Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label religion. Show all posts

The Lord Will Hold Me Close

Psalm 27 seems to have a little bit of everything. David starts out by pretty much disclosing his crazy emotions. He expresses fear and trembling and tries to console himself by saying he will remain confident even if he is attacked. I think many days, as caregivers we can feel like the world continues to attack in an ongoing battle. Our daily struggles can take many forms which can sometimes feel like we were put here on earth to just get others to do their jobs responsibly. (Those who work with health related agencies will understand that one!)

Even as David is consoling himself and working on releasing his fears to God, he begins to think about living in God's house. David states that this is where he is concealed when trouble comes.(NLT) He goes on to say that in God's house he is lifted high above his enemies  and from there he will offer sacrifices, shouts of joy, singing and praise. I am not so sure David is solely talking about the physical temple or tabernacle in Jerusalem. David understood that God was his rock, his hiding place...it looks to me that he was just simply talking about hiding in Him. I want to relearn how to do that.

As the days get tough and continue to be filled with broken, no shattered, dreams and constant pain, or hopelessness we tend to crawl back out away from Him instead of remaining hidden in Him. If we do not protect ourselves we can get so wrapped up in our own pain and fail to keep our eyes on Him - our source of strength. David could get busy running and forget to hide in Him! We are not much different. I've found over the years that we tend to run to our "religion" first - But there is a day that it will no longer make any sense and theological reason is tested and falls short. What a perfect time to return to Him! Theology nor religion can carry us through these days - it will take the supernatural strength of God to carry the load.

David must have understood that even though the struggle was physical, as is ours, he listened for God to call him away. He said in verse 8 - My heart has heard You say,"Come and talk with me." And my heart responds, "Lord, I am coming."  What a beautiful interaction between man and God! In this moment of surrender David states The Lord will hold me close.

Today I will meditate on letting Him hold me close. I will concentrate on simply resting and waiting patiently for Him. I will let Him be my rock today.

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.

Point of View

I was reading Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest  this morning. One of the subjects that he returns to a lot is abandonment to God. He speaks openly and honestly about this reckless abandonment to Him, total surrender. Honestly, the first thing that went through my mind was from here? Life as a caregiver hasn't too much left to give up sometimes! But then I realized we are really in the perfect spot to give it all to Him.

 Not one of our Bible heroes lived in ideal conditions. Joseph was in prison, Daniel was a captive, Jesus was born while kings were killing babies and beheading prophets. Even the early church thrived under much severe persecution! Why should the requirements change just because of our situations? No matter where we are in this journey of life we can give ourselves to Him. 

 We can give in to our circumstances so easily; I mean, face it - it's tough! There is not one thing that is easy or comfortable about being a caregiver...all the more reason to press into Him. In some ways it's such an opportunity to abandon to Him. Those who cannot attend church are actually in a great place to not be bound by the rigors of religion. There is no one to perform for! We are free to be totally hidden in Him.

 I have found this journey a little lighter when I look at it in this way. I can be hidden in Him without being hampered by religious obligations. I am free to live in Him because it's just me and Him - no need to worry about any one else's opinion! (they aren't here to judge!) I am free to give Him my all...no matter how small it seems it's still my all. Chose to live free today!

Chasing What Matters

Life BC (before caregiving) was probably full of all sorts of activities that just are not possible anymore. For some of us, church was a regular Sunday activity. But attending isn't always feasible for the caregiver. Possibly, it's because our loved one isn't mobile, or it's too early to get up and out. For many it just isn't a practical or even possible. And the church doesn't really know what to do with us since we don't fit the mold. That can leave the caregiver feeling abandoned and really out of place with the religious world.

The inability to "go" to church really stumps the religious folks. How many times have we been "pressured" to  go somewhere. These are well meaning people who really do not understand or comprehend the enormity or the impossibility of the task. But where does that leave the caregiver?

James 1:27 says this:Pure and undefiled religion in the in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world. How are we supposed to do that? And what happened to the ranking of attending church? ...it's not mentioned as part of pure religion. (not saying it shouldn't be done.. just that it doesn't rank)

While it may not be possible to get out and visit others, we can contact other shut-ins by phone and we can send cards via postal to people we know are hurting. But the big one is really keeping ourselves unstained by the world. It's so easy to have so many yucky things displayed with cable and Internet being streamed into our homes. Add that to the loneliness that can accompany caregiving and it can be a bad combination! It will take some serious effort to keep ourselves pure. But we can do it!

Our spirit is the part of us that will live on forever...building and encouraging that part of us is the part that will last throughout eternity. The spiritual side of us (and our loved one) should get the most care of all. Nothing that we see - absolutely nothing - will be in eternity with us...we must decide to chase the things that matter and not worry so much about the rest.

Me, Myself and I

Sometimes it is really difficult to think outside of our box. Well, think about it a little bit. We are pretty much at home all (or at least most) of the time. Social interaction can be almost nonexistent as when we do get out it is only to run necessary errands. We listen to sermons who encourage us to reach out to others and most times we are the ones who need a helping hand!

James doesn't help any as he says in the first chapter pure religion and undefiled before God is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself unspotted by the world. How are we ever going to measure up when we cannot get out of our space? It's time to be creative!

It will totally change our perspective to see our selves as givers rather than takers. One thing that is simple and inexpensive is to call someone else who you know to be shut-in or in the hospital. It doesn't take but a minute - but you know how much one cheerful phone call can change your day!

Sending cards is another inexpensive way to get out of our own little world. They can just be a "praying for you" or "thought of you today" type card. Blank cards are only a couple of bucks for about 10 of them and stamps are still less than 50 cents. You can make someone else's day by just dropping them a note to say you prayed for them today!

The church gets stuck in a rut sometimes, but we as caregivers do not have to. We can follow the great commission from our homes. We can continue to reach out even when we feel we need to be the one reached out to! It's too easy to get self absorbed into our personal situations. Lighten up your day and that of someone else by being creative and reaching out to someone else today! (maybe if we share some ideas we can come up with a list of creative things we can do together!)

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 ...