Showing posts with label broken heart. Show all posts
Showing posts with label broken heart. Show all posts

My Own Personal Bubble

As a caregiver do you ever feel like you live in a bubble? I sure do. For the most part, if I'm home I don't realize how un-normal my life is. Probably because it's become my new norm. It's a norm filled with lots of visits from case managers, nurses, doctors, and deliveries with a few surprise runs to the ER like yesterday. although each of our stories and days has differences, our norms include changes, dressing an adult, pureeing foods, tube feedings, spoon feedings, transfers, standing frames and range of motion exercises. Most of the time, we probably don't even think about those things - we just do.

But when we get outside our comfortable norms, it can seem like we are in a bubble. Many times in public we are ignored. People cut in front of Chris' chair without a second thought. Others let doors go just as I am getting there - which is fine - I CAN do it myself - but it's just rude. Some of it, I'm sure, is my own awkwardness - conversations are not the same if they happen. If they do happen, they revolve around caregiving. Of course, that's obvious - it sticks out, right! lol But there's more to me than caregiving - I write, I play music, I read - but no one seems to be able to see past the chair I'm pushing - into my bubble.

I used to be such an extrovert - and in many ways, I still am. But I have begun to feel so awkward in social settings. It can be much easier to stay home than to get out in my own personal bubble. But you know what? When God looks at us - He doesn't see someone in a bubble. He sees us - as believers as part of the kingdom of God. He is not afraid to come into our bubble and meet us on a heart-to-heart level. He's not scared of our emotions as cra-cra as they can be! He won't shun us or ignore us because we look different than everyone else. He sees us exactly the same - a person who is pursuing Him - someone who is covered by the blood of Christ and standing in His righteousness - just like everyone else who believes. He loves us right where we are with all our caregiving baggage It doesn't put Him off - it makes Him want to come closer.

David said it this way in Psalm 34:18-22
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Many are the afflictions of the righteous
But the Lord delivers him out of them all.
He guards all his bones - not one of them is broken.
Evil shall slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

God delivers our soul - our bubble-wrapped soul! That's our mind, will, and emotions. He can come in like no one else and redeems what is troubling us. He gives us strength for this journey - strength to equal the amount we lean on Him - He's got our hearts and that's what matters most. 

Today, I will rejoice that He is not afraid to come in my bubble with me. I'll meditate on His great care and love for us as caregivers. I will be thankful for His presence in the midst of the trouble - and I will trust Him just for today - will you join me?


A Tender Chain Breaker

Yesterday, while I was out on a run, I had some music playing. I don't recall which artist or song it was but at some point in the song it referred to God as the "chain breaker." I have a very vivid imagination, and I could see His huge, very strong hands breaking a thick chain. For a little bit, I thought about the strength it would take for hands to break chains. But then another pictorial thought entered my mind.

I thought of these two same huge, strong hands. But instead of a display of raw strength, it was with great tenderness they picked up the pieces of my broken heart. The contrasting image moved me in a strange way. God is big enough and bad enough (even without our help) to break off the chains that bind us. In one motion, He can crush them with His powerful hands and set our hearts and souls free from bondage.

Yet at the same time, His strong hands can tenderly, gingerly, with compassion and love, pick up the pieces of a broken heart to bring comfort and peace. In Psalm 34:18, David says the Lord is near those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit. I found all this very comforting this morning.

I'm glad He doesn't look at our brokenness with disdain. He doesn't say - you are too messed up for me to help. He tenderly, in His strength, gathers up our brokenness and speaks peace, grace, and healing to every single part. This is a great comfort to me as it's easy for caregivers to feel like they are living a life of shards with no complete pieces. There's not always a social outlet and we can become captives in our own minds. God can break that off even if we live in a caregiver's cave and minister to our hearts. If we let Him.

Today, I will focus on being moldable in His hands. My meditations will be on His tenderness toward us and how He cares about all the broken pieces we call "life." He's not scared of it. He won't run away. He's walking through the fire with us. My thoughts will turn into thankful ones as I meditate on His faithfulness and His tenderness and love. And then - I will trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

When Everything is Broken

broken van
Ever have One of those days? That's a funny thing to ask a caregiver since every day is pretty much one of those. Our best days and altered-normals are what some might consider Mondays every day. We can live on such an emotional edge that the slightest seemingly smallest thing can tip us over the edge. It doesn't mean there's something wrong with us - it's the nature of the situation. Dealing with the broad range of emotions can cause great conflict because religion can be condemning. But what are we supposed to do with that?

I guess I am thinking along these lines because this has been one of those weeks. An already tough spot has been majorly complicated by taking on the added responsibility of caring for my aunt. While dealing with our elderly loved ones who can no longer use the logical processes to reason can be difficult it's not going too badly. But I won't lie - I'm tired. No, I'm exhausted. I can't ever quite keep up. Working as in job-wise needs to be done between 4 and 7 AM or it's not going to happen most days. The struggle is real. lol

Then this week the lift in the van malfunctioned and my sweet release - my rusty now not-so-trusty treadmill is not working. I was like is everything broken? My life already feels broke, now even the small things I counted on for escape are broke. Well, I'm not going to be beat that easily. I've been running my mile every morning in small circles around my backyard. My neighbors are certain I'm crazy now if there ever was a question about it. lol

Sometimes when the small things we forget we count on get broken it can leave us feeling emotionally stranded. I'm broke. My van is broke. My treadmill is broke. My bank account is broke. My life is broke. Everything is broke.

But it's not. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Timothy 2:19. The foundation of God stands sure having this seal: He knows those who are His. He ain't broke, ain't gonna be broke and has never been broken. Not by my horrible attitudes or my situation. He is the only constant we can rely on and He knows.

He knows and sees when our lives look broken, and He knows when we come to Him in that broken state and bring our heart bathed in our own tears before Him. He draws near to the brokenhearted. Perhaps that is to help carry a load that both are fully aware cannot be carried alone.

So, today when everything feels broke - I will rejoice that He still knows my name! I will meditate on the fact that Him knowing I am His will never be broken. It's sealed in eternity. His love will never be broken although His heart may break for us. I will rejoice today that His love for me will never wane, weaken or break. He loves with an everlasting love. And with that truth tucked deep into my broken heart - I will trust Him for today. 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?

I Can Work with That

In many instances, caregivers can feel out of touch or out of sync with the "real" world simply because most of our lives are lived in a cave. We can tend to be on either side of the spectrum. One, we are trapped there; or two, we feel safer in our caregiver's cave even though we are alone. Personally, there have been periods of time when I didn't have the capability to get out and there have been times I've preferred being tucked away in mu cave. But God's word does not know any boundaries whether they exist only in our mind, or if they are an invisible barrier we put up ourselves.

God can reach all the way into the depths of despair. He can see past the walls we build to keep ourselves in, and others out. His love can reach all the way into our life-mangled hearts.

In Colossians 1:5-6, Paul is speaking to the Christian believers when he says that the Word of God bears fruit from the time we first hear it. And guess what! His word does not stop bearing fruit in us when we become a caregiver. It is constantly bearing fruit and is displayed in our lives as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, ,goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23)

Once we allow His word to gain entrance into our hearts, it is always at work in us no matter what our circumstances are. He never says, "This is too much for me to handle" or "I can't work with that." Instead He draws near to those with a broken heart and says, "I can work with that." It's simply up to us to yield to the Word's work in our lives.

Today I will yield my heart to the work of the Word in me. I will embrace the changes His ever abiding presence brings to my heart and life. My meditations will be on allowing God in my space so that He can continue to work to bring forth fruit in my heart and life. Will you join me?


Waiting with Integrity

Caregivers have unusual enemies. I say that because our circumstances in life offer different perspectives of the battle. We have unique concerns that others perhaps can't even understand. Day-to-day decisions can become very complicated for the caregiver and simple tasks like making meals or figuring out how to go buy groceries can be huge tasks. It can be a huge undertaking to complete the things most people don't even have to give a second thought to. For me I either have to figure out how to do things like buy groceries or supplies inside a very limited time frame while an aide is here or make ride arrangements 24 hours in advance. It's not a simple thing to just go buy a bag of groceries. And what if I'm about out of eggs and the aide doesn't show up? Let's get real with it - what if I'm out of toilet paper and today's the day I gotta get to the store; and the aide doesn't show up?

While others are worrying about their jobs, which coffee to buy at Starbucks or which movie to go see on the weekend, the caregiver is trying to survive another day. Our enemies can be discouragement, exhaustion, or fighting to keep our chin up and remain positive from day to day. In Psalm 25, the psalmist asks the Lord to not let my enemies win. For caregivers our prayer might be, Lord don't let caregiving take me under! Don't let it define me; You define who I am. It's very easy to lose yourself in caring for another person so much that you can't find yourself anymore. That can be the biggest enemy of all.

In verse 16 of Psalm 25, David says I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged, bring me out of my distresses. That's getting up close and personal. To ask God for help, we have to be honest with Him. It's not that He can't just reach down and rescue us no matter what we are going through - but true deliverance comes through honest and earnest prayer. How will we know what He has brought us out of if we don't identify it? How will we know what we are fighting if it's not identifiable? Personally, I can get sucked into this huge pit of depression which can be debilitating. I can barely take care of daily caregiving chores. Over time, I've recognized the patterns and learned strategies to preempt a long bout with depression. By identifying it and being honest about it I can avoid the deep, dark pit. It's okay to be specific with our prayers - and it's okay to admit to God how we really feel. (It's not like He didn't already know!)

Verses 20 and 21 say this:
Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed 
For I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me
For I wait for You.

God is able to guard our souls - that is a lot deeper than just taking care of our flesh. He protects the part of us that truly feels the pain of caregiving. He can keep our being safe - even if our body is broken. It takes integrity to be honest with ourselves and with God. To truly wait on Him means I admit I need some help here! The caregiver can wear themselves out trying to rely on themselves - but there comes a time when we know it's not our strength we are running on. When we wait on Him He will guard us and keep us hidden in Him.

Today my meditation will be on how He guards my soul. I will yield to His peace and His strength and allow Him to carry me - mind, will and emotions - through this day. My thoughts will be on how He preserves me in trouble.  And I will speak honestly with Him about how I really feel - so He can heal my heart and soul. Will you join me?

Two Kinds of Broken

I heard a chorus last week that had this phrase in it: brokenness that separates. It really made me think of a lot of different aspects of brokenness and I came to the conclusion that there are two kinds of brokenness, and I am acquainted with both of them. There is a brokenness that God is near - the kind that says, Lord, I am broken before You and I need you. But there is a time when we are broken and in our self-preservation we draw away from Him.

It is not a bad thing to be broken before Him in humility. This is the type of brokenness that He is near, this is when we can come to Him bleeding and needing help. But the other brokenness is sustained by our departure from His presence. This separation comes as we try to hold on to the hurts in our lives and not release them to Him and allow Him to mend.

I have experienced this kind of broken - the kind that makes you mad and so you withdraw from Him in anger. I did not understand why these things had to happen (my son's automobile accident) - I had trusted God with my children and it seemed He had violated my trust. There were many days that I was simply angry with Him in my brokenness.

But there came a point when I knew I could not continue without His touch. This is where brokenness took on a different role in my life. My broken heart needed His oil to mend and I presented myself before Him once again...in humility and asked Him for help to carry the load that life had placed on my back. This humble brokenness is the one He is near...Psalms 34:18 says that the Lord is near the brokenhearted. We must acknowledge this closeness and not turn away from His touch - no matter how much life hurts.

Today I will make it my goal to keep myself before Him in humility. I will ask Him to bring healing to all the broken places in my life...will you join me?

Healing Rest

Early in the mornings I go in and feed my son through his peg tube, change him and get him comfortable. Shortly after that he usually goes off into a deep sleep; a restful sleep. I checked on him just before starting to write this morning and he was out! I thought, he's getting good, restful sleep...healing rest. I figure that when he is sleeping real good and letting his mind and body rest that he is healing. We know rest and healing are connected.

 What does that mean to the caregiver? Because as a caregiver, we have pain every day. It never real goes away because we are dealing with a stressful, painful situation all the time; so it hurts all the time. We see our loved one not able to function fully on their own and to need help with simple, daily living skills. They are not who they were and in my case I grieve a lot over the loss of my son - even though he is still here. Yet he's not still here - not like he was. And as we walk out each day, each step along the way can be filled with pain.

 So as I watched my son sleeping (parents never tire of watching their kids sleep do they?) and was thinking about how rest brings healing, I though about the times I can press through the pain and truly find rest in Him. Those are the times He can heal our broken hearts...but only when we can quiet our souls and minds (sometimes it's more difficult to quiet the soul than the mind...) and truly rest in Him can we find the healing we need. And we must do it every day. Because we hurt every day - and we need His touch every single day.

So find a moment today somewhere, somehow...to rest your soul in His. Let Him wipe away the moment's pain...it will return...but He can handle it! Keep resting 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 ...