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Never Give Up. God Is With You.

15 Jan

It’s been a rough 72 hours. For me writing is therapeutic and allows me to step back and examine circumstances in a way that often leads me to answers and makes me get out of the way and let God be God. The most exhausting days are the ones where I must combat an issue that I don’t understand and seems to have no answer. The process looks something like this when I am dealing with an issue re. my mother’s health and wellbeing. For me prayer is not a last step, but a first and a continuous one. Talking with nurses and doctors who have no answers is frustrating. Searching the internet and finding 309,497,832,754 different solutions that make no sense or are inapplicable to someone in Mom’s condition is frustrating. Getting no sleep overnight night after night is exhausting. It is at these times that I think of the millions of caregivers who are going through similar experiences who feel alone, abandoned, isolated, and hopeless and then I feel God’s presence most. I become thankful for my circle. My understanding deepens of Dad repeatedly saying, “I am alive and grateful” and Mom repeatedly saying, “We’ll see what the Lord will do”.  I am filled with gratitude in the midst of the situation and reminded that God is bigger than anything I experience. That alone is enough to keep me going. I pray that God fills my fellow caregivers with wisdom, strength, support, the right people, the right information, and boldness to address whatever the day brings. I say this pray for all of us. God is with us and we must never give up. I usually follow this up with journaling in some form and then evaluating what I have written and searching for an insight that gives me what I need to move forward. Some circumstances require that I go through this cycle repeatedly and that’s OK. The thing that often plays over and over in my head throughout this process, Never Give Up. God is with me. As a caregiver, this is fundamental to my ability to keep going when I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, scared, confused, or whatever…and there are a lot of “whatever” moments!

NEVER GIVE UP. GOD IS WITH YOU! I pray that this also helps someone get through whatever life is throwing at them.

Sidenote: As I write this, my mother has had a much needed break from coughing and is sleeping. YAY!!!

We’ll See What the Lord Will Do

5 May

Whenever closing a conversation where the ultimate conclusion was yet to be determined, my mother was sure to say, “We’ll see what the Lord will do.” She said this so often that almost everyone who knows her ends up using this phrase from time to time. As we journey through the late stages of Alzheimer’s with Mom, I find myself saying it often.

I’m not sure how others move through this part of the journey but my family and I are fully leaning on God’s everlasting arms. We are doing our work and moving through these days knowing that ultimately, we will simply see what the Lord will do…and that’s the best and right thing.

Praying for all us on this journey…this winding road…this rollercoaster…this beast called Alzheimer’s.

You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail

Let’s Talk About TRUST, Part 2

17 Mar

Trust God

Are you brave enough to confess that you are afraid to trust God? Are you beat down enough to admit that you are afraid to trust God? Are you afraid to trust God? I confess that I have been, I am, and I am hoping to stop this cycle. Trust has been a major issue for me overall.  As I’ve stated before, my trust issues went into overdrive when my father died suddenly. I clung to the belief for YEARS that God had made an error and was simply too embarrassed to admit it. I can kinda laugh about that whole way of thinking now but there is still a part of me that is open to accept God’s apology for ruining my life! LOL  I let that pain fester and grow into a deep lack of trust for anything that made no sense to me, that could not be documented, or that materialized outside of what I found logical even if not my taste.  All along though I still acknowledged God, loved God, and kinda sorta served God (insert side-eye here).  There is no way to fully serve God without trusting God. There is actually no way to be engaged in a healthy loving relationship with ANYONE without trust.

Trusting God requires passion and commitment. I’m not just trusting God to hold my hand as I cross the street. I’m trusting God to BE THE PATH. I’m trusting God to reveal my future and guide me as I do what God says do. I’m trusting God to be my everything. The trick though is that I have to give up all of my notions of who and how I should be. THAT’S MAJOR! This must be why God sent His Son, Jesus, to be our example. This trusting God thing takes sacrifice and not just giving up Ben and Jerry’s for Lent. It requires giving up your life so that you can live. It requires seeing God in everyone. It requires knowing the will and Word of God. It requires embracing a love that is not always cuddly, but a love that disciplines, that corrects, that cuts to the bone, that sheds blood, that comes with HIGH accountability. That kind of love demands and breeds passion and commitment.  Now that I think about it, the question is not just will I TRUST God, it’s also do I LOVE God. Do I love God enough to TRULY surrender all of me to all of Him?

I Surrender All  – Judson W. Van DeVenter 1896

  1. All to Jesus I surrender,
    All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.

    • Refrain:
      I surrender all,
      I surrender all;
      All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
      I surrender all.
  2. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Humbly at His feet I bow;
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken,
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  3. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine.
  4. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power,
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  5. All to Jesus I surrender,
    Now I feel the sacred flame;
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

Those are some POWERFUL lyrics! In my heart I want these words to be more than a plea. I want them to be a testimony. I want my love for and trust in God to be a complete surrender.  Let’s just marinate there for now

Putting It Bluntly

22 Oct

It is rare that I wake up at 4:30a and am hyped to go workout (my boot camp, BNFIT, meets at 5:30a – Monday-Friday). It’s the truth and I’m not going to deny it.  At this time of year, it’s dark, it’s cold, and it’s often raining. Not the ideal situation for getting out of my cushy bed, off of my comfy pillows, and from under my warm sheets, blanket, and comforter.  I know I’m not the only one but here’s the thing. I want the results. I want the body. I want the great numbers: BMI, muscle mass, body fat ratio, weight, measurements, cholesterol level, blood pressure, glucose level, resting heart rate, dress size, etc. I want it all to be GREAT!  Pills, powders, surgeries do not bring the long lasting results I’m looking for because the results I want go beyond numbers. I want a better life, a healthier body, a healthy relationship with food, a disciplined relationship with money, and deeper intimacy in my spiritual life.  You just can’t find any of that in a bottle of any kind. I know. I’ve tried. The results I want are the outcome of work, HARD WORK. So here is the truth…the cold hard truth. 

I can’t blame genetics

I cant blame my family, significant other, friends, society, or history

I can’t blame the stresses in my life…and they are numerous.

If I want change, I must suck it up

I must stop eating trash and eat food that nourishes my body

I must drink water…lots of water

I must workout hard…every day

I must sweat…every day

I must push until it hurts and then keep pushing

I must be focused and knowledgeable in my career, my passion for justice, and my pursuit of financial security

I must spend time with God everyday in prayer and meditation

I must read the bible and other books that deepen my knowledge of who God is and who I am.

I’ve got to put in the work to yield the results. That is putting it bluntly.

It’s better to tell yourself the truth, than to have life slam the truth in your face! 

Gotta Keep Working!

HardWork

A Caregiver’s Prayer

15 Oct

“I know of no better thermometer to your spiritual temperature than this, the measure of the intensity of your prayer.” Charles Spurgeon

. . . one of His disciples said to Him, ’Lord, teach us to pray . . .’ —Luke 11:1

“Prayer is not a normal part of the life of the natural man. We hear it said that a person’s life will suffer if he doesn’t pray, but I question that. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a person is born again from above, the life of the Son of God is born in him, and he can either starve or nourish that life. Prayer is the way that the life of God in us is nourished. Our common ideas regarding prayer are not found in the New Testament. We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God Himself.“Ask, and you will receive . . .” (John 16:24). We complain before God, and often we are apologetic or indifferent to Him, but we actually ask Him for very few things. Yet a child exhibits a magnificent boldness to ask! Our Lord said, “. . . unless you . . . become as little children . . .” (Matthew 18:3). Ask and God will do. Give Jesus Christ the opportunity and the room to work. The problem is that no one will ever do this until he is at his wits’ end. When a person is at his wits’ end, it no longer seems to be a cowardly thing to pray; in fact, it is the only way he can get in touch with the truth and the reality of God Himself. Be yourself before God and present Him with your problems— the very things that have brought you to your wits’ end. But as long as you think you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.

To say that “prayer changes things” is not as close to the truth as saying, “Prayer changes me and then I change things.” God has established things so that prayer, on the basis of redemption, changes the way a person looks at things. Prayer is not a matter of changing things externally, but one of working miracles in a person’s inner nature.” Oswald Chanbers

I am one of those whose response to being at my wit’s end is to turn to prayer.  Serving as my mother’s primary caregiver as she moves through the stages of Alzheimer’s has certainly brought me to my wit’s end. Every day brings new challenges and new discoveries. This journey, like my health and fitness journey, is drawing me closer to God.

I say this prayer everyday before I make my mother’s breakfast.  It centers me. It grounds me. It gives me a fresh start everyday.

“Lord, show me enough strength within me because I am very tired,
Show me patience to care for the one I love,
Show me peace of mind as I struggle through each day and night,
Show me the joy in the little things my mother does to help me out,
Show me love when anger and frustration want to take over my thoughts,
Show me hope when I can see no hope,
Show me how to be more like you in every interaction I have with my mother today,
And Lord, show me kindness for those who care about me. AMEN”