whine, cry, fuss and cuss. I had seen some areas where Chris has seemed to lose a lot of ground lately and it frustrates me. I feel like a failure. And as usual, I take all my cares to Him. Remember He told  us to, several times throughout scriptures. So I did.

I was thinking about all there is for caregivers to juggle. For me it's work,  therapy for Chris, ministry, writing my stuff, housework, etc. Who has time to do everything? Yet I find myself my own worst critic, condemning myself for not doing more.Are you kidding me? 

So this morning I was bringing all this to the Lord. Asking Him to help me know how to get more organized. He may be tired of hearing that prayer. (lol) I wish I could get on some sort of schedule and stick to it. But you know how it is, just about the time you do find a schedule that looks like it's going to work, something gets thrown into it to mess it all up. Eventually, we can tend to give up on that and go back to the day-by-day.

As I was praying (whining crying....) I heard myself ask God to help me order my days. Help me know how to get more done for Chris and work and maybe even myself in there somewhere. My fellow caregivers know that self-care is the first to go when we are in a crunch. The scripture came to mind order my steps. So I looked it up.

I found it in Psalm 37, which turns out I remember to be one of those awesome psalms with tons of wisdom. Verse 23 in the KJV says this: The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord, and He delights in his way. But look at the New Living Translation - The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. He watches over every little detail - the good, the bad and the ugly!

He is actively involved in our lives. He will help us order our days. I believe He wants us to bring our stuff to Him. He wants to help us sort through it. Our mess doesn't put Him off. He doesn't find our lifestyle distasteful, He is here to help. Earlier in this psalm, David offers quite a bit of advice for the righteous. He encourages us to do several things:

  • Delight in the Lord
  • Commit your way to Him
  • Trust in the Lord
  • Rest in theLord
  • Wait patiently for the Lord
Sometimes these are easier said than done, especially in our hectic lives where there is so much to get done every day. But today, I am going to commit my way to Him. I will purposefully wait for His direction and instruction. My thoughts will be on how I can continue to trust Him in this situation and I will commit my way to Him for Him to direct my steps. I'm pretty sure He's not going to fail me now. Will you join me?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Volume Control

In my reading this morning, I came across an interesting scripture. It's solid, and truth of course, it was my line of thinking, crazy as it can be, that made it so interesting to me.

The psalmist says in Psalm 68:19 Blessed be the Lord who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. (NASB) There are a few things that really stick out in this one little verse that's been hiding from me all this time.

The first thing I noticed was daily. He takes care of us every single day. Isaiah tells us that He never gets weary. Actually, weary comes after being tired for too long, and He doesn't even get tired. Day after day He continues to undergird us with strength. He carries us when necessary. But this morning I noticed the part our burdens. He carries us, yes, but He also carries our burdens. And here's where my thinking got a little silly.

Honestly, I wondered if all my whining, fussin' and cussin' was a burden to Him and maybe that's what He carries each and every day. While I am fully aware that He does indeed do that - I realize He really carries my burden, because He carries me. He doesn't eliminate part of me. He never says - I'll carry you through this, but not those deep wounds. He never says there's a part of me that He won't touch. None of me is too dirty or grimed out by life for Him to touch.

And as for my whining - I just imagine He has a volume control. He can turn down the fussin' and cussin' part so He truly hears the heart behind it. He understands the tired behind my give up. He hears my heart over my loudest cries. So no matter how loudly I cry, moan and whine, He hears my heart crying out for Him. And there is literally, absolutely no hesitation on His part as he reaches in to rescue my crying heart and carry my burdens for one more day. I am not... you are not.. a burden to Him.

Today, I am going to be thankful that He hears my heart above my cries. My heart's meditation will be on how gentle He is with me in this rough-and-tough caregiving lifestyle. I'll turn my thoughts to how He carries me (sometime kicking and screaming) to the next place in Him. And I will trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Still In Him

Yesterday, I was thinking about life and all it's become. I honestly had the thought that I like my life. Then I thought I guess I've adjusted to this new normal. And then I tempered it down a bit and concluded that at least I might not hate my life as much as I used to.

The living grief I deal with every day can chip away at all life is supposed to be. At tines, I miss who my son so much I become an emotional blob.Other times I can at least deal with it and find the best in each situation. And most of the time I fluctuate between the two, often in a matter of a few minutes. I'm starting to wonder if that's not really the source of the never-ending tiredness. Emotions can wear you out. But so can physically caring for another whole person day in and day out. So who knows if it's the endless chores or the emotional shifts that can render us exhausted and yet somehow sleepless. Maybe it's the overpowering combination of the two.

While in this perplexed state, I had to prepare for a live devotion I do each morning (for the "real world' people lol). I found myself in Acts 16 reading where Paul and Silas were sitting in the damp, dark jail. The crowd had beaten them with rods and it says they were "beaten with many blows." They had to be bloody, swollen, bruised and hurting. But what did that choose to do? There fastened to the wall and floor by chains, they chose to praise. Verse 25 says about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God. What? I'd have been crying, worrying and complaining about the injustice of the circumstances. They chose to praise.

I wouldn't have blamed them one bit had they moaned and whined. But they didn't do that. They praised God. I've said it before, but it bears repeating - He doesn't change with our circumstances. Not one thing in the throne room of God moved when we became caregivers. There was no redecorating on the account of our situation. He is faithful. No matter what arranges or rearranges in our worlds God is still on the throne. Jesus is still at His right hand. And we are still in Him. Our status in Him doesn't fluctuate with our natural circumstance. It's solid.

His mercies are still new every morning - because we're going to need them to face each new day. His love is still unending. His grace is still sufficient. And He's still walking with me - carrying me when necessary. (That happens a LOT!) He's still patient and kind toward us who believe.

Thank God the throne of God hasn't moved or changed. Thank God His love is enduring! Thank God my circumstances cause Him no alarm.

Today, I'm going to think about His throne room. I'll meditate on his faithfulness and my thoughts will be on how He doesn't move, change or flinch in response to the crazy circumstances of caregiving. I think I love Him more and more! Today I'll let Him carry me. Will you join me?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Life's Back Burner

Well here we are facing another day. Caregiver's days are full of uncertainty. For instance, today I have some errands that have to be run. There's no waiting at this point, I have to go get some things today. It usually never fails that when I've put something off and really need to do it now, the aide doesn't show up. To preempt my possible frustration - I already have a backup plan in place.

Sometimes just living with this type of uncertainty is frustrating I mean, why can't we just go to the store and get what we need, right? Sometimes it feels like it takes most of my energy just figuring out how to get things done, let alone the actual doing it. Maybe it's just me.

By the time I work through all that, I'm too tired to get it done. lol Sometimes it can wait for another day, but sometimes I just have to "pull myself up by my own bootstraps" and get it done anyway. My feelings are irrelevant. At least that is how I feel much of the time. The needs of our loved ones far surpass our own. And sometimes we can find ourselves taking care of ourselves only for the sake of taking care of them. 

But you know what? It's okay, and not selfish, to love ourselves. As a matter of fact, we are to love others as we love ourselves. I always thought that was an interesting scripture. We clothe ourselves, feed ourselves and give ourselves chocolate or pizza when "ourselves" want it! Right? It's okay to take care of us too. At the same time I so understand how we live our lives on the back burner.

Our needs are back on that burner and we only allow them to surface after our loved one is seen to and taken care of. Let someone tell us differently and we'll give them a "what for"! Sometimes we can feel like we are on God's back burner. But you know what? We are not.  Actually, we are in the forefront of His mind and heart. He understands our situation, probably more than we realize. He understands what it means and what it takes to lay down your life for another.

I'm way past thinking He's going to come in on His white horse and whisk me away. And I'm past asking Him to remove "this cup" I must drink. Jesus didn't see the cross as pleasant either. He asked if  it could be removed, but submitted to the Father's plan because He saw we needed a savoir more than He needed to be saved from the pain.

Even Paul prayed for his thorn in his flesh to be removed. Three times to be exact. But what did God tell Paul? My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. And what was Paul's response? My interpretation of what Paul said is this: Wait! Power is perfected in weakness? Then I will boast in my weakness so that Christ's power can live in me. I'm so content to be weak! I'll take all life's insults! I'll take all the distress! I'll drink the cup of difficulties, gladly. Because in this weak state - I am strong in Him. I'll sit on this back burner just to be filled with His strength and grace!

Today, I will choose to be glad that life has me in a difficult spot, on a back burner. I will rejoice because I feel so weak. I'll meditate on how He is strong right here in my weakness. My thoughts will be on strength being perfected (matured) in me as I learn to wait on Him. I'll think about how He's carried me to this point and He's not putting me down now! I'll rest in His strength and trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grace for One More Day

This morning, I just woke up tired. I hate it when that happens, and I admit I've been burning the candle on both ends for quite some time now. One of my primary goals right now is to find a way to organize my time better. What am I thinking?  How in the world can caregivers organize anything? Even if we do get all organized, something will happen, right? Maybe it's just me.

It was actually easier when I first brought my son home because he slept a lot. Part of the recovery process though is constant changes. I've said before that change is about the only thing that is constant in the caregiver's life! Right? Just about the time we get a "schedule" ironed out and in place, thinking it will work perfect for our needs as well as for our loved ones, what happens? Something. Anything. We can be catapulted into chaos at any moment of any day or night. I have not-so-quietly tried to give in to it and just work with whatever life and Chris gives me each day. All of this within a very modifiable-as-we-go type of schedule. It drives the orderly part of me crazy! But I adjust, figure out the next step and proceed. Don't we all? Caregivers are resilient! We just keep going kinda like the energizer bunny! (Mostly because we have to - no one else is going to do it and I haven't had any volunteers to take anything off my plate.)

So upon rising this morning, I found myself exhausted. Again. I worked a bit but then fell back asleep only to be awakened by my alarm that tells me it's time for the morning devotions I lead in a Facebook group. Oh how I wanted to sleep. But I got up and tried to get my body and my mind dressed for the occasion. My honest thought was what do I need to hear?

My thoughts went immediately to Isaiah 40. I thought I'm so tired, but He never gets weary. There's a difference between tired and weary. Weary is tired to the bone - to the soul. I looked up the chapter and looked down to verse 28:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
the Everlasting God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth
does not become weary or tired.

I wondered why He made us have a need for sleep - when He never sleeps. But I thought about how I run to Him all.the.time. And He doesn't even get tired of that. He doesn't grow weary of us coming to Him with all our stuff. He picks us up, dusts us off, and gives us strength and grace. Grace to make another day.

Today, I will be thankful that He doesn't get tired of me coming to Him. My thoughts will be on how He gives us grace - all sufficient grace. I'll make grace my meditation today. Will you join me?


Monday, October 16, 2017

Still at Work!!


Lately, I've been giving more time to studying the word. One reason is I'm getting to do a little more teaching from time to time. Being a teacher at heart, means I'm also a good student. The word is invaluable! When I was in my early teens I decided I wanted to know what it said for myself. I've been a diligent student ever since. I just didn't want others telling me what it said. This desire led to a lifelong habit of putting the word at the forefront of my life.

This morning I was thinking about these things as I was reading Colossians 3. Verse 16 says  to Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly. And right before that, Paul tells the reader to Let the peace of God rule in your hearts. I think that little word "let" has a really big implication.

My question was the application of these two scriptures. Mostly, I was thinking about letting the word dwell in us richly. My thoughts were back and forth in scriptures wondering how I could let it rule. In the Old Testament, Moses instructed the Israelites to write the word everywhere. (Duet. 6) The point being it was to be at the forefront of every conversation, every meal, every get together etc. Perhaps Paul is thinking along the same lines as he pens these words to the new believers.

For me, when I became a caregiver, sometimes the simplest scriptures and instructions got complicated. One example is how Jesus gives us the commission to go - but I couldn't do that. I loved living Him in the streets and taking the gospel to the nations. But how was that going to be possible as a caregiver? Well, this verse in Colossians is just as applicable on the street, or in the jungles of Africa as it is in our living room. Just let the word of God do it's (or His) thing in us.

Now here's the cool part - His word is at work in us. There is no place where the word stops working. Life doesn't become to complicated or hectic for His word to say - that's it I quit. There's no line drawn in the sand where the word says I'm not going that far. Nope. His word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12) and that doesn't exclude us caregivers. The word is powerful enough to cut through our circumstances and bring change in our hearts and lives.

Isn't it great to know that the word still works? We don't have to qualify for participation! Hebrews says He wrote His word in our hearts - and it's up to us to do the letting - letting the word have free course in our lives, letting it light our path, letting it fill our hearts, and letting it be in first place in our hearts and minds. His word has the first and last word in my life.

Today I am just going to be thankful for His word. I'll turn my thoughts to how it's brought comfort in my distress, it's brought healing to my soul, it's been peace in the storm. My meditations will be on how His word - spoken and written - has strengthened me and kept me sane! I will be concentrating on the "letting" part of "let His word dwell in you richly" today. Will you join me?

Friday, October 13, 2017

Availability

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking with a fellow caregiver. It was so refreshing and rewarding to spend the time in conversation! Even though our circumstances differ, we found much in common. I love connecting with other caregivers like that, it is quite inspiring. Caregivers are awesome.

Some of the simplest things can be complicated by caregiving. It took us a couple of tries to find a time that worked for both of us to make that call. No big deal for either of us, we adjusted what we needed to so it would work. One of my earliest frustrations was having difficulty scheduling things. Even yesterday, I was trying to explain my situation to a client. He wanted to give me a "full-time" position with set hours. He couldn't understand why I couldn't commit to it. I explained I could commit to a certain number of hours but not specific hours I could put in.

I tried to carefully explain that if I said I was going to work 1 to 4 each afternoon, something would come up. Nurses, case managers, doctors and supplies come whenever they want! lol. And of course, as sure as we commit to something we are sure we can manage something goes wrong. Our loved one gets sick or any number of things.

The hard part about not being able to keep a specific schedule outside of caregiving is that people stop inviting. They think we don't want to have coffee, go to the movie, etc. The truth is we would love to do those things. But we never know when something pressing will come up. It can feel isolating at best. Eventually, we adapt and for those patient souls, we figure out how to make it work.

The cool thing is that God is always on hand. He doesn't have office hours that He tries to make us adapt to. He longs to be with us whenever we can do it. He's on-call whether it's 2 in the morning, or 11 at night. He is available.

Now here's the catch, He wants us to be available too. When He calls, can we answer? On one hand, it can seem unfair. Why should He want us to be available, doesn't He know how much we have to do? I have to say that I love it when He tugs on my heart. Maybe I have a song of praise that rises up, or a prayer on my heart for a friend. But when He nudges, I choose to meet Him there. The cool thing is that that He still wants us to be with Him. How awesome is that? He doesn't ignore us or stop inviting because the schedule is too tight. He continues to draw us to Himself. He still wants us to experience His love.

Today, I will make it a point to think about how He wants to be with me. My thoughts and meditations will be on how He loves me and how He doesn't abandon. My schedule is never too hectic for Him to care and reach in for me. And I'll meet Him when He calls, and I will let Him hold me as I trust Him for one more day.Will you join me?

Monday, October 9, 2017

The Faithless are Faith-Filled

I was reading in Galatians this morning about the fruit of the spirit and the deeds of the flesh. My thoughts ran along the lines of how whatever fruit we exhibit shows everyone what we've been trusting, following and believing. That doesn't seem fair for the caregiver I don't think.

Seriously, I know we are still accountable - but it's like life is stacked against us. I'm speaking somewhat in jest - but does God really expect us to be patient?  And then it's tested on a daily basis - aides don't come or call, supplies are on back order again, chair malfunctions, or our loved one is just cranky and we can't fix it. It all adds up and it can keep us on the edge all the time.

Love? Everyone? Personally, forgiving the young man who caused the wreck (and it was a true accident) is a daily thing sometimes. He virtually took my son away and yet it is my spiritual responsibility to forgive and restore. That's not easy - but it's do-able.

Then there's joy. Really? Yes. Because our joy is rooted in what He has done for us spiritually, we can still have it even in the most adverse circumstances. His is a joy that remains. His joy will carry us through.

If anyone is longsuffering though, it's the caregiver. We know how to stick with it even when sticking isn't fun or joyful. We won't give up on our loved ones because of the deep love we have for them. We will literally fight tooth and nail to protect them and get what they need. We'll stick with it no matter how long we have to, how much paperwork we get stuck filling out, or whose office we need to storm - all for our loved ones.

You know what's cool about all that? That's exactly how God feels about His kids. He sees us in our pain, in our inadequacies (whether perceived or real), in our frustrations, tiredness, and any other state we as caregivers find ourselves in. He still loves us. He still cares for us. He still carries us - even if we are fussing and cussing the whole way. (Yes, I have done that....)

In my mind I can see Him scooping me up in His arms while I'm still griping; and He just carries me along until I can stand and begin to make forward process once again. He is so patient, gentle and loving with us. Our fatigue doesn't scare Him. Our frustrations don't force Him to quit. His grace remains extended throughout our longest days and darkest nights. Our confusion doesn't baffle Him and He doesn't even condemn us for it. He just waits for us. He carries us when we need it. He knows us. He even knows when we lie about being tired.

Nahum 1:7 says this: The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. He knows those of us who are quite alright with Him picking us up before we hit the ground. He knows those of us who are trusting in Him as our refuge. He knows those of us who are gonna gripe first, and snuggle in later. He picks us up when we call His name. He knows we are going to continue to trust Him. Even if we falter, get frustrated or feel like we are faithless He will carry us. We are never faithless - because He is faith-full; and we have Him. He has us.

Today I'm going to think about this visual of me in His arms. I will let Him carry me. I will let Him heal the deepest wounds life inflicts. My thoughts will be on His care for me. My meditations will be on His faithfulness. And in His faithful arms I will rest and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Friday, October 6, 2017

Moving Day!

I hate the thought of moving - so thankfully, I don't have to worry about it right now. Probably at some point, I'll be moving from this apartment and boy do I dread that day. Today's blog title is about a different kind of moving.

This morning I was studying in John 14 and 15. These chapters along with 16 and 17 are some of my favorite passages. They are just rich and you can pick about any verse and dive into the topic and be there all day. Today, though I got stuck in verse 23 of chapter 14.

The verse reads this way in the NASB: If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. Translated to me means this: if we love Him and keep His word - He's moving in!

Now I don't know about you, but when I do move - I take all my stuff with me. I load everything in a truck and take it all. I take my clothes, my bedroom furnishings, my workout equipment, appliances, my BOOKS! And I move everything to my new abode. I take all of me and all my stuff.

When God says He will make His abode with us - He brings all He is and all He has too. He moves all-in. Once again we see no exclusionary statements - He moves all in unless..... This means the caregiver gets just as much of Him as anyone else. We get all of God when we keep His word too. He doesn't love us any less nor does He withhold anything from us because of our situation - we have equal rights and equal access just like all His other children.

Today, I'm going to think about how He moved in and has no reason to leave us. My meditation will be on how I have all of Him - He holds nothing back. My thoughts will be about what might be in me that would inhibit Him from consuming every space in me. I trust Him to live inside me and make any arrangements that need to be made. I'll trust Him for one more day, will you join me?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Strength Upon Strength

As usual, my thoughts are all over the place. But it seems they have landed in a good spot, Psalm 29. I love this psalm and have read and taught from it numerous times. I like the fact that it starts with me giving God strength and ends with him giving me His strength. Not a fair trade for Him, but it sure works for me.

There can be many things that sap the caregiver's strength throughout a day. Because we live so on the edge of our emotions it doesn't even take much. As a teacher I used a term "reinvent myself" for what I had to do every day before I went back into the classroom. I knew that each day I had to be fresh, new and energetic for my students to receive from me. I think we have to reinvent and regenerate ourselves as caregivers all day every day. Then the littlest thing topples us off the edge.

We carry such a load, any straw can be THAT straw - the one that breaks the camel's back. The funny thing is though - no one will know it. We figure it out. Like yesterday when the aide didn't call or show - I just shifted into get 'er done mode and started completing all his tasks. It's no big deal - just exhausting to keep reinventing ourselves over and over. Or maybe a better way to say it is we keep reaching down inside deeper and deeper and finding more to work with. Because we have to. We do it numbly and don't even realize it most of the time.... or maybe that's just me.

So today as I was reading this psalm it meant a little more to me. I really don't have the strength in myself, but I find it in Him. He strengthens my hands for battle - and for caregivers, life can be a battlefield. That applies to just about everything from finances to emotions to our physical being. But He will make us victorious as we give it to Him and accept His strength in us.

Today, I'm going to think about how He strengthens me day to day. My thoughts will be on how He fills me with Himself and doesn't take anything back. I'll meditate on Ephesians 3:16 that says we are strengthened with might by His Spirit in our inner man. And I will just let Him be my strength today I won't try to do it on my own. Will you join me on that?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Challenging and Rewarding!

If you were asked to describe caregiving in one word, what would it be? I thought of this earlier and found it difficult to nail down. Caregiving is challenging - but also rewarding. It's difficult - but easy to choose when we follow our heart's love. It can be confusing yet simple. Caregiving can be hectic - but peaceful. Peaceful? I'm not sure I would use that word to describe what we do everyday. Would you?

Initially, I started this conversation in my head when I was reading 2 Thessalonians 3:16. I was doing a little online devotion with a FaceBook group this morning and my eyes scanned across it. I was talking about praying scriptures and was running through several of them in Thessalonians. I have a bunch of scriptures marked - underlined and a "p" beside it so I can pull them out and pray them when appropriate. The one thing is that I call them "generic" meaning they work at any time for just about any person or situation.

While I was teaching all this today my attention was grabbed by this one scripture: Now may the Lord of peace Himself continuously grant you peace in every circumstance. My mind stuck there for awhile as my thoughts ran away. Can He really give peace in every situation? Even for the caregiver? I have to say - yes. He can grant us peace in our situation - then it's up to us to let His peace reign in our hearts and minds.

Today, I will concentrate on letting His peace reign in my heart, mind and situation. This scripture will be my prayer and my meditation today. But I want to go beyond that just a bit and make room for the letting His peace reign. I will focus on His peace rather than the hectic schedule for today. As I rest in His peace - I'll trust Him for one more day - will you join me in letting His peace reign today?

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Little Things

Ever heard the saying "sometimes it's the little things..."? I don't think there's a caregiver out there who would disagree. But for us sometimes it's the tons of little things that add up until one becomes the straw that breaks the camel's back.

There are so many things on our daily plates. I have no idea how many times I've said, "just one more thing" goes wrong and I'll..... just deal with it, right? There are disconnected social workers who like to make rules that don't apply to them - or worked in their situation but are devastating in ours. Supply orders that get messed up - every single month for months in a row. Aides that don't show up - the one day you made plans. And this list could go on and on and on.

But I've learned something else over these nearly 9 years of caregiving. It's also the littlest things that can weigh the most in making a day go better. Like the fact that I discovered these $5 flowers in the photo. It's not expensive - but I enjoy looking at them. They last for about a week and just brighten my day. They add just a bit of beauty to my life and I like it.

It can be a kind word or gesture while you're out in public. It can be as simple as a card in the mail or an email that lets you know someone out there is praying for you. But now let me flip this around on you. YOU may be the kind word or act of love the aide needs to hear today. Your case manager has a full plate too - and they may be on the verge too - and you can either be their one more thing for the good - or for the bad.

That doesn't seem fair does it? I mean - we are in a tight situation at best. Caregiving on any level is stressful, difficult and emotionally wringing. But that doesn't give us a license to abuse others or be anything less than a blessing. I've said it before that we are not exempt from following the Word of God just because of our situations. There are no exclusionary statements like - this applies to everyone but caregivers. 

Our words can still be seasoned with grace. (Colossians 4:6) Sometimes we want certain scriptures to apply to us like My God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory. Or My peace I leave with you.....but we want to forget about some of the others. We want all the goodies but not the requirements, right? Caregivers do deserve a break, right? I don't think we get a break from righteousness.

But this is a good thing, you know why? Because everything in the Bible still applies to us. He is our righteousness. He is our wisdom. He is our strength. Those promises do not fade. He doesn't pack up and move out of us when we begin caregiving. He remains. The foundation of God stands firm having this seal - He knows those who are His. (2 Timothy 2:19) So I'm glad things don't really change for us spiritually just because of what happens to us naturally. Aren't you?

Today, my prayer will be that my words will be seasoned with salt and that I can be a light from here in this dark cave. I will be thankful that caregiving doesn't create a dam that holds back any of His promises. My meditations will be on how He knows  me, and I don't scare Him off. And since He's here and I can't get rid of Him - I think I will trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?