Monday, September 11, 2017

The Caregiver Chronicles: When You See Your Heart As It Is and You Don't Like It



The work of caregiving comes with many blessings, but it's not easy. It's night-and-day, never-stop, very-little-thanks work that sends you to the brink of exhaustion and rips at your soul. 

Fatigue battles with wisdom. It's in that soul-ripping place of exhaustion that God can do a beautiful work, if we'll allow it. (whether we're caregivers or not)

I know, because I'm there. 

Today, I'm scheduled to help with Fellowship of Christian Students at a nearby school. Our topic is Psalm 51, and I need it at least as much as the students.

David wrote these words after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin with Bathsheba. The psalm reveals a man who has seen the blackness of his soul and desires cleansing and renewal of a right relationship with God.

This morning, I've seen my own soul and found it blacker than I thought. I'm not as loving, compassionate, or patient as I believed I was. I'm not as surrendered to this work of caregiving as I hoped I would be. 

I thought I could do every act of service with great love, but I've found that my kind of great love flourishes when accompanied by appreciation on the part of the recipient. It's not as strong when the recipient is not grateful or is angry and frustrated because he wants to do what his body can't. It's not as strong when doing the hard, dirty jobs that involve unpleasant odors and bodily excretions.

It's in those moments that my heart rebels and cries, "Too hard, Lord. Too hard." And yet, if I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me, I can do this, as well. (Phil. 4:13) I know that truth, but, in the early hours of this morning, after a too-short and too-often-interrupted night, I doubted it. Resented the work. Wanted to quit. 

The roiling of my emotions threatened to overcome me, but dawn finally arrived. With it has come the joy of confession and surrender. The cleansing of forgiveness and restoration. 

This work I'm doing is for Christ alone. He, who washed the feet of the men who would betray and deny Him, has felt what I feel. Praise God He walked past His emotions to the cross that bought my pardon. Praise God, He can help me walk past my emotions all the way to the victory of a job well done. 

Confession. Surrender. Forgiveness. Restoration. This is the place we should start and end our days. It's the place that washes away the stain of sin, the pain of failure, the remorse of guilt. It makes all things new, including tired bodies and frustrated hearts.

As we begin our day, let's share in David's prayer. "Blot out my rebellion... cleanse me from my sin..." (Psalm 51:1,2 esv) Let's allow our Father to forgive and restore us so that we can do the work of love He has for us today.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
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In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: When Years of Hard Work and Progress Are Abandoned for Lawlessness
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