Wednesday, May 25, 2022

And God Waits

pushing chris in a race

In yesterday's post, I talked about how God is not scared of our circumstances. Well, this morning, I awakened a bit later than I planned after an up and down night. (I know you know about those nights...) All the things I need to get done today started running through my mind. I have an urgent project that must be completed today, a meeting with a new client (yay for more work!) at 9 this morning, my regular daily devotions, and beautiful grandchildren I'll watch for a couple of hours. Did I even mention all the regular caregiving duties in there? lol

My mind seemed chaotic as I grabbed my first cup of coffee and my laptop to get started working on the urgent project. While I was working, my mind was running through the day's planned activities. I told Chris he'd get to sleep in a little later since I have a meeting at the time I normally get him up. I started adjusting all my tasks last night actually because I knew this morning would be hectic.

As I turned my thoughts into prayers, I had this image of God standing over by the wall. What was He doing? Just waiting. My mind went to Isaiah30:18. It tells us that God is waiting on us. He waits to be gracious and merciful. His desire is to pour His mercy and grace out on us and our situations, so He waits for us to get it. He is not wringing His hands, biting His fingernails, or worried about a single thing. He patiently waits for us to be ready to receive. He waits for us to come to His throne of grace - to get the mercy we need! (Hebrews 4:16)

Our job then is to slow our minds down enough to recognize that He's just waiting to help. He is patient in His waiting - but so eager to jump in with His mercy, grace, peace, comfort, and any other help we may need today.

Today, I will purposefully turn my thoughts into prayers. I'll make my soul wait for Him and rest in Him. My meditations will be of Him waiting for me to "get" that He wants to be an active part of my life - today! Here. Right now. And I chose to let Him - will you join me?

Today's FB Live devotion:



____________________________________________________________________
I Will declarations book cover


Check out my ebook store where you'll find these "I Will" Declarations from Psalms for just a buck! Download it today! I also have devotionals, study guides, poetry books, and free stuff! My Amazon bookshelf has some of these books on Kindle and for print - check them out!





Tuesday, May 24, 2022

God Ain't Skeered


I got up early this morning and had my private devotions, then worked on my latest devotional, "Peace Out! It's in the Bible!" Hopefully, I'll get it done and released in the next couple of weeks. As I was working through some of the scripture passages, I began to realize all the things that have been lingering on my heart. There's a lot, really. Lots of questions. Lots of thoughts. Lots of wonderings. Lots of doubts, and a few fears mixed in here and there. To put it mildly, I was overwhelmed with lots of "what-ifs."

Following my own devotionals, I started listing them to God. It felt like I was handing Him each and every one. I handed Him all the good stuff, bad stuff, funny stuff, hard stuff, questionable stuff, and more. I didn't realize how much I'd been packaging "stuff" up in my heart. Then, I followed my own advice and just let His peace take over the reign of my heart. I felt so much better.

The whole process got me to thinking. What does God do with all that "stuff" we give Him? I know He gives us peace and comfort - restores joy, and brings healing to those areas. But I had a lot of stuff today. It then hit me that He's not scared of all my stuff. My most frightening emotions are not overwhelming to Him. My greatest fears are not too much for Him to handle. He doesn't sit there with a checklist marking items off, or interrupting to say, wait - I can't take that. That image is kind of funny to me. He doesn't match up our stuff and qualify each of them before He takes them. He ain't skeered of anything I've dug up yet! He takes it all.

Every fear, every doubt, every question, every what-if, every everything. He is not scared of any of my crazy thoughts or feelings. He's not even afraid of those things we are not sure how to express with words. The kind that leaks out as tears. He takes those too. Without a complaint, without condemnation, without guilting us - or asking us to explain. He listens. He takes them all no questions asked. Then, He replaces all that with peace. Amazing, isn't it?

How is it that we can trust God with all the things on our hearts? For caregivers, that's a lot, huh? He won't turn us away. He won't tell us it's just too much or too little. God just takes everything we are willing to give Him and exchanges it for an equal measure of peace.

Today, I will continue to give Him all my emotional baggage, my fears, doubts, strains, stresses, and worries. I'll remind myself that He is big enough to carry it all. My meditations will be on how He provides me with peace when I give it all to Him. My choice today is to let that peace - His peace, reign in my heart. Will you join me?


__________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.



Download Poems for Caregivers for free! 

Poems for Caregivers bookcover


Monday, May 23, 2022

Solid!

 


This morning for my live Facebook devotions, I shared out of 2 Timothy 2. (See video below!) I talked some about all the crazy stuff going on in the world today. Who knew gas would be nearly $5 a gallon, and more in some regions!?! I'm pretty sure we didn't anticipate baby formula shortages. These and other things going on around the world are enough to shake us all. While I do have a lot of compassion - I'm also a little bit like welcome to our world.

For caregivers, our world is rocky all the time. For me, supplies may come regularly for a while, and then just disappear with me scrambling to fill the gap out of my own pocket. Don't even get me talking about the irregularity of aids who may or may not show up and who may or may not work even if they do! Am I right? lol

Our lives are often topsy-turvey, and we never know what a day is going to bring. The only "constant" in our lives is change. Yet, we adjust. And one reason we can just adjust and keep moving is because no matter what changes occur on the surface of our lives, we are standing on a foundation that is solid and secure.

2 Timothy 2:19 in the NKJV says Nevertheless (which basically means no matter what else is going on - in the world, in our lives, or what is on our plate for the day), the solid foundation of God stands having this seal - He knows those who are His! Man, what a promise to help me get through this bound-to-be-hectic day! Every step I take, no matter what direction, no matter what arena (caregiving, finances, family) will be taken on a foundation that does not and cannot shake or move. I love that.

Today, I'm steppin'! And with every step, I will rejoice that He is holding me up. As I take my walk this morning, and as I go about this getting busier by the minute day, I'll trust His foundation remains under me, continues to hold me up, and will not move. I'll thank Him for knowing that I am His - and for calling me by His name. That makes me smile. I'll wear this smile all day knowing I am His and He's undergirding my steps. Will you join me?




_______________________________________________________________


Check out my bookstores! Downloadable eBooks are on my DFM website. Print and Kindle books are available on my Amazon store shelf.

New stuff coming soon!!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Short Days

 

my mom and aunt polly

Are the days getting shorter? They must be because I keep running out of time and energy before I'm done! Can you relate? When Chris came home from the hospital a couple of weeks ago, he had to have IV antibiotics three times a day for 10 days. Man, did that stretch my scheduling and organizing abilities! lol But we got it done and yesterday, the nurse removed the med line. I was so relieved! (I'm sure he was too!)

I didn't realize how much hooking up an IV and removing it three times a day would take out of me. Sounds a little bit silly to those who don't understand, right? As caregivers, our days (and nights) are already packed full of tasks and responsibilities. Adding one more might not seem like much, but it is when you are already on overload. (I know you understand!)

Most nights I go to bed feeling like I failed because there is still so much left to do. I've had to change the way I talk to myself though. Instead of beating myself up, I started saying- You maybe didn't finish this or that - but today you did do this, this, that, and something else. It seems to help me give myself a break to look at all I did do for the day rather than rolling all the things I left undone.

I'm pretty sure the days are not getting shorter, I'm just trying to cram more stuff in them. lol. For caregivers, it means facing each day with courage and bravery; short days and the long ones too! :-) It doesn't take bravery or courage to lay on the couch and wallow in self-pity all day, right? Who has time for that anyway! We don't need to be brave when everything is going good and easy. Caregivers must get up every morning (if they got any sleep at all) and face the day with bravery. The good thing is that we are not facing it alone. We have His strength to help us and hold us up.

David said in Psalm27:14 -Wait on the Lord, be of good courage and He will strengthen your heart. We can be courageous because we are not facing the long or short days alone. He is in our today - all day long. And He is in our night - all night long until the next day breaks through the dawn.

Today, I will take courage knowing He is facing the day with me. I'm not walking through the next 24 hours alone. He is walking through the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years with me. He won't let me go - so I can choose to go bravely into the known or the unknown because He is upholding me! I'll trust Him for the seen and the unseen that may come at me today - will you join me?



____________________________________________________________________
I Will declarations book cover


Check out my ebook store where you'll find these "I Will" Declarations from Psalms for just a buck! Download it today! I also have devotionals, study guides, poetry books, and free stuff! My Amazon bookshelf has some of these books on Kindle and for print - check them out!




Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Even in this Place

chris in the standing frame with me beside him

 I don't know about your day-to-days, but I know mine can be hectic. Sometimes, even our calmest days can't compare to the "norm." Caregiving is not for the faint of heart! But that doesn't mean we don't have our moments of full-blown breakdowns. No judgment here! Every once in a while, a good cry releases pent-up emotions. It's healthy, actually. 

We may feel like we are in a desert place, a wilderness, or secluded from society. Sometimes, we feel surrounded by loving people, but the struggle remains. And honestly, some days I can go from a desert to an oasis, and back to the desert again emotionally - just in a matter of a few minutes, or even seconds. lol. Do you relate?

Here's the thing - no matter where we are - or where we feel we are - God is still working in and for us.

Yesterday, I sat with my guitar and sang for a few minutes. I poured out my heart to Him, and He answered. It was like I was feeling Him bringing restoration, healing, and refreshing right here in my living room. I was in awe. Then, I began to sing a spontaneous song about His love being even in this place. I was a bit overwhelmed to realize He would walk right up to my pain, right up to my heartache, right into my desert. Even in this place - He restores, heals, refreshes, and is present.

Then, I thought of Hagar and how God came to her in the desert when she was feeling alone and without hope. I thought of how Jesus went through Samaria - the forbidden territory - just to meet a woman (of all things) at the well. Why wouldn't He walk into my desert? Why wouldn't He meet me even in this place?

Today, I will remind myself that He chooses to come into my pain. I'll turn my thoughts toward how He chooses to walk with me in the deserts and through the rivers of life. My meditations will be on His presence and how He is right here - wherever "right here" is for each of us. He isn't scared or put off by our circumstances. Instead, He seems invited and comfortable in them. I'll enjoy His presence today - will you join me?

_____________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!


Plus - check out my live devotions and Bible studies on my Youtube channel!


Monday, May 16, 2022

No Recalls Issued!

Chris and his little ornery look

 Do you ever wonder why there are so many recalls? It seems like it used to pertain just to vehicles. Some little or big part wasn't functioning right and had caused or could potentially cause damage. So they recalled the part and replaced it for free. Over the years, other items were recalled. Things like car seats, blenders, cell phones, and who knows what else! Some sort of manufacturer's defect was discovered and a recall was issued in an attempt to prevent injuring innocent consumers, right?

This morning during my devotions, it hit me that heaven doesn't issue recalls! There's never been a recall on His peace. Jesus told us He was leaving it here for us - and He's not going to take that back! God's love hasn't been recalled. Romans 8 tells us it remains no matter what we walk through - there is literally absolutely nothing that can separate us from His love. And He's not taking that back!

I haven't seen a recall issued on His grace either. His grace remains. It carries us, sustains us, and helps us find Him when we are in trouble. There's never been a recall on mercy either. You see where I'm going, right? There has never been - nor will there ever be a recall issued from heaven. Everything God has ever given us - stands. It will remain throughout time. We can continue to trust His strength, mercy, grace, and love to get us through our days here on earth.

Now, look at this. In Isaiah 41:10 He says Do not be afraid, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you. I don't know about you - but that's a lot! And there will be no recalls - he will continue to strengthen us, help us, uphold us... even today!

So, today, I will remind myself that God is still right here with me. I will turn my thoughts to His ever-abiding presence - and He won't be issuing a recall! My meditations will be on how He sustains me right here, right now. I'll think about how He has "kept" me hidden in Himself and how He will continue to do it. I'll find that peace that comes from understanding that He won't give up, let up, or pull out when things get tough. I'll trust that today - He's right here with me and He's not going anywhere today. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

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.


Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Smallest Things

I'm helping Chris stand in the standing frame in our apartment in Norman

 I realized a few years ago that I was turning my thoughts into prayers. As thoughts came across my mind, I began to phrase them as questions for God. I turned to asking Him for wisdom, desiring direction, or pursuing answers from His word. When you spend day after day alone with your own thoughts and no one to talk to - it can get a little interesting, can't it?

I talk to God about the littlest and silliest things sometimes. Like how the intricacies of a flower petal are so perfect yet unique. Or how silly a bug looks. But I talk to Him about the big stuff too - like finances, caregiving, and the heavier things on my heart, and the things that trouble my mind. And you know what? He likes it that way! He really does want to hear what's on our hearts. I believe He enjoys us sharing all the little details and big prayer requests as well. Why? It's open communication - relationship.

Sometimes, I wonder if God should be "bothered" with my mental mumblings. But then I am reminded that sometimes, it's the smallest things that help solidify relationships. My BFF and I have been friends for over 50 years and we can talk about anything at any given time! We know each other and no detail is to big or small for us to share. It's part of what makes us friends. 

God desires that kind of relationship with us as well, I really believe that. We've missed a lot by thinking that prayer is just taking Him a laundry list of all the things we need. But He wants to hear from us more - and more often. We can bring Him all the big stuff, sure - but we can bring Him all the tiny stuff too!

Today, I will focus more on turning all my thoughts into conversations with God. I'll bring all the big stuff, and the smallest stuff to Him today. I'll let Him sort through what is "important" - because what's really important to Him, I believe, is our communion with Him. So, today I'll "talk His ear off"! Will you join me?

___________________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!



Thursday, May 12, 2022

Emotional Roller Coaster Rides

 

Chris giving me "the look"

This morning, I was talking to a friend about emotional health. We were rolling lots of thoughts and strategies around. The topic came up because during my Facebook live devotions (video below), I mentioned I wasn't bragging, but I can go from the apex of wonderful to the valley of despair in as fast las two seconds. I think all caregivers may have those moments. We talk a lot about how difficult caregiving can be logistically and physically. But we often forget how often we deal with emotional roller coasters.

In a given day, hour, or minute even, we can swing from elation to weeping, from crying to joy. Back and forth it goes all day some days. If we are lucky, we land somewhere on solid ground in between. Over the years, I've learned some personal strategies that have started to help me balance emotions out more quickly so that I don't end up in the valley of weeping all day long.

Managing my day as much as possible helps me keep some of the in check. Identifying the boom before the big drop helps me be more proactive. If I can sense the emotional drop coming on, I can change up what I am doing - go for a walk, read a book, watch a movie, sit down for a cup of tea - anything to change up my mood so I don't crash usually helps. I may play the piano or put on some 70s music and dance around the house. I look funny - but I feel better! lol Do you have some strategies you can share?

This all brings to mind the verse in Hosea 2. In verse 15, God says He will turn the Valley of Achor into a door of hope. Achor can be translated as pain, but the NLT translates it as trouble. Either way - no matter what we are going through, God will open a door of hope. If we can work through our emotional adventures (that's a more positive term, right?), we'll see hope open up on the other side. We may need to wipe away a few tears and tilt our head one way or the other - but eventually we will be able to see and experience hope. God will not leave us alone in our pain or stress. He comes to us and stays with us - as long as we need Him. 

Today, I declare that I need Him! I have no doubt that I cannot do this caregiving thing on my own and my intense need for help drives me right to His heart. What do we find there, but His heart beating for us. I'll remind myself that He meets us in our moment of need - that moment we know we need Him above all. He holds us. He sings over us. He comforts us. He helps us. He provides for us - on every level from our finances, to health, to emotional support. He is here for us. Say it out loud with me - God is here for me today! I will trust Him for today - will you join me in this pursuit?

My facebook devotions this morning:





                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

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.



Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Constants vs Variables

 

Chris giving us "the look"

I love algebra, maybe because I like a good challenge! As a matter of fact, I loved algebra so much, that I became a math teacher. This morning, I was thinking about how far behind I am with work and how demanding caregiving can be when it comes to organizing time. My mind wandered off to the bills I need to pay, dealing with Chris' health issues, and how to juggle my clients most effectively. 

Then I thought about how our lives can be in a constant state of flux. We never know what a day will bring and how fast our circumstances can change. I say this after a week-long unexpected stay in the hospital with my son. What does that have to do with math? I am so glad you asked!!!

Things change - that's the variable. An example of an algebraic equation might be 2x + 4 = 24. (Don't worry- I won't ask you to solve it!) The numbers are constants. That means they will not change, but that little "x"? He is a variable, meaning he could be anything. Variables change. The value of the "x" in this equation is 10. But put that x in another equation and it would have a totally different value. The point is that variables change in value, or they vary. Constants will always be the same, meaning a 2 is always a 2, etc.

But it's that little x that worries people, right? Mostly because it can change. It's easy to spend so much time worrying about things that change that we miss the things that don't. What am I getting at? I'm learning to shift my focus to things that don't change and off of things that do. It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day caregiving stuff. And while I need to take care of all those responsibilities, my focus needs to be on things that don't change.

For example - God's love is never going to change. His peace will remain. He continues to cover us and carry us with His grace. His mercy is always here to help in our time of need - and He will remain present...always.

Today, I will shift my focus and my heart from the variables in my life to the constants. I'll direct my thoughts to His presence, peace, and passionate pursuit of my heart. And the second I feel that sense of peace He gives - I'll rest and let Him carry me through the rest of my day. Will you join me?

_______________________________________________________________


Check out my bookstores! Downloadable eBooks are on my DFM website. Print and Kindle books are available on my Amazon store shelf.


Monday, May 9, 2022

The Unexpected

Chris watching tv in the hospital

Well, we ended up spending this last week in the hospital. As caregivers, we can be forced to deal with the unexpected a lot, right? No matter how organized we are, how detailed we get, or how carefully we plan - we just never know what a day will bring. Sometimes we trust Him as we fly by the seat of our pants and hold on to the proverbial last strand of the rope. Then things settle back down and we begin to see how He orchestrated everything for our good. But it's not always easy to see it when we are in it.

Afterward, we see how He sustained us, helped us, and even carried us. That's the beauty of hindsight, right? I don't know how long you've been on your caregiving journey, but I'm working on 14 years now. I must say as I look over this last decade and a half, I see God's sustaining power. Through the times I felt like I couldn't make it - to the times when I thought I had made it - but soon fell apart at His feet once again - He's been there all along. 

He never tells us to "get it together" before we come to Him. Instead, He gives us an open invitation to bring our hearts, minds, emotions, and brokenness to Him time after time. He even waits for us to come to Him. Isaiah 30:18 says The Lord waits to be gracious to YOU! He's there for the expected and the unexpected. He never says that He didn't see something coming, can't deal with it, or doesn't know what to do with our situations or us. He just waits until we realize we need His grace to make it one more day.

Today, I'm going to run to Him - since He's waiting for me and all. (smile) I will remind myself that He's closer than a breath away whether I feel it or not. He is longing to pour out His grace to us, in us, and through us. I'm guessing the amount of grace He can lavish on us is proportionate to our need for Him. Today, I need Him a whole lot! How about you? I'm starting to think that the best place to be is in that place of awareness when we realize our great need for Him to work in our lives. That place where we wait for Him and there is no other option. Today, I know I need Him and I'm waiting on Him - will you join me?


                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

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.




Friday, May 6, 2022

Voided Warranty

working on standing with Chris

This morning I was thinking about how we can feel the effect of God's peace, love, grace, and mercy even if we don't see Him. I shared in my Facebook live devotion this morning about being able to see the sun's effect without actually being able to see the sun. (See video below!) While I was talking about that I had this brief thought that has been my meditation since I finished the devotion.

I said that there's no way to void God's "warranty." Ever buy something and if you open it wrongly or do something they deem "wrong" it will void the warranty and the company will no longer cover or service it? I'm so thankful that God isn't like that. His peace, grace, mercy, love, and everything else can't be "voided" by our negligent or purposeful actions. He doesn't take any of these or His many other attributes and blessings back because of our actions. We may choose to ignore His peace (like I do sometimes when I am mad at life), but it's still right there when we need it. It's still available for us to apply to our hearts and lives. He won't take it back even if we choose to step outside of it. We can't "void" its warranty. 

This is one of the things I talk about a lot in our caregiver devotions. Our lives don't get too complicated or ugly for Him to take back any of His promises. His grace doesn't diminish and His peace won't run out even though we keep them running full throttle with our day-to-day lives as caregivers. He never gets tired of us - and He encourages us to keep running to Him - rather than running away from Him.

We can't surprise Him or startle Him with our crazy responses, questions, or situations. I love that. He won't disqualify us for His grace, mercy, or peace. Actually, He lavishes it on us even more because He knows we need it. He told Paul that His grace was sufficient. Since we know that He is enough for all we need or desire - we can trust that His grace is enough to carry us through and we will not do anything to void His warranty! It's just up to us to continue to trust in Him as we navigate through our days caring for our loved ones.

Today, I will remind myself that His grace is enough to sustain me, help me, carry me when needed. My meditations will be on how He is so consistently grace-full, mercy-full, and patient with me. He even puts up with my tirades and fits. But He still chooses to be there for me and with me. I'll remind myself that His grace, love, mercy, and peace won't ever expire and I'm not capable of wearing them out, using them up, or voiding their warranties! Then, I will trust Him for today - will you join me?






Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Where is "HERE"?

Eli walking alongside Chris' wheelchair at the Draper Lake trails.

Do you ever just assess your life? As caregivers, we can have such a sense of loss. Caregiving puts so many demands on us. Many have to change occupations or quit their jobs altogether to have the time to invest in caring for a loved one. We may grieve the loss of a lifestyle we enjoyed before caregiving. Sometimes, we feel the loss of freedom as we may not be able to just jump and run when we want to or hang out with friends freely. We may live with grief that stems from losing a person - while they are still here. This is the case with my son and with caregivers of loved ones with dementia. The sense of loss and feelings of grief can come from so many different areas in our lives, that they are often overlooked, or at best difficult to identify.

After I did this morning's Facebook Live devotional "Peace Out!", I took my own personal assessment. (See video below!) I walked through my apartment and every few steps, I told myself "God is right here!" I'd take a few steps or go to another room and say, "You are here!" I did this all around my apartment - mostly to remind myself that He is here - wherever "here" is! 

Whether we are with family, at the hospital, in a nursing home, or right here in our comfy apartment, God is in our HERE! It helps me keep my attitude straight for the day when I realize that God doesn't put a limitation on where He'll meet with us. He came to Hagar two times in her time of need. Jesus went through Samaria, the Jews' "other side of the tracks" to meet with the Samaritan woman who doesn't even have a name! He didn't need a drink of water - He went there for her! 

No matter what our HERE looks like, He is there! He is HERE! 

Today, I will remind myself that God is in my here - He's been in every "here" so far and He's not changing now! I'll meditate on the truth that He simply cannot leave us and He won't leave us now. I'll be thankful that He is right here with me and my son no matter what turns this day may take - He won't abandon. I'll trust Him to be "here" today - will you join me in your "here"?





____________________________________________________________________
I Will declarations book cover


Check out my ebook store where you'll find these "I Will" Declarations from Psalms for just a buck! Download it today! I also have devotionals, study guides, poetry books, and free stuff! My Amazon bookshelf has some of these books on Kindle and for print - check them out!




Tuesday, April 26, 2022

I KNOW I'm Not Alone - Why do I Feel That Way?

Chris and Kyrie

 Do you ever feel alone? Caregiving has a way of isolating you and sometimes even in a crowd you can feel alone. Since I've become my son's aide, I feel more alone than ever. I know I am on the phone with people or in zoom meetings almost every day. But I still feel so very alone.

I remind myself that God is with me - a truth I hold on to. But it's so hard to not feel totally alone when you make all the decisions, do all the caregiving tasks, and can't find sitters for big events you really don't want to miss. I know that He said He'd be with me to the end. He also said He'd never leave or forsake us, but since God doesn't wear skin, it can feel like He's a million miles away from my day-to-day reality, no matter how much my heart holds to the truth that He is near.

Ah! The age-old battle between the mind and the spirit.

I started mentally walking through some Bible stories to find a character who may have felt very alone, yet God was with him. I landed on David. There he stood facing a giant, a foe of epic proportions like none other he'd ever faced. It was just him and Goliath. Was David alone? Nope. But certainly, he must have felt that way, right?

Saul tried to give David his armor and wasn't confident in sending "the kid" out to the battlefield. David had been talking among the ranks and asking soldiers what the prize was for defeating the giant. He didn't seem to ever think about any other scenarios - other than victory. His own brother tried to belittle him by asking where are those few little sheep you are supposed to be taking care of? This brother surely had seen Samuel anoint David as king, but refused to accept it and instead tried to make sure David knew he was the least, the youngest, the most unimportant piece in life's puzzle. So even though David had all of Saul's army present and "behind" him, he faced Goliath all alone. And that's where God showed up.

David must have looked and felt so small standing there in front of Goliath. He was likely shorter than the giant's staff. But David had told Saul that God had delivered him from the lion and the bear and he had no doubt God would deliver him from the giant too. So there stood little David all alone. Facing the giant and an army of frightened soldiers behind him - but not with him. But he trusted God and prevailed.

I propose today that even though we may feel sandwiched between a giant and our past God is with us on that field. We may hear the naysayers. We may not have any physical help. But God is showing up for us again and again. As caregivers, we face more than just one giant every single day. As a matter of fact, sometimes the smallest parts of life become huge giants because of our situations. But we can face them all in the name of the Lord.

Today, I will remind myself that I am not alone - no matter how alone I feel. I will tell myself to grab hold of those proverbial bootstraps and give it one more go. My thoughts will be directed toward the truth that God is with us - we never face the giants alone. I know I can trust Him to empower me to take them out one by one. So, I will trust Him with the giants of today. Will you join me?

________________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!



Monday, April 25, 2022

Under is Not All Bad

 

Chris in the standing frame

When we think of being under something it's usually in a bad connotation. We feel under the weather or we are under a heavy burden. But this weekend, I discovered that being under isn't all bad! We had some bad storms roll through. The tornadic activity was nowhere near me but in the same county. Since there was a tornado warning in the county, the tornado sirens were blaring. I ran outside to see if I could capture a photo of anything interesting from this side.

What I found was a huge feeder cloud looming overhead. I snapped a photo but it just did not compare. I took several photos and came back to the house to look at them. They seemed to lack something. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was missing. A picture just couldn't capture the feeling of being under that huge cloud formation.

Of course, my mind went to the scriptures. Psalm 91 talks about hiding under the shadow of the Almighty. In Psalm 57, the psalmist declares he will stay under the shadow of God's protection until the calamities were passed. Until we get under His protective wings, we just won't get it! 

What good is a refuge if we don't run to it? What good is a fortress if we don't hunker down for protection? God is our refuge - He is our strength - but we must hide in Him and run to Him first. Until we get under Him - we won't have a sense of His protection, power, majesty, and strength.

Today, I will purposefully hide my heart in His. I'll seek His protection, peace, and comfort. I'll remind myself that I need to let Him carry me when I feel like I cannot take one more step. I'll remind myself that it's okay (and preferred) to run to Him before I find myself in overwhelm mode. He's right there waiting for us - will you join me?


__________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.



Download Poems for Caregivers for free! 

Poems for Caregivers bookcover


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Not Forgotten

 


It's so easy to feel insignificant, ignored, and shoved to the side of life. People don't always mean to be mean, but they often don't know what to do with "us." lol. Simple things become complicated. Like, which Sunday School class do I belong in? Should I go with Chris? Leave him alone in a class and try to find my own? Or do I even try to go since it'll be such a mess? Let's not even talk about trying to find a way to use a public restroom. Do I take my adult son with me to the women's or do I go to the men's? (That's a no.)

For caregivers, simple daily tasks can become quite difficult. Others just don't understand and so it can be easy to begin to feel less-than and insignificant. These are some of the thoughts I let my mind wander down this morning after reading John 4 again. This chapter contains the familiar story of the Woman at the Well. We don't even know her name.

We know very little about her past, except that she's been married five times and now she's living with a man. We know nothing of her future. Yet, Jesus went way out of His way to meet with her at the well that day. He met with a woman (strike one), in Samaria (strike two). And He even told her straight up that He was the Messiah. wow. She wasn't going to slay a giant, survive a burning fiery furnace, or get out of a lion's den. There's no glowing superhuman story. Just a woman at a well. Insignificant? Yet worth His time.

The earth is in the Milky Way Galaxy. But it's only one of many galaxies out there. We can easily feel so insignificant just as humans on this sole little planet swirling around with 8 other planets, lots of stars, moons, and the sun. But to think there are numerous other galaxies makes us seem less significant in the grand scheme of things. Yet - Jesus left His peace HERE. (John 14:27) God loves US. God walks through time with us - He shared His peace, love, wisdom, and strength with us. He came for US

Today, I will remind myself that I am surrounded by His greatness. In my small existence, God lives big in me. Though the world often makes me feel insignificant and alone, God cares. I'll remind myself that He watches over me, He wants to be with me, and He hears my smaller-than-a-pea-sized prayer. He catches MY tears and knows what caused each one to fall into His hand. I believe with that thought- I can trust Him with one more day. Will you join me?

_____________________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Full Of It

 


This morning during my private devotions, I started studying 1 John to prepare for an upcoming live Zoom Bible study I'm hosting. (Let me know if you'd like a link to join!) I John is very connected to the gospel of John and I found myself reading the first chapter of this gospel over and over. It amazes me and pretty much blows my mind how God has orchestrated all this. Before He said, "Let there be light" He had already done everything. He'd already prepared the way for us to get back to Him, even before the fall happened in time. Jesus was crucified and raised to sit on the throne. Our sins were already forgiven before we ever even committed them. (We just need to accept His forgiveness.) 

So I'm reading through John chapter one with my mouth wide open in awe! My mind is running around crazy just thinking about all the wonderous works of God. The Word of God - His very breath become flesh and walked among man for a brief 33 years. In verse 14, it says He become human (NLT), lived on earth with us, and that He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. That can also be translated to grace and truth.

Does it not just blow your mind that God cares? He is eternal and time is such a small piece of eternity - yet that's where He chooses to meet us and walk with us. He's so much more than a "little-g" god. He desires intimacy with us. He wants to walk with us, to be with us. And when He is welcomed into our lives and He comes - He brings all He is with Him. Truth, forgiveness, light, understanding, comfort, peace, and of course - love. That just blows my mind.

It's amazing that He wants to walk through time with mankind, isn't it? But He's not limited to time like we are because eternity exists in Him. Time is but a small piece of eternity. Yet this eternal God of comfort, God of peace, God of grace, mercy, and truth - wants to be with us. And for mankind - that's great. But for the caregiver it's monumental. Because so many people don't want to be with us. No-fault - no blame - they don't know what to do with us. But God does.

He knows how to comfort us in ways beyond our understanding. He knows how to hold us, give us peace, and soothe us with His song. If we listen. Can you hear Him? Most of the time I can - unless caregiving gets too hectic! But He's always singing. Always comforting. Always pouring out His love on us.

Today, I will purposefully quiet my heart and listen for His song. I'll lean in a little closer to hear His heart as I tone down the crazy thoughts running through my heart and mind. I will purposefully look for His grace at work in my life today. And I will embrace His heart of comfort in the midst of the pain and grief that often accompanies caregiving. Will you join me?

_____________________________________________________________

31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


Check out my bookstores. I have eBook devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more in my Dove's Fire Ministries bookstore. My Amazon bookshelf has a couple of those in print or on Kindle.



Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Stating the Obvious

Me helping Chris in the standing frame

 I came across this scripture this morning and it just jumped out at me. Joshua 13:1 says this Now Joshua was old, advanced in years. And the Lord said to him: you are old, advanced in years, and there remains very much land yet to be possessed. (NASB) That scripture has always seemed so funny to me, but today - I got it.

The obvious is that Joshua is old, advanced in years. I get that! I always thought it was funny that God then said the same thing to him. Joshua - you're old. LOL. Wasn't God just stating the obvious? That's not really the most important part although it is key. God went on to tell the old man that there was still a lot to do - much land to possess. Surely Joshua found that encouraging!

For a few minutes, I rolled this seemingly insignificant verse around in my head. I had tons of questions. Why did God need to remind Joshua that he was getting so old? We've talked a lot about "exclusionary statements" on this blog. I think God is giving Joshua a heads up. He is stating the obvious argument that might pop up in Josh's head. Dude, you're old.  But then He continues with the promise - and there is still a lot of land to possess. Joshua was not excluded from the promised land because he was old. 

God knew. 

Just like God knew that Joshua was getting older, but still had so many promises to live out - He knows we are caregivers. If He was addressing us, He might say - You are a caregiver, you are overwhelmed and overloaded - but I still have many promises to fulfill in your life. It seems to be sort of the opposite of an exclusionary statement, doesn't it? God's saying- I understand who you are, where you are, and what you are doing - but there's still some promises to go claim!

Man, I found that encouraging today. After many rough days and nights life tends to dig at all His promises. Our questions turn to things like Is He still there? Does He still know me? Does He see? Does He hear? But His statement to Joshua let him know - and lets us know - He still hears and sees, but He still has a plan.

Today, I am going to guard my thoughts. I'll remind myself that God not only sees and hears- but He understands too. But He still won't take back even one of His promises to those who believe whether we are old - or caregivers - or both! I'll thank Him for His grace, patience, goodness, and faithfulness to us as caregivers and trust Him for one more day - will you join me?



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
31 Days devotional book, on tablet and on phone
Check out all my published eBooks on Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore. I also have a few of the devotionals and study guides in print or on Kindle and Amazon store. (New stuff coming soon to both!)








Saturday, April 16, 2022

Starting a Caregiving Support Business? Here’s What to Do

 

a woman pushing her elderly mother in a wheelchair


Image from Unsplash

The senior care industry is booming. In fact, Business Insider reports that as the Baby Boomer population ages, the market for senior caregiving is expected to grow by 21% by 2050. To account for this trend, many individuals are choosing to go into the family senior caregiving business. And by accounting for this new growth, you can make headway into this space as well… by providing support and services to the increased number of senior caregivers! Want to learn more?  Let’s break it all down below.

 

Identifying Your Business Niche

 

According to Big Frame, having a business niche makes it easier to become well-known in your industry and reduces competition while targeting audiences. Since you’ll be serving senior family caregivers, you already have a well-defined niche. But think about going more granular into the topic. What age demographics will your professionals belong to? What about their income and asset levels? Do lots of research about these particulars, so you can market your product or services to better serve them. For example, you might find that what would be most helpful in this space would be appointment technology that automates daily functions, tasks, and more. Or perhaps, your research shows that going into the human resources side of things would be more beneficial, as there is a need for temp workers in the caregiving industry. Doing this research well in advance will help you choose which services to offer and how you can do so.

 

Marketing Your Business

 

We all know the benefits of business marketing. You’ll see increased web traffic, more clicks, sales, and many other trackable metrics. Managing your web presence will be essential for this. You’ll need a unified website and social channels to present your brand. While doing so, don’t forget old-school marketing techniques that have stood the test of time. These include strategies like networking to get the word out or launching collaborations to increase reach.

 

In addition, don’t forget to design essential marketing collaterals like a logo and business card. For example, a well-designed logo goes a long way in creating a solid first impression and helping you stand out amongst your competition. And designing an excellent logo doesn’t mean you have to shell out thousands of dollars for professional design services! Instead, you can make your own company logo by using an online tool that will allow you to create an appealing and creative logo. Then, you can combine the logo with a quick image resizer that allows you to adjust the size of your logo images for whatever you need, be it social media or business cards.

 

Finding Clients

 

Finding the first few clients is going to be your biggest hurdle. But once you get the ball rolling, you’ll find the referrals streaming in and customers increasing without much effort. Here are some (low-cost) ideas to start attracting customers:

 

     Targeted ad placements on social media (specify all the audience parameters to ensure your ad reaches the right target professionals or demographic).

     Place notices on bulletin boards of like-minded businesses. A caregiving facility or recruitment agency could be an excellent place to do this.

     Let all your networks, including friends and family, know about your new venture. You never know who may have the right connections or advice to help you along your way!

 

If you’ve always wanted to start your own business, the caregiver support space is an excellent place to start. And since this market is expected to be worth $1.7 trillion by 2028, there is lots of opportunity for growth and expansion.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Go-To Scriptures


 I was visiting with a lady from Alaska yesterday. She was telling me about a ministry she helps with and she said they had a main scripture. It made me wonder if I needed one. I thought about what she'd said for some time, but couldn't settle on a single scripture that I would call my "life scripture." You know? My favorite passages change from day to day. Sometimes, it's from moment to moment!

I can say I have a lot of go-to scriptures. We talk about a lot of them here. Psalm 46:1 - God is my refuge and strength - a very present help in time of trouble. I go to that one a lot. But I have held onto Psalm 57:1 for years and declared that I will stay under His shadow and shelter until calamities are past. On any given day I may meditate on any number of verses I've read in my devotions or just a random one that comes to mind. Since His word is alive - and it's in us - you just never know which one may pop up!

Maybe that's why it's so important to hide His word in our hearts. When we need it - Holy Spirit will help us recall it. My students used to ask me to pray for them before their big tests. I always asked if they had studied. If they said no - I told them to pray that they will recall what they studied would be a waste of time. lol. It's true - if we put scriptures in, then God has something to work with. He'll help us remember the things we've read. 

I have some go-to scriptures on peace. Some on His goodness. A few verses I run to when I need comfort. And then I have a whole lot of them on trusting Him in the storms of life. Maybe it's because I live in a storm. (smile) So I have a lot of go-to scriptures, but not just one I can say - this is my verse. "My verse" changes with the winds of the day. I grab whatever passage is going to help me make it through the day with my faith intact. Can you identify? 

With all that being said, I love scripture. I love His word. I love the way it changes me and helps me shape my perspective to be more like His. It's like a one-stop-shop - there's a little bit of everything in there. We find comfort, peace, joy, direction, wisdom, grace, mercy, and the list goes on. 

Today, I will remind myself of the power of His word and I'll allow it to work in my life today. As I meditate on His word today, I'll thank Him for His word's power to change me and I'll let His word shape my day. Will you join me?



                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

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.