Showing posts with label bearing the load. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bearing the load. Show all posts

The Anchor Holds

This morning as I was meditating on Isaiah 26:3, I thought of an old song. It's called The Anchor Holds. One line says, though the ship is battered. Sometimes it can feel like life is a battering ram that keeps coming back to crush us over and over. Thankfully, this is not an everyday thing for most of us, but for some caregivers, it can feel that way.

As caregivers, we can just get tired. You know what I mean? It takes a lot to do everything for a day for two adults.  Dressing, bathing, feeding, entertaining all take energy, especially when it comes to another whole person no matter what their age or size. It can be exhausting.

I was preparing for my live devotions this morning and found my thoughts going around and around Isaiah 26:3. You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You. Because He trusts in You. Underneath all the busy-ness of our minds and bodies there remains a peace we can count on. Even though our minds can chase a lot of thoughts in a day - we always reel it in and bring it back to Him. And that is where we find perfect peace. No matter how stormy it gets - we find our peace in Him. That's been an anchor that has held me securely all my life - and the last 12 years of caregiving too.

I was focusing on verse three, but when I looked it up to actually lay eyes on it, I grabbed the next verse too. Verse four says Trust in the Lord forever, for in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength. I'm so glad He is not selfish and shares His strength with us, aren't you?

Today, I will keep trusting Him - it's not the day to give up! My crazy, hurried thoughts I will turn into prayers to the God who sees, to God - who cares. I'll keep bringing my mind back to Him no matter how hectic the day becomes because I trust Him. And I will trust Him - for one more day. Will you join me?

Juggling Acts


The last weekend in February has been a fun one for the last seven years. It’s usually the weekend of my daughter’s birthday but sometimes falls the weekend after her actual birthday. We have ridden the train to Fort Worth and participated in some way in the Cowtown races. This year, we did the 10K together on Saturday. The rest of the weekend is ours to enjoy. This year, we just relaxed other than the expo for the event and the 10K we finished early on Saturday.

Giving her this one weekend a month where it’s just mother-daughter, is not really enough to make up for giving all my time to her brother, Chris, whom I care for 24/7. It doesn’t really give her back the time she’s lost these last 11 years. But it’s a special time for her and for me – we spend it together just being us. It’s always loads of fun and she calls all the shots as to where we eat and what we do. This year, planning did not go off without a hitch.

We get some respite through the Advantage program (if you are a caregiver check it out in your state it helps with a lot of things). It wasn’t approved two days before we were to board the train, so I was jumping through mental hoops looking for alternative care for him on Friday. Of course, at the last minute, the approval came through. I don’t understand why something requested weeks ago take to the last minute. It’s like they really don’t care about our feelings – we are just a number on a piece of paper.

Then, my friend who was going to pick Chris up on Friday night fell very ill. Before we board the train I’m trying to jump through hoops to get someone else to take him home and stay with him the first night. It’s all quite funny now – but it wasn’t then.

As caregivers, if we even get a break, it can feel like we are being punished for wanting one. It takes more work to organize all the particulars than it does to just stay home and take care of him. Or at least it feels like it. Overall, it all went well, and he was definitely well cared for and he did very well this time with eating and things like that. Plus, my daughter and I had our special time together and we both got some much-needed downtime. Overall, I’d have to say it was a juggling success. Lol.

Sometimes I wonder if God is looking down on my juggling act and shaking His head. Maybe He is burying His face in His hands. But juggling isn’t a one time a year thing for us caregivers. Many don’t even get that opportunity. Day after day we juggle caregiving tasks, cooking, work, other children’s needs, and our own needs are the pin that gets dropped while we try to keep everything else in the juggle. I know He sees each of us and He understands, even when He seems silent.

I’ve said many times, that God doesn’t make a convenient exit just because life gets ugly. He never stops painting because the picture isn’t pretty. He doesn’t stop listening when life’s song sounds out of key. 1 Timothy 2: 19 reminds us that the foundation of God stands firm and He knows those who are His and we are still His when we become a caregiver. Our standing with Him is not altered because life throws us a curve. He is with us in the juggle, strengthening us and calling us His own.

Today, in the hustle, I will remind myself I am His. He has not abandoned. He is near. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and I will lean in to Him to hear His heart still beating for me. I’ll trust Him with today’s juggle as I try to get back into the day-to-day of caregiving. I’ll be grateful and purposefully thank Him for not leaving alone to walk this journey. Will you join me?

Sound Like a Warrior?

I'm presently working on a project about David - the worshipper and the warrior. I am learning so much!. He's one of my favorite Bible characters, and I've always enjoyed the psalms. As I was reading through so many of the psalms this morning, I found several verses that made me stop and scratch my head and wonder.

First, remember that David has slain giants. He walked right up to Goliath and prophesied he was going to take off his head. Then he did it. He ran from Saul, raised up armies, and fought and won many battles.

But here is this verse in Psalm 6:7 (NLT) where he says, I am worn out from sobbing. Every night I drench my bed; my pillow is wet from weeping. My vision is blurred by grief; my eyes are worn out because of my enemies. That doesn't sound like "warrior talk" to me. Yet, we know David was a mighty warrior.

The caregiver carries a huge load day in and day out, with very little relief. Our vision - and view of life can so easily become blurred by grief. We've talked about living grief a few times. We're are grieving over the what-could-have-beens. Maybe our loved one is still "with us" technically, but not who we used to know. This can bring on unsurmountable daily grief. Even though I don't technically cry very often, I can relate a bit to David's feeling of being overwhelmed and overtaken.

Caregivers may not face physical enemies that are trying to take away our goods. But we do face physical weakness, fatigue, and illness that sidelines us or makes it that much harder to take care of our loved one. We face financial worries, fears, and doubts that war at our mind and soul wearing us down day after day. There's probably not too many caregivers who, if we are honest, will not say we haven't found ourselves at some point, with our faces buried in our pillows crying out for God to intervene and have mercy on us because it feels like life has sabotaged us.

But then just like David, the warrior, we get up, pick up our swords, and head right back into the daily battle (and joy) of caregiving. It's not all bad, right? We do what we do because we love our caregivee. It's what drives us to continue when we feel weak or discouraged. That same love that drove Jesus to the cross on our behalf - is the same love we have when we "lay our lives down" on behalf of those we care for.

David didn't stop at this psalm. He wasn't quitting. He was venting - and venting can be good! Being totally honest and vulnerable with God can let off enough steam to get us through the next course. You see, earlier in this same psalm, David says, Have compassion on me for I am weak and I am sick at heart. Even though he admitted how he really felt to God in prayer - it didn't take him out of the battle. Being close enough to God to tell Him the truth is what gives us the strength to get back up and go at it again.

Today, I will focus on being open, honest, and vulnerable with God. I'll remember it's my safe place and I can say anything. He won't condemn, judge, or cast me away. He listens, then gives His strength to the weary. My meditation will be on how He remains with me - and doesn't leave when my life looks ugly or gets hard. I'll rejoice in that truth as I trust Him and rest in Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Boxed In

My Aunt and me in the car
There are lots of reasons for caregivers to be tired. Sometimes, we stay tired. It takes all our strength to keep putting one foot in front of another to make a day. Lately, I've had times it feels like it takes everything I've got to just to breathe.  I kinda hope I'm all alone on that - and kinda hope someone understands at the same time.

In the photo with me is my dear Aunt Polly. She's been living in a home provided by a wonderful ministry that takes care of widows. However, at this point, her care needs have exceeded the scope of their capacity. I went to pick her up last week. She's staying with me until "we" whoever that is, can figure out a plan for her care. What an honor it is to be trusted with both her and my son's care. My heart is full - but so are my hands!

In the complexity of the situation and the overwhelming emotions, stress, and thinking, I've reached a conclusion that may seem unrelated. I want to live outside this box. Of course, I'm not talking about changing the "box" life's situations have put me in. What I mean is I don't want to be self-consumed with the things I deal with. It's so easy to do - and it's even fair. As caregivers, we have TONS on our plate. It can so easily become all about me.

Being given, or forced into, this situation lol - has me thinking. It's too easy to become self-absorbed with what's on our plate. In one way, it's natural. But I want to see past my box. Somehow, I want to touch other's lives with the gospel of peace. We can still be the light. There is always someone watching. In my deep contemplations, I've decided to find ways to minister to others. I refuse to be boxed in.

Obviously, I can't "go" to the mission field like my heart's desires were to do, but I can find ways to reach outside my box. I invited my neighbor over for coffee and forged a friendship with her. I really want to make baskets and take them to ICU waiting rooms. I'll fill them with items that we often don't have there like toothbrushes, small hand lotions, q-tips, snacks, etc. That's something that's been on my heart for a long time. It's time to do it - because I refuse to focus on myself. I want to focus on Him and His children. I'm going to live outside this box - even though I'm boxed in.

Today, I'm going to thank Him for my box. Seriously. I'm going to be thankful that I know Him in a capacity I might have never known had life never placed me in this box. I'll thank Him for His mercy, His grace to make it, His patience with me and then I'll thank Him again for being patient with me! lol I'll nestle right up next to His heart and listen for His breath as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

The God Who Sees

It is difficult to understand the life of caregiving unless you are a caregiver. And even then, each situation is so very unique we do not always have the capacity to understand each others' situations. Sometimes it hurts most when those we think are supposed to care do not seem to. That can be family, friends or health care professionals. It's really frustrating when they don't get it. You know?

Sometimes one of the most frustrating things about caregiving is the inability to have a schedule. We can keep a shell of one, but it seems there's always something that comes along to disrupt it. Our loved one has a bad day, aides don't show up, nurses decide to come during the only time you were going to have to yourself for the week....yes that really happened! And the load becomes heavier...not even because of the caregiving itself, but because of all the baggage that comes along with caregiving.

This morning has been one of those mornings for me; made up of those situations that make the regular load just a little bit heavier. But my mind went to Hagar. She's not usually one of our favorites by any means even though the situation was not totally her fault. In Genesis 16 she bears some of the blame since she was taunting Sarah. I suppose I found it comforting that God met her where she was even though she was not perfect. Most of us did nothing wrong to end up in a caregiving situation, so I guess it makes the possibility of God seeking us out more likely! lol.

Hagar was distraught and had run away from her mistress who was treating her harshly.  She was pregnant (thank God that's not a factor!), being treated badly because she mouthed off, and was stuck out in the desert with no one to see after her. But God found her. It's not the encounter I want to focus on though, it's what she said afterwards. In Genesis 16:13 Hagar said, the God Who sees me."  She existed to God and that mattered.

Today I will meditate on the fact that I am not out here alone. That God does indeed see me; that will carry me through this day. He sees me...

Inseparable

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