You are Not Alone
You are Not Alone
For nearly fifty years, I have been a caregiver. My caregiving days began as a lanky ten year old, taking time out of her fun-filled days to entertain a toddler so her father could sleep before taking the night shift. From that time until I was 24 years old, I cared for many young children. I even fed, changed and bathed my baby sister. When my husband and I got married, I went from dirty diapers to dirty dishes in the sink, smelling shirts in the laundry, and hair in the shower. In those days, my caregiving felt more like in-home maid service. Our children, however, took me to an entirely different area of non-stop caregiving as the maid service increased along with sleepless nights. Babysitting was nothing compared to caring for my own children. The demands of motherhood were high and required my all. Once my children where grown, I had some time to myself. It felt like a week, at best, but for a brief moment I got to go shopping, get my hair done, and go to lunch with friends.
Before I knew it, my daughters were married and starting to have children of their own. Without blinking, I found myself caring for my granddaughter while her mother went to work. It is joy, I admit. I am consumed with this little girl, the world stops whenever she is around. Still, at the end of the day, I’m tired! “How did I do it?” I’ve often wondered.
Yet, nothing prepared me for the level of caregiving to come. Not even the year my husband was sick equipped me for the challenge of taking care of an ageing parent. To watch them revert from a strong, agile adult, to a weak, fragile lump of withering humanity, my heart couldn’t take it. Like caring for an infant, you have to do everything for them, except they are much heavier. At least with a baby, they grow and get stronger. With the elderly, it’s the exact opposite as their needs increase with each passing day.
Taking care of my aging parent has given me a new perspective on caregiving, and filled my heart with a level of compassion I didn’t know existed. Not just for the patient, but for the caregiver.
Dear One, if you are in a season of caring for a loved one, whether young or old, please know you are not alone. As we travel through these seasons of life, we are all caregivers. It’s want we do. What makes the difference is the attitude in which we do it. Therefore, stay strong in the Lord through your union with Him. Mediate on His word. Operate in the love of the Spirit. Before you take care of anyone else, take care of yourself. You cannot give out what you do not have. Treat yourself at least once a week. Take breaks. Get help. Learn through this experience, ask God to use it mightily in your life.
“His praise will always be on my lips” (Psalm 34:1), is the passionate heart cry of the Psalmist David. King David knew and understood the importance and impact of praising God all the time, but did you know that Jesus continually sings praises over us? That’s right, every minute of every day, God sings praises over us (see Zephaniah 3:17). That’s one of the ways He affirms us, heals us, and speaks live into our wounded souls.
Whenever I stop long enough to hear His words of admiration over me, I feel wonderful! Joy floods my soul as I hear the praises of my King. Like sweet honey, His words comfort my heart, renew my mind, and rebuild my soul. I recall the years when the Lord appeared to be tearing down the old broken walls of my heart, cleaning out the vessel, and throwing out the trash. I didn’t think I would make it thought those years; but, now, like nectar from the vine, I feel His love pour over me like a river bringing healing, renewed hope, and new life.
Before, my soul was like a city that had been devastated, but now I am being rebuild. From the wreckage, His words of love and praise give me new insight into myself and into His loving kindness. I see myself in a different light. I like myself more. I have more confidence. I have more victory. Through His praises, I learn who I am in Christ and how He feels about me.
If you are currently in a cleaning out season, take heart, He is making room, removing the obstacles, so you can hear His tender voice more clearly. He knows it vital for you to hear His heart sing over you. Don’t know how to hear Him? Find a quiet place, close your eyes; ask His Spirit to open your ears so you can hear His song of love over you. Dear One, if you are to move from a place of hurt, devastation and insecurity, into a place of freedom in Christ, you need to learn to come into His presence, be still, and listen for His voice.
And if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (John 8:36).
Do you ever feel like a failure as a Christian?
I have! In the early years of my walk with Jesus, there were so many things He was touching and trying to remove that I didn’t think I would survive. I believed the lies of the enemy that I had blown it and that God couldn’t use me now. For years, the tape played in my head that I was “a bad wife, a bad mother, and now I was a bad Christian.”
What got me through when I wanted to give up was the promise that God had a plan for my life. That promise was the one thing that kept me going—kept me getting back up.
God has a plan for your life too, and He will not allow the enemy to take you out of His plan. However, you can take yourself out by giving into the enemy’s lies. If he can get you to think you’ve blown it and that God can’t use you, you just might give up and walk away from your God given destiny.
Dear One, you have not failed as a Christian. God is taking you through a process—a transformation. This process is not automatic. It doesn’t happen overnight. There are steps to this sanctification process, and these steps are painful as God works to remove the things that weigh you down and hinder you from the freedom you have been given in Christ. The enemy works overtime during these seasons, so resist his lies.
Do not give up. Keep getting back up and keep going. Keep trusting God, and one day, you will see God’s faithfulness to you.
“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6).
I hear it repeatedly, “I’m trying…I’m really trying…” as if somehow our efforts will turn us around and overcome our emotions.
It's not my purpose to offend anyone, please know my heart is for you. However, we need to talk.
Dear One, your efforts to “try” and get better will not make you better. You cannot change yourself, only God can change you. You cannot do what only God can do. Your part is to submit to the process—to the work that God desires to do in you.
After a long battle with depression, I remember reaching a point where I could not go on. I did everything I knew to do to “fix” myself. Nothing worked. I went to family and friends, even doctors, nothing helped. It wasn’t until I cried out to God and admitted that I could not do this. I could not help myself, and neither could anyone else. “Only you can help me,” I told God, “Please, help me!”
What we need to understand is that we are in a spiritual battle. The enemy is much stronger than we are, so in our efforts to “try” and fight him in our own strength we fail. Then we allow him to convince us we are failures. This is not true!
In Christ you are I are more than conquerors (Ro. 8:37). We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Ph. 4:13), because in our weakness He is strong (see 2 Cor. 12:9).
Dear One, stop “trying” to overcome your past, your past hurts, and your emotion struggles and start giving everything to God. Tell Him that you are weak and ask for His help. Then do whatever He tells you to do. Renew your mind with His word every day and believe He can give you the victory
To learn more about being an overcomer in Christ, consider reading Experiencing Joy: Strategies of Living a Joy Filled Life
When you look in the mirror, what do you see? How do you determine your worth? Are you defeated by the opinions of others?
So often, when we look at ourselves, we base our beauty and self-worth on what other people say about us, or even what we say about ourselves. When we compare our beauty to the world around us, or we allow others to define our worth, mentally we are saying: What I look like is more important that who I am.
In Matthew 10:29, Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside of your Father’s care.”
The world may not value the sparrow. Selling two of them for as little as a worthless penny. Yet, the sparrow is one of God’s creatures, and holds so much worth in His eyes that not one of them falls to the ground without Him knowing about it.
God knows everything about you. He created you and He cares for you, even more than a sparrow. The birds do not reap or sow, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them out of His own hand. Your life is worth far more than you will ever know in this life. God sees you and loves you. He doesn’t look at you the same way you look at you, or the way the world looks at you. Man looks on the appearance, but God looks at the heart. He sees your great worth and value. He knows the plans He has for your life, plans to give you hope and a future. You are not hopeless or worthless. In Christ, you are a princess. You are worth more than rubies, and so precious that God sent His one and only Son to die for you.
The next time you look in the mirror and you’re tempered to put yourself down, look beyond your earthly garment. Look in that mirror, hold your head high, and tell yourself that you are a priceless, treasured daughter of the King.
For more on this topic, listen free: http://libertyinchristministries.com/radio-archives-listen-free/embracing-true-beauty
When my girls were little, they had a conversation that stuck with me throughout the years.
"What are you doing?" My six-year-old daughter asked her younger sister.
"I'm playing with Jesus!" she happily replied.
"Jesus doesn't have time to play with you." Her sister impatiently retorted.
Looking up at her older sister, not batting an eye, my four year old replied, "Jesus always has time for me."
I was raising both my girls to know and love Jesus, yet one came away thinking Jesus was too busy for not only frivolous play, but He was too busy to have any interest in the things she cared about, unless, of course she really needed Him. While the other believed that Jesus had all the time in the world for her, and cared enough about her to take the time to sit on the floor and play with her.
What do you believe?
Do you believe Jesus doesn't care about you or that he is too busy to take note of the things that are important to you?
Or do you embrace the heart of a young child, who knows, without a doubt, that Jesus always has time for her—always cares for her—always loves her?
What you believe will make a difference in how you live your life, and will determine the level of anxiety you carry.
We get these things in our heads that just aren’t true. For example, we buy into the lie that says, “In order for God to love me, or be pleased with me, I have to be successful” And we measure this success by earthly standards. But God is not after our earthly results, He is after our obedience—our hearts. He wants us to come to a place that says, “No matter what happens, no matter what doesn’t happen—Jesus is enough.”
Are you saying to yourself, “I’m a failure because I’m not having success or victory in this area?”
If you answered ‘yes,’ you are in good company. Just recently I bought into this lie. For some reason, I wasn’t having any opportunity to minister to the women or sell any books at a women's event. It’s not that I go to conferences to sell books, but I know what God has done in my life through writing these books, and I desperately long to share that with other women.
Halfway through the day, I began to hear a voice say, “you don’t belong here.”
As tears began to form, I sat down behind the event table and said to myself over and over, “No matter what happens, whether I sell any books or not, Jesus is enough…Jesus is enough…Jesus is enough.” I just kept saying it over and over until I started to believe it.
Within minutes of my confession, the voice in my head grew silent and women began to surround the table. For the remainder of the event, the Lord opened doors of opportunity to share my heart and share the books.
What we allow to come into our hearts and minds will make us or break us. The enemy lies to all of us, especially in moments of weakness, and works hard to bring doubt and discouragement by attacking our faith and our identity in Christ. But he will not succeed if we cling to God’s faithfulness, and kick those lying thoughts out of our minds with words of praise, and the belief that “No matter what, Jesus is enough!”
“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The other day I learned a hard lesson in committing my mind to Christ. I did something I regretted, and thoughts plagued my mind, making me feel very uncomfortable. After some prayer, I decided to send an email and take responsibly for a problem I caused, and asked to recertify the error on my part by offering to make restitution. Immediately after, I felt better, as if something had lifted off me.
Then next morning, more nagging thoughts returned. I couldn’t stop thinking about the trouble I caused. It felt as if the enemy of my soul was standing before the throne of God accusing me. I knew God had forgiven me and did not condemn me. Yes, the day before it was His Spirit convicting me of the error, but once I took responsibility the conviction lifted. But this was different. No matter what I did, I couldn’t shake those thoughts.
The Bible tells us to “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ,” but how do we do that when our thoughts are like a swarm of stinking bees we can’t swat away?
Here is what I learned: The nagging thoughts stopped when…
Have thoughts you can’t shake?
This morning I watched someone I love be swallowed up with fear. Not a type of fear that stemmed from a life altering circumstance, but a fear that said, “I’m afraid to do this.” And the more he talked about what laid ahead, the more tread came into his heart and voice. The terror was too much for him, and the stress of it all showed up on his white-washed face. Fear had become his master, and he didn’t know how to calm the alarming thoughts that plagued his mind. Without knowing what to say, I held him and prayed over him until I began to feel the tension leave his body. Afterward I helped him create a plan for the dreaded task ahead. An hour later, he called, and the relief in his voice said that all had gone well.
What are you afraid of? Do you allow that fear to stop you, or do you push through the anxiety and do it anyway? Jesus tells us in His word 365 times to not be afraid. Why? Because He is with us and He will help us do whatever we need to do. He will give us the strength we need to take a stand, to do the hard thing, to fight fear with faith and come out on the other side victorious.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strenghtn you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
If you are like me, you want to control everything. Letting go is difficult for me. Let’s face it, there are certain things I want, and certain things I want a certain way. For years, I even looked at prayer as a way to get what I wanted from God. After all, if God really loved me, He would give me what I wanted, right?
Unfortunately, most the time, I didn’t get what I wanted, and it was hard for me to understand “why” the things that I had prayed for didn’t work out the way I hoped. I cannot tell you how many times I questioned God, especially when I knew it would have been so easy for Him to have done it my way. However, the constant questioning only created a deep inner turmoil, and the only way I ever felt peace over an uncontrollable situation, was to let it go and trust God for the outcome.
For nine months, after learning my granddaughter’s due date, I begged God to not let her be born on Halloween. I hate Halloween, and the last thing I wanted to do was spend the next several years celebrating Halloween themed birthday parties. As her due date drew closer, I had a confident hope that God would honor my request. At 6:30am, the morning prior to the dreaded day, the phone rang. It was our daughter informing us she had gone into labor and was at the hospital.
Joyfully, I began to get ready, positive there was still plenty of time for the baby to come before midnight. As I rushed to get dressed, I started having this sinking feeling: She wasn’t going to be born today. My heart dropped as I struggled with the thought that my daughter could give birth on the 31st. Then immediately this verse came to my heart: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). Suddenly I began to realize that God made every day good. This was the day He had chosen, before He laid the foundation of the world, for her to be born. Every day of her life was already written in His book, even before one of them came to be. It was a true Job moment. It was as if God was asking me, just as He had asked Job, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? (Job 38:4).
With this revelation I began to let go, and the more I let go of what I wanted, the more peace flooded my heart. Yes, she was born after midnight, and I watched it happen. I was there for her mother’s very long labor, and I was standing right there when that precious child came into this world. And you know what, at that moment, Halloween was the furthest thing from my mind.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.