Showing posts with label kingdom of God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kingdom of God. Show all posts

Dealing and Healing


The caregiver's world can be a traumatic place where you feel like you never get ahead. Many caregivers deal with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). No one doubts how stressful it can be. And I think how much easier it might be if everyone just did their jobs. Right? In the caregiver's dream world, supplies are delivered as ordered and on time. Aids show up for their scheduled times day after day. The days go without a hitch, so it's all about providing care for our loved ones. People call just to check-in. Someone gives you a hug or says, I love you. But maybe that's what dreams are made of. (smile)

I'm not complaining - but I am traumatized by what I see going on in the world. There's no peace out there, would you agree? It seems like lately, I've done a lot of reeling in of the emotions and talking myself back to a place of peace in Him. You know what? That's okay. It's part of dealing with it all and healing in the midst of the struggles and storms.

Sometimes I think it would be nice if we got an exemption card when we became caregivers. Alas, more dreams. Lol. No one would die. We wouldn't have to miss marriages, holidays, or other family events. And maybe the weather would be perfect year-round so that we could always get outside (as long as our loved one is feeling up to it.) 

Lots of dreams, huh? Well, at least I made myself smile and got a little chuckle out of it. (You can smile too.) Because even though I'm being a bit facetious,  we all know that caregiving isn't a bed of roses. There is beauty, but there are thorns too. And we are okay with that. It's part of the deal.

I'm learning to hide more in Him than ever before. To "deal and heal" while in the midst of the storm means I have to crawl up in Him to find peace, and sometimes to find myself. You know? Caregiving is a funny creature, and circumstances can change on a dime on any given day. But what we do have is the constancy of the Holy Spirit. He is our comforter. Jesus is still the Prince of Peace. These truths do not change when we become a caregiver. They remain. And some days, it's a constant fight to keep my mind stayed on these truths. But it's doable. And it's necessary if we want to live in peace and comfort. 

Today, I will shift my mind away from the craziness in the world and the loneliness in the cave and focus on His kingdom where peace reigns. I'll meditate on how He cares for me and carries me when needed. My thoughts will stay on His comforting power. I'll remind myself that I don't belong in this world - but I am part of the Kingdom of Peace where the Prince of Peace reigns. I'll accept His peace even though it goes against everything I see through my tiny cave windows. (Smile again!) And I will rest in Him - embrace His peace - and let it reign in my heart today as I trust Him for just one more day. Will you join me?

Surrounded Inside and Out

I started out my reading this morning in Hebrews 12. Verse 28 caught my attention. It says, since we are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be destroyed, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe. (NLT) I just rolled that around a bit in my head - two things actually. The first being that we have "a kingdom that can't be destroyed" and secondly we should be thankful.

Maintaining an attitude of thankfulness can go a long way to help keep our emotions above water. Some days are more difficult than others, but there's always something we can find to be thankful for. Today, I'll be thankful that the Kingdom of God cannot be destroyed. God did not get up off His throne and throw in the proverbial towel when my life fell apart. He didn't quit. He didn't say it's not worth it, I can't do this anymore. He never gives up - never gives in - never quits. What happens in our lives good or bad cannot destroy the Kingdom of God. It will stand.

Let's take it a bit further. In Luke 17:21, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within you. Paul also reminds the believers in Philippians 3:20 that our citizenship is in heaven. No matter what we face, God won't kick us out. He never says our circumstances are too dirty, too complicated, too involved for Him. His kingdom - the one that is in us - the one we are a part of - stands forever. It's sort of like being surrounded, isn't it? The Kingdom is in us - we are in the Kingdom.

Once again, there are no exclusionary statements here. Note Jesus didn't say the Kingdom of God is within you - unless you are a caregiver... unless you are sick... unless you are discouraged.. unless you are.... fill in the blank. If we are a part of Him the Kingdom is in us and we are in the Kingdom.

Today, I will be thankful that the foundation of God's throne and His Kingdom are not shaken by my circumstances. I'll meditate on that and turn my thoughts to His faithfulness and I'll thank Him that He doesn't give up on me, He can't He is part of me and I am part of Him. I can trust Him with today. I'll trust Him with my heart today - will you join me?

The Point of No Return

This morning I continued reading in Isaiah 61 and there are several things that keep leaping off the page and into my heart. Just for the record, I needed that right about now.

This passage is very familiar to us church-goers and we recognize it as the same passage that Jesus read when He first stood in the temple. It's easy for us to visualize Jesus saying The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed me to proclaim the good news. But it becomes difficult for us to read it for ourselves. I think that difficulty is magnified even more as caregivers.

Sometimes we can be made to feel as though we don't play a significant role in society. I know for me, at least at first, I felt like more of a drain on society, definitely not a benefit. We become absorbed into caregiving - we have to. This can make it hard to see beyond our little box. How can we influence a generation?  How can we proclaim the Kingdom of God? How can we share the good news? We demonstrate it.

Even though we may not be standing up behind a pulpit come Sunday morning because we'll still be doing the same caregiving tasks we were doing the rest of the week, doesn't mean we aren't proclaiming the Kingdom of God. Actually, all the while we are changing, bathing, feeding, clothing, transferring and other tasks associated with taking care of another whole person - we are proclaiming His love. His grace. His mercy. His kindness and His strength to the generations.

The obvious question now is how?  Right? First of all, we've discussed in previous posts how we demonstrate the true love of God by laying down our own lives to care for another. We show another side of the same love that held Jesus on the cross by surrendering our life on behalf of another. Each motion we make in taking care of our loved one is a demonstration of His love.

Secondly, proclaiming His kingdom doesn't always require words. How do I know this? Psalm 19:1 says this:

The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
Night after night they make Him known.

So far I have never heard the sun, moon or stars utter a word. We literally do not hear the voice of nature telling of His glory - but we see it demonstrated. Nature is cyclical and doesn't have an end. One plant yields more seeds and more plants grow - so there can be more seeds. The water cycle continues to circle around - the earth isn't making more water - it's a limited supply that goes around and around. Seasons run in a certain order every single year. Even though there can be some slight variations, they don't vary from the pre-designed course that He set into motion.

The same way we hear nature proclaiming His glory, others can see His kingdom demonstrated in the life of a caregiver. If they take time to look. Many don't want to look. It's not always pretty. But neither is nature if you look deeply enough. Every time we do something for our loved one, our actions are declaring His kingdom. Simply wiping the drool from my son's face says, I'll cover you. I'll protect your dignity.  And God does the same thing for us when He wipes away the things in our lives that are not appealing.

I think it's important for us to know, or at least I need to be reminded, that we were not displaced in His kingdom when we became a caregiver. He did not boot us out and call us unfit. We are still just as much a part of the Kingdom of God as a caregiver, as we were before. It has literally no bearing on our standing in His kingdom. We cannot earn His kingdom, we do not work to get into it - it's ours. Period. He doesn't stand there with a clipboard and a checklist asking what our profession is, what social class we are in, our income level or anything else. We are part of the Kingdom because we worship Him as our king. 

He took us from the kingdom of darkness and placed us in the kingdom of light (Colossians 1:13). He did not prepare a way for us to go back. We are planted in Him, in His word, in His kingdom permanently. No tragedy is big enough to remove us!

Today I'm going to meditate on being in His hand, in His kingdom. I'll turn my thoughts to how He can cause my life as a caregiver to bring Him glory. He is the power source - and He is able to cause what feels like a very broken life to demonstrate and proclaim His kingdom. I have to trust Him to do what He says - I don't need to make Him. He's good for it. So I'll trust that He is big enough to keep me in the kingdom where He placed me - and He is powerful enough and smart enough to shape it so it brings Him glory. And with that, I will rest in Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?


Where Did the Kingdom Go?

Sometimes it seems like we can be so cut off from the rest of the world. We just have to face it - our lives are different. We cannot always come and go like others. It's not always possible to just jump up and run to the store just because a necessary item is running low. Trust me - it even takes careful planning to not run out of toilet paper and trash bags! Many times the caregiver may feel like we live in a cave and totally separate from the rest of the world. For many, going to church regularly, or even at all, is out of the question. This morning I was reading Romans 14 and came to verse 17 which says this: the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I found this very comforting.

We are not missing out on the Kingdom of God just because we live separate lives. Actually, we may be closer to the Kingdom than many common church goers. These three things righteousness, peace and joy are ours because we not only live in the Kingdom - but the Kingdom is  in  us as believers. No matter what our lives look like to ourselves or to others the Kingdom is near  us - the Kingdom is in  us.

We have His righteousness which covers us and this is how we appear before God. As caregivers we can understand living in His peace- as ours was robbed long ago. And when joy seems far removed and pain seems so near - we can rejoice that we are His. It's interesting that these three characteristics of the Kingdom of God remain when the rest of our world has been so shaken. The Kingdom of God is still within us. It is a choice whether we walk in it or not each day. Today let us dwell on these three aspects.

Let's meditate on the truth that His righteousness covers us no matter what life throws our way. And dwell on the truth that His peace fills our hearts even in the midst of this present turmoil.Then let us rejoice that there is nothing in time that can take these away- nothing that can reduce the level of righteousness He covers with, nothing that can remove us from His kingdom - we are permanent residents! The Kingdom is in us - let us rejoice!

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 ...