Saturday, August 26, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: Going the Distance Even When It's a Struggle

A few days ago, I wrote about the night I emptied my dining room and wept because of what was ahead. The next day, my neighbor, Sam, would move into my house so that I could care for him in his final days. I knew it wouldn't be easy.

He's gained strength and has begun to walk with his walker again. Good care and plenty of food have made a big difference.

I wish I could say that those pre-move tears were the only ones I've shed, but they aren't. This is a hard journey for both of us. Sam struggles with the frailty of his body after so many decades of strength. I struggle with the limitations and changes in my home and schedule after so many decades of freedom.

This is a tough journey.

Yesterday, I struggled all day long. There was nothing different I wanted to do, but I felt pressured and overwhelmed. I cried. I prayed. I read the story of Ruth. I worked on my upcoming teaching session. I emailed my coworkers and begged for prayer. Nothing helped. I still felt frantic.

In the back of my mind, the topic I was teaching hovered, but I didn't want to touch it. It would've helped if I had. Instead, I left Sam to his own devices for a while and went to the barn. I unloaded hay bales to the hay room until my muscles ached, cleaned out the tool box on the truck, took a walk, and ate the last fudgsicle. 

The topic I wanted to avoid is from the book entitled, 5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn't Quit. The habit I'm teaching is: "She follows through with her commitments despite how she feels."

Yeah. Right. It makes me laugh, too. 

Yesterday, I didn't feel like doing it for one minute longer. Next Wednesday night, I'll teach that a woman who doesn't feel like it follows through anyway. Today, I'll walk that truth out in living color. 

For the most part, I'm fine. I know I'm called to this and I have a lot of grace to do it. How much help would my teaching be, though, if I'd never followed through with something I didn't feel like doing?

I know what that's like from recent, won't-be-able-to-forget-for-a-while experience.

This morning, I'm thanking God for the struggle of yesterday. On Wednesday, I'll stand before those ladies as a woman who has followed through with her commitment despite how she feels. When I teach, they'll know I'm not just spouting words. I'm sharing the walk of faith I've traveled.

Today, I slept late. In a few minutes, I'll take care of Sam for the morning and, if he's feeling well, I'll load him in my truck and go to the tractor store for an air filter. If not, I'll do what needs to be done and get the air filter later.

It's just a season, not a lifetime, and God has more than enough grace for me to follow through as far as He needs me to go. 

Maybe you have commitments you're tired of keeping, too. We all reach that point from time to time. It's okay to feel that way, but it's very important to keep our word. Why? Because we have a God who does what He says. If we're to be like Him, we'll do what we say, too.

I know there are times when we can't do what we say, but I'm not there. I've had a whiney, selfish moment (well, longer than a moment...more like a day) but that doesn't change the commitment. It doesn't change what I intend to do.

I want to be that woman, that person...the one God can count on to do what she's said she'll do, despite how she feels. Don't you? 

We become that woman with one act of obedience at a time. One little step, followed by one more and one more. Today, I'll take a little step, and another, and another...before you know it, I'll have gone the distance. Quitting may depend on our feelings, but persevering depends on our faith. 

We walk by faith, not sight, and that's what I intend to do today. What about you?

"For we walk by faith, and not by sight... Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him." 2 Corinthians 5:7,9 nkjv
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When Catastrophe Was Just Barely Avoided

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