Thursday, February 19, 2015

Waiting with Integrity

Caregivers have unusual enemies. I say that because our circumstances in life offer different perspectives of the battle. We have unique concerns that others perhaps can't even understand. Day-to-day decisions can become very complicated for the caregiver and simple tasks like making meals or figuring out how to go buy groceries can be huge tasks. It can be a huge undertaking to complete the things most people don't even have to give a second thought to. For me I either have to figure out how to do things like buy groceries or supplies inside a very limited time frame while an aide is here or make ride arrangements 24 hours in advance. It's not a simple thing to just go buy a bag of groceries. And what if I'm about out of eggs and the aide doesn't show up? Let's get real with it - what if I'm out of toilet paper and today's the day I gotta get to the store; and the aide doesn't show up?

While others are worrying about their jobs, which coffee to buy at Starbucks or which movie to go see on the weekend, the caregiver is trying to survive another day. Our enemies can be discouragement, exhaustion, or fighting to keep our chin up and remain positive from day to day. In Psalm 25, the psalmist asks the Lord to not let my enemies win. For caregivers our prayer might be, Lord don't let caregiving take me under! Don't let it define me; You define who I am. It's very easy to lose yourself in caring for another person so much that you can't find yourself anymore. That can be the biggest enemy of all.

In verse 16 of Psalm 25, David says I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged, bring me out of my distresses. That's getting up close and personal. To ask God for help, we have to be honest with Him. It's not that He can't just reach down and rescue us no matter what we are going through - but true deliverance comes through honest and earnest prayer. How will we know what He has brought us out of if we don't identify it? How will we know what we are fighting if it's not identifiable? Personally, I can get sucked into this huge pit of depression which can be debilitating. I can barely take care of daily caregiving chores. Over time, I've recognized the patterns and learned strategies to preempt a long bout with depression. By identifying it and being honest about it I can avoid the deep, dark pit. It's okay to be specific with our prayers - and it's okay to admit to God how we really feel. (It's not like He didn't already know!)

Verses 20 and 21 say this:
Guard my soul and deliver me;
Do not let me be ashamed 
For I take refuge in You.
Let integrity and uprightness preserve me
For I wait for You.

God is able to guard our souls - that is a lot deeper than just taking care of our flesh. He protects the part of us that truly feels the pain of caregiving. He can keep our being safe - even if our body is broken. It takes integrity to be honest with ourselves and with God. To truly wait on Him means I admit I need some help here! The caregiver can wear themselves out trying to rely on themselves - but there comes a time when we know it's not our strength we are running on. When we wait on Him He will guard us and keep us hidden in Him.

Today my meditation will be on how He guards my soul. I will yield to His peace and His strength and allow Him to carry me - mind, will and emotions - through this day. My thoughts will be on how He preserves me in trouble.  And I will speak honestly with Him about how I really feel - so He can heal my heart and soul. Will you join me?

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