Monday, July 13, 2020

I Can Do Today

As I was taking a card to my aunt out to the mailbox this morning, I thought of all that was on my plate for just today. Taking care of Chris is more stressful right now as he has some type of upper respiratory situation going on. Now an x-ray has been ordered for today adding one more thing to my plate. That's okay as my primary responsibility is to care for him. Of course, at the same time, work started coming in (which is a good thing - you know?) and the day got complicated quickly. 

All this and more was weighing on my heart and mind as I made the short trip to the mailbox and back. I don't think I've felt this alone in a long time. I'm weary. I'm tired. And yes, those are two different things. I'm stressed - On top of all that are the growing fears of aging. How long will I be able to continue caring for him? I let out a huge sigh, and thought, I am okay today. I can do today... And for today - that is enough.

The caregiver's journey is not an easy one and all of our pictures look different, yet similar. But we can do today. Jesus told us that today is the only day we are to be concerned about. We know better than anyone that a day can bring many different things - tragedy or joy. In Matthew 6, Jesus addressed this issue. He told His disciples in verse 34 that each day has enough trouble for itself - don't borrow worry from tomorrow. (My loose translation.) 

He also told His disciples the Kingdom of God is our primary concern. As believers, that's already secured, right? 

Today, I will just focus on today without worrying about tomorrow. I will focus on how the kingdom of God doesn't change based on today's circumstances. I will wait on Him and trust Him to carry me through just today. With Him - I can do today! Will you join me?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

In the Storm

Last night was one of those long nights far too many caregivers are familiar with. I was up and down all night with Chris. These nights are the ones that wear on your body, soul, and spirit. As caregivers, we run wide open - and it doesn't take much to send us over the brink. For most of us, the day-to-day is stressful and we hold it together for everyone else while we're not sure we are going to make it.

Some of that stems from fear especially as we get older. My own thoughts war against me when I think about how much longer I'll be able to care for my son. How many long nights can this old body endure? lol. I laugh because it makes it easier and it's better than crying.  The fear is real, though and it makes the long nights wear on my mind longer than on my body. I'll hopefully catch a nap today and sleep tonight and my body will recover. But my mind keeps sparring with my soul. 

It's here - in the midst of the storm that it's easy to lose our focus. The waves keep washing over the sides of our proverbial ship trying to take us down. It's in this storm we can lose heart. We can feel overcome, lost at sea. It's an emotional battle that can rage day after long day. But we don't automatically learn to trust Him more - it's a choice to trust Him and not focus on the storm.

The question becomes for us if we can trust Him in the storm. But the real question becomes can He trust us - in the storm? Job endured, and God knew that he would. God knew Job wouldn't give in. God trusted Job. Can He trust us with the storm? Will we continue to hold on to Him? Will we continue to run to Him? Will we trust Him when it is all out of sync and nothing is running smoothly?

Today, my declaration is that I will continue to trust Him - He is my only help, the sustainer of my soul - my rearguard, my rock, my shelter... I will purposefully run to Him today and cast myself at His feet. And today, I may just lay there for a while and wait for His peace to wash over my soul once again. Will you join me? His peace will come...

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Quietly Determined

This morning I was reading the last few verses of Habakkuk where the prophet said this:  Though the fig tree may 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. As I read and reread this familiar passage, I thought about the determination behind what Habakkuk said. He was living in tumultuous times kind of like we are - yet he determined to praise God and trust His salvation.

As caregivers, I think we do that a lot. We quietly determine not to be swept away by the tide of caregiving. I know you understand those longest days where it takes all we have to keep our heads above the proverbial waters. Many people don't have a clue the types of decisions, choices, and tasks we face each and every day and the toll it can take on us mentally and emotionally.

On top of all that - there's the day-to-day physical tasks we must do for another. I think many times, we even miss the weight of the matter - we are involved so in ensuring the comfort and care of our loved ones, we don't even realize the toll it takes. We just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Habakkuk was facing difficult situations too. He possibly felt overwhelmed or like he was being sucked under the circumstances he was in. He quietly determined to bless God in the midst of the mess. Isaiah 30:15 says in quietness and confidence will be your strength. 

God is faithful. When we cry out to Him even in the most difficult circumstances, He fills us with His peace, wisdom, and strength. Sometimes, He carries us. But it's in those most intimate moments we learn to trust Him more. 

Today, I will turn my thoughts to how He cares for me - the caregiver. I'll be determined quietly to let Him carry me through this day. My meditations will be on how intimacy with Him is what lifts me up where I can sense His peace over the storms of life. And I will rest in Him for one more day as He carries me through. Will you join me?

Monday, July 6, 2020

Back to the Basics

I hear myself use the phrase as if caregiving wasn't enough often. Just because I became a caregiver, it doesn't stop the rest of life from happening, right? It really seems like there should be an exemption card though since our plate is already full. But I guess in fairness if we were exempt from bad stuff, we'd have to be exempt from good stuff too. 

The world was crazy enough and then went into hyper-cray0cray mode a few months back. I have to avoid the news most of the time to keep my own head in the caregiving game and prevent myself from crashing into the emotional abyss. But I do know there is still a pandemic (an added worry for the caregiver), riots everywhere, shootings, protests, and lots going on out there. As if all that wasn't enough - I saw this morning that China has a case of Bubonic Plaque - unheard of for years. It's enough to drive you to the brink of crazy or depressed. 

As I was thinking about all this, I was like, what else?  We must be living in the last days. I knew they were going to be bad - but this bad? And I do know, they are bound to get much worse. That can be a frightening thought, can't it? Especially when you are taking care of other people. As my silent sigh ascended, my mind went immediately to a familiar verse. 

Micah 6: 8 says this: he has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. That seemed to make the load a bit lighter. You know as a caregiver our plates are seriously full and so are our emotions - good and bad. This verse brought me a bit of peace this morning as it broke my requirements down into small, manageable pieces.

We just need to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God. That means keeping our focus on Him and His kingdom instead of all the craziness around us, right? The kingdom of God did not change, move, weaken or fret when we became caregivers, and it's not doing any of that in response to this gone-crazy world either. That's something to hang your hope on. 

Today, I will turn my attention to the kingdom of God. It hasn't moved, been shaken, or changed due to my situation or any other situation. My thoughts will be on the unchangeableness of God  and how He remains faithful. I'll sit right here with Him today because I know He can handle anything and everything that might get thrown my way. Will you join me?

Friday, July 3, 2020

Be Still...Still Be

I meditate a lot on Psalm 46:10 which says to, Be still and know I am God. I even wrote a little song about it and lately, I've sung it quite a bit. Many of the blog posts on this devotional for caregivers are focused on just being still and knowing He is God. He is the one constant in the caregiver's life; the one thing (person) that doesn't change in what can be a very fluid life.

This morning I started thinking about this verse and my thoughts led me to how He is a shelter for me. He's the only place I can run to and find peace, hope, and unconditional love. My thoughts turned to running to Him and I thought, I don't have anywhere else to run to. Then, I thought, I am not looking for someplace else to run to. Lol. Even those times when faith is wearing thin and I cannot seem to find Him in my day-to-days, I still run back to Him. I do not have a safer place to run to.

Even in the thick caregiver's fog, I still keep running to Him. My "be still" and know turned into "I will still be...."

  • I will still be running to Him
  • I will still be trusting Him
  • I will still be seeking Him
  • I will still be looking to Him for strength.....
I will still be.... - you fill in the blank. No matter how dark the night gets, He will still be our light. No matter how treacherous life's road gets, He will still be our guide. No matter how stormy life's seas get, He will still be our peace. 

Today, I'm going to meditate on my still be... as well as His still be's. I will turn my thoughts to how He continues to provide, care for and take care of me and I'll be grateful. And I am thankful He didn't send me off on this difficult journey alone, He chose to walk it with me. Aren't you glad He doesn't abandon or forsake us when it gets ugly or hard? My thoughts today will be on how He will still be faithful...as I trust Him for one more day. will you join me.