Showing posts with label journey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journey. Show all posts

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?

My Times are In His Hands

I can't even begin to imagine what Job went through. If you go back and read the first chapters of Job you'll see how he lost his children, his wealth and sustenance, his possessions and even his health. Sometimes I read Job when I think I can't handle anymore. Early on in my caregiving journey (and sometimes even now) I feel a great sense of loss. I had rid myself of my possessions and was headed to the mission field when my son was involved in the accident. When he was going to be released to "go home" I had nowhere to take him. Add that to losing who he was and I dealt with a heavy sense of loss for a long time.

I compensated for the losses I felt by buying anything I wanted. I'd see a movie, a book or a piece of furniture I liked and I'd buy it. It took me some time to realize I was making purchases and other allowances in my life to try and make up for the great loss I felt. I say that to say only on a very small scale can I begin to understand the enormity of loss Job had to feel. Even Job's friends didn't know what to say in the situation. When they heard of his tremendous trials they came and sat with Job. They sat in silence for seven days, because there really wasn't anything to say. I so appreciate my friends who have been present through this journey even though they may have been uncomfortable and didn't know what to say or do, don't you?

In Job 13:15, he declared, though God slays me - I will trust Him. I've heard it said that this was a lack of faith on Job's part. But I think that it was the ultimate statement of trust. Job was pretty much saying that no matter what the journey brought he was going to continue to trust the Lord.  Even though he was faced with huge losses Job clung to God. I can't say I've had that much tenacity in my situation. I've been angry and didn't care what role God wanted to play in my life. How could He let all this happen? I know nothing happens that doesn't cross His desk for approval first.

And yet gradually I worked my way back around to trusting Him for the journey. Eventually, I was able to say once again that no matter what life brought - it's better with Him than without Him. I found that He was patiently waiting. He wasn't angry, He didn't cast me away; but His gentle presence welcomed me freely. My times are in His hand declared the psalmist. (Psalm 31:15) I must rest in that truth and continue to trust Him.

Today I will meditate on trusting Him more fully. I will not worry about losses, I'll concentrate on His gentle presence in my life. I will rest in Him and trust that my times are in His hands and He's as committed to this journey as I am. Will you join me?

What I Need to Hear

When I am preparing to do a devotion for caregivers a lot of times I ask myself what do I need to hear today? It helps me at least find a starting place most of the time. And to be honest right now, I just need to hear that God is somewhere...hopefully nearer than I feel! Did you ever feel that way, or is it just me?

 This of course is where faith steps in and won't let us believe anything except that He is near. It's so ingrained in us that we know that's the right answer whether we feel  it or not! And it may not look like it to anyone else - but isn't that what true faith is all about...believing is the substance of the things we cannot see...or feel...or sense! But it even goes beyond the shallow religious teachings...because He is not just here to see to it that we attend church! He is with us on the journey. If God doesn't live outside the walls of the church then the caregiver is without hope for our daily lives....and beyond!

 The hope He gives cannot just be just for the hereafter either...what good does that do us when we are trying to live today with His strength? The thing to grab hold to here is that He is God throughout time. He's been the same God to all who have chosen to serve Him from the beginning; and He will continue to be the same until the end of time...simply walking through time with us.

The faith part is knowing that He is there even if you cannot feel He's there....so today look around you. There's evidence somewhere! Let Him show you today how close He really is!!

We Have What Is Needed

There's an interesting scripture in the first chapter of Daniel. It says And God gave these four men an unusual appetite for learning the literature and science of the time. It's interesting in several different ways. For one, the church and science tend to be at odds a lot of the time, yet we see here that God caused them to enjoy science (and I'll throw in math too!! lol). Sometimes education and "faith" can collide as they seem mutually exclusive - even though they are actually very complimentary.

But the most interesting is that God gave Daniel (and the three Hebrew boys) the ability to learn. They were captives in a foreign land. They had been elevated to live in the castle with the king, but only to see if they could cut the mustard and achieve the high slave status of serving the king. Yet God gave them the ability to learn. Basically, God put in them what they would need to make it through their trial. And trust me, they were tried!

First they are taken from their home land by force only to be made to serve in the king's court. Daniel was royalty in Judah. But here in Babylon he was stripped of his ability to have a "normal" life. He could not marry and bear children and go to war as many young men most likely dreamed about. He was made to be impotent...and forced to serve. Yet God gave him what he would need to make it through.

Remember on in the book of Daniel - he will find himself thrown into a den of hungry lions while the other three will face the fiery furnace...and all because they would not bow to the idolatry around them. Of course this all started here in chapter one when they decided that they would not be defiled with the king's meat. They were not the icon for vegetarianism we try to make them! They simply refused to eat meat offered to idols...they chose purity even if it might mean getting thrown out of the king's palace; or death.But they had been given what they needed to get through the trials.

2Peter 1:3 says to us today His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness. He has given us what we need to make it through today. It doesn't matter what it looks like, feels like or what kind of trap reality has set for us! We can make it through the fires of today!

Just like God gave Daniel what he was going to need to survive in Babylonian captivity, He has given us what we need to make it through our particular circumstances! It's up to us to trust Him and not bow to idolatrous ways when they present themselves to us. So cheer up! We have what we need to make it through this journey!

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!

Who's Gonna Carry Me?

Recently I watched a very inspiring video. A college student hit her first ever home run but tore something in her knee and couldn't make it past first base. The other runners ran for home but she was stranded on first. Her team couldn't help her because it would forfeit the run and make it only a two run single. A couple of young ladies on the other team picked her up and carried her across the rest of the bases to home plate! I was so inspired...then I started thinking about it...I've been in this pain (which can be immobilizing at time for the cargiver) for 2 and a half years. What if I cannot get past a "first base" that may come up in our lives? Who would carry me to the goal?

In the video it was the opposing team's members who carried her. Now you know, our opponent is Satan and he ain't gonna help us out in the least! lol! But when I am wounded, or hurting, or can't go on...Who's gonna carry me?

The church disappeared a short way into this journey of caregiving. So I cannot really count on them. I have a few friends here...but will they carry me?

So I began a short search for scriptures and found one most interesting. Deuteronomy 1:30-31 states this The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as He did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place.

 Somehow it was a very comforting thought that He intentionally went after His people who were bound in Egypt, set them free, then carried them through the wilderness to safety. He certainly didn't make all their problems and obstacles disappear (that would of course be my choice!) but He did not abandon them to the wilderness either! He will carry us through when the pain is too much to bear. I love the thought of Him carrying me like a father gently carries his son!

Emotionally Stranded

  I was up late last night - and it wasn't to study my Bible. Lol. I was watching a dumb show. But each episode ended with things up in ...