Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts
Showing posts with label grace. Show all posts

No Recalls Issued!

Chris and his little ornery look

 Do you ever wonder why there are so many recalls? It seems like it used to pertain just to vehicles. Some little or big part wasn't functioning right and had caused or could potentially cause damage. So they recalled the part and replaced it for free. Over the years, other items were recalled. Things like car seats, blenders, cell phones, and who knows what else! Some sort of manufacturer's defect was discovered and a recall was issued in an attempt to prevent injuring innocent consumers, right?

This morning during my devotions, it hit me that heaven doesn't issue recalls! There's never been a recall on His peace. Jesus told us He was leaving it here for us - and He's not going to take that back! God's love hasn't been recalled. Romans 8 tells us it remains no matter what we walk through - there is literally absolutely nothing that can separate us from His love. And He's not taking that back!

I haven't seen a recall issued on His grace either. His grace remains. It carries us, sustains us, and helps us find Him when we are in trouble. There's never been a recall on mercy either. You see where I'm going, right? There has never been - nor will there ever be a recall issued from heaven. Everything God has ever given us - stands. It will remain throughout time. We can continue to trust His strength, mercy, grace, and love to get us through our days here on earth.

Now, look at this. In Isaiah 41:10 He says Do not be afraid, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you. I don't know about you - but that's a lot! And there will be no recalls - he will continue to strengthen us, help us, uphold us... even today!

So, today, I will remind myself that God is still right here with me. I will turn my thoughts to His ever-abiding presence - and He won't be issuing a recall! My meditations will be on how He sustains me right here, right now. I'll think about how He has "kept" me hidden in Himself and how He will continue to do it. I'll find that peace that comes from understanding that He won't give up, let up, or pull out when things get tough. I'll trust that today - He's right here with me and He's not going anywhere today. Will you join me?


                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

I also recently opened my own bookstore. I'm presently filling it up with my books - check out the ones I have available in eBook format. You can download them and read them on your phone! Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore.


The Thing About "New Days"

 

Chris standing tall

I got up this morning after a long night that included very little sleep for me or Chris! Of course, I'm exhausted - but what's new? As caregivers we are usually on the edge of it or swimming in it all the time, right? lol There are tons of sayings about the sun coming up on each new day - but to most of us - each day looks pretty much the same as the day before. Even the unexpected happens every day - we are always ready for it. The fact that everything can change on a dime at any given moment in time is the only "constant" we have sometimes. lol

So,, I'm not sure what to make out of these "new days." They tend to look like "just another day" to me. I know the scriptures say His mercies are new every morning, right? (Lamentations 3:23) But it's never "morning" for God - it's always day. More accurately it's always today for Him. So why would we need to know that His mercies renew for us each morning? 

Sometimes, I find nuggets like this and I realize they are put in the Word just for us. God doesn't have or need mornings - He doesn't need or have a "new day" because it's always day - this day - the day for Him. So, this scripture must just be for us. His mercies are new for our new mornings. They are always being refreshed on our behalf - not His behalf.

M prayer for each of you and for myself today is that we find His mercies for today. No matter how crazy things get or how strangely peaceful they may be today - I pray we all experience His mercies carrying us through today into our next "new day."

Today, I will remind myself that His mercies are new for me. I'll meditate on the truth that His grace is enough to carry me and that His love is enough to quiet my fears. I'll lean into Him and listen for His breath as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?



                                                                                                                                           



If you enjoy these devotionals, I have others! I've expanded my bookstore on Amazon. My devotionals are available in Kindle or print format. The new Bible study guides are now available on Kindle and in print! Check out my growing bookstore: My Bookshelf

I also recently opened my own bookstore. I'm presently filling it up with my books - check out the ones I have available in eBook format. You can download them and read them on your phone! Dove's Fire Ministries Bookstore.

Even in the Ugly

 

Chris standing at the park

My thoughts are all over the place this morning. That's not really anything new for me. Lol. I know you know the juggling drill. My mind is running through all the tasks I need to get done today - some of them are brought over from yesterday as I didn't get done with them then. I'm looking ahead to next month and trying to sort out finances, supplies, aids, and the list goes on. I am 99.9% sure you have a running list that looks almost like mine! 

So, how does God keep tabs on all that? Psalm 139 reminds us that He knows our thoughts before we think them and our words before we speak them. Man...He is busy! Nothing has caught Him by surprise. Not our caregiving journies, the global pandemic, the crazy politics... He already knew all of that. And, He's gone before us into 2021 and beyond. That just blows my mind.

Isaiah says it this way Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord or as His counselor has informed Him? Who taught God all this? Right? Then in the next verse of Isaiah 40, the prophet says With whom did He consult and who gave Him knowledge and informed Him of the way of understanding? I cannot comprehend how God knows so much - but I know He does. And I know He knows me through and through.

He is not too busy to be intimated acquainted with my ways or my thoughts. Y'all, that blows my little mind. People often choose not to be around me - I understand that - I'm a bit high-strung! lol. But God NEVER chooses to separate from me or my craziest thoughts. And trust me, I can be way out there sometimes. 

I don't know about you, but as a caregiver, particularly when my son is not doing well or having a rough time, my thoughts get very ugly really fast. Memories of him before the accident run through my head and seem to mock me when I see all he can't do right now. I get angry, frustrated, and oftentimes I want to just give up. God never shies away from that kind of ugly. He waits. He comforts. He consoles. He carries me until I can try to stand again. But He never gives up on me. I'm grateful.

Today, I will just be grateful for His compassions, mercies, grace, and love that never fail. I'll purposefully be thankful for His heart that is always chasing mine down even in the ugly. I'll take joy in the truth that He still wants to be with me even when I am very sure I've given Him lots of reasons to not want to be with me! And today - when He chases me. I'll let Him catch me. Will you join me?

A Tight Grip

This morning I just feel creative - or maybe it's more of a need to just create. I'm not really sure what it is, but I felt like breathing some life into an old blog I used to keep. I started From the Furnace just as a place to put my emotions. It let me put them there and walk away. As time went on I stopped for one reason or another. But today I was talking about the grip of grief and just needed to get some things out.

Sometimes, caregiving comes with a living grief. It doesn't go away and it is very real. I've been carrying it for a few days now. I grieve because I haven't heard my son's voice in 10 years. I grieve because I see his friends marrying and having families. I grieve over the loss day after day. Grief seems to have a tight grip on my heart - so tight sometimes I am not sure I can breathe.

I've never been quite sure about what to do with the living grief. Some condemn it as a lack of faith. But I think it's quite the opposite. Especially as I press past the grieving to the grace. It takes a lot of faith to honestly tell God how you feel at any given moment. It speaks of a high level of trust to pull raw emotions out and become vulnerable before Him, knowing He's not going to take the grief away - but give me the grace to stand in the midst of it. This faith is not too different than the three Hebrew children standing before the king saying - We know God can deliver us - but if He doesn't - we still aren't going to bow. That's the kind of grip grace has on us. Our situations may or may not change - but our trust in Him remains the same no matter what. That's true faith, y'all. That demonstrates a grip of grace that will carry us through.

That's when I  realize that even though grief has a tight grip on me - His grace has a tighter grip. God told Paul, My grace is sufficient for you. God also promised to never leave us or forsake us. If I can put these two thoughts together, I have a grace that holds me tighter than the grief. It outlasts the grief since the grief can come and go on wave after emotional wave. But His grace - His all-sufficient grace steadfastly carries me over those waves. When I realize that and acknowledge that - peace seems to take over the turmoil.

Today, right in the midst of suffocating grief - I will trust His grace to carry me. Like the 3 facing the fiery furnace, I'll say -I'm not bowing to life's situations. I refuse to give in. I will bow to the grace of God though. My thoughts will be on letting His grace carry me and living in total surrender to His will, His grace, and His love. I'll focus my meditations on the truth that He doesn't leave me in the grip of grief or sadness, but He does extend His grace and His hand to lift me up. I'll stand in that grace and trust Him for just one more day - will you join me?

Grace Reigns

While it is a joy and an honor to take care of our loved ones, there is a very painful side to caregiving. Our hearts hurt on many levels. Personally, I grieve the loss of my son and all he could have become. I also grieve the loss of my mom - who she was before dementia. And now, as life has brought more change, I grieve for my daddy who is struggling with this part of life too. He has spent over 50 years with mama - she has been his life. Much like my son, she is still here but gone.

Last night I called my mom's sister to explain the new arrangements with mom. She didn't take it too well. She is grieving her loss of mobility as she is barely getting around with a walker at 87 and is needing more constant care. Can I say, my heart hurts?

People are mostly gracious and compassionate to caregivers. But there are times when you are looked down on as if you don't have faith - or you wouldn't be in this situation. I have felt this from church-like folks many times. They want to condemn your choices and can send some pretty negative signals. Social isolation hurts too.

A few weeks ago, I was in a down, painful spot. I felt the condemnation of those who wanted to look down on me. What I found was His grace. I sat and penned these words - hoping to put some music to it possibly later. His grace is so amazing - gently carrying me through the storm.


His Grace Reigns

Fighting the same thing over and over
I never seem to win
Like a horrid monster returning
Again, and again
When will the nightmare end?

The more the pain
The more grace reigns
Down on me
Time and again
In the midst of my sorrow
And in the deepest pain
His grace reigns

My heart is so broken
Don’t know what to say or do
The “proud and the mighty” say
“just look at you”
A sight to behold
I ask – does my walk offend you?

The more the pain
The more grace reigns
Down on me
Time and again
In the midst of my sorrow
And in the deepest pain
His grace reigns

Throw my pain back in my face
Tell me to look the other way
Because I have “no faith”?
Shame on you don’t you recall
Job prayed for his friends
Then they were healed one and all

The more the pain
The more grace reigns
Down on me
Time and again
In the midst of my sorrow
And in the deepest pain
His grace reigns

Today, I will just think about the grace He has extended to those of us hurting inside. My meditations will be on His great grace - his work of heart. As I sort through my various emotions - I'll keep turning my heart to the peace He pours out, the strength He gives when I rest in Him and the hope of His eternal love and grace. I'll crawl up in His heart today and let His grace reign. Will you join me?

Perspective

No one needs to tell you caregiving is hard. For many of us, it's one of the most difficult things we've ever faced, at least it makes the top 5 list! It's not easy physically. It is not easy emotionally. It can be draining and tiring. However, it can also be the most rewarding experience in your life. It can bring joy. For many, it drives us into a deeper, more intimate place in God. Maybe it sort of balances out in the end.

Protecting that intimate place with God is probably the most important key to keeping our sanity intact. Yet, there are moments when that seems so difficult. Those down moments. I'm sure I'm alone on this one.. right?

In many ways, I think it's our perspective that can protect us. But it can also be what sabotages us. This holds true for anyone in any situation. What we choose to hold in our gaze will consume us. We have to deal with caregiving face on, of course. But if we focus on it, it can drag us into depression, guilt, frustration and many other deep, dark places.

I understand we must be attentive to the needs of our loved one, but for me personally, nothing trips me up more than taking my eyes off Him. When I start focusing on life, and all that is going on around me - I become overwhelmed by it. The opposite is also true - when I turn my gaze to Him - I am overcome by His faithfulness, His grace, His compassion, and the truth that He chose to walk this out with me.

What we set our eyes on - will control us. It's what we give ourselves to. No wonder the author of Hebrews said fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author, and finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him, who endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I had almost lost heart. I did grow weary. But just in time, I turned my gaze to Him, and He lifted me up out of despair. It's up to us what we focus on. It's up to us what changes us. When we focus on Him, we can let Him carry us again. Our perspective protects us when we choose to look at Him from our situations - no matter how good or how difficult.

Today, I will fix my eyes on Him. I'm going to shift my gaze from what's going on in this horizontal plane to what's going on vertically. I'll turn my eyes to the One who authored and finishes my faith - the One who has been carrying me - and will continue to walk through time with me. The weight of life seems lighter when I'm looking at Him. It's not as confusing or overwhelming when I fix my eyes on Him. I'll turn my thoughts away from all those things that are digging at me, and I'll meditate on His grace, on His love, on His ever-abiding presence and the peace He gives that surpasses understanding. Will you join me?

Life's Back Burner

Well here we are facing another day. Caregiver's days are full of uncertainty. For instance, today I have some errands that have to be run. There's no waiting at this point, I have to go get some things today. It usually never fails that when I've put something off and really need to do it now, the aide doesn't show up. To preempt my possible frustration - I already have a backup plan in place.

Sometimes just living with this type of uncertainty is frustrating I mean, why can't we just go to the store and get what we need, right? Sometimes it feels like it takes most of my energy just figuring out how to get things done, let alone the actual doing it. Maybe it's just me.

By the time I work through all that, I'm too tired to get it done. lol Sometimes it can wait for another day, but sometimes I just have to "pull myself up by my own bootstraps" and get it done anyway. My feelings are irrelevant. At least that is how I feel much of the time. The needs of our loved ones far surpass our own. And sometimes we can find ourselves taking care of ourselves only for the sake of taking care of them. 

But you know what? It's okay, and not selfish, to love ourselves. As a matter of fact, we are to love others as we love ourselves. I always thought that was an interesting scripture. We clothe ourselves, feed ourselves and give ourselves chocolate or pizza when "ourselves" want it! Right? It's okay to take care of us too. At the same time I so understand how we live our lives on the back burner.

Our needs are back on that burner and we only allow them to surface after our loved one is seen to and taken care of. Let someone tell us differently and we'll give them a "what for"! Sometimes we can feel like we are on God's back burner. But you know what? We are not.  Actually, we are in the forefront of His mind and heart. He understands our situation, probably more than we realize. He understands what it means and what it takes to lay down your life for another.

I'm way past thinking He's going to come in on His white horse and whisk me away. And I'm past asking Him to remove "this cup" I must drink. Jesus didn't see the cross as pleasant either. He asked if  it could be removed, but submitted to the Father's plan because He saw we needed a savoir more than He needed to be saved from the pain.

Even Paul prayed for his thorn in his flesh to be removed. Three times to be exact. But what did God tell Paul? My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. And what was Paul's response? My interpretation of what Paul said is this: Wait! Power is perfected in weakness? Then I will boast in my weakness so that Christ's power can live in me. I'm so content to be weak! I'll take all life's insults! I'll take all the distress! I'll drink the cup of difficulties, gladly. Because in this weak state - I am strong in Him. I'll sit on this back burner just to be filled with His strength and grace!

Today, I will choose to be glad that life has me in a difficult spot, on a back burner. I will rejoice because I feel so weak. I'll meditate on how He is strong right here in my weakness. My thoughts will be on strength being perfected (matured) in me as I learn to wait on Him. I'll think about how He's carried me to this point and He's not putting me down now! I'll rest in His strength and trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Grace for One More Day

This morning, I just woke up tired. I hate it when that happens, and I admit I've been burning the candle on both ends for quite some time now. One of my primary goals right now is to find a way to organize my time better. What am I thinking?  How in the world can caregivers organize anything? Even if we do get all organized, something will happen, right? Maybe it's just me.

It was actually easier when I first brought my son home because he slept a lot. Part of the recovery process though is constant changes. I've said before that change is about the only thing that is constant in the caregiver's life! Right? Just about the time we get a "schedule" ironed out and in place, thinking it will work perfect for our needs as well as for our loved ones, what happens? Something. Anything. We can be catapulted into chaos at any moment of any day or night. I have not-so-quietly tried to give in to it and just work with whatever life and Chris gives me each day. All of this within a very modifiable-as-we-go type of schedule. It drives the orderly part of me crazy! But I adjust, figure out the next step and proceed. Don't we all? Caregivers are resilient! We just keep going kinda like the energizer bunny! (Mostly because we have to - no one else is going to do it and I haven't had any volunteers to take anything off my plate.)

So upon rising this morning, I found myself exhausted. Again. I worked a bit but then fell back asleep only to be awakened by my alarm that tells me it's time for the morning devotions I lead in a Facebook group. Oh how I wanted to sleep. But I got up and tried to get my body and my mind dressed for the occasion. My honest thought was what do I need to hear?

My thoughts went immediately to Isaiah 40. I thought I'm so tired, but He never gets weary. There's a difference between tired and weary. Weary is tired to the bone - to the soul. I looked up the chapter and looked down to verse 28:

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
the Everlasting God, the Lord,
the Creator of the ends of the earth
does not become weary or tired.

I wondered why He made us have a need for sleep - when He never sleeps. But I thought about how I run to Him all.the.time. And He doesn't even get tired of that. He doesn't grow weary of us coming to Him with all our stuff. He picks us up, dusts us off, and gives us strength and grace. Grace to make another day.

Today, I will be thankful that He doesn't get tired of me coming to Him. My thoughts will be on how He gives us grace - all sufficient grace. I'll make grace my meditation 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?

Grace for the Journey

"Humble" is not a word many use to describe me! I'm rambunctious, loud, crazy and full of energy. (I run half marathons for fun on my "days off"! lol) Humility or the action of being humble has been misinterpreted. Moses wrote in Numbers 12:3 that Moses was very humble, more than any man on the face of the earth. But by our definition, writing about being humble is in direct contradiction to humility.

Humility really means knowing who you are. For the Christian it means knowing who we are in Christ and who God has called us to be; then just walking in it.

In Philippians the second chapter, Paul gives us a picture of Christ-like humility. A Christian, one who is Christ-like will:

  • do nothing out of selfishness
  • regard others more important than themselves
  • not look out solely for their own interests
Paul goes on to say in verse 5 that these are the attributes of Christ. This just lets us know that as caregivers, we look like Him as we have discussed many times before. Verse 7 says that He emptied Himself and that he took the form of a servant in order to take the form of a man.These are the attributes of humility and I believe we see them demonstrated in the life of a caregiver as well.

For the most part, as caregivers we get nothing for our work. There is no pay, no compensation, and many times no help at all. But in James 4:6 the Bible says that He gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:34 states that He gives grace to the afflicted. He is going to give us the grace to make it through the trials and stresses of each day.

He is giving us the grace to be able to survive each day of caregiving. As we demonstrate Christ-like humility to our loved ones, and to the world who is looking in - He offers us grace to make it. Because we humbled ourselves and took on the form of a servant, we have grace to survive. Our lives have been lost in the giving of care for our loved ones. It is an act of humility to lay our life and self aside in order to serve someone else. In the process we paint a picture of Christ-like love for the world to see.

Today I am going to meditate on how Jesus gave Himself as an act of humility. As I serve my loved one today I will think about how I look like Him. I will consider how He gives grace for this journey and I will be thankful on purpose for His humility. Will you join me?

Standing Alone?

All of our Bible heroes faced some type of adversity. The stories about how they overcame or endured that adversity is what makes them our hero, isn't it? Noah is among those listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. The writer reminds us that was warned by God about things not yet seen. Noah took a huge leap of faith to obey God and began building the ark. He faced his own circumstances and lived in a generation of people who did not believe him. As far as we can tell no one helped him build the ark and no one stood with him. According to Genesis 6, Noah lived in a very wicked generation; he most likely lived in a very lonely place.

The caregiver can live in a lonely place too. In many ways, even if we are able to get out some there are times of isolation. When we do have the joy of getting out it can look so much different than others. For me, it means dealing with my son in his chair. In some settings, that can be isolating enough - no one knows what to do with us; so they do nothing. Yesterday, we walked down to a church in our neighborhood. Only one person greeted us - the speaker. We were sitting in the back to make room for his chair as I didn't want to block an aisle. People coming in the entrance had to walk right past us to get to the seating area. Not one of them spoke to us; not one of them greeted us. The children stared and adults looked away. In that moment I felt so isolated although I was in a crowd of "believers."

Noah faced a different type of isolation in that he was ridiculed for his beliefs. He lacked people to stand with him in his pursuit of God, godliness and righteousness. But he continued to stand.In many instances, the caregiver has to stand alone much like Noah. We must hold up a standard of righteousness even though no one stands with us; and we must do it alone. But verse 8 of chapter 6 it states: Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Last week we talked some about how God's eye is on the righteous - He's watching over us. And like Noah, we have found grace in His eyes.

We are given the grace to make it one more day - whether we walk the caregiving journey alone or in a crowd. God's grace is sufficient to carry us through the toughest hours. Even those situations where no one knows quite what to do with us; His grace holds us secure in  Him.

Today I will meditate on His sustaining grace. I'll let Him worry about carrying me through today - and I won't work so hard. When I get tired, I will turn my thoughts to His mercy and grace and I will rest in Him once again. I will also meditate on the truth that I am accepted in the beloved and I won't look for man's approval. I'll just rest in His love, mercy and acceptance. Will you join me?

Waiting for the Light of Day

Long nights are one of the most difficult situations a caregiver has to face. It's 2 AM and your loved one is ill or not sleeping comfortably and you don't know what to do to help them. What a miserable place to be in! It's in those dark hours that I struggle a lot with faith. In those dark, lonely hours there is no one to reach out to and I find myself asking questions like Where are You God? Do You see us? Do You care? For many caregivers, the wee hours of the morning can be the hardest time to wait.

Nights in hospitals or just being up with your loved one can lead to sleep deprivation which has a whole host of adverse effects on the body and the mind. We can find ourselves in a perpetual state of waiting on Him. Isaiah 26:8 says we waited for you eagerly. I'm not sure "eagerly" is a word I could use to describe my manner of waiting sometimes. But then, maybe we can.

If I am "waiting eagerly" it would mean that I am waiting in expectancy - knowing that God is right there within reach. To wait eagerly means I am trusting Him for help. I wait for Him because I know He is going to give me the strength to make it through the longest night. He is going to give me wisdom for making decisions about my loved one; and then He'll give me peace about the decisions I've made. So even during the longest fight and darkest night I can wait eagerly on Him for help.

So what do we do while waiting for the light of day? I think the answer is found in verse 3 of this same chapter. The King James Version says -I will keep him in perfect peace - whose mind is stayed on Me.  The New American Standard translates it as The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in You.  Either way it is beneficial to keep our minds on Him while we wait.

I'll be the first to admit that this is not always all that easy, especially in the heat of the moment. But when I choose to keep my mind on a scripture and my heart in a prayerful mode - the going gets a little easier and peace is my reward. Sometimes it doesn't take a long night for the mind to run around in crazy circles. Most caregiving days are lived at a hectic pace. But when we slow our minds down and focus on His grace, His love, and His ever-abiding presence - peace will follow. Peace in our hearts is necessary for this journey.

Today I will meditate on the fact that He is with me and He doesn't bail ship when the going gets rough. I will turn my thoughts to His everlasting grace and never ending love for me. I will let Him carry me through this day. And I will purposefully embrace His peace and rest in Him. Will you join me?

Sharing Grace

One of the things caregivers can miss the most is just living. That spontaneity of being able to decide on a moment's notice that you want to go to a movie, or run to the mall. The caregiver most times really does not have that option. We can miss the things we used to enjoy, like hiking or shopping; or just going to church. For the most part we finally get used to just staying home - but that doesn't mean our freedom isn't missed.

Somehow for me, when I can find someone in scripture who I at least think understands in some measure it can bring peace. Paul made what I feel is a very interesting statement in Acts 20:22-24. He said that Holy Spirit had told him that he was going to face afflictions and imprisonment in every city. He didn't hang his head and cry about all his losses (like I do!); he said this instead: But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 

Now most of us did not know what was coming - and some have an idea. It can be difficult in the struggle to figure out why He called us to begin with and some who were in ministry before can feel as though they have been stripped and a lot of it does not make sense anymore. But God doesn't change His mind. It may just look a lot different than it did BC (before caregiving).

Paul continued to share the grace of God even though he found himself in prison. What better way to share how His grace is carrying us through - than right here from the midst of the fiery storm? It can be so easy to get underneath the heavy load and lose our focus. But what if we saw every phone call, every person who comes to help, or to visit as an opportunity to share His grace? Today that will be my focus, I will look at every encounter as an opportunity...will you?

Humility is a Choice

We all have questions about a lot of different things. And really, there is nothing wrong with asking those questions; whether or not we get an answer from Him! And on a personal note - I think it's best to be totally honest with God. Think about it, does it help your situation if you are angry with Him if you do not express your feelings? Suppressing what you really feel is not healthy, and it is not walking humbly before Him. I had a friend one time who asked how I could be so frank with God even when I was angry at a situation. My explanation was that He knew anyway...I just as well be honest!

 This open honesty with Him about what you are feeling or even just how your day is going is part of being humble before Him. It will help nothing for us to come at Him shaking our fist! However, it is beneficial to humbly tell Him how you feel. And it is not a lack of humility to ask why?

Humility is a quality but it is also a choice. We can choose how we want to walk before God. We can choose the role we want Him to play in our lives. Micah 6:8 tells us to walk humbly with our God. It seems it is a major choice. 1 Peter 5:6 encourages us to humble ourselves  under God's mighty hand. This is a posture that we can take - it's a verb - an action. In this case it's a very purposeful action.

So what is the benefit of humbling ourselves before Him? He gives grace to the humble. (1 Peter 5:5) We all need His grace to help us walk through each day of our lives. As we humble our hearts and quiet our minds before Him we will find that His grace is indeed sufficient to carry us through life's circumstance!

And So We Wait.

It seems that the topic in my heart returns frequently to waiting on the Lord. I am not real sure what I am waiting for; if I am waiting for Him to do something, say something or move something...but I wait. That is really where I am today just waiting. I do not really know how to pray sometimes, so I wait. My emotions run dry, nothing I can do to change today; so I wait.

 Psalm 25:5 says this:
 Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation
for You I wait all the day.

 There is nothing wrong with just being silent before Him. There are just those times when words do not seem appropriate. Our religious background can make us feel like we must pray, speak, talk, do...all the time. But sometimes the greatest faith is expressed in silently waiting for Him. It is in these times we grow. 
Today, let us wait on Him to see what He will do next. His peace is priceless, His grace is endless. I choose today to walk in His grace and peace no matter what is going on in the world around me. His grace is sufficient to carry us through today...let us wait.

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.

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 ...