Monday, November 26, 2018

Hard to Breathe

Some days it's all a caregiver can do to just keep breathing. I tease a lot about trying to remember to breathe and keeping that a top priority. But sometimes it really does feel like the life is being sucked out of you. Of course, there are many blessings that go with caregiving, but some days they are harder to find than others. No matter what our caregiving story - it's filled with difficulties. I try to keep a positive attitude but that's a fight at times.

This morning, in an attempt to protect my sanity I decided to start trying to journal again. I am glad I did as I hadn't made an entry since June. (I used to write in my journal everyday BC.) I found this poem I had penned. I hope you get a little something out of it.

Who am I to catch the King's gaze?
To know...
    He sees
   He Knows
   He hears
The deepest sighs from the place where no words live
The part of me that carries it all... with nothing left to give.

The part of me where no human wants to go
The Place that makes me - me
The part of me that no one sees
   No one knows
   Where no one goes

And He touches it
He makes me whole
A place where He is enough
His is the only voice I hear calling in my ear
"Peace be still."

   He sees
   He knows
   He hears
   He touches me
That part of me no soul wants to see
The place too deep for tears...
         but He catches them all...
                  before they fall

The part of me that knows - He is enough for me

His sight goes beyond the facade I live behind
 He sees
   my fears
   my heart
And He says...I am enough for Him - and He is enough for me

I can rest in this intimate place
Covered by His grace
Lifted by His gaze
Engulfed in His embrace

To others I am shut-in and shut out
But I landed in His arms
and that's enough for me.



Thank you for coming on this journey with me as I discover He is enough for me - and I am enough for Him. I continue to trust Him for one more day and pray you'll join me.


If He leads: paypal.me/dovesfireministries



Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Purpose of the Press

Caregivers are not the only ones in the press of life. I've been watching the horrific stories emerging out of the raging fires in California. My prayers have been many for those who are suffering during this time. Suffering has a unique impact on us, no matter what the source. It lets us know what's really inside.

In James chapter 1, it says to count it all joy when you encounter trials and tribulations. JOY? To be totally honest, joy isn't the first emotion I usually feel when things get tough. Joy may eventually come - but certainly not at the onset of trials and tribulations.

As a caregiver, we live in a rough spot. Nothing is easy. Literally everything can feel like a struggle. Life has a way of pressing, pressing, and pressing in on us until it's a struggle some days to just breathe. But as life presses in on us - no matter what the struggle, it presses out what is really inside. When life turns up the heat, we find out how much we really trust Him, how much we really believe His word, and how strong our grasp is on His promise and His word.

I've said before that when my son was first injured, I learned so much about faith. It's been totally redefined for me - and it's nothing like I'd been taught or believed. Hindsight lets me know that this is just one of the things that are better in my life even though life didn't get "better."

The purpose of the press is to press out whatever is inside. As life presses in, we'll begin to see what we are really made of. Perhaps it's just because we don't have the energy to keep up a facade of faith. Maybe it's due to our spirit of survival that we cut off what isn't working and what's hanging us up. Getting rid of the "fluff and stuff" is the only way we can continue to do what we do - caregiving takes up a lot, we don't have time, room, or energy for unnecessary extras.

Today, I'm going to rest in the press of life. I want to know how much I trust Him. I want to know if I really hear Him - and if I'll obey when it gets hard. My thoughts will be on how He has carried me these last 10 years. And today, I'm going to continue to follow His lead and let Him carry me into the next 10 years - whatever they look like. I'll let the press get rid of the gook, stuff, and fluff so I can see Him more clearly and trust Him more fully. Will you join me?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Broken Pieces Tell A Beautiful Story

This weekend I used some respite days for Chris and got out for the weekend. We took my grandson to Fort Worth for his birthday. While we were in Cowtown Saturday afternoon, we stopped by one of our favorite little shops. It has a variety of teas and teapots. We were standing around admiring the beautiful shapes, colors, and designs when my grandson tried to remove the lid from this little green leafy pot. The lid fell to the floor and shattered into several pieces. It was a sickening sound and of course, my daughter immediately told the store manager that she would purchase it.

Even though we liked it, we didn't plan on buying it. Once we got it home, Ronella glued the lid together and sat it on the shelf with some of our decorative teapots. When I saw the repaired container, I thought you can't even tell it's broken from here. I let my imagination run away a bit as I thought of this pot's story.

It sat in the store - beautiful, but unpurchased. Even though many people are in and out of the store daily, it was not chosen. By chance, the lid slipped out of a child's hand and then it was on its way to Oklahoma City to its new home. now it has a story, one that almost didn't get told. But the beauty and the story came from its brokenness.

As a caregiver, I often feel broken. My life is lived in a state of brokenness and I feel so undone. We caregivers are not the norm. Nothing is normal when we compare our lives to those of others (which isn't wise by the way). But I look at where the brokenness has taken me. It's changed me - for the better I hope. Over the last 10 years my faith has been totally redefined, although my passion to serve Him remains the same. I've learned He is near the brokenhearted. We "chose" this teapot because it was broken, He chooses us in our brokenness. He pulls us closer because of it - never distancing Himself from the broken areas of our lives. We each have a story that stems from that brokenness - and it's a story of grace, favor, mercy, and love.

Today, I will consider how He draws me close because of the brokenness. I won't try to hide the broken pieces from His sight - He sees them anyway. My prayer today is that the broken pieces of my life will tell the story of His grace. I'll turn my thoughts to how He carries me and holds me close to hide me in His heart. I'll rest right there as I trust Him for one more day.

Monday, November 12, 2018

A Little Behind

Please forgive my absence. If anyone understands, I know it's my fellow caregivers. I know you understand the more than busy mode we live in. Each day brings with it a long must-do list and an even longer still-need-to-do-when-there-is-time list. In the busy-ness of caregiving and fulfilling all our responsibilities we often feel overwhelmed. It's not always anything anyone can help with, and sometimes we can't even list it... it just hangs there overshadowing our days. The feelings of never getting done and simply surviving leave us looking for a satisfaction that may or may not ever be found.

Somehow in the midst of the hectic life we learn to call normal, we learn what can be let go and what cannot. It's easy to feel like our time is stolen from us as we get wrapped up in our daily tasks Maybe it's just me, but no matter how much I do get done, I still feel behind. Attempts to sort through and find the important things to get done leave you with a list of just-as-important things that didn't get accomplished. Overwhelmed.

Most nights as I tuck myself in, I feel like I failed. The list of things I didn't get done run through my mind until I simply shut it off and stop listening. There's always tomorrow. That's what I think - but I know from experience - that's not always true.

So as I run behind and try to get done the things topping my list, I stop. Seems like the opposite of what needs to be done. But I stop. I think. I become thankful as I look around at the last few months and realize all that has been accomplished. God is still working on my behalf. He hasn't left me to drown in my lists. We haven't missed a meal and there's a roof over our heads. The world doesn't come to a screeching halt if something is left unmarked on the list at the end of the day. We can just do what we can do.. and no more. There's no condemnation for being overwhelmed. Absolutely no condemnation in Him.

So if you feel like you never quite measure up (it may just be me....),  don't worry. He's the One measuring - and He has no condemnation. Just a warm, welcoming hug when we take time to visit with Him.

Today, I will stop my busy mind for a few minutes and be thankful. I'll thank Him for not giving up on me even when I feel like a total loss. I'll thank Him that He pulls me close when it feels the world is distant. I'll thank Him for hearing the faintest and loudest cries of my heart without condemning me - without judging me - without telling me I can do better. He just loves. He just cares. He just holds us - and in that, I will rest. And I'll trust Him for one more day - will you join me?

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Safe and Secure with No Alarm... Leaning

Yesterday, I had scheduled the piano movers to move my aunt's piano into her assisted living apartment. She was so excited! She's been there for a couple of weeks now and has had access to a central piano, but missed having one close by that she could play whenever she wanted.

As soon as the movers were gone, I asked her to try it out. She sat and played for some time. Tears welled up from pure joy at having her piano back. She's finally home.

As I watched her frail, trembling hands run across the keys, I became absorbed in the moment. She's still playing after all these years. Her fingers may not be as nimble as they once were, but she can still tickle the ivory with style and pizzaz. She never lacks for a song to play - there's always one near the surface of her heart.

It was a moment I didn't want to miss. There was just something special about it. It seemed like I was r\witnessing the reunion of two old friends. At 86 there's no doubt she's in the latter years of her life, but the song is still as vibrant as it was in her youth. All I can ask is that when I come of age I will still carry the song too.

I thought of the things she's seen and experienced over her eight-plus decades on this earth. She's seen losses and gains. She's known joy and pain. She's been full and empty; broken and healed. There's not too much she hasn't seen. Yet she still trusts Him. Isn't that what it all comes down to for all of us?

Paul told the Philippian Christians that he knew how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13 NLT) He wasn't putting on airs or inflating the good things in life - just raw and real - I can do everything through Him.

It seems to me it all comes down to trusting Him. In good times and bad. In sickness and health. In life or death. With plenty or in lack - it's simple. We trust Him. Period. No matter what I face today I will not face it alone - I'll face it with my trust tucked securely in His heart. That's where we don't find an exemption card so we can get out of every difficult thing we face. Instead, we find a you can make it card that ensures us our heart will stay safely tucked into His no matter what life throws at us.

Today, my focus will be on just trusting Him for this day. I won't borrow any worries from tomorrow - I'll just rest in Him today. My thoughts will be on His faithfulness toward me. I'll meditate on how securely I am tucked into His heart - and I'll just rest in Him and trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?




Friday, October 19, 2018

One Step at a Time

Kyrie hugging Chris
As the 10th anniversary of Chris' wreck nears, I have tons of thoughts. There are no easy days, but some days are less difficult than others. Here I am 10 years out celebrating Chris standing or sitting alone. I really thought I'd be celebrating his marriage or births of grandchildren. These thoughts can weigh heavily on my heart. Sometimes, I have to stay away from Facebook because it's overwhelming. I've been in one of those times lately.

What do we do when we are disappointed with life, ourselves, or our situations? Many of the things I dreamed of doing are not likely to ever happen. Everything got placed on hold nearly 10 years ago. How do you move on? The simplest answer is one step at a time. That's a daily thing. Sometimes, it's a moment by moment thing - just doing what needs to be done in the moment.

This morning in my personal devotions, I found myself hanging out in Isaiah 50. I have quoted verse 4 for years -  The Lord has given me His words of wisdom so that I may know how to comfort the weary. But what am I supposed to do when  I am the weary one? lol

As I was doing my Facebook live devotions for a group this morning, it dawned on me that our generation is weary. We go and go and go until we are worn out body, soul, and spirit. There's no off button. Social media wears us down - television wears us down - we burn the proverbial candle on both ends as an entire generation. We are worn out. As caregivers, there's no place to stop most days. We have a barrage of daily chores plus tons of incidentals that have to be addressed every day. It's so easy to be in a state of weariness that far surpasses the physical.

Where do we find this word to comfort the weary? I'm guessing it's in the next verse as verse 5 says this The Sovereign Lord has spoken to me, and I have listened. Then the next verse prophetically describes a scene at the crucifixion. I was like, now wait. We're listening and there's trouble? How'd that happen?

He never promised an easy road - He just promised to walk it with us. Verse 7 gives us the secret to making it. Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be dismayed. And that is where I am this morning. Weary. Listening. Satisfied that He is with me. You know, that's really not a bad place to be. I know He will lift me up. I know He won't leave me stranded (not even emotionally).

So today, I will tune my heart to hear His singing over me. I'll lean in a little closer to hear His words of encouragement. My thoughts will be on how He helps me face each moment of each day. I'll let Him carry my weariness, my burdens, my heart in His. Will you join me?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Hand Tattoos

Do you ever feel like God put you here on this planet to sort everything out and then He just walked away? Caregiver's lives are not in sync with the rest of the world and we can feel separated and alone even in a crowd. Caregiving adds a new dynamic to life, doesn't it? It's one that can't really be described.

It's draining and rewarding. Tiring and energizing. Emotions run along all extremes much of the time and many battle with depression, grief and other issues. I have to say that recently I have asked God if He remembered where He left me. Now my heart knows He didn't really leave me. I mean, really - where would He go? He's everywhere - He can't physically leave us. But for those who struggle with abandonment issues, it can certainly feel like it.

Evidently, someone else has had similar feelings because in verse 14 of Isaiah 49, it says Jerusalem says, "the Lord has deserted us, the Lord has forgotten us."  But at the thought of abandonment, the Lord issues an immediate response in verse 15: Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand.......

Far too frequently today we see mothers and fathers who "forget" their children. They walk away. They neglect. But God won't forget us. He even tattooed our name on His hand. Why would He write our name on His hand? So that He can always see it - as He is reaching toward us to wipe the tears from our eyes. Or as He is extending His hand of grace to measure out what we need to make another day.

No matter how deserted we feel, how alone we feel, how overwhelmed we may be at the moment - He's in that moment before we get there.

Today, I will think about how sufficient His grace is to carry me through the day. My thoughts will be on His ever-abiding presence and His overwhelming patience toward me and my crazy thoughts and emotions. Even if I feel alone today- I won't buy it. I'll trust He is with me as I trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?