Thursday, August 24, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: The Rollercoaster of Joy in Obedience

Little more than four weeks ago, I sat in my freshly-emptied dining room and wept. I waited for the hospital bed, oxygen compressor, and death to arrive.  Sam Wiley, my neighbor and former employee was moving to my home for his final days. 

That night, I expected our remaining time together would be short. Now, I'm not so sure, and I'm okay with that. 

It's amazing what love and good food can do. Sam's gained weight and hope, strength and peace. 

Not every day is good, of course. One day this week, he was so confused he didn't know where he was, so weak he couldn't stand up. Yesterday, his mind was perfectly clear. He was stronger, able to stand without assistance, and walk using his walker. 

This journey of caregiving is a rollercoaster with valleys of grief and peaks of great joy.

I wouldn't change it for anything, because God is changing me through this "short term mission trip" of caregiving. 

I'm so much more aware of the blessings God bestows with such lavish abandon...things for which we rarely give thanks. Even the way the seeds are arranged in the watermelon have been a blessing to me...the short hair that dries fast on my dogs...the countless stories God has given me that are literally bulging out of file cabinets and, on re-reading, surprise me with His grace all over again.

I am shockingly, outrageously blessed. I'm trying hard to thank God for every single blessing, but it's impossible, for there are far too many to list, even in prayer.

Yesterday, as I wrote my most-days-update for Home Office, I realized I'm living in the zone I most love...

where I'm breathing the breath of God and seeing His hand in mine on a daily basis...

where the answer to my prayer is on its way before it's out of my mind, much less my mouth...

Even when I'm exhausted and collapsing, I know how blessed I am, and I'm unutterably grateful to be doing exactly what I'm doing, exactly where I'm doing it, and in this very unexpected but beautiful way.

Yes, I have bedside commodes to empty, a patient to lift, meals to prepare and puree, and mountains of laundry to wash, but I hope I never go back to the frantic-paced life I had before this sweet time. 

I know this oasis of good days won't last forever. Even in the hard days, though, there is such sweetness in this service. Because I'm doing exactly what I'm called to do, there is more than enough grace, strength, and love for every day. 

People often ask me, "How are you doing this?" and I always say, "I'm called to it, and God's helping me." I wasn't afraid at the start, and I'm not afraid now, but there was a time when fear could have prevented this sweet place in my life.

When God calls us to something difficult, the enemy of our souls wants to prevent it at all costs because of how God will use our obedience, both in us and in those who watch us obey. Fear is a common tactic. "That's too hard." "It will be terrible work." "You'll be trapped in your house for months."

It's nothing more than a tactic. We don't have to embrace it. There's no need to disobey when fear comes knocking.

Has God called you to do something that seems hard? Does fear threaten when you consider obedience? You can be certain of one thing. Fear does not come from God. If fear hovers, refuse its temptation and follow where God leads.

Hard or easy, He has promised to be with us, no matter where He leads. I know that from experience. He is here, on good days and on hard ones, and His presence makes it worth it. 

Today, let's consider what God has called us to do. Does it seem hard? Do it any way. Is it overwhelming? Press on anyway. Are we afraid? Walk past fear and follow. The path of obedience may seem like a rollercoaster some days, but it's a path filled with joy, and it's worth it.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for Thou art with me." Psalm 23:4 nasb
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Caregiver Chronicles: The Four Week Anniversary 

If you're new to this series, you can read about how it started here: When the Time to Move Finally Comes

If you feel led to partner with this ministry (US, Middle East, the digital world), here's the link to give your tax-deductible donations: Global Outreach Acct 4841 

Or you can mail your check or money order to: Global Outreach/ PO Box 1, Tupelo MS 38802. Be sure to put Account 4841 in the "for" line.

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