Monday, June 25, 2018

Just Ask Job

I've had a lot on my mind lately, almost as much as I have on my plate! lol. Things are moving along with my aunt's placement in assisted living, but boy is it moving slowly. I'm trying to enjoy the time I have with her as she is such a blessing. But boy do I get unwound so easily. It seems the extra stress has heightened my emotions, and I miss Chris even more of late.

Many caregivers deal with living grief. For me, I miss my son - although he is technically still here. Same with my mom who has dementia and is in a nursing home. the grief can be overwhelming at times.

This week, as I was grieving and crying as I poured out my heart to Him, I thought of Job's grief. In Job, we learn that he lost everything but in that moment of deepest grief, he went straight to God with it in worship. Presenting that deep wound of the heart before God is such an act of intimate worship.

Sometimes, the church culture can make us feel like we can come - but don't bring our grief. It's not acceptable. But God wants us to bring it all to Him - the good, the bad and the ugly. He wants to be so intimately connected with us that He shares in our joys and sorrows, our triumphs and losses, our ups and our downs.

As Job laid it all out before God, there was a part of him that could only be touched by the crushing. It's in those moments when we are at a loss for words that He can touch a part of us not easily accessible. There are some deep recesses of our heart that are only reached through the crushing life brings.

I encourage you today in the pain, stress, grief or distress - take it to Him instead of keeping it hidden from Him. He wants to reach in and be a part of your life. Even when you feel shunned and separated from the rest of the world. The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) He is near. He is intimate.

Today, I am taking all of me to His heart. I'm laying it all down at His feet and waiting on Him to touch the deepest recesses of my heart. Will you join me?

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Excitement By the Wayside

old chest of drawers
Yesterday while I was out on my run I found this discarded chest of drawers. It was outside the fence at an apartment complex, just next to a dumpster. I took a picture and sent it to my daughter and asked yeah or nay. We decided it was a yes, so I brought it home.

The more I thought about this discarded piece, the more excited I became. Lots of thoughts ran through my head about how to fix it up. I could strip it down and restain it, or paint it as it is. Finally, I decided to strip it down and paint it cream. The indentions and knobs will be green and then my daughter can do her fancy artwork and paint some vining leaves along the edges. In my head - it's beautiful! I can't wait!

Then, I started thinking about where I'm going to put this beautiful piece once I've redone it a bit. I got so excited thinking of all the places it will fit right in.

On a personal note, this morning I was down. I'm tired. No, exhausted. No, fatigued... which is worse? That's what I am. lol.I'm stressed out over numerous things... Depression was trying to swallow me up when I looked out my patio door this morning and saw this chest.

You know what? God is more excited about His plans for us than we can imagine.

When I look at this discarded chest, I don't see it as such. I see the potential. I see all the places I can use it - all the ways I can enjoy it. When He looks at us, He doesn't see a discarded piece either. He is so excited about having us in His house. Just like I am thinking of all the places I can put this chest and all the ways I can use it and all the ways I can enjoy it - that's how He thinks of us.

He is filled with excitement about what is to come even if we feel discarded by the wayside. He's making plans on where to put us in His house. And He can't wait to enjoy us.

Today, I'm going to turn my thoughts to how overjoyed He is when He looks at us. My meditations will be on His excitement about what is to come. I won't consider my short-sightedness. I'll think about His wonderful plans for me. My focus will not be on my feelings of loneliness, despair or exhaustion. Instead, I'll think on His hope and plans for a good future for me. And I'll just rest right there  - will you join me?

Monday, June 11, 2018

Where Words Don't Live

I'm a word-smith, a writer, a poet, a psalmist. But there are times like the last few days where I have no words. While caregiving is a blessing and rewarding, it can also be taxing and weighty. That is where I've been until this weekend.

I've read the passage in Genesis 16 lots of times. Hagar was overwhelmed by God seeing her situation. I don't think I got it until now. My thoughts have been more along the lines of yeah, that's great but I already know God sees... what's the big deal? I need Him to do.

Over the weekend it all just got to me and it felt like the load was too heavy to deal with. As I was taking the dog out for a walk I put some music in my earbuds and used the few minutes for a bit of an escape. I don't recall the song, but it talked about God seeing us and feeling the weight of our load. And in that moment, I knew that I knew that I knew - He felt me.

Now I've felt Him a lot. I often sense His presence - but this was more Him sensing my presence and my situation. It seemed like He was walking through me - in the deepest recesses of my heart and being. He was so deep inside me that I had no words. And it was okay with me.

Suddenly, it was okay for Him to see me. It felt like He could really see me - all of me - and He was okay with it and so was I. He sensed my burden - and even though I came back into the house carrying the same load I went out with - it was better because I shared it with Him.

What are you carrying today? He really does want to share the load with you. Let down your guard for one minute and let Him see you - the real you. He can handle it - and so can you. He can see the parts of you that there are no words to share. While nothing may change immediately, knowing He is walking through the deepest, darkest parts of my being gave me light and strength.

Today, I'm going to meditate on taking it all to Him again. I'm going to try to be okay without words, and I'll think about how He knows my thoughts and words before they are formed - just like He knew me before I was formed. I'll trust Him for one more day - in that place with no words. Will you join me?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Realist's Faith

Chris standing well
I'm not sure we can deal with any situation, caregiving or otherwise until we acknowledge it. We can try to confess it away, quote scriptures over it all day, and pray - I do this a lot. It doesn't always change the situation. I have no doubt that God heals and will continue to perform miracles. But until He does - we must deal with the situations that are right in our face.
It's not faithless to face our situation head on each day. There is no way to be a caregiver and ignore what we are going through as our actions or inactions directly affect other persons. A realist can stand in faith too because faith is not exactly what we've made it out to be all these years.

I have a very well-meaning relative who is always telling Chris to "get outta that chair" so he can go fishing. It breaks my heart. The first time he said it, I said, "they have handicap fishing spots if you want to take him fishing." I got no response. The last time he said it, I just let it go as my heart shattered into a million pieces. I love my son just like he is. Would I be overjoyed if he took off walking or starting talking or moving anything? Absolutely. But I love him just like he is too. I sing "You are so Beautiful" to him pretty much every day, two or three times a day.

God never looks at us and says, I sure wish you'd get better so I could fellowship with you. I know He doesn't. He loves us just like we are - even though He sees far better things for us. He puts no requirements on us - He just says come. He wipes my tears. He picks me up. He loves me - even when I'm dirty by my own doing. He takes us just like we are with no hesitation, no questions, no shaking of His head in disgust.

Today, I will meditate on how He loves me just like I am, with all my imperfections. My thoughts will be on how He longs to be with me so much He'll come to me if I can't walk, He speaks to me when I can't talk and He holds me when I can't hold Him. I'll think about how much He loves us as the crazy messed up caregivers we can be! lol And I'll thank Him for loving me right where I am, just as I am as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?