Showing posts with label solitude. Show all posts
Showing posts with label solitude. Show all posts

Talking to Myself

Aunt Polly talking to chris - both of them in wheelchairs

 Do you ever catch yourself talking to yourself? I suppose we all do it to some degree. Since my son is nonverbal, I talk to him a LOT, constantly. I'm sure when he starts talking, the first thing he'll say is something about me shutting up. Lol. As I've grown accustomed to being the only voice in my apartment, I have caught myself talking to myself more often. Sometimes, I mutter something about my lack of intelligence under my breath. I may hear myself say, well, that was dumb. Oftentimes, I find that I tell myself how silly I am or how I did something wrong or offer myself some other negative input.

Not long ago, I decided to try to put an end to negative self-talk. I got a fresh notebook and began to write affirmations. So far, I've got about 21 affirmations for caregivers. I hope to turn it into an ebook and make it available in my bookstore soon. 

This morning, I heard myself again, so I decided to change the dialogue. As caregivers, we need to be our own best friends, not enemies. Too many of us walk a lonely path. It's too easy to fall into self-condemnation because, many times, there's no one there to lift us up. That's where the Word comes in!

Thankfully, I stopped myself from bludgeoning my soul with negative words this morning. I decided that if I'm going to talk to myself (LOL), it's going to be good. So, I pulled out my small collection of affirmations and began reminding myself that there are some things caregiving doesn't have the power to change. 

  • I'm still a child of God.
  • God continues to extend His peace to me.
  • The power of the cross did not expire when I became a caregiver.
  • God's grace is still sufficient for these circumstances.
  • I am a champion, and I've championed every day of my life to be here today.
  • God still protects my heart, and He remains the keeper of my soul.
If I am going to continue talking to myself  - it's got to be good! David encouraged himself in the Lord at one of the lowest points of his life. (1 Samuel 30:6-8) The KJV says that David was "greatly distressed" in that moment. But he turned the dialogue around and found a way to encourage himself when he had every right to be discouraged.

Today, I will protect my heart from negative self-talk. When negative thoughts or emotions begin to surface, I'll remind myself of who I am in Him, and how caregiving doesn't change our spiritual inheritance. My thoughts will be on how He continues to carry me, protect me, provide for me, and more. Isn't that how we make it through these difficult days? I will declare that I will continue to trust Him because He continues to care for me. So, I will trust Him with one more day. Will you join me?

Whether or Not You "Need" It

The last few days have been more hectic than usual around my house. I've had friends and family in and out to celebrate my birthday in one way or another. It's been a wonderful weekend and I'm all birthday-ed out. As we go into a new week, I think about how I'll deal with the alone-ness that is surely to creep back up on me.

I think one of the things we have to deal with as caregivers is being alone. As a single caregiver, I can spend a lot of time all alone and since my son is non-verbal I used to go days without even hearing other's voices except on TV.

Thankfully, my online jobs have changed that and I see and talk to people via video calls frequently. I have also had my health coaching classes I watch via video. It's certainly not as good as in-person, real discussions - but it's been better than nothing. Oddly enough, sometimes if I have a lot of outside contact now - I actually deal with over stimulation. I have to chuckle at that, but it's true. When you live in a caregiver's cave the world can be an overwhelming place.

The good thing is that I've had a wonderful few days filled with phone calls, visits and even an outing. But now we are back to the grind. I'm already feeling like I'm in back to the cave mode as I adjust to the many hours alone once again. It was a nice break.

So what's a caregiver to do as the solitude threatens to swallow them up? For me, I'll slide right back into that place I've found in Him. In Psalm 73:28, the psalmist said this But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do. (NLT)

The caregiving journey is similar to any other journey through time - we have the choice whether or not we make Him our shelter. On the rough days I am certainly glad to run to Him and hide from the harshness caregiving can dish out. On the nicer days, I still need the calm of being in His presence and letting Him shelter me.

Today I will be meditating on how He is the ever-present shelter. He protects my spirit and soul from being overcome by the complicated daily routine of caregiving, even when I'm overwhelmed. I will make Him my shelter today (and everyday), and any chance I get to tell someone about how His grace sustains me on this journey - is going to get an earful. But I am going to start with myself. Yes, today I will remind myself of how He has been carrying me for this 8 year (so far) journey. And I will tell myself how He will carry me for another day today. I will rest in him one more day - will you join me?

Standing Alone?

All of our Bible heroes faced some type of adversity. The stories about how they overcame or endured that adversity is what makes them our hero, isn't it? Noah is among those listed in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. The writer reminds us that was warned by God about things not yet seen. Noah took a huge leap of faith to obey God and began building the ark. He faced his own circumstances and lived in a generation of people who did not believe him. As far as we can tell no one helped him build the ark and no one stood with him. According to Genesis 6, Noah lived in a very wicked generation; he most likely lived in a very lonely place.

The caregiver can live in a lonely place too. In many ways, even if we are able to get out some there are times of isolation. When we do have the joy of getting out it can look so much different than others. For me, it means dealing with my son in his chair. In some settings, that can be isolating enough - no one knows what to do with us; so they do nothing. Yesterday, we walked down to a church in our neighborhood. Only one person greeted us - the speaker. We were sitting in the back to make room for his chair as I didn't want to block an aisle. People coming in the entrance had to walk right past us to get to the seating area. Not one of them spoke to us; not one of them greeted us. The children stared and adults looked away. In that moment I felt so isolated although I was in a crowd of "believers."

Noah faced a different type of isolation in that he was ridiculed for his beliefs. He lacked people to stand with him in his pursuit of God, godliness and righteousness. But he continued to stand.In many instances, the caregiver has to stand alone much like Noah. We must hold up a standard of righteousness even though no one stands with us; and we must do it alone. But verse 8 of chapter 6 it states: Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Last week we talked some about how God's eye is on the righteous - He's watching over us. And like Noah, we have found grace in His eyes.

We are given the grace to make it one more day - whether we walk the caregiving journey alone or in a crowd. God's grace is sufficient to carry us through the toughest hours. Even those situations where no one knows quite what to do with us; His grace holds us secure in  Him.

Today I will meditate on His sustaining grace. I'll let Him worry about carrying me through today - and I won't work so hard. When I get tired, I will turn my thoughts to His mercy and grace and I will rest in Him once again. I will also meditate on the truth that I am accepted in the beloved and I won't look for man's approval. I'll just rest in His love, mercy and acceptance. Will you join me?

Do We Have the Time?

Do you ever feel like others don't have the time to deal with you? I know the world is a busy place and it is no different for the caregiver; but wouldn't it be nice if someone had a few minutes to share a cup of coffee with you?  Aides do not come even though they are scheduled because they had something more important  to do. They do not say it that way - but that's the raw truth. And getting someone to sit for a couple hours here and there (even for pay) can be difficult because it seems that everyone already has plans. Many times it adds to the solitude of the cave - that feeling that you can't get out - And yet at the same time it's easier to just adjust to being in the cave than it is to try to find someone to help...because it seems no one has time.

 There are days where it seems like we ourselves do not have time to turn around twice. The chores and tasks associated with caregiving can easily suck a day away. We must feed, bathe, and transfer our loved one throughout the day. Maybe we have to do therapy, range of motion or other mobility exercises. If we are not careful we can look up and an entire day has passed. Maybe we don't have time either.

Do we have time to spend with Him? It is very important for us to take time to spend with our Father. Just as we can sense that no one has time for us - perhaps God "feels" like He is not important enough to us for a small amount of our time. Maybe He is waiting for us to just come to Him. In Isaiah 55, the prophet bids us to Come to Him. Jesus also said for those who are weary to come to Him and find rest. (Matthew 11:28) Let us find a few moments today to just come to Him and present ourselves before Him in humility. He is waiting on us to come...let us find rest for our souls in Him today.

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 ...