Showing posts with label tribulations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tribulations. Show all posts

The Right Kind of Changes

There's no doubt the wilderness changes you, and caregiving can be it's own special kind of wilderness experience. Social interactions change, getting out changes, friendship statuses change, work can be different; just about every aspect of life can be different after we become a caregiver. For some, the changes may be less dramatic, but for others they are enormous. In my particular situation virtually everything changed. How we deal with these changes is a good indicator of our character.

Actually, how we deal with the wilderness reveals unique aspects of our character. The wilderness changes you. I was reading in Hebrews over the weekend and spent quite a bit of time in chapter 4, but this morning I backed up a bit because I wanted to see why the writer started talking about entering into God's rest.

Just before the author's discourse on God's rest he was talking about the children of Israel and how they failed to enter God's rest. Their choices in the wilderness were what separated them from His rest. My loose interpretation is: these same people who loaded up their stuff, spoiled the Egyptians and followed Moses out of slavery to freedom - lost it in the wilderness. They stopped believing God's promise, disobeyed Him and missed the opportunity to enter His rest as a result.

The wilderness isn't an easy place to be. And if you want to look at it one way - Moses was the caregiver for a million rebellious people. How'd you like to tote that around for awhile? They were willing to go with him when they packed up and left the cruelty of Egypt. What were they expecting? Of course they ran smack dab into the Red Sea - God stepped in. And then they ran out of fresh water - God stepped in. And even though they saw God's hand over and over again - they chose to rebel and complain. They were so hardened they missed the opportunity of enjoying His rest. The wilderness changes you.

As we walk through the wilderness of life - we will make choices; we will make changes. One of the first cries of my heart when my son became injured was that I would draw closer to God, not pull away and not become bitter. My desire has been to let life's crucible squeeze out a sweet fragrance and that my life would be lived in a state of worship.

I have not always accomplished this. I have fought, and fit, and spit and cussed many times. I've argued, faltered, given up and been angry more times than I can mention. But in the end - I cling to Him rather than fighting against Him. The wilderness experience forces us to make deep and lasting decisions about our faith and our relationship with God.

Today, I will seek to enter His rest. I'll reflect on the ways the wilderness has changed me - the good and the bad. I'll rejoice in the good and give Him the bad and ask Him for grace. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and how He hasn't left me in the dry wilderness even when I became a hot mess. I'll embrace His grace today and be thankful for the changes He's brought about in my life, even in the wilderness. Will you join me?

What do you see?

I have a love-hate relationship with James 1:2. I love it because it's in the Word of God; but I hate it that I have to do it! Some days I don't want to "count it all joy." I'm sure no one else feels that way, I mean after all as believers we are not supposed to feel different than what the Word says. But there, I said it. Sometimes I can't see past my situation to find any joy at all. But maybe that's why verse 5 follows.

In my mind this first chapter of James has always been all divided up into nuggets. Verses 2-3 explain how we are to address the trying of our faith through the various trials and difficulties we face in our lives. And then verses 5-6 tell us to go ask for wisdom. Two totally separate actions, right?

This weekend as I was watching Francis Chan on YouTube (that was our Sunday morning "church" service!), something he said allowed me to connect these two sections. We are supposed to be able to find joy in our trials since they are working in us spiritual maturity and eternal rewards. Verse 5 is not a tag-along scripture - it's what we do when we can't see it.

For me life as a caregiver has been crippling socially, emotionally and even spiritually on some levels. If I am not careful (and most of the time I'm not.) I can be blinded by my situation and fail to see what God is after. I fail to see what He is working in me because of what is going on around me. I have felt like those in Psalm 137 who hung their harps in the willow and refused to sing because of their captivity. They said, how can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? I have felt that way.

I'm the question queen and I'm full of them. For nearly 7 years now I've asked questions like: How can I go on? Why can't life make sense? Why did God give me dreams in the first place? Will I ever feel whole again? What kind of life is this? And so on. Caregiving for many of us is not like a journey you take until you reach your destination - it just goes on and on  with no end in sight. How do we count that all joy?

I have to go back to Job to find some answers. When he lost it all he said blessed be the name of the Lord. I did not pass that test! We must lift our eyes up beyond our day-to-day grind. Even though our schedules are hectic and repetitive we are going places spiritually. Even though we cannot see it all the time, He is working in us His good pleasure. He has not given up on us and He has not abandoned His project. What He is working in us is eternal. What He is doing in us will last past time - it will endure past what we see before us. He is still alive in us and shaping us into His image.

There is not one scripture that says He cannot work within our situations. He uses our lives to mold us. I had a friend who said God doesn't waste a thing. And I have to agree. When we yield our crazy abnormal lives to His hand - He can make it a thing of beauty. But we will have to look past what we see to what He sees to "get it."

Today I will not let my hectic day block the view of what He is doing in me. As I go through the day I will meditate on the truth that He has not abandoned ship - but He is still at the helm and will take me safely through. And I will choose to rejoice that He is working in me things that will last through eternity. I can't see them here - because they have value in the spiritual realm. I will count it all joy that He is still working in me and on me to bring about His desires. Will you join me?

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 ...