One End to the Other


 I've been MIA for a few days. Just been too much on the plate. I won't go through my long list as I know you have one of your own. If we compared the two, it's likely to contain some very similar items, I'm sure. Our day-to-day tasks of caregiving are probably almost identical. Then we each have our mix of extras that each have the potential to be the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back. Can you relate? 

I only have one thing to say about all that - But God. Doesn't He always come through? I often find myself on the other side of one of life's confusing mazes, wondering just how He got me through it. Honestly, I'm on the going-in side of one in my life right now - but I know He's never failed, and I know He'll show me where to put my feet. If I put my feet where He just stepped - I know I'll be good! I was pouring it all out in my journal this morning, and this little poem popped out... So, I wanted to share it with my fellow caregivers. I know you "get it."

One End to the Other 

Overload & overwhelm

That's my life right now

I need to rest

I need to work

But I don't know how.

Anxiety & Calm

Two extremes I know

It's all messed up

And it's all okay

Both ways my emotions go.

Forgetfulness & Memories

Rolled up into one

I'm sad

I'm glad

Maybe I'm just done.

Faith & Tenacity

I know who I trust 

He's got me, I remind myself

From beginning to the end.

Immovable & Present

That's the God I love

Carrying me

Helping me

Adoring me from above.

Settled & Sure

Resting in Him

It's how each day gets done

One foot 

In front of the other

Until life's race is run.

(C) J. Olinger 8/31/2022


He Can Match It!


 This morning, I woke up with our scripture from yesterday still on my mind. I meditated on it all day yesterday, so no wonder it was still dancing around in my head. As usual, when I turned back to Psalm 94:19 once again, I saw something new. It's funny because I know His word didn't change from yesterday to today - but I was in a new place today. 

Again, Psalm 94:19 says this: In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. I noticed this morning as I read and reread this verse again that anxieties and comforts are both plurals. What that said to me was that God has comfort to match our anxieties. There's a comfort for every single concern or anxious thought we might drum up. 

As caregivers, we never know what a day will bring. This morning, we had a nurse visit at 8. That'll mess up your schedule. I also have to walk down to the office sometime today to pick up some supplies I ordered for Chris. No biggie - it's just one of those "one more things" that get piled on our full days, right? But the good news is that God's comfort can match it. We cannot come up with any anxiety that His comfort and peace can't match. He'll never say, oops, one too many today. You'll have to come back tomorrow.

He has enough grace, peace, comfort, and wisdom for everything life throws at us. His comforts can match the ebbs and flows of our emotions all day and all night long. That's amazing to me! I can't have too many worries (not that we are supposed to worry - but hey - we do) for Him to cover with grace. There are no circumstances that will put His output of comfort into overload. No situation will drain Him of His grace. Man, that's cool!

Today, I will remind myself that He's got me for one more day, and He won't clock out and go home no matter what comes my way. My meditation will be on how His comforts, grace, peace, and mercy can endure any situation, no matter how hard or easy. I may just sit here and sip my coffee a bit longer and rejoice that He's in it with me - and He's in it to win it! Will you join me?



Book cover of the 1 John Study Guide


I have two bookstores of devotionals, Bible study guides, poetry, and more! You can get my downloadable eBooks (some are free!) from Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore. A few of them are also available in print or for Kindle on Amazon!


In the Middle

 

Chris enjoying Bluff Creek

Boy, can my days get complicated fast! Trying to balance taking care of my son and working from home can become a bit overwhelming. You know that caregiving alone is a lot of responsibilities, and they are daily. There aren't really any days "off" because care has to be done every single day. Even if I slack on my work responsibilities, there's no time off from caregiving. 

It seems like lately, work has been my biggest stressor. Chris is doing well, but that means more time working him, stretching him, feeding him, and finding different things to stimulate his brain so it can rebuild. All of that is good, especially his progress, but it takes chunks of time. That can mean I have less time (and energy) to do the work that makes the money around here. Lol. I say all that to say - I get stressed. I know many of you can identify and have your own caregiving stressors to deal with.

But this morning, I read Psalm 94:19 with new eyes. It says, In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul. There are three things that stood out to me. First - "in" my anxieties. Secondly, the anxieties within me (they are all inside of me - not outside). And thirdly, comforts is plural, so that indicates more than one comfort - or more than one time He'll comfort me. 

God sees our frustrations, worries, doubts, and anxieties. He's familiar with the ones we haven't even figured out we have yet. And He's got a comfort to match each and every one. I love that. But - what really stood out to me this morning was the "in" at the first of the verse. He doesn't tell me to get it all fixed and come back when I'm ready to listen. He doesn't tell me He'll wait until I'm not on edge anymore. He just walks right into my anxious thoughts and feelings and extends a comfort that matches it. Now, it is still up to me whether I want to embrace His comfort and peace - or stay in my anxious state. 

I love that He isn't afraid of my "anxious thoughts," and He doesn't distance Himself from me because of them. We find Him walking right up to us with peace and comfort right there in the multitude of our anxieties. When we are in the middle of crazy thoughts, He's right there too. He won't shun us, condemn us, or avoid us because our lives don't make sense to us in the moment. What a great God He is. My anxious thoughts will never scare Him away. In fact, the Prince of Peace may take a step closer in the middle of them just so I can experience His peace and grace.

Today, I'll remind myself that no matter how crazy and hectic my thoughts and emotions may become, He is in the midst of them, waiting for me to accept His peace. I will lean in to His heart today and wait for Him so that His peace can guard my heart and mind. 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: 

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.

Grace to Sustain


 I am so thankful for His grace. We've talked about how there are threads of race throughout the Old Testament, even though we think of it as the time of the Law. Their culture and environment were harsh, too, so sometimes, we miss grace and mercy. But this weekend, as I was studying through the story of David and his sons, I found one of those strands of grace.

Right smack dab in the middle of 2 Samuel 14 is one such strand. If you read the chapters preceding and following this one, you'll find stories of rape, incest, anger, and murder... who needs TV? lol. We tend to lean toward fairy tale stories and think every one of them has a happy ending. We live in a world where we now expect a happy ending with everyone living happily ever after. This is one thing that has kept me from writing a book about my journey with my son - I don't have a "happy" ending yet. 

But in our lives, some stories don't have a happy ending - or they don't have the desired ending. Neither do the reports of lives we read in the Bible. Cain killed Able. Absalom killed Amnon (his brother too). You can't bring people back, and you can't right some wrongs. We are caregivers living in stories our lives are writing out, and everything about it isn't pretty, even though caregiving is beautiful. 

But in 2 Samuel 14:14, there is a nugget and a strand of grace in a not-so-beautiful story. It says, God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from Him. (NLT, 1996) I think we often don't expect to see this kind of grace in the harshness of the OT. But as I was reading this weekend, it was right there, literally in black and white. An extension of His grace in the midst of one of life's messiest moments. Since we know that God does not change (Hebrews 13:8, Malachi 3:6, James 1:17), we know that we also have this strand of grace extended to us.

Paul was in dire circumstances when he penned 2 Corinthians 12. I've heard it said that it was the darkest season of Paul's life. He prayed and asked God to remove his "thorn in the flesh." What was God's answer to him in that not-so-beautiful moment? My grace is sufficient for you. My power works best in your weakness. (NLT) Even though it wasn't the answer Paul wanted to hear, he went on to rejoice in his weakness, knowing it would allow him to see the power of Christ (grace) working through his circumstances.

Today, I will look for strands of grace. I know that I do not have the strength on my own to make it through a day - but it is God's sustaining grace that empowers me to continue to stand in Him by faith. I'll remind myself that He carries me when I cannot go on, and He will never complain about it either. I will utter prayers of thanksgiving as I place my heart in His hands and care as I try to navigate one more 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: 

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.


But...

 


Over the weekend, I took some time for a little old-fashioned Bible study. I sat with my pen, journal, and coffee and just enjoyed traipsing through the scriptures. I pulled out my New Living Translation and then my Amplified Bible to get all I could out of each scripture. Finally, I ended up in Psalm 2, but my eyes went to my handwritten notes on Psalm 3 in my Amplified Bible. 

Psalm 3 was written by David during the time when he was running from Absalom, his son. Absalom was committing treason and trying to take the kingdom from David. I guess David was accustomed to running after those earlier years he spent running from Saul. He wrote in the first two verses about his despair and how it seemed like no one believed David had hope left. Then, verse three starts with but...David reminds himself, but You, O Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. Wow. I need to remind myself of that daily. But what about those handwritten notes? They led me to Jeremiah 20:7-13.

Jeremiah is feeling some overwhelm too. How about that, right there in the Bible! He has lost his friends, and everyone is murmuring against him. Jeremiah is to the point of giving up, then remembers that God's words are fiery inside of him, and he just can't. Like David, Jeremiah pours out his heart in verses 7 to 10. And then verse 11 starts with but... Jeremiah says, but the Lord is with me as a mighty warrior.

There was one more scripture written alongside the verses in Psalm 3. They are Micah 7:5-10. The prophet is talking about all those who are against him, whether they are real or perceived, it's just as traumatic! He even started the first verse of chapter 7 with Woe is me! He was feeling some pain now! Then in verse 7, Micah starts with but... Micah goes on to say, but as for me, I will look to the Lord and confident in Him I will keep watch; I will wait with hope and expectancy for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.


I was blown away by these three passages. Each one was written by someone surrounded by grief and pain of some sort. I love how they felt like they could express their hearts. I love how each one turned it all to God. If we put that together, we could say the Lord is: a shield, my glory, lifter of my head, with me as a mighty warrior, my hope, my salvation - and He will hear me! That's some good stuff right there.

Today, I will let these nuggets roll around in my head as I remind myself that He's got me. He won't let go any time soon, either! He won't move away, walk away, or turn the other way. His strength, glory, hope, peace, and love are all right here to protect my heart and mind. I will remind myself that His glory has me surrounded! My meditations will be on that one little phrase, He will hear me. I believe that - do you?


                                                                                                                                                                

Support Systems

chris buckled in the van

 If you listen to the leading caregiving experts, mental health professionals, and medical providers, they will tell you how important it is to have a support system. My first thought is, well, great, I got no one. Lol. But when I expand my thinking a bit, I can list a whole host of home health nurses, doctors, specialists, and case managers that it takes to keep Chris happy and healthy. I have my niece, who comes faithfully on Fridays to give me a couple of hours for self-care or to run errands. And if I had an emergency, I have a couple of people I could call at least. 

If I expand my mind a little further, I can remind myself of numerous friends, literally around the globe, who I can call with prayer needs. There are at least 2 or 3 I could make a middle-of-the-night call to if need be. I wouldn't do that - waking them up probably wouldn't help the situation, but it helps to know they are there. Knowing there are people out there who can touch heaven when I need it most helps a lot! Maybe we should start a caregiver prayer network!!

Nature has support systems too. I have some roses that I bought myself last week. Don't judge - it's self-care. Lol! They are wilting and have "no hope." Why don't they have hope? Because there are no roots to help bring them back to life. While we can think of our support system as fingered roots, nothing beats being rooted in the Prince of Peace.

When we are rooted in Him, we have a support system that will never fail and never die. We have hope. I don't know what the Sons of Korah were dealing with when they wrote Psalm 42, but they seemed to be in distress. In verses 5 and 11, they mention being "cast down" or downcast. Then in true psalmist fashion, they encouraged themselves by saying, hope in God followed by their personal declaration, I shall yet praise Him. (NKJV) They recognized that no matter how low life's circumstances had pressed them, God was their help. 

Today, I will remind myself that all true hope comes from God. My meditations will be on being firmly planted and rooted in Him - the Prince of Peace. My declaration will be My hope is in God alone; I will praise Him. He doesn't change with the waves of life. He remains constant. And even if He ends up carrying me through today again - I can trust Him with my heart. Will you join me?


Today's FB Live video on hope and roots.



No Cancellations


I was recently invited to a friend's party, but I would need to fly to attend. There are always lots of factors at play when you are a caregiver trying to make travel arrangements. Sometimes, the tasks needed to schedule an outing are a deterrent. One of the biggest factors in my decision to NOT go on the trip this time was that airlines were canceling flights. It was problematic for many travelers who found themselves stuck in a remote location trying to get home. Not only did I not need to get stuck somewhere, I didn't want to put sitters in a position to try and figure out what to do with Chris in my extended absence. So, I chose not to go.

I've thought about the trip I missed a lot. I wish I could have gone. But I do feel like it was the best choice, the most responsible one. It was frustrating, though, to feel like I was at the mercy of airlines that might or might not provide the services I paid for. 

My thoughts soon turned to thanksgiving as I realized God doesn't ever have cancellations. He never tells us, never mind.  And, of course, He won't leave us stranded! What He has said - is said, and remains. He will not cancel His peace, grace, mercy, or love! He never takes us somewhere and then tells us its' not convenient to get us back home. 

God continues to love with the same love He's always had for us. His peace is still intact. His mercy and grace still cover and carry us. He will not cancel anything. He didn't even cancel the cross. And no one would have blamed Him if He had. Everything He's said, done, and given us still stands. Time won't erase them or make them fade. And He's not going to cancel any of them - ever!

Today, I will be thankful for His consistency. My meditations will be on all the things He has done and continues to do for us. I'll rejoice in the truth that He won't cancel His assignment of love toward me! Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                                                

ReGroups


 One of the things about caregiving is that it is so constant. Even if you take a "break" (whatever that is), you're still on call in case decisions need to be made or the interim caregiver needs information. Of course, some days are better and easier than others, but all in all, it's a constant thing. There is a daily need to reinvent yourself to take on the chores and tasks for each new day. And you know what? That's okay. Because it forces us to run back to His mercies that are new every single morning - for our benefit, not His!

Each day we get up with a full plate. Hopefully, we got to sleep that night, as sometimes that's not a given, either. But God is always there to greet us. I have this picture of Him watching us sleep like all parents do. He's so excited when we awaken to a new day with Him, even if it's one He may need to carry us through. He patiently does that time and time again.

Maybe if life was all smooth sailing, we wouldn't need Him so much. Maybe the storm is what drives us to seek Him as our shelter. We don't "need" a shelter without a storm, right? While I don't like the storm, I don't care for all the uncomfortable things about caregiving, but I am thankful that they have driven me deeper into His heart. Are you?

Today, I'll take my eyes off the pressing storm and think about how safely I am hidden in Him. Even though my heart hears the thunder rolling and sees the lightning flashing, I'll rest in Him because I know that His heart is the safest place on earth. Will you join me?






All the Feels


 This morning as I was preparing for a Bible study class I attend on Monday nights, I found myself in 1 Kings 18. I've always loved the stories of Elijah and Elisha, and I've read this account many times. Elijah has been sent by God with a message for evil king Ahab. He meets Obadiah along the way. Verse 3 tells us that Obadiah feared the Lord greatly, which doesn't mean he was afraid of God, but that he served Him. Obadiah was returning from hiding 100 of God's prophets when he encounters Elijah.

In chapter 18, we can read the amazing story that has been shared many times about how Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, and God sent fire down from heaven to consume Elijah's sacrifice. But that made Jezebel and Ahab mad and probably a little bit uncomfortable. Well, no one likes to lose, right? lol. After this great victory, Elijah runs to the cave to hide. Why would he fear humans after witnessing such a miraculous sight? But we find him in a cave (v. 9) and feeling alone. God asks Elijah what in the world he was doing there. And Elijah says he'd been zealous for God - but now I alone am left. 

Here's the thing - he wasn't alone - even though he felt like he was. He had talked to Obadiah recently, and there were at least 100 prophets of God out in the other caves. But as it all came crushing in on him, he felt alone. 

As caregivers, we can feel like we live alone in a cave sometimes. But just like God came to Hagar, in verse 9, God came to Elijah. He asked Elijah what he was doing there in the cave. God proceeds to take Elijah out to the mountain and again asks him what he is doing there. Elijah responds again, I am alone. Even after witnessing miracles and hearing directly from God - Elijah felt alone. 

I enjoyed reading this story again because it reminded me that just like God came for Hagar, the woman at the well, the blind man after he was kicked out of the temple, and now for Elijah - God will come for me. He will remind me that I'm not alone. No matter how alone I may feel - God is here to ask me about it. 

Today, even though I may feel alone, I'll remind myself that God is right here. He walks right into the caregiver's cave where I have barricaded my heart and my emotions. And He says, Why are you here? But even in the question - I remind myself that He is "here" too. And I can trust Him to be with me for one more 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: 

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.


If It's All the Same to You


 I've studied time for years now, and I'm fascinated with it. I'd really like to understand more about how God sees time because our view of it is quite limited. I wonder what time looks like from eternity's viewpoint. For now, it'll just be a lot of thoughts running around in my head. Yesterday, I saw something that reminded me that there are 1440 minutes in each day. There's no way to manipulate that number up or down.

While I think it'd be nice for caregivers to get a few more minutes than everyone else, we just don't. Everyone, rich or poor, believer or unbeliever, old or young, and male or female, gets the exact same amount of time to work with each and every day. It's the only true level playing ground we have in the world, meaning no one can get more, and no one gets less. We all have to live our days out 1440 minutes at a time.

At first, we may think we don't know a lot about time. But we know that time is in His hands. And we know that He chose to put us right here at this point in time. He could have put us later or earlier  - but here we are trying to survive 2022! lol. We also know that although God walks through time with us, He is not limited by it. Personally, I'm so glad that though God is eternal and dwells in eternity - He chooses to walk through time with us. He chooses to be involved with us. I love that.

So, this great, magnificent, eternal being chooses to spend 1440 minutes with us each day. He doesn't spend more time with you than He does with me and vice versa! We all have the exact same opportunity to spend our days and even the long nights leaning on Him and listening for His breath. That's cool.

Today, I will remind myself that He is present in time with me. I'll meditate on the truth that no matter how I spend my time, He is right there, and He's not going anywhere, either. My thoughts will be on how He longs to be with us (because that still sort of blows my mind), and chooses to be here with us when He could get lost in His Kingdom and never even glance our way. Instead, He walks through time with us, listening for our hearts too. My heart overflows with gratitude toward His lovingkindness and careful watching over our souls. I think I can trust Him for 1440 more minutes, 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! 

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.


Spinning Plates


Do you ever feel like life is a juggling act? I remember seeing performers whose greatest skill was spinning plates. They ran back and forth, working to keep the plates all spinning at once. Some days, caregiving feels like that. Lol. I know you know the drill. Feeding, transferring, dressing, bathing, walking, therapies, and the list just goes on and on. Lately, I've learned that it's okay if a plate or two hit the ground. Sometimes, it's physically impossible to keep every single plate spinning at a high enough rate of speed. One is going to fall. 

Having so many things that must be done every single day is definitely not easy. Most days - it gets done. One thing is for sure, I haven't died yet if I let one or two things slide every now and then for my mental health's sake. Of course, there are things that cannot be skipped like medications, treatments, and just getting up. But I'm learning that some things can wait. I won't die if I sit down for 5 minutes, and neither will Chris. An afternoon cup of tea is often a gift I can give myself.

Most days for caregivers are lived in full-throttle mode. I mean, we are caring for another whole individual. We basically do everything twice. We dress ourselves. We dress them. We feed ourselves. We feed them. We get up and go to the living room. We get them up and put them in a chair or help transport them to the living room. We bathe or shower ourselves. We bathe them. And that goes on and on, all day long, until we tuck them into bed at night and head for bed ourselves.

In between, there are many other things to be done, like cooking, cleaning, or working from home. I just made myself tired thinking about it. 

We always have a choice. In the midst of the spinning plates, we can become anxious and frustrated. Or we can choose to take the plates down every now and then, stack them neatly, and hand them to Him. We can even continue trusting Him while spinning our plates. We can trust that He will guide our hands in each task we undertake. We can give Him the crazy thoughts that go along with spinning plates. And we can rest in Him while the plates are spinning. 

Today, while I am spinning my plates, I will take a deep breath and trust Him to help me balance it all out. I'll trust Him to help me choose which plates need to keep spinning and which ones can be set aside for a while. Even though I'm busy with the must-dos of the day, I will rest my heart in His. Will you join me?


Fast as a Blink

 


I've bragged about it before, but I can go from happy-go-lucky, great attitude to a bundle of emotional tears in less than a second! Sometimes, we talk about caregiving without realizing the emotions that are attached, but they are certainly part of the package. And one we cannot often ignore. They will sneak up on us from time to time. Grief is part of caregiving, whether we are grieving over a parent who is slowly slipping away or a child whose dreams were crushed by tragedy, or dreams that never were in the first place. 

Grief can slowly ooze in and take over, or it can sneak up on you, and BAM! This morning, I stepped outside to tend to my plants. School starts back today for many schools in the area. As soon as I opened the door to step out onto my front patio, I heard the drumline practicing. It hit me so hard since my son was a drummer from the age of 8. Scenes of watching him march and play rolled through my mind as I crumbled into a pile of tears. Will those things ever stop hurting so badly?


Living grief is so real for many of us. I dealt with it with my mom as dementia slowly took her away from us. Her body was here for us to hug and love, but she wasn't who she used to be. It's the same with my son. Thankfully, I have lots of beautiful memories with him. But who he used to be was taken away in the blink of an eye. One missed driving calculation, and 14 years later, he's just learning to walk again. Even though I watched him march with expertise all those years ago. 

By choice, I have taught myself to rejoice in progress, no matter how small. I heard a phrase early on, progress is progress. I live by that because it doesn't matter how little it looks or how slow it feels; progress is indeed progress. I think spiritually, it's the same. If I trust Him a little more today - no matter what - it's still progress. If I run to Him a little faster when emotions hit, it's still progress. If I wipe my tears and declare one more time that my heart will trust in Him. It's still progress.

Today, I will thank Him for walking this journey with me. I'll ask Him to show me ways I trust Him more and areas where I am quicker to turn to Him. I'll also ask Him to show me areas where I've been holding back and trying to make it on my own without Him. (Isn't that silly?) Today, I'll look back over the years and thank Him for carrying me to this point. I'll rejoice in progress made, no matter how small it seems. Because any progress at trusting our big God is still progress. 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: 

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.

When Two Seekers Meet

 

Kyrie and Chris at the park

Jesus told us to seek first the Kingdom of God. Jeremiah told us that when we seek Him, we will find Him. But as I have been studying lately, I'm finding that God was the first seeker. He came looking for Adam right after they sinned in the Garden of Eden. Where are you, Adam? He found Moses on the backside of the wilderness and called him to deliver the Children of Israel. We've talked many times about Hagar and how the angel of the Lord found her. 

I've been studying the woman at the well. Jesus had to go through Samaria, He told His disciples. Why? To find a nameless woman by a nameless well. He shared with her that He was the source of living water and that He was indeed more than a prophet - He was the Messiah. 

Then, this week, I found another "find" in the scriptures, and it blew me away. How have I missed this one? It's in John 9. I love this story of how Jesus healed the blind man. It's a great read! Eventually, the religious zealots kicked the formerly blind man out of the temple. It wasn't because he was healed, but because he asked them if they wanted to be disciples of Jesus too. In verse 35, John says, When Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and when He had found him...

He went looking for a man religion had discarded. Jesus purposefully sought the formerly blind man out and shared with him the full gospel. Verse 38 says, then he worshiped Him. Just wow. I think caregivers deal with rejection quite a bit, even though it can come in many forms. Maybe we don't fit in at some churches, can't participate in some settings, and are largely ignored by a society that doesn't understand. But God will come for us. He will seek us out. He is the first great Seeker, after all.

Scriptures say when we seek Him - He will let us find Him. (Jeremiah 29:14 "I will be found by you.") Can we turn that around and see that He is also seeking us? He wants a relationship with us, and He'll do anything to get it! He comes seeking - can we let Him find us today?

Today, I will remind myself that God is looking for relationship with me. I'll choose to let His heart find mine. I'll choose to let His heart reside in mine. When two seekers meet, it's a glorious reunion full of love and joy. Today, I won't run from the Seeker. I will stop and let Him find me right where I am. No matter how lonely, discarded, or disheveled I feel in my soul - He is still seeking after me. That brings my soul comfort, knowing that He hasn't given up His search for a soul that will worship Him. Will you join me in welcoming and worshiping Him today?



                                                                                                                                           


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Totally Accessible

 


No matter what your caregiving situation is, some things are just difficult. Some caregivers have a little leeway and can leave their loved ones alone for short periods so they can run errands or get out for a walk. Others, like my own situation, are such that our loved ones cannot be left alone even for a short time because they are total care.

When I was caring for my aunt, she used a walker, and that made it difficult to get in and out of places. She walked so slowly, it was laborious. If I take my son somewhere, there is loading, strapping in, driving to the location, unstrapping, and unloading. Then repeat all that when we are ready to go home or somewhere else. It's not difficult, but it does complicate what is a simple task for most. Add to that the difficulty of true accessibility, and you've got someone like me who is more content to just stay home. lol. 

When I first became a caregiver, not being able to attend church was difficult. Later, I tried, but there were so many pieces to the puzzle. We couldn't do "home groups" as most homes are not accessible. (That's my new dream - to build a fully accessible home!) Many stores say they are accessible - they follow the letter of the law, but they do not make it easy to push a chair into their establishment. It's frustrating to not be able to access stores, churches, and homes like we'd like to. 

This is one thing I love about God. He makes it so easy to get to Him no matter where we are coming from. Everyone can find Him if they seek for Him. He is totally accessible from any heart in any condition. He won't turn a person away because they are too bad, too dark, too confused, too lonely, too hurt, or too anything. He makes sure we know we can reach Him whenever we are ready.

Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. But look at the first part of verse 14: I will be found by you. He literally makes Himself accessible. It's like playing hide-n-seek with someone who won't hide and lets you find them. God doesn't turn anyone who seeks Him away. He won't say that our situations are too complex or confusing. He won't even tell us we are too emotional for Him. God doesn't tell us to talk more or talk less. He just bids us come.

Today, I will run to Him with all my baggage. I'll take Him my hurt, my joys, my confusion, my happiness, my sadness, and my whole self. I'll thank Him for being fully accessible with no hitches in the process. I'll turn my heart to seek Him on a deeper level today, knowing that He will let me find Him! I love that. Not only will God let us find Him, but He'll lead us right to Himself, where we can give our souls a cool refreshing drink of His peace and comfort. So, if you look for me - I'll be with Him drinking in His peace because it's always accessible! 


Book cover of the 1 John Study Guide


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Many Returns

Helping chris stand at the park

 If you've read along with me over the years, you know I frequently take a run through some of my favorite verses and passages. I trust you know them and love them as well as I do. One such passage that gets frequent flyer miles from caregivers is Psalm 61. Maybe it's because we feel overwhelmed often, or that we need the reminder to just keep running to our Rock.

This morning, I was up early trying to catch up on some of last week's projects, and I just started feeling overwhelmed. Along with all the things I need to get done today, I have some things leaking over from last week. Chris got a blessing last week as Medicaid finally approved a SmartVest for him. Such a blessing, but it also takes another hour or so out of each day. (Definitely not a complaint, just a statement - and I know you understand.) I just want to "clock out" for a little bit. But it seems like even a few moments of relaxation can make the pile of responsibilities taller and more difficult to overcome.

As all these things started closing in on my heart and mind today, my mind ran back to Psalm 61. My prayer this morning was for the Lord to lead me back to the Rock once again. I kind of chuckled to myself and thought about how often I run to that Rock. I just keep running back for many returns! But when I opened my Bible to this psalm, I realized the psalmist ran back there a lot too. In verse 2, he prays for the Lord to lead him to the Rock when he is overwhelmed. In the next verse, he reminds himself that the Rock had been his shelter and a strong tower from the enemy many times. He had many returns to that rock as well. 

It's comforting to know that the Rock has been there for many generations. Matter of fact, Psalm 90 contains the words of Moses who said, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. As I type that out, I think that Moses was in the game early on. Since he penned that psalm, there have been many more generations added to it! The Rock still stands and will continue to stand for generations to come.

Today, I'll remind myself that I can run back to the Rock as many times as I need to for safety of heart and mind. My thoughts will be on how our Rock is stable, unmoving, and always welcoming. I think I'll remind myself of all the times I've run to Him over the years, and how He has never disappointed. And with that - I'll just take off running to Him again today. He is our present help, isn't He? I'll take a few minutes to thank Him for being there, for helping me, and for giving me His peace and strength. And I'll thank Him for never complaining when He has to carry me. Will you join me?

Right Back to Him

 God is so patient with us. I run to Him so often, I often wonder if He silently shakes His head as I approach for the millionth time. In a ...