Showing posts with label refuge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label refuge. Show all posts

Under is Not All Bad

 

Chris in the standing frame

When we think of being under something it's usually in a bad connotation. We feel under the weather or we are under a heavy burden. But this weekend, I discovered that being under isn't all bad! We had some bad storms roll through. The tornadic activity was nowhere near me but in the same county. Since there was a tornado warning in the county, the tornado sirens were blaring. I ran outside to see if I could capture a photo of anything interesting from this side.

What I found was a huge feeder cloud looming overhead. I snapped a photo but it just did not compare. I took several photos and came back to the house to look at them. They seemed to lack something. It took me a few minutes to figure out what was missing. A picture just couldn't capture the feeling of being under that huge cloud formation.

Of course, my mind went to the scriptures. Psalm 91 talks about hiding under the shadow of the Almighty. In Psalm 57, the psalmist declares he will stay under the shadow of God's protection until the calamities were passed. Until we get under His protective wings, we just won't get it! 

What good is a refuge if we don't run to it? What good is a fortress if we don't hunker down for protection? God is our refuge - He is our strength - but we must hide in Him and run to Him first. Until we get under Him - we won't have a sense of His protection, power, majesty, and strength.

Today, I will purposefully hide my heart in His. I'll seek His protection, peace, and comfort. I'll remind myself that I need to let Him carry me when I feel like I cannot take one more step. I'll remind myself that it's okay (and preferred) to run to Him before I find myself in overwhelm mode. He's right there waiting for us - will you join me?


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31 Days in Psalm 31 devotional book cover


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One Little Catch

 


There always seems to be a catch doesn't there? I think as caregivers we find ourselves in spots with catches a lot! The things that should be simple to navigate or often complex due to caregiving responsibilities. simple things like going to grab a prescription that's ready or swing by the grocery store are much more difficult when you have to take into account the care of a loved one. 

People may say, It's easy - just go - but by the time they get to the "go" part our minds are burdened with all it takes to just go. For me, it means clothing and transferring another whole human being! lol - There's no just jumping in the car and heading out, right? It's opening and lowering the ramp - getting the chair in the van and situation properly. Then, getting all the buckles in place and secure before we can "just go."

Sometimes God's answers seem to be complex too. In Psalm 50 verse 15, God says He will rescue us - all we have to do (just....) is trust Him in times of trouble. Yet another thing that sounds simple but becomes complicated by our thoughts and processes!

It's kind of laid out like a 3-step process. 

1. Trust Me in your times of trouble. 

2. I will rescue you!

3. You will give Me the glory!

So simple, right? Notice that it's a plural. Trust Me in your times of trouble. I love that. God understands that trouble may come back another day even after He rescues us today. For me - and all other caregivers, trouble can visit numerous times in a day. (lol) But IF I trust Him - He will rescue me every.single.time.

So, what's the catch? He says He'll rescue me - every time trouble comes. The catch is that I must trust in Him. The catch is that trouble is going to come - more than once even. He doesn't promise He'll carry us away from trouble and we'll never see difficulties again. But He does promise that He will rescue us - every time trouble comes.

Today, I will move in a little closer to His heart and listen for it to beat for me. No matter what may come today - I will purpose to trust Him with it all. All my emotions, cries, questions, and anything else that comes along with it - will be His today. I'll put all my troubles and myself into His hands for safekeeping today - won't He do it? Will you join me today?

What Time is it?

ronella with chris

 I spent my devotional time this morning walking around Psalm 37. Man, there is so much in that Psalm. I read the whole Psalm and then went back to reread portions of it. There are a lot of solid truths to hold on to and meditate on. I finally landed in verse 39. It says this The Lord saves the godly; He is their fortress in times of trouble. (1996 NLT)

The first part of this verse says that God saves the godly. He preserves them, protects them, and rescues them. But it was the second part of the verse that captured my thoughts this morning. He is their fortress in times of trouble. I read the verse a few times and thought about it for a while. Then, something captured my eye. It didn't say in one time of trouble. The psalmist said, in times of trouble. 

As we work our way through time, we may see many times of trouble. We WILL see times of trouble, no doubt. But He will continue to be our fortress. He continues to be our help. It's an unlimited resource for sure! There is no expiration date, and He didn't set a limit. What if it said He would be our help in three times of difficulty? Maybe He'd say you have five times to visit me as a fortress and protector. I am sure that as caregivers, we would have surpassed our limit long ago!

Instead, God is a perpetual protector. He just keeps being our refuge, our fortress, our strength, and anything else we feel we need every time we need Him! The only catch is - that we have to keep running to Him in order to hide in Him. 

Today, I will meditate on how He continues to provide a place of safety for my soul. I'll let my thoughts wander back and rejoice at all the times He has protected me up until now - and then I will purposefully run to Him again today and hide in His fortress once again. Will you join me?


Where Would We Go?


This morning during my quiet time, I found myself in John. I read through a few chapters and got lots to think about. I actually started by looking at chapter 7 verses 37-38. Jesus is speaking and says, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me as the scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living waters. I thought about that awhile. If I am “thirsty” I can come to Him. And if I believe – there will be living waters flowing through my heart. There are no exclusionary statements, so I took it that it’s for caregivers too!

My eyes sort of followed all the red words on the two open pages and I ended up back in chapter 6 and Jesus is talking about believing again. Jesus said there were some among his followers who didn’t believe. In their defense, He had just shared some hard to understand teachings with them about eating His flesh. And as we humans tend to do – when something makes sense we leave.

Many left off from following Jesus that day. So, Jesus asks the 12, Do you also want to go away? Peter’s immediate answer indicates to me that he had given it at least a considerable amount of consideration himself. Peter replies, Lord, where would we go?

I must admit on this caregiving journey, on those long dark nights and lonely hot days, I’ve wanted to walk away too. I’ve wanted to abandon faith – when I was mad and at the proverbial end of my rope. But, I couldn’t. And that was frustrating too. For the believer, there really is nowhere to go but to Him, is there?

An old hymn comes to mind – Where could I go, Oh, where could I go – seeking a refuge for my soul, needing a friend to help me in the end – where could I go but to the Lord? There really is no better refuge than the Lord. Jesus even says that He’ll give us a peace the world cannot comprehend. (John 14:27) Paul called it a peace beyond our understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

And it does seem like when the road gets rockier and the nights get darker – He shows up on our behalf. When we bring it all to Him in transparency and honesty, He meets us there. When our soul is thirsty, He satisfies. He doesn’t make everything better instantly and our situation may not change one iota. But He still provides us comfort and peace. (Even if I acted ugly in the night.) He doesn’t exclude caregivers from His peace – I think He may move in a bit closer to us to comfort our souls and give us the unexplainable peace that only comes from Him.

Today, I will meditate on His peace and comfort. And, I will accept them, and embrace them because I believe in Him. And it's not just because there is nowhere else to go! I will run to Him today and ask Him to be the refuge for my storm-tossed soul. I’ll rest in Him and find peace in Him because I am a believer in Him and a follower of Him. I’ll thank Him for not excluding caregivers – but for including us in all of His promises. Will you join me?

Finding Contentment

I came across an interesting scripture this morning during my devotions. Since I wasn't sure where to start reading I let my Bible just fall open. It landed in Ezekiel 35. In the 5th verse, God is upset at a group of people because they attacked others in the time of their calamity. That sparked a short study on calamity and trouble.

At first I saw a lot of scriptures talking about why and when the Lord brought calamity on groups of people in the Old Testament. I'll be honest. I got a bit worried that He had brought this calamity on me and my family. But like Job who faced calamity for no fault of his own, I found peace knowing in my heart I have not turned away from Him even in this calamity. So I continued my short study.

I found a passage in Obadiah where God was condemning another group for mistreating their "brothers" in the day of trouble and calamity. I began to take heart again as it seemed God was upset with those who took advantage of those who were facing difficult times. Fortunately, I haven't found this to be true in my case. Most people don't seem to take advantage of caregivers, they just ignore us. lol.

As I thought about these two passages where the Lord seemed upset about how people who were going through were being treated, I recalled one of my old favorite verses. It's Psalms 57:1 and I memorized in back in 1986 when I was going through a serious illness. It says this Be merciful to me O God, be merciful to me for my soul trusts in thee and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge until calamities are past.

And that I did. And that calamity did pass. He did heal me. There was no other explanation and doctors never discovered what the mystery illness was. But now I find myself in another type of calamity, one that is ongoing with no end in sight. I still proclaim that I will hide in Him in the midst of this wilderness too. He is still my refuge and in that, I am very content. I'm content to rely on Him for my strength to make each and every day. I'm content to know He's got my heart hidden in His no matter how broken it feels. I'm content to know He's got my back and upset when "brothers" don't treat us right as we walk through the struggles of each day.

Today, I will rejoice that I am still trusting in the refuge of His wings - and He hasn't kicked me out yet! My thoughts will be on being content in this place of safety and I will LET His peace rule in my heart. I won't let calamity define me, I'll let Him do that. I'll continue being contently and confidently hidden in Him trusting in His love and care. Will you join me?

And Then it Happens....

I'm not even going to apologize for my absence. I hope you understand when I don't have it together, I just can't post. The last week or two have been extremely trying. It's really just the emotional part. Maybe you have those times when it seems like God is answering everyone else's prayers but not yours. Those times when it looks like everyone is getting a miracle... but you. Sometimes I look around and think it seems as if all the people I know are getting new cars, nice houses, large chunks of cash, getting to go to the mission field like I'd always dreamed. For me, my emotional crash usually comes when other brain injury victims make lots of progress and Chris does not.

Don't get me wrong, I am very happy for them. I'm glad they got all the things we were denied like therapy, castings, and intense, specialized care. But it can start to feel like God has forsaken. I ask questions like why my son? Why did God take his voice, his song? And I don't understand. Honestly, I don't ever want anyone else to go through these things - but I start to take it personally, and it just goes downhill from there. Emotionally that is.

And then it happens....


I'm minding my own business, wallowing in my own emotions and trying to find a way to come up for air. Or, I'm just letting go and wondering if I'll ever swim again, if anyone will come in after me. And He steps in....

Sometimes just the right phrase will get my attention, or the perfect song comes on the radio. Or like yesterday, out of nowhere, this scripture pops into my head. I was minding my own business and from nowhere it seemed, I just hear an old chorus we used to sing in church - taken from Proverbs 18:10.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower
The righteous run to it and are safe.

And that was all it took. My emotions leveled back out to the chaotic normals of caregiving. lol. I hummed and sang it all around the house. Shortly, I was thanking Him for being there in the midst of the storm instead of cursing Him for it. I was okay. For then. It was like we'd had a lover's spat and He was wooing me back to Him. I'm in constant awe at the massive effort He puts into chasing me, calming me and comforting me. 

Today, I will meditate on how He is that strong tower of refuge from the storm, from the battle. I will turn my thoughts to His faithfulness even through my foolishness. I'll purposefully find things to be grateful for today in the midst of life's storm. And I will make sure I stay in His embrace trusting Him just for today. Will you join me?

Grand Central Station of the Busy Mind

This morning is no different than most mornings really. Juggling work and caregiving basically means I have two full-time jobs. So all these tasks are running around in my mind as I'm trying to organize my day. There is bathing, wound care, cooking, pureeing, juicing, feeding, therapy, and tons of things to do for my son, as you well know. Add to that thoughts about when it is the nurse is coming and should I keep this or that appointment, when is he going to get Jevity (yes - we are playing that game again!) etc.

Then on the work front, I need some extra money for a trip my daughter and I have planned for next weekend so I need to pick up a couple extra projects.... more time involved. Juggling who gets work done first (after my full-time job commitment).... should I even try to sleep? lol Welcome to Grand Central Station of the Busy Mind.

I'm dedicated to getting back to my morning devotions though, so this morning I opened my Bible to where I left off yesterday morning, Psalm 73. My eyes went straight for the last verse and I just camped out there. Verse 28 says this:

But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all Your works.

I have thought a lot about the first 2/3 of this verse and how good it is when God draws near. And how much better it is when I recognize it! The second part rings true in my heart too, having made Him my refuge for life. But sometimes it's easy to forget the third part - that I may tell of all Your works.

As a caregiver, I live in His refuge. I'm not sure there's another way to do it. Honestly, there are days I still struggle with anger over how He could have let this happen to my son. But overall - I always run back and let Him tuck me back up under the protection of His wings. Like David, I always return to that secret, intimate place. He is near, He is my refuge.

But that last third - that I may tell of all Your works. Sometimes I forget to focus on all He's done. It's easy for my mind to focus on this living grief, and the heaviness life has brought, not always so easy to see what He is doing in the midst. But I think this last thought is just as important as the other two - to tell of his works.

This means I need to take a minute to think about what He has done - not the ways I feel He has failed me. So here's a brief list of some of the works of God in this caregiver's life:

I've seen His divine provision - never missed a meal
He has NEVER left me - even when I was a brat!
His peace is tangible at times
He's reassured me that our souls are protected in Him...we are never lost.
His word still speaks to my heart...and always will
He gives me strength to face each day
Holy Spirit still teaches me - I'm not a lost cause!
His word is deeper and richer than I could have imagined
He still nurtures me and cares for me...
He still gives me songs
He remains faithful...
He is still my rock...my hiding place
He has not moved.
He has not changed.
His throne is forever...

These are just a few of the things that came off the top of my mind. So today, I will let this be my meditation. I'll focus my thoughts on all his works. My thoughts will be on His faithfulness, His strength and His watchful care rather than my circumstances. I'll train my thoughts to stay on Him today as I trust Him for one more day - will you join me? What will you focus on about Him today?

Reminding Ourselves

As I was reading through Psalm 71 in my morning devotions I recalled an old hymn called, Remind Me Dear Lord. I only remember a few of the phrases of that old song but sometimes it's really how I feel. At times I really need Him to remind me that I am still His child, He still loves me and He is still with me. Other times I need to remind myself of these solid truths.

I assume that David wrote Psalm 71 but it doesn't say that for sure - just that it is a prayer of an old man. Sometimes caregiving wears us down until we can just feel old. This Psalm was a great reminder for me this morning.

First of all, I noticed the things the psalmist reminded himself of regarding how he had reacted to God. He said things like:


  • In You I have taken refuge
  • Be to me a rock - to which I can continually come...
  • My mouth is filled with Your praise
  • I will hope continually; I will praise you more
  • I will make mention of Your righteousness - Yours alone
  • I will praise you with the harp
  • I will sing praises with the lyre
  • My lips will shout for joy when I sing praises to You
  • My tongue will utter Your righteousness all day long
That's a lot of determination, hope and courage right there! Maybe he can say these things because they are mixed in with a variety of declarations he makes regarding his relationship with God. He says things like:

  • You are my refuge
  • You are my rock and fortress
  • You are my hope
  • By You I've been sustained since birth
  • You took me from my mother's womb
  • You are my strong refuge
  • You have taught me from my youth
These are all powerful statements of faith, I think. He is declaring his absolute trust and confidence in God and reminding himself of all God has done over the years of his life. As caregivers it can be easy to feel like God and life have forsaken us and left us to drown in day to day responsibilities. These are some wonderful declarations we can make that help us remember who He is to us - and help us remind ourselves that we will continue to trust and stand.

But here's the other thing I noticed in this Psalm: the psalmist sheer desperation. Right in the middle of trusting Him and hoping in Him the writer lets us see the pain that's in his heart. He says things like:

  • Listen to me and save me
  •  Rescue me from the hand of the wicked
  • Do not cast me off 
  • Do not forsake me when my strength fails
  • Do not be far from me
  • Do not forsake me
For some reason this really encouraged me today- to see that the psalmist was in a state of despair with trouble all around and yet he did what was important and needful. He called on God for help, ran to him for refuge and continued to declare his trust in Him.

Today my meditation will not be on surrounding troubles or on the struggles we face as caregivers. My thoughts will be on the fact that I'm gong to continue to trust Him no matter what a day brings. I will sing. I will praise. I will continue to run to Him. I'll take some time today to think about all I have seen Him do in my life and in the lives of those I love; and I will be thankful. Will you join me?

Just One Giant?

Lately I've been thinking a lot about David and how he ran out to kill the giant, Goliath. I also thought about Benaiah, who ran into a pit on a snowy day to kill a lion. (1 Chronicles 11: 22) As I was thinking about these valiant warriors and how they faced their greatest fears head on I thought of the caregiver who has to face things on a daily basis. It's more like all of life is a giant; or at least feels that way sometimes.

David only faced Goliath one time, Daniel was thrown into the lion's den only once, the three Hebrew children faced only one fiery furnace and Jesus only went to the cross one time. But lately it feels like everyday has its own series of giants to be taken out.

I'm not making light of these Bible heroes as we understand they all had situations that were difficult to bear, but sometimes we major on just one victory without realizing that they had other obstacles in their life and dealt with situations every day too. Daniel was a captive, a slave in a very oppressive culture. But he managed to keep his faith in tact day after day even when he faced the lions.

Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and yet for years held to God's promise. David spent years running from Saul who was pursuing him to kill him. Every single day had to be a struggle for these guys. Life didn't really let up for them even when they weren't facing giants.It can be easy to feel that way sometimes for the caregiver since some things just don't go away. We may find ourselves running on overload on a daily basis. That's pretty much where I was when I was thinking about David and thought he only faced one giant?  My life seems full of daily giants and insurmountable circumstances.

It can be enough to wear you out physically, spiritually, and emotionally. So how are we supposed to cope with a situation that we don't face just once, but daily?My first thought is Psalm 56:3 what time I am afraid I will trust in You.  But then sometimes - I'm afraid all the time! And I still just have to trust Him. Period.

For the caregiver, everyday can feel like a giant, or a series of giants. What do we do? Run to Him. One of my favorite scriptures is Psalm 61. The psalmist is crying out to God and uses the phrase when my heart is overwhelmed...lead me to the rock.... 

It goes on to say that God has been  a shelter in the past. I think the psalmist was just reminding himself that God has provided shelter from life's storms (and giants) and He will continue to be the shelter for what every day brings, no matter how overwhelming it might be. And that is where we are - trusting the Rock to be our Shelter and our giant facer!

Today I am going to try and rest in His shelter. I will let Him provide the protection my heart needs today. I'll take all my anxious thoughts to Him and relinquish them to His care. My thoughts will be on His protection of my body, soul and spirit. And I will once again rest in Him. Will  you join me?

I'm a Refugee!

Last night as I was laying in bed reading trying to find sleep, I came across Psalm 16. I know it's been there all along, but last night several of the verses really spoke to me and my situation. I'll spend this week sharing devotions from this particular Psalm.

The first verse grabbed my attention right away. David starts out with Preserve me O God. In my mind, "preserve" translates to "save." I hear David's heartfelt cry for God to help him. I don't have to tell other caregivers how many days have begun with a similar prayer; and how many days have ended with the same prayer. It's not even that we need to be saved from our situation, but we desire our souls to be preserved in the heat of the furnace. One of my prayers throughout this whole ordeal has been for God to help me keep my faith strong. I've prayed that I would not let these trials make me bitter - but help me emerge stronger in Him. That's what I think of when I pray "preserve me O God."

The second part of the verse is a totally different type of statement. David goes on to say, for I take refuge in You. Even though he continues his thought - Lord I need you to preserve me - because I continue relying on you as my refuge. In my mind it is an intentional statement of faith. What I mean is that it surpasses time. In trying to understand how strongly David was relying on the Lord for preservation of faith and life I think it is correct to read into it a little bit more. And if not - this is my wordier version - You have always been my refuge - You are my refuge today and will always be my refuge - I run to no other - I look for no other!

Today I will meditate on God's power to save - His power to preserve our souls through faith even in the fiery trials of caregiving. And I will declare that He is my refuge; I will purposefully look to Him for strength, direction, wisdom and peace. Will you join me?

Will You Carry Me?

God is so awesome! Yet sometimes it feels as though He has moved a long way away. Mentally, and in my heart, I know He hasn't; but it can feel like He is not working in the present. He is though. This is one aspect of faith that we forget about in our materialistic culture - it's not about getting stuff - it's about believing He's there and cares whether we can see Him, feel Him, sense Him or not.

Yesterday, I was looking for a scripture that would remind me how awesome His is, how majestic He is and how present He is. I found this one in Deuteronomy. It's at the very end of Moses' blessing over the people before he died. This little phrase toward the end of his blessing caught my eye - verse 27 says: The eternal  God is your refuge, and His everlasting arms are under you.(NLT) I stopped and thought about that simple phrase a lot. He is my refuge - but He is an eternal being so that means He has been my refuge, is being my refuge and will continue to be my refuge - forever! (I like that!) And His arms are not just appendages...they are everlasting arms - He will not get tired of carrying me!

I was thinking how much I love to hold and play with my grandchildren. But after awhile my arms can get tired. As much as I love them, I have to put them down so I can rest now and then. But not God. His arms are everlasting.  His strength lasts forever...that means that He has always been carrying me, is carrying me now and will continue to carry me - forever! (I like that too!)

Sometimes I am more like the child as life plays out...you know. They want to have you hold them until something more intriguing comes along. That's when they want to get up and run around and only come back when they think they need you! We would love to just sit and hold them - but they get too busy and only come back when they get hurt or it's convenient.

Today I will meditate on my everlasting, eternal Father. I'll even attempt to rest in Him and let Him hold me today. Will you join me?

He Remembers

It can be way too easy to let the pain of each day have our focus; but it does not have to be that way. Starting in the morning we can begin to shift our thoughts to Him and away from our circumstances. I'm not trying to minimize the pain that a day brings as for many caregivers, as well as those who are being cared for because of chronic or serious conditions, the pain of the circumstance can be almost unbearable. Quite honestly, some days we do not have the energy to let pain have our attention as we spend the day taking care of the needs of our loved one. But each day hurts. If we are not careful our thoughts will major on things that we are missing instead of what we have - life. And not just life - but life in Him. We can chose to celebrate that life in Him from any circumstance.

As believers we understand the concept of hiding in Him. Psalm 91 talks about hiding in the secret place  of the Most High; and Psalm 46:1 speaks of the Lord being a very present help in trouble and our refuge and strength. And in Psalm 61, the psalmist cries out that the Lord has been a refuge  and a place of safety from the enemy. We understand that we can hide in Him when life gets out of hand or we are overwhelmed.

Just knowing that He is my refuge and I can hide in Him when the pains of life try to overwhelm me is a great comfort to me. But listen to this in Nahum 1:7 - The Lord is good. When trouble comes He is a strong refuge. He knows everyone who trusts in Him. (NLT) He knows those who seek refuge in Him because we trust Him. He knows every time we crawl up into His lap and say "I just can't handle this anymore." He remembers us...

Today I will meditate on the truth that He knows I seek Him for a refuge and He knows that I trust Him. I will meditate on His peace and the strength He fills me with to walk each day I must face.

Temporary Shelter or Permanent Home?

One of my Facebook friends posted Psalm 18:2 on their wall early this morning so I pulled out my Bible with my morning cup of coffee and read through this familiar and favorite passage. I read over it a couple of times and then I just meditated on the first couple of verses. As I was reading and rereading and meditating my thoughts began to be focused on how He could be my rock and my fortress.

David was on the battlefield when then was written and I am sure there were many times he crawled up into a rocky area and sought refuge and safety. Sometimes the life of a caregiver can parallel a battlefield as we are many times the only advocate our loved one has. It's a shame but lots of times I find myself battling for things that are included in his care plan; for the things and care my son is supposed to get anyway. God is indeed our rock during those times.

But a fortress is a little bit different. When David is referring to a rock it could be interpreted a cave, or a solid place to seek temporary shelter, or safety. It may or may not have supplies like food or water packed inside. But a fortress is more permanent. It has everything that is needed to survive and thrive. The area is surrounded by protective walls with gates that shut to keep out the enemy. There are food and water supplies along with many of the things just needed for daily life.

I thought about how thorough God is. He is my temporary shelter when I am in the heat of a battle. I can run, hide and find safety from the flaming arrows of the enemy. But He is also my fortress - I can live there - in Him.

This will be my meditation today. I will look to Him to provide all I need just to make it through today. As Jesus said each day has its own trouble. So just today - I will trust Him for peace, sustenance, strength, wisdom and anything else that might be needed. And I will do the work I am called to do...rest in Him.

You Think He Knows?

As caregivers some days are better than others; as with life itself. Some days it's easy to find that groove and stay on schedule to get everything completed. And then there are days where it seems like everything just piles up on top of you. We carry a constant load; even on our best days - or our infrequent days out - it remains the same. Some days we can simply take in stride and then other days little things pile up. (The aide doesn't show up and you planned on running to the grocery store, to the bank to deposit a check for covering expenses, or to the pharmacy to fill prescriptions. Or you plan a day out and the person who is supposed to watch your loved one bails on you at the last minute.) Any little thing can topple us on any given day...and it can all add up to a much heavier load emotionally. But it's okay. We are like the energizer bunny..we just keep going and going and going...you do not get to stop being a caregiver.

So how do we deal with the day to day struggles, disappointments or heartbreaks? Rest in Him. Nahum 1:7 says this The Lord is good. When trouble comes, He is a strong refuge. And He knows everyone who trusts in Him.(NLT) He is indeed our strong refuge. He has enough strength to carry us and our extra baggage! He is not just a refuge - not just a place to hide (which is good) - but He is a strong refuge. We can hide in Him and He is strong enough to protect us, carry us and give us some of His strength to make the day. And you know what I like best about this scripture this morning? The last part.

He knows everyone who trusts in Him. For me that brings an immediate peace. He knows that I trust Him. And He also knows how weak I really am - but that I still will continue to trust in Him. Today just embrace that truth - He knows you trust Him. He knows that we are trusting Him for our next breath, strength to make the day, wisdom to make appropriate choices, and hope. Know He knows you trust Him.

God Doesn't Know?

Isaiah 40 is a long time favorite chapter for many. It has some amazing thoughts about how God  created the world, measuring sand and water in the palms of His hands; how He formed the mountains and shaped the earth. Most of the time we read this chapter and keep it isolated yet Isaiah starts a discourse in chapter 40 that runs all the way through to the end of chapter 44.

 If we look at it in its entirety the prophetic speech goes all the way through to verse 8 of chapter 44. I kind of look at it like verses6-8 of chapter 44 are like the God's exclamation point at the end of His thoughts. Verse 8 says this:

 Do not tremble and do not be afraid
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are my witnesses
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none.

God had spoken some pretty awesome things in the previous chapters and here He is telling His own children that they have no need to fear. And the God asks and answers His own question. He wants to know if there is any other God. Is there any other place to run? And other refuge? And then He gives a simple answer:

 I know of none...

He doesn't know...and since He knows everything and sees everything that makes this a powerful statement that can be easily overlooked. Although it is powerful, it is simple. There just is no God like our God who is our rock of refuge. There is no other place to run to when trouble comes, no other answer available! There is no god like our God! 

Don't Weep For Me

No one would argue with the fact that the life of a caregiver is difficult. There's just so many responsibilities on top of the normal ones like cooking, cleaning...and breathing! It takes a sort of a mastermind to get it all done in a day sometimes...don't you agree? (okay - at least organization and willpower!)

 Although none of us would ever chose to walk this way if some sort of tragedy had not happened, there are some things I think we have all learned along the troubled path. Even in the daily turmoil, there's a calm understanding of God as our refuge...as our strength...our comforter...our source...our peace...our love. These are things we might not have been able to take the time to find out before in our (what we thought were) busy lives!

 Joel 3:16b says the Lord is a refuge for His people, and a stronghold for the children of Israel. I only thought I knew of His safety before; and I would have never know what a strong refuge He is --before. And although I am (honestly) not thankful that my son had an accident; I am so very thankful to know God in a more intimate way.

 So don't weep for me...each day this terrible trial presses forward tearing away at what I thought I had left of my life...I draw closer to HIm. I learn more about His ways...I know Him better. In these types of situations it is imperative that we find the positives and major on those. Other wise we can be sucked into the great vacuum of depression. Today think about how you know Him better than you did yesterday. Think about the level of trust you have in Him now - how much you trust Him as the refuge for your soul.

 Don't weep for me...weep for those who do not know Him as their refuge. Weep for those who do not know that they can run to Him and be safe. (Prov 18:10) Take time to rest in Him today and thank Him for being there in your deepest trail and darkest days. Then live in the light of today!

Where Do You Run?

Proverbs 18:10 says simply: the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe. There is nothing like tragedy or trouble to find out how fast we can get there! Throughout life there are many times we can find ourselves running to Him as our source of safety. Honestly, I wouldn't have any idea where else to go; and I really don't mind that at all.

Those of us about 50ish remember the 70's and how in some church circles it became the norm to sing choruses. This scripture was one that was sung frequently. If we could put a tune to it - we'd sing it! Old King James and all! And we could sing them over and over and over again! But we actually memorized them while we were doing so!

And now we see a new generation coming up behind us and you know what, they are not singing it like us - but the song really hasn't changed much. And I'm finding out that even young people know where to run when trouble strikes! They have found the same comforting refuge as we've sung about all along. They don't use the old KJV. But the song is the same. We sang "How Great Thou Art" and they sing "How Great is Our God!" We sang, "What a Friend We have in Jesus" and their version of that is "I'm a Friend of God!" And the list could go on, but the point is He is the same refuge, the same source of strength the same high tower that He was when Solomon wrote this verse.And we are continuing to run to Him...there is no rock like our God!

O What A Savior!

That old hymn just was running through my head. O what a Savior, O hallelujah! I guess that's because of the verse I was meditating on earlier this morning. In my reading I found Joel 3:16. The latter portion of the verse says The Lord is a refuge for His people and a stronghold to the sons of Israel. It is one of those times when something just kinda reaches out and grabs ya!

I thought of all the things my 50 years has seen and how He has indeed been that refuge. He has been there all the time. When I was ill with the mystery illness that doctors never found - He was there. When I was in a wreck with a bus and was thrown out of the vehicle - He was there. When I went through a divorce and raised my children as a single parent -He was there. And now that I am a full time caregiver for my son who was injured in an automobile accident -He is still there. He will always be my refuge - my safe place to run and hide from the storm.

Dennis Jernigan is one of my favorite psalmists and he sings a song taken from the Psalms - Hide me in the cleft of the rock.... And that is exactly what God does when we run to Him. There is a hiding place in Him where nothing can touch us. Today let's meditate on God our refuge - not that He keeps the storm from happening - but that He gives us a shelter - a refuge - The Rock!

Inseparable

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