Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Safe and Secure with No Alarm... Leaning

Yesterday, I had scheduled the piano movers to move my aunt's piano into her assisted living apartment. She was so excited! She's been there for a couple of weeks now and has had access to a central piano, but missed having one close by that she could play whenever she wanted.

As soon as the movers were gone, I asked her to try it out. She sat and played for some time. Tears welled up from pure joy at having her piano back. She's finally home.

As I watched her frail, trembling hands run across the keys, I became absorbed in the moment. She's still playing after all these years. Her fingers may not be as nimble as they once were, but she can still tickle the ivory with style and pizzaz. She never lacks for a song to play - there's always one near the surface of her heart.

It was a moment I didn't want to miss. There was just something special about it. It seemed like I was r\witnessing the reunion of two old friends. At 86 there's no doubt she's in the latter years of her life, but the song is still as vibrant as it was in her youth. All I can ask is that when I come of age I will still carry the song too.

I thought of the things she's seen and experienced over her eight-plus decades on this earth. She's seen losses and gains. She's known joy and pain. She's been full and empty; broken and healed. There's not too much she hasn't seen. Yet she still trusts Him. Isn't that what it all comes down to for all of us?

Paul told the Philippian Christians that he knew how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT) He wasn't putting on airs or inflating the good things in life - just raw and real - I can do everything through Him.

It seems to me it all comes down to trusting Him. In good times and bad. In sickness and health. In life or death. With plenty or in lack - it's simple. We trust Him. Period. No matter what I face today I will not face it alone - I'll face it with my trust tucked securely in His heart. That's where we don't find an exemption card so we can get out of every difficult thing we face. Instead, we find a you can make it card that ensures us our heart will stay safely tucked into His no matter what life throws at us.

Today, my focus will be on just trusting Him for this day. I won't borrow any worries from tomorrow - I'll just rest in Him today. My thoughts will be on His faithfulness toward me. I'll meditate on how securely I am tucked into His heart - and I'll just rest in Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?




Friday, October 19, 2018

One Step at a Time

Kyrie hugging Chris
As the 10th anniversary of Chris' wreck nears, I have tons of thoughts. There are no easy days, but some days are less difficult than others. Here I am 10 years out celebrating Chris standing or sitting alone. I really thought I'd be celebrating his marriage or births of grandchildren. These thoughts can weigh heavily on my heart. Sometimes, I have to stay away from Facebook because it's overwhelming. I've been in one of those times lately.

What do we do when we are disappointed with life, ourselves, or our situations? Many of the things I dreamed of doing are not likely to ever happen. Everything got placed on hold nearly 10 years ago. How do you move on? The simplest answer is one step at a time. That's a daily thing. Sometimes, it's a moment by moment thing - just doing what needs to be done in the moment.

This morning in my personal devotions, I found myself hanging out in Isaiah 50. I have quoted verse 4 for years -  The Lord has given me His words of wisdom so that I may know how to comfort the weary. But what am I supposed to do when  I am the weary one? lol

As I was doing my Facebook live devotions for a group this morning, it dawned on me that our generation is weary. We go and go and go until we are worn out body, soul, and spirit. There's no off button. Social media wears us down - television wears us down - we burn the proverbial candle on both ends as an entire generation. We are worn out. As caregivers, there's no place to stop most days. We have a barrage of daily chores plus tons of incidentals that have to be addressed every day. It's so easy to be in a state of weariness that far surpasses the physical.

Where do we find this word to comfort the weary? I'm guessing it's in the next verse as verse 5 says this The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. Then the next verse prophetically describes a scene at the crucifixion. I was like, now wait. We're listening and there's trouble? How'd that happen?

He never promised an easy road - He just promised to walk it with us. Verse 7 gives us the secret to making it. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be dismayed. And that is where I am this morning. Weary. Listening. Satisfied that He is with me. You know, that's really not a bad place to be. I know He will lift me up. I know He won't leave me stranded (not even emotionally).

So today, I will tune my heart to hear His singing over me. I'll lean in a little closer to hear His words of encouragement. My thoughts will be on how He helps me face each moment of each day. I'll let Him carry my weariness, my burdens, my heart in His. Will you join me?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hand Tattoos

Do you ever feel like God put you here on this planet to sort everything out and then He just walked away? Caregiver's lives are not in sync with the rest of the world and we can feel separated and alone even in a crowd. Caregiving adds a new dynamic to life, doesn't it? It's one that can't really be described.

It's draining and rewarding. Tiring and energizing. Emotions run along all extremes much of the time and many battle with depression, grief and other issues. I have to say that recently I have asked God if He remembered where He left me. Now my heart knows He didn't really leave me. I mean, really - where would He go? He's everywhere - He can't physically leave us. But for those who struggle with abandonment issues, it can certainly feel like it.

Evidently, someone else has had similar feelings because in verse 14 of Isaiah 49, it says Jerusalem says, "the Lord has deserted us, the Lord has forgotten us."  But at the thought of abandonment, the Lord issues an immediate response in verse 15: Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand.......

Far too frequently today we see mothers and fathers who "forget" their children. They walk away. They neglect. But God won't forget us. He even tattooed our name on His hand. Why would He write our name on His hand? So that He can always see it - as He is reaching toward us to wipe the tears from our eyes. Or as He is extending His hand of grace to measure out what we need to make another day.

No matter how deserted we feel, how alone we feel, how overwhelmed we may be at the moment - He's in that moment before we get there.

Today, I will think about how sufficient His grace is to carry me through the day. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and His overwhelming patience toward me and my crazy thoughts and emotions. Even if I feel alone today- I won't buy it. I'll trust He is with me as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Where'd you leave it?

If anyone understands the busy-ness of a caregiver's world, it's other caregivers. Using the word busy is possibly an understatement. We certainly have our hands full, all four of them. lol. I remind myself of this as I try to return to being more regular with this blog.

The move is behind us, my aunt is in an assisted living facility. So now I am a full-time caregiver for my son as well as a long-distance caregiver for my aunt. These are two very different dynamics. But we press on.

I've struggled with feelings of inadequacies and learned that sometimes I really can't do it all. Evidently, I misplaced my cape. Smile so did you, Superman!

The last few days I've been in prayer about the "call" God placed on my life. I have struggled so much with what I thought that was going to look like. Finally, I just put in His hands and asked Him to tell me what to do. So, this morning when I opened my Bible to Isaiah 49 I found myself.

Isaiah starts this chapter out talking about his personal call. He is rehearsing what God told him. He said to me, "You are my servant..." Isaiah reminds himself that God called him before birth (v.1), in the womb, He called my name he says in the first verse of this chapter. But how he digressed from the calm assurance of the call in verse one to verse four where he says, But my work all seems so useless. I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. I have so felt that way about the things God put on my heart to do - caregiving came on me quickly and I felt like so many things were left hanging. Life sometimes feels useless when we hide too deeply in the caregiver's cave. We can wrestle with feelings of inadequacy, insignificance, and unfulfillment.

The good thing is that Isaiah then gives us a "but." He says, but I leave it all in the Lord's hands; I will trust God for my reward. For me, this means putting it all back in God's hands - all those feelings of loss and the grief over what could-have-been; and finding that place of simply trusting Him again.

Instead of leaving grief, sadness, and loss sitting in our hearts to drag us down, let's put it all in His hands today. That's the place I'd come to over the last few days - I gave it all back to Him and let go of it all. My prayer was more - You do what You want with me, the call, my life - I'll just obey, and sit back and watch.

Today, I'm putting it all in His hands. I'll turn my thoughts and prayers toward hearing His heart beat for me. I want to hear that over any noise in my busy world. My intention is to leave it all with Him and move out of the way to see how He will bring His plan to pass in my life. Maybe I can't see it - but it's not about making it happen. It's more about leaving it in His hands and watching it happen. I'll leave it all with Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Monday, October 1, 2018

When Morning Waits

We've probably all heard Psalm 30:5. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. This phrase, obviously taken from the Bible, along with other phrases and sayings meant to encourage, often seems to fall short.

For caregivers, there's no guarantee morning is going to come. So, what if it waits? How do we endure the dark night of the soul described by Oswald Chambers?

Besides scriptures, people have these sayings that really do not apply in many caregiving situations. You may have heard some things like:


  • storms don't last forever
  • seasons always change
  • nothing lasts forever
  • there's an end in sight
  • it's always darkest before the dawn
I simply cringe when I hear these. For caregivers, there's not always an end in sight. So, if we are waiting for morning to have joy - we may be caught in living grief until we die. Morning doesn't always come. Storms don't always end. What will we do if morning waits? What are we to do with the living grief?  Since His mercies are new every morning according to Lamentations  3:23, are we slap out of mercy? The morning isn't promised, but His mercies are.

We just hang tight knowing we can still bask in His mercy. He doesn't remove His promises during the night "seasons." Even if morning waits, His mercies endure forever. We can still enjoy His peace, his love, His embrace. 

Today, even though morning waits, I'll think about His great mercy. I'll meditate on His passionate pursuit of ME! My thoughts will be on how He chose US out of all creation to be His habitation - and He didn't change His purpose when we became caregivers! So, today, I'll just rest in that as I trust Him for one more day - will you join me?