Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sleepless Nights

This morning, as I was studying the Bible and reading some familiar passages, I landed in Psalm 121. It's an all-time favorite and I made the first verse or two into a song during the three weeks I lived in the ICU waiting room hoping my son would wake up. This first verse speaks of God being our helper and how the psalmist was looking to Him alone for help. It's not the aides, though a good one can be helpful. It's not the doctors or nurses, although they are an integral part of a good care team. But it is the Lord who is our helper - help, especially for our souls, comes solely from Him.

That's something to hold onto to encourage our hearts on a day to day basis, for sure! But today, my thoughts settled on verse 4. He who keeps you will not slumber, behold He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. Now, as a caregiver, you can understand how important the commodity of sleep is. Personally, sometimes I get a decent 6 hours of sleep, but there are many sleepless nights. I get grumpy if I don't get enough sleep even though I don't need as much as others. :-)

God, the ultimate caregiver, doesn't even need to sleep. That means He can keep a constant watch over us day and night. He doesn't take breaks. He doesn't take vacations, and He simply doesn't sleep. His watchful eye is always on us. The KJV says in Psalm 127:2 that the Lord gives to His beloved even in their sleep. I like that.

I love that God doesn't have to rest from being with me. Like a watchful father, He seizes those precious moments like a parent watching a child sleep. Did you ever watch your kid sleep? They seem so precious and innocent. You want to just scoop them up - but don't dare risk waking them, of course! So, you just stand there and watch them breathe.

God watches over us whether we are sleeping or waking and He never takes a break. Sometimes I have fallen into a dead sleep out of sheer exhaustion. Caregivers do that a lot I found out. But God doesn't do that. He sees us in those most exhausted states and extends His grace to us over and over again.

Today, I will be thankful that God continues to watch over us and He never takes a break. My thoughts will be on how He enjoys just watching us breathe. I'll meditate on His nearness and declare with the psalmist that the nearness of God is my good. And I will trust Him for just one more day. Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Grandma's Poem

We've all had to make some adjustments during this pandemic. One thing I am grateful for is having my son home with me.  My aunt is in one nursing facility and my mom in another. Fortunately, both nursing homes have been proactive about connecting residents with their loved ones via technology. I can call and Facetime with my mom and I can send a message to skype with my aunt. I try to visit with each of them at least once a week. Monday, I talked with my aunt for a bit. Today, I got to visit with my mom. 

Mama doesn't talk much anymore. She will answer questions, mostly "yes" or "no" questions. She giggles a lot and cries when I call. The calls don't last too long as there isn't a whole lot to talk about with them. But today I decided to read mama one of my grandma's poems. (Her mother.) She seemed to really respond and acted like she enjoyed it. 

As I was reading it, I thought about how appropriate it is today. My grandmother wrote it years, decades, ago as a song. But I'll type it here as a poem - I hope you enjoy it!

Well my way was hedged and thorny
and I could not see outside.
I could not feel His presence
no matter how I tried.
So I raised my eyes to Jesus 
and though I could not see;
I held on to His promise
and claimed the victory.

Well He heard my feeble effort
tho He knew my faith was dim,
But He honored just that little
that He knew I had in Him.
And He lit my lamp in darkness,
and saved me from a fall 
We smashed a troup together
by faith, we leaped a wall.

Well I stumbled on a secret
and I think I learned it well
when you lift your voice in praises
you can shake the gates of hell.
It is the Lord's to battle, so when I found that out
I let Him do the fighting,
and I just cheer and shout.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Giving and Receiving

I've heard my self quoting the first part of John 14:27 a lot lately. So this morning I decided to look it up. Jesus tells His disciples Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you not as the world gives - do I give to you. But as I read it again this morning, I realized I've been leaving off the last part. It says Let not your heart be troubled - neither let it be afraid. (NASB)

That's important, of course, because Jesus said it, but so that we can keep the peace He gives to us. If you think about the act of giving - it requires the act of receiving. Have you ever given someone something and they give it back? To them, it was interpreted as worthless. It feels horrible when someone does that, doesn't it?

Jesus wants us to receive His peace - we gotta take it - and embrace it. As caregivers, our days can be anything but peaceful sometimes. We hit the floor running most days. Some nights we run all night too - when our loved one doesn't sleep well or is sick. But then we still have to do all the "normal" stuff that makes up our day. There's no exemption card for hard days! We cannot call in sick, either. We have to press through the best we can.

But we do not have to be troubled. We do not have to be afraid. We can choose to embrace His peace. I'll be the first to tell you that some days that's a LOT easier said than done. But it is a matter of choice and a lot of persistence too.

Today, I am going to receive His gift of peace. I don't have to understand it - I just need to embrace it and then LET it rule in my heart instead of uncertainty. My meditation will be on His peace and not life's disruptions. I'll rest in Him today - just today since that's all He told us to handle at a time. My thoughts will remain on the peace He gives me. Will you join me?

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Insert Peace

As the pandemic begins to wind down, questions abound. As caregivers we are charged with the care of the nation's most vulnerable population. Our household has stayed in for 5 or 6 or how ever many weeks now to protect my son and grandson.

Over the next couple of weeks, some businesses will slowly start to open. I'm not sure it looks much different for me. I'm anxious to get Chris out into nature again! But caution wins out ever time I consider it. I don't think it's fear - but who knows what any emotion is at this point? Some of us have numbed out, and some of us nearly stroked out. lol. One thing that brings me comfort is the history of the Spanish flu. It did come to an end. Sadly, it was after many losses.

Not knowing what the days ahead hold can leave us with feelings of uncertainty. Maybe there are some feelings of security and safety from staying in our homes. I'm anxious to see my mom and aunt again, though. I am thankful I have my son at home - I'd be a basket case if he was in a facility. I'd probably go apply to be an aid - for real!

There seem to be so many things to be anxious for as each day unfolds. In Psalm 139:23, David asks God to know my anxious thoughts. On one hand, I'm like, Lord, You might not want to do that - it's a bit scary in there. But on the other hand, I'm all in - asking God to dig through all the crazy places in my mind - and then insert peace.

Isn't it cool that David penned this psalm all those years ago and we have it now to hold on to during this pandemic - storm? David was in earnest prayer without realizing what he was writing would someday be printed (unimaginable) and read by generations to come. I'm thankful for his openness and honesty, aren't you?

Today, my prayer is for God to search all my anxious thoughts and replace them with peace. His peace is lasting. Jesus said His peace wasn't like what the world could give. (John 14:27) My thoughts will pursue His peace today and I'll turn my meditations to embracing it and letting it rule in my heart and mind. Will you join me on that?

Friday, April 24, 2020

No Filter

I stayed in Psalm 139 for my devotions this morning, mostly because I love that chapter. It is so rich. My focus was on verses 7-12. The psalmist is talking about being in God's presence no matter where he goes or might try to hide. No matter where - God could still be found. And God could still see him.

The first thing that stood out to me was in verse 8 where David says if I make my bed in hell - You are there. Of course, my first question is why would you want to do that?  Lol. But once I thought about it a bit longer, I realized if I make a bad choice - God doesn't throw me away. He doesn't have a big buzzer He pushes as He screams, "Wrong answer!" Even when I do dumb stuff - and I do it a lot - He doesn't abandon. He doesn't get exasperated with me or my choices. He continues to walk with me trying to guide me.

The second thing that stood out in my mind today was verse 12 where the psalmist says darkness and light are the same to You. After reading this and the previous verses, it came to me that God sees all the time, and darkness can't hide from Him. Darkness also doesn't have the ability to conceal other things from Him - He can see through it.

We can't really hide from God behind anything - not even caregiving. He sees past our situations and circumstances and peers right into our hearts. Sometimes, people can't see past the caregiving. They forget there's a whole person inside. But God doesn't see us under the shadow of caregiving. He sees us for who we really are. For all we really are.

He sees and understands when we are overwhelmed by grief or confused about what to do. He sees when we are exhausted but still lifting our tired hands and heart up to Him. He even understands why and how our emotions can max out and hit bottom and bounce back in a matter of a couple of minutes. Or seconds. Or milliseconds. He gets us and His view of our hearts is not shrouded by caregiving or life.

Today, I will rejoice that He can see my heart that He understands me and walks with me through the day-to-day stuff. My meditation will be on how He chooses to be close to us (to me). He doesn't shun me because He doesn't know what to do with me. Instead, He moves in a bit closer so He can watch over my heart and keep my soul.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Hide 'n Seek

This morning during my Bible study time, I found myself in Jeremiah. I love this OT prophet! Many look at the book as gloom and doom - but I see God's persistent heart throughout the prophet's writings. He is always reaching out to us whether we are reaching out to Him or not.

I landed in chapter 29 in a familiar passage to most of us. It's always good to revisit familiar passages like this because our vision can change based on our circumstances. Yes, the word of God doesn't change - but our ability to see it differently does. Experiences make so many passages sweeter, doesn't it? One of my favorite worship leaders, Dennis Jernigan, says the drier the desert, the sweeter the rain. Many times His word is like the soothing rain on my dry aching heart. That's the way it was this morning.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says this:

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord
thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Then you will call on Me and go and pray to Me
and I will listen to you.
And you will seek me and find Me 
when you search for Me with all your heart.

God isn't playing hide 'n seek. Instead, He says when we seek for Him - He'll let us find Him! He doesn't hide from the ugliness of caregiving - instead, He sees the beauty in the fact that we lay down our lives and desires for another. To Him, it's a sweet-smelling incense. He meets us in those places we cannot talk about. He sees us feeding, dressing, transferring, and tending to them. His love reaches us in those quiet discreet moments that are not discussed openly. He sees our hearts - not just our deeds. He won't hide from us like the world tends to do - He jumps out and says "I'm am here!" He listens, He cares, He loves.

Today, I will turn my thoughts to how He is right there as soon as I turn my heart to find Him. He is ever present to strengthen, comfort me, and fill me with His peace. I will embrace His peace and His presence in my heart today as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Most Powerful Tool

As April continues to be unrolled before us it is uncertain what is ahead. For those of us who are either part of the vulnerable population or caring for someone who is among the most vulnerable - the days are more uncertain. On one hand, many caregivers are used to some level of social isolation. But what little liberty we have had has been taken away. It's easy, and natural to experience a sense of loss during this time.

This morning, as I was preparing for the two daily devotions I try to do, I found myself in Colossians 4 and verse 2. Paul encouraged the believers to devote themselves to prayer. He also told them to be alert and diligent about it. Well, it's likely that there is a lot more prayer going on in our world today than there was before Covid-19. But Paul gave another aspect of prayer I found beneficial.

The apostle Paul said to pray - with an attitude of thanksgiving. Now, giving thanks may not be at the forefront of our minds right now - especially while feeling such losses. But it is a powerful component. It's not a manipulative strategy to try and get the answer you want to your prayer. On the contrary, it changes your attitude. Being thankful is a powerful tool that can change our dreary thoughts into more pleasant ones.

I know we have a lot nagging at our hearts, minds, and emotions right now. But if we can purposefully find things to be thankful for we can make our day better. Are your lights on? Do you have tv? Do you have internet? Is there food in your house? I'd say start with these if you are looking for a way to be thankful today. Don't let the seriousness of our circumstances drag you down and out. Bring all your requests to God - but bring them with a thankful heart. It will change our perspective and attitude.

Today, I purpose to be thankful. I'll start with salvation and I'll include the truth that God is still on the throne and His kingdom is not shaken by the Coronavirus. Then, I'll thank Him that I have a roof over my head (today), I have internet so I can stay in touch with others. I'll be thankful for the food in my kitchen even if it's not what I want to eat. I'll let Him lift the weighty burden off my heart and mind by thanking Him today. Will you join me?

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Only Today

David says in Psalm 37:8 - do not fret. He goes on to say it will lead to evil doing. He has just said to cease from anger and forsake wrath. When emotions run high, as they are doing for many right now both caregivers and non-caregivers, anger comes easily. Rightly so as our world has been turned upside down.

As a caregiver, I find I have a short fuse and I have to guard my heart diligently lest I blow up at little things. I understand that is part of the package, it's normal, right? Yes. But it doesn't have to be that way.

While we are all on shut-down mode and the governor of our state lengthened the time we must stay home since those we care for are vulnerable - it can make for a short fuse. But honestly, I'm not sure what I fear most - being confined to the house longer or being allowed to go out. Will I ever be able to go out with peace of mind again? And just like that - I'm fretting over things I cannot see - don't know - and have to have time to play out. :-)

David said not to fret. I'm finding it is easier said than done. There are so many uncertainties. But I take a deep breath and consider only today. We cannot live more than one day at a time and we don't have to face more than one day at a time. Mentally, I walk through this day and the tasks that lay before me. I think I've got this. I can do just this. Jesus reminded us of that.

In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus addresses anxiety. Wait. They didn't have the media to inundate them with negatives all day. They didn't have a Facebook feed to sow dissension and fear all day long. They didn't have the fake news. lol. Yet they were anxious about their days too. In verse 34, Jesus says, each day has enough trouble of its own. And to that, I say a hearty amen!

I encourage you to read this short passage in Matthew which is part of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. His words are still applicable and powerful today. He uses some form of the word worry five times in this short passage, and mostly He's explaining why we don't need to.

Today, I will determine to not fret about the future. I will determine to set my heart and mind on spiritual things and acknowledge that He has got this. He has got me. He has got my loved ones. I'll shun worrying and fretting and embrace peace today. Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Swallowed Up!

Caregiving isn't for the faint of heart. Who am I talking to? Of course, you know that! And as if caregiving wasn't enough on our plates, Covid19 has to raise its ugly head. For those of us with loved ones in facilities, it can be extremely difficult since there is no visitation allowed. On top of the normal day-to-day tasks and chores of caregiving comes more concern and trying to find ways to stay connected with our loved ones. At times, it can feel like the world has swallowed us whole.

David was in a fix when he penned Psalm 57. In verse three he says that God reproaches the one who would swallow me up. As I read that this morning, I realized that is part of how I feel. It's like I've been swallowed whole by the situation. It can be stifling at times. But as caregivers - we just keep pressing on. Because that's what we do.

There's a whole range of emotions caregivers already deal with, many on a daily basis. Fear. Dread. Grief and living grief. But now we have extra emotions warring at our soul. There may be sadness and feelings of loss over the lifestyle we did have. I think that's all a normal response and there's no shame in it. We don't have to hide how we feel. We can identify it and deal with it. And let God have it so He can carry us through this difficult time.

The next part of the verse is going to be my prayer today as I navigate through this new level of grief, sadness, and loss. David says that God will send forth His mercy and His truth. Boy, if the world doesn't need a lot of both of those today! I need a dose of those today too! How about you?

You see, as caregivers, we might have a slight advantage over others right now. We already know that God carries us when we just don't have the strength.  We have learned that He brings comfort on the hardest days and speaks peace during the longest nights. We know that He is the "enough" we need to make it one more day. Many of us have mastered running to Him with our cares, worries, and stressors. And we know what it's like to crawl up under the protection of His wings when there are no more words to say and no more tears to cry. He is our refuge, strength, and keeper of our souls.

Today, I will meditate on being under the shadow of His wings. I will purpose to trust Him - just for today with all the added baggage. My heart will pursue that secret place with Him where there is indescribable peace and comfort. I will stay still and hidden in Him for today as I trust Him to carry me just today. Will you join me?

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Hand in Hand

One of my favorite run-to scriptures is Psalm 61. In the '70s, we sang the first four verses of this psalm. It's a great way to memorize scriptures, by the way! In the first two verses, David is crying out to God. He is overwhelmed, something the caregiver knows well. Every day can be overwhelming just normally. This is even harder during a pandemic. We already had enough on our plate, right?

But after David makes his plea, he begins to make a declaration. This is a pattern he follows in many psalms. In this psalm, it seems he reminds himself of how God has been a shelter for him over the years. He says, for You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. Maybe David is reminding himself that he's run to God many times for protection from the enemy.

Maybe it's a good idea to remind ourselves how God has been our refuge and shelter many times before. I know I have run to Him many times in my lifetime. And He's always faithful - He's always there to pick me up and tell me it's going to be okay. After thinking about how many times God has already been there for us - it's easy to purpose to trust Him again, isn't it?

In verse 4, David makes a personal declaration - He says I will abide in Your tabernacle forever; I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. His heart is purposed that He will trust God again - and forever! It seems like abide and trust go hand in hand. I'm not sure we can truly abide if we don't fully trust. 

When we trust Him, we run to Him. Then we must stay there. I want to live in the shadow of His wings - I want to abide forever in the shelter of His love. But if trust is lacking - I won't be able to stay, will I?

Today, I will purpose to abide in Him and continue to trust Him. My meditation will be on what it means to abide (live) with Him. I'll focus my heart on fully trusting Him - today and forever, as David said. I will learn to abide and to trust - will you join me?

Monday, April 13, 2020

Whatever Lies Ahead

I was reading some of the OT prophets over the weekend. As I was spending time in prayer, the scripture out of Habakkuk came to my mind and I whispered it in my prayers. In the last part of verse 2, the prophet says, revive Your work in the midst of the years, oh Lord. That was my prayer and later became my meditation.

We are living through some tough times, and I'm seeing lots of whining come across social media channels. I'm certainly not unsympathetic, but I'm like you've been home for two whole weeks... seriously? I recall when I became a caregiver and the social isolation was one of the most difficult parts. And honestly, even as caregivers, we can mourn the loss of the freedom we have enjoyed - whatever level of freedom we had, even if it was minimal.

But there's always some good news, and I found it in the latter part of this same chapter of Habakkuk. Verses 17 and 18 say this:

Though the fig tree does not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls--
Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.....

There is so much in these two verses - and we are living some of it right now. Just a few weeks ago we could go to the store and buy eggs if we needed them. Now there is a limit - if they are available at all... things like that are just crazy. But when I think about our situation - and the trouble so many are facing - I have to find peace in this - our salvation is sure. 

We've talked a lot about how as caregivers we didn't lose any of our promises. Our righteousness is secure in Him - there isn't an exempt card from Christianity - we still get ALL the benefits and we still have ALL the responsibilities. Nothing shakes His kingdom - and that Kingdom is inside us. Nothing in the spiritual realm has changed - His word still stands secure. God didn't change His mind on anything when this man-made virus started in China and moved across the globe. He didn't take a deep breath and say, Oh no. 

We know as caregivers that it took us some time to figure that out - because for some of us - our worlds were greatly shaken. Our faith was shaken. Mine was redefined. We know God carries us through those tough times- He continues to speak, to care, to watch, and love us just like always.

Today, no matter what lies ahead - I'm going to trust God. I will rejoice in my salvation because it's not from this earth and nothing on earth can shake it or change it. My meditations will be on staying hidden in Him - for today. I'll trust Him just for today. I will wait for Him today. I will thank Him for being my soul's anchor - today and for whatever lies ahead. Will you join me?

Saturday, April 11, 2020

How to Care for a Loved One from Afar



As caregivers, we want to do our best for our senior loved ones. When we’re stuck living far apart, however, it can feel impossible to give them the care they need. Fortunately, there are many things you can do for your loved one no matter where you are.

Thanks to our ever-connected world, you can give them the gift of care despite all the distance between you. It’s hard to be far apart, but thanks to technology, we can be together no matter where we are. Here are a few great ways to be a caregiver from afar:

Help Around the House

When you're an in-person caregiver, it's easy to help your loved one with household chores and maintenance. Being far away obviously makes this more challenging, but that doesn't mean you're at a loss. Making slight home modifications and outsourcing services can be great ways to help your senior loved one get the assistance they need.

For example, is your loved one’s laundry room set up in the basement? Navigating stairs gets trickier (and more dangerous) with age, and lugging laundry up and down the stairs can be risky. To eliminate this hazard, find a way to have their washer and dryer installed on the first floor. You can also install grab bars in the bathrooms, add improved lighting and remove trip hazards like rugs and cords.

When it comes to their home’s exterior, is your senior overwhelmed by spring and summer lawn maintenance and watering? In addition to hiring a lawn care service, consider having sprinklers installed, so they have one less thing to manage. In Oklahoma City, it averages around $2,644 to have this kind of system installed. You can easily get online quotes from local firms to do the work.

Besides hiring services to help with nominal tasks, consider setting your loved one up with grocery delivery. This can be especially handy if they no longer drive and primarily use public transportation. Most grocery stores these days offer delivery, and you can order everything your loved one needs online and have it sent straight to their door.

Stay in Touch

Long-distance caregivers often worry about their loved ones feeling lonely, as older people often suffer from social isolation. Fortunately, staying in touch in a variety of ways gives you and your loved one a sense of connection, and helps prevent them from feeling like they’re all alone. Phone calls, emails, and letters are all excellent ways to stay in touch. Also, if your loved one doesn’t have a smartphone, consider setting your loved one up with a tablet or video chat system so you can see each other while you talk. This gives you both the chance to have a face-to-face connection, and it can help you see for yourself if there are any problems like a disheveled appearance or a messy home.

Get Allies Nearby

Finally, staying in touch with your loved one’s neighbors and nearby friends is an excellent tool for the long-distance caregiver. Those who see your loved one in person and even on a regular basis can help determine problems early on that you might miss from afar. Ask your loved one to give your phone number to the neighbors or some friends, and touch base with them regularly. They may be able to clue you in if your loved one is experiencing property neglect or other signs that something bigger is going on.

Caring for someone from a distance can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to make it work. You will be amazed at everything you can do for your loved one without being able to physically be there. With the right game plan, you can be the caregiver you want to be, no matter where you are.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

One Day in the Grave

Today is Saturday, and tomorrow is when most of our culture celebrates the Resurrection. I say it needs to be something we celebrate daily in our lives, but corporately, tomorrow is the day. If we think about it, today is the only whole day Jesus spent in the tomb. He was crucified and buried on Friday - and rose on Sunday. It's the only 24-hour day the earth was silent.

Imagine how the disciples were feeling on this day. Jesus had been their hope, they had pictured Him setting up a physical kingdom and now their dreams and all they had invested in for the last three years was gone. They were scared. Most likely, they were silent. Sometimes as a caregiver, I've experienced pain beyond words. There just isn't always a good way to articulate feelings or emotions, especially when they are so deep in our souls.

Silence isn't always bad. I go back to Psalm 46:10 where God encourages the psalmist to be still and know I am God. Sounds simple, huh? But being still and quiet isn't always easy in our busy digitally connected lives, is it? 

As I was sharing video devotions this morning on Facebook Live, I realized that sometimes, being quiet and acknowledging that He is God - is an act of worship. Our minds are being inundated with information day in and day out. We are stressed beyond what we ever imagined and as caregivers, we can go numb. In some ways - we are in a state of shock.

But God is still God and acknowledging that when the world is spinning around in sporadic circles - is worship. There's no fanfare, no entertainment value, no song and dance. But it's worship. Religion wants us to think worship looks like a well-orchestrated song or show. But in that moment that we quiet our souls and our minds and just say You are God. That's an expression of worship - pure and simple. But powerful too.

Today, I will try to quiet my very busy mind - and I will stop the worry and anxious thoughts that He knows so well - and I will just say: You are still God. You are still my God! My meditation will be on His existence and I'll focus on that instead of my own existence for today. I'll wait for His peace to fill me and I will embrace it and let it rule in my heart today. Will you join me?

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Supposed-To-Be's

So many things are supposed to be happening right now. It's the height of racing season and I'm supposed to be lining our races for myself and a few to push Chris in. It's Easter weekend and many families are supposed to be planning huge family gatherings, early Sunday morning church services, and Easter egg hunts.

But none of that is happening as the world is still on hold. For many of us caregivers, it doesn't really look all that much different. But the atmosphere is different. The world is a different place right now  - nothing is as it is supposed to be. 

I've kept my thoughts in Psalm 46 a lot this week. I'm meditated on verse 1 and I'm still chewing on it. It says God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. But then the next verse says this: Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and the mountains be carried into the heart of the sea....

While our earth may not have physically moved, it's certainly changed for many of us. There are new fears, new dreads, and just new ways to do old things. (like getting groceries, doctor appointments, etc.) But we don't have to live in that sense of fear or dread. Why not? Because God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 

I remind myself that He has not changed. He has not given up or thrown in the towel. He hasn't thrown His hands up in despair wondering what to do next. That's why I continue to trust Him even in the midst of this man-made crisis. Even if the earth shifts off its axis - He can still be trusted.

Today, I'll remind myself that He is still on the throne - He's still in control. My meditations will be on His faithfulness to keep our souls no matter what our bodies go through. I'll turn my thoughts to His strength that He has shared with me... little ole me. I'll tell myself that He loves me still.. and today is not the day He has decided to change. And I'll rest right there in those thoughts. Will you join me?

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The Giver & Receiver

I'm still walking through Psalm 46:1 in my morning devotions. Yesterday, we talked about how God is our refuge- we run to Him and hide in Him. But the psalmist goes on to say that He is our peace. I have a  lot of favorite scriptures about peace! But I want to focus on one in Psalm 29:11.

This verse says  The Lord will give strength to His people, the Lord will bless His people with peace. I love this verse! When we put it all together, He is our refuge - as long as we run to Him, as we talked about yesterday. We must run to Him and hide.

But now, He is also our strength. Again - we must run to Him and let Him be our strength rather than trying to do it all on our own. This scripture in Psalm 29 says He gives us strength - and He gives us peace. But it's up to us to accept it - hold it - submit to it - and walk in it. He can pour it on us all day long but we still won't have peace or strength if we don't yield our hearts and ways to Him.

Even though He pours His abundant peace on us - it can't take effect until we let it rule in our hearts. (Colossians 3:15) This makes it an actionable item, doesn't it? We have to take action to receive and walk in the peace He gives. He keeps giving peace. He keeps being a refuge. Now it's up to us to run to Him, receive from Him, and rest in that peace.

That's a tall chore for many of us - our brains are so busy and we are currently being inundated with so much information - we don't even know what's true or false anymore. But there's one thing for sure in these uncertain times - We can still walk in His peace. Remember that Paul told us we are not citizens of this world -our citizenship is in heaven. (Philippians 3:20) Our task is to live from there - instead of trying to fit in around here.

Today, I will trust Him with myself and my loved ones. I will choose to let His peace rule in my heart no matter what I see or hear. I'll trust Him over the craziness in this world. I'll lean in to Him a little closer and rest on Him more fully as I trust Him to get me and the ones I care for through one more day. Will you join me?

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Better Get Running

It's funny (not haha) to watch the world adjust to living in a cave during this pandemic. As caregivers, most of us are used to it on some level or another. Sadly, we are used to being treated like we have the plague, at least in some circles. There is so much uncertainty and insecurity as well as lots of adjustments to make. It reminds me of when I first brought my son home to care for him. I was so afraid. Every time I needed to transfer him, I'd get sick to my stomach from fear I'd drop him or hurt him in some way. Of course, he's better and I've adjusted. We always do - but sometimes after dealing with much shock! lol. And the world will figure it out too. Eventually.

My go-to scripture in difficult times is PSalm 46:1. It says it all. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. I'm camping out in this verse this week and sharing it in live devotions on Facebook. This morning, I just looked at the very first phrase - God is our refuge. Now, the funny thing about a refuge is it's always standing. It's always there. However - it's up to us to run to it. It's up to us to take refuge in that safe place. We also have to stay there. God cannot provide refuge for us if we are running around outside it declaring He's our refuge. The key is to get inside and stay inside.

I encourage you to run to Him. Then, stay there. Trust Him in this crisis - just like we've been trusting Him all this time. Whether you know Him or not - He will welcome you into His heart with open arms.

Today, I will meditate on how He protects me during the storm. I'll purposefully run to Him and stay in His refuge. My thoughts will be on how He protects my whole being - my soul and my heart. I'll trust Him for today - will you join me?