Showing posts with label god's strength. Show all posts
Showing posts with label god's strength. Show all posts

The Good, The Bad, & the Ugly

 


One of the things I love about God is that He never leaves us. I say it a lot, but life never overwhelms Him. It never gets too ugly for Him to continue walking with us. I think that's one of the things that stands out to me in the scriptures. You get the whole story. It's all there, the good, the bad, and the ugly. God never shied away from people who were on the edge. He was always right there with them in the midst of their darkest hours.

Now, I'm in a good place right now. I'm working, Chris is doing good, and I feel pretty good physically. But I still have "those moments." Recently, I've had a difficult time emotionally. It's not anything real bad, just missing Chris. I have to bury who he was every single day. I love who he is too - he's still my son. But my heart aches. I miss his humor, his music, his questions, his personality. You would think after 12 years, it would all go away, right? Nope.

So, I constantly find myself going back to God for strength, for healing, for His touch deep in my aching soul. And you know what? He's always right there. He never tells me that He clocked out at midnight, He doesn't work after dark, or that He's not on the clock. Instead, He walks into the cold, dark recesses of my painful heart. Then, He pours in His healing balm and somehow brings healing to the parts that hurt the most. And He does this day after day. As long as there is pain - there is healing.

I love that God is with us in the good, the bad, and the ugly. he is our strength. He is our song in the night. He is our constant companion who literally cannot leave us. (Where would He go - He's already everywhere!) He gives me the strength to make each day - and that brings me comfort. 

Today, I will encourage myself by reminding myself of how He has walked with me all of these weary miles. There hasn't been a point where it has gotten too rough for Him - or too steep - or too hazardous. He just keeps being with us - always. I will be thankful for His ever-abiding presence today. I'll thank Him for not leaving when the road got rocky or the storm gained strength. I'll be thankful that He's with me in the rocky places and the smooth places. And I will trust Him for today - will you join me?


                                                                                                                                           


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Strength Upon Strength

As usual, my thoughts are all over the place. But it seems they have landed in a good spot, Psalm 29. I love this psalm and have read and taught from it numerous times. I like the fact that it starts with me giving God strength and ends with him giving me His strength. Not a fair trade for Him, but it sure works for me.

There can be many things that sap the caregiver's strength throughout a day. Because we live so on the edge of our emotions it doesn't even take much. As a teacher I used a term "reinvent myself" for what I had to do every day before I went back into the classroom. I knew that each day I had to be fresh, new and energetic for my students to receive from me. I think we have to reinvent and regenerate ourselves as caregivers all day every day. Then the littlest thing topples us off the edge.

We carry such a load, any straw can be THAT straw - the one that breaks the camel's back. The funny thing is though - no one will know it. We figure it out. Like yesterday when the aide didn't call or show - I just shifted into get 'er done mode and started completing all his tasks. It's no big deal - just exhausting to keep reinventing ourselves over and over. Or maybe a better way to say it is we keep reaching down inside deeper and deeper and finding more to work with. Because we have to. We do it numbly and don't even realize it most of the time.... or maybe that's just me.

So today as I was reading this psalm it meant a little more to me. I really don't have the strength in myself, but I find it in Him. He strengthens my hands for battle - and for caregivers, life can be a battlefield. That applies to just about everything from finances to emotions to our physical being. But He will make us victorious as we give it to Him and accept His strength in us.

Today, I'm going to think about how He strengthens me day to day. My thoughts will be on how He fills me with Himself and doesn't take anything back. I'll meditate on Ephesians 3:16 that says we are strengthened with might by His Spirit in our inner man. And I will just let Him be my strength today I won't try to do it on my own. Will you join me on that?

I Can do "All" Things?

Caregiving is one of the hardest things I've ever done; and I've done a lot of "above average" things. I have started and ran my own freelance business, taught junior high math, hiked 10 mile wilderness trails and run a marathon. I also got rid of all my stuff at one point and picked up and moved half way across the country all by myself to stay with people I had never met. But as I read this familiar scripture one more time, it didn't seem to fit exactly like it did before.
In Philippians 4:13 Paul says I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Paul wrote it while sitting in jail. He wrote it to encourage the Philippians. What did he really mean?

If we look at it contextually, it might not mean what we thought. We've used it for every tight spot in life and for an encouragement to get things done that we thought we couldn't do. While that might not be a bad thing, it doesn't seem to be the context of the verse.

Looking at the entire passage we will see that Paul is talking about being content. He's not really talking about doing.  In the preceding verse the apostle is speaking of having plenty and doing without. He was discussing learning a great lesson - that God is the same no matter what our situation is; and we can make it through any circumstances because Christ is in us strengthening us for the journey.

For the caregiver this means we can make it whether our friends walk it with us or not, whether we are in or out of a local church, and whether or not we have sleep. That's important to the caregiver - and many times it is a basic need we lack. No matter what a day or night throws our way - we have to learn to be content with it. It will make things go much smoother.

When my son was injured and I was catching a flight from Chicago back to Shreveport to be with him, I was stopped by security. I was targeted because I had one carry on bag, bought a one way ticket and purchased it just a couple hours prior to the flight.Not only did they thoroughly search me, they took everything out of my bag and spread it all out to ensure I didn't have any explosives. I was really in a state of shock or I might not have been so patient. They actually thanked me for my patience. Without even thinking I looked up and said, "Would it have made it go any faster had I been impatient?" They laughed and said, "not really." I told them with tears in my eyes that I was just trying to get to my son. They understood.

We can be as content or un-content as we want and it will not make the caregiving journey any easier. It's important to learn to deal with it the best we can, and be content in Him. Then we will find that we have the strength to endure. We will find that we can do all things through Christ as He gives us His strength for the journey.

Today I will meditate on His strength in me. I will think about being content with the journey; and being content with Him no matter where I am on the journey. My thoughts will be on the truth that in an ever changing situation, He remains constant. No matter what life throws at me today - He is still faithful. I'm content with that. Will you join me?


Who's Waiting on Who?

Caregivers often wake up tired, do you ever do that? It seems that if we are in bed for any length of time we should wake up refreshed and ready to go. 

We deal with so many different areas and are pulled in numerous directions everyday that it's easy to get and stay tired. Just because we became a caregiver doesn't mean that we stopped being everything else. Besides caregivers we are often also: grandparents, teachers, parents, sisters, children, siblings, athletes, homemakers, writers, and the list could go on. To be a caregiver we didn't have to stop being in all these other roles because as we learned real quick - life does go on.


Besides all the tasks associated with a normal life, we have caregiving chores too. And to be totally honest sometimes I get tired. Sometimes I stay tired too! (smile) I get tired of dealing with politics and health care stuff. 

...tired of dealing with social workers
...tired of dealing with aides that don't want to work
...tired of dealing with paperwork 
(the same paperwork over and over and over)
...tired of dealing with the system 
...tired of dealing with doctors who don't call back

I'm sure we each have our own items to add and our own lists. Sometimes it's not the actual caregiving that wears us out - it's all the stuff we have to put up with to do it. 

This morning I got up thankful that God does not get tired. I love the passage in Isaiah 40 that says this:
Have you never heard or understood?
Don't you know that the Lord is the everlasting God,
the creator of all the earth?
He never grows faint or weary.
No one can measure the depths of His understanding.
He gives power to those who are tired and worn out
He offers strength to the weak. (NLT)

That's just what I needed to hear this morning. He does not get tired. That means He doesn't get tired or weary of me getting tired and weary. He doesn't roll His eyes when I start whining again, or pouting. He just waits for me to come back around. He's not tired of me - He's not tired of my situation, He's not tired of me being tired. He gives me power when I an tired and worn out!


Today my meditation will be on His never ending strength and the fact that He waits for me to wait on Him so He can pour it into me. My thoughts will be on how He is the everlasting God  who does not get tired but gives strength and power to me. I will admit my weakness, and focus on His strength. Will you join me?


Breath of Life

You can probably tell by now (assuming you're still reading) that I like Psalm 119. It's the longest chapter in the Bible but it is so rich. Today we'll look at verses 153 to 160. David starts out with a plea for the Lord to consider his affliction. Ever felt that way? There are times we can feel very loved and watched over and the next thing you know we feel like He's packed up, moved away and left us to ourselves. (or maybe that's just me!) David must have felt some of those emotions to ask God to consider him once again.

Something that seems to stand out in these few verses is David's request to be revived once again. It's noticeable throughout the entire chapter but three times in this passage he asked for the lord to revive him.

revive me according to Your Word (v. 154)
revive me according to Your judgments (v. 156)
revive me according to Your mercy (v. 159)

It makes me think that David didn't care what means God used to do it -- he just needed to be revived! Boy, can the caregiver relate to that on some days.Our cry can easily become "give me life!". There are days when the Word seems to be beamed down from heaven straight into our hearts; and days it feels like we couldn't hear God speak if He used an audible voice. But no matter what it feels like on any given day, the word is life. (John 6:63) When we give our attention to seeking Him and His word, it brings life to our soul whether we see it, feel it or not. It goes directly into our hearts and feeds our faith - even when our flesh feels like we are in a major disconnect. 

Caregivers tend to be survivors - we can't help it, really. It becomes our very nature over time if it wasn't before we began the caregiving journey. But sometimes we have to admit we cannot do it ourselves. One thing I've heard myself say is that caregiving has shown me how strong I am; but it has equally revealed my weaknesses. We must learn to trust in Him - more than we trust ourselves.We have to become more dependent on Him and trust Him to breathe His life into us through His word.

Today I will meditate on His word and think about how it breathes life into my spirit. I'll pray for His strength to make the next part of the journey no matter what it brings; and I will rely on His strength instead of my own. Will you join me?

Hangin' Out at His House

Psalm 27 has been a long time favorite of mine and as I was reading it recently there were a few things that really stuck out to me. Verse 5 really rings true for me today: In the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion.  I really like that for two reasons - the first one is that the psalmist says "in the time of trouble." This indicates that he experienced times of difficulty in his own life. It doesn't say "since God got me out of trouble" or "helped me avoid trouble," it says IN the time of trouble. There's not always a quick escape!

The second thing that sticks out to me is that during troublesome times- He hides me at His house. I really like that. He does not cast me aside or treat me like I am unworthy or meaningless - but He puts me up in His own house when I am experiencing trouble.

David indicates that he works hard to stay in God's house. His desire was to be in the Lord's presence and dwelling constantly with Him so that he could enjoy the beauty of the Lord. And God accommodates.

Verse 1 stands out to me right now too - the fact that HE  is the strength of my life.I do not have to be afraid of the situation or the circumstances and I do not have to give in beneath the load. (although I do have those days, don't you?) He will carry me and strengthen me for the journey and all it may pose along the way. He will not abandon me when the going gets tough - He'll stand beside me, give me His strength and help me make it through today. That's all we need to do anyway - is take it one day at a time.

Today I will meditate on the truth that He is my strength - I don't have to conjure up my own; and that He lets me stay in His house - free of charge - until the storms of life pass by.

Resident Strength

One of the areas caregivers must deal with on a regular basis is tiredness. Even in the "best" situation possible, caregiving is a strain and makes you tired. One scripture I run to frequently is found in Isaiah 40:28 which says that the Lord never  gets tired or weary. You know, it is way beyond me to even be able to imagine never getting tired. But God has "resident strength" or a strength that abides at all times. He never throws in the towel because He can't go on one more step.

When I finished my first marathon I really thought at times I could not go on one more step. But I kept going and completed it. The finish was far from pretty - but it was done. God does not get "done." He just keeps going and going and never runs out of steam. He's never too tired to carry us.

Keep that picture of His unending strength in your mind as we look at Ephesians 3:16 which says:

that He would grant you,
according to His riches in glory
to be strengthened with power
through His spirit in the inner man..

Not only does God never get tired or weary - His spirit lives inside of me. That means that He is a constant source of strength for my weary soul. When I think I cannot make one more step, He can carry me in His strength. His strength is unending, inexhaustible and -- it's inside of me.  

Today I will meditate on the power of His might - the constancy of His strength. Then I will think about how this untiring powerhouse lives inside of me to give me strength. Will you join me?

Same Question - Different Attitude

There are a couple of passages that really bothered me for a long time because they contained similar questions which brought about very different responses by God. Both of the questions  are in some way asking, where is God? That's actually a question I have asked many times. If God is near why has all this happened? Why am I suffering? Why doesn't it seem like He's answering my cries? Those questions usually pop up on long, dark nights when my son is having some sort of issue that it appears God does not care about.

I hate to tell you (assuming you've asked similar questions at least once), but others have already had the same question go through their minds - we're not original at all! Finding people in the Bible who've asked similar questions is not difficult at all really. (Check out Psalm 13) But in Exodus 17 and Judges 6 the same question came up. The children of Israel asked Moses, Is God with us or not? It says that they tested God by asking if He was still with them. This was clearly unacceptable to God.

But Gideon asked a similar question in Judges 6 when the angel appeared to him. His response to the angel's statement - "The Lord is with you, mighty man of strength" was not an argument about whether he was a mighty warrior or not - remember he's hiding out at night from the Midianites that he's soon to defeat. His argument was, If God is with us, why has all this happened to us?  The angel's response was not one of anger - he simply told Gideon to go in this your strength. This seems to indicate to me that his question was full of strength - but why?

It is my opinion that the two similar questions were rooted in very different attitudes. The Children of Israel were grumbling and complaining and arguing with/about God's presence. They were discontent and probably lazy to boot! Gideon's question seems to be rooted in the fact that he was still looking for God - but felt like He left them.  God's different responses in the two similar situations seem to be because of why and how  the question was asked. It seems that questioning where God is is okay if we are still looking for Him.


It's all about attitude. Today I will meditate on how present God is even in suffering. Even though my world has changed and I can feel abandoned at times, I'll ask where God went - as I keep my eyes on Who He is. I'll not demand that He makes changes in my life or situation (not that that has ever helped!), but I'll let my soul quietly search for Him and His peace today. Will you join me?





Are You"Two" Tired?

 Take a second and think about all the things you did yesterday... Now think about all the things you have to complete yet today... Does it make you tired just thinking about it? Caregiving can be physically draining; and we can easily just be physically tired. But the trouble is that it is also emotionally draining.Then we are "two" tired. Our body feels like we are dragging ourselves around to complete all the necessary tasks that must be accomplished in a day...and then we have to handle the entire situation emotionally as well. There may be better days where things go smoothly, aides show up and supplies arrive on time...but there are always those times where decisions have to be made for someone else and it can wear us down...and we become two tired- body and soul.

And then the real trouble begins when we get three tired: body, soul and spirit. Not only do we have to take care of a whole other person while trying to maintain our own health and well being we can wonder where God is in all this. (or at least I do...) And if He is here with us - why isn't He doing anything? Does it ever feel that way?

It may be time to exchange strength with Him.We know according to Isaiah that God never gets tired. And we know by our own experiences that we do!  Psalm 29 is one of my long time favorite passages because it starts in verse one with us giving God our strength. And it ends in verse eleven with Him giving us His strength. I think it works better after we complete verse one first. We must give Him our strength- as small as it may feel - and as difficult as it may be to find right now - when we gather up or muster up what little we can find and pour it out before Him in praise and thanksgiving - we will get His strength in return.

Now take a minute and find something to be thankful for - no matter how small it may seem. Once you find the first thing to be thankful for another will follow...and another...

It's all about perspective. No, we do not live in an ideal situation. It's tiring, emotional and draining and we can be two tired or we can even be three tired. (body, soul and spirit) Even though we may feel we have no control over our circumstances we can still control our hearts and minds.Today let us take time to turn our thoughts to His greatness (Isaiah 40 is a great place to start; or Genesis 1); and put our effort into purposefully finding things to thank Him for...(breath, food, children, our minds) and as we pour this out before His throne we will find that He will make a great exchange by giving us His strength instead of ours to walk through today.

Looking for Some Shade...

Last summer was the hottest summer ever on record in Oklahoma. The temperature was over 100 degrees for more than 60 days. Sorry I don't remember the exact number of days, but it was a very long time, trust me!  It was smothering hot and the times of day that should bring relief like early in the morning - just weren't working right. It was hot; and it was hot all the time.

When I saw this scripture from Isaiah 25:4 I understood it a little better. The prophet says For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat....

 When it is so hot outside you can barely breathe, it is great to be able to sit in the shade for a few minutes. You really cannot do much more than that since it's so hot. Many people get very sick when they get too hot; so it's best to just sit and be still when it gets hot outside.

 For the caregiver - it can seem hot all the time due to the intensity of our trial. We are furnace walkers, as one of my friends put it. We live in the hot! The trial can wear away at us if we are not very careful. I will be the first to admit I am needy! I am helpless! I need His protection just to breathe some days. We carry a lot....every day. We each have our own lists of all the areas we have to fight through every day - medical issues, feeding, money matters... don't we?

 But no matter what struggles are present in our own personal furnace - He is a refuge for all! Today is a good day to trust Him. It's okay to tell God you feel helpless, defenseless, or needy. (hint: He knows it anyway!) It is not a sign of weakness to need Him! Today let's concentrate on how we need Him to be our strength, our shelter, protection and shield. And then...let's let Him...

Strength to Serve

This little walk through 1 Peter has helped me sort through many of my thoughts. But this one verse helps me bring my perspective back to where it should be. Caregiving is strenuous on body, soul and spirit. Many days you have to just suck it up and give it all you have - even though you feel there is nothing left! One way to look at caregiving is to consider yourself a servant.

We spend our days (and nights!) taking care of our loved ones. Depending on the nature of the situation we must perform various tasks of different levels of difficulty. Some just need assistance with skills associated with daily living, others maybe just need help with mobility, and still others need total care. Whatever our function is in the lives of our loved one - we can consider ourselves their servant for Christ's sake. He said there was no greater love displayed than when we lay down our lives for another. And we have done that.

1 Peter 4:11b says this: whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ....I do not know about you but depending on the challenges of the day - I do not always have the strength to carry myself through. Actually - most days I do not have the strength to carry myself through! It takes His strength to walk me through each day of caregiving. And this is true even on the "good" days.

 It is never easy to see someone else suffer in any capacity. It is also not easy to have to help someone who used to be very independent and now needs help with daily living. We must learn to walk in His strength and not our own. His strength will carry us, protect us, and help see us through one more day! Today as you serve your loved one, His child, think about relying on His strength more than on your own; you know you do not have it in yourself!

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?

Content with Weakness

This phrase is taken from 2 Corinthians 12:10. The writer, Apostle Paul, made the statement that he was content with weakness. A few years ago in my life I would not have been able to agree. I have always been a very independent person (which sometimes causes relationship problems) and a I-cab-do-it-myself type. I do not take time to ask for help - I'll figure out how to get it done. The last 3 years of caregiving has changed some (but not all) of that. There are times now where I really do just have to ask for a little bit of help. Think about it - how often does someone call you and say, "Hey, I'd love to come sit for a couple hours so you could get out and see a movie..." (or buy groceries, get a haircut, walk in the park,.. etc...) It just does not happen. So we are in a position to have to request help occasionally.

 Paul goes on to say in this passage that he is also content with insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties.  Notice they are all plurals! And they all come from being a believer. Most of our troubles these days are not for being a believer in Christ. They may sometimes come from the religious world when we do not measure down to their standard - but we are not persecuted for believing in Christ as Paul was. Basically, some of our pain (I think I can say "our") is from the church ignoring us. The same church that is supposed to be like Christ; and walk in His compassion. Yeah, those - most of them ignore us as they really do not know what to do with us. And I have to also admit that I fell way short during my serving the church days.

 Paul goes on to say why he is content with weakness. In verse 10 he says for when I am weak, then I am strong. On the surface that doesn't really sound possible does it? How can I be strong because I am weak? We can look back up to verse 9 for an answer. Paul says in this verse that God's power is perfected in weakness. Wow! May I always be weak so that His power can be matured in me!

 Today I choose to consider His power rather than my weakness. I choose to embrace His grace rather than my fears. And I choose to cling to Him rather than my situation...even realizing nothing will change in a day...but me.

His Protection

Staying with our 2 Thessalonians theme we're going to look at chapter 3 verse 3 in today's devotion. In the midst of tragedy, or living a life as a caregiver I think this scripture takes on a different feel. It says this: But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.If we can be brutally honest - sometimes in the midst of our trials, it really doesn't feel like it. It may even seem like God failed at His end of the "bargain."

 Somewhere along the way Christians tend to get the idea that when we serve God He puts out this protective shield around us and nothing bad is ever supposed to happen to us. No one gets sick, has a stroke, is involved in a car wreck or gets diagnosed with the most feared diseases like cancer and such. Many of people have walked away from God when circumstances popped their little bubble. But the Lord is faithful.... even in the circumstances.

 He will strengthen you..and protect you from the evil one. He does not put up a force field that shields us from the mishaps of life, from tragedy. But He does strengthen us in it. And He protects us in a much better way than just making sure that our bodies never get sick, or making sure nothing bad ever happens in our lives...He protects our spirit. As we stay hidden in Him nothing can reach in there and take us out of Him. Nothing is allowed to damage the work of the cross in our lives. Absolutely nothing can harm or remove who we are in Him. His protection goes much deeper than simply protecting this body that will pass away...He literally protects the eternal part of our being. That is so much more than this physical body...

 So caregivers, as you minister to your loved ones today - don't think about the body that is broken or the mind that is not functioning properly. Think about a person who is hidden and protected in Him. Then think about yourself and how He offers this same eternal protection for your spirit man...and rejoice because the evil one cannot reach that part of your being.

Philippians 4:13

If you've been exposed to church circles for any amount of time perhaps you've heard this scripture thrown around a lot. We see it on facebook posts and on various sites. WE tend to use it to talk ourselves through to victory - and its application is broad. I am not sure we understand it in context though.

 A quick look at the preceding verses lets us see some of the apostle Paul's heart. He states in these verses that he had learned to be content  in whatever circumstances he found himself in. Although he gives very little detail, he says that whether he had plenty or had little it was enough. He also says that he was content whether his stomach was empty or full... and that these extremes were manageable because Christ in him gave him strength to face each situation.

 The context of Phil. 4:13 is not just taking a dive off the positive side of things and trying to make every thing into a facade of ease. But rather it is saying that there's no room to stress; if things get tough it's His strength that will carry us through - and it will pass! And when things are going well - it's still His strength that will carry us through. And this too shall pass!

So no matter what we are facing today - both good and bad, He can effectively carry us through. Our struggle then is to learn how to rely on Him, not in the difficult times - that's when we call on Him most, but learning how to rely on Him in the good times as well.  Rely on Him today - no matter what you are facing easy or difficult! Don't for get Him on the good days!!

Renewal Sounds Good

2 Corinthians 4:16 is on the when I get in trouble list of first scriptures. It's easy to find ourselves facing situations that press us to give up. For the caregiver this can be many times throughout one day! It can be so tempting to lose heart...Even our "good" days can be full of trials and it the loneliness experienced by many can push us into a corner of despair.

 But Paul is instructing the Corinthian church here to not lose heart...even if the outer man is decaying, or seems to be losing strength.The book of 2 Corinthians (is really the fourth letter to the church in Corinth) was written during one of the toughest times in the apostle's life. He has been through the ringer (check it out in chapter 11) and yet he still picked up his pen and wrote to them that it was no time to lose heart! Wow, what spiritual stamina the man must have had. Or perhaps it was just  a genuine loving care for the church there at Corinth. This helps me see a softer side of this great spiritual warrior; a fathering side..he loved the Christians so much that he laid down his own situation, his own discomfort...to write them and encourage them to continue in their walk of faith!

 I hope it's okay if I say this (of course it is - it's my blog! lol)...but haven't we done the same? Do we not lay down our own lives every day to see our loved one cared for properly? Have we not turned out sites from our own discomforts to ensure another's comfort? Yes, we have.

So do not give up, and don't lose heart. You are full of God's wonderful compassion just like Paul was. God will renew our inner man day by day as we continue to take care of His people. He will give us the strength to carry on this journey (He knows we cannot  do it on our own!) So smile. He is renewing you today. Remember Isaiah 40:39 - as we wait on Him (for our strength) our strength is indeed renewed.

Renew can mean several things:
  • to begin again or to take up again
  • to make effective for  a longer period of time
  • to restore/re-fill
  • to make again
  • revive or re-establish
  • to make as if it is new again
 
He is renewing our inner man while our outer man is on this troublesome journey called life!

Don't Weep For Me

No one would argue with the fact that the life of a caregiver is difficult. There's just so many responsibilities on top of the normal ones like cooking, cleaning...and breathing! It takes a sort of a mastermind to get it all done in a day sometimes...don't you agree? (okay - at least organization and willpower!)

 Although none of us would ever chose to walk this way if some sort of tragedy had not happened, there are some things I think we have all learned along the troubled path. Even in the daily turmoil, there's a calm understanding of God as our refuge...as our strength...our comforter...our source...our peace...our love. These are things we might not have been able to take the time to find out before in our (what we thought were) busy lives!

 Joel 3:16b says the Lord is a refuge for His people, and a stronghold for the children of Israel. I only thought I knew of His safety before; and I would have never know what a strong refuge He is --before. And although I am (honestly) not thankful that my son had an accident; I am so very thankful to know God in a more intimate way.

 So don't weep for me...each day this terrible trial presses forward tearing away at what I thought I had left of my life...I draw closer to HIm. I learn more about His ways...I know Him better. In these types of situations it is imperative that we find the positives and major on those. Other wise we can be sucked into the great vacuum of depression. Today think about how you know Him better than you did yesterday. Think about the level of trust you have in Him now - how much you trust Him as the refuge for your soul.

 Don't weep for me...weep for those who do not know Him as their refuge. Weep for those who do not know that they can run to Him and be safe. (Prov 18:10) Take time to rest in Him today and thank Him for being there in your deepest trail and darkest days. Then live in the light of today!

Ever Feel Like the Energizer Bunny...?

I'm wondering right now if the energizer bunny was on steroids...the commercial always said it keeps going and going... and of course it was advertising long battery life! Well, I'm not on steroids and I'm not really too full of energy but you all know that as caregivers we really don't have any other choice other than to just keep going and going...and going...

What are we supposed to do when we don't feel like going on? There's no choice - we keep going.
What do caregivers do when we get tired but it's morning anyway?  - we keep going.
What if we don't feel like cooking or doing laundry? - we keep going...
And the list of things we do could literally go on forever I think; with transfers, feeding, purchasing incontinent supplies, looking for the best prices online for various supplies, bathing, etc....we just keep going.There's really no time to consider our own needs or how we are feeling, things have to be done for another and we are the ones who must do them.Where do we get the strength to carry on?

Do you ever take a minute to think about all the things that God has to do for us each day? First of all, He keeps us breathing! Jesus said in Matthew that He knows all our needs and that He provides for the lilies and the birds and He'll provide for us as well. Right now I have to believe that this includes providing the strength I need to make it through today.

There are many things that keeps the caregiver going - one of course is the love we have for the person we are caring for. But two things stand out - One that God continues to care for us and never gets tired and Two I look at my son as God's sheep and me the Shepherd charged with his tender care.

When I used to get be involved in prison ministry they used to sing a song and one phrase was and I ain't tired yet! I always reminded them that According to Isaiah 40, God ain't tired yet either! He will not tire of caring for us...and He will not tire of giving us His strength to make another day!

Fuel for the Journey

Did you ever have one of those days where you wish you could find the off switch? Or think about the luxury of crawling back in the bed for the day? We know the detrimental effects of sleep deprivation, and don't you just love it when someone starts going down the list of all the really bad things that can be caused by not getting enough sleep? Like we can do anything about it! It's the same as if we went to an impoverished country where they didn't have enough food available and tried to tell them they need to eat a balanced diet!

There are just those days when caregivers give out. It won't last too long though because there's simply too much to do to even get to sit and think about it for more than a minute. And if we have more than a minute to sit it's likely we'd nod off! lol!

Where does the strength to carry on come from? -the Lord is the obvious answer! I have found that when I really cannot go on putting one foot in front of the other He will carry me if need be! One of my favorite scriptures on this in found in Psalm 29. I write about it, sing  about it and have taught it for years!

The first verse tells us to ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe simple means to give. So right up it tells us to give Him our strength. Then the last verse says May the Lord give strength to His people. Situated between these two verses are all sorts of descriptions of His strength and His sound (or voice) and the effects it has on those who hear it. This powerful God wants to trade strength with us.  We'll give Him all ours and then He will give us all His...doesn't seem like too much of a fair trade huh? But since I'm on this end of it I like it!

Today think about giving Him all your strength...and receiving all of His strength - it's fuel for the journey!

There Are No Days "Off"

Did you ever just wake up tired? It's a tired that goes beyond physical.  The kind of tired I am talking about is physical, emotional, mental...you name it just tired through and through. We will never be able to sleep that tired away! It is simply too deep!

I was putting my son back in the bed this morning and I told him he could lay down early and we'd take it a little easier  today. I said, "We don't really get a day off, but we can make a day a little lighter." So we are...today. But then when we try to relax, as caregivers, their is the guilt that is associated with it. Thoughts start coming like, I'm not doing enough to care for my loved one.....or...I am not taking good care of him... these can just nag away at our mind and soul - if we let them.

Even when we take a day somewhat easy - there's not any time to be off. We can't just not do  all the things that need to be done. They have to be changed, tube fed, turned in the bed, entertained...and so forth whether we feel like it or not! And that's why we are tired...

In thinking about how tired we can become I thought of an interesting scripture. It's in Isaiah 40:28 and it goes like this:  Have you not known? Have you not hard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable.

 I am so glad God doesn't get tired of us! And I know I can whine a lot -- but it will never make Him weary. Actually Jesus beckoned us to come and give Him our burdens and be yoked up with Him. Paul told us to cast all your care on the Lord...He really does understand; He really does listen and care-- and He never tires of caring for us and giving us strength!

Inseparable

  I love social media most of the time. It has some benefits as well as some disadvantages. One thing I enjoy is being able to connect with ...