Tips for Building a Side Gig When You’re a Senior Caregiver

 

woman working at her computer

Photo by Pexels

As a senior caregiver, you may be interested in finding a side gig to supplement your income and boost your professional skills. At Daily Devotions For Caregivers, we know it can be difficult to balance work and other commitments, but with careful planning and research, you can find the right side gig that works for you and that doesn't contribute to burnout. If you're interested in developing a side gig, read on for tips on how to make it happen.

Benefits of a Side Gig

Having a side gig provides several benefits. It allows you to gain valuable experience in an area outside of your current job. It also allows you to network with professionals in different industries. A side gig also provides an extra source of income, which can help pay bills or enable you to save for future goals.

How to Choose the Right Side Gig

Choosing the right side hustle is important. Consider your skills and interests when looking at potential gigs. What are you passionate about? What do you excel at? Do you have any special qualifications or certifications? These questions should help narrow down which gigs will be best suited for you. Research each potential side hustle thoroughly. Look into what it involves day-to-day, its earning potential, how much time and energy it requires, etc. And take into account what will fit best with your lifestyle and schedule as a senior caregiver.

Draft a Business Plan

Once you’ve chosen your side gig, create an action plan of how you will get started. Determine exactly what tasks need to be completed first: Do you need any special licenses or permits? Are there any certifications or training required? Brainstorm ideas on marketing strategy and budgeting for necessary costs like web hosting or software subscriptions. Creating an organized business plan helps set up realistic goals and expectations that keep motivation levels high while pursuing this new venture.

Affordable Ways to Market Your Side Gig

Marketing is key when launching any kind of business or service; however, many businesses don’t have the resources necessary for expensive campaigns or promotions such as radio spots or television commercials. Thankfully, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to market your side gig: use social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to reach potential clients; join local networking events; use public relations tactics such as press releases; or post flyers in high-traffic areas like libraries or community centers near where seniors live.

Don't Overlook the Benefits of Infographics

Infographics are visual representations of data that allow for efficient communication and can be used on various social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram Stories to draw attention from followers who might not otherwise pay attention. Infographics can effectively present facts in detail while keeping them interesting and easy to understand, making this an ideal tool for quickly grabbing viewers’ attention. Creating your own infographic is pretty straightforward when you use free online design tools. With a template library, you can quickly customize an infographic that speaks to your services.

Choose the LLC

You may want to consider forming an LLC (Limited Liability Company) once you build up enough clientele and determine whether the revenue generated from your side hustle warrants this additional step of legal protection against personal liability should things not go as planned down the road—particularly in cases involving taxes, contracts signed with customers, property ownership related claims, etc. Designating yourself as an LLC helps ensure that all involved parties understand their liabilities if disputes arise regarding services provided by your side hustle business venture.

 

Finding a suitable side hustle can seem impossible at first, but is within reach when done methodically. Research gigs based on personal interest, develop a detailed business plan, and use budget-friendly methods of marketing — all these steps taken together help make sure that embarking on this endeavor puts you on solid ground to achieve greater financial success from your hard work!

 

The Best of Them

Chris sitting up at Project 34

 This morning, I woke up early and was "sorting through" several situations I'm dealing with. Okay, so I was worrying a little bit, okay? Lol. the list seems to be growing longer rather than shorter, really. I was seriously taking them all to God in prayer. I started thinking what a mess I've made in so many areas over my lifetime. I prayed about that too! Then, I started thinking about so many of the Bible characters. Some of them were real "characters" too. Not one of them was perfect and no one had everything together. I'm pretty sure that only in a make believe world everything is perfect.

I started running my mind through all the stories in the Bible, and not one of them displayed a perfect person, except Jesus, of course. There was Abraham, the friend of God. He lied about Sarah being his wife out of fear. Then there was David. The "man after God's own heart" who committed adultery and then murdered a man to cover it up. Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, again out of fear. Paul killed many Christians before his conversion. Moses was on the backside of the wilderness because he had fled after killing an Egyptian. No one was perfect, yet God met them right where they were in their rocky circumstances - and He still used them.

As I thought through this list of people God used, I reminded myself that He can see into my circumstances too - imperfect though they may be. Secretly, I was really excited to not be able to find anyone God visited in the Bible who was perfect or in perfect situations. That would indicate that we are not excluded either. If He'll visit Moses, David, Hagar, and the woman at the well (we don't even know her name!), He will visit us too. 

He never looks at our circumstances and declares them to be too complicated for Him to navigate. Wouldn't it be discouraging to get a note stating He'll visit once we get everything together? There isn't one account in the Word like that - He walked right into every situation no matter how messy and brought hope, peace, and love. He'll do the same for us today!

Today, I'm going to remind myself that God's not waiting on me to get everything in its proper place. He is only waiting on my open invitation. So, I'll invite Him to walk with me through this crazy day called "today" with me. I'll remind myself that He is present - in the mess, in the problems, in the situations because He wants to be. I'll take a big breath and breathe out silent thanksgiving to Him for just being with me right here and right now. Since I know how imperfect others He chose are - I know I'm hanging with the best of them. So, I will trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?



Casting Call

Chris holding a football

 Cares come in many shapes and sizes, don't they? As "care" givers, we have a lot of cares. Sometimes, I feel kinda silly that smaller things can carry so much emotional weight. But when you are already emotionally overloaded even the smallest thing weighs more. Something like my shoe coming untied can have me in tears or upset way beyond what it's worth, you know? (I hope you don't - but I suspect you do.)

This morning, I was running through my list of "cares" with God. I was going through each one, asking for wisdom, for His touch, direction, etc. By the time I got through my mental list, I was concerned about the first items all over again. So I just went back through them. Then I realized I was casting my cares over for Him to carry. I decided this is something I really need to work on - casting, then casting, again and again until I can let Him carry them all for me. So, today, I am determined to practice casting. To get good at something, anything, it take practice, right? Well, I want to get skilled at casting cares over to Him.

I love football, and so in my mind I'm drawing a parallel. The quarterback throws, laterals, or tosses the football to another player and then guess what. He lets him carry it toward the goal. He doesn't run over there and take the ball back from the receiver if he's not moving fast enough. That would make a ridiculous game, wouldn't it? We (or should I say - I), run around a lot more than we need to trying to take it all back from Him instead of letting Him carry said care in for the goal.

So, today, I will practice casting my cares over to Him and then letting Him carry them for me. If I need to do it a million times today - so be it! When anything bothering me, worrying me, or disrupting my peace comes to mind - I'm tossing it to Him. Then, I'll let Him carry it - I'll let Him care for me - meaning I don't have to do it anymore! And I will trust Him for just one more day. Do you have any cares you need to practice casting to Him? Will you join me?

Faith vs Fake

 


You can't really fake faith. We can't fake peace, either. We either have it or we don't. This morning, I don't feel like I have either one. Lol. Ever have those kinds of mornings? But when we know that God's peace and grace are right there, maybe just out of our soul's reach, sometimes, that is faith. Knowing that He's got us covered when we feel anything but - that really is faith. 

Many times on this caregiving journey, I've been angry with God. I know, you're not supposed to say that, right? But I think God honors honesty, and I've been downright mad that He let all this happen. I'll think, I'm just not going to pray and ask Him for anything anymore. That usually only lasts a few minutes until something else comes up, and I find myself right back at the foot of His throne, asking for help, guidance, provision, or peace. Lol. That's not lack of faith - it's frustration. I really think that continuing to run back to Him shows great faith. Even when we wait.

This morning, as my emotions were all over the place, I felt faithless. As time grew near for me to do my FaceBook Live devotions, "Peace Out," I kind of felt like a hypocrite. How do I talk about peace when I don't feel like I have it? I wondered if I was being fake. Then, I thought of a story in 2 Kings 4. The Shunammite woman's son had died, and she headed to see the Prophet, Elisha. When asked how she was and how her son and husband were, she said, all is well. But it wasn't. Her soul was in distress, and the prophet sensed it and got to the real issue. Of course, her son was raised from the dead later, but at the moment, she said all is well  - it was not well at all! Was that fake? Or was it faith?

I believe it is total faith when we come dragging our tattered souls back to the foot of His throne, with maybe a little sheer determination mixed in. Whether we think we have it all together or not, God just waits patiently for us to come. We can say, in faith, like the Shunammite woman, It is well, even when we don't feel it - because we know that He has us no matter what the day brings.

Today, I will just lean in to Him a little more. I'll trust that He has my soul wrapped up securely in His grace, so I can say it is well. I don't have to fake faith - not sure that's possible anyway. With all the strength I can muster, I will trust Him for today. Will you join me?


Self-Improvement 101 for Professional Caregivers

 

elderly man with his caregiver

Caregiving can be a wonderful career choice, allowing you to make a living while helping others who are vulnerable and in need. Emotionally, it can be very fulfilling. However, a caregiver's job can also be draining. If you don't take care of yourself, you risk experiencing caregiver burnout. To avoid this worst-case scenario, follow these actionable and affordable self-improvement tips for caregivers.

 Create a stress-busting toolkit

 Stress is a normal part of everyday life, especially if you have a high-pressure job like caregiving. However, if you don't manage your stress, it can have negative health effects, like increasing your risk of anxiety or depression. To control your stress, follow best practices like connecting with other people, making time for self-care, and avoiding unhealthy habits like smoking. Meditation is another great stress buster.

Spend more time in nature

 Spending time outdoors can be another way to reduce stress and improve mental and physical well-being. According to the Yale School of Environment, immersing yourself in nature can help promote emotional well-being. Consider taking up a hobby that lets you get outside, like hiking, geocaching, or gardening. You can also try outdoor sports, like mountain biking or trail running.

 Improve your diet

Your diet impacts both your physical and mental health. You want to eat nutritious foods, including a balanced mix of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy. However, as a busy caregiver, finding time for healthy cooking isn't easy. Learn how to make healthy choices when you're going out for food. For example, when getting fast food, skip fried goods, opt for smaller portions, and drink water instead of soda.

 Get more sleep

 Sleep allows your body and mind to rest, refresh, and rejuvenate. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you aren't getting the recommended amount of Z's, revisit your bedtime routine. The Mayo Clinic offers practical pointers for getting more shut-eye, like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedroom environment, and including physical activity in your daily routine.

 Enhance your fitness routine

 Regular exercise doesn't just help you sleep better at night. It can also boost your mood, help you maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of certain ailments, like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. If you hate going to the gym, look for workouts you can do at home. These also save time. Popular home workouts range from cycling—you just need an exercise bike—to yoga, for which you just need a mat.

 Realize that caregiving isn't your only career option

 If you want to change careers, you could use a resume builder to update your C.V. and start looking. Pick from professionally designed templates and then personalize the text, photos, and colors. Another option is to start your own business. Forming a limited liability company, LLC, can streamline your administrative paperwork and provide tax perks. Make sure to follow your state's guidelines for LLC formation. For example, you'll want to hire a registered agent service to accept legal documents and mail on your business's behalf.

 Connect with other caregivers

 Whether you're struggling to get a handle on stress or contemplating a career change, it can be helpful to talk to others who are familiar with your position. Touching base with other caregivers is a great way to get some additional support. Very Well Health offers a list of caregiver support groups you can consult, including The Caregiver Action Network, The Alzheimer's Foundation of America, and the Family Caregiver Alliance.

 As a caregiver, you're automatically inclined to focus on others' well-being. However, it's important to take time for yourself too. By taking steps to improve your own life, like starting a business, you can safeguard your own health and happiness.

 

For more content that inspires and supports caregivers, visit the Daily Devotions for Caregivers blog.

The Process

Bible and my music notebook

 There is a lot to process in a day, no matter how peaceful the day is and whether or not you get bad or good news. But as caregivers, we have to process everything through caregiving. I hope that made sense. Here's where I am coming from. Yesterday, my sweet aunt fell very, very ill and is currently in the hospital in ICU. With this type of news, there are lots of emotions to work through. As I went in to care for my son this morning, I thought - I don't get a break; I still need to take care of him, even though I'm processing my own emotional baggage here. 

Then, I thought back over the last couple of years. My mom passed away, and I still took care of Chris. My daddy passed away - and I still took care of Chris. My aunt, who I was also an LD caregiver for passed away. And - you guessed it - I still took care of Chris. There are good things, too - my niece got married - I still took care of Chris. Two nieces had babies, joyous occasions, for sure. But I'm still taking care of my son. Lol. Everything seems to get filtered through caregiving because it's the top item on our list.

If we get an invite - the process of sorting through information to see if it is feasible to be able to attend begins. Do I need a sitter? Can I afford a sitter? Will I need new clothes? Do I have time to order them, or do I have time to shop (with Chris in tow, of course)? 

Those who are not caregivers will never understand the detailed, sometimes complex process we must go through, even when it seems like a simple life event. The good thing is that even though people may not understand how complicated daily tasks like just a run to the store may be for the caregiver - God gets us. Actually, He understands each minute detail and heart-wrenching emotion we may have to work through to make a simple decision. In Psalm 139, David says it like this:

O Lord, You have searched me and known me!

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You discern my thoughts from afar.

You search out my path and my lying down and

are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold,

O Lord, You know it altogether. (ESV)

It's amazing to me to know - that God knows. He knows all the off-the-wall thoughts and emotions that go through my head and my soul. Yet, He still willingly searches out my path. While I find it amazing that He continues to search out my path - it's even more amazing to me that He does it willingly and on purpose. He never walks away shaking His head because He doesn't understand me. My thoughts never throw Him off - and that's sayin' somethin' right there!

Today, I want to move out of the way so God can clearly see my heart, hear my thoughts, and search the path of my feet - wherever today may take them. I'm not sure I can even describe the peace as it wells up in my heart when I let go. I'll stop trying to "protect" God from my thoughts, my emotions, and my pain. Instead, I'll trust that He's already discovered the path of my feet, and He has already covered it in His grace - grace for the journey. I can trust Him for that - will you join me?

That Catalyst

chris and kyrie

 I just love finding "new" things when I read the Bible. I"m reading it through again this year, but I've slowed down in the first few chapters of Exodus. We know God's word doesn't change, but how we see it often does. I don't know how many times I've read the account of Moses and the burning bush, but this morning, there was a phrase that caught my attention. I am reading the English Standard Version this year.

In Exodus 3, we find Moses hanging out on the back side of the desert. He is there because he killed an Egyptian and fled in fear. But here God is getting Moses' attention with a bush that is burning but not burning up. God begins telling Moses of the mission he is being sent on - go back to Egypt and get My people! Moses has all sorts of arguments, but he starts with who am I? 

In just a couple of chapters, Moses has been born, spared by being put in a basket, raised in the Egyptian pharaoh's house, realized he was not Egyptian, killed a man, and ran to the back side of the wilderness. He's also found a friend in Jethro and married his daughter, and had children. So Moses was not totally alone, even though he was separated from his family. 

We tend to ask Moses' question a lot, who am I? Why would God want to use me? How in the world could God use me? Like Moses, we don't quite fit in with any crowd or people group, and as caregivers, we often find ourselves in the back side of life's wilderness. However, I loved God's reply to Moses. Moses knows who he is not - he's not really an Egyptian, but he doesn't fit in with the Children of Israel either. Perhaps he suffered from some identity crisis. Who knows?

God's answer is not grammatically correct. Lol. (Yes, I am the grammar police!) His reply to Moses' question started with, But I will be with you... Everyone knows you're not supposed to start a sentence with and or but. Lol. God did. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty certain that Moses was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the situation. Can't we relate to that? God did not reaffirm Moses' list of whys. He didn't even acknowledge Moses' shortcomings. He simply said - But I will be with you...

That phrase this morning was a catalyst for my emotions. Just knowing that no matter where life takes me or what it throws at me - God willingly walks through it with me. Now, thankfully, He's not sending me on some big mission. But He has got me caring for one of His kids, as are you. It's safe to assume that He is with us too!

Today, I will remind myself that God's "but" can change my circumstances too. I'll meditate on how He chooses to be with us - like, on purpose, even. He's with us because He wants to be. No one is coercing or convincing God that we need Him here - He chooses to say to us today - But I will be with you. And in that truth, I can choose to rest in Him and trust Him for one more day on the back side of the wilderness. Will you join me?

And God Knew

chris posing for a photo

 I just love how familiar scriptures can just jump out at you with something totally new. I know the word does not change, and it stands forever. But our circumstances, experiences, perspectives, and situations change often, which helps us to see those "new" tidbits from His word. It was there all along, right? But experiences grant us greater understanding. And this is exactly what happened to me this morning.

I'm reading the Bible through again this year, and this morning, I started Exodus. I am using a totally different translation than I usually use. Typically, I use the NASB and the NLT. Just for a little different "flavor," this year, I'm reading the English Standard Version. I have lots of thoughts on the first chapter of Exodus, but those may be for another blog. Lol. What grabbed me this morning was the last 3 verses of Exodus 2. The ESV says it this way. 

During those many days, the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jakob. God saw the people of Israel --and God knew.

For some reason, this morning, it just hit me that God knew. I know He knows. He sees. He is present, etc. But I found comfort this morning in reminding myself that He knows. He sees those sleepless nights. He knows the struggle of choosing work or caregiving. He knows my crazy thoughts and how they may run crazily rampant but always make their way back to Him. He knows. God even knows all those things we don't dare say out loud. He knew. 

Today, I will find peace and comfort in knowing that He sees and knows my entire situation. I'll remind myself that nothing is hidden from His sight - not even the deepest wordless, tearless groanings of my heart are hidden from Him. Knowing that He knows, sees, and understands will help me hand all my cares over to Him as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                          

In My Tomorrow


 Earlier this week, I took an evening to sit at the piano and play some songs I've written. I have a big notebook of songs - some not worth mentioning, lol. But there are a few that I think are pretty good. Whether they are "good" or not - it's fun to sit and sing them from my heart, knowing that it's just between me and God.

I played and sang through so many different choruses, just enjoying the memories of when, where, and why they were written. Some were in response to a painful moment in my life, while others were just an overflowing of praise. I started at the front of the notebook and just played through them one at a time. Then I came to a little chorus I wrote in February of 1999. I recall some of the things that were going on in my life at the time as I penned these lyrics.

Some things in my life I can't deny

Some things still make me ask "why?"

But I can't deny  Your mercy

I can't deny Your grace

I can't deny the work of Your love

And I can't deny Your faithfulness to me.

For Your name has been a mighty, strong tower

You've been my refuge from the storm

You've kept me through the flood

and You've kept me through the fire

I can't deny Your faithfulness to me.

(C) 1999 J. Olinger

As I began to sing the second part - "Your name has been a might strong tower," I was overcome by emotions as I realized what I'd gone through since these words were penned. I realized the faithfulness of God that kept me yesterday - had been in my tomorrows all along. As a matter of fact, it's still keeping me! I tried to sing, but the tears won out, and I felt such joy. I saw how He had literally kept me all these years through many floods, fires, and other crazy situations. Gratitude doesn't even come close enough to describe my thankfulness. He's never left me - as a matter of fact, it seems more like He had grace prepared to carry me through whenever I reached a new tomorrow.

Today, I'll reflect on how He has continued to supply the grace I need. I'll think about how He has kept me no matter how hot the fires of life got or how deep the waters ran. And I'll remind myself that He prepared for me to trust Him today while I was still in my yesterday. And while I am in today - He's got grace ready for tomorrow. I can trust Him to keep me covered as I journey through one more day - will you join me?


Up in the Mix

 

Chris at bluff creek

As fellow caregivers, I don't have to talk to you about those long nights we often endure. The last few nights have been those types of nights, as my son has been ill. He made a turn for the worse over the weekend, and I found out yesterday that the tests ordered by the doc's office on Friday showed bacterial infection of some kind. But, of course, they had the weekend off. I'll spare you all the details, which you are probably very familiar with anyway! Suffice it to say that had I not called yesterday to say -something is still off - they wouldn't have told me until today. But we would have been in the hospital by then, no doubt!

My point is that it was inconvenient for them to take care of this situation since it happened before the weekend. They clock out at 4 on Friday and go home, leaving my son to get sicker so they can have time off. And, of course, they need time off, right! I say all this to say that after haggling with them all day and riding them to get something done, last night was still a long night of keeping a watch on oxygen levels and temperatures. 

When I got up this morning, I was thankful we hadn't had to make a hospital run, and all of Chris' numbers are good. I've even turned his oxygen down a bit, and he should get off it later today. I began to thank God for improvement. And then I just outright thanked Him for not taking weekends off! Lol. Isaiah 40:28 reminds us that He doesn't get weary (although I do!!), and He never gets tired (I am!). And Isaiah 43, which is one of my favorites, reminds us that He is with us through the fire, flood, and anything else that comes our way.

That got me to thinking even more, and my mind began to run through scriptures where God showed up instead of clocking out.

  • Hagar: God showed up, not once, but twice for Hagar!
  • Moses: Moses was living in a self-imposed exile because he had killed an Egyptian. God showed up in a burning bush at a very lonely time.
  • 3 Hebrew Children: God walked through the fire with them!
  • Daniel: God's angel came to shut the lions' mouths.
  • Storms: Jesus walked out to His disciples in the middle of the storm.
I am tired today - but rejoicing that God doesn't sit on the outskirts of our situations waiting for things to get better to make an entrance! Instead, He stays right in the mix and walks, swims, paddles, or runs through them with us!

Today, I will be thankful that God doesn't clock out and go home. I'll remind myself that He doesn't stay on the outskirts cheering us on - but rolls up His sleeves and walks through our complicated lives with us. I'm going to make sure I stay close enough to Him today to rest my heart in His. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                                           

A To-Don't List

chris and i at the park

 Do you ever have those days where you feel like you are behind before you ever get started? Maybe a better question would be do you ever have a day where you don't feel like you're behind before you get out of bed? Lol. No one is going to argue that our lives are hectic and most of the time we are running on overload. For me lately, I've also been dealing with sleep deprivation, which is very common among caregivers. All together, it can make for one big emotional mess, am I right?

Generally, I keep a running to-do list. I try to prioritize items that are have-to-do-todays and push other things off to other days. But lately it feels like there's a huge backlog. I just can't get ahead. I do find my to-do list helpful, though. We can be quick to condemn ourselves. It's easy to look at the day and think of all the things we didn't get done, and ignore the things we did get done. Because it never seems to be quite enough. (Maybe it's just me.)

This morning, as I was jotting down my lengthy to-dos, I realized I was scolding myself. My mind was running along all the ways I felt like a failure. We have enough on our plates without talking badly to ourselves, don't you think? Yet, I'm so quick to condemn myself for not "getting enough done." How do we quantify "enough" anyway?

When David felt overwhelmed in Ziklag, he encouraged himself in the Lord. He found himself in quite a mess. Neither side wanted him, and all his stuff and his wives had all been plundered. The New Living Translation says, David found strength in the Lord his God. There is absolutely no reason why we cannot do the same! No matter how overwhelmed we are, or how much we have going on in our heads or around us - God can and will still give us strength. We can encourage ourselves like David did. (I Sam 30)

I think I will start a to-don't list. It'll look something like this:

  • Don't get discouraged.
  • Don't tell yourself that you are not enough.
  • Don't talk negative about yourself or too yourself.
  • Don't tell yourself how short you fell, remind yourself of what you did get done.
We have enough going on without being our own worst enemy. God is still on our side, and He's not going anywhere! Even if we don't feel like we have it all together, we can encourage ourselves by acknowledging that He is with us. 

Today, I will tell myself that I am enough because of His presence with me. He will undergird me, sustain me, and keep me while I care for my loved one. I'll remind myself that in those moments that I cannot see or feel He is still carrying me. I don't have to measure up or "be enough" while He's carrying me - because He's got it all under control. With that I will rest and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                                           

Casting Call

Ronella and Chris

 You know that scripture that says to "cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you."? (1 Peter 5:7) Well, I propose that it's easy to read, easy to say, and harder to do. Peter is calling the readers to toss all our cares on God and let Him do the caring for us. But for me, as a caregiver, I have a little glitch, and it seems to be a bit more complicated of late since my son's had some upper respiratory stuff going on, and I'm getting less and less sleep.

I'd like to write God and Peter some letters and ask them about the logistics of this verse. Even if I do accomplish the task given, and I'm able to hand God all my cares - there's still so much to get done. He obviously doesn't come down and take care of my son for a day so that I can have a day off. Lol. So, when I don't feel I understand a scripture or I have trouble with its application - it's a sign I need to dig a little deeper, right?

If we go back and read this verse in context, maybe it'll help. Actually, verse 7 is not a stand-alone sentence, it starts with a comma, so it's a continuation of a thought. Verse 6 starts with a reminder to humble ourselves before God so He can exalt us at the right time. Then it continues that with - casting all your care on Him. Next, Peter reminds the new believers to be sober and vigilant - and then tells them why. Because our enemy would like nothing more than to find us vulnerable so he can take advantage of us and devour us, if possible. And then the connection comes. Suffering.

The Christians Peter was writing to were being persecuted beyond what most of us can even imagine. Caregiving brings with it a whole different type of suffering, but it's still a suffering soul as we care for our loved ones. Grief often fills our hearts whether we are mourning a parent or elderly loved one who can no longer function as they used to, or are caring for a child who never got to reach their potential or anything in between or beyond. There is suffering. There is grief. There is giving up of our own desires to care for another person. All admirable and inspiring to others. But it still hurts.

Finally, I found what I needed. At last, I found the missing part of casting it all over on Him. It's in the last part of verse 10. After you have suffered a while, Peter says, then God (the one who is carrying our hearts, our cares, and us half the time), will mature, establish, strengthen, and settle us. Just a brief look at the Greek terms used here in my handy-dandy Strong's lets me know it's worth a little more study! 

Even in the midst of suffering, hardship, calamity, and just an overall bumpy life - God is working His plan through us. So, when we cast our cares over to Him (even if we have to do it 900 times a day), He helps us mature in Him, be established in His word, get stronger so we can run to Him faster, and He settles us forever as one of His own.

Today, I'll first remind myself to give it all to Him over and over again. Then, I'll meditate on these four things that HE works in us - when we give it all to Him. And to think He does that even in the midst of suffering. He doesn't wait until we have it all together - He just waits until we wait - on Him. So, today, I will wait on Him to rescue my soul and fill it with His peace - even in the suffering and hardships of the day. And I'll trust Him for one more day - will you join me?


The Seer


 This morning, during my devotions I made a new discovery. We know that God's word doesn't change, but we see new things when we read it because we've changed. Hopefully, it means we are growing in faith, grace, and our knowledge of Him. So, even when we read a familiar passage like I did this morning, we see new things.

I ended up in Genesis 22 this morning. This is a super familiar passage to me as back in my "ministry" days I taught from it often. We have Abraham offering up his son, Isaac, as a definitive act of worship. After the angel came and rescued Isaac, Abraham declares that God provides. However, when I looked up the Hebrew for that phrase in the Strong's Concordance, it says something a little different. Now our old definition and interpretation is not wrong - God provides. But it goes a little deeper than that.

The actual phrase in the concordance says, Jehovah will see (to it) or Jehovah-Jireh. It definitely means that God provides - just as we've learned to confess and claim all these years. God is indeed our provider and we all could share testimonies to solidify this truth. But the initial phrase - "Jehovah will see (to it) - is what caught my eye. Because just a few chapters back Hagar had come to the same conclusion - God sees.

Here we have the Father of our Faith and a common slave girl both declaring that God sees. He saw the frightened and alone slave and caregiver, Hagar worried for her son. But God also sees Abraham in his most painful moment of obedience laying the promise of God on the altar at His request. We can be sure that God sees us as caregivers. He doesn't exclude the rich or the poor. Our socioeconomic standing doesn't influence whether He sees us or not. He doesn't pick and choose - He sees us all.

He knows when we have long nights that include 2:30 AM breathing treatments. He sees when we need to empty bedpans. (Let's be real here!) He sees when we are crying out to Him in despair. And He sees and understands when we trust Him with all our heart - when we have full understanding or no understanding. He is the ultimate Seer. And He gets us.

Today, as I go about my caregiving tasks, I'll remind myself that God sees it all. Even the hard parts. He doesn't stand outside a closed door and wait for us to get done. He's in it with us - He sees us do each caring task for our loved ones. And I think He may celebrate just a little bit because we look a lot like Him. I will invite Him to walk through this day with me - will you join me?

                                                                                                                                         

Check out my new author page on Amazon!

Off Days

chris and I having a "chat"

Do you ever just have an off day? You're seriously trying to get yourself together all day long, and nothing seems to be working right. Today is one of those days. I slept in a bit later than normal, which set me behind to start with. Then the nurse came early, I've got clients wondering where their work is, and then my son's feeding tube got plugged. Ugh. It's only 10 am. lol. At this rate, I'll feel like I'm chasing my own tail all day long - getting nothing accomplished. I don't like off days - they are so inconvenient. But they happen way too often. 

My world and mind are spinning with all I need to get done today. It's easy to feel defeated early on. It's a great day to practice letting His peace reign in my heart. Right? But I have to ask - do I have time for that? Lol. I feel rushed. I feel hurried. I feel overwhelmed. The day is going to go on with or without me, and there are so many things I need to get done today, things that have to be done. I want to clock out and "go home" like you would from a regular job. But that ain't happenin'.

So, it's a good time to sit, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and just let it whirl all around me. I have to calm my mind and remind myself that all the things that need to get done - will get done. Tomorrow, I'll be looking back at God's hand of mercy on today, and I'll see His thread of grace, even though my "today' is blinding my view presently.

Isn't it in moments like these that He becomes so much more real, so much more present? When I calm my mind and heart and just curl up in His hand and let Him carry me - clarity comes. The day gets done. I'm learning to just take a step back and wait. I wait for His peace. Then I embrace it. I wait for His direction, then follow it. I wait for His voice. Then I listen. I'm so thankful that He doesn't abandon me on these crazy caregiving days.

Today, I'll just let Him carry me. My biggest job is to quiet my mind and emotions and trust His grace as this day rolls out before me. Each step, I'll remind myself that He's got me. Each breath, I'll remind myself it's the same breath He breathed into Adam. I can trust Him to take care of me and my son today. I will remind myself that it's time to just sit back and watch Him work. Do you need to join me? :-) 

                                                                                                                                                           

New Year - Same Stuff

me and chris

 We woke up yesterday to a brand new year; yay! But it didn't take but a few seconds to realize there wasn't some magic transition from 11:59:59 in 2022 to 12:00:00 in 2023. Absolutely nothing but the time and date changed. So, here we are in a new year with all the same stuff. We're still caregiving and we still have to take care of all the daily chores and tasks that need to get done when caring for another whole person. Hmmm.

Like many of you, I have set some goals for myself this year. Most of them are fitness oriented, and some have to do with my writing. (I want to write more devotionals, etc.) Healthier eating options, more activity during my days - as I can squeeze them in. But all in all - it's the same today as it was yesterday. And I'm pretty sure tomorrow may be the same. Of course, even in our day-to-day "routines" (I use that term loosely) there are so many unexpected things we deal with .

So, to be honest, as I woke up yesterday to a new year, I was a bit down. I encouraged myself a little bit by looking back over the year and thinking about a few things that have changed for the better. That doesn't mean they were easy, though. How do you encourage yourself when you start the day with those sorts of thoughts?

I started with this - His mercies are new every morning. Every new morning for us, whether it's New Year's Day, or not - starts with fresh mercies and grace to make the day. What happens in the course of the day may be anyone's guess, but the end is that we'll look back and see that He carried us through with His mercy and grace one more time.I'm learning to focus on that each day. sometimes, I have to break each situation down mentally and focus on His grace. By His grace here we are right here today. And by His grace we'll face another day - one day at a time until they make another year. Then, once again, we'll look back and be amazed that He carried us through all that again!

Today, I'll spend some time reflecting on how He has carried me and cared for me to this point in time.I'll think back about the journey and how His mercy and grace have undergirded me the whole way, whether I acknowledged it or not. My thoughts will turn to meditations on His goodness and how He continues to watch over this topsy-turvey caregiving life I live. I will think about how He is the stabelizer - for my soul, and I'll thank Him for one more day at His table. 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.



Emotionally Stranded

  I was up late last night - and it wasn't to study my Bible. Lol. I was watching a dumb show. But each episode ended with things up in ...