Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Caregiver Chronicles: When You Have to Keep Choosing to Go the Distance


Sam felt so great on Sunday that I decided to surprise my office by joining them for prayer time at 8:30 the next morning. Monday, Sam was up early and already dressed by the time I'd sent the blog out. We made it for prayer time, and Sam joined in with a short testimony. He served at the office by puttering around in the wheelchair, carrying boxes from one office to another on the other side of the building. 

It was the best day ever.

Yesterday, though, wasn't so good. I won't go into the details, because Sam deserves some privacy, but it was horrible. The nurses were here early to help and had serious concerns about our future. It was time to think about whether Sam needed to go to a nursing home, our nurse gently suggested. 

It was that bad.

I cried buckets of tears. My friend sent her husband over to sit with us. I left him with Sam and went to the barn to work and pray. (That's a prime intercession place for me.) 

There was a part of me that thought we'd hit a place too scary to go through. I was sorely tempted to go with what she said. Even Sam said it was too much. "Put me somewhere," he suggested, but I know he didn't mean it.

It came down to this: What did God want?

He took me back to the time when I was deciding whether to join Global Outreach as a missionary or not. In case you've ever wondered, being a missionary is seriously hard. It's also gloriously wonderful. You don't get the glorious without the gut-wrenching, though, so you have to be sure it's what God wants. 

I agonized about my decision for weeks. It wasn't until God spoke in a clear way that I made my choice. The delay was frustrating to some people, but I had to be sure, because I know about hard times and the desire to walk away. 

A hard time came up right away, moments before my appointment service. If I hadn't been certain God had called me to it, I'd have walked out the door and never looked back. But I was sure, and I stayed, and I'm glad I did. 

That's where I was with Sam yesterday, at the hard moment when it's time to decide whether to persevere or make a change.

Here's what I decided:
1) God can handle any hard time I face. (Psalm 46:1)
2) Being afraid is not a reason to run. It's a reason to repent, because fear isn't from God. (2 Tim. 1;7)
3) God's grace is made perfect in my weakness, and in Sam's. (2 Cor. 12:9)
4) I have an offensive weapon, which is the word of God (the sword of the Spirit), and I know how to use it. (Ephesians 6:17)
5) 4) I'm called to be a warrior, not a quitter. I'm also called to care for Sam. (2 Cor. 10:3-4)
6) I don't have to conquer all the days of Sam's life today. All I have to do today is today. (Matthew 6:34)
7) This is the most important of all - We have a testimony to protect. We've both said God is carrying us through and, if we believe that, there's no reason to quit. (Isaiah 40:11) 

The good of Monday far outweighed the bad of Tuesday. One hard day doesn't make a life. I know that, but I forgot it for a little while yesterday.

We're pressing on, but we're to a point that's harder than ever. It requires more time, more wisdom, more care on my part. 

We'll need more prayer, too, so I'm counting on all those who've enjoyed Sam's stories over the years to pray us through. 

I write as if I am the only one in a tough place. I'm not, and I know that perfectly well. If you're going through a hard time, too, take heart. Our God has overcome this world. He is more than able to see you through. Press on. 

Here's the verse we're counting on, and it's one you can cling to, as well:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."Deuteronomy 31:6 niv
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: What Your View of God Reveals About Your Faith 

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.