Thursday, December 31, 2020

Another Day

 


Well, the end of 2020 is upon us. What a crazy year. On one hand, it was a little bit funny to watch the rest of the world trying to adjust to the social isolation we've been living in all along. I did feel a little sorry for them. There were so many twists and turns though, it seemed like the world went crazy this year. One thing is for sure - the world has changed.

I know at midnight tonight, when the new year begins, nothing will change in that instant. The pandemic will not just go away. The things we've lost this year will not return and the political scene won't suddenly calm down. However, we will continue providing care for our loved ones. We will simply continue trusting Him for one more day. One day at a time.

Even though the world around us has changed a lot this year in good ways and bad ways - God will not change. He will continue to be merciful, forgiving, and compassionate. His love for us is just as strong today as it was the day Jesus died for us. It will remain. 1 Corinthians 13:13 says three things will remain: faith, hope, love.

There's no way of knowing what changes 2021 may bring. Even if someone had told us in January 2020 how crazy of a year it was going to be we couldn't have comprehended it. lol. This year is going to bring changes too both good and bad I am sure. But we can continue trusting in the things about God that will never change.

Today, as I reflect on this last year and all it has brought and look forward to a new year, I will be thankful for God's continued faithfulness. I will rejoice that He was with each of us every step of 2020 - and this year will be no different. My meditations will be on His love that cannot be changed or diluted by time. He is passionate about us and He'll still be passionate in 2021! On this last day of the year, I will be thankful for another day to trust Him. And I will trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A Plan for the Unplanned

Chris at his first 5K

 If anyone knows about how things don't go as planned, it's caregivers. All it takes is a sneeze, a cough, a huge "accident' (and you know what I mean!) to mess up the best-laid plans. Many mornings we get up and start about the day and may even be productive. But all of a sudden it turns topsy-turvey and ends up with calls to doctors, home health, case managers, or suppliers. I know you know that drill!

But what are we supposed to do when things don't go as planned? Is there a plan for when plans fail? I know you understand what it's like to make plans for an outing, a family get together, or even a trip to the store and have to cancel at the last minute. It's easy to get to a place where you don't even want to make plans. 

I'm sure Daniel didn't plan on living his life as a slave. Joseph didn't either. All through scriptures we find stories of real people who had their real lives uprooted or disrupted by various events. Hebrews 11 has a long list we often call the "Hall of Faith." These people didn't have perfect lives either. Yet they continued to trust and believe God. 

This morning as I was preparing for the devotion I do on Facebook Live, I found myself in Psalm 13. David didn't have a perfect life either. We talked a bit in yesterday's devotion about how he took in Mephibosheth, the disabled son of Jonathan. That demonstrates the heart of God. 

In Psalm 13, David is asking where God went. He asks God how long He is going to look the other way. Yes, this is the same David who said in Psalm 139 that God was intimately acquainted with our ways and knows our thoughts before we think them and our words before we say them. But here he is in despair. He's feeling lost and forsaken. I know I don't have to tell you about that -it's part of the caregiver's journey. David felt it all - the loneliness, being forsaken, forgotten, overlooked - you fill in your blanks because I've got a lot of those emotions myself. We all do from time to time. 

But one thing I love about David is that he ends most of his psalms with a declaration. This one he declares:

  • I will trust Your unfailing love
  • I will rejoice
  • I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me
Today, even though I feel a bit discombobulated, I declare that I will trust God for one more day. I'll trust that He still loves me and He has good plans for me. I will rejoice in the victories He's brought so far even if I don't feel victorious today. And I will sing to Him - not because I'm good - but because He is good. His goodness remains steady and unwavered by the things we face each day. He is still good - and He is still God. I'll trust Him for today - will you join me?

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Sought Out - Not Forsaken

 

Nice Little Smile from Chris

Sometimes for caregivers, the nights are long and the days are longer. Last night was a long night here as Chris was coughing so much. I kept an eye on his fever and oxygen levels then gave more meds around 5. I know you know the drill! when we have a long, nagging night, it seems like our brains kick into high gear. At least that's how it is for me. My thoughts go crazy with all the things that could possibly be wrong and go wrong. I'm constantly reeling my thoughts back in.

At least I know we are in good company when it comes to having anxious thoughts. David said in Psalm 94:19 In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. (NKJV) The NLT says it this way When doubts filled my mind, Your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.  May we at least find a little comfort in knowing that David understood anxieties at least a little bit? 

Actually, David was a caregiver. Jonathon's son Mephibosheth was injured when his aid was carrying him and tripped. Both of his feet were crippled it says in 2 Samuel 9. David took him in and gave him a place at his table plus restored all the land to him that had belonged to his father and grandfather. David, the king went looking for someone of Saul's household and found a crippled man. It didn't put him off one bit. David had a heart after God, like God and he took Mephibosheth in even in his broken state.

Picture it. God comes looking for us even during those long, hard nights. He is looking for someone to show kindness to like David desired to do for Saul and Jonathan's sake. It was because of the covenant he had with Jonathon and the honor David he gave to Saul. God looks for us - seeks us out and comes right into our mess. Then He brings us to His table and cares for us.

Imagine Mephibosheth's fears of being summoned by the king. He may have wondered what David wanted from him. But like us before God - he found mercy, acceptance, provision, and restoration. I like that.

Today, I will rejoice in the mercies of God. I will allow His comfort to bring renewed hope and cheer to my heart. I will be thankful that even in the midst of a tough spot, He still reaches out to me with His comfort. It is amazing to me that His comfort, His peace, His joy, and His heart can penetrate the darkest night and touch my heart with His light. In the midst of my anxious thoughts, He comes seeking - looking for me when others avoid me. He sits with me all.night.long. And He keeps my soul. I will thank Him for that today - and rest in Him as I trust Him for one more day - will you join me?


PS - My devotional "21 Days" to help develop the habit of daily Bible reading is available on Amazon in Kindle format or hard copy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

I Tell Myself!

Chris and Kyrie

 This morning, I revisited Psalm 104. It's one of my favorite passages and one I call one of the "creation" chapters. The psalmist describes many aspects of creation and of course, as find it amazing and encouraging. My favorite verse out of this chapter is verse 19 where the psalmist says, the sun knows where to set. It never rises and then isn't sure which way west is. God set things in motion and they remain.

But what caught my eye this morning was the first verse. It says, Praise the Lord, I tell myself. Then he goes on to talk about God's overwhelming greatness and glory. I think for me, thinking about creation is one way I celebrate the greatness and enormity of God. But sometimes, I have to tell myself to praise God. You know?

Creation reminds me that God is still in control. It helps me remember that He is consistent even when my world looks and feels topsy turvy. He created with intention. And part of that plan was that I, as a human, could easily see His works and His attributes. Then, I can tell myself how great God is once again. I remind myself of His majesty, His creative power, His care, and concern over creation. And there I find myself in His peace once again as I yield my soul to His greatness.

Today, no matter what seems troubling - we can remind ourselves that God is still on the throne. He did not give up when we became caregivers or when the world went crazy this year! Today, I'll think about how the things He put into motion - are still in motion. I'll remind myself that all of His grace, mercy, gifts, patience, and attributes are still intact and there for me to bask in. And I will do that today as I remind myself that He's got me - He's got you. will you join me?


If you enjoy these daily devotionals check out my Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore. I have more devotionals and resources and will be adding more soon too!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Continuum

 

Chris standing by me

This morning I read through Psalm 34. I love this psalm. Okay, so I love all of them! But this morning, this one is my favorite. Of course, that is subject to change based on the next one I read! I got stuck in the first verse. David says I will bless the Lord at all times, His praise shall continually be in my mouth. (NKJ) What stood out to me was that David uses two phrases that mean almost the same thing. He says he will bless the Lord at all times. Then he said that His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

I am a huge fan of David - I mean what's not to love about his genuine heart toward God? And what's not to love about the fact that he was human and messed up - more than once! But he's also the dude who took out Goliath while the army men stood there shaking in their boots. He's also the man who could play the harp beautifully and worship God wholeheartedly - then pick up a sword and wipe out a small army single-handedly. 

He was a worshiper and a warrior. These two were not mutually exclusive. He worshiped and he warred with all his heart. I kind of like to think of us caregivers like this. We have a lot on our plates and days don't usually come easy for us. That's the warrior part - because we put on our armor and face each day knowing the battle that lies ahead of us. 

But when we continue to praise God, bless His name, and look to Him for our strength - that's the worshipper part. You know? We put on His armor each morning and wipe mouths and other extremities because we love the one we provide care for. We do mounds of laundry due to accidents, prepare pureed foods - or other types of non-traditional food for feedings - because we love them. During a pandemic, we stay at home and protect them as much as possible. But that's not too new to most of us - we've lived in social isolation for years so we could care for our loved ones. You guys - that takes a warrior's heart. 

Now at the same time, we look to God for our strength, our joy, our sustenance, our comfort, and our peace every morning from the time we get up until we lay our weary bodies down at night. We understand that we do nothing truly alone - but only through the strength He provides. We praise Him for the small things - like a smile, a meal well eaten, no fevers in the night, and supplies that are delivered on time. We pull the essence of Who He is into every aspect of our day and let our hands care for one of the "least of these" (according to the world) to demonstrate His unending love, grace, and mercy toward us. Guys - that takes a worshipper's heart.

So today, I want to stay on the continuum - the sequence of praise. I will lift my voice to praise Him from the dawn to the sunset. My lips will bless His name from daylight to dark and I hope my soul sings in my sleep! I will be thankful that it is this huge, magnificent, very worthy of worship God who carries me through each day. As I roll up my sleeves to tackle the chores of the day - may every breath I breathe remain on the continuum of praise. Will you join me?

Monday, December 21, 2020

God's Got Us Covered

 

Chris at the Bluff Creek Trail

Do you ever feel inadequate? I'm starting to wonder if this is a daily feeling for caregivers. It can easily feel like I can never do enough, give enough, or get enough done in a day. Honestly, I go to bed every night feeling a bit defeated because of the things I did not get done that day. Nevermind the fact that I've provided complete care for another whole adult who can do absolutely nothing for himself. But there always seems like something that got left hanging. You know? That one project for a client that needed to be done yesterday. It might not be something that big that eats away at me either. It may be something like forgetting to cook up a butternut squash and pureeing it so it can be ready to add to my son's meals. 

Whether it's huge or little leaving things we feel we need to finish can nag away at us. So, this morning when my eyes came across 2 Peter 1:3, I let out a sigh and let all those things go. This verse says that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Christ...

Everything. Nothing left undone on God's part, right? We talk about exclusionary statements on this blog a lot, and once again there is none! Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, did not say - God has given everyone but caregivers all they need for life and godliness. We are included in His words no matter what our standing in life. He did not leave us out! 

Life AND Godliness. The second part of this verse offered me much hope this morning. He has given us what we need for life - the natural side of things. And He gives us what we need for godliness - the spiritual side of things. It seems to me that He provides us the full-package to deal with everything life throws at us including all our caregiving responsibilities, fears of the future, feelings of loss, and you fill in the blank with what you deal with - and He's giving us the strength, hope, love, peace, and grace to make it through.

But He also didn't leave out the spiritual side. Do you ever get frustrated when people only see you as a caregiver and can't see you as the spiritual person you are? We are caregivers - but we are still children of God - called by the Most High - filled with His Spirit - and able to teach, discern, comfort, etc. God sees us as His child first. He still loves us, gives us grace for the journey, and equips us to live a life fully guided by Holy Spirit. Isn't that wonderful?

Today, I will be thankful that God cares for me as a caregiver. But I will also be thankful that He looks past that and sees me as His little girl that He wants to care for. My meditation will be on how He gives me strength for this journey and how He holds my spirit and my hands up as I walk the lonely path of caregiving. I'll rejoice that He didn't leave us out - but He gives us ALL we need for both life and godliness through Christ. And with that, I will choose to rest in Him and trust Him to carry me through one more day. Will you join me? 

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Whatcha Looking At?

window visit with aunt polly

 As caregivers, there are tons of things that demand our attention throughout the day. It can be different for each of us, but in general, we have to clothe, dress, feed, transfer, and make decisions for another whole person. It's an understatement to say our plates are full. For caregivers, that's plates - plural. They are all full and they all seem to demand our attention all at the same time. 

As I was reading through some passages in Paul's epistles this morning I realized his plate was full too. He wasn't a caregiver as such, but he did nourish and care for the baby church that had just been birthed spiritually. He had a lot on his plate too. He got discouraged, was afraid at times, and had his moments too. Paul was human.

But in 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, he reminded the new believers at Corinth that the treasure of Christ dwells in this clay pot. We hold the treasure of heaven in an earthen vessel. Then he says this:

  • we are hard-pressed on every side - yet not crushed
  • we are perplexed - but not in despair
  • we are persecuted - but not forsaken
  • we are struck down - but not destroyed
He goes on to talk about how we die so that Christ lives through us. Even though our flesh is suffering Christ is working in us. Then he goes on to say that we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things that are not seen. The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sure, we can get bogged down in the cares of the day. We all know we have a lot to do, right! And while we have responsibilities to fulfill - they are not where our focus should be. The things we cannot see - grace, truth, God's love, His mercy - are eternal. They are not disrupted by the things we are living through down here. Our focus is still to be set on the Kingdom of God - and all of Who He is. Considering these eternal, unchangeable, undisruptable things about God is what can carry us through each day. So, whatcha looking at? 

Today, I will shift my focus to the things about God that do not change. I'll meditate on His great love for me (and you), how He mercifully carries me through each day and long, dark night. My thoughts will be on His unshakable kingdom - that He put inside me. And with that I will trust Him for just one more day. Will you join me? 

If you enjoy these devotionals - check out my devotionals and Bible studies in my online  bookstore: Dove's Fire Ministries Education.

Friday, December 18, 2020

Roads and Rivers


 The social isolation of caregiving is one of the hardest parts for many of us. It's interesting now that during the pandemic so much attention is being given to being isolated and how it wears on mental health. Yet for many caregivers, it's been the norm for a long time. Yet when the rest of the world has to face the world we've lived in for decades, they fall apart. If it wasn't so serious, it would be humorous. 

One of the things that continue to bring me consolation is realizing that God is in this mess with me. I'm not facing it alone, even when I feel like I am. So, this morning during my devotions, I found myself reading in Isaiah 43. In verse 19, God says through Isaiah, I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Sometimes, caregiving can feel dry and bare like the desert. Other times, like the wilderness there is plenty of growth, but no people to enjoy it with.

A road in the wilderness would make way for many more people to traverse the region. A river in the desert would bring soothing refreshment for the soul. Having water in the desert can also mean the difference between life or death. I used to hike a wilderness area when I lived in Lousiana. Once you got off the road, there was nothing but you and nature for miles. A road meant having access to help and home. Maybe that's the road in the wilderness God is speaking of. When He makes a road in our wilderness it opens up the pathway to get back to Him. 

No matter how alone we may be, God is there with us. In the most alone time, He still lays out the road back to His heart. In the dryest times, He makes sure there is a river to refresh and preserve our souls. I'm reminded of the verse in Psalm 46 that says there is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.

Whether we are alone, thirsty, dry, or feel barren or abandoned, God is still reaching for us. He makes the way plain and simple so we can get back to Him - or He can get to us! 

Today, I will remind myself that I am not in this wilderness alone. My thoughts will be on how diligently He seeks His own as I remind myself I am one of His own too! I will purposefully look for the road that leads to His heart today. And I will look for the rivers God has provided to quench my thirsty soul. Will you join me in this search?

Thursday, December 17, 2020

A Consistent Resolve

me pushing chris in a race

 Unless I am talking to other caregivers, I don't often share the things I am going through. Unless it's a road they have walked, they won't be able to understand where I'm coming from. Often, we are met with empty stares when others hear about our "normal" days. Without really understanding, I've even had comments about why I choose to take care of my son. Even though those types of things are hurtful, I know they come from those who have no idea of how love can compel us to do the hard things. And that's okay.

With that being said - we know how hard it is to provide care and make decisions for another person. We can feel alone especially when there is no one to help us make those decisions. Oftentimes, I feel like people look the other way so they don't have to process how difficult life can be for caregivers. And sometimes, it feels like God looks the other way too. 

Does He really know the day-to-day struggle? While I am sure that He does - and that he "gets" it better than anyone, the struggle is real. These are some of my thoughts from my morning devotions. I was reminded of Psalm 57:1 and the last part of the verse that says In the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge until these calamities have passed by. I thought of the psalmist's resolve. 

Soon though, David turned his prayers around to declarations. He declared four I wills in verse 7-9. I will sing. I will awaken the dawn. I will praise You, Lord. I will sing... 

But you see, I had just read Psalm 13, also written by David. He starts out this psalm by asking how long God is going to forget him. But guess how he ended it? The same way! In verse 6, he says, I will sing to the Lord. While I was enamored by his resolve in both of the psalms, I also realized they represent two different times in his life when he felt overwhelmed, defeated, out of control, etc. 

Both times he poured his heart out in transparent honesty before God. He was open and real with how he felt. And both times he ended with declarations. I will sing. David had a consistent resolve that no matter how difficult life or what new circumstances were presented, or how difficult the obstacles became He would trust God. I like that.

Today, I will turn my meditations away from my situation and difficulties and I resolve to praise God in this storm My heart will trust in His shadows until calamity has passed. My thoughts will be on His faithfulness and how He carries me so much of the journey. So, I will trust Him with one more day. will you join me?

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

In Good Company

 

Mama and Aunt Polly
It's easy to feel all alone as caregivers. This is even more often the case during the pandemic. We can feel like we are carrying the load of caregiving all by ourselves. And a lot of times, we are. It makes sense that we feel we are alone - when we are alone. Many caregivers have spouses, friends, relatives, aides, and others who help along the way. I think the worst loneliness is felt when we feel alone - even though we are with others.

For me personally, if I am in a social gathering (mostly online of late!), I still feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. There is often casual conversation about things people are doing, where they are going, and even daily routines that are far different for caregivers. Sometimes we feel alone just because our lifestyle can be so different. Other times we feel alone because we are alone.

Even in our aloneness - we are in good company. As I was reading this morning, I found myself in John 16. In the last few verses, Jesus tells His disciples that there is trouble on the way and they will all be scattered each to his own. (v.32) Then He says, you will leave Me alone. Then it seems to me as if the next phrase is Jesus responding to that alone feeling. As if to remind Himself He says, And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. If Jesus needed to remind Himself that He was not alone in that deep dark night of the soul - we are indeed in good company.

As I read on through Jesus' prayer in chapter 17 and realized it preceded Gethsemane, I did some thinking about prayer. Prayer didn't keep Jesus from going to the cross - it sustained Him. Through prayer, He gained the strength to face it. None of our Bible heroes escaped peril by praying - but they did rely on the One who was going to see them through it. As caregivers, prayer isn't a magic potion to make all the hurt and difficulties go away. It is communion with the One who will carry us through it though. Again, I say - we are in good company.

Think of Joseph in prison for crimes he didn't commit. Daniel faced the lion's den for praying. Prayer wasn't an escape hatch - it was communion and intimacy with the source of strength.

Today, I will purposefully take time to spend in prayer. And during that time, I will make sure to thank God for carrying me this far. I'll be thankful that He didn't send me into the lion's den of caregiving alone but chose to walk it with me instead.  My meditations will be on how He walks with me - oftentimes carrying me through each day and He gives me strength. So, I will rest in Him and trust Him for today. Will you join me?

Sunday, November 29, 2020

God Doesn't Know the Rules!

 

chris in the standing frame

After yesterday's post, I started thinking about how God chases us down. He longs for us to be with Him so much and He never gives up. I thought of the scripture in Jeremiah 29:13-14 that says, and you will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will let Myself be found by you. (NASB) That kind of spoils the game doesn't it? lol

I'm sure you played hide-and-seek as a kid. I have even played into adulthood. There are so many versions of the game, but the object always remains the same. That is to not be found by the seeker(s). But God says He will let us find Him when we seek for Him.

I kind of chuckled to myself picturing that. But then, my mind went to another game we played as kids, chase. I wondered if God played chase too - but since He is everywhere - we don't have to run anywhere to catch Him. As soon as we want to be with Him, He's like I'm right here for you. 

Well, that's no fun! 

Of course, I am speaking in jest. How awesome is that for real? As soon as we seek Him - He steps out so we can see Him. If we run to Him - He's already there! He may not be too much into the rules of our little games - but He does know how to shatter them with a dramatic ending.

He not only cannot hide from us if we are seeking Him - He calls out to us and says, hey, I'm right here! Before we take a step toward Him, He's already met us right where we are. He doesn't require us to follow any religious ordinances, complete a checklist, or get perfect. (Whew!) He just wants to walk this journey with us. How cool is that?

Today, I'll be thankful for God's lack of ability to play games by human rules! I'll stop chasing and rejoice that He caught me and I caught Him. I can just rest in His presence and enjoy His peace. That's what I will do today - will you join me?

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Even in the Ugly

 

Chris standing at the park

My thoughts are all over the place this morning. That's not really anything new for me. Lol. I know you know the juggling drill. My mind is running through all the tasks I need to get done today - some of them are brought over from yesterday as I didn't get done with them then. I'm looking ahead to next month and trying to sort out finances, supplies, aids, and the list goes on. I am 99.9% sure you have a running list that looks almost like mine! 

So, how does God keep tabs on all that? Psalm 139 reminds us that He knows our thoughts before we think them and our words before we speak them. Man...He is busy! Nothing has caught Him by surprise. Not our caregiving journies, the global pandemic, the crazy politics... He already knew all of that. And, He's gone before us into 2021 and beyond. That just blows my mind.

Isaiah says it this way Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as His counselor has informed Him? Who taught God all this? Right? Then in the next verse of Isaiah 40, the prophet says With whom did He consult and who gave Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding? I cannot comprehend how God knows so much - but I know He does. And I know He knows me through and through.

He is not too busy to be intimated acquainted with my ways or my thoughts. Y'all, that blows my little mind. People often choose not to be around me - I understand that - I'm a bit high-strung! lol. But God NEVER chooses to separate from me or my craziest thoughts. And trust me, I can be way out there sometimes. 

I don't know about you, but as a caregiver, particularly when my son is not doing well or having a rough time, my thoughts get very ugly really fast. Memories of him before the accident run through my head and seem to mock me when I see all he can't do right now. I get angry, frustrated, and oftentimes I want to just give up. God never shies away from that kind of ugly. He waits. He comforts. He consoles. He carries me until I can try to stand again. But He never gives up on me. I'm grateful.

Today, I will just be grateful for His compassions, mercies, grace, and love that never fail. I'll purposefully be thankful for His heart that is always chasing mine down even in the ugly. I'll take joy in the truth that He still wants to be with me even when I am very sure I've given Him lots of reasons to not want to be with me! And today - when He chases me. I'll let Him catch me. Will you join me?

Friday, November 27, 2020

God's Got This

Kyrie and Chris

 I'm not sure things have ever been this crazy. Of course, I only have a little over 60 years to base my analysis on. (smile!) As if caregiving wasn't enough by itself, we have a pandemic that continues to rage on, political craziness out of hand, and a generation that seems bent on doing evil. I don't know about you, but sometimes I get soul tired. 

This morning, I was reading in Lamentations 3 where Jeremiah talks about God's compassions. Funny, it's not compassion - singular. It's compassions - plural. The prophet says his soul was removed from peace. In our current world situation, that would be easy to do. Our peace can be so disrupted if we watch the news or scroll our Facebook feeds all day, for sure! 

Jeremiah goes on to say in verse 18 that his strength and hope had perished. That's how he felt at the time. As caregivers, I think we all have those moments where we feel totally swept away in our responsibilities. On any given day we can feel like one more thing and we are done. But we also learn that those one-more-things keep coming and we keep going. Don't we?

Jeremiah is pouring out his soul and talking about his affliction open and raw. I like that because when we do that - it means we are being honest and real with ourselves and with God. It's okay to do that! But then, we should think about modeling after Jeremiah here and go on to remind ourselves of where we have been and how God has never failed us even in our darkest, deepest hours of pain and despair.

In verse 21, Jeremiah says here's what I recall so I don't lose hope. (My loose translation.) He reminded himself that the Lord's mercies keep us from being consumed. That His compassions do not fail. And that God is faithful. In a nutshell, he reminded himself that God's got this. 

I don't know what Jeremiah was worried about consuming him - but for me it's life. It's the day after day caregiving tasks and decisions that are sometimes very scary to have to make. I often get sucked into what I call the caregiver's fog and I feel depression clawing at my soul trying to suck me in and take me under forever. But as soon as I recognize it for what it is - I have to think like Jeremiah.

Yes, it's bad. Yes, it's tough. But God's got this. He's got me. He's got you. He never looks at His calendar and apologizes because His mercy ran out yesterday. He doesn't say, sorry no hope for today - it expired last week.  No! He offers a continual stream of hope, mercy, compassion, and love that are all able to carry us through one day at a time.

Today, I will remind myself that He's got this day and He's still got me in the palm of His hand. I will purposefully quiet my busy soul (mind, will and emotions) and bring my whole being before God today and ask Him for grace to carry me through. And you know what? He will do it again. will you join me?

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Redeemed in Peace

me and chris

 I've been doing live devotions on Facebook for a few months now. My goal was to be a voice of "peace" in the midst of all the turmoil. I placed a link to today's video at the bottom of this devotion in case you'd like to see it. Today, I talked about a verse in Psalm 55. As I was sharing the verse and my thoughts, I felt it was appropriate for us as caregivers. 

Verse 18 of Psalm 55 says this, He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. For there were many against me. As caregivers, there are so many things that pull at and war against our souls and our sanity too. Our plates are more than full with caregiving tasks. We have laundry, food prep, transfers, bathing, dressing, and a wide variety of other things to do to care for our loved one. Long distance caregiving has its own bumps along the way and plenty of surprise phone calls. 

So, when I found this verse this morning, I thought of us and how time after time God has provided peace in the midst of the turmoil. As if caregiving wasn't enough, we also have other cares to add more concern. We must protect ourselves and loved ones from exposure to COVID. And our political environment is quite the mess. So not only do we have the stress of caregiving providing plenty of things to war against us, there is no reprieve "out there" either.

But here's the thing. David said that God reaches into the raging battle to "redeem" our souls in peace. I always wonder why He doesn't make the battle cease. You know? He could just make it all go away. That might be nice - but it wouldn't make us strong and it'd be a little bit boring, don't you think? 

Instead, God walks right into the things that are troubling our souls the most. He comes right into the midst of our chaos, the ugliness of life, our fears, and crazy thoughts and emotions. And He gives our souls peace. The battle may continue to rage on around us - but we are in His hands. My heart and soul can rest in His heart even when the battle rages on. That's peace.

Today, I will look past the battle. I'll shift my gaze past all the things warring against my soul and I'll focus on Him. I will accept His peace even though life rages all around. I will embrace His peace and let it reign in my heart. Will you join me?


Today's FB live devotion.


Monday, November 9, 2020

He Didn't Wait

 

Mama and Aunt Polly

I keep hanging out in Mark 6. Last week we took a brief look at it, but this morning as I was reading it one more time something else occurred to me. That's what I love about His word - it's alive! It continues to unfold and reveal new things as we continue to read it and let it shape our hearts. So, in the sixth chapter of Mark, the disciples headed across the sea instead of waiting on Jesus. 

While they were rowing across, a big storm came up. It says the winds were blowing against them. Now, I've not rowed a lot but I know if you are in a boat trying to go against a headwind, you are not going to make much progress. You are sort of stuck in place. Here's what stuck out to me this morning during my devotions. Jesus came walking out to them - He didn't wait for the storm to stop first.

As caregivers, God doesn't wait until life's picture looks pretty again. He doesn't wait until the winds stop blowing our boats around. He doesn't wait until we get our emotions all gathered up neatly. He walks right into the storm, pulls up a chair, and lets us know He is there with us through the storm. Just like Jesus didn't wait for the disciples to get it all together and make progress toward the other side - He walks right up to us when we feel like we are rowing and rowing and not getting anywhere at all. And He says, It's me- don't be afraid. 

He sees us when we are bowed beneath the load. He sees the times we cry ourselves to sleep. He feels our pain when we let go of a good ugly snot-slinging cry. And it doesn't scare Him away. He walks right in the middle of it all and says - I'm here.

Today, I will remind myself that even in the ugliest moments of life, He is still here with me. I'll think about how precious it is that He doesn't wait until things look calm and cool, and I've collected myself. He wants to be there with us. He chooses to be there with us. And that means a lot to me! So today I will thank Him for not being afraid to walk out to me in the midst of the ugly! And with thanksgiving, I'll face another day. Will you join me?

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Just As I Am

Silly chris and me

 I'm sure the title reminded you of the classic hymn. It was a standard at Billy Graham's crusades around the world. Many church settings still use it as part of the altar call. We can come to God just as we are. I love that; maybe because I'm a bit rough on the edges. God doesn't make us clean up first. He doesn't have us fill out a questionnaire to determine if we qualify. There's no checklist we have to complete first. It's plain and simple. We can come to Him at this moment and He accepts us. 

I was looking at my son the other day and grieving over losses. His friends all moved on with life - and they should! No judgment from me! But it still makes me sad to think he has no one. Please understand - I get it. He can't hold a conversation. He may not even look you in the eye on some days. He can't hop in the car and go somewhere for a bite to eat. I get it. But I love him just as he is. Do I miss who he was - without a doubt.... every moment of every day. But I still love him.

It's this type of unfailing love that Father God has for us. Perhaps we can't communicate on His level - obviously. We don't function in the world He is in - we are bound to this world we live in. Right where He put us! Even though we don't look right, can't walk right, don't talk right, and spiritually cannot do anything for ourselves - His love is unfailing. 

Just like I love my son with an undying love - even though he can't carry his weight or give back - that's how God loves us. He doesn't look at our lack of ability to give. He looks at us as His child - and He loves, adores, and cherishes us even when we are the most undone.

Today, I will be thankful for His genuine acceptance and love. I will move my thoughts from the feelings of helplessness I am so familiar with over to how He continues to stand by my side to help me with my spiritual ADLs. But He loves me - and that will be my meditation today. Will you join me just as you are?

Friday, November 6, 2020

How to Reduce the Fall Risk for a Senior Loved One

lovely senior lady As we grow older, falls become a serious threat to our overall safety and wellbeing. Falls can result in injuries, mobility limitations, and a fear of falling that can prevent seniors from enjoying their daily life or engaging in their favorite activities. This risk can also cause a lot of worry to family caregivers. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed as a caregiver, you can find solace in the Daily Devotions for Caregivers blog. That said, there are also some actionable steps you can take to prevent your loved one from suffering a fall, so you can both rest easy.

 Make Some Home Modifications

 Investing in a few modifications can make your loved one’s home more accessible and help them stay safe.

            Help your senior loved one declutter their home so they can enjoy a safer, organized space.

       Installing grab bars in the bathroom can help your loved one feel safe and confident in tackling their activities of daily living (ADLs).

       Improve the lighting in your loved one’s home so they can better avoid obstacles and maintain their balance.

       Choose a slip-resistant flooring material that allows for smooth travel for a person using a walker or wheelchair.

 Hire Home Care Help

 As a family caregiver, it’s important to recognize when you could use a hand. Home care services can make your loved one’s life easier and more comfortable!

 

       If your senior loved one cannot perform their ADLs safely, it may be time to hire an in-home caregiver.

       Home care services can include help with things like meal preparation and errand running.

       Alternatively, your senior loved one may benefit from adult daycare while you are away at work and cannot provide assistance.

 Encourage Healthy Habits

Keeping the body healthy is one of the best ways to prevent falls and avoid suffering an injury from a fall.

 

       Staying active through outdoor and indoor exercises can significantly improve the health of seniors.

       Regular strength training can keep seniors’ muscles strong so they can catch themselves if they stumble.

       Flexibility exercises like yoga can protect your loved one’s joints, tendons, and ligaments from fall injuries. Yoga can also help with balance!

       Help your loved one get started with some beginner-friendly yoga moves.

 

What to Do When a Senior Falls

 It can be scary to watch your senior loved one fall right in front of you—and even scarier if you’re not there. Make sure you know what to do!

 

       Before helping your loved one get up from a fall, check for signs of injury.

       Learn how to help a senior get up from a fall safely without causing injury to them or yourself.

       If your senior loved one lives alone, consider investing in a medical alert system to automatically notify emergency response services if they fall.

 

Your senior loved one’s home should be a place where they feel safe and comfortable. Unfortunately, the risk of suffering a fall can make seniors fearful of the activities they once enjoyed. Help your loved one make their home a safer place so you can both enjoy some peace of mind!

Calm in the Chaos

journalling
Sometimes it feels like the world has gone stark-raving crazy. Just what we caregivers need. (smile) No matter what news source you listen to (I suggest turning them ALL off) it's sheer craziness all around. Isn't our plate already full enough? Earlier this year we had a Pandemic and the need to take extra precautions for our loved ones piled on our already overflowing plates... now the craziest election America has ever seen. It's too much. I'm on overload.

But wait....

I figured out that I do not have to embrace the chaos running rampant in the world right this minute. Instead, I can choose to embrace the calm assurance of knowing He is still walking through it all - with me. I thought I had learned that as a caregiver, right? But I was slowly letting the craziness out there get to me.

As a caregiver, I realized that God did not change one iota when my son was in an accident. It took some time for me to come to the realization that His kingdom didn't shake when my world fell apart. And it's no different now. I am repeatedly comforted by the scriptures that remind me that He is with me in the storm. 

This morning I was looking at a couple of different scriptures. I was looking for a different story when I found myself in John 6. The New Living Translation tells us in verses 16 to 21 that the disciples were waiting for Jesus. When He didn't come when they thought He should, they headed out across the lake. When they were a few miles out, a storm came up. But Jesus came to them walking on the water. They were terrified, then Jesus said, I am here! don't be afraid. Then they were on the other side.

Now I think the thing that stood out most was that they got weary of waiting for Him. They could have remained safely on the shore waiting - but ended up in a storm waiting. Let's be patient in our waiting for Him. Secondly, He told them I am here. I love that! He is with us in the midst of the storm and just because we got a little ahead of the game didn't mean He stays on the shore and lets us suffer. He is still with us.

For me, the truth that He is still right here gives me calm in the chaos. It was the calm that walked through the fire with the three Hebrew children. The same calm in the den of lions with Daniel. And the same calm that sat with Joseph all those years in prison. We can benefit from that calm today - because He is still here. He didn't say that 2020 was too much for Him!

Today, I will embrace the calm of His presence rather than the chaos of my surroundings. I'll lean in closer to Him so I can hear His heart beating over all the noise. I will rest in Him - and I will continue to wait for Him. Will you join me?

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Great Gift!

 

my 2 kids

Yesterday and today both I've had this verse running through my head. It's something Jesus told His disciples and it's in John 14:27. The New Living Translation says it this way: I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn't like the peace the world gives. So don't be troubled or afraid. I am embracing this verse today!

Just the thought that Jesus said He is giving us peace of heart and mind makes me stop, think, and be grateful. I think the hardest part is remembering to let it rule in our hearts and minds. The world is a crazy place right now and very little peace can be found anywhere. But Jesus said He was leaving it with us. 

What I really like is that He didn't exclude caregivers! He didn't exclude anyone. All we have to do is choose to accept this gift. He knows our proverbial plate is full - fuller than most. Yet He didn't say we couldn't have His peace if we had too much on our plate. We've just got to stop looking at the plate and look to Him for peace. (Right?)

Today, I'm going to take care of what needs taking care of (and that changes with the minute sometimes) - but keep my focus on Him. I will purposefully let His peace reign in my heart and mind. And when my mind runs away in a whirlwind of thoughts (and it will trust me!) I will stop and turn my thoughts back to His peace. I'll stop in my tracks and embrace His peace and intentionally let it have my heart and mind - will you join me?


Monday, November 2, 2020

You Belong

 

chris and mom

As caregivers, sometimes it can feel like we and our loved ones stick out like a sore thumb. This is especially true if we have the luxury of social events. Even yesterday I was pushing Chris around our apartment complex and could feel the stares of other residents. Two beautiful wide-eyed children asked what was "wrong" with him and so we have a brief and simple conversation. Cute kids. But it added to those feelings of being "different." You know?

But I found something this morning as I was doing my morning devotions. I ended up in Psalm 24. I was looking for verse four about having clean hands and a pure heart. But of course, I started at the first. The very first verse grabbed me at the heart. It says this:


The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. 

The world and all its people belong to Him. (NLT)

I just kind of froze there and read and reread that one verse and let it sink into my heart. The earth is His. Everything in it is His. The people (us - the sheeple) belong to Him. I belong. In Him, we do not stick out like a sore thumb. We are His and He loves being with us. Exodus 33:14 says He is passionate about a relationship with His people. That's us - we belong to Him and He passionately pursues us.

He wants a relationship with us with no regard for socio-economic standing, career choices, job title or joblessness, whether we live in a mansion or are homeless..... we belong to Him. I found comfort in that this morning. 

Today, I will turn my thoughts away from feelings of being neglected, rejected, and unwelcome. I will embrace this verse and the truth that I belong to Him. That means I am His - He's got my back no matter what life throws. When thoughts try to press in and tell me otherwise - I'll remind myself: I am His. I belong to Him. And I will rest in that truth today. Will you join me?

Friday, October 30, 2020

The Seeker

 

chris with eli

This morning I found myself reading in Ezekiel. Although I love the OT prophets and read them often, I must admit I had no inspiration and my Bible literally opened to it and I began reading. I am so glad I did. God was warning the people of Israel and giving Ezekiel a rundown on the true state of their hearts in chapter 33. Then He begins to talk about the shepherds who were supposed to be caring for the sheep but were instead taking care of their own needs and scattering the sheep. Even some of the sheep were being inconsiderate and unkind to other sheep.

God was not too happy with the "fat sheep" who had gotten that way by pushing other sheep out of the way. They crowded their way to a "blessing." He said He would judge between the sheep and the shepherd as well as between sheep and other sheep. Why? He's the seeker.

So for the sheep suffering from neglect from the shepherds and bullying of other sheep - God said He would step in. He said He'd make sure they were no longer a prey - that they had what they needed. And Ezekial ends chapter 34 with this: you are my flock, the sheep of my pasture. You are my people, and I am your God.

There's no mention of them seeking God during their struggles. Ezekiel said nothing about them crying out in their pain, or praying for deliverance. They may have - I know I have! But what I saw in this was God seeing the need, seeing the hurting, seeing the hungry, seeing the whole picture, and then seeking out His own.

I'm His own too. And so are you.

As caregivers, we can be operating under a load others simply do not understand and many just don't want to see. Life gets ugly sometimes and doesn't go as planned. But God continues to seek His own. He will seek for us until He finds us. Then He provides peace, comfort, sustenance, and acceptance.

While we understand we are rewarded with His presence when we seek Him - in this scenario He becomes the seeker - and He's looking for US! Jeremiah says when we seek Him - He will be found by us. Can we do the same? Can we let Him find us in our pain, in our aloneness, in the darkest emotional cave of our lives? He wants us. He is looking for us. And He won't stop until He finds us.

Today, I purpose to be found by Him. I'll step out of the dark recesses of the cave I've been hiding in and I'll let Him see the ugly of life. I'll let Him see my tear-stained face and bloody torn heart. I'll rest in His arms as He bandages the wounds, wipes the tears from my face, and holds me close to His heart. Will you join me? He's looking for us.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Always Welcome Here (A New Poem)

 

chris standing at a park in OKC

It can be so difficult to fit in as caregivers. We can feel like we can't engage in general conversations and only other caregivers understand our circumstances. Then there is trying to navigate going anywhere with a wheelchair or walker. Some places are not accessible. Some say they are but are more than difficult to get in and out of. I always say those places follow the "letter of the law" but not the intent. Technically you can get in - but boy. (Sigh)

Rejection is a horrible feeling. It's easy for caregivers to feel like we don't "belong" or that we are not a part. Sometimes, that even happens with family and close friends. Recent events left me feeling rejected. As I was carrying my concerns to God, this poem just kind of came out of that prayer time. Somehow knowing that we can bring all of our baggage before the King of Kings and never be turned away is comforting. I hope you enjoy it. 

Always Welcome Here

 

Child, you are always welcome here

Bloody, broken, or riddled with fear

I will never turn you away

And I will capture every single tear

You are always welcome here.

 

Refused, outcast, forsaken or rejected

Lost, lonely, or neglected

I will not turn you away

I open up My arms to say you are accepted

You are always welcome here.

 

Come for the healing – Stay for communion

I’ve waited for you for so long

Come, sit and rest – here is where you belong.

 

I see your broken heart

I hear your silent tears

 

I will not turn you away

You are always welcome here.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Try to Remember


 This week, my aunt turned 88 years old. We made the best of it we could under the circumstances. I took her her favorite Chic-fil-a salad for lunch and her brother, my Uncle Roger, baked her a chocolate oatmeal cake and brought flowers. The facility is still not allowing visitors because of the Pandemic. I did get to go around to the window and see her and talk to her though. That helped, but it still saddened me greatly.

This, like many circumstances, can send a caregiver down into the spirals of sadness, grief, and depression. It's a terrible one to have to fight, but it happens frequently. It's such a personal battle too, and we all learn ways of trying to get ahead of it if at all possible. But when there are disappointments, griefs, and sorrows stacked one on the other day after day, it makes it much more difficult to get back on top of.

It can feel like God can't hear - and if He does hear us, then He isn't paying attention. And even if He is paying attention it feels like there is absolutely no response, no relief, and no rescue in sight. It's in those moments that it can feel like life is suffocating us. (Maybe it's just me?) Circumstances keep pressing and pressing and one thing keeps getting added on top of another until the life is being sucked right out of us.

I have this habit though. When I cannot see anything God is doing presently, and I cannot feel Him or hear Him like I want to, I do what Asaph did in Psalm 77. The first few verses, Asaph describes how he feels rejected, forgotten, and "too distressed to even pray." (V4 NLT) By the time he gets to verse 10 and 11, he says he feels like God is not "with" him anymore. If we are honest enough with ourselves, can we say we feel that way from time to time? My heart knows it's not true  - but boy does my head and emotions feel that way.

Asaph goes on to basically say that when he cannot see God moving in his life, he recalls what God has done in years gone by. This is what I've done the last day or so trying to shake off and climb out of the caregiver's fog. I started thinking back about specific times when I knew that God moved on my behalf. Times He truly intervened, healed, touched, moved, quickened....me. I still exist. I'm still in His sight. I'm still precious to Him....and so are you. When there is no one around to tell us that - we must tell ourselves these things. 

Today, will you join me in a walk down memory lane? It's so individual we must all take our own walk as we remember the times God has come through for us - lest we lose heart. Remind yourself that He loves you - immensely. Tell your heart to hope again that hope is NOT lost - and He has not forgotten we are here. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Positioned for Protection

 

Chris n Kyrie
This morning I was reading in Ephesians. I really enjoy the Epistles. They are just rich, you know? I have read them over and over yet there's always something new to see or experience in them. The word is alive (Hebrews 4:12), it doesn't change, but often we see new things because we have moved to a new place with new experiences. 

I made it to chapter 6 and the armor of God this morning. This one little phrase stood out to me. In verse 16, Paul said, above all taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. This said that we can and will quench the fiery darts of the enemy with the shield of faith. Now, it doesn't say the darts won't come occasionally. Or that they won't come one after another on a single afternoon. it does say when they come - faith can quench (extinguish, put out) ALL of them.

No matter what our situations are, faith protects our hearts. There are no exclusions here. Paul didn't say you can quench all the fiery darts of the enemy with the shield of faith unless..... we tend to let our thoughts put the exclusions in there - 

  • unless we are a caregiver
  • unless we are poor (or rich)
  • unless we have insurance
  • unless we read our Bible every day....
Paul added none of these - he simply said with which you will be able to quench ALL the fiery darts that come at you from the enemy. This brought a touch of hope to my heart this morning. As caregivers we can miss out on a lot - can't we? But not this time! The enemy can throw, toss, or shoot anything at us - depression, hopelessness, despair, discouragement, sadness, loneliness - all of which we may feel at one time or another - or sometimes we literally feel it all at once. (Maybe it's just me!)

But no matter what comes at us - remember it's not part of us - even though it may be part of the journey. Faith can quench it. We do have to position ourselves behind the shield of faith for it to provide protection. But here we stand in all of our luck laster - when life tries to paint an ugly picture, faith can repaint it into a beautiful masterpiece where we learn to trust God even more. That's got to frustrate the enemy! 

Today, I will take my position behind my shield of faith - mostly because I don't have the strength to fight on my own. From there, I will wait on God to deliver my soul (mind, will, and emotions) from the enemy's sight. Even when it seems like life is bearing down on me - I trust God will provide that way of escape. And when He does - I'll run right back into His arms where He can hold and protect me - will you join me?


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Beyond Words

 

those eyes
Sometimes, for caregivers, there are no words to express our emotions. We often deal with living grief over a loved one who is still alive, but they are not who they used to be. Personally, I deal with this with my son who is certainly not the person he was before the wreck, he can't do the things he did. Often I avoid Facebook as I see his friends getting married, having kids, enjoying life, and music. It can spark great grief for me as I am thrilled he is now turning his head from the left to right in response to activities. I'm happy when he takes a step when I used to watch him in the marching band. He is gone - but he's still alive.

On the other hand, my mom is in some stage of dementia. She usually still remembers us, but she doesn't recall our lives at all. She doesn't remember the ministry trips we took, the times we played music together, and all the things we shared. She has lost the ability to hold a simple conversation although she can answer some simple questions on her better days. 

There is a great sense of grief and loss always sitting just below the emotional surfaces of my heart. Some days I have to fight hard to not be sucked in. Other days, I can handle it pretty well. So, this morning when I turned to a familiar scripture, I was shocked at the parts I'd missed in my BC (Before Caregiving) days.

I was looking for the verse that says, His mercies are new every morning. That was my thought this morning as I was waking up and I whispered a gentle prayer that His mercies would carry me today. I turned to Lamentations 3 and let my eyes walk down the page to the verses I had marked years before caregiving. Interestingly enough, I found something brand new.

In verse 17, Jeremiah says, Peace has been stripped away and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I didn't recall that part of this passage although it is underlined. Perhaps I read it but lacked the understanding before. He goes on to say, I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. I was like, Yes! Someone understands!

Then, what Jeremiah penned hit home. He said, yet I still dare to hope when I remember the unfailing love of the Lord never ends! By his mercies, I have been kept from complete destruction. Great is His faithfulness, His mercies begin afresh each day. 

Is it bad that I was glad someone understood enough to put my emotions into words? I hope not because I was elated that Jeremiah seemed to really understand. Even though I feel like I am sad and grieving beyond words on some days - I pulled out this part of the verse - dare to hope. 

Today, I will dare to hope that it will be better than yesterday. I will remind myself of the unfailing love and endless mercies of the Lord who carries me every day. My thoughts and meditations will be on his mercy, His love, His care of me. I will dare to hope that He will carry me through today. Will you join me?

Friday, August 7, 2020

Just Another Day?

 

Chris and I
As I was looking through some scriptures this morning for something significant to share, I thought, it's just another day. That can mean a lot of different things to all of us, can't it? For some, it may mean sitting at home and not working waiting out the pandemic. Others may be working from home and dealing with those new challenges.  Parents are trying to make the best decisions for their kids concerning school and having to choose online or in-person - plus having to juggle their own work schedule to accommodate. 

While much of the world is adjusting to staying at home more - the caregiver can easily sit back and try to keep from laughing. Welcome to our world. We have had to do that too! But our world has remained pretty much the same. We still have to make decisions for two (or more) people, take care of another whole person's needs, and adjust to daily inconsistencies. Our supplies may have been disrupted (that's nothing new), aides may not be showing up to help (again - not new), and loneliness still chips away at our mental health....nothing new here. It's just another day.

But here's where I found some relief and sanity. God does not change in response to anything that occurs here on earth. Pandemic or not - it's just another day to Him too. It's a day where His mercies were new (for our sake) again this morning. It's just another day for His goodness and unfailing love to pursue us. (Psalm 23:6 NLT) It's just another day for Him to pour out His love on us, be patient with us as we work through the intricacies of life, and try to keep our heads above the swelling waters. He hasn't changed one iota. His kingdom didn't change nor did His passionate pursuit of us. He didn't change when we became caregivers. He didn't change when a pandemic swept the world. He remains faithful.

But it's just another day for us too. Another day to pursue Him with our whole heart. It's another chance to learn to trust Him even more. Another day to crawl up in His lap and let His peace rule in our hearts. Just another day to trust Him to carry us through everything we face.

So just another day isn't quite just another day at all, is it?

Today, I will crawl up in His lap and commit to trusting Him with just a little more of my heart. I will purposefully let His peace reign in my heart- especially when my mind tries to run off in so many directions. I won't let this day disturb my peace. Will  you join me for just another day?

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Sudden Fear - Sudden Peace

chris and daddy
I love the Psalms. I think one of the reasons I enjoy spending time in them so much is the frank honesty of the writers. When I was younger, I thought they were just whiny. But as I matured I realized a lot of what they express comes with the trials life you walk through. It didn't take me long to figure out that I could be transparent with God about my emotions and thoughts. The psalms are raw, open, and honest and God didn't fry any of them down to their toenails. That was how I was raised. 

Indirectly, I was taught you didn't ask God questions. Who should you ask? You didn't express anger or any negative emotions in your prayer time. Where should they be expressed? One day I got so mad that I yelled at God. I waited for the lightning bolt to strike me dead. Then I realized God knew those thoughts before I spoke them. I hadn't surprised Him - I had actually let Him in. And He gladly walks right into our mess - just so He can be with us.

David said in Psalm 31:22 (NLT) In sudden fear I had cried out, "I have been cut off from the Lord!" Have you ever felt that way? I know I have. Life has a way of battering us around sometimes until we think it was big enough to drive a wedge between us and God - but that is not truth. God is near the brokenhearted so if anything - He moves in closer when we are in distress and emotional pain such as is common to caregiving. 

David goes on to say But you heard my cry for mercy.... and answered my call for help.

What joy and peace get painted into the picture of our lives as we realize He has NOT abandoned us. He still hears our faintest whisper for help. He walks right into the chaos in our lives and brings His peace with Him. Again, it's up to us to accept His peace. Let the peace of God rule in your heart - Paul said.

Today, I will rejoice that He continues to hear my crazy cries. I will be thankful that He doesn't abandon and has no intention of leaving us here in time. Instead, He chooses to walk through time with us - no matter how crazy, uncertain, chaotic, or uncomfortable our time here gets. He is still walking through time with us and He's not going anywhere. I will choose a grateful heart today as I thank Him for the gift of His presence and His peace offered in the midst of the mess. Will you join me in letting His peace reign today?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Quietness of His Love

Chris and Kyrie
As I was reading this morning, I found myself in Zephaniah 3. This one little phrase in verse 17 stood out to me. He will quiet you with His love. I thought about that awhile. I know just a quiet moment in His presence can wipe away worry and defeat. I liken it to how a mother's touch can calm a baby's cries. Maybe some of it is that sense that something (Someone) bigger has us in their arms. Whatever the "reason" there is peace in Him. There is life in Him. There is healing in Him. And the more I learn to rest in His grip and in His arms, the more at peace I become. That kind of peace is invaluable to the caregiver.

Isaiah 30:15 says that in returning and rest we are saved; and in quietness and confidence, there is strength. Strength and confidence to face another day of caregiving come from resting in His embrace. It empowers us to face what we have to face day after day.

It can be difficult to quiet ourselves. But when we realize we can rest in His arms - and let Him carry us, it comes a bit easier. We understand we don't have the strength to carry on day after day without Him. At least I know I don't. I get bogged down in the emotions and grief. Or I get worn out by the day-to-days. It just comes with the territory. But His word always seems to pick me back up and keep me moving toward my goal of hiding in Him.

In His arms we will find what we need to make it today. Resting in His love will help us have the strength to live out today. The key? That's the let. We must let His love quiet us. 

Today, I will purposefully wait on Him. I will meditate on His love for me - and you meditate on His great love for you. Let's learn to rest there - will you join me there?