Monday, November 7, 2016

Seeing Through the Caregiver's Fog

Other than the social isolation of caregiving, I think the wrestling with depression is one of the most difficult things I deal with. I can be fine, having a good day and some memory or small challenge can spark a deluge of emotions that send me off into la-la land. It doesn't take much, honestly. I'd like to say I'm alone in these emotional roller coaster rides, but from what reading I have done, it's common for the caregiver.

Over the last few weeks, the struggle has been so real as I'm sure it is for many. This morning I found myself trying once again to pull myself out of the caregiver's fog. I was actually thinking about storms and how natural storms pass. Caregiving does not. And for my situation I'm looking at a life that looks just like this for the rest of my life. It does get to me from time to time.

So, I went to the Word looking for the story of Jesus and His disciples facing the storm in the boat. I found it in Mark chapter 4. But the parable at the first of the chapter caught my attention. That means we'll still talk about the storm tomorrow! lol

Mark 4 starts with the parable of the sower who sowed the seeds in different types of soil. I know Jesus was giving us an analogy of the Kingdom of God and as He explains to His disciples later the seed is the message of the Kingdom which is sowed and the outcome depends on the condition of the soil. But as I read it I thought about the changes in my life on a day to day basis and my heart's response to the Word.

I can look at my days and see how some days are very fruitful. I have energy, I'm positive, my faith is high and things go generally well. Then other days are more like the thorny soil where every hope is choked out by thorns of caregiving or life in general. Some days the Word of God seems to speak to me personally and lifts me right out of the muck and mire as it sinks deeply into the soil of my heart. Other days God seems silent and I feel I'm left in a dry, rocky place to try and navigate on my own.

Of course there are lots of in-between days where there are series of ups and downs. I can go from laughing and enjoying the progress my son makes to weeping because the "picture" of his life is all messed up. Really. I should be rejoicing that he's marrying, having children, exploring his chosen career; not the fact that he regained head control or moved his right foot. Such mixed emotions - the storms of the caregiver's life.

Now the good part is that later on in this same chapter, Jesus explained the seed itself a little more fully. When the seed is sown there is not always an immediately recognizable growth spurt. As a matter of fact, it seems as if nothing is happening. As the farmer "goes about his days" the seed sprouts and grows without his direct knowledge.

So what does this mean for the caregiver? For me today? It means that God's word is enough.  It means that it is sown - it will grow. On the days I (or we - if you're with me) don't see it  - I'm not feelin' it - His word is still tucked away in my heart. It's not discarded. It's secretly growing and as I go about my caregiving tasks, it'll continue to grow and it will bear fruit in my life.

The caregiver doesn't get an exclusion in the Word. God didn't make ONE promise where He said "this is applicable for everyone but the caregiver."!

So today I will try to keep my focus. I will meditate on the fact that His word IS growing in me - whether I see it or not. I'll turn my thoughts to truths like - I didn't get kicked out of the Kingdom when I became a caregiver. My meditation will be on the truth that His word still stands and every promise is still true. I will shift my focus to those things I cannot see. And I will trust Him for one more day. Will you join me?

2 comments:

  1. Hello Jeanie, I wanted you to know how much I appreciated this devotional. I read this back in November and it ministered to me knowing someone else goes through this roller coaster ride caring for a loved one with a TBI. I read it again this morning and started to think how many times in the last couple of months I have experienced lows and got back up to feeling pretty good again. It really is staggering. lol. Anyway today is starting out good. Now its time to get my precious wife up and get to work. Blessing to you and your.

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  2. Thank you so much for hanging in here with me. I've been MIA myself and this was an encouragement to me as I got back on track on the devotionals. I've been living in that fog for some time now. I think I've gotten myself circled back around and back in the right gear, but it's a big ship and slow to turn. I do think it gets a bit easier to get back up as we go along. It also gets easier to give ourselves a break now and then. We carry quite the load each day and it really is okay to call a "time out" now and then. The rough part is that it's not really a full time out since there are some things that just cannot be put on hold. Thanks for reaching out - I really do appreciate it. I'll get back to writing now! I hope you and your wife have a great day!

    Thanks for reading.
    Jeanie

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