Showing posts with label David. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David. Show all posts

Handling "Moments"

me and chris standing at an OKC park

 Are you just ever overwhelmed with emotions. I have those "moments" where I am just suddenly sad. I hope it's just me - but I have a good idea that you understand what I am talking about. I'm pretty sure it's all part of the living grief that comes with the loss of a person whose body and spirit are still here. Caregivers often have a lot of grief and sadness to work through. Most of the time, I'm good, especially if Chris is making progress, feeling well, and interacting some. But there are times when I am incredibly sad and miss who he was. It can be difficult in those moments to find solid footing again.

Of course, there are many chores and lots of work to keep my mind and body busy throughout the day - but if I'm not careful the sadness can sweep me away. I find myself struggling to find some small piece of peace.

What's a caregiver to do in those times? A "moment" can come on us unannounced, unprovoked, and certainly unwelcomed. Then, it starts nagging at our souls. David encouraged himself in the Lord - and we must follow suit. In 1 Samuel 30:6, David found himself in quite a pickle. The city had been burned his wives had been taken captive and the people were blaming him and talking of killing him to "rid themselves" of the evil. Well, I feel better now. lol.

David did what he did best - he went straight to the Lord. He asked God, "Shall I pursue the troop? Shall I overtake them?" (NKJ) Perhaps we should mimic his first response - he encouraged himself in the Lord - then inquired of Him. He asked himself hard questions, why are you cast down, o my soul? Why are you disquieted within me? (NKJ) - Then he answered - hope in God. Then he made a declaration - I will yet praise Him for He is my help. (Psalm 43)

When sadness, grief, or any other emotional struggle hits us - we can first allow ourselves to experience the emotion. Working through it means asking ourselves why we feel it - and if we can do anything about it. Then - we take it to Him. (No matter what our answer was to the hard questions!) And then comes the declarations - I will hope in God - He will be my help.

He shows up - every single time.

Today, I will turn my face to Him. I will look up to Him for I know like you know that our help comes from the Lord. I will remind myself that I do not carry this load alone - He's got me. He's got you today too. Today I will trust the keeper of my soul to keep my soul! I will trust the lover of my soul to love my broken soul. I will lean into Him today until I can feel Him breathe over this crazy heart and life as I trust Him with one more day. Will you join me?

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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


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Just a Slave Boy


 I love the story of Daniel and this morning during my daily devotions, I read through the first few chapters. I am awed by their dedication and commitment to God even though they became captives in a foreign land. We see God gives them wisdom that far excelled the pagan magicians and wizards in the land. They were even made rulers over all of Babylon. (Daniel 2:48-49)

Moving ahead to Daniel 6, the jealous princes were trying to destroy Daniel. They devised a wicked plot and tricked the king into making a decree. When they came back to report to the king that Daniel had disobeyed by praying to God, they referred to him as "one of the captives from Judah." Never mind that he was the ruler of all the provinces of Babylon, right?

Sometimes in life, we encounter people who refuse to see us for who we are. As a caregiver, many times people only see us as a caregiver. They don't see us as Bible teachers, preachers, ministers, writers, or anything else. It's like how David's brothers refused to see him as any more than a shepherd boy even though they witnessed Samuel anoint him as king. (They should have played their cards a little better. lol)

It's hard for people to see past our caregiver's status to the person we are inside. We still have desires, dreams, thoughts, ideas (and good ones!), and aspirations. But it's easy for others to lock us into the caregiver's box as though nothing else about us exists. What's worse - is it is far too easy for us to do that to ourselves!

Maybe we should ask how God sees us. Does He see us as full-on God-seekers? Does He see each of us as the whole person that we are? Doesn't He continue to see us as His child, one He calls His own? When others (or ourselves) see us as abandoned, forsaken, worthless, unworthy, - or any other term you feel right now - He sees us as cherished, prized, loved, needed - and His.

Today, I'll turn my meditations to what He thinks about me. My thoughts will be on how He cherishes His relationship with me! How He loves me and desires to be with me - constantly. He never gets tired of me or needs a break from me. I'll think about how he longs to be even closer to me - if and when I allow it. I'll try to focus on His thoughts about me today. Will you join me in focusing on His thoughts about YOU?

In Focus

This morning I was thinking about some of the people in the Bible who went through rough times. Honestly, it's those who endured hard places that earn the respect of believers, right? We never look at someone Bible character or not and think oh, they have never faced any difficulties - I respect them so much.  lol. It's the fact that people walk through life's stuff with their faith intact that earns our admiration and respect. I like to read biographies and autobiographies - but it's the things the main character endures that make the story inspirational and interesting.


I thought back about David and how when Samuel the prophet came to anoint "one of Jesse's sons" as king - no one remembered to go get David from tending the sheep. He had the choice of focusing on rejection - but he didn't make that his focus.

Then, I thought about Daniel, not just in the lion's den. He was taken captive as a young lad and lived nearly his entire life as a slave in a foreign land. He could have focused on his captivity. He could have focused on the oppression. But he didn't. He remained faithful to God even without godly guidance from others.

I've been thinking about Ruth a lot and have shared some thoughts about her in an earlier blog. She came to mind again this morning. We often think about the end of the story and how Boaz redeemed her and she became one of the four women mentioned in the lineage of Christ. But we forget she lost her husband at an early age before she had any kids. She was a widow and must have endured an enormous amount of grief. She stayed with her deceased husband's mother and traveled with her to a distant land. She could have focused on her own grief and sorrow. But she did not.

Over the last couple of years, we've all seen unprecedented sorrow and grief. We're still enduring a pandemic and the added stress. As if caregivers didn't have enough daily stress already! Right? :-)

But we still have a choice of what to focus on. Even on our darker days when chores necessary for our loved one's care weigh us down, we can choose our focus. Like these and other heroes of the faith - we can look past our circumstances and see Him. We can pray like Daniel, sing like David, and be as committed as Ruth even in the midst of our struggles. God honors that.

Today, I will shift my focus from my situation to His situation! I'll lift my eyes to Him - my help, the sustainer of my soul, my comforter, and ever-present King. I'll look past whatever is on my plate to the One who provides, shelters, cares, and continues to love me in the midst of life's struggles and storms. I will thank Him for being right here - right now. Will you join me in enjoying His presence today?

Non Essential

This pandemic hasn't been easy on anyone no matter where you stand on the issue. It's difficult for those on the front lines, without a doubt. It's hard for those who are working, those out of work and those hanging in between in uncertainty. At first, I was a bit amused that so many were having to learn about the social isolation many of us as caregivers are accustomed to. the world responded and it was nice to have access for a brief time to so many Bible studies, teachings, and classes all online. We could finally be a part, right?

But then it seemed to me as if we got pushed further to the back if that was possible. I have to admit I was a little offended but got over it quickly. We've been isolated for years and many of the churches haven't offered an online presence until they needed it. I admit I felt slighted a bit. I translated that as we were not worth the effort. I'm sure no one meant it that way at all - but that's how I interpreted it. And then when we did meet the talk was all about how fast they could get back to their "normal" with no regard for those of us who won't be able to transition back. I felt discarded.

Then, I'm trying to buy common supplies. You know the stuff we need every single month and will continue to need forever once the pandemic has run its course. I needed adult wipes and gloves and they were nowhere to be found. Oh yeah, I'm non-essential. Now I am not minimizing the need of those on the front lines - I do understand that. But I literally cannot find gloves or order them online. This deepened the sense that I am disposable and unimportant in the scheme of things.

My emotions were collapsing and I was being sucked down into the vacuum of despair as if I no longer existed. I struggled with thoughts like I am not important and no one cares. Loneliness swept over my soul until I could not breathe or feel anymore. I honestly hope you don't understand.

Then I thought about David when he came back to Ziklag. He was in that sort of despair. He was battle-worn (can we relate?), he was tired (relate?), then he suffers the loss of his wives and children who have been taken captive, the town has been burned to the ground and to add to his despair - his fellow soldiers blame him for the whole thing. He had to suffer that deep lonely feeling we understand too well.

But David didn't wallow in it like I do. (insert smile) After the men wept until they could weep no more (NLT), it says he encouraged himself in the Lord. Then he prayed. I wonder how he encouraged himself. Did he sing a psalm he wrote? Did he think back to the ways God had blessed him in the past? I wish I had more details. But I know where I can start.

First, I will find something to be grateful for and I'll thank God for as many things tangible and intangible that I can think of. I'll start with grace, His love, and salvation and build out from there. While I already feel better, I will continue to build on that foundation. Then, I will praise God because my lowly circumstances do not change Him one iota. Not one thing shifted in His kingdom when the bottom fell out of my world. I'll put my focus on the things about God that do not change. That will be my praise and my meditation today. Will you join me?

Surrounded

There were times when David felt as if he was surrounded by his enemies. In the third psalm, he says I have so many enemies. In Psalm 17, he mentions his deadly enemies that surround. One thing I appreciate about David is that he acknowledges his enemies. He doesn't try to act like they don't exist. He doesn't try to imagine they are gone. And, he doesn't try to "faith" his way out of his circumstances. What he does do, though, is declare the truth in the midst of his surroundings.

David had real, physical enemies with flesh and blood and oftentimes in his writings he mentions the words his enemy uses against him. He always refutes it with what God says about him. I like that. David may share how he is being overcome by the deep waters of tribulation, but he always counters it with a declaration about God and a but I'm still swimming statement.

As much as David felt like his enemies surrounded him, he also notes God surrounds him. He wasn't confused. He knew God was nearer when the enemy pressed in. He made references to the enemy surrounding him:


  • my deadly enemies surround me (Psalm 17:9)
  • the cords of Sheol surrounded me (Psalm 18:5)
  • many bulls have surrounded me - strong bulls! (Psalm 22:12)
  • dogs have surrounded me - a band of evildoers encompassed me (Psalm 22:16)
  • evils beyond number have surrounded me (Psalm 40:12)
Even though he often felt surrounded by enemies of varying types, he declared in the face of his enemy that he was surrounded by God. His references are amazing:

  • O Lord You surround him (the righteous man) with favor (Psalm 5:12)
  • You surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7)
  • he who trusts in the Lord, loving kindness will surround him. (Psalm 32:10)
  • the Lord surrounds His people (Psalm 125:1)
As caregivers we may not have physical giants and enemies that stand before us. However, we have giants that war at our hearts - through our head. So many things can try to surround us and overtake us. Fears of the future. Financial concerns. Physical ailments or the possibility of not being able to care for our loved ones. Doubts try to crowd in our mind and erode our faith and trust in Him. For many of us, it's a constant struggle even if we remain on top of it. It wears away at our hearts. But like David, we are still swimming in life's flood waters.

What's your declaration today? David usually turned his fears, doubts, and concerns into a declaration he could hold on to. They usually started with an I will

  • I will lie down in peace and sleep for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe (Psalm 4:8)
  • I will sing praises to the name of the Lord Most High... (Psalm 7:17)
  • I will declare the wonder of Your name... I will praise You among the people (Psalm 22:22)
  • I will trust in Your unfailing love (Psalm 13:5)
Even if you feel surrounded today by doubts, fears, what-ifs, what-not-ifs, or are just submerged in your own thoughts, there is a way out. 

Today, I will gladly make my declaration that I will trust Him for one more day. I will bless His name today. My heart will praise Him in the midst of the storm - and I will keep swimming! I figure if my enemies are going to surround me - they are going to have to listen to me praise my God who keeps my soul safe in the midst of trouble. How about you? Will you join me?






Great-grandmother to a King

This week we've been talking about how adversity can offer a door to hope. It's not that hope makes the pain of losses any less, but it does give way to a brighter future no matter what the circumstances are. Today's character is Ruth; it's such a beautiful story. As most stories do, it starts out with conflict and trouble. Ruth had married young and her husband died after about 10 years. To make matters worse, as real life does, there was a famine in the land. Naomi decided to return to Judah to her family since her husband and two sons were dead.

Ruth decided that she was going to remain loyal to Naomi and go with her to Judah. Naomi tried to discourage her by telling here there was no hope. She told Ruth, Go for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons would you therefore wait until they were grown?....for the hand of the Lord is against me.(Ruth 1:12-13)

The custom of the day would have been for Ruth or Naomi to marry a brother of their deceased husband who could raise up children in his brother's name. Naomi had no other sons and she was a widow herself. There really was no hope in the womb. Ruth decided to see despair as a window of hope and she pledged her loyalty to her mother-in-law and returned to Judah with her. This had to be a difficult decision. She had lost her husband and was leaving her native land and traveling to a foreign one. But her great adversity became very hope-filled.

Naomi's kinsman, Boaz ended up redeeming Naomi according to the custom of the day. This meant that he ultimately provided for her and took her as his bride. Through their union - which occurred because of an adverse situation, Ruth gave birth to Obed; he was Jesse's father. And Jesse was the father of our beloved King David. So even though her situation was painful, she became the great-grandmother of a king.

Things had looked bleak, as they often do in life. Naomi stated there was no hope and she felt like the hand of the Lord was against her. It can be easy when life piles up on you to feel that way. Honestly, I've felt that way many times. It can seem like there is nothing good and that life has taken aim at you. Or maybe it's just me! Caregiving is a rocky ride at best and stressful situations abound and have a tendency to snowball on you at times. But there is always hope. Adversity and pain are not signs that God is against you. Sometimes it seems options are few and there is no end to pain. But there is always hope on the horizon. Remember that He is the God of hope. From the darkest seasons of our lives will come a ray of light and hope will arise. What an opportunity to trust Him more!

Today I will meditate on how He opens up a door of hope even in adversity. I will not dedicate my time to my trouble; but instead I will look ahead to where He is leading. When I feel like life has blinded me - I will trust Him to give me new vision and hope. I will trust Him for today and for tomorrow for there is hope. Will you join me?

Sandwiched by Faith

I love reading the Psalms and particularly enjoy the ones written by David. He seems so open and honest with his feelings and doesn't typically hold anything back. David doesn't worry about what everyone else might think about him, he just lays it all out there. Sometimes it can seem like he goes from one emotional extreme to another all in one psalm. That's something many caregivers are very familiar with. Each day can bring a wide range of emotional challenges and changes until we start to think we are losing it for sure. But we are in good company it seems.

In Psalm 31, David makes a lot of "I" statements. In the first few verses, David is declaring his trust in God. He says some things like:

I have taken refuge (in You)
I commit my spirit (into Your hands)
I trust in the Lord
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness

These are some very powerful declarations and worth grabbing a hold of in our own lives. They are perspective changing declarations that can help us get our attitude in the right place when things have gone crazy in our lives. But at the same time David is making these powerful statements he lets loose with some honest and raw emotions. He says things in the next few verses like:

I am in distress
My life is spent in sorrow
My strength has failed
I have become a reproach
I am forgotten...
I am like a broken vessel

What caregiver has not gone through this range of emotions? On any given day we can feel like we just can't make it one more second, our strength is gone. And oh how familiar we can be with being forgotten. Loneliness can be one of our greatest battles along with depression. We can feel reproached, forgotten and alone...like we are broken and beyond repair. I'm so glad that David took the time to preserve this psalm because we can start to feel not-so-alone knowing that our emotions are not foreign - others have experienced them too and were not afraid to write about it.

In the church world these feelings are oftentimes forbidden. We are told it is because of "lack of faith" that we feel them. We are further reproached because we can't seem to get a handle  on things. So we stuff it all inside and become more recluse. But if David felt them and God approved that they be in our beloved scriptures - they must be a normal part of life. While we need to work through them like we see David do- we should not be shunned or condemned for feeling them.

We do see David get past his emotional hurdles. He begins to turn his focus off his situation and onto God. After he lays it all out there (which is really good to do sometimes) he starts to  encourage himself by saying things like:

I trust in You, O Lord
You are my God
I will call on You
Save me in Your lovingkindness
How great is Your goodness
You hide us in Your secret place

It's sort of funny that he sandwiches his emotions between his statements of faith. Seems like a really good place to put them to me! So it's okay to acknowledge how we really feel - actually it's healthy. Just remember to turn your thoughts back to God when you're done. We can pour our hearts out to God and be totally honest about things that are common to caregivers: anger, depression, hurt, and loneliness. And then declare who God is - whether we feel it or not!

David ends up speaking to the reader and reminding us to trust the Lord who preserves the faithful.  And he offers hope for those who hope in the Lord. 

Be strong and let your heart take courage
all you who hope in the Lord.

Today I will acknowledge the areas where I struggle. And then I will declare that He is my God and my hope is in Him. I will I let  my heart be encouraged and I will declare I trust in You O Lord, You are my God!  Will you join me?


Out of Obscurity

Most of the caregiver's world can be lived in obscurity. Many times our ability to get out is limited by the level of mobility of the one we care for, or the availability of those who relieve us. For most of us, much of our time is spent living in the quietness of our homes and we are obscured from the rest of the world who does not understand us or know what to do with us. (smile- it's okay and we aren't contagious!)

I started thinking about this during my morning devotions. When I picked up my Bible this morning it was opened to 1 Samuel. I started reading about Samuel who happens to be one of my favorite OT prophets. God told him to go anoint one of Jesse's sons as the next king to replace Saul who had been rejected. Jesse didn't even bother to bring David out. Samuel looked at each of Jesse's other sons and knew they were not the one to be anointed as king and finally he asked Jesse if there were any more sons. Jesse said, "well there's the youngest who is out keeping the sheep." They summoned David from his obscure post and Samuel said - yup, that's the one! And right there the ruddy young man was anointed as king. Then he went back to keeping the sheep.

What I really found interesting is that in this same chapter just  a few verses down, King Saul is found being tormented by evil spirits. When they start looking for a psalmist that can minister God's peace here comes David again; out of obscurity. So two times in this chapter (sadly we have no way of knowing how much time had lapsed) he is called out of his obscurity where he was alone and minding his own business. Once to be anointed as the next king and second to play his harp for the king that he is to replace.

It seems that David remained very unassuming during this time period. He kept himself humble before God and man. I mean what are the chances that the same kid the prophet sought out to anoint is then sought out to play the harp for the king he is to replace? Of course Saul has no clue and loved David at first. But we know that eventually he became jealous and the road to the throne for David became a rocky one - even though he was anointed for it.

My encouragement this morning is found in this passage. Our roads as caregivers are anything but smooth no matter what types of circumstances surround. But that does not mean we are any "less" anointed or appointed for what God had in mind to start with. Even though the road may be bumpy and uncomfortable, what God says still stands. He never promised it would be easy getting to where He called us to be - He only assures us that what He has said about us is always in tact. He never changes His mind.

Today I will meditate on the things God says about me. Psalm 139:17 says how precious are Your thoughts toward me O Lord! How vast is the sum of them. No matter how obscure our lives have become we are not hidden from His sight. I will meditate on the truth that He has not forgotten me, and He still has His eye on me. I will rest in that truth today - will you join me?

You Can't Order that Online!

In many cases the caregiver is not able to get out of the house much, or at least not very easily. Because of this, over the last few years I've learned you can order almost anything online. I order toilet paper, cleaning supplies, clothes, household goods, furniture, electronic devices, books, music, movies, medical supplies and that's just all I can think of off the top of my head. I even order frozen foods! There are some places that ship fresh fruit - but so far I haven't found it to be cost effective. But I've also learned that there are a few things that simply cannot be ordered online. Things like milk and butter, hair cuts, manicures, massages and dog grooming just cannot be ordered online!

I have found that in most instances caregivers are very frugal and creative; they have this knack for problem solving and figuring out how to get the impossible done. Whether we ask for help, order it online or find some other way to get it done - nearly everything is possible. But perhaps the most crucial need of the caregiver cannot be ordered online, or fulfilled by anyone else. We have to be able to encourage ourselves. As we face a barrage of decisions and situations each day we can either succumb to the pressure and allow ourselves to be depressed - or we can encourage ourselves in the Lord.

David found himself in a very sticky situation in 1 Samuel 30. He and his men came back to Ziklag to find it ransacked and their wives and children taken captive. Everyone blamed him and were talking of killing him; and he was greatly distressed (v.6). But as he stood there with nothing - it says David encouraged himself in the Lord. There are times when the caregiver has to make the choice to be crushed or encouraged; and sometimes (most times) we have to do it ourselves. Even if someone brings an encouraging message we must choose to embrace it - or stay underneath the load.

Today I am going to choose to take my courage and strength from the Holy Spirit. No matter what types of difficulties I may face today I will not let them take me under and suck me into the "caregiver's fog." I think of all the times throughout the Psalms when David used the phrase "I will" or "My soul will" and I really think he was making a conscious choice to trust, worship, praise, etc. Today I will do this same thing- My choice is to trust Him for this one more day and lean on Him for strength to make it through. I will meditate on His greatness and I will be encouraged in Him today - will you join me?

Out of Context

Did you ever feel like your whole life was "out of context" with the rest of the world? Don't take me wrong - I'm okay with where I am (right now) - but sometimes I watch everyone else is this highly socialized world talk about going to do this and going to do this while I feel I am captive in my own house. The absence of a real social life can be very draining; but we cope; in our own out of context ways!

I thought about being out of context as I was reading Psalm 22 today. We almost always hear verse 3 separated out from the previous verses. Pastors and song leaders use verse three to try and get us to "worship" and invite God's presence in -- but isn't He already here? They tell us He is "enthroned on praise" and that is true - but it's the praise our broken lives gives birth to if you look a the first two verses. Actually, we only hear verse one on Easter - My God, My God why have you forsaken me?  But when have we ever put these scriptures together? The first two verses are the psalmist crying out and feeling separated from his God. the next couple it seems he's trying to remind himself who and where God is. Have you ever felt separated from God? We know we are not -- but it can certainly feel like it sometimes.

The rest of Psalm 22 is like the first few verses. David cries out from his fear, abandonment, trouble, and helplessness. And then he will remind himself once again of God's faithfulness, strength and presence. Sound familiar? -- it sure does to me!! (It's okay - I'm used to being alone! lol)

In the culture of the church we've not been allowed to express our feelings of hopelessness, despair, helplessness or fear. But I think this psalm is a good reminder that it is quite alright to be honest about our feelings; and then try to find God in them - rather than separate from them. How will I know I need His peace if I do not admit mine is gone? How do I run to Him as a fortress if I never acknowledge there is a battle?

It's okay to see our own wretched state -- and bring it to Him with a clean, open, and honest heart. Today I will remind myself that He is close to me in the lowly situation -- He is my fortress because there is  a battle - and He is my strength because I am weak....

If you come looking for me - I'll be running to Him. Care to join me?

Life on the Sidelines

Even in our technological world it can seem like we are cut off from life. The caregiver cannot always get out and about like everyone else; sometimes even though we can keep up with others via television and Facebook, it seems everyone's life goes on where ours stopped. This is a normal part of caregiving; and one we must deal with. I usually deal with painful areas such as these by finding something similar in scripture; we can find comfort in situations when we see that someone else has lived through similar circumstances. It allows us to grab hold of some hope that tells us we can get through this season!

As feelings of isolation swept over me last week, I began to feel like life had discarded me. Immediately I went to the Word for hope and peace. In 2Samuel 9 we find King David looking for any survivors of the household of Saul. He finally found Ziba who had been one of Saul's servants and he asked Ziba if there was anyone at all left in Saul's household as David wanted to show God's kindness to them." (v.3) Ziba replied to the king that there was one of Jonathon's sons still alive -- but he's crippled. It seems he said it in such a way that indicates Mephibosheth wasn't worthy of being blessed because of his disability. But I love David's response- he did not ask how crippled Mephibosheth was or anything about his condition - he said Where is he? David went on to give Jonathan's son a place at his own table and he lived with David the rest of his days.

Mephibosheth ate at David's table as if he was one of his sons. David made sure that Mephibosheth received all of Saul's belongings and ordered that other people take care of him by farming his land; all while Mephibosheth lived in the palace!

I tend to think of it this way - my life is crippled; my son is crippled and discarded by society. He has no "friends"as he cannot give back to the relationship. It can be very easy to feel that life has discarded us altogether. But as I read on through 2 Samuel I found an interesting verse in chapter 14. It says this: God tries to bring us back when we have been separated from Him. He does not sweep away the lives of those He cares about.

Even if we feel like we are living life on the sidelines - God has not discarded us! Others may not understand what we are going through and many may not ever reach out to us in our pain. But God does know where we are and who we are and what we are going through. And just like David sought out Mephibosheth - God seeks us out to bless us, to hold us and offer us a place at His table.

Today I will meditate on the fact that I am a King's kid! I'll think about how He has provided and continues to provide for my family. I will picture in my mind what it must look like for Him to come looking for me! And I'll smile....will you join me?

Social Isolation

One of the things I hear a lot about is social isolation. Most caregivers become such under varying circumstances for me it started with an automobile accident followed by a hospital stay. At first the SICU waiting room was filled with concerned people. As the usual "custom" visitors began to dwindle when it turned into a 4 month hospital stay; and dwindled even more as we moved to the first nursing home. By the time we moved to our first apartment visitors were pretty much nonexistent. This is typically how it goes and it's not that people do not care, it's just that they went on with their lives and somehow had the illusion that since you are "home" yours sort of went on too. That's just the way it is.. no blame.

 Caregiving can end up being a lonely place - but you eventually adjust to this social isolation and it finally becomes the norm.  As a general rule, caregivers do not have the freedom that many others have. They cannot decide on the spur of the moment to go see a movie, go to lunch with friends or grab a cup of coffee with someone. Many cannot even take care of personal errands except when an aide is present. Even if our loved one is mobile it is not so easy to just jump and run to buy necessities. It all has to be carefully planned out and it greatly involved depending on the mobility level of our loved one. All of this can lead to a feeling of abandonment. 

When we feel like the world has kept turning and left us sitting still we can consider this scripture in Psalm 27:9-10. The psalmist prays: Do not hide yourself from me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don't leave me now; don't abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

I am guessing that David had moments he felt isolated from the rest of the world. He was basically running and hiding from Saul who wanted to kill him. I'm sure there were some lonely moments in some dark caves while he was hidden away that he felt abandoned. But he encouraged himself in the Lord more than once! In this psalm he goes on to talk about seeing the Lord's goodness in the land of the living. And then he makes this statement seemingly to himself in verse 14: wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (NLT)

Today I will turn my focus to the Lord who will never abandon - never leave me alone. I will meditate on these two phrases from this psalm: you have always been my helper and  the Lord will hold me close. This will by my meditation for the day - will you join me?

But As For Me...

Psalm 59 was written during a very troubling time for David. I admire his writings because David was so open and honest with his emotions and his feelings. He didn't hesitate to say what he really felt. And in general, you never have to ask yourself, I wonder what he meant by that? Psalm 59 doesn't stray from this pattern as David talks about what he hopes God does to his enemy!

 Just about the time the reader thinks that surely David is way off and has lost it he redeems himself with this statement in verse 16: but as for me...

This phrase is then followed by David's declaration over his own heart. He says that he will sing of the Lord's goodness. He says he will not only sing, but do so joyfully. I cannot honestly say that I have been singing joyfully through adverse circumstances. David concentrates on what God is doing and who He is rather than the adversity surrounding him.

He says he will sing of the Lord's strength - not his own.
He'll sing of His lovingkindness...
He'll sing of how the Lord has been his stronghold..and refuge even in distress...

He didn't concentrate on what he felt God wasn't doing for him...but on what God was  doing. I must admit there are times I get frustrated because of the things I feel God is not doing on my behalf. But today, I will meditate on what He is doing around me, through me and in my situation. Will you join me?

And the Point Is.....?

Psalm 42 has been sung for years. It starts out speaking of how the psalmist was longing for the Lord as a deer thirsts for water. He goes on to talk about that intense longing to just be with Him...a very familiar feeling. And in verse 5 he says this: Why are you cast down O my soul? and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God.  By the time he gets to the last part of his thoughts that helped to form this psalm he mentions it again. (v11)

 And here's what's interesting, in the next psalm verse 5 says the same thing again. On one hand it seems like it's not that big of a deal; like maybe he was trying to talk himself into trusting in God. And I know caregivers must work through that process many days! But, he was not trying to do that. Psalm 42 was written for the sons of Korah...we are talking Moses' day. But Psalm 43 was written by David. That means it was important enough to him for him to repeat it to himself.

 I think the point is this: that even when we are living in troublesome circumstance - we must trust Him to get us through the day. Even if we have to repeat it to our souls over and over I will trust in Him...I will trust in Him...I will trust in Him...That is really what will get us through the day, the hour, the minute or possibly even just this one brief second.

 Make it your goal today as you go about caring for your loved one - to purposefully trust in Him.

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 ...