Showing posts with label weakness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label weakness. Show all posts

Life's Back Burner

Well here we are facing another day. Caregiver's days are full of uncertainty. For instance, today I have some errands that have to be run. There's no waiting at this point, I have to go get some things today. It usually never fails that when I've put something off and really need to do it now, the aide doesn't show up. To preempt my possible frustration - I already have a backup plan in place.

Sometimes just living with this type of uncertainty is frustrating I mean, why can't we just go to the store and get what we need, right? Sometimes it feels like it takes most of my energy just figuring out how to get things done, let alone the actual doing it. Maybe it's just me.

By the time I work through all that, I'm too tired to get it done. lol Sometimes it can wait for another day, but sometimes I just have to "pull myself up by my own bootstraps" and get it done anyway. My feelings are irrelevant. At least that is how I feel much of the time. The needs of our loved ones far surpass our own. And sometimes we can find ourselves taking care of ourselves only for the sake of taking care of them. 

But you know what? It's okay, and not selfish, to love ourselves. As a matter of fact, we are to love others as we love ourselves. I always thought that was an interesting scripture. We clothe ourselves, feed ourselves and give ourselves chocolate or pizza when "ourselves" want it! Right? It's okay to take care of us too. At the same time I so understand how we live our lives on the back burner.

Our needs are back on that burner and we only allow them to surface after our loved one is seen to and taken care of. Let someone tell us differently and we'll give them a "what for"! Sometimes we can feel like we are on God's back burner. But you know what? We are not.  Actually, we are in the forefront of His mind and heart. He understands our situation, probably more than we realize. He understands what it means and what it takes to lay down your life for another.

I'm way past thinking He's going to come in on His white horse and whisk me away. And I'm past asking Him to remove "this cup" I must drink. Jesus didn't see the cross as pleasant either. He asked if  it could be removed, but submitted to the Father's plan because He saw we needed a savoir more than He needed to be saved from the pain.

Even Paul prayed for his thorn in his flesh to be removed. Three times to be exact. But what did God tell Paul? My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness. And what was Paul's response? My interpretation of what Paul said is this: Wait! Power is perfected in weakness? Then I will boast in my weakness so that Christ's power can live in me. I'm so content to be weak! I'll take all life's insults! I'll take all the distress! I'll drink the cup of difficulties, gladly. Because in this weak state - I am strong in Him. I'll sit on this back burner just to be filled with His strength and grace!

Today, I will choose to be glad that life has me in a difficult spot, on a back burner. I will rejoice because I feel so weak. I'll meditate on how He is strong right here in my weakness. My thoughts will be on strength being perfected (matured) in me as I learn to wait on Him. I'll think about how He's carried me to this point and He's not putting me down now! I'll rest in His strength and trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Mighty Warrior

Have you ever had someone tell you they admire you and how they think you, as a caregiver, are so strong? It happens all the time - but I really don't feel strong at all. It feels like I am just surviving and not doing that very well some days. And then sometimes, like this weekend while on our first big walking adventure - I notice people looking at us with such sympathy - like they feel so sorry for us and our situation. How people see a caregiver relies a lot on the types of life experiences they have had themselves.

Maybe they have had their shot at caregiving and they feel like it takes an enormous amount of strength. Or maybe some have never been in the position and think there's no way they could do it. (I was in that class BC -before caregiving.) The truth is we may not feel strong at all - but others likely see us that way.

We know as caregivers that we have moments where we can take on the world. These usually occur after winning a loooong fight with a health care professional who doesn't understand our situation or an aide who doesn't want to do their job or a person without a disability who took a handicap parking spot! These I-can-take-on-the-world-and-win!  moments are sparse and short-lived as in a matter of minutes we can go from this high back to the harsh reality of not knowing how to face the next moment of the day.

Sometimes we are zooming along full speed and everything is going well - again a rare moment for many of us! - and WHAM! outta nowhere comes something that knocks us off our  feet. Maybe we get a horrifying call from an insurance company who threatens to drop us or our loved one, our handicap vehicle breaks down after a doctor's visit or our loved one's tube just pops out! (All of these have happened to me! lol) We don't even take time to think about having or finding strength we just kick into gear and get 'er done - whatever it takes! Then we promptly collapse into a pile of tears and exhaustion when we are done... experience speaking. That doesn't seem all that strong to me.

I had someone in one of my support groups say something that made me think of it she said, "She's shown us all a thing or two about digging down deep and getting things done." I just stared at that text on the screen and thought Is that how she sees me? To me - I'm flailing around trying to survive! How people see us is not usually how we feel about ourselves.

God doesn't see us like we see ourselves either. It makes me think of the story of Gideon in Judges 6. He was hiding from the enemy and the angel of the Lord came to him and said, hail, mighty man of valour! Really? He's hiding and God sees him as a mighty warrior?

Sometimes it's easier for the caregiver to try and hide in the caregiver's cave than it is to deal with the world outside - and even though we may see ourselves as a bit shaky, or frightened or weak - He sees us as He intended and He sees us as filled with the power of Christ.

Today I will meditate on the strength He has put inside of me instead of my own weakness. I will turn my thoughts to how He fills me with Himself until there's nothing left of me. And I will think about His mighty indwelling presence and how strong I am in Him. Will you join me?

The Power of Weakness

Sometimes I hate it when people tell me "you're so strong." It's not because I don't like to be complimented, but more that I really don't feel "so strong." I also feel like the statement is left hanging like they meant to say "you're so strong compared to...." what? It's like in the back of their minds they think they couldn't handle caregiving. In reality none of us probably set it as our life goal; but it was handed to us and we adjust the best we can; and they would too. We are all very adaptable.

Maybe it bothers me because I feel anything but strong - I feel so weak. The caregiving journey has helped me to see and deal with my weaknesses. There's nothing like the caregiving role to reveal all those weak areas. Even though I feel very vulnerable and weak, I have learned how to rest in His strength. In 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul was asking God to take away his "thorn in the flesh." There has been much argument over what exactly was giving Paul so much trouble - but whatever it was he asked God to remove it 3 times. God's response was: My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness."

This answer didn't seem to frustrate Paul at all. As a matter of fact it seems that he offered a quick response: Most gladly therefore will I rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. Rather than fighting to get out of the difficulties, he totally yielded to them so that the power of God could manifest itself in him.

Paul was no longer whining or complaining; but began to boast in being weak! When we realize how weak we are, we can begin to rely on God for strength. As long as we feel like we are strong in our own power we will not fully trust Him. I find that it's more difficult to trust Him for things I feel like I can do myself. When it goes beyond what I can accomplish, then I turn to Him for help. So like Paul we can say that caregiving is beyond what we can carry on our own. Then we can be glad we are weak and rather than begrudging the load - we can rejoice that God's grace is helping us carry it; and that His grace is carrying us through it as well.

When I am weak - I am strong because His grace empowers me. Therefore I can boast in my weakness because it is in those times that I can see how strong He is in me.

Today I will meditate on how He is strong for me and in me. I will purposefully yield to His strength and allow Him to carry me. My thoughts will be set on His grace and how it is enough for what I face today; and on His strength in me demonstrating to the world that His strength is perfected in my weakness. Will you join me?


Content with Weakness

This phrase is taken from 2 Corinthians 12:10. The writer, Apostle Paul, made the statement that he was content with weakness. A few years ago in my life I would not have been able to agree. I have always been a very independent person (which sometimes causes relationship problems) and a I-cab-do-it-myself type. I do not take time to ask for help - I'll figure out how to get it done. The last 3 years of caregiving has changed some (but not all) of that. There are times now where I really do just have to ask for a little bit of help. Think about it - how often does someone call you and say, "Hey, I'd love to come sit for a couple hours so you could get out and see a movie..." (or buy groceries, get a haircut, walk in the park,.. etc...) It just does not happen. So we are in a position to have to request help occasionally.

 Paul goes on to say in this passage that he is also content with insults, distresses, persecutions and difficulties.  Notice they are all plurals! And they all come from being a believer. Most of our troubles these days are not for being a believer in Christ. They may sometimes come from the religious world when we do not measure down to their standard - but we are not persecuted for believing in Christ as Paul was. Basically, some of our pain (I think I can say "our") is from the church ignoring us. The same church that is supposed to be like Christ; and walk in His compassion. Yeah, those - most of them ignore us as they really do not know what to do with us. And I have to also admit that I fell way short during my serving the church days.

 Paul goes on to say why he is content with weakness. In verse 10 he says for when I am weak, then I am strong. On the surface that doesn't really sound possible does it? How can I be strong because I am weak? We can look back up to verse 9 for an answer. Paul says in this verse that God's power is perfected in weakness. Wow! May I always be weak so that His power can be matured in me!

 Today I choose to consider His power rather than my weakness. I choose to embrace His grace rather than my fears. And I choose to cling to Him rather than my situation...even realizing nothing will change in a day...but 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 ...