Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Time I Am Afraid

Maybe it's just me, but there can be  a lot of fears in caregiving.I am afraid I will hurt my loved one (not purposefully of course), make a wrong decision or just mess something up. It's very difficult to make decisions on behalf of someone else...for me anyway! Then since I am a caregiver to my son I worry about what happens when I am gone? Who will care for him then? There are also concerns about getting older and how that looks now as opposed to BC (before caregiving). If we are not careful thoughts can overrun us and charge our emotions with fear.

That's why this morning I turned my meditation to a scripture that I taught my kids when they were little. It's Psalm 56:3 and it simply says what time I am afraid, I will trust in You. It was written by an adult David while he was not faring too well in battle. What? David was afraid too? Is that possible? We are so conditioned to think that it is a grave sin to be afraid of anything - and so we tend to secretly shake and try to keep our deepest fears hidden. Well, let me be the first to admit: I am Afraid!

There is no sin in being afraid - and it's not lack of faith. The sin is in relying on man to save us instead of trusting in the Lord. David didn't say "I'll never be afraid." He said when I am afraid I will trust. We will get nowhere and remain emotionally immature until we can admit our own feelings of fear and helplessness. And really, until we can get there - we won't trust Him!

So today - I will admit my fears; I will share them with Him. And then - you got it - once again - I will trust in Him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Inside Out

Some days are easier to bear than others, for whatever reason. It could simply be our emotional state, how we feel physically, series of good or bad things that happen, or just dealing with the day to day grind of the caregiving situation. During the times we are stretched beyond our strength we can become tired inside and out! When weariness sets in there is really no one who can help but God!

Ephesians 3:16 in the old King James Version of the Bible Paul prays that they will be strengthened with might by the Holy Spirit in the inner man. The New Living says that He gives you mighty inner strength through the Holy Spirit. Either way since we are believers, Holy Spirit is living in us and He can give us strength from the inside out. It must be part of the Holy Spirit's overall job description because in Acts when they were told to go wait for the Spirit, they were told that they would receive power from on high.

 So it should not be surprising to know that He can fill us up with the Lord's strength for whatever lies ahead of us today or behind us from tomorrow. I say it that way because it may be yesterday's tragedy that brought us to today. But no matter where we find ourselves today He can give us strength to walk it out and since He lives inside our being this strength comes from the inside and strengthens our whole being body, soul and spirit.

I think the key may lie with us in that we must learn how to wait on God. That's a lot more difficult than it sounds. Especially for caregivers as we are many times having to motivate ourselves to keep going, not lose heart and press on into today. But verse 11 may also give us a little help on releasing His strength inside to strengthen our outside. In this verse Paul is still praying the same prayer for the Ephesians and he prays that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts...I love that! We already discussed how we all have the same Christ and no one has any more of Him than another. But the last part of this verse tells us how to let Him be more at home in our hearts - as you trust in Him.

Isn't that the key? We must learn to trust Him more - not that we get more of Him but so that He is more comfortable in our hearts. Today I will put my energies to work to trust Him more so that He will be comfortable in my heart and I will be positioned to receive His strength.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Second Class Citizens?

Sometimes little phrases can carry a big punch. This morning as I was reading in 2 Corinthians these two words grew larger than life for me: we all. I know - it's just two words and they are found in verse 18 of chapter 3. But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory just as from the Lord the Spirit. This verse and phrase stuck out to me as a caregiver this morning because sometimes we can feel like God's second class citizens.

It can be easy to feel that way because we are so separated from the "rest of the world." It's not easy to get to "church" if we can go at all. And if we cannot play by their rules for the most part they just ignore us. It's not really their fault they just don't know how to minister to us, friend us, or love us from where we are. Some teach these passages here in 2 Corinthians as if they are only applying to the pastor, apostle or other ministers... but you know what? Paul said we all!

Preachers, pastors, prophets, five-fold, nor the Pope have any more of Christ than we do! WE ALL  are being transformed into the image of the Lord; WE ALL  are filled up with Christ. God did not change His intents and purposes for us just because something happened along our way. Caregivers are not second class citizens in heaven. As a matter of fact the one of the last things Jesus said to a person on this earth before He died was to His disciple John. In John 19:25-27 He told John to take care of His mother.

We have no less of Christ in us because of our earthly position as caregivers; and ministers of any sort have no more of Christ in them because of their position. We are all hidden in Him and He is in us period. We may for the most part be ignored by the church, or just not fit in with them like we used to but we can hold our head up high and know just like Job - Our Redeemer Lives! And He lives in us no differently than in anyone else. We are not heaven's second class citizens, we are children of the King and He is walking through this furnace with us as we are still being transformed into the image of Christ here in the earth.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Easy Stuff

It can be quite the battle to keep from being cynical or hard for lots of people these days, but especially for those who are in a constant daily struggle. We can wonder where God is and if He is still watching us why some things happen. And add to that being abandoned by people we loved and trusted and you have the makings of an emotional mess. Then on top of all that - we have to deal with the crazy health system; some people who are just doing a job with no heart and some who are not even doing the job part! It can be so easy to just feel like we are mad at everyone and if we are not careful we can turn our "expectors" off...it's easier that way.

In the midst of all the struggles we must endure each day there are times when we can feel like we suffer great loss. The lives we used to know and enjoy have passed away and many are prisoners in their own home...or that's the way it feels sometimes. Some days we count these losses; others we adjust and smile and just trudge on through.

Hosea 10:12 talks about breaking up the "fallow" ground. (that's old KJV!) I always thought that fallow just meant hard. But a little more study and I found out that it means ground that's already been plowed and then has sat and become hard again. If we do not guard our hearts carefully our hearts can be fallow.

The end of verse 11 says that Judah  must break up the hard ground and then the Lord will rain righteousness. Judah means praise...When we praise Him even in the hard times, it will keep our hearts from being hardened. But that's not always easy - even though it's doable. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be a place to start.

Two things are mentioned in verse 12 that are unchangeable: righteousness and love. In these crazy worlds caregivers live in where things can change dramatically from one second to the next, these two things will never change. They are the easy stuff. We do not have to work at all - they will not leave us! He is our righteousness no matter what life throws our way; and His love for us cannot be changed!

Today let us  praise Him for His steadfast love. Let us praise Him that He is our righteousness and we do not have to work to please Him. He is happy with us and we are hidden in Him.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Run and Not Grow Weary

As a runner I view this commonly used scripture differently. I have run just enough miles (only about 500 this year so far) to know that there are certain spots that weariness can set in an stop you if you let it. Well, as a caregiver this morning I became weary and this scripture came to mind.

But as I thought about how weary I was and what it means to wait on the Lord so that He could renew my strength my mind went to the preceding verses so I decided to look it up and read it once again. The verses just before this most quoted one talk about young people growing weary and tired; of vigourous young men falling terribly. That's in verse 30. And back up one more verse to Isaiah 40:29 and it says that He  gives strength to the weary. and that He increases power to him who lacks might.

When we were younger we thought we were invincible. We drove fast and took all sorts of crazy chances because "bad" things were not going to happen to us. And maybe sometimes we still try to live our lives in high gear. Maybe until we come to the end of our own strength we do not think to ask for His...to wait for His. Until we lack might - He can offer no power. Until we become weary - He can offer no strength. Perhaps this is because as caregivers what must happen in a day just has to happen we cannot stop because we are tired, frustrated or want to quit. So we press on...and on...and on...

Will you join me today as I just take some time to wait? An old song says, "I am tired, I am weary I am worn." Indeed. Once we can stop and admit we have no might - we have no strength - He will fill us up. This is when we gain new strength. Let us wait on Him yet again...