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?