The Juggler



chris standing at my sister's house
Each caregiving journey is unique. We all have so many different variables that come into play, it's really hard to compare our situations. But I'm pretty sure we've all become great jugglers along the way. I won't even try to list all the different things we deal with on a given day. And while it's different for each of us, there are still numerous elements we must juggle just right, so that we don't drop anything important. Of course, it's all important. It's funny how the littlest thing can send the entire day, along with our emotions off course. Oh we're good. We'll figure it out and get through the day, the week, the situation, etc. Because each of us have become the GOAT at juggling. 

Our experiences may bring out a laugh - but we know it's true!

We could probably just look at a single area and realize how much we plan, organize, and juggle. And most likely that is every single day. I've got quite a list of them running through my head right now. There's finances, supplies, meals and food in general, daily chores, and even our own health that are just a few of the players in our juggling act. And these come into play every single day. It's not like we get one settled and can deal with all the others. It's easy to be overwhemed by how much is really involved.

a dude trying to juggle pins

Juggling breeds anxiety. But what's a caregiver to do? I'm pretty sure we are supposed to bring all our anxious thoughts to Him - But does God really want all that? Lol. The short answer is yes! He'll take it all, if we let Him. David prayed in Psalm 139:23, Search me O God, and know my heart, teast me and know my anxious thoughts. That's boldness right there. It's customary to try to hide all those things we are anxious about. Why do we do that? It's not like God doesn't know exactly what we are dealing with - He's very well acquainted with each of the things we are juggling.

Paul reminds us in Philippians 4 - don't be anxious about anything. How is that even possible? lol. I'm looking for one of those exclusionary statements here. You know, like don't be anxious about anything, except... But there's not one. God's not afraid of our anxiety - or anxieties. He will gladly help us juggle through them until we are comfortable giving them to Him. Then, He'll gently replace the worries with His peace.

Today, I am going to turn each anxious thought into a prayer as it comes to my mind. This is how I plan on handing them to Him. He's juggled a lot of people's prayer since the beginning, I'm pretty sure He can handle mine today. As each concern surfaces today, I'm giving it to the true Juggler, the One who knows right where everything goes to make our days keep running smoothly. Then, I'll just trust Him to bring it all together while I wait for Him and rest in His peace. Will you join me?


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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.



Irrevocable Trust

the guys carrying Chris in his chair down the stairs on the patio

 This morning, I found myself in Numbers 6. At the end of the chapter, God, seemingly out of the blue, just tells Moses to bless His people. He gave Moses exactly what the priests were to say to "put His name" on the Children of Israel. You've probably heard these few verses many times in various Christian gatherings. Many times, it's used by those in ministry to "bless" the people before they leave in a benedictory fashion.

But when God gave the blessing to Moses, He didn't give him a specific time for Aaron and his sons to speak the blessing. He just told them to use it to put His name on His people and bless them. (v.27) You are probably familiar with it, but it goes like this:

The Lord bless you and keep you;

The Lord make His face shine upon you,

And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace.

That's a lot if you stop and think about it. He blesses us and keeps us AND gives us peace! 

As I thought about this verse early this morning, I thought about how there are none of those exclusionary statements. God didn't say to Moses to bless everyone except. The more I thought about it, the more it settled in my heart, and I thought - it's irrevocable. God's not going to take these words back. That got me to thinking, so I looked up an irrevocable trust. Here's the cool part - an irrevocable trust is set aside for a specific beneficiary. (That's us!!) And it cannot be changed or modified without our permission. We have a choice to let His name rest on us and accept all the parts of this blessing, but God is not going to change it, take it back, or cause it to stop.

Today, I will meditate on all that God does for me and how He patiently walks with me as I struggle with my emotions each day. My thoughts will be on how He blesses and keeps me and gives me peace - and He never takes it back or changes "the conditions." It's mine. It's yours. Period. What an awesome God! I think I can trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                                           

Where There is A Need

 


This morning, I did my Facebook live devotions on seeking God. I'll share the video below, but I talked about how He meets us when we take the smallest step toward Him. He rises to meet even a gentle movement as we turn our souls toward Him - even without words. That's a good thing, because as a caregiver, I often run out of words. When circumstances roll over your soul over and over like the roaring ocean's tide, you can run out of words to say and pray.

It's okay, though, because God knows. He is tuned into the slightest heart sigh. And He gets everything behind it. The rest of the world may not get it. They may choose to ignore it, or just never understand it at all - But God sees the whole thing and comprehends all the things we can't form the words to say. People can be quick to condemn and tell us we don't have faith. Some have said that I'm not trusting God. That used to bother me - but now I laugh because I'm pretty sure they have no clue what it really looks like to have to trust God for your next breath because life is squeezing it out of you like a vice grip.

That's why I like Hebrews 4:16. The Holy Spirit says this through the writer, So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will recieve His mercy and we will find grace to help us when we need it. (NLT) Notice that it doesn't say we'll find His grace "IF" we ever need it. Instead, it says when, indicating that God understands we will need His grace - there are no "get out of jail free" cards that free us from caregiving burdens. It's something we have to walk through. However, we have His grace on an "as needed" basis. And for me - that's pretty much 24/7! Lol.

The good thing for me is that there are no gaps in God's coverage. His "grace insurance" doesn't pick and chose what it covers. He covers it all - every hurt, every pain, every rejection, and every difficutly. He didn't say that everyone but caregivers would have grace when they need it. It's open-ended, free, and non-exclusionary! And it's right "here" whenever there is a need.

Today, I will thank Him for the grace needed to carry me through. I'll remind myself that I've got this - because He's got me. I won't try to wriggle around and get out of His hand to see what I can handle on my own. Instead, I'll rest in the grip of His grace. And I'll rest in the midst of the storm and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


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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.






When I Can't See

 This morning, it's cloudy and rainy here. I like a nice rainy day now and then. When I was a kid, I'd curl up with a book or two and read the day away. Boy, how I wouldn't love one of those kinds of days right now! But for the caregiver, it is not meant to be. Lol. But the cloudy day did help spark some deeper thoughts that I've been rolling around.

Do you ever go through those times when you can't see or feel God? One thing I've tried to do with this blog is to be gut-level honest about emotions, thoughts, and all the crazy parts of being caregivers. There are days when I don't see or feel God's hand at work in my life. Many of my middle-of-the-night experiences have led to me crying out to God and asking Him if He sees us. If He hears us. And IF He does, why isn't He answering? But in most Christian circles, those raw emotions and legit questions are not allowed. They show a "lack of faith." But do they?

On this cloudy day, I cannot see the sun. It's a thick, cloudy, super rainy day, and barely any light is getting through. The sun is obscured from reaching us. But is it really? The presence of the clouds doesn't mean the sun isn't out there shining on. Right? I just can't see it. But it didn't go away. Where would it go? Lol.


Even in the most "normal" circumstances, our clear sight of God can be disrupted. But for caregivers, it's even worse. Every day caregiving stuff can cloud our view of the One we love - the One we need so desperately. But it doesn't mean that He's not there. Like the sun, He is shining brightly on the other side.

It's those gray days that can drag us down the most. Those times when we don't see Him moving, can't hear Him breathing, and can't see Him reaching for our hearts. But He is.

Isn't believing that He is still there when we don't feel, see, or experience Him what faith is all about? Don't let anyone try to tell you that you don't have faith because you don't get the answers you want when you want them. You're still holding on, right? It may be to what feels like a quickly thinning thread, but you're still gripping it! Caregivers have got more guts and faith than any other class of people, in my opinion. We just keep reaching for Him...

  • when we are tired
  • when we are lost
  • when strength is gone
  • when we can't think straight
  • when others tell us we shouldn't...
That's faith. The fact that you are still reading this blog - demonstrates that you are still reaching, even if you cannot see. Man, is that awesome!

Today, I will take Him at His word and trust that He is working on my behalf - even if I don't see or sense that He is doing a thing. It's a good day to just silently wait for Him. Will you join me?

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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


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




The Long Sit

 


The other day, I stepped outside for a couple of minutes and noticed there was a woman sitting on the curb across from the pond down the road a bit. I had this urge that I just wanted to go sit with her. She seemed lost in thought, but I couldn't tell if she seemed stressed or not. I didn't have any words, just wanted to sit down beside her and be there. Immediately after this interesting urge, I thought of what a blessing it would be for someone to just come sit by me. The support it would offer would be amazing. 

Oftentimes, there are no words, not even comforting ones, that "work." But having someone just "be" with you can mean the world. This led my thoughts to Job. When his world came crashing down, his friends came. They were so overcome with grief when they saw his physical state, that they couldn't speak. This, of course, turned out to be a good thing. Lol. They simply sat there with Job for a week with no words spoken. But they were there.

When my son had his wreck, I had a friend who flew in just to be there with us for a few days. Her presence was invaluable. Just having someone I loved and trusted "sitting" there with me provided so much comfort and support - without any words being said. I've found that people may "be" with you initially during the crisis, but if it goes on too long they begin to thin out. 

Here's the good thing, though. God is there for the sit. When He sees our lonely souls just sitting and staring, He is just there for us. As the abnormal becomes our new normal, we may find we have fewer and fewer humans willing to be there for us. They get used to our discomfort. They accept our rocky road but choose to stay off of it. But God will never do that to us - He just keeps walking alongside us. His presence is everything.

Today, I will remind myself that He is still right here, even if He is just "sitting" with me, staring at the pond. I also need to remind myself that He's got nowhere pressing to go, so He's there for the sit. He's not in a hurry. He's not pushing me to talk about it. He is just there. And His presence brings all the comfort and hope I need for the moment. So, I'll just sit here with Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                                           

One More Thing

young guys carrying Chris and his chair down a set of steps

 This morning, I did my Facebook Live devotions about "one more thing." (See video below.) I took the thought from Paul's teaching in Colossians 3. In verses 12 through 15, he touches on several points, including forgiveness, patience, God's love, and His peace. At the end of verse 15, he says, "And always be thankful." It was as if he said, oh, and one more thing...

That's a positive one more thing, right? But personally, lately, it seems like I've had a lot of one more things that just add to the daily load. Maybe it's just me; I don't know. But it sure feels like each week, there are tons more "little" things to add to my daily load. For instance, I have been paying on a life insurance policy for about 8 years and never heard a word from them. Last week, they suddenly needed to visit with me. It was nice since they could do it using Zoom, but it was still just one more thing on a very busy day for me. And we made absolutely no changes to the policy. Lol. That's just one example, but it feels like there are tons more! And it seems like it's nearly daily. What do we do with these "one more" things?

Maybe we can combine Paul's "one more thing" with our many "one more" things and find a workable solution. What if, when we are in total overwhelm mode, we find something to be thankful for? It can be the silliest, or tiniest thing. But I am learning that when I choose gratitude, my attitude changes. Sometimes, I find something silly on purpose, then I crack myself up. But you know what? Laughter releases tension too, so it's good for us. 

Today, as I navigate through another series of overwhelming "things," I will remind myself to purposefully look for things to be thankful for. Maybe I will just start with that truth that He gives us His peace, then I'll branch out to thank Him for love, grace, and mercy for today. And then, I'll just trust Him for one more day.Will you join me?




Those Fickle Emotions!

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