Showing posts with label God is with us. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God is with us. Show all posts

I KNOW I'm Not Alone - Why do I Feel That Way?

Chris and Kyrie

 Do you ever feel alone? Caregiving has a way of isolating you and sometimes even in a crowd you can feel alone. Since I've become my son's aide, I feel more alone than ever. I know I am on the phone with people or in zoom meetings almost every day. But I still feel so very alone.

I remind myself that God is with me - a truth I hold on to. But it's so hard to not feel totally alone when you make all the decisions, do all the caregiving tasks, and can't find sitters for big events you really don't want to miss. I know that He said He'd be with me to the end. He also said He'd never leave or forsake us, but since God doesn't wear skin, it can feel like He's a million miles away from my day-to-day reality, no matter how much my heart holds to the truth that He is near.

Ah! The age-old battle between the mind and the spirit.

I started mentally walking through some Bible stories to find a character who may have felt very alone, yet God was with him. I landed on David. There he stood facing a giant, a foe of epic proportions like none other he'd ever faced. It was just him and Goliath. Was David alone? Nope. But certainly, he must have felt that way, right?

Saul tried to give David his armor and wasn't confident in sending "the kid" out to the battlefield. David had been talking among the ranks and asking soldiers what the prize was for defeating the giant. He didn't seem to ever think about any other scenarios - other than victory. His own brother tried to belittle him by asking where are those few little sheep you are supposed to be taking care of? This brother surely had seen Samuel anoint David as king, but refused to accept it and instead tried to make sure David knew he was the least, the youngest, the most unimportant piece in life's puzzle. So even though David had all of Saul's army present and "behind" him, he faced Goliath all alone. And that's where God showed up.

David must have looked and felt so small standing there in front of Goliath. He was likely shorter than the giant's staff. But David had told Saul that God had delivered him from the lion and the bear and he had no doubt God would deliver him from the giant too. So there stood little David all alone. Facing the giant and an army of frightened soldiers behind him - but not with him. But he trusted God and prevailed.

I propose today that even though we may feel sandwiched between a giant and our past God is with us on that field. We may hear the naysayers. We may not have any physical help. But God is showing up for us again and again. As caregivers, we face more than just one giant every single day. As a matter of fact, sometimes the smallest parts of life become huge giants because of our situations. But we can face them all in the name of the Lord.

Today, I will remind myself that I am not alone - no matter how alone I feel. I will tell myself to grab hold of those proverbial bootstraps and give it one more go. My thoughts will be directed toward the truth that God is with us - we never face the giants alone. I know I can trust Him to empower me to take them out one by one. So, I will trust Him with the giants of today. 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. My devotional 31 Days in Psalm 31 is all about seeking God from the cave! Check it out!



Are We Looking?

One of the things we face as caregivers is this deep sense of being alone. For me, sometimes it's not as bad; but I can even feel vastly alone even in a crowd. Our lives are just different and it causes gaps that can't always be made up just by being with others.

The feeling can often come and go, but there are times where it feels like it just swallows me whole. Last night was one of those times. I really am not sure I have the words to adequately express what it feels like because it's a lot more than just feeling lonely. I feel totally alone in this world, on my own, and unlike everyone else. Even among caregivers our situations are so unique we can still feel alone. This was still on my mind when I woke up this morning and opened my Bible for morning devotions.

I wasn't looking for anything in particular and my Bible opened at John 14 so I started reading this passage that has been a long time favorite. Firstly, I love Thomas, even though the church has given him a bad rap over the years. Jesus says I am going to prepare a place for you...I will come and get you so you will always be with me where I am. Then He says You know where I am going and how to get there. Thomas is so honest - he says, No, we don't know, Lord. We don't have any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?

Don't you love his honest expressions? How many times have we asked where are You, Lord? And how many times have we felt like we didn't have a clue where He was, where He was going or what He was doing? This can seriously be a daily thing for the caregiver!

Since I wasn't looking for any answers, and not expecting to find them anyway I continued reading until I stopped after reading verses 15 to 21. Jesus is explaining how He will be sending Holy Spirit to live in us. The Spirit is with the disciples, Jesus explains; but He will be in them. He assures them they will not be abandoned. My thought is I've felt that way. There have been times when I've felt like I was abandoned by life and God.

But Jesus assures the disciples that He is with them - and His Spirit will continue to live in them and they will not be alone. The catch? They will have to look for Him. He's there... He's everywhere. The world will not recognize Him or receive Him. Why? They are not looking for Him. (v.17)

This made me stop and think for a few minutes. Do I recognize Him in my life? More than that, can others recognize His work in my life? Do I acknowledge His ever abiding presence; or just go about my day hoping He is following along? According to scriptures He is always with us; always in us. And even though it might not make that aloneness go totally away - it does bring some comfort to know He is walking this out with me, with us.

Today I will purposefully look for Him as I go about my busy day of caregiving. I'll watch for His touch as the day goes by. My thoughts will be on how He interacts with me throughout the day and how I can recognize that, rather than ignore the truth that He is here. I'll be looking for Him today - will you join me?

Does "Everything" Mean Everything?

Sometimes as a caregiver it can feel like we are "missing out" on life. There are many times we just can't do what we used to do because of our responsibilities of taking care of another. It may mean that we cut some of our favorite activities to try and lighten our load, or it might even mean we lack any sort of social life at all.

For a long time I felt like I lived in a caregiver's cave. There was almost no social interactions and even now that we can get out and about even on a limited basis I am leery of scheduling outings. We just never know what a day is going to look like. It can be difficult to plan since we don't know what kind of day our loved one is going to have; and this can keep us from many activities.

Even now that my son and I can get out more, I'm very limited on how long I can spend out. I have to get back home to change him or to feed him. And honestly, sometimes the fear of what might happen while we are out keeps us home. There are tons of what ifs.

These can make us feel like we don't have "a life" like others. We can feel like life has shorted us somewhat. But I have found that God didn't short us a bit.

2 Peter 1:3 reminds us that He has given us everything we need for life and godliness. Everything - means everything. He didn't say that because we are a caregiver and have what appears to others as "less" of a life - we don't get all of His Holy Spirit. He does not exclude us from His spirit living in us. We have no less of Him than any other believer. The big-name TV preachers don't have more of Him than we do. Pastors don't have more of God or more access to Him than we do; and neither does any other leader in or out of the church.

Ephesians 3:16 says that we have the power of His spirit in our inner man It's a package deal. No one has a partial Christ. Even when a child comes to know Him - there is no junior Holy Spirit. As believers the Holy Spirit of God lives in us. We get no less of Him as a caregiver than anyone else. We all have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us working to transform us into His image.

We are partakers of his divine nature according to 2 Peter. And we demonstrate His love by taking care of our loved ones. We can offer the world a picture of His grace that they cannot see anywhere else. His spirit fully equips us for that.

Today I will meditate on the truth that I have full access to God and that I am not limited by being a caregiver. I will turn my thoughts to the fact that He did not withhold anything from me but my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I did not get short-changed when it comes to having the fullness of God. That makes me smile....Today I will rejoice in this - that the fullness of God lives in me! Will you join me?

On this Journey

Ever have one of those days when you just need to be reminded that He is with you? I've had a few. He can send subtle reminders that He is near through a beautiful sunset, a rainbow stretched across the sky or the laughter of a child. Somehow these little lights in our day can help us remember that He is with us and He has not placed us on this earth and forgotten about us.

I try to remind myself that we have the promise that He will never leave or forsake us. That is found in Hebrews 13:5 but it's actually a quote from Deuteronomy 31. In this chapter Moses is prepping the Children of Israel for a shift in leadership. He first tells the people that God is not leaving or forsaking them. Then he turns to Joshua and tells him that God is going with him and will never leave or forsake him.

Then in Joshua 1:5 when God gives Joshua his charge He specifically tells Joshua again that He will never leave or forsake him on the journey. Hebrews is just a re-quote of what God told Joshua and the Children of Israel as they were preparing to go on into the promised land.

Something else that is in all three of these passages is the reminders to be strong and courageous; and to not be afraid. Since God has our back, what is there to fear? He is with us, no matter where we are in life's journey and therefore there is nothing to fear. We as caregivers can be forced to face many fears from what being able to provide for our loved ones, to providing proper care to what will happen when we are gone. But no matter what kinds of crazy thoughts (and even rational ones) go through our minds He is with us on this journey. You know, God is omnipresent; He is everywhere - He has to be with us - He has no where to go! (smile)

I just need to be reminded that He is with me right here, right now. I'll close out today with the words to a song I wrote many years ago - they seem appropriate.

How could such a great God dwell among us?
This mighty One of Israel
God of power and of all might
yet in our hearts He longs to dwell.

I can't comprehend His great presence
as heaven and earth He does fill
But His choice of habitation
is in a heart that is still.

Today my meditation will be on how God could be and live anywhere  but He chooses to live in me. I will meditate on the truth that He is with me because He wants to be; I will allow my heart to smile at His presence. Will you join me?

Rainy Days and Mondays

I'm a 70's child and I remember when "Rainy Days and Mondays" was popular on the radio.It's got such a smooth sound it can get stuck in your head. For the caregiver "Mondays" doesn't mean too much really, since everyday  can look pretty much the same.

We get up on Monday mornings with just as much to do as we had when we got up on Sunday morning. The caregiver's responsibilities don't change much, if any, from day to day. I usually try to make some small variances on the weekends, like letting my son sleep in just a little bit longer; but the primary responsibilities do not change with the day of the week. When you are caring for another whole person these do not change much. There's still bathing, pureeing foods, feeding, transferring, dressing, and lots of other things that have to be done every single day. If we are blue because it's Monday, we are likely blue every day of the week!

I went in search of one of the scriptures we, as good church people, learn as a child. This is the day the Lord has made - we will rejoice and be glad in it.  I found it in Psalm 118:24. For the caregiver everyday is the same - for all of us - everyday is the day the Lord has made and has given us. Our attitude determines how we handle the situations we will face on any given day; and we will face them! There's always something! Aides who don't show up (if you're lucky enough to have one at all), supplies are not delivered on time, an appliance breaks, you run out of briefs or wipes, any one of a thousand things can happen in a caregiver's day - and usually does. It's our attitude that determines our day - not the day of the week. Mondays are just like Fridays which are just like Tuesdays and Wednesdays....they are all days He has given us with our loved ones.

Rather than thinking about how today is Monday and it's supposed to be rough, I'm going to shift my thinking to the fact that each day is a gift from Him. The psalm that contains this verse is full of praise to the Lord for all He has done. At the very beginning the psalmist lists a few things He's done like:

  • He is good and His mercy endures forever
  • I called on the Lord and He answered me
  • The Lord is on my side
  • The Lord is for me
Having a rough day? Just pick one of these to meditate on today. Let it mold our attitudes into one of thankfulness for all He has done. It's all about focus.

Today I will meditate on how God is on my side - and  He is for me! As I go about the caregiving tasks that are necessary I will think about how He gives me the strength to carry on. My thoughts will be on how He really is for me and not against me; and He is for me when it feels like life is against me! I will be thankful today that He is with me. Will you join me?

I'm not Stuck - I'm Going Through

I have read story after story by caregivers who feel like they are carrying the responsibility all alone; and in too many cases, they are. Caregiving can be a lonely walk. Not only are there limitations when it comes to outings, friends don't really know what to do with your new lifestyle either. They don't realize that your likes and dislikes didn't change when you became a caregiver. Did you like playing cards or going to movies before caregiving? Then it is likely that you still do. But sometimes those outings are no longer practical and in some cases they are not possible. You are the same person but your social scene may have changed. This can add to the loneliness that many caregivers experience.

The good news is that even when you feel all alone - you are not. I find myself returning to a favorite passage in Isaiah 43. It says something like this:

When you pass through the waters
I will be with you;
And through the rivers,
they will not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire
you will not be scorched,
nor will the flame burn you.
For I am the Lord your God...

Caregiving can become a heavy load if we carry it all alone; and we can feel like we are going down for the third time. And realistically, there is a lot to fear. My own fears have involved things like making financial decisions, medical decisions and a whole host of decisions all made for someone else and affecting others. What if I make the wrong decision? It can be a vicious cycle. The good thing is that we are not going through all alone. God is with us!

Notice in Isaiah each phrase includes the word, "through." It doesn't say you are stuck in the water or the fire but when you go through the trials. We are not stuck and we are not going through all alone. He is with us.

This makes me think of Psalm 23:4 where David says even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death - I will fear no evil.  Why? Because You are with me. 

Today I will meditate on the fact that God has not left me hanging in the midst of the trial. He is walking it through with me. I will remind myself that God is with me on this journey and sometimes - He has to carry me. Today I will think about relying more on His strength and less on my own - because quite frankly, mine runs out. Will you join me?

Right Back to Him

 God is so patient with us. I run to Him so often, I often wonder if He silently shakes His head as I approach for the millionth time. In a ...