Friday, February 7, 2014

When There's No End in Sight

Most of the crises in life have an end. Something happens, we work through it; we live through it and move on. I've received notes from individuals who were even in a caregiver's role for a short time due to an accident or illness. But for many caregivers there is not necessarily any end in sight. For some of us the rest of our lives looks like this...whatever "this" is to you. That can be a difficult thing to swallow.

This morning I was thinking about Isaiah 43 and how the Lord promised that we would face the fire and the flood; and that He'd be with us through them. But even these scriptures indicate we'll get through  them at some point. But for some that either looks impossible or very far away at best. What do you do when there's no end in sight? How do you cope when there is no promise that this trial will be over soon? You hold on.

Eternity will come; but it can be difficult to set our gaze on eternity when our pain is so in our face. Can eternity help us get through today? Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that He put eternity in our hearts. We are already in eternity - but we anxiously await for the day our "faith becomes sight" as it was so eloquently put in the hymn It is Well With my Soul. And we must remember that the writer of this treasured hymn wrote it in a moment of extreme soulful pain. He had lost his family in a tragedy - not something that can be erased even though you move on.

Eternity reminds us that we have this treasure in an earthen vessel.(2 Corinthians 4:7) And that this earthen vessel which houses the Holy Spirit of the living God is not exempt from affliction, persecution, or distress. The Apostle Paul explained to the Roman church that God can work everything out for our good when we trust Him - that does not mean that pain goes away or our trial ends speedily - but that there will be good come from it. Sometimes it's the changes in ourselves. We learn to trust Him more and that has value in eternity.

In the latter part of 2 Corinthians 4:7 Paul says that we have the treasure of Christ in this clay pot - so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves. No one understands better how powerless we are than the caregiver. But today I will rest in the truth that He is inside of me carrying me (and sometimes dragging me ) along. I will gain strength by acknowledging that He is my strength and that He has put His eternal Spirit inside of me to walk with me through the fire and the flood. And He does not get weary like I do.

My meditation today will be on how my body houses an eternal God. I'll think about how He lives in me and gives me strength even when there is no end in sight. I'll let Him work His works in me today - He did not change His goals when I became a caregiver or when tragedy struck. He is with me - through the fire - through the flood. And I will allow Him to carry me today - will you join me?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Doing Our Part

When I started with the theme about being still this week I really didn't know it was so much work (see yesterday's post!). But as I went through the different scriptures I realized there is a lot resting on our shoulders to be still. Exodus 14:14 is one I have heard all my life and it says: The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. (NASB) The context is Moses and the Children of Israel standing on the edge of the Red Sea with Pharaoh's army pressing in from behind. In verse 13, Moses tells them that they are going to see the Lord's salvation and God's going to take care of the oppressor. Verse 14 then goes on to say He will fight for them. However, they have to do their part as well - keep silent.

I let my mind form the picture of what is happening here as if I was standing there listening to Moses. I have an army of people who really do not like me and I do not know if they want to take me back into slavery or just kill me. Then in front of me is  a raging river that is impassable. And Moses wants me to keep silent? He instructs me to wait on the Lord and let Him do all the work? Doesn't Moses know I'm a caregiver and I know how to get things done? I'm used to doing it all myself!

As caregivers we have learned to adjust to just about any situation that presents itself. We are one of the most adaptable people around and we tend to have to fight in just about every arena just to survive. We have to argue with health care workers to just simply do their job, delivery people who can't seem to do what they said, the system to get proper supplies, and the list goes on and on and on. But He wants us to keep silent or be still? Only if we want Him to fight for us!

Now I understand that there are things we cannot let go and it can be a fight to get things done. We cannot give up in that arena. God's not going to call FedEx or DHS for us. There are things we have to take care of and I'm not talking about sitting down and just seeing what He can get done in the natural realm today. I'm talking about settling our souls down and getting our minds and hearts to a place of stillness so that His peace can overtake us and He can fight the battles of life for us. 1 Peter 5:7 says for us to cast all of our anxiety on Him, because He cares for us. That's what I'm talking about - I think you'll find when you let Him carry you spiritually, the natural will be much easier to deal with.

Today I'm going to meditate on being still, and keeping silent. My goal is to not complain (tall order I know!) about where I am in life. I'll give every anxiety over to Him as He enables me to handle everything that life chooses to throw. I'll do my part of finding my rest and peace in Him - will you join me?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Being Still is Hard Work

Last week I thought a lot about God's presence and how it is always with us so we are never really alone. That led my thinking to Psalm 46:10 which says Be still and know that I am God. This was the theme for yesterday's broadcast Actions Required. On one hand being still before our wonderful God seems like it would be a very simple thing. But it's not really about just getting quiet, which can be very difficult for the caregiver to begin with. That little conjunction "and" indicates to me that further action is required. Be still and know He is God.

Being still goes beyond finding a quiet place to read and study, or simply stilling our souls to meditate on Him, although that is part of it. Finding time may be a more difficult task in that the caregiver's day can be filled with activity. In many cases we hit the floor running long before dawn and don't stop until late at night. We live a hectic life even if we are mostly contained in our homes. But it is very important to take time to quiet ourselves down and simply acknowledge His lordship in our lives. Not only must we be still we must also know He is God.

When we take the time to purposefully quiet ourselves before Him, we are acknowledging Him as the most important thing in our lives (no matter how hectic they may be). We may say for the moment:  Lord, there is nothing more important in this moment than to acknowledge you are my God. This is the beginning of learning to rest in Him and trust Him for our strength. I love those moments when I can put all of the crazy parts of life on hold and just sit with Him awhile. Not only can purposefully taking this posture before God help make your day better - it can improve the rest of your life!

Today I will meditate on laying aside all the "crazy parts" of life and acknowledging His lordship in my life. I will concentrate on how I am fully His and there is really nothing else that matters. As I acknowledge that He is my God, I will trust Him for one more day - and purposefully lay my heart at His feet in worship. Will you join me?