Showing posts with label help. Show all posts
Showing posts with label help. Show all posts

The Help I Need


Some mornings I read through a book of the Bible, others I look at one topic, or I follow a Bible study guide if I have one. This morning was one of those mornings I was all over the place but ended up in the right place. I had started reading in Psalm 138 where I left off yesterday, but then I started scanning back through the Psalms and found myself in Psalm 124. the last verse says this Our help is from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth. (NLT) 

Of course, this is a familiar verse for me. I even wrote a song to it when my son was first injured. I fell in love with Psalm 121 while living at the hospital with him. I put it to music with an old guitar one of his friends loaned me. Sure enough, I look back at Psalm 121 and it says the same thing. My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth! (NLT)

I put little arrows by those two verses - they are across from each other on the same page in my NLT. Then, I continued to read back through the Psalms. I really love how the psalmist are open, real, and raw about their fears and emotions. They didn't sugarcoat anything so their readers would feel better. They are down, dirty, and real. I can hang out with this kind of people. lol

As I continued over the pages I somehow ended up in Psalm 25. Guess what I found! Not the exact phrase, but one similar. Verse 15 says My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for He alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies. (NLT) I was like - Wow! It's everywhere this morning so I must need to hear this - my help comes from the Lord.

I went back and forth reading these three verses. In my meditations I focused on how this Creator - of the ends of the earth - the One who breathed into Adam to make him a living soul and we are all still being sustained by that one breath - the One who measured the waters of the earth in a single palm and used a hand span to measure the heavens.....helps me. 

I don't know about you - but just that thought overwhelmed my emotions this morning. I know I run close to the edge lol - but my eyes sweated just a little bit as I let those thoughts roll out of my mind and onto the keyboard. I think I need an aid, a nurse, a doctor, another person and another set of hands would be nice too.... but God is all the help I need.

He can put that fire in my soul and give me the wisdom for making decisions, and the strength to carry on. While we are caring for another whole person (or more) as caregivers - He is caring for us. He's the ultimate caregiver! 

Today, I will meditate on how He is my help - and He is all the help I need. (But He does send help in flesh and blood sometimes too - and that's nice!) My thoughts will be on His greatness yet His careful watch over my heart. I'll set my thoughts on His overflowing mercy, peace, and grace. And I will thank Him and rejoice in Him today - will you join me?

Who's Got Your Back?

Have you ever felt like no one really understands? It seems like it hurts most when it's people who are supposed to be helping. For example, last week my son was up for re-certification in the Advantage program. I was sitting at the table with his case manager and the nurse who will be overseeing his case. They are cutting the hours an aide will come to help because they just don't see what needs to be done. They are cutting the aide from 17 hours to something like 6 or 8 per week. On one hand I could care less because I've found working with an aide to be more of a hassle than it's worth - unless you get a good one.

I was dumbfounded at the ignorance of the situation and I sat and just listened to them talk back and forth about the things the aide is and is not allowed to do. While there are some limitations there are plenty of tasks they can help me with, if they want to. Most of them just want a paycheck. I felt so unimportant and defenseless and very unsure of what to say. (Trust me - I've comprised a lengthy list to have on display now - it will not be an issue!)

Even though it seemed like a small thing I just felt like they didn't understand my situation, but they were supposed to. Aren't they on the team of professionals who are helping me be a good, healthy caregiver? And they don't know? It was one of those moments where as a caregiver I felt so overwhelmed, alone, and like I really don't matter. I felt defenseless and wasn't sure what to do. Should I take up for myself? I'm not one for whining - I am one for just doing. I'll move on without them, even though I shouldn't have to.

We advocate for our loved one probably on a daily basis. But who advocates for the caregiver? No one. I see organizations just trying to save a buck - and I'm frugal so I understand that. But they are sitting there talking about where they can make cuts and save - I felt like it was at my expense.

Then I found Psalm 141:8 where David said My eyes are toward You, O God the Lord; In You I take refuge, do not leave me defenseless. I think I could say that God has the caregiver's back. He sees what we go through and He understands us. The trick is letting it all go and letting Him handle it for us. Caregivers are typically more likely to just roll up their sleeves and get busy and then get busier when the going gets tough. But we must take our refuge in Him. The programs designed to help - are not our help. God is our help and He has our back.

Today I will take deep breaths and relax knowing that God has my back.  And I'll make a conscious choice to rest in Him today. Will  you join me?

No Sleeping on the Job!

Sometimes the caregiver is left floundering on their own and sometimes there are organizations or individuals who help them out. There are programs to help pay for aides and supplies that are very beneficial for helping us stay sane. When I have an aide it means I get out a little more to run, or run errands and that is good. There are nurses who come periodically to check my son out and see that he is healthy and being taken care of. Family members often sit with my son so that I can do things I enjoy or escape for a weekend. I am very appreciative of this "village" that helps me out from time to time.

However, I learned a long time back when this caregiving journey first began that my help comes from the Lord. I had no idea of the the types of situations and decisions I would be facing on a daily basis back then, but I knew if I was going to survive I would have to look at Him for my help. I began to meditate on Psalm 121 while we were still living in the ICU waiting room. I stayed there day and night for 3 weeks before we moved to an isolation room on a regular floor where we remained for over 3 months.

A few days into our ICU stay I was in prayer and thought about all the wonderful nurses and doctors who were providing exceptional care for my son. But as I was thinking about what a great job they were doing I also realized that they couldn't help me. They could talk to me, calm me down, try to ease my fears...but they were not my help - only God could under gird me in the time of trouble.

One of my son's friends had loaned me a guitar for the hospital stay and I sat down and put some chords and a melody to Psalm 121. I knew I would have to look to God for my soul's help, for my peace and comfort and that He alone was my true help.  I knew I was in a position to look to Him and only Him. As the last 7 years of caregiving have unfolded, I continue to look to Him for strength, comfort and wisdom as the daily walk continues and I meditate on this psalm often.

I will look to the Lord
Where does my help come from? 
My help comes from the Lord
Who made heaven and earth
He will not allow your foot to slip
He who keeps you will not slumber
Behold, He who keeps Israel 
Will never slumber nor sleep 

It's such a comforting thing for me to know that God's not sleeping on the job! He is always watching over my soul and keeping me safely tucked in His own heart.

Today I will meditate on the fact that He does not rest; but He continuously keeps me and watches over my soul so that I do not faint. My thoughts will be on the truth that He is always on the job and He never even takes a break to rest. And I will rest knowing He is my peace and strength. Will you join me?

If you'd like to see the video I made of the song I wrote after I got in my son's room you can see it on my facebook page here: Psalm 121.

Why Can't Life have a "Pause" Button?

Caregiving is not an easy task period; and any given day can bring numerous surprises both good and bad. You just never know how a day is going to go. You never know when you are going to run out of steam, or when you'll have a burst of energy. People can surprise you by not showing up, or they can surprise you with an unexpected text asking if you need any help. The emotions can be all over the place for a variety of reasons.

In the midst of caregiving - life continues for everyone else and life itself doesn't take a break. As a caregiver, we deal with our personal situation plus all the "normal" stuff life throws at you. We get sick, we read cutoff notices, vehicles break down, friends are diagnosed with serious conditions, and family members pass away. Caregiving doesn't give us a break from life - life continues just as it would if we were not in the role of caregiving. Sometimes, I would like to find a huge pause button for life. Can't it stop for just a little bit and let me catch my breath?

Between the rest of life and caregiving it can feel like we never get to come up for air sometimes. But God has our backs. I think of Psalm 18:28 in these tough moments. For You light my lamp; the Lord my God illumines my darkness.  He can bring hope and light into any situation.

In this same psalm, David mentions more than once that God girds him with strength. I envision it as if God wraps His strength all around him. Maybe I see it that way because that's what I feel I need when life and caregiving collide. A little bit of His strength goes a long ways - and a little bit of His light brightens a large area. The darker the room - the more impact a little light can have.

In this verse, David speaks of God's light twice - he notes that God lights his lamp; and God shines His light into the darkness.

Today I will reflect on His light while I'm looking for the "pause" button. Even though we may feel overwhelmed, He will bring light into the situation. My meditation today will be on His strength in me and I will allow Him to carry me through this day. I will purposefully look for His light as I journey through today. Will you join me?

When the Caregiver Gets Tired

I have found it useful to keep a personal blog as it gives me a place to put and leave my emotions. I really didn't start it for that purpose. My intent was to share the difficulties and challenges that I face as a caregiver and talk about how to keep faith (which has been totally redefined for me) while walking through the heat of the furnace on a daily basis. Last night as I was writing an entry in From the Furnace, I found my own encouragement in Isaiah 40:28-29. The New Living Translation says it this way:
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.

 On a day when emotions were fried and strength was gone, I found this scripture to be very encouraging. I particularly like that it says He won't grow faint or weary. And I like that He will give power to those of us who are both tired and worn out; along with strength when we are weak. It seems He really has us covered on this one! Caregiving can be a very tiring position to be in and we can get up in the morning already worn out! It is very comforting to know that when the chores and tasks of our day are bearing down on us - He offers His strength and power; and He asks for nothing in exchange.

Today I will meditate on how His strength carries me through. I'll also concentrate on how I can be a better receptor of the encouragement, strength and power that the Holy Spirit shares. We know as caregivers we put our own needs on hold; and that we do not always accept help well. Today I will meditate on His help and on how I can position myself in Him to receive it. Will you join me?

Who is He?

When my son had his vehicle accident he was in ICU for about 3.5 weeks. Since I was from out of town I just set up camp in the ICU waiting room.One morning when I was there alone for some reason Psalm 121 came to mind. I realized that although my son was at the time getting very good medical care, the medical staff was not where my help was coming from. The nurses or doctors were not my source of help but the Lord was my helper.

Psalm 121:2 says my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. It goes on to say that He is always on watch - never sleeps. And furthermore He is also our keeper (v.5) and even our protector (v.7) However, it says He is the protector and keeper of our soul...He keeps and protects that part of us that makes us - us.

When life around us seems to be in turmoil - He will keep us. It's comforting to someone like me who messes up a lot that He will not throw us away. No situation gets so out-of-hand that He walks away. He will continue to keep, protect and help us. Our job is simply to not look anywhere else for our source but to continue looking to 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!

Furnace Walkers

My friend used this term when she replied to one of my blogs.It's the one where I try to dump all my emotions so I can have my heart and mind clear to be able to concentrate on the rest of my day which is mostly caregiving or writing. (www.macdingolinger.wordpress.com) It's actually called from the furnace and I try to share how I hold on to faith while going through this furnace. Sometimes I am barely keeping it in my grasp and sometimes it sure seems to slip away! But eventually, no matter how dark - faith always comes back.

 I was thinking of others this morning who had their furnace. Some like the apostle Paul. He turned his heart toward God while in the furnace and we ended up with 2/3 of our New Testament! I suppose this is our greatest task right now - while in our own personal furnaces - to turn our hearts to Him. For the real believers - it's impossible not to. It can actually be frustrating to try to walk away... like ... where would we go anyway?

There is no other comfort, no other peace, no other help...than the Lord. And although our struggle is a constant one, one which there is very little if any relief, He is a constant comfort and help. I cannot even explain it really - except to say we must run to Him even while walking in our furnace. And although we live in a chronic pain in our souls- He is still our source - still our God - He is still...so let us be still before Him... and accept His peace today.

 Jesus said it best (of course)... My peace I leave with you - My peace I give to you not as the world gives...therefore let not your hearts be troubled neither let it be afraid.  (John 14:27)

Call to Intimacy

By the time you actually become a caregiver there's already been some sort of big ordeal in your life. You're not going to wake up in the morning and say, "I'm a caregiver now." Some series of events had to have happened that placed you in the position to chose it. Something, sometime had to of broken your heart...for each of us although the journey is similar - they are all uniquely different at the same time.

No matter what catapulted us to the place of caregiving, it had to hurt. And many times caregiving bears with it a hurt that does not go away...it's a living pain so deep it cannot be explained. No one can really understand it. No one can fix it. No one can make it go away...it's just there underneath the surface. The pain of being a caregiver is many faceted...because somewhere in the mix we lost our own lives in the shuffle.

Psalm 34:18 says this to us today The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Today, lay aside all the questions and the whys - you know - why didn't He fix this? type questions... and let your heart hear His heart for you. He is near - allow Him to be near you today. Don't move away...I see this scripture as a distinct call to intimacy with Him once again. Take a few minutes and think about what this already terrible journey would have been like if we didn't know Him. There would be absolutely no hope - anywhere - not even with the end of life - without Him...

Take some time to be near Him today - to allow Him to touch the damaged recesses of your heart - let Him heal the pains that no one has ever had any idea about. Let Him carry you today..He is near.

And Boy Do I Need the Help!

This morning I came across a scripture in Hebrews 13:6. It is actually a quote out of Psalms. It simply says The Lord is my helper I will no be afraid, what can man do to me. I didn't so much think about what effect other people may have on me as I really am worrying about that less and less. But I focused on the first part of the verse...the Lord is my helper.

 I can think of a couple of other verses about that just off the top of my head. Psalm 121 says I will look to the Lord where my help comes from. And then in Psalm 30:10 is a plea for help Lord, be my helper! It's not that I am so Bible smart - it's just that I've needed lots of help! lol!

I am to the place in this walk that I really do not know how to go on without His help. A caregiver runs on overload all the time. There isn't a "break" actually. Because if you're like me, even if you sit down to enjoy a cup of coffee you feel guilty because surely there's something you need to be doing for your loved one!

He is my strength and I say gladly that I cannot walk through this fire without His help! So today I will rest in Him as I realize that He alone is my help! And He alone can give me strength to stand...and strength to walk through one more day of this journey.

Who's Helping Who?

I'm sure as a caregiver you can look back over your journey and see that there have been many players, many helpers. At some point there have been hospital staff or home health personnel who have helped in any one of a wide variety of ways.  And of course somewhere in the mix is a physician and a pharmacist. All these have worked together for the benefit of the patient whether or not they've actually had direct contact with one another.

But with all the "help" there is avaialable through the medical system, none of them is "my helper." Psalm 121 says my help comes from the Lord Who made heaven and earth. When I realize that and meditate on it - it can make today's load a little lighter.

He created everything! All the oceans, seas, mountains, caves, forests, valleys and hills are the work of His hand. By His word the sun and the moon do their job and the earth maintains its route in orbit. That God is my help! - sheesh! I guess that sort of makes HIm our caregiver. So while I am caring for my son today - He is caring for me! I think I can relax and rest in that thought for awhile.

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