Still the Same

chris looking at his neice

 Well, it's almost a new year, and I guess you know what that means! Pretty much nothing, huh? Oh, if we write the date now, we'll switch out the last 2 for a 3! That's about it. There's no magic potion or button that gets pushed at midnight to signal anything new except on a calendar. I do like a new year, as it gives us a chance to reassess the previous year and choose what we'd like to change, set new goals, and things like that. But really, nothing changes at midnight tonight - but that's not all bad.

We'll wake up tomorrow still caregiving, still working, still doing our daily chores while the rest of the world gets to take a holiday. Hopefully, some of us will get precious time with friends or family to make the day brighter. But whatever caregiving situation we are in won't change tonight when the clock strikes 12. Again - that's not all bad!

When we wake up tomorrow in a new year, we'll still have everything God promised us. We'll find that His mercies are still being renewed every single morning, and tomorrow will be no different. His heart is still filled with love for us, and His grace will continue being enough to carry us through whatever we face each day of the coming year. His peace (that He gives us) will still be intact. His presence will be just as real and as tangible as we let it be! So "nothing changes" is actually a pretty good thing, I think!

So, I don't have to dread tomorrow - because God's kingdom won't change while we sleep tonight. Every promise He's ever made will still be active as we flip the calendar to a new year. I love that about God. He doesn't change in response to anything that goes on "down here." He is still full of grace, love, mercy, and loving kindness. We can be certain that He'll carry us through next year just like He has this year. That makes me smile - because He has no plans of leaving us stranded in our crazy emotions, anxious thoughts, and hectic lives.

Today, I will be thankful that God is still God, and nothing will change about Him - including how much He loves us and wants to be with us. I'll remind myself that His grace is always enough for any situation and that He's still got me! (One thing I am so thankful doesn't ever change!) So this next year, I just plan on continuing to trust Him for each new day. Will you join me?


One More Time

Chris standing up at the park

 Does it ever seem like your thoughts get stuck running along one track and it's hard to get them back where they need to be? Mine do. It seems I so easily get sucked into the black hole of emotions and horrible thought patterns. Honestly, it can be difficult to get my head back on the word and where it needs to be. Like David, I find I must encourage myself in the Lord many days. Sometimes, it's many times every day. Lol.

This year has had a lot of ups and downs, just like every year, right? And here we are in the last couple of days and I'm looking for ways I need to change. In the middle of that, I can be hard on myself. I'm starting to think caregivers do that a lot. Am I right? There is always something left undone at the end of the day - sometimes it's us! Lol. Each evening we can be swamped with all the things we wanted to get done and didn't. We met each demand made on us as well as we could and cared for our loved ones to the best of our abilities. But sometimes we need to hear one more time, that we are enough. We are loved by our Caregiver. We are surrounded by His grace. We can do all things through His strength. And sometimes, hearing those things one more time isn't enough. I have to remind myself all day long. Do you?

So, as we close out this year (there's one more day, of course), let this blog remind you that God's got you covered and He's right there in the mix with you - no matter how crazy, how overwhelming, how confusing, how big, or any other adjective you need to describe your current situation - He didn't leave when it got tough. As a matter of fact, He leaned in just a little closer. Sometimes, we just need to close our eyes and focus on Him with our souls.

Today, I will remind myself one more time that God has me. My thoughts will be on how His grace has carried me through yet another year I thought I couldn't make it through. Yet, here I am still hidden in Him - and look - you're here too! Congrats on a successful year's journey. My meditations will be on His grace and I'll picture Him carrying me right on into the new year. Will you join me in His arms today?



                                                                                                                                           


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.



Stay in the Game

Chris holding a football

 I love football! I used to spend hours playing it in the yard. My mom loved it then too, but only because it kept me out of the house for entire afternoons. Lol. I am an old-school Houston Oilers fan; that's where fandom all started for me. I loved Earl Campbell and still do. As I watched him and some of the other greats from that era, I learned to love the game. More recently, since becoming a caregiver, I started enjoying college football. 

Last night, I watched a bowl game. Arkansas was ahead 35 to 13. It was the final quarter, with not too much time left, when Kansas started an epic comeback. They were able to tie the game with seconds left on the clock, which sent the game into the first of a historic three overtimes. They lost in that third overtime, but they played with heart and guts. They stayed in the game when the world thought they were out. The Liberty Bowl will now go down in history as one of the most thrilling games of the season due to a team that never gave up and ended up setting all sorts of records.

Sportscasters aren't talking so much about the actual winners of the game based on numbers. They are talking about the epic comeback and heart of the Kansas team that tried. Of course, the win would have been an even better story, but Kansas has nothing to be ashamed of. 

In caregiving, there are no numbers to declare "winners" or "losers." We win when we stay in the game. It can be hard, and it can be stressful, but we can't give up on faith. Colossians 3:17 tells us that whatever we do - we should do it whole-heartedly as if we were doing it for Christ. I'm pretty sure that caregiving counts. Caring for our loved ones won't necessarily bring us any "victories" by the numbers on earth, but it will mean we win in the heart. We serve them as if we were serving Christ, and there is reward in that.

Staying in the game means not quitting when it looks impossible. It means we keep trusting God no matter how crazy our emotions get or how many funky roads our thoughts run down. Staying in the game means we just keep trusting God to lead us, to care for us as caregivers, to love us, and to keep us in the midst of the fight of our lives. And He will do all of that and more!

Today, I'll keep my heart and soul in the game by declaring my trust in Him. When I feel like I'm losing it, I'm all alone, or I just can't take one more step - I'll just lean into Him more closely. I'll kick my determination up a notch and give it another run. I'll center my heart on His grace, which carries me, and I'll trust Him for just one more day - one more play. I'll trust He'll make this day epic because I choose to stay in the faith game. 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.

Peace Agents

 This morning, I'm running super short on time, so I thought I'd share the live devotions I did on FaceBook earlier. Plus - I have an announcement!! I'm working on creating a YouTube section just for caregivers. It'll be private, so no one can access it without the links. Let me know if you'd like to have access. Until then - here's today's devotion on being a peace agent.




Spent With Grief

 

Me talking to chris after our first race

This morning, my emotions were all over the place. Who even knows why right? It just happens sometimes. Maybe it was a memory that sparked sadness or the crazy, rough dreams I had early this morning. (No, I didn't have pizza last night! Lol.) I chose to spend my morning devotions in a very familiar place - Psalm 31. It's been a long-time favorite psalm of mine, and it's loaded with good stuff to meditate on all day.

I read through the entire psalm before really landing anywhere. But I had a hard time just skipping by verses 9 and 10. David describes his eyes wasting away with grief in verse 9. Then, in verse 10, the psalmist says my life is spent with grief and my years with sighing. (NKJV) Boy, did I feel it this morning. Grief may come in waves, or it may set up camp - but it comes. I think caregivers deal with different types of grief. Those who are caring for parents miss the person their parent was and deal with the emotions of a huge role reversal. Those of us caring for children grieve for the person they were too. Parents caring for children with disabilities grieve over what could have been. 

David goes on to use some terms common to caregivers. He talks about being a reproach, forgotten, fearful, and alone. (I relate to all of those, do you relate to any of these emotions and feelings?) But here's what I love about David, he wraps up the midsection of this psalm with a faith confession. But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say "You are my God." (v.14 NKJV) I love that David is so open and honest with his emotions and feelings because, in many circles today, it's not acceptable.

We can wrap up every crazy thought and release every wild emotion in prayer to the God Who hears us. As a matter of fact, He's aware of all of it, even if we don't share it with Him. So, He patiently waits for us to bring it to Him and trust Him with our care. That's not too different than our loved ones trusting us with their care (even if they don't know they are doing that!). 

Today, I will package up all my emotions and give them to God. I'll trust Him to care for me today. I will trust God to bandage up my wounded soul (mind, will, emotions) and anoint me with the salve of His Holy Spirit so I am whole in Him. I'll let Him carry my concerns today - and I'll let Him carry me too! Will you join me?

I Wasn't Ready

Chris outside standing in the standing frame

 I never dreamed that Christmases alone would be in my future. But there it was. We had invites, but life didn't give us the go-ahead, so we ended up spending Christmas Eve and Christmas alone this year. It was okay; I was just a little surprised that it happened to us. I don't know why. So, if you spent the holiday alone, I'm sorry. It's a sinking feeling.

Sure, I tried to scan Facebook a time or two, but all I saw were all the happy families spending great times together. I just avoided social media for most of the day, got a lot of work done, and tried to push it all out of my mind. But, boy, did it nag. I wasn't really emotional about it, but it sure hung over my head all day long for the two days. I'll plan differently for next year, that's for sure.

While I focused on working and getting a few projects done, I kept reminding myself that it was no big deal. But nagging thoughts like I'm not important to anyone kept trying to gain ground in my head. I even knew it wasn't true - I had places to go. It just didn't work out so that we could. I hope you didn't have a similar experience, but if you did, now is a great time to remind yourself that God is here - wherever your "here" is today. 

He hasn't unplugged His mercy, and His thread of grace still runs through every aspect of our lives. For this, I am thankful. Whether we spent the holiday with a crowd of family or friends or we spent it all alone, His grace, peace, love, and mercy were all still intact. I love that about God. He never outlines an area He won't enter or touch. He binds our wounds and heals our hurts. And He does it over and over again, for they are many when you are a caregiver.

Today, I'll remind myself that God is right here. I'll let my soul rest in the truth that He's got me covered and surrounded. My meditation will be on His ever-abiding presence and His comfort that remains extended even in my pain. My heart will be grateful that He never forgets about us, and we are not just an item way down on His to-do list either. We are front and center in His mind - He's near the brokenhearted, right? So, He must be right here in our today. So, I'll trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

                                                                                                                                         

Grace Enough

Chris smiling while hanging out at a park with me

 The holidays are particularly hard for many caregivers. I'm kinda used to not getting together with family during the holidays; there's usually some reason. Last year, we'd been exposed to Covid on Christmas Eve and missed the family get-together. Today, it's just too cold to take Chris out, even though it's warmed up to a balmy 16 degrees! Not being able to celebrate traditional holidays can make the loneliness we feel year-round seem even deeper. I'm so thankful that His grace is enough to carry us through every lonely moment. Sometimes, it's in the darkest hours of our souls that we find His sustaining grace. 

We can rest assured that His grace is enough for the holidays too. Jesus doesn't take Christmas off, even though He could celebrate His "birthday." Lol. Whether we have a house full of loved ones and gifts, or we are spending the days alone with our loved ones, His grace is enough. 

About this time of year, I start reflecting on the year we are leaving and looking forward to the new beginnings of a new year. I also plan some changes for the new year. I'm going to be more Bible teaching on my YouTube channel and am still working to narrow down my ideas, so there's some structure. (I have WAY too many ideas and not enough time!) Of course, this blog will remain in my plans for the next year - I'd just like to see myself improve on consistency! But whether I'm looking back or forward, His grace is enough. 

I look back from last Christmas to this holiday season and see a lot of changes and improvements. I have seen His grace work in so many ways, and I plan to keep open eyes moving forward. I'll be keeping a lookout for His grace in action in my life. I hope you'll join me in celebrating and actively seeking His grace, for it is His grace that carries us through caregiving days.

Today, as I spend Christmas Eve alone with my son, I'll adopt an attitude of thankfulness. I'll remind myself of all that God has done for us this last year and how His blessing continues. My heart will be set on thanksgiving for His grace that never runs out, never runs low, and is always "enough" for each day - and that includes today. I'll keep an eye out for threads of grace running through my day today as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Check out this morning's Facebook live on His grace.


The Rest of the Story

 


When I was a kid, we often listened to Paul Harvey on the radio. One of my parents' favorite spots was his "The Rest of the Story." Mr. Harvey would lead in with an interesting, familiar story. Then he'd fill in all the gaps that were not as well known. Most of the population knew the "end" of the story, but there were so many interesting details worked in to help the person or persons reach their end goals. It was always so inspiring to hear of how people overcame adversity to achieve major life goals. He'd always end with, "And now, you know the rest of the story." 

I wonder what the rest of our stories will look like. Maybe none of us will do anything the whole world will know about - but what we do every single day is still extraordinary. In essence, we are laying down our lives for our loved ones. But sacrificial love isn't talked about too much these days. Maybe it's because we live in such a selfish society that they can't see selflessness or understand it. It always encourages me to think about how Christ did that for us. He embraced selflessness and came for us. We are His prize.

While it makes sense to me that we would lay aside our dreams and desires to care for our loved ones, I can't quite grasp how Jesus chose to die for us; for me. But - we are the rest of the story. We may never know the rest of our stories; we've got a lot of steps left in our journeys. But Jesus knew the rest of His story before He came as the baby messiah so many years ago. He knew we were His prize - and He still thought we were worth it.

We love those we are caring for, right? And we care for them so much that many times we die inside just so they can live. That's our heart. That's Jesus' heart too. So, here's the thing - you look a lot like Him. We all have many shortcomings and flaws and make plenty of mistakes. But we just keep going for our loved one's sake. He walked right down a painful path for us - and that's what we do for those we care for day after day. 

My point? Jesus knew the rest of the story - and came anyway. We were worth it to Him. We are loved.

Today, I'll encourage myself by reminding myself that He came for me. I will meditate on how much love and dedication it took for Him to come and live and die on my behalf, knowing what a mess I would be. I just need to know that I was worth it. I'll be thankful today that He knew everything about me and came anyway. I can rest in that truth and reassure my heart that He really does love me right here, right now. He gets us as caregivers and gives grace for the journey. I'll embrace His love today and lean a little closer to Him as I trust Him to write the rest of my story. 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.

Not Strong Enough

Chris in the standing frame

 Do you ever have people compliment you by telling you how strong you are? Occassionally, it happens to me. I try to  be gracious and thank them for their kind words. But inside, I feel oh so weak.As survivors and overcomes of the many obstacles of life, we may look strong. We may also catch some flack for being so independent. But when people don't show up for us, and that happens a lot for caregivers, we learn to kick into survival mode and I can do it myself mode, right? Then they say - you are so strong. I'm like, yeah, right - it's because I have to be.

Experience Speaks Loudly

One time early on in my caregiving journey, I had two routes for my son's future treatment. I called together those who I thought were going to be helpful in his care, as I needed some input. After I explained the options, they both just shrugged their shoulders and said basically, "it's on you, so do what you feel best." I was deflated and disappointed. I trudged forward.

Isn't that what we do a lot? We keep putting one foot in front of the other relying on God to be there for each step. No wonder David said in Psalm 119:105, Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. We may not be all that strong, but we are strong enough to wait for Him to illuminate our paths so we can take one more step. Sometimes, it seems like God is our only helper (not that that is all bad), because no one else is there for us.

But then... there's grace.

We can count on His grace to carry us through each day on the days we just can't take it and the days we think we've got it all handled. He's always there to help us along the caregiving path. I can say with no reservation that it is His strength that carries me from one day into the next. He's always provided, even when it seemed there was literally no way to make it. He's always lit my path, even when it was so dark I couldn't see. And on those days when I think surely my soul is going to take it's last breath, He is right there to carry, console, comfort, and care for my soul. Man, He's good isn't He?

Being weak is not a bad thing when you land in the hands of the God of creation.Feeling dazed and confused is not to be feared when God's wisdom is just a prayer away. Being on the proverbial edge is not so bad when you know you're going to fall into the hands of an alert God who is paying attention to every single detail of your life.

Just for Today.

Today, I'll remind myself that God is right here - no matter where my "here" is. I'll comfort my soul by assuring myself that He's got me. He won't let me fall or fail. I'll meditate on His eternal presence in my life - and remind myself that He is here by choice, not because I am strong, but because I am weak. I will rejoice knowing that His strength is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Cor. 12:9)So, I'll just be content and set back and watch Him flex His muscles as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

The Sifter


 Do you ever feel like you're living life in the sifter? You know the one - where Jesus told Peter that Satan had asked to sift him like wheat. Then, Jesus prayed that Peter's faith wouldn't fail? I always wondered why Jesus didn't pray that Peter wouldn't have to go through all that. Why didn't He pray that Peter would just be strong - but isn't it the sifting trials in our lives that build our faith in God? Maybe they are responsible for making us lean in to Him a little more closely.

This morning, I found another scripture like that. It's in John 17:15. It's Jesus' final prayer before He heads to the cross. He prayed, I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (NKJV) Sifting is going to happen, and we don't even get an exemption card as caregivers. Sometimes, it's the caregving that acts as a sifter, trying our faith.

Hard things are going to come our way, that's a given. But the One who keeps us remains with us through them all. As caregivers, we deal with grief, loss, and tons of other emotional baggage that we have to work through on a daily basis. We can trust that God has our back, our front, and our in-betweens. He gives us peace, comfort, and even joy, right in the midst of our struggles. He may not lift our troubles away, but He lifts us in the middle of them all. No where in the Bible do we see God making the path easy for those walking through time. Instead, He walked with them, just like He walks with us. 

Oh, do I wish sometimes that He would just remove the sifter! Just remove the hard parts, please! But even if He did - there'd be more hard parts down the road. They are what He uses to shape our faith, much like Peter's. But Peter wasn't perfect, even though Jesus Himself prayed for him. Just a couple chapters further in John, we see Peter totally denying that he knew Jesus. And yet, Jesus prayed for Peter anyway. And ultimately, Peter stood. In faith. In Christ. He became a pillar of faith in the church as it unfolded over the next few years. There's hope for us too! 

The difficult things can shape our faith, if we let them. It's all about leaning into God rather than pulling away when the going gets tough. We can trust that He's got us in His hand - no matter what our world's look like. No matter what types of disarray we are dealing with - He's got it all under control. Trusting Him - well, that's as simple as faith gets.

Today, I will lean in to Him just a little closer. I see all the chaos and disarray in my world, and I know He sees it too. But He won't run away or turn away from the painting of my life that seems to have gone awry. Instead, if I let Him, He takes the brush and turns it into something beautiful, stunning me and the world who sees it.  So, today, I'm handing Him my brush, and I'll let Him paint while I ride out the sifter. I'll just trust Him - will you join me?

                                                                                                                                           

Songs in the Night

chris standing while i help offer support

This morning, I read the story of Paul and Silas in the jail. The account is found in Acts 16. It describes how they were beaten and thrown into prison, not based on something wrong they did, but due to greed on someone else's part. In verse 25, it says that about midnight, Paul and Silas began to sing and pray. Now, my first thought in those midnight moments of my life is not always about singing or praising God. Of course, I had to wonder what in the world they were singing about.

No matter what the words were, no matter what they were singing, it was about God. And that's why they had songs in the night. When we find ourselves in tight spots, we can still sing about the goodness of God. Why? Because our circumstances didn't change His goodness. What we go through doesn't change His grace. His mercies are still new every morning - no matter what the morning brings.

I have to wonder how our situations might be changed, or at least our attitudes, if we sing about our unghanging God, even in dire circumstances. In Acts 16, God shook the place and their chains fell off while the doors swung open. But no one left. Maybe it was symbolic for us. When we praise God and acknowledge His unchanging love, patience, mercy, grace, and other attributes - what holds our souls in bondage falls off. We may not walk directly out of the circumstances that moment. But our souls are free no matter what we see.

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul opens up about being hard-pressed, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down. In some ways, we can relate as caregivers. Life can have a way of dealing some hard blows. Sometimes, we don't even have time to react before we are dealt another blow. But we can continue to sing of the goodness of God, His rich mercy, and His all-sufficient grace right in the middle of our situations. We can sing about the light in our souls while sitting in the darkest night. And when we do - we find such freedom inside.

Today, I will meditate on the unchangeable attributes of God. I'll thank Him for His grace, mercy, and favor in my life. I'll remind myself that these things don't change, even when life changes. My thoughts will be on how God continues to carry me when needed. I'll remind myslef that He's walking through time with me - by His own choosing. Then, I will rest in the comfort of that thought as I trust Him for just one more day. Will you join me?

Small Stuff

Kyrie and Chris at the park

I'm starting to think that there are no easy days for caregivers. Each day is somewhat mundane, doing the same tasks over and over and never really getting "done." But in the middle of that, we never know what kind of wrench may get thrown into the mix. A surprise doctor visit. A phone call in the night. Delayed shipments. A sudden fever. We never know what a day, or a long night, may bring. Keeping a positive outlook and fighting to keep our "heads above water" are two real things we face pretty much every day. Of course, that doesn't mean every day is bad. But most days are hard, even though we have our caregiving routine down to a T.

I am in a caregiver's group on Facebook, but I don't hang out there much. It is a safe place to vent and air out emotions. But it seems to get a bit whiny to me. I don't need that. When I share, I try to post positive things. As caregivers, we have so much on our plate, and it does get overwhelming. How do we keep a positive outlook when there are not a lot of positives? Celebrate the small stuff.

We spent four months in the hospital after my son's wreck. The days were uncertain, and somehow I hooked up with a few people online. A young man told me two things that I have continued to hold on to. First, he said that the doctors do not have the final say - God does. And secondly, he said, "progress is progress." No matter how small it seems, he suggested celebrating any progress or positive. I've done that to keep my head up for 14 years now. 

I may look silly to others, but "progress is progress" has become a caregiving mantra of mine. Add another layer to it by thanking God for all the positives. A thankful heart can't remain heavy. Some days, it's easier to find small victories to celebrate and be thankful for. Other days, I have to work really hard at finding them. But it's always worth the effort to be positive and thankful.

I encourage you to celebrate the small wins, the little positives, the good things today. If you are not sure where to start, begin with the basics. Be thankful God loves you and hasn't abandoned you. Celebrate the truth that He is with you in the middle of the storm, He doesn't abandon ship when the waters of life get rocky!

Today, I will look around for those small things to be thankful for. I'll choose to have a thankful heart and express my gratitude to God for every small victory, no matter how small it seems. Thanksgiving will be my focus today as I open up my heart to God and allow His peace to rule there. That's something to be thankful for - His ever-abiding peace. I'll thank Him for His peace and trust Him for one more day - will you join me?



No Contingency Plans

Chris outside in the standing frame

 Here we are, making it day after day. One day we just look up and realize it's been years on this caregiving journey. We didn't plan for it. Didn't count on it. Had no expectation of it, but here we are, just relying on God from moment to moment to make it through each day. (Enter: big sigh.)

I don't even have the imaginative capacity to imagine what life might have been like without the hard left onto the caregiving road. I'd like to think I would have trusted God anyway. I'd like to think I'd have held onto Him and His promises with a grip just as tight. If nothing else, caregiving has taught me how much I need Him and how grateful I am that He chooses to walk the road with me instead of just waiting for me at the end.

I really don't have a contingency plan. There isn't any other hope, direction, or goal outside of trusting Him for each breath. And I'm not looking for one, either. I am so content that He's got me no matter what. I know I can run to Him with all my stuff in tow, and I will not be turned away. Nothing is too big, too bad, or too boring for Him to help me deal with. I remind myself that I have no contingency plan - I'll just continue to trust Him. But then, I remember that He doesn't have a contingency plan either! 

Since God doesn't have another plan, He will continue to carry, shield, comfort, and care for us. He's not looking for a second job. His grace is enough, and He doesn't need to call in any backup. He is the one consistency in a caregiver's world of crazy-all-over-the-place emotions and thoughts. And He's not going anywhere. I love that, don't you? I need that, do you?

Today, I'll remind myself that I haven't been crazy enough to run God off yet. (Smile) As crazy and goofy as my life and mind are - He has no backup plan. He is the plan! I'll lean into His heart a little more today and listen for it to beat for me. I'll trust that He's got this day taken care of for me, and I'll remind myself that He had today prepared for me while I was still in my yesterday. He wants to meet with my heart today. I intend to let Him do just that. 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: 

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Going Through

Dexter greeting Chris in the Project 34 Lobby

 This morning as I was reading, I found myself in Proverbs 12:13. It says, The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble. (NKJ) I first noticed that it did not say that the righteous would be able to avoid trouble. Instead, it says - we'll come through it. No one is exempt from trouble. If we are breathing, we're going to go through stuff. However, through is the key word for me today.

I remember sitting with my Daddy, who was grieving over my mom. She was not herself, having some form of dementia. She remembered us for a long time but eventually did not. Daddy was crying and asking why this had to happen to such a beautiful person. I just cried with him because I had no answer. Caregivers are often in some stage of grief, whether we are grieving over the person we lost through death or the one who is slowly fading away. Some of us grieve for the person we lost, even though we are still caring for their bodies. We don't usually understand the why of suffering, but we sure do get the suffering.

This verse stood out to me this morning, and I'm glad it did. It was a great reminder that we can't always avoid things, but we will always get through them with the help of God. I thought of a few of my Bible heroes and the things they went through - noted, they did not avoid the troubles - they went through them.

  • Daniel went through the lion's den and came out on the other side.
  • Paul and Silas went through being beaten and chained to the walls of a dark prison. But when they rejoiced and praised God - they walked right out.
  • Joseph went through years in prison for something he didn't even do. Besides going through being betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery unjustly.
  • Jesus went through the cross - He didn't avoid it.
These are just a few examples of those who went through - I bet you have some favorites of your own, right? Isaiah 43 is a reminder to us that God's taking us through our struggles. He says when you go through the waters - and when you go through the fire...He's still right there, making sure we are going through.

Today, I will remind myself that God is right here with me in my today. I'm not going through this alone, but I am going through. I will remind myself that God's not going to abandon me when the waters get too deep, or the fire gets too hot. He'll keep me in the middle of it all. My heart is in His  - I'll remind myself that I can trust Him, even for today. And that is my plan for today - trust Him through it. Will you join me?


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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


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Still Writing

 

me writing in my journal

When I woke up this morning, I was just grateful. That may have spilled out wrong - there wasn't anything wrong except another long night, but I was just overcome with gratefulness. I spent some time thinking about how God has carried me all these years, even BC (before caregiving). Overnight, Chris had woken me up a time or two, and then I couldn't go back to sleep. I hate those unproductive hours, but they happen. When I finally started waking up and shaking off the early morning grogginess, I started thanking God for keeping me hidden in Him. I thanked Him for being with me and never leaving. That's when I had this thought  - that He's still writing my story.

Over the years, I've had people talk to me about writing my caregiving story in a book. But my answer has remained the same. There's not a happy ending. So, this morning as I was meditating on Psalm 139 and how God watches us be formed in the womb, I realized that He didn't stop there. He's still writing our stories as we walk them out day by day. 

So many times that He has carried me came to mind, and I let my thoughts wander back over the years of how I've had His peace in the most troubled times of life. I thought about how He has shown up and shown out on my behalf or on Chris' time and time again. The song "The Goodness of God" began to run through my mind and I joined it with my heart in silent but powerful praise to Him. 

You see, He's still writing our stories, and He has left so much room for character development. (Lol.) He's lifted His eternal pen to write in peace where we need it. There's a line or two of joy too! He's written in comfort and then covered our stories' pages with His grace. It plays a supporting role. The ending just has to be good with an experienced writer like this.

Today, I may not feel it - but He's got me and my loved ones tucked safely into His heart. For that, I am thankful. As I go about my day, I'll think about how God has His pen out to write in whatever is needed. I'll trust that He's written Himself in as a major role as my life plays out. I trust Him to write my story. I'm going to grab a cup of coffee and watch what He comes up with next!  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!


Stuck

 Do you ever just feel stuck? It's difficult to see the future and being able to plan or even dream has passed a long time ago. It's...