Monday, June 8, 2020

I Will Not Be Afraid

Chris and Deano
Over the weekend, I started a new project. It's a branch of another one I started earlier. Right now I am just studying it, but it might end up being a devotional. I wanted to take a look at the declarations made by the psalmists. Many psalms start out with honest, raw emotions, go into a prayer, and end with a declaration. That's not always the case, but there are lots of declarations made throughout the psalms, and they are usually in the midst of a trial of some kind. 

The declaration in Psalm 3 stood out to me as I started on this journey through the Psalms. As usual, the psalm starts with the problem at hand. David is running from his son, Absalom who is trying to dethrone him. He cries out to the Lord about his situation. Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. I think we can relate on some level here. As if caregiving wasn't enough in our lives we have now lived through a pandemic. And as if a health crisis wasn't enough, there has been financial ramifications. If money woes hasn't been enough there is political unrest and rioting in the streets of our land. There is so much strife, hatred, and discontent. 

It can feel like those things that chip away at our sanity and peace are increasing all around, because they are. But like David we can turn our thoughts into prayers. Lord, you are my shield. We can cry to God like David did. And then we can declare: 

I will lay down and sleep - and awake for the Lord sustains me.
I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people (situations, problems, rioters, etc) who set themselves against me all around.

I will not be afraid.....

We can declare freedom from fear - while shaking in our boots. We can declare our trust in God no matter what else this world throws in the mix. He is our glory. He is the lifter of our heads. His blessings are on us no matter what is going on around us.

Today, I will declare I will not give in to the fears trying to rise in my own heart. I will move in a little closer to His heart and let Him hold me close. I will trust Him with today. Just today. Will you join me?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

When Life is Heavy

chris and me
There is so much going on in the world around us, since I am about being honest and transparent, I must say I am overwhelmed. As if caregiving wasn't enough to carry we had the national shut down in response to the Coronavirus plus the fears of loved ones contracting it. Now there is racial unrest, rightfully so. And to top it off there is rioting and threats being made to our safety daily. Sometimes I do wish we got an exempt card from the rest of life when we become caregivers. lol. But if we skipped the bad  - we'd also have to skip the good, right?

On top of all of this shared load, I've had a couple of situations at work that have made me feel devalued, less than. For someone who struggles with self-esteem and rejection it makes it tough to focus on the truth, you know?

Life is just heavy right now for all of us - or at least for anyone paying any amount of attention. It's so heavy I feel it weighing on me physically and I cannot seem to get out from underneath the load. This makes it harder for me personally to accept my situation with my son and it tries to suck me into that deep chasm of depression. I think about who he was, all we are missing, etc - I know you know the drill.

As my custom is - I go to the Word for encouragement. For relief. I only have one scripture that comes to mind. casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you. (I Peter 5:7) This sounds wonderful, doesn't it? But then my mind kicks in and I realize I have to let things go if I am to give them to Him. I cannot coddle my fears and nurse my hurts if I give them to Him. 

I like the second part of this verse that says, He cares for you.  I have to give it all to Him and then let Him do the caring for me. That's not easy for those of us who really like to be in control, is it? But we can do it! I must pour out my heavy heart before Him and then let Him bear the pain, suffering, sadness, and burden for me.

If we look on down to the last part of verse 10, we'll see the end goal of casting our cares on Him and remaining sober and vigilant. He will perfect (mature), establish, strengthen, and settle us. I think I like the last term best - settle. He can bring a calming settling peace that's not available anywhere else. We give Him our burdens, and they are many, and He brings peace in our hearts (individually and collectively), strengthens us, establishes us in Him, and settles it all.

Today in the midst of the turmoil, I will remind myself that I am still His kid. I have not been rejected, cast away, or ignored. He still loves. He still cares. His eye is still on us. My prayers will be for Him to mature us, establish His kingdom in us, strengthen us for the battle, and settle us in His love. I will rest in His love today - will you join me?