Showing posts with label patience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label patience. Show all posts

Hand Tattoos

Do you ever feel like God put you here on this planet to sort everything out and then He just walked away? Caregiver's lives are not in sync with the rest of the world and we can feel separated and alone even in a crowd. Caregiving adds a new dynamic to life, doesn't it? It's one that can't really be described.

It's draining and rewarding. Tiring and energizing. Emotions run along all extremes much of the time and many battle with depression, grief and other issues. I have to say that recently I have asked God if He remembered where He left me. Now my heart knows He didn't really leave me. I mean, really - where would He go? He's everywhere - He can't physically leave us. But for those who struggle with abandonment issues, it can certainly feel like it.

Evidently, someone else has had similar feelings because in verse 14 of Isaiah 49, it says Jerusalem says, "the Lord has deserted us, the Lord has forgotten us."  But at the thought of abandonment, the Lord issues an immediate response in verse 15: Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand.......

Far too frequently today we see mothers and fathers who "forget" their children. They walk away. They neglect. But God won't forget us. He even tattooed our name on His hand. Why would He write our name on His hand? So that He can always see it - as He is reaching toward us to wipe the tears from our eyes. Or as He is extending His hand of grace to measure out what we need to make another day.

No matter how deserted we feel, how alone we feel, how overwhelmed we may be at the moment - He's in that moment before we get there.

Today, I will think about how sufficient His grace is to carry me through the day. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and His overwhelming patience toward me and my crazy thoughts and emotions. Even if I feel alone today- I won't buy it. I'll trust He is with me as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

Still Seeking

Over the weekend, I heard a phrase in a song, "You are perfect in all of Your ways." I knew it was a scripture but couldn't remember where it was located.  This morning I looked it up and it is in Deuteronomy 32 at the beginning of the Song of Moses.

I read the whole chapter a time or two and went back to meditate on the phrase for a bit. I closed my eyes and thought about how perfect God is and how right and just every decision He makes is. When I opened my eyes, they fell on a scripture on the opposite page - I had marked it sometime ago. It is in chapter 30, verse 4.

Though you are at the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will go and find you and bring you back again. 

I thought about that for awhile and read it in context. Moses is encouraging the Children of Israel to return to the Lord. He is calling them to come back to Him with their whole heart and seek Him fully. But this verse to me is God reaching for them. He continues to seek a relationship with His people no matter what their situation is. Just because we became caregivers doesn't mean He has abandoned His pursuit of relationship. Actually, He is still seeking.

Exodus 34:14 in the New Living Translation reminds us that God is a God who is passionate about His relationship with us. He is always seeking for our heart because He actually wants to be with us. He longs for us to have two-way conversation, not just us asking for things in what we call prayer. He longs to have an intimate connection with us.

I'll be the first to admit I've had trouble in this arena particularly since my son's accident. I felt like God had abandoned me. Even though I needed His touch even more, it became difficult for me to seek Him. But He was still seeking me. He is relentless in His pursuit of our hearts. He doesn't stop desiring to be with us when life gets difficult or ugly. He doesn't walk away wringing His hands like many of our friends have done. When they are not really sure what to do with us or our situation, He is still waiting on us to come to Him. To be accepted. To be cared for. To be loved. Being with us - is His very heartbeat. And so He waits.....and seeks....

These scriptures were recorded by Moses who was leading the Children of Israel through the wilderness. They were argumentative, faithless, complaining and just plain ugly sometimes. Yet God continues to communicate His love for them and His desire to be with them. He feels the same way about us - whether life is beautiful or not, whether we have it all together or not, whether we feel faithful or faithless, whether we are waiting on Him or not - He is waiting on us, longing for us to come to Him.

Today I am going to turn my thoughts to how much He wants to be with me - no matter what life looks like. I will stop all the crazy thoughts in my head today and focus on being with Him. I'll pour out my heart before Him and wait for Him to pour His heart into mine. My meditations will be on his love and pursuit of me. I'll think about how He waits for me to come to Him. And I will wait on Him today. Will you join me?

Patient and Passionate

I like organization. But I'm beginning to think caregiving and organization are distinctly opposed to one another. No matter how much I try to organize or make a schedule to try and keep up - the further behind it seems I get. Playing "catch-up" is a daily game - and I keep losing, or so it seems.

Don't get me wrong - I am SO thankful for my jobs and being able to take care of my son. It's just that it seems like I put off the thing I feel is the most important to me. God.

It's not like I don't want to spend time with Him, it's just that when I get up at 5 each morning I make my coffee (real priorities here!) and bolus and change Chris. By the time I get set down to drink my first cup, there's tons of things in the forefront of my mind needing to be done, NOW! And so it begins - the circus I call a morning. The aide comes, there's errands to run. Every time I turn around it's time to feed Chris, which means pureeing another meal; or change him or do some therapy. When I'm not doing that - there's tons of work to do. I end most days feeling like I fall way short. Needless to say - I can easily get lost in the shuffle of a normal day.

When I get all caught up in the day-to-days, it's easy to remember I'm valuable to God - to anybody really. But the verse that comes to mind - and I have to remind myself of is Exodus 34:14 which says You must worship no other gods, but only the Lord,, for He is a God who is passionate about His relationship with you. He's patient and passionate. He so longs to be involved in my life and foremost in my heart. And while He passionately pursues us - He also patiently waits for us to "get it."

That fills me with awe for Who He is and how He loves us. We can know passion; and we can be patient - but how can those two dwell together? It seems like they are opposites like my attempts to be organized and caregiving are. Yet He is so determined to have us He will do anything He needs to in order to be with us. He can be patiently waiting - or passionately pursuing. But He's always desiring to be with us. He doesn't look at us and see a caregiver - He sees His beloved.

Today I'm going to meditate on the fact that he's waiting for me to sort through my day to spend time with Him. He is patient and passionate - and He wants to be with me. I'll turn my thoughts to stopping so He can catch me. I'm going to spend my day thinking about how to patiently, passionately pursue Him today. Will you join me?

What a Wait!

I've never been very good at awaiting no matter what the situation. From doctor's offices to DMVs to standing in line at WalMart - I just don't do well. It may be that my mind is going a hundred miles an hour, or it could be that I finally have time to think of all the things I could be doing instead. Whatever it is about my makeup waiting just doesn't fit me well.

We've talked a lot in our devotions about waiting on God and maybe I have seen just a tiny bit of improvement since I've become a caregiver. We have some great examples of men and women of faith who waited on God patiently; and some who waited not-so-patiently too. Abraham and Sarah waited for years for God to fulfill His promise; and Joseph waited many years for his dream to come true. When we read the scriptures we can cover several chapters in a matter of minutes and it can be easy to forget that years passed between one chapter and the next.

Last night I was reading in Daniel. I love his story and how he remained faithful to the Lord even though he was in a tough physical situation. We can read this entire book in just a few minutes but we are talking 70 years from the first chapter to the last. That's a lifetime of waiting.

In chapter 9 of Daniel, we find him looking back over the prophecies that were given by Jeremiah. Daniel had most likely read and reread these prophecies during his captivity and he recalled that God promised it would only last 70 years; and it had been 70 years. That's a long time to keep the faith and to continue to trust God through daily adversity. As caregivers, our journeys are not always super smooth or pleasant but most of us have not been in our situation for 70 years.

So Daniel realizes that the 70 years are complete according to the Word of the Lord and he sets himself in prayer. Toward the end of the ninth chapter, he prays this:

Our God listen to the prayer of Your servant,
and to his supplications
For Your sake, O Lord 
Let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary.
O my God, 
Incline Your ear and hear!
Open Your eyes and see our desolations...

Caregiving can be a lonely place and sometimes, like Daniel, we just need God to hear and to see us. Our challenge is remaining faithful during the trials of day-to-day living. It can be difficult to be patient. And while there are some pleasant days - each day can be filled with hard work that leaves us exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally at the end of the day.

Today as we take care of our loved one, let us meditate on simply remaining faithful in our walk with God and meditating on the truth that He has not left us to walk it alone. 

This will be my meditation today - 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?

Trying to See Past Today

One of the difficulties I've had as a caregiver is trying to plan the "future." It's just so uncertain - everyday is uncertain. You just never know what is going to unfold, what's going to work, break or who is or isn't going to show up. It's tough enough getting through each day one step at a time without giving consideration to the future too. In my devotions this morning I sort of stumbled across a scripture that helped me see just a little bit past today.

In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul explains that we have the treasure of Christ in this "earthen vessel," or our bodies. What's interesting to me is that after sharing this wonderful bit of information with us he goes on to discuss how much trouble we can face in this clay pot. Caregivers can relate to these situations I think - we are:

hard pressed - but not crushed
perplexed - but not in despair
persecuted - but not forsaken
struck down but not destroyed

Even though we can go through this wide range of emotions - our lives didn't stop when we became caregivers. We are still living lives that are full of Christ. He did not leave us (like some of our "friends") when the going got tough, or the picture got ugly. This is why we "don't lose heart" as Paul goes on to say in verse 16. Perhaps we are in a tight spot - life has dealt us a blow - but we can focus on what we are not: crushed, in despair, hopeless, forsaken or destroyed!


We can chose to look at the parts of the picture that are more enduring, more pleasant. You know what? We did not stop being like Christ when we laid down our lives to care for another. Actually, we started looking a whole lot more like Him.

Think about it. Even though we may feel frustrated, discouraged or tired - we've become more like Him. Don't believe me? The caregiver's life may not look like everyone else's - but we do start to look more like Him. Caregiving requires patience - beyond what I could have ever  dreamed! We are dedicated to the journey and we do what we do because of a deep love. That looks just like Him!

I was leaning over my son's bed one day, telling him I loved him. I realized it was my love for him that kept me on this journey with him. And then it dawned on me - it was the same love that held Christ to the cross. Just like Christ willingly gave up his life for us and love held Him to the cross - our love holds us in the caregiving role. You look a lot more like Him than you thought, huh?

Today I will chose to look past what I see in my life - and I will see Him. My meditation will be of His great love for me - and His dedication to see Himself in me - no matter what life throws my way. Will you join me?

Do We Look Like Him?

If we really take time to think about it, caregivers look a lot like Him. I know, we will all modestly say, "Oh,no we are far from that." But this week in our devotions I want to look at some ways that we do look like Him. (That is the point of Christianity isn't it?) Now I'm not saying we are perfect, or that we have it all together because that is probably not going to ever happen in a caregiver's world. But day after day we continue to care for our loved one(s) without giving up. If we take a serious look, we'll find that we do indeed have Christ-like qualities.

In the New Living Translation, Romans 2:4 is translated this way: Don't you realize how kind, tolerant and patient God is with you? God patiently waits for His children to come to Him. We patiently care for our loved one day after day - whether we see any change or have any hope that the situation will change or not. All of that is irrelevant to providing care.

Have you ever heard someone referred to as having "the patience of Job"? He was very patient during his time of tribulation. Once again we see a man face great adversity and patiently wait for God to act. If I am honest, I am usually more patient with the one I am caring for than I am with God. Job uttered these words that "faith-ers" like to ignore: Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad? So in all this, Job said nothing wrong. (Job 2:10 NLT) In our world "God is good" is way overused especially when things are going great. When the bank account is full, bills are paid, health is stable, then we are happy, happy, happy; and God is good. But is He not still good when things are going downhill? If He is the God we proclaim Him to be - He is God and He is Good - no matter how our circumstances change. And for the caregiver our circumstances can change in a split second.

The fact that we are still clinging to Him in the midst of the trial is proof that we have patience. To run to Him in the storm proves we are still patiently waiting on Him. And day after day as we patiently care for our loved ones whether we observe positive changes or not - we show patience. Today I will meditate on how patient God is with me and how He patiently waits for me to bring my life to Him. Will you join me?


I Got Your Back!

This morning as I was reading about some of Paul's hardships in 2 Corinthians 6, I thought about the caregiver. He really nailed a few things on the head for us even though our hardships take very different courses. He talks some about having patience and working to exhaustion and  sleepless nights as well as our sincere love, purity and kindness all through the power of God. Verse 9 says we are close to death, but here we are still alive! Sound familiar? In verse 10 he talks about how our heart aches, but we still have joy and many spiritual riches to share. As I was reading this passage I thought about how much all of this seems to apply to our situations as well.

But something else caught my eye - verse 7 says this - God's power has been working in us. We have righteousness as a weapon, both to attack and to defend ourselves. I thought about that a lot and even matched it up with Job and how he had to keep telling his "friends" that he was righteous before God. His circumstances did not indicate his standing before God. It's the same with us - There are times when I feel so faithless and occasions when well meaning church people have added to that burden. But think about it a bit - our circumstances do not alter God's righteousness in us. We are covered by the blood of Christ no matter what trials life brings our way. We wear his righteousness as a breastplate as it protects our heart (Eph 6) - and Jesus is our righteousness and He never changes.

Today I will continue to meditate on the title of today's blog - But I will remember that God has my back! His righteousness covers and is strong enough and unwavering enough to cover me in both good times and bad! Will you join me?

Patience's Equivalence

This morning during my devotional time I came across this scripture in Proverbs 16:32. It says this: It is better to be patient than powerful; it is better to have self-control than to conquer a city. My thoughts stayed there for quite some time as I thought about how it is better to be patient than to have power. I thought about just patience itself and how in my caregiving role I feel like I am continually waiting on God; daily needing Him to act on my behalf. After several minutes of thinking about how important patience is to the caregiver I came to the conclusion that patience and waiting on God are equivalent. Honestly, I do not think I am a very patient person, yet caregiving requires it of me. But I never thought about being patient, to me it was more about not being able to change the situation and accepting it then doing the best I can with it each day. Right now I am thinking that this comes out to equal patience! lol

My mind immediately went to James 1:4. In the old KJV that I memorized in my youth it says this: but let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. The NASB uses the word "endurance" rather than patience. I was thinking that if patience and waiting on God are equivalents, then the first part of this verse in James could read: so let waiting on God have its perfect work...which means for caregivers that we simply wait some more. But  in the waiting we will become complete in Him.

Today my meditation will be on how I can keep my soul quiet before Him as I wait on Him; thus allowing Him to work His work in and through me as I function as a caregiver for His child.

Still Here

This week I decided to return to Job. It may sound odd to those most familiar with his story, but I was actually looking for some comfort. While his friends did not offer him much comfort or hope, my thinking was that by reading some of the things Job said I could gain a better perspective and find peace in dealing with the situation. So far, I haven't got past chapter 1. I hope we can take this journey through the book of Job together.

The first thing that caught my attention was that Job was blameless, a man of integrity, and he stayed away from evil. (You do know that Job wrote the book, right? *smile*) The second thing that caught my attention was further down when Satan confronted God about Job. He said that God protected Job, his family and all of his possessions from harm. He suggested that if Job lost everything, he would curse God to His face.

This is where I stopped for some inner reflections. As a caregiver, nothing is easy. Everything in our worlds have likely changed; and for me it has literally been everything. I have to look at myself and measure my own integrity - or lack of integrity. I certainly cannot honestly say that I have always said real pleasant things to God during this trial of faith; and I cannot say I have always had faith. But I can say that I have not cursed God or walked away from Him because of the tragedy, losses, or pain.

Losing everything is interesting because only then can you find out what you are truly holding on to. Only in the deepest trials of life do we find where our hope lies. Life doesn't lie. Instead, it reveals where our trust is, where our hope is and how we choose to make it through the dark night of the soul. We are still around. We are still seeking God; and He is still our provider and the keeper of our souls. Will I ever measure up to the patience or integrity of Job, not likely! lol. But I can say that even with a life of loss He is still my God!

Think about perspective today. Are we cursing Him for the storm? Or are we thankful He has chosen to walk through it with us? Let's be thankful today that He is still an ever-present God!

Who's Expecting?

There are a lot of scriptures about waiting on God. David used the phrase many times throughout the Psalms. A good book on waiting is Andrew Murray's Waiting on God. It's a 30 day devotional which uses a different scripture that pertains to waiting on Him for each day's devotion. It seems to me that for the caregiver there is a lot of that. For that matter, throughout our life time we will find ourselves in a situation where all we can do is wait on Him..

Psalm 37:7 says to wait patiently on Him. In all honesty, I must say that my waiting many times is far from patient. It's more whining, angry and frustrated waiting that eventually yields to a quiet and patient waiting!

But Micah 7:7 talks about waiting expectantly on the Lord. My first question of course would be expecting what? When my son was first injured I was waiting for the Lord to come in on a white horse and rescue us from the situation. Of course, that never happened...What are we waiting on then, if it's not to be rescued from the trial?

We wait on Him for hope itself many times. The next verse here in Micah talks about how we may dwell in darkness, but the Lord is a light for me! We wait for Him to shine His revealing light on our situation, for Him to pour His wisdom in to know how to deal with every situation that comes up every day. We wait for Him before we act out with the medical profession that seems to have forgotten us or is ignoring us! We wait for His peace throughout each trial that presents itself to us as caregivers each and every day.

Today, let us think about waiting on Him for our sustenance, our peace, wisdom to handle situations and our provision. He is more than able to handle our situation - and He is more than able to handle us in the midst of the situation! Trust Him for one more day!

Who Do You Compare To?

The life of a caregiver really cannot be compared to any other situation. And among caregivers each situation is so unique that it is really difficult to compare each one. All of us have some areas that our situation is better in some respect than others; and we also each have some worse areas than others. But really this is true in general.

 We all have such different circumstances and backgrounds that no two lives are exactly the same. There have never been two people anywhere that have had identical experiences. This is so even for children who grow up in a home together. My point is that we really cannot compare ourselves among ourselves and come up with any wisdom! (2 Corinthians 10:12)

 However, in Psalm 119:6 we do find a measuring rod with which we can determine where we stand in life. David says in v. 5-6: Oh that my actions would consistently reflect Your principles! Then I will not be disgraced when I compare my life with Your commands! I think many times we can get tripped up because we try to compare ourselves with lives that we consider normal.

And the scary part is that sometimes I catch myself comparing myself with my former religious self. You know - the one who could go to church, teach Sunday School and lead worship. But if we compare ourselves within the religious world we will never be good enough. Religion will set unrealistic goals; legalistic guidelines.

So today, let's think about comparing ourselves to the word. To compare means to look at what things are similar. A caregiver is not perfect - lol! But they do have some qualities that are comparable to the Word. You have laid down your life to care for another...You patiently work with your loved one displaying the grace and mercy of Christ...You must live selflessly...hidden in Him.

 As a caregiver we are not allowed what most people might call a normal life. But in the midst of the struggle and turmoil that can surround we have found His grace is still amazing.

Waiting on Patience...

I know patience is  virtue. It is also a fruit mentioned in Galatians 5. This just means that it won't happen overnight and we will have to be patient while waiting on patience to develop in our lives! And the waiting is the hard part, of course!

The caregiver waits for everything, or that's how it seems to me. We wait for supplies each month, for doctor's reports, prescriptions, We wait for help to arrive, for visitors and for pain or fever to subside...you would think we'd be the most virtuous, or patient, people on earth! I don't see it in myself at all! ...maybe it's just well disguised!

The good thing about waiting is that even when we don't see it we are gaining strength. Isaiah 40:31 talks about those who wait on the Lord renewing their strength. I am convinced that this strength is what gives us the ability to wait once again on Him. It's a wonderful cycle actually. We wait on Him and He gives us strength to wait on Him some more!

Be encouraged if you find you are waiting a lot, because it is Him renewing His strength in you! Isn't that what we are waiting for  in the first place? Today, enjoy the waiting as it is working patience, strength and endurance for the rest of the journey!

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 ...