Monday, August 20, 2018

Caregiver Extremes

Chris standing
I just want to admit up front that emotionally I can be all over the place. That's nothing new, really. But with the impending move, it seems to me like it's a little bit worse. In case I forgot to fill you in, we are moving! My daughter and SIL are buying a huge house so we can all move in. They are going to help me with Chris and I'll help them with kids and day-to-day stuff as well. We are all excited and I believe it's a good move.

As I anticipate change though, my thoughts and emotions go from extreme excitement to sheer terror. Eventually, I adjust and change is not usually as rough as I thought - but I'm all over the place until I adjust and settle in.

Extremes are not all that uncommon for caregivers, especially on some days. Maybe it's just me but I can be booking along having a great day and a memory or a photo or almost anything can spark raw emotions. Not to brag or anything, but I can go from chipper and happy to calm and weepy in under 10 seconds. I'm so glad that God understands this roller coaster ride and already knows if the next turn will bring an up moment or a down one. He's prepared to handle either one every single time. He doesn't condemn me for either extreme He just gathers up the broken pieces of my heart and glues it all back together with His love, compassion and care. He often steps right into the middle of either extreme and carefully does His mending. I'm guessing that's what keeps me running back to Him.

Today, as I pack and plan, I will be meditating on His careful watching care. My meditations will be on how He never takes His eyes off me. I'll think about how accepting He is of me and my emotional swings. He offers no condemnation or criticism - only care and concern for me. I'm going to stop and think about that for a while right now - and trust Him for just one more day - will you join me?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Don't Forget to Wait

old bookcase
I'm starting the process of moving my mini-nursing home. That's a huge task for sure and a bit overwhelming. But I was looking through my house at things I can get rid of and wondering why if it's so easy to discard or donate things why I kept them in the first place.

When I got to my room, I stood and looked at my bookcase. It is special for a few reasons. First, it was my grandfather's bookcase and used to house all of his Bible study aids and books. Secondly, it holds my book collection. Most of them are from generals in the kingdom of God - most of which have gone on to their reward. I stopped and looked at the section that contains books from the years I studied the revivals. My thoughts ran around for a while from revival to revival I studied back in the day. Those were BC days (before caregiving). I took a deep look inside myself and asked if my quest for revival and thirst for Him stopped at caregiving.

Immediately, I felt my heart soften as my soul cried out for Him again. Relief overtook me as I realized nothing about my quest was lost on the caregiving journey. I've said so many times that nothing He promised included exclusionary statements about caregivers. Our pursuit of Him is only contingent upon our persistence. He is readily available and all His promises are still yea and amen.

Just stopping to realize that He didn't change His mind about a thing when I became a caregiver renewed my strength. It's stirred up that thirst for Him. Caregivers are thirsty too. We don't need His presence any more or less than the rest of the outside-the-cave world. Jesus is still calling Come to me you who are weary, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28) The words of the prophet in Isaiah 40:31 still holds true - Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.... 

I have to think then, that if I am not having my strength renewed... It's not His fault - Maybe, just maybe, I'm not waiting. Caregivers tend to be go-getters and often far surpass our true capabilities because things have to be done regardless of how we feel, whether or not we are already too tired, and whether there is help or not. We often have to live in roll-up-your-sleeves mode and forget to wait on Him. But His promises still hold true -He still empowers those who wait on Him.... let's not forget to wait.

Today, I am going to make it my goal to remember His promises - I'm even going to make a list. I'll meditate on what it means to wait on Him. My efforts will be to get out of I-can-do-it-all mode and wait for Him - give Him space to work in my life and on my behalf. I'll trust Him with this day - in the waiting. Will you join me?

Monday, August 13, 2018

The What Ifs....

Sorry for my absence. To say I am a bit overwhelmed is well, a huge understatement. I just thought my son kept me busy, add my aunt in the mix and things like aides not showing up AGAIN, and I barely have time to breathe. I remind myself to do so often though. lol

One of the things I never question is the power of prayer. If you've read along you know I harp on faith a lot - the fact that it is really what carries us through adversity rather than helping us avoid them. Prayer has been redefined similarly on this journey. It's not just a way to get what I want as much as sometimes I wish it was.

I was thinking about prayer, what it is, and what it is not this morning. Even though I have purposefully separated myself from God on occasion as I tried to deal with frustration, trusting Him, the lack of answers, and the heat of the battle - There is nothing dark enough or deep enough to separate our prayers from His ears.

Then the trouble becomes why it seems He doesn't do anything in response. I wonder if Joseph cried out to Him day after day sitting in a dark, dank prison waiting for God's promise to manifest. How many years did Moses pray as he led God's children across the desert towards the promised land? Sometimes I think prayer isn't about getting an answer for ourselves, it's more about the communion. It's about having a constant companion who is moved by our grief and pain. He listens to us even when we sound like babbling babies in His ears.

It's not so much about getting what we want... it's about talking to Him all the way through the what ifs.....

  • What if He doesn't give me the answer I desire?
  • What if the situation gets worse instead of better?
  • What if He says "no"!
  • What if the money's not there...
  • What if no help comes..
  • What if this had never happened?
  • What if What if What if...
His ears will stand the what ifs. He still desires to talk with us one on one - and as we mature in a relationship with Him the conversation moves beyond our daily needs and wants. We begin to sense who He really is - way beyond our limitations in this life. He is with us - He doesn't carry us around adversity - He walks with us through it.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched,
Nor will the flame burn you.

Today, I will turn my thoughts to His sustaining power. I'll meditate on the "going through" part rather than the avoiding parts. I will rejoice that He won't abandon me anywhere along the way (even when I act like a brat....) I will trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Against all Odds

This morning I woke up with a phrase on my mind. It was simply, trust the process. Yesterday's thoughts about Moses and how God delivered and led the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the promised land one step at a time were racing through my mind.  I thought of how they crossed the Red Sea, needed water and He provided, needed food and He provided and numerous other victories they had along the way.

Jericho also came to mind and I realized they battled on so many levels and in so many arenas to get to their destination. But then I was a bit perplexed as I wondered what in the world would be my destination. I'm not going anywhere. Sometimes it feels like I'm sitting still and life is passing me by and I withdraw further into the caregiver's cave where it is at least perceived as safe. But I don't want to stay there - not really.

And it's at that moment determination arises once again and I resolve to find ways to live outside the box life has tried to enclose me in. It's easier to fade into the cave and live in a little box. There's no fear of being interrupted since most won't venture in. Not even church people. lol

Then this story comes to mind. It's in 2 Samuel 23:20-22. It seems like it was just dropped there by accident. These three verses describe the warrior, Benaiah. He did some mighty heroic acts but I want to focus on one. Verse 20 says he chased a lion into a pit and killed it - on a snowy day. Two things stand out to me, one that he chased the lion into the pit to kill it instead of playing it safe and running the other way. And two, he found his footing on a snowy day and managed to wrangle and kill a lion. He was in a predicament, but he prevailed.

I think of the caregiver - thankfully there are no physical lions in our dens. But we can have some momentous things to deal with. Emotions can rage, finances are slim, friends are few - and that doesn't even cover the stress of actual caregiving. (I could write a book on that one! lol) What I draw from this scripture is that against all odds - Benaiah won. Perhaps it was driven by anger (what did that lion do anyway?). Maybe it was sheer determination. Who knows what he was thinking - but he didn't let it go and he refused to be defeated.

We are faced with a similar choice. We can either be defeated by our circumstances and give up or walk away or chase it down and remove it from the equation. And this is where I am today. I'm staring at this lion of emotional strain, exhaustion, and many other elements that go along with caregiving. Do I choose to succumb and let it just have me and fall apart? Or do I choose to chase it down and defeat it? I'm determined to write a happy ending to my story. So as it all tries to close in on me today I'll stand up and say "Enough!"

Today, I'm going to trust Him for lion-chasing emotion-managing strength. My thoughts will be on how He provides, He loves, He cares for me. I'll follow Paul's advice to Peter (1 Peter 5:7) and I'll cast all my cares, worries and anxieties over on Him and let Him carry them for me. I will pray for Him to show me the lions in my life - and I will chase them down - and I will win!!! Will you join me?