Are there days you get lost in the shuffle? Who am I talking to? lol - As caregivers, it can feel like we are always lost in the shuffle. We can get lost in taking care of our loved ones and forget who we are. It took me a long time to be able to figure out things I liked - and just as long to allow myself to enjoy them. It was quite a while after the tragedy and trauma of Chris' wreck that I was able to feel okay about laughing and smiling. Eventually, I learned it was okay for me to live too - even while being a caregiver.
But it's so easy to get caught up in their care that it becomes our identity. Right? Or is it just me? Before the pandemic, I tried going to a local church. I enjoyed it - even though I had a little attitude about it. It was very difficult to get both of us ready and out the door to be on time. Sometimes I heard myself think, boy, this better be worth it. lol. I'm sure I'm the only one. But what troubled me is that they couldn't see past me being a caregiver. While it was touching that they had compassion and genuine care for our situation, they couldn't see the teacher, the worshiper, the prophet inside.
Caregiving changes us. There's no argument about that. I'm thankful for most of the changes I've seen in myself. A few I'm a little worried about. (smile!) But ultimately, I'm still me. I still like to be outside more than I like to be indoors. I like hiking, biking, running, and plain old walking. And boy, what I wouldn't give for someone to play catch or football with right now! Ha. For real, y'all! I like to play board games and cards, hang out with friends (don't have many of those anymore), and watch good movies. But I realize all too often that all of that got lost in caregiving. Maybe it's not lost, just set aside or misplaced.
While I was thinking about all of this, and writing in my journal this morning, I realized it's easy for me to forget who I am. So, I certainly can't blame others for doing it, right? After I had poured out my heart and emotions on the pages, I concluded my journal entry with this prayer this morning.
Ephesians 2:6 was my reminder to myself that caregiver or not - I have been raised with Christ and I sit in heavenly places in Him. I must remind myself that He thought I was worth dying for. That He loves me before, after, and during caregiving. I tell myself He came for me. What a beautiful love story that unfolds for us. When we feel the rest of the world doesn't understand us - so they distance themselves from us - He came. He continues to come to us every single day - He walks this journey with us all the way.
Today, I will remind myself of His love, grace, acceptance, and presence. I may need to tell myself the same things over and over all day - but I'll repeat them until my heart gets it. Will you join me?
I also recently opened my own bookstore. I'm presently filling it up with my books - check out the ones I have available in eBook format. You can download them and read them on your phone! Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore.
Coming soon to both bookstores: 21 Days with the Prince of Peace