Sometimes as a caregiver, we don't feel comfortable sharing the emotional part of our journey with others. Perhaps sometimes, it's for their emotional safety. (Lol) Other times, we fear they won't quite "get" us. And for most of us, it may simply be because we don't want to dump on some unsuspecting soul. That can get us in an emotional bind because we hold everything inside with no release.
It can even seem like the religious world doesn't allow our emotions. They are condemned and labeled as a "lack of faith," or we are told we are not trusting God. I beg to differ on this point. God made us to have emotions and feelings. Why wouldn't He allow them? Our struggle shouldn't be in not letting them show but in learning to channel them and manage them in healthy, godly ways. I'm pretty sure throat-punching someone is off the table when it comes to handling emotions. Lol. I'm not saying I ever did- but...
These types of thoughts were running through my head this morning as I was reading the first few verses of Nehemiah. When he learned that the walls of Jerusalem had been knocked down and destroyed, he became an emotional wreck - but not in a bad way. In the New Living Translation, it says that Nehemiah sat down and wept. He goes on and says he mourned, fasted, and prayed. Verse 5 says, and then...
After Nehemiah had washed through all his emotions, he prayed. What a great response to such deep feelings of loss. As caregivers, we often deal with a sense of loss that many do not understand. Perhaps we are watching a parent slowly slip away from the person we know. For me, it is a constant loss of my son, whose body is still here for me to take care of. It can even be emotional to work through the loss of a lifestyle we knew and enjoyed before caregiving. God will take it all.
God didn't tell Nehemiah to dry his tears and suck it all up before coming to Him in prayer. He gets us. He knows that we need to work through an overflow of emotions from time to time, and He never condemns us. That is one reason I love the Psalms so much - it shows us that we can be emotional and we can pour it all out before God without the fear of being condemned or shunned. God willingly listens to our cries as we work out the pains in our hearts and the anguish in our souls.
The problem for us comes when we fail to transition into the and then moment where we have cried our tears, punched a wall or two, curled up in the fetal position, and are done whining..but we don't bring it all to God. Maybe we don't realize it's okay. Maybe we forget that He gets us and won't hold us at a distance just because we feel like we are a mess. Instead, God welcomes us and trades us strength for weakness, grace for heaviness, and joy for mourning. But it's a process that starts with the and then..
Today, I will turn my emotions into and then moments. I'll cry my tears, voice my sadness, hurt, and mourning - and then I'll bring it all to His feet. My thoughts will be on how accepting God is of my whole being. I'll remind myself that He's walking this journey with me and will help me as much or as little as I allow. Today, I'll let Him carry me as needed as I work through the emotional baggage of caregiving. I'll trust Him with my heart and emotions today. Will you join me?