He Still Comes


Do you ever just need a break? Haha - I forgot who I was talking to! Of course, you do! The real question is IF you'll get one, right? It's come to my attention that I may have some level of caregiver burnout. Little - like teeny, tiny, little things bother me to the max. I've thought about counseling, not sure if that would help or not. I've thought about giving myself a day off from "work." But I'm not really "off" even if I do that, you know? I have a few other workable ideas like taking a few more excursions and getting Chris out of the house more - because then, I get out too! :-) But I'm pretty sure I'm going to need more than one Saturday a month, although I'm grateful for that one day!

All of these thoughts and more were rolling around in my head this morning. I hope it doesn't come down to it - but I may have to actually ask for help. (Lol - imagine that!)

I know that God sees right where I am - and He sees you right where you are too. That brings a little comfort. I'm truly thankful that God sees.  I'm equally as thankful that God hears. He listens so closely that He hears all those things our hearts cannot even express in words. He hears the pain behind the tears we may shed - and even the pain behind the tears we refuse to shed. Yes, He's that close, that intent.

As I was looking for the verse in Psalms that says He is near the brokenhearted - I found myself in Isaiah 61. It seems He wants to send us to bind up the brokenhearted. He wants us to proclaim liberty - to whom? The captives? Wow. He wants us to proclaim the year of the favor of the Lord as well as comfort those who mourn. What on earth is He talking about? We need all of that! Who's going to be there for us?

I think we can get a great picture of God's heart in these first few verses of Isaiah 61. In essence, His plan (which is always better than ours!) is to move closer to the brokenhearted such as ourselves. Additionally - He wants to provide:

  • good news to the meek (those who know they NEED Him!)
  • healing to the brokenhearted
  • liberty for the captive
  • openness and freedom for the bound
  • acceptance
  • comfort for those who mourn
  • beauty in the place of ashes
  • joy to replace mourning
  • praise to replace the spirit of heaviness
Man, that's a lot, isn't it? I am pretty sure I can find myself in at least a couple of these emotional states - but certainly not all of them. But no matter where our minds or emotions are today - He meets us there. I love that about God. He doesn't expect us to dust off the ashes of our mourning before He comes to us with comfort. I can come to Him with all my baggage - my sadness, emptiness, mourning, and heaviness - and I will find total and complete acceptance and help. That's encouraging because at times I feel powerless. But the one who is all-powerful - will lift me up. He will strengthen me - even in this lowly, crazy mental and emotional state. Why? Because He loves us - we are His. He simply can't help Himself!

Today, I will remind myself that He is right here. He doesn't stay away when I am sad. He doesn't avoid me when I can't quite get it together. He won't shun me for questioning life in general. He will come. He will comfort. He will bring joy, peace, and freedom. And I'll just trust Him in the midst of it all. 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.

The Back of the Cave


This morning I let my mind and heart run around in Psalm 57 for a while. It's been a long-time favorite as I "found" it during one of the darkest storms of my life in 1986. I find myself going back there a lot. David penned this psalm while running for his life from Saul. He was hiding in a cave. Do you ever feel like you live in a cave as a caregiver? I know I did when I first brought Chris home. I found myself all alone almost all the time. 

What David did in the cave is an example for us all. He wasn't shy about expressing his emotions or concerns. But he also wasn't shy about declaring his faith and trust in God, even in the tough times. He declared from the back of the cave I will hide beneath the shadow of Your wings. I cry to God! I will sing Your praises. Be exalted O God above the heavens. Even while navigating a difficult time in his life, he put his trust in God. I think we do that a lot.

David also declared in verse 3 that God was going to send forth His unfailing love and faithfulness. David acted like he expected God's mercy, love, and faithfulness to overtake him right there in the dark cave. Why not? Right? What a rescuer of our souls! Even the darkest, dankest cave can't prevent God's mercy and love from reaching us! You'll never hear God say, O, it's too dark in there. He will never say He's afraid to pursue our hearts with His love! I love that about God. He just walks right into the middle of whatever mess the day, week, month, or years have caused and brings His mercy, peace, faithfulness, and love with Him!

Today, I will declare from the back of the cave that I will trust in His unfailing love and faithfulness. Today, I will praise Him because He will not abandon us to our own messes! Today, I will praise Him for bringing me joy in the midst of the pain, light in the darkest night, and peace in troublesome times. Isn't He wonderful? (Even in the back of the cave?) I declare that today I will trust Him for my very life and sanity as I trust Him to carry me for 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!

This Day

chris standing in the standing frame outdoors I know we don't like to talk about our fears. Somehow we've let the world convince us that if we express any amount of fear or concern, we are not in faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. David even said What time I am afraid I will trust in You. (Psalm 56:3) We have so many stories of Bible heroes who faced difficulties that we sometimes forget they were human. Joseph cried bitterly when his brothers sold him. He had to have been afraid. We read the rest of his story without a lot of emotions sometimes. It's easy to forget this is the life he was living - we're just reading it.

Someone said real courage is moving ahead even though you are afraid. Without fear - situations don't take courage to face. I remember when I first brought my son home. Every time it was time to transfer him (which wasn't a lot back then), I'd get sick to my stomach. I was so scared I'd drop him or hurt him. Those fears were warranted - but they didn't last, thankfully. :-)

As caregivers, our concerns change over time. Recently, I had a caregiver friend who fell ill suddenly and passed away. Her son is being well taken care of by the family. I have no one who can take care of my son if I were to die today. (I'm not planning on it, but still! lol) I grieve because I fear he won't feel loved. My prayer is that I live at least one day longer than him. I can't imagine what will happen to him when I am gone.

Another common fear for caregivers is being able to provide financially. Thankfully, God has provided good work for me and that's not a huge concern at this point. But I did face those fears early on.

Our fears and concerns may change based on our own personal situations and circumstances. They change over time too, don't they? Kudos to every caregiver out there who makes it through the days through prayer, faith, and raw guts! :-) 

One thing I've learned to do is to remind myself that I have this day - today. Right now I am able to care for Chris and should be able to for the foreseeable future! I thank God for each day and for the strength to make it. I pray for wisdom to handle my affairs and plan for further down life's road. I remind myself that God is faithful for every "this day" we have the opportunity to live!

Today - this day - I will thank Him for His sustaining grace. I will be thankful for this day. I'll thank God for bringing us thus far - and for never abandoning us when the way got rough. I'll hug my son a little tighter this day - and pray that he feels my love. Then, I'll thank God for walking through this day with me - just like I walk through all my todays with my son, because I love him. 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.

How to Choose the Best Nursing Home for Your Loved One

lady reading email to an elderly loved one

We all want the best for the seniors in our lives, and as they get older, they may need more attention than you are able to provide. In that case, you have a big decision to make, and the only suitable option may be putting them in a nursing home or an assisted living facility. There are a lot of options for different facilities, and you need to ensure you can afford the associated costs. Here are some tips for how to find the best home for your senior.

Consider the Services

While many people may just rush to the nursing home that has the best reviews, you also need to consider the services that your senior needs and whether or not that home provides them. For instance, some seniors have issues with remembering basic tasks and they may need more memory care than anything else. The case may also be that your home will require more around-the-clock monitoring with an emphasis on incontinence care.

The point is that you need to first talk to the senior or their doctor so you can decide what they need the most and then determine if the facility can provide in that way. While you can find a lot of information online, it is better to take a tour of the home and ask all necessary questions so you get a clear picture.

When considering a healthy diet, remember that all nursing homes are required to serve at least three square meals per day, so if your senior cannot cook on their own, then you will be covered in that area. If your loved one has certain dietary restrictions, you will want to talk to the facility to ensure that they can provide what is necessary.

Read Reviews

You may find a great facility while you are searching online that appears to offer everything you are looking for, but just because you may be excited, you shouldn’t sign up just yet. The next step is to take a deep dive and read the reviews to ensure that the place is clean, the staff is polite and attentive, and that the services mentioned are really offered.

There are many review websites where you can find this information or you can search for that particular facility on a site like Google or Bing. When you read reviews, make sure that you are not only seeing those written by the family member paying the bills, but also the senior that lives there if possible. Only a senior who is within those walls 24-hours a day can really tell the whole story.

Consider the Cost

While senior care facilities may seem like a godsend, it is basically common knowledge at this point that placing your senior in a home can be exceptionally costly. Currently, the average cost is almost $8,000 a month for a private room, so if you don’t have that cash on hand, then you will need to make some decisions.

If you don’t have that money available, but finding a nursing home is absolutely necessary, then one way to free up cash is to sell your home. Those who own their home outright will have an easier path, but even in that case, there are many fees to consider. It is a good idea to use a home sale proceeds calculator which can factor in how much you could make when you sell your home plus realtor fees and commissions so you can have a clear picture. If selling your home is not an option, then you may be able to use Medicaid or take out a loan.

In the end, realizing that you need to put your senior in a home is a tough decision, but by taking it one step at a time, you will figure out what is best. If you want to know more about senior care or the role of caregivers for your loved ones, check out the Daily Devotions For Caregivers blog for more great information.

Just in Time


up in the standing frame

As caregivers, we never know what a day will bring. Everything can change on a dime in an instant. By now we should have adjusting to changes down to a fine art, right? lol So this morning, I was reading through Psalm 37 and verse 39 jumped out to me. Now, there are LOTS of great nuggets in this psalm, as there are in many chapters. It speaks of His faithfulness, His provision, His grace, and lots more. But in verse 39, David says the salvation of the righteous is from the Lod, He is their strength in the time of trouble.

I think it's safe to say that as caregivers, we generally live right smack dab in the middle of a time of trouble. We are challenged with the every-day. Yet, we continue to navigate it day after day by the grace of God and by trusting in Him. We can most likely disagree on a lot of things - but we can agree that it is His strength that carries us through each day.

He is our strength in the time of trouble - He is there right on time, just in time, right when we need Him! The next verse goes on to say, the Lord shall help them (the righteous) and deliver them; He will deliver them from the wicked, and save them because they trust in Him. What a promise! Did He have any idea what our everydays were going to look like? I'm sure He did - and does. And He still saves and delivers our souls because we trust in Him!

What an amazing, amazing promise! He doesn't say He will come to us to deliver and save us once it's all clear. He doesn't say He's there for us and has our backs as long as no one is looking. He doesn't promise to save us after we work through all the hard parts. He says in the time of trouble. That indicates to me that He walks right up in the middle of the mess - comes to us in the middle of the storm - reaches out to us in the craziness that surrounds us to help and keep us. Wow. He's not scared of our situations - and He's not speechless like so many can become. No fault of theirs - they just don't always know what to say to help. But God does. He whispers that He is here. No matter what here looks like for each of us. He still has us covered and He still guards and protects our souls - just in time.

Today, I will remind myself that He doesn't think our lives are too ugly, complicated, or hard to keep Him from showing up. I'll thank Him for His constant presence and watching care. I will also remind myself that He is my caregiver! He's the best caregiver we could ever imagine. :-) So, I'll trust Him with today - will you join me?

I Will declarations book cover

Check out my ebook store where you'll find this "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!

Picking and Choosing?

This morning, I spent my devotional time preparing for the Facebook live devotions I do each morning. I was reading in Matthew 6:2 -34. Jesus was telling those listening to the Sermon on the Mount that they shouldn't worry about anything. He said to seek the Kingdom first - and all these things will be added. God knows what we need. 

After I finished the live session, I sat down at the computer to write this morning's devotion for caregivers. I know I should probably write a few ahead but I really like writing it each morning. It helps me focus for the day! 

I started thinking about how we talk a lot in this devotional about how we are complete in Him. We discuss how we still have all of His promises with nothing lacking. There are no exclusionary statements to limit caregivers' access to all of the blessings of God. I love that.

But then, I started thinking that if there are no exclusions for caregivers on the good stuff, then there are no exclusions on the requirements either. Well, we might not want to talk about that. lol. We really can't pick and choose though, right? Jesus didn't say everyone except caregivers should not worry about life, what they will wear, or what they will eat. Did He? Nope. Just like there are no exclusionary statements on all His goodness and blessings - there are none on His requirements.

Surely He knows how much harder that might be for us, right? We have all the "normal" things people worry about plus at least one other whole person to care for. Maybe He just forgot to mention that we are the only ones allowed to worry. I guess not.

We still must seek His kingdom first in our lives - even if it doesn't quite look like others' lives. We still must bring Him all our cares and anxious thoughts (though they are many!). But His peace will still guard our hearts and minds too! There's the good stuff. He will still feed us. He will still clothe us - and our caregivee! 

Today, I will thank Him for including caregivers and not excluding us from all His promises AND responsibilities. I can thank Him for taking care of my needs and still continue to refrain from worrying since I know He's got me. He's got you. When worry tries to pop its ugly head up today, I will remind myself that God's still got this. He is my (our) provider and He still hasn't changed His mind! So, I can trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Handling "Moments"

me and chris standing at an OKC park

 Are you just ever overwhelmed with emotions. I have those "moments" where I am just suddenly sad. I hope it's just me - but I have a good idea that you understand what I am talking about. I'm pretty sure it's all part of the living grief that comes with the loss of a person whose body and spirit are still here. Caregivers often have a lot of grief and sadness to work through. Most of the time, I'm good, especially if Chris is making progress, feeling well, and interacting some. But there are times when I am incredibly sad and miss who he was. It can be difficult in those moments to find solid footing again.

Of course, there are many chores and lots of work to keep my mind and body busy throughout the day - but if I'm not careful the sadness can sweep me away. I find myself struggling to find some small piece of peace.

What's a caregiver to do in those times? A "moment" can come on us unannounced, unprovoked, and certainly unwelcomed. Then, it starts nagging at our souls. David encouraged himself in the Lord - and we must follow suit. In 1 Samuel 30:6, David found himself in quite a pickle. The city had been burned his wives had been taken captive and the people were blaming him and talking of killing him to "rid themselves" of the evil. Well, I feel better now. lol.

David did what he did best - he went straight to the Lord. He asked God, "Shall I pursue the troop? Shall I overtake them?" (NKJ) Perhaps we should mimic his first response - he encouraged himself in the Lord - then inquired of Him. He asked himself hard questions, why are you cast down, o my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? (NKJ) - Then he answered - hope in God. Then he made a declaration - I will yet praise Him for He is my help. (Psalm 43)

When sadness, grief, or any other emotional struggle hits us - we can first allow ourselves to experience the emotion. Working through it means asking ourselves why we feel it - and if we can do anything about it. Then - we take it to Him. (No matter what our answer was to the hard questions!) And then comes the declarations - I will hope in God - He will be my help.

He shows up - every single time.

Today, I will turn my face to Him. I will look up to Him for I know like you know that our help comes from the Lord. I will remind myself that I do not carry this load alone - He's got me. He's got you today too. Today I will trust the keeper of my soul to keep my soul! I will trust the lover of my soul to love my broken soul. I will lean into Him today until I can feel Him breathe over this crazy heart and life as I 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.

That About Covers It!


This morning an old song came to mind. I was working in the kitchen humming I'm on the battlefield for my Lord. I love those good ole songs, don't you? Maybe it's because caregiving can become a battlefield for emotions and our own mental health. Stuff tends to tear away at us. There's no doubt we ride an emotional roller coaster, right? The good thing is that we do keep coming out on top. I'd have to say it's so because of His undergirding power! 

So, I was working through some of my emotions this morning and found myself reading the first couple of verses of Psalm 144. I mentioned the part about how He teaches my hands to fight somewhere the other day in one of the devotions I do. But I have to wonder exactly what that means for us. David was talking about a real fight, a tangible battlefield. Our battlefield stays in our minds and emotions most of the time - but that doesn't make the battle any less real.

Here's what the first couple of verses of Psalm 144 says:

Bless the Lord, who is my rock.

He gives me strength for war and skill for battle.

He is my loving ally and my fortress,

my tower of safety, my deliverer.

He stands before me as a shield, and I take refuge in Him. (NLT 1996)

As I read over this familiar scripture this morning I shook my head as I realized how He really does have us covered from head to toe - and back to front. He surrounds us with His grace and mercy for sure! The only work we have to do is to take our refuge in Him - to run to Him. But He's got our backs! We certainly can't say that about a lot of people. Some caregivers have friends or family who help and that is such a blessing. But many are out there on their own with little or no help at all and very few breaks. It's comforting to know that no matter what our personal caregiving story looks like - He's got us hemmed in, shielded, and totally covered!

Today, I will meditate on how He purposefully chooses to fight for me. My thoughts will be on how He is an ally who loves me and offers Himself as a sure place of safety for my mind and emotions. I'll lean into Him just a little more today and trust Him with all my feelings, thoughts, fears, joys, and triumphs - because He is my ally. He is for me. He is for you. Today, I'll purposefully take refuge in Him. Will you join me?

I Will declarations book cover

Check out my ebook store where you'll find this "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!

The Life Preserver

 As I was studying this morning for my Facebook live devotions, I stumbled back into Psalm 121. Man, that's a great psalm. I wrote a song from it and I read it often. It is powerful. But you know how wonderful the Word of God is and that when we revisit even the most familiar passages, we find something new. That's what happened!

In Psalm 121:5 it says the Lord is thy keeper.  In the Strong's concordance, it is H8104 and it means to hedge about, guard, keep, save, wait for, preserve...that's most of the terms it could be translated as. But as I was in the Strong's on my phone it was easy to glance across the verses and what caught my eye was that same number used several times. 

The same Hebrew term is used for keep, keeper, and preserve. He keeps and preserves our soul. As a matter of fact, this term is used five times in the eight verses that comprise Psalm 121. I think He wanted us to know that He's got us! He really is our life preserver! Not only does He come in and save our souls when we are overcome with emotions and think we are sure to drown, but once He pulls us out of those rocky waters, He continues to guard us...and keep us. He never lets go.

I love that.

It's like He can match any of life's circumstances. He doesn't shake His head and walk away. He reaches in, grabs us, then holds us close. While He doesn't always stop bad things or tough situations from happening - He's always got us. He walks right through the mess with us, keeping us, preserving us, sharing His wisdom and peace with us. 

Picture Jesus walking right out into a storm to his frightened disciples in the boat. He calmed that storm as they sat with open mouths in shock. Now picture your storm. It may be one of the roughest times of your life. It may be a regular bumpy caregiver day. Maybe it's a confusing time for you. The storm may be over your finances, relationships, caregiving itself, or other situation. It may be a combination of several things. Picture Jesus walking out into the storm in your soul (mind, will, emotions) and saying Peace. Be still. I've got you. Because He does and He is not planning on ever letting go.

Today, I will be thankful that He keeps on keeping me. No matter how rough and tough life gets - He continues to preserve me. When my mind wonders into the craziness around me - I'll pull it back and remember that He's my life preserver. He won't let me drown. I'll trust Him to save me one more day! Will you join me?


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Do you ever feel invisible as a caregiver? Pain is invisible. Grief is invisible. Our tears are usually invisible to others too. I guess about the only time I don't feel as invisible is when I go to the store - then I feel like we stick out like a sore thumb. I push Chris in front and pull a cart behind like a slow-moving train through the store. Can't miss that now, can we? lol

Sometimes, people can't and don't want to imagine our pain. Maybe they can't fathom our living grief. Maybe for some, seeing us reminds them of their own pain or grief they don't know how to deal with. Since I am the aide now, I take Chris with me everywhere - even to my doctor's appointments. They "accommodate" him - but they do not speak to him - or ask about him in any way. Does that strike you as strange? Maybe it feels odd since my whole life is wrapped up in taking care of him. Idk.

But every once in a while, someone breaks from this silent norm and steps out of all our comfort zones. Two times this week (maybe just because we are out more now!) people have actually spoken to him. That should not be a huge occurrence, but it is. On Chris' birthday which went largely forgotten (or ignored), I took him to Braum's for ice cream as a birthday treat. An elderly lady started walking toward us. She walked up and pointed to Chris and said - "I can tell you are someone special." When I told her he was indeed and it was his birthday - she broke out singing "Happy Birthday." Thank God for this angel!

Yesterday, as we got in the elevator to leave the heart hospital, an elderly man spoke to Chris - "Hello, young man how are you?" he said. I awkwardly explained that Chris is non-verbal but he hears and understands well. The man made no more attempts at talking to him. But at least he said hi!

As invisible as I feel - I wonder if Chris, in his silence feels even more invisible. Someone in a caregiver's group this week said an injury or a condition doesn't prevent the heart from feeling love. As caregivers, our pain is deep. Our grief is numbing. But we still feel both ends of the emotional spectrum from rejection to love. 

We are not invisible to God. He sees us through and through. He feels our breath and senses every emotion, knows every thought, and perceives the depth of every single pain we sense. Sometimes, it feels so huge I can't even fathom that, but I'm thankful that He can see that deeply into emotions and feelings I don't even have words for.

Today, I will remind myself that we are not invisible to God. My thoughts will be on how He intentionally looks our way and how He purposefully touches those deep parts of our hearts. I'll be thankful that He draws near when I feel most broken. He soothes. He comforts. He heals hurts no one will ever know we have. Will you join me in thanking Him for that today?


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.

The Thing About "New Days"


Chris standing tall

I got up this morning after a long night that included very little sleep for me or Chris! Of course, I'm exhausted - but what's new? As caregivers we are usually on the edge of it or swimming in it all the time, right? lol There are tons of sayings about the sun coming up on each new day - but to most of us - each day looks pretty much the same as the day before. Even the unexpected happens every day - we are always ready for it. The fact that everything can change on a dime at any given moment in time is the only "constant" we have sometimes. lol

So,, I'm not sure what to make out of these "new days." They tend to look like "just another day" to me. I know the scriptures say His mercies are new every morning, right? (Lamentations 3:23) But it's never "morning" for God - it's always day. More accurately it's always today for Him. So why would we need to know that His mercies renew for us each morning? 

Sometimes, I find nuggets like this and I realize they are put in the Word just for us. God doesn't have or need mornings - He doesn't need or have a "new day" because it's always day - this day - the day for Him. So, this scripture must just be for us. His mercies are new for our new mornings. They are always being refreshed on our behalf - not His behalf.

M prayer for each of you and for myself today is that we find His mercies for today. No matter how crazy things get or how strangely peaceful they may be today - I pray we all experience His mercies carrying us through today into our next "new day."

Today, I will remind myself that His mercies are new for me. I'll meditate on the truth that His grace is enough to carry me and that His love is enough to quiet my fears. I'll lean into Him and listen for His breath as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


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Everything - Everywhere?


In my Facebook Live devotions this morning, I referred to Ephesians 1:23. In the New Living Translation, it says ...Christ who fills everything everywhere with His presence. I talked about His presence being literally everywhere. We cannot get away from Him even if we wanted to. In Psalm 139, the psalmist said even if I make my bed in hell - You are there. Death doesn't separate us from Him - and nothing in life can remove us or partition us off from His presence. He fills everything - everywhere.

That may not seem too significant to many people, but if you've been a caregiver, you know that there are a few dark, lonely places along the way. The good news is  - He's there too! I sing Psalm 61 a lot - from the ends of the earth, will I cry unto thee - We can easily feel like we dwell at the ends of the earth,  a place far from normal...places others are afraid to go even in thought. But God dwells there - He fills that place with His presence too.

Where is your "here"? Remind yourself today that God is here. Right here. Right with us. I lived in an ICU waiting room for over 3 weeks when Chris first had his wreck. God lived there too. I saw His hand in everything. Each hospital visit - He's right there. When we return home (yay!) He's right here again. He's always here. No matter what our "caregiver's day" looks like - and we know how rapidly those can change - He's here. With us - For us - Filling us with Himself. It's a beautiful picture really.

He's not afraid of our days or our long nights either. He continues to fill us up with His presence. I'll be the first to admit that some of our situations can be ugly and smelly. (YOU know what I mean!) - And He is still right there. Man, that's a comforting, peace-bringing thought for me.

Today, I will meditate on God being right here with me. My thoughts will be on how He continues to fill me with all He is. I'll think about this long journey and how He's been in all my "heres" all along the way. He never abandoned the journey. Never gave up (and won't!). Never said life got too ugly, unmanageable, or uncertain. He just remains. I'll thank Him for taking this journey with me. I'll thank Him for keeping me full of Him. 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.

Still Relevant

Chris looking at me while we were walking Bluff Creek Trails

 I'm a bit OCD about some things. (Don't laugh - it's not like you didn't know!) When I make a new post or publish a new video or website, I go back several times to see if anyone is looking. I've been watching the stats for this blog (because that's what I do!) for some time. It seems the blog gets about 200 or so hits every single day. However, on the day of a blog's posting, I usually get between 30 and 40. That's not much in the IoT (Internet of Things). Looking back at earlier posts reveals around 150 views since they were posted. When I scroll down a little further, posts have more like between 200 and 300 views. Scroll back a year and posts have around 1500 views. I like that!

My question was why people are not reading the ones I post each day and how they are getting to all those "older posts." At first, I thought maybe I should do a bit more research and try to figure out how to boost daily site visitors. Then, I thought - why? I trust that God will lead people to the post that is most relevant to them each day. I pray they find His answers, His peace, and His touch in any post they land on and read. Then I thought, they are all still relevant.

No matter what caregiving topic is covered in a post - it relates to the caregiver's relationship with God. That means they are all still relevant! I try to write posts centered on His word so that we are helped each day. I hope we can all focus on Him, His word, His promises, and His grace - rather than our circumstances. We all understand how overwhelming a caregiver's circumstances can be - right? But His grace is bigger than that. His peace is stronger than that. His word still applies to each of our "that." It's still relevant.

Don't you love that about God and His word? You can look at any verse and find hope for your situation. Take any passage, meditate on it until it fills your heart and mind - and then let it live in you. We don't get a pass because we are caregivers - it's all - every jot - every tittle - every verse, chapter, and book - still relevant for us. God didn't say His word is applicable and works on the behalf of most people. He didn't give us half-promises. You know, that only works for a few maybe half the population. His word excludes absolutely no one. We are - I am - the whosoever will.....He withholds nothing from us! Actually - we are almost the exception in His word. Think about it this way -

  • He draws near the brokenhearted.
  • He gives strength to the weary.
  • He comforts those who mourn.
  • He is with us in the struggles, fires, and floods.
  • He is a present help IN the time of trouble.
And that list could go on - perhaps you have a few promises you hold onto for yourself. His word is relevant no matter where we are or what we are facing. I love that about Him. Don't you?

Today, I'm going to let those promises roll over and over in my heart and mind. I will thank Him that he added no exclusionary statements like except caregivers. (Sounds silly doesn't it? But we often feel that way.) I'll meditate on truths like He still loves me - He still draws near to ME! - He comforts me - He gives me strength. I'll accept His strength and comfort and presence for today, it is still relevant after all. Will you join me?


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In an Odd Place


It's funny how when you start studying something it keeps showing up in the oddest places. I've talked a lot about Hagar because it seemed like something about her or her story just kept showing up. This week it's been Rahab. You know - Rahab the harlot. Every time you see her name mentioned they have to tell you she was a hooker too. lol. I talked about her in my live FaceBook devotions a morning or two ago because I'd heard Louie Giglio talking about her, so it sparked a little study for me. Then, this morning as I was preparing for our FaceBook live study of James, there she was in chapter 2 verse 25. 

I've taught this whole study guide for James before. Plus, I've read over this portion 2-3 times this week in preparation for this week's class. Yet there again for the first time, I spotted Rahab. And again - James refers to her as "Rahab the harlot." Yet she is listed in the believer's Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. The honorable mentions of her faith are somewhat tainted by her demeaning surname...the harlot.

Even though she's being set up as an example of faith - because she simply believed what God said - no one seems to be able to let go of her sin. While caregiving isn't a sin (lol) sometimes I feel like we get our own tagline. Jeanie the caregiver. And no matter if it's accolades or not - no one seems to be able to see past the caregiver. We are the person, or the singer, or the writer....People want to identify us as a caregiver. I'm glad they do - but there's so much more to us than that. 

I hope when people look at us - the caregivers - that they see faith. My prayer is they see hope. Ultimately, when people look at me - I hope they see Him. Maybe they'll see past the title of the harlot or the caregiver and see the faith of the person - and the grace of God in action. 

Rahab had faith because she believed what God said about the children of Israel. As caregivers, we are not denied the ability to believe and trust everything God said in His word. It's all ours! His grace. His love. His presence. His peace. It's up to us to believe it.

Today, I will meditate on all God said about me in His word. Like how He loves me. How He walks with me. How He watches over us. How His grace carries me. And I will choose to believe it so I can be as faith-filled as the harlot, Rahab. I hope my faith is found in the oddest places too. Will you join me?

Broken Crayons

 I am still rolling over last week's blog in my mind. The thought of being "complete" still runs through my mind because I feel like my life as a caregiver is so fractured. No area of our lives is left untouched from our work to family, friends, and church. Every piece of us - is touched in some way by caregiving. Sometimes well-meaning people just can't take this journey with us, you know? It's not easy to watch or live a caregiver's life sometimes. It's easy to feel abnormal when we let the tv and society set those norms for us, isn't it?

But trusting God is the norm for believers. This morning I was thinking back about many of our Bible heroes and how they trusted God in their adverse circumstances. I thought of how their lives and our lives are easily shattered. If we've gained anything through this pandemic, perhaps it's the realization that life is fragile indeed.

Feeling broken doesn't mean we are broken, even though the feelings are real. We may feel like we are disjointed from society or cut off from the church. But even in our brokenness, He chooses to fill us up with all He is. I was thinking along these lines this morning I remembered hearing someone say that a broken crayon can still be used to color a beautiful picture. Then I chuckled as I thought about a broken clock is still right two times a day! (lol) A broken mirror still reflects what is set before it. Then it must be possible - NO - probable that God can still use us to reflect His glory and color His story even in our brokenness. 

I have to go back to last week and think - I am whole in Him, and you are whole in Him. So, as long as we stay hidden in Him, which is where we belong. Where we are welcomed. Where we fit. Where we find rest and strength. We are whole and He continues to use us.

Today, I will remind myself that nothing on this earth can prevent me from being whole in Him. His Kingdom (which lives in me and you) cannot be shaken by any news or happenings in the earth's kingdom. And I am not a citizen of earth's kingdom - I am a citizen of God's eternal, glorious Kingdom where I am not "just a caregiver" but I am whole in Him. Today, I will rest in this truth and I'll try to picture myself from His Kingdom's point of view - will you do the same and join me today?


31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover

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Completely Complete


Chris and I at the Bluff Park Trails

Last night I started a Zoom Bible study. We are studying the book of James. As I was preparing to teach the lesson, I got stuck in verse 4 of the first chapter. Remember that James is writing to the persecuted church, the Jewish Christians in particular. He was encouraging them in the middle of their tribulation. He encouraged them to find joy and be patient. That doesn't seem fair, does it? lol - As caregivers, we have a lot to do and I did not put those two items on my to-do list for today. My list looks more like survive and don't throat punch anyone. lol

I thought about that for quite some time. The audacity to write to people under extreme stress and tell them to be patient and joyous. (lol) Then, James says to let patience have its perfect work so that you can be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (NKJ) Here's what really stood out to me. James was in essence explaining that God was still working in and for them, even in the midst of horrible persecution. He told them they could be 

  • Perfect (mature)
  • Complete (whole)
  • Lacking Nothing...
Even in the middle of their struggles. I began to think about this scripture as if James had written the letter to caregivers. It would read the same, right? Let patience have its perfect work so that you, caregivers can be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. I almost cried thinking about the promise of wholeness, completeness, and no lack we are NOT denied as caregivers. Even though we live in some tough circumstances - God still completes us. He still fills us. He is still our shepherd so we lack nothing - have no want. 

Our struggles, circumstances, difficulties, or surroundings do not and cannot deny us access to the God of the earth! Every promise in His word is still ours! He doesn't deny us even one thing because we are caregivers, we still get the whole package of grace, peace, salvation, and everything else. We are complete even in our broken circumstances. 

Today, I will turn my thoughts toward this completeness and wholeness we have in Him - even in our circumstances. My meditations will be on how He continues to pour His peace and presence out for us and on us so that we lack literally nothing. No good thing does He withhold from those who love Him - He never excludes us from good gifts because life is tough. He draws near to the brokenhearted. I'll meditate on all the things He gives rather than what life feels like it's lacking. I will trust Him with today - and rest in this God who completes us - will you join me?

Like "Normal" but With a Little Twist


Chris looking out across Lake Hefner

Yesterday was so pretty out that I decided to take the afternoon off and head to the shores of Lake Hefner. It was great to get some fresh air and a little Vitamin D therapy! But I also needed to go to the store. Since I don't have an aide - I am the aide - I've just ordered deliveries but not gone to the store. Navigating the apps has become a huge frustration and I rarely find what I need. Or better yet (sarcasm alert) - I make an order because I need this ONE item - and it's the only item the store doesn't have. What a waste. lol So, I decided to go to the store with Chris for the first time in a LONG time!

I was so excited that we were going to do something that looked more like "normal!" But by the stares and gawks I observed as we shopped - I realized we are far from normal. It's quite interesting actually. I push Chris in front and pull the grocery cart behind me making my way through the aisles of the store like an awkward train. I've gotten quite good at it actually. lol.

But there's more! lol - I have to load all the bags into the van - and load Chris too! Then I realized I was going to have to figure out a way to unload it all when we got home. Hmm. Do I take the groceries in first? Or do I take Chris in first? Do I put the groceries away first? Or do I lay exhausted Chris down first? I had to chuckle (It's okay to laugh!) as I thought how not normal this was. Only caregivers can understand these kinds of normal challenges we face. Nothing is simple, is it? We were doing "normal" stuff - but with a twist!

I'm so glad that God understands the caregiver's normal - because it's way different than everyone else's normal. It's even different for each caregiver. Yet time after time God empowers us and strengthens us to get 'er done whatever that looks like for each of us. I'm so glad God doesn't have a special caregiver box to put us in. He loves us just like we are and whatever shape we are in no matter what normal  is for each of us.

Today, I will be thankful that God walks this weird road with me. He didn't wait for things to get "normal" - He interacts in my world just because He wants to. And today - I will let Him! I will lean in a little closer to His heart today and listen for it to beat for me.... will you lean in and listen for His heart beating for you today?


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The Big Stuff vs The Little Stuff

Chris standing at Wheeler Park
It's an understatement to say that caregivers have a lot on their plates. That may produce an interesting image, but it doesn't touch the surface. I used to think that long-distance caregivers had it easy. That was until I became one - lol. Of course, that was in addition to taking care of my son full time. Smh. It's just not easy to take care of another whole person, no matter what level of care that requires.

Sometimes it seems like it's the little stuff that gets us. You know? I don't know- maybe it's all "big stuff" when you're a caregiver. Sometimes it's easier to trust Him with the big stuff. We have so many examples in scripture. Gideon fought off an innumerable army with just 300 men. Joshua and the Children of Israel marched around Jericho and the walls fell down. Moses led them across the Red Sea on dry ground. But those small things can eat our proverbial lunch.

It seems easier to ask God for strength for dealing with a brain injury, aging, cancer, or other health problems and situations we must deal with than it does when all the little things crumble around us. I can think I'm fine and pick up a pen to write something down and find it doesn't work. You'd think my world revolved around that writing utensil and it's all over just because it's not available when I need it. Or let me drop a chunk of cheese on the floor while I'm preparing a meal and you'd think WWIII had started in my kitchen. lol. Can you relate? Or is it just me?

Somehow, it seems easier to hand off the big stuff to God but keep the small stuff to deal with on our own. But I'm learning that His shoulders and heart are big enough to carry it all. And what's even more important to me - is that He wants to. We can go largely ignored. Not because people don't care - but they really don't know how to act or react to our situations. It's not their fault - they just don't know what to say or do and since they don't want to do or say something wrong - we are ignored.

We need more of Job's friends - as horrible as they were to him - when he needed them most they came to him. They sat in silence for 7 days because they simply didn't know what to say. (They should have stayed silent. lol) But they sat and sat and sat, and said nothing. However, they chose to participate in his pain. My friend Mary did that. When Chris first had the wreck she flew in from Indiana and stayed with me for almost a week. She stayed in the hospital room with us and was just there for me. It meant the world. It wasn't anything she said - she was just there - in the big stuff with me and God.

Today, I'm going to take a look around at big stuff and little stuff alike. I'll do a personal assessment to see what there may be that I have not deemed worthy of His attention. While my plate may still be "full" I know He will be shouldering some of the weight - the more I can give Him the better, right? Will you join me today in giving Him all - and trusting Him for one more day?


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.

Difficult Choices

 As caregivers, we often face difficult choices. It's not easy making decisions that directly affect our loved ones, but we do it all th...