Thursday, June 28, 2012

Help! I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up!

Do you ever feel that way? Sometimes our days can be so very busy with all the tasks that must be done to take care of our loved ones that the weight of those responsibilities and our emotions can make us feel that way. We cannot wait until the emotions drag us down to the depths of despair because it is a very difficult climb out. I am finding that as soon as I feel overwhelmed I must take action so that depression does not get a hold on my emotions. Once they take you under - it's a long climb out!

The second emotions start firing at you and trying to drag you under is when you have to stop it. That sounds really easy - but in reality it's a whole struggle in itself. But we can do this. This morning I encouraged myself with Psalm 121. The psalmist is looking for his source of help. Where does my help come from? There are days that it seems there is no help for us. But we, like the psalmist, must lift our eyes to answer our own question -My help comes from the Lord! He is our source of strength. You know as well as I do it's a waste of time to sit around and wait for someone to encourage us! lol...We really must learn how to encourage ourselves in the Lord. Many times that is easier said than done.

Take a few moments (when you can find them!) and read through Psalm 121 today. Meditate on the truth that He is our strength. He is our help and the keeper of our soul. It helps me relax when I can remember that He is the one who can keep me whole - emotionally and mentally - as I learn to lean on Him.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A State of Mind

There is no way to describe all the things that may pass through a caregiver's mind in a given day. There are many thoughts about all the tasks that must be completed in the day, dealing with various health care personnel, as well as thoughts about the future. And there are the same daily chores of dealing with finances, work and family that non-caregivers must deal with too. If we are not careful our minds can get away from us. For many of us that may mean a lot of fear, dread or even depression. Thankfully, there is a way to defeat the types of thoughts that try to drag us down emotions first.

There is an interesting passage in Philippians 4 that has helped me keep myself in the right state of mind. Honestly, some days are easier than others because we live in a situation that doesn't have a "hold" button. There is no pausing in caregiving; some days it is literally putting one foot in front of the other to get through the day. Our minds can work against us - or we can make them help us out. Quite honestly some days it is easier to keep a positive state of mind than other days. But Philippians 4:8 instructs us to keep our minds on things that are right, pure,lovely, and good. There is always  a positive way to look at things - but it may be difficult to find it!

The interesting thing about Paul's instructions to keep our minds on good things is that it follows a key way to be able to accomplish it. Verse 6 says to let our requests be made known to God with thanksgiving. When we look about us and find things to be thankful for it will be easier to keep our minds on good and pleasant things.

Today look around you. Even though we are not in an ideal situation with pain all around and in every dimension, there are good things happening too. Let's take some time to thank God for the good things He is doing in our lives even in the midst of the storm. It may take a conscious effort to keep our minds on Him - but the peace that will guard our hearts will be worth it. Be thankful.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Secret to Hope

It's funny how a tiny ray of hope can change everything. Proverbs 13:12 says that when hope is deferred  or delayed it makes the heart sick. That's pretty serious because when we get to the point that our heart is sick, our soul is not well then we are in a troubled condition. Personally, I can say that when those dark times swing around and I begin to lose hope it makes it very difficult for me to deal with everyday stuff. I call it tired from the inside out. Not only is it a terrible place to be - it's very difficult to try to get out of as well. But let just a tiny ray of hope shine into a situation that's been darkened by life - and Bam! Everything changes.

Romans 15:13 is a prayer that the apostle Paul is sending out for the Christians in Rome. He prays that the God of hope will keep them in peace and that He will make them overflow with hope through Holy Spirit's power. Hope is one of the three things that will endure according to 1 Corinthians 13:13.  And Titus 2:13 says that we are looking forward to that blessed hope when we will see His glory revealed.

There's just something about having hope. Maybe there's not a chance that some situations are ever going to change into what we would like for them to be...but God can place hope in our hearts as we trust Him. Sometimes hope can seem elusive - and we have to go find it. If we are ever going to find hope - we'll have to look for it in Him. He is our hope - on both sides of eternity. Today I purpose to look for a ray of hope in Him. It's not in the doctors, nurses, or anything here and now - but my hope is in Him. That's the secret to having hope today - looking for it in the right place! in Him!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Ever Wanna Give Up?

Have you ever just wanted to give up? I mean, face it  - life can be tough especially when you are faced with daily challenges and adversity. But if giving up was a real option - What would you give up to? We really are not alone when we've had all we think we can handle. For many of my acquaintances our days are filled with pain in one way or another. Some of my friends live in constant physical pain and then there are many who like me, and other caregivers, have this nagging emotional pain that does not ever go away. Either way it's pain on a very high level.And there are days it does not seem worth it to go on.

We are not alone! In Jeremiah 20 we find that he had been beaten and placed in prison in stocks - only for speaking God's words. He must have been in every kind of pain imaginable. His body hurt from the intense beating, his soul hurt and even his spirit was in pain as he cried out I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name...Jeremiah really wanted to give up for at least a second. Recently- I have felt the same way! But...

Just like Jeremiah when we reach that point of all we can carry - we have something, someone, Who will carry us. Jeremiah goes on to say that just at that point when he really wants to give up and give in - he finds that God's word is in him like a fire and he cannot hold it in! And even though everyone was literally against him Jeremiah found that the Lord is with me like a dread champion! And He is with us too - no matter what we face.

When it gets to be too much - we may take a rest - but we will never give up! As we continue to hide His word in our heart we will find that the Holy Spirit is right here with us - carrying us and comforting us through the turmoils of life. He really is our peace - but instead of giving up on life because of the pain - we must give in to Him in spite of the pain. He will comfort, He will carry and He will protect our spirits from harm. Let us trust Him for one more day.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Maybe it's Backwards...

I do not have to describe the huge emotional swings caregivers can experience even in a matter of minutes. And when we do have those moments when we are really down - who is there to help us up? Sadly, many of us suffer silently and alone. This just makes the process of working ourselves back out into some sort of hope - even more difficult. But it's do-able...

To be totally honest - I have been on the downward side of things of late. It's been more difficult than usual to try to get my head back up above water so I could breathe again. And I think I still have a ways to go. This morning I was thinking of Psalm 13 - O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever? (It is somewhat comforting to see that a person He used to write the Bible felt the same way I do!) How long will You look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? (NLT) I can honestly say I feel this way during those long, dark nights when my loved one is ill and I feel so hopeless and helpless to offer help.

Sometimes it seems like God does not hear us - and if He does it seems He is ignoring us. But as I started climbing out of the deep dark emotional hole I gave way to some other thoughts. Perhaps we have had it backwards - thinking that God is there at our every beck and call. But who in their right mind would think in a natural kingdom that the king was there for them...but they are in the kingdom to serve the king - not the other way around. Perhaps we are supposed to be available for His every beck and call...

Think about some of the scriptural references - there are many where man called out to God indeed. But how many more are there where God reached down and called an individual - not the other way around. It certainly helps me sort through this deep valley of emotions to think about being here for Him - and knowing that He is a gracious king! Today - let us focus on being here for Him and treating Him as our king...one we gladly serve.