Posts Tagged trust

Not-So-Subtle Reminders

Over time we do adjust to new “normals.” But then we’re going along just fine and BAM! we get sideswiped by life. Today I had too many subtle reminders that I do not live a life like others. We enjoyed a few short months of freedom with the van before it broke down only to go back to the harsh reality that we have lost that freedom once again. Thankfully where we live has a service called CART which allows us to schedule rides. They offer a wonderful service and it is nice to be able to get out. There’s still a lot of limitations, but at least we can go some. We’ve been going Monday and Thursday nights to taekwondo. This was my first “slap in the face” today – I called to schedule a ride so I could get in a Saturday class to get ready for belt testing. Class is at 10:15 – the buses don’t run until 10 making it impossible for me to attend class on Saturday mornings. I was so disappointed. I felt so trapped.

Today’s other not-so-subtle reminder had to do with my cell phone. It broke late last night – I have no idea what is wrong with it but it won’t turn on. I know the aide comes at 11:30 and the nurse is coming today at 1:30. That gives me two hours to hop on my bike and try to find the Sprint store and see if I can get the phone fixed. The aide comes nearly 15 minutes late. That is not huge – but it cuts a big hole into what little time I had to start with. And of course, in order to see about the phone I have to skip my run for the day and put off grabbing some groceries for another time. I know she knew I was mad – but I don’t think she had a clue how much her inconsideration screwed up my day.

Thirdly, the store wasn’t where it was “supposed” to be. And since I don’t have a phone I can’t check the map once I get in the vicinity. Oh how dependent we’ve become on mobility devices! I’m beyond frustrated as I head back home empty handed. I talk for about an hour with the phone company but I cannot get a phone overnight. It was a horrible experience trying to get another phone. It took forever and I am still phoneless until next week.

These subtle reminders were tough on me today. I feel like I’m back in prison after enjoying a little bit of freedom. Almost like God was teasing me. “Here’s what you’ve been missing – enjoy. Oh – never mind – you can’t really have it!” I know He is not that way – but that is the way I feel.

Sometimes I think it would be better to not try and get out… just stay in the cave! But I don’t have a “quit” button. And I know Chris needs socialization – he’s ready for it. So I will continue to do what is needed to ensure he gets what he needs. I refuse to just cave in and give up. There has to be a way to live in this situation without getting my feathers so ruffled up. But the thing is that these are all on top of all the other things going on. I have so many things on my mind (I’ll spare you the list!) that these feel so much heavier. I wonder if one of the most difficult parts of caregiving is dealing with the abnormality of it all. I know there’s not one “normal” and no two lives are alike. But we see others hopping in a car and going out to eat – headed to the movie on Saturday afternoon with their friends, or deciding to go buy groceries at the last minute. What if you run out of something essential like toilet paper? Others just take a midnight run to Wally-world and grab some more. For many caregivers these “simple” parts of life are super complicated or even impossible.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says he learned to be content in any situation. I think I may have a different learning curve! I am trying to learn to not stress out when things don’t go as planned. I’ve learned some strategies for coping and dealing with the stress of caregiving – but “content” is not a word I choose to use – yet. In this passage, Paul says he has learned to be content when he has and when he doesn’t have; when he is hungry and when he is full. He then makes a statement that is a favorite in most Bible believing circles: I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Today I probably didn’t exhibit quite the Christ-like spirit (poor phone guy) – so I will scrape myself up and dust myself off and move on. In our weakness – He is strong; even when I don’t feel Him being strong. So I’m back to just simple trust. I have to trust that He has this – that He has me – and He has my back. Even though I can’t feel His presence – and I don’t see Him working on my behalf right now – I have to trust He is. I think I am learning that this is the highest level of trust — to continue to believe when you can’t see a thing. That would be faith..in its purest form.

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Faith is a Funny Thing

Anyone who has read this blog much at all knows I am frank and honest about my questions and faith. I’ve explained before that I’ve felt like God broke a major trust. After all, I trusted Him with my children’s safety and He let me down. I’ve rethought my faith, redefined faith and scratched my head a lot. But the funny thing is that just about the time I’m ready to just give it up – something happens. Today it was one of my Chinese students that got me riled up.

He asked me a question about music I think it was, and I mentioned church somewhere. That threw us into a very exciting discussion about religion in general. I learned a few points about Buddhism, and he learned a lot about Christianity. I love these types of thought-provoking discussions. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to argue and try to convince the other party of anything – let’s just think it through.

When I am in my down spots I really battle with depression and being sick of late has not helped at all. I am taking care of Chris but forgot to give myself the same careful attention. Now I’m paying for it and it just makes the load more difficult. It takes me back to trying to figure out where I am with my faith. I know I don’t believe what I used to believe – but what do I believe?

So my student tells me he is not religious at all. He thinks God is just a convenience that we create when we don’t have anywhere else to run. I was rather surprised at some of my emotions as I began the whole creation argument. Needless to say it was a great conversation! And I really enjoyed it!

But it really got me to thinking again about faith and what it really means – better yet – what it means from here. My life is far from “normal” and lacking in many ways. There’s not a “fix” that can make any aspect of it any better. But even during those dark nights of the soul where I feel like He has abandoned me – there’s that thread of hope and faith that has been evident throughout my life that won’t let me just let go. During the times where I am at my lowest and I’m wondering where He went – I still find myself running to Him rather than away. Honestly, sometimes that is very frustrating.

He does not answer every prayer with the answers we want – and I really think He does not answer all of them period. Maybe He just listens. Maybe He wants us to work it all out on our own – I’ve heard that makes us strong – not that I have any particular interest in being considered strong – Personally, I’d really rather have my answer! (smile)

I guess it is always going to come back to  choosing whether or not to trust Him in every situation. Those words can simply roll out of my mouth but in actuality they are much more difficult. Can I trust Him and continue in faith when the furnace gets hotter? What about when I get sick too – the ultimate defeat for the caregiver; can I trust Him then?

My heart stays broken – but with every little piece I will cry I’m gonna figure out how to trust Him.

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Trust vs. Fear – Which will win?

Things are actually going pretty good and I’m seeing a lot of progress in Chris of late. Actually, I’ve been thinking today and looking back at some of his recent pictures and it helped me realize how much progress he’s really made in just the last few weeks. He’s interacting more and today I’m so very confident that he was saying “mom.” I was working at the computer (as usual) and he was behind me. He made a noise that sounded sort of like “mom” but I thought he was fussing because he had to cough like normal. He made the exact same sound again – I looked at him and he was looking right at me. I walked over to him to see what he might need and he did not make the sound again– pretty sure he was purposefully trying to say “mom” to get my attention. He has also been interacting more with my grandkids. They are trying to mimic some of the things I do like put his feet back up on the chair – and he’s watching them as they try to move his legs. He even kicked for them the other night… so why do I still bottom out?

I really don’t know why my emotions can just drop out and leave me stranded like they do. Over the last few months I’ve come up with some strategies to help out – like changing up my day or my plans as soon as I realize I’ve hit a wall. Today wasn’t too bad – but I just didn’t feel productive when it comes to my actual work. Tutoring is okay – I always get that done of course – it’s the writing that I get behind on and just can’t seem to keep up. There is absolutely no motivation sometimes to get things done. Today I felt so un-productive!

But then I thought about it for a while and realized that what I should really be concentrating on is all I have got done today. That helps a little. Another thing I have worked on is concentrating on working on me – I help everyone else but I forget to take care of me. I’m mostly talking exercise here. It’s the one thing that gets cut first when I’m in a time crunch but I’ve re-prioritized it. I feel some better but have a long way to go to actually be better physically.

So tonight while I was on the treadmill I was thinking about all these crazy thoughts that go through my head. I’m afraid of everything. Really. I’m afraid I’m getting Chris out too much; or that I am not getting him out enough. I’m afraid I’m pushing too hard; or not pushing him enough. I am afraid to be more social; and afraid not to be…and the crazy thoughts just run through my head. I thought of the scripture in I John 4:18 – perfect love casts out all fear. When I was in the organized religious world otherwise known as the “church” I taught that perfect love could be translated as “mature.” Mature love would be a love that is returned. When we know God loves us, and we learn to love Him back – it’s perfect, or mature. But that’s not what I was thinking about…

I have no doubt that the Word of God is true which means that if I have fear – my love for Him has not yet matured. The scripture is plain – perfect love  casts out or gets rid of all fear. It doesn’t say it helps you manage fear better, or keeps fear in control. It says that when our love for Him is perfected – it runs away all fear. Now I am a logically minded person – so logically this means that if I have fear – my love is not perfected toward Him. Which raises yet more questions…

How can I trust Him again? I trust Him on some levels but can I recklessly abandon myself to Him once again? He allowed the things to happen to my son; and basically – he is gone. Unmercifully, his body is still here struggling – but he is not who he was before the wreck. Many lives changed on that day – too many to name. How can I return to trust? I know I have to start where I am – and that is not an all bad place. I totally run to Him and seek for His answers on a daily basis. I have not abandoned His word – and never will….But I honestly have trouble trusting Him with everything. It seems to me that this is precisely what messed everything up to begin with! (smile)

So for today – I don’t know how to get the fear out of my heart but as I walk through this burning furnace called life I will set my heart to understand Him more, to follow Him more closely, and to let Him cast the fear out of my heart.

 

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Maybe I’m Just Lazy

It has definitely been a random day today! I am not even sure where to start with all my crazy thoughts. Tonight was one of the many nights I crashed. Not really depressed, although that has been an issue in the past. I just go into overload mode or something and it’s like I can’t even function. It’s not indicative in any way that the day itself was bad- just maybe too much.

When I get like this (usually later at night) I’m not worth much at all. I don’t feel like doing anything. I can’t get my mind around working – words just don’t come out right – I don’t feel like running or exercising; I pretty much just don’t want to do anything. Tonight I started wondering if I’m just lazy. Maybe I don’t want to work or something. But then I thought back about my day – and all my typical days and talked myself out of it.

Nights like this I feel like I am a huge failure. I feel like I don’t get anything done. I know that this is not true – but it’s how I feel.

I did get a lot done today – just not enough. I’m nearly caught up with my work, between classes in school, and I tutored starting at 7 this morning. Chris sleeps in and I tutor in China and Taiwan. But then there is also all of the stuff I need to do for Chris. I bathe him, get him up, fix him something to eat and then feed him. Then it’s time for stretching, TENS unit, splints or other types of therapeutic activities. And that’s all just by about 11 in the morning. I still have writing to do!

I’m not lazy, I’m a caregiver! Those two really do not go together. Maybe we should classify the term “lazy caregiver” as an oxymoron. Caregiving itself is a full-time job, I have to remember that. But I still have to make a living on top of that. When Chris slept most of the time I had chunks of time to get my work done, thankfully he is awake more and more of the day and evening. But it leaves me less time to work. Not a complaint- just fact. I’m trying to figure it all out and adjust.

But it’s nights like these (and I’m having a lot of them lately) where I know I got a lot of beneficial things done, but it fell short of what needed to be done. I keep thinking “I’ll start over tomorrow” but it sure gets old. I’m wishing there was a restart button somewhere!

Sometimes I have to tell myself to be content. Paul said he was content in every state – whether there was abundance or lack etc. I have to find a way to walk in that kind of peace. I’m going to too!

I have to remind myself that I am not the Provider. God is my provider and I have to be content that He will take care of me body, soul and spirit. That’s not an easy task trusting  Him – after all I have to believe that He allowed this to happen to my son. I question over and over. But over the last 6 years I’ve learned to trust Him in the trouble – without assuming He’s going to take me away from it. No matter what is going on it comes down to the question if I am going to fully trust Him or not.

Now I may state it through clinched teeth and white knuckled hands, but it is my choice to continue to trust Him – even on nights like these. I trust He will pick me up and dust me off one more time. So as I retire tonight, I’ll be thinking about His restoring power, His ability to pick me up and put me under His protective covering and offer me His peace. I believe I’ll just rest right there – and once again – start over tomorrow. He made each day new – and His mercies are new with the morning. (You do realize that it is always morning somewhere, right?)

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To Trust is a Choice

It seems I am always trying to get myself together and it’s non-stop. I have heard others discuss the fact that when you come home from a hospital or nursing home others seem to think the crisis is over. Not for the full-time caregiver. For me it’s an ongoing lifestyle – I live in crisis mode. The crisis just started with the tragedy in 2008 – it continues to wear at me day after day. It’s not over – it’s just different. And that’s why I am continually trying to scrape myself up and make another day.

This is the time of year when I really take some time to reflect on the past 12 months and determine what things are different, where there has been improvement and where improvement is still needed. One thing that I have been working on this year is not bottoming out. Just the stress of everyday and the living grief that comes with the situation can wear me down until I hit rock bottom. I can write about it right now because I have a handle on it! lol. But there are times when the situation weighs me down and I collapse under the load. And boy does it take a huge shovel to dig my emotions back out!?!

The trouble with hitting those bottoms is that I can barely function. During the dark night of the soul I can barely get through a day. I overeat, can’t focus on my work – which causes ripples in my finances which adds even more to the load — you get the idea! So to avoid these bottom of the barrel experiences I’ve been working on strategies to prevent them. As soon as I feel my emotions take a nose dive I take action rather than waiting. I have finally learned to recognize it early on and immediately I do something different and change up my routine. I take the evening off – which is rare; or I get on the treadmill or take Chris out for a walk – anything to make a change. So far it seems to be working.

One of the ways that I see a lot of difference is that I am playing my guitar more; and I hear music in my heart more. For a time my emotions were so raw that music just made me mad. And during some very dark emotional days I was too mad at God to be able to sing; and I really didn’t care. In all honesty it’s difficult to sing sometimes when you feel that life has cheated you, raped you and been stolen from you. It can even be difficult to see where His mercy, love and grace come into play. Joy is lost.

I hear all the religious folks starting in on the joy of salvation. But in all honesty, there are times that is frustrating too. Yes – I am so elated that Jesus paid the price; thankful that I do not have to bear sin’s weight. That secures my soul for eternity – but I need to make it through today with faith intact. Eternity is taken care of – not worried about that in the least!

So I have to remind myself almost daily that He protects my soul – but He gives me the responsibility of getting and keeping everything else in line. And that’s no easy task.

One thing that I am realizing is that I just simply have to trust Him. That’s been difficult for me to work back around to since I trusted Him with my kids to begin with…and now look. Job is of course my prime example – though God slay me – yet will I trust Him. My trust has to be so deep that it surpasses the shallowness of life. It has to be deeper than what I can see with my eyes for if I use what I see and feel to measure how much I can “trust” Him with – it would be superficial as well. The heart has to be set on the fact that trust is chosen – no matter what.

Psalm 50:23 says this: He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me; and to him who orders his way aright I shall show the salvation of God. I’m learning that my “conversation” isn’t just going to right itself and thanksgiving does not always come easy. Sometimes I have to force myself to find something to be thankful for – but when I do that – it honors Him.

So that’s where I am in the journey right now. There’s really a lot going on and one of the things I’m working on (daily) is to get myself back together and keep up with my blogs again. I don’t know if anyone is reading- or if anyone cares – or if it helps anyone – but it gives me a place to leave my emotions and thoughts so I can move on.

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And Some Days are just Interesting…

Today was not really a bad day at all, we actually got to get out. That’s really easy to say – but not so easy to do! My friend helped me so that I could go to a surprise birthday party for my BIL. Chris did not do anything spectacular – but I can really tell he is getting better at getting in and out of the car. He mostly just sits there and listens to all the crazy talk going on. He used to sleep or what I call, “clock out” when it was too much for him. Now he does not interact he just sits real still and seems uncomfortable – but he was awake the entire time so that’s good. It sure makes me miss him though. He could have everyone laughing at nearly nothing just by the way he would tell stories. It still hurts my heart to see him sit in a social setting and not move, speak or interact. But at least we were out for a little while.

We are going to try to go out again tomorrow night to another birthday party. It’s for my friend and it’s at a restaurant. We’ll just have to see how he does. I get so apprehensive about taking him out – especially in public like that. I get nervous about parking and loading and unloading him, how difficult it will be to get him in and out of the restaurant, will people stare… etc. And it’s important to note that just because a facility complies with ADA and makes it “accessible” does not mean it really is! But it will be good to get out.

So today I worked some this morning – I do a lot of things for work. I’ll catch you up a little bit – I am a freelance writer and am working on a couple of projects right now. I also teach ESL all around the globe. This morning I got quite a lot done. As I said yesterday I am trying to get myself back on track, so this morning I worked on my writing blog. That really felt good. I also worked on some bids for a couple of projects I’m trying to secure. I’ve really had trouble the last few months keeping up with work as I have honestly fought depression. Some of the struggle is actually coming from things going so good.. sounds funny huh?

As Chris continues to improve I have less of the big chunks of time that I used to have to complete work. He is getting up earlier now which is good since I have more time to get his therapy and exercises in – but I have less time to sit at the computer. I also decided that I must get my sleep – so I do not stay up until the wee hours of the morning anymore to complete projects. I may do that occasionally, but most of the time, I figure I can only do so much – and I’ll do all I can by 10 and that’s it for the day.

So this morning I got quite a few things done and taught one English class before time to get Chris up for his “first shift.” It rained too – and I opened the windows and enjoyed the fresh air. I was talking to Chris about how I missed just sitting out on the porch and listening to it rain while having a deep philosophical question over coffee. I just keep telling him I love him – and I do love him just like he is – even though I really wish all this hadn’t happened to him. I thought about all the stuff he used to do – drums, guitar, writing music, making jokes, etc. But I don’t love him for what he can “do” – I just love him – I thought about how we tend to love people for what they do not for who they are – or not just because they are. I think I know this from another angle too — when I can do stuff for people – I am “loved” but when I can no longer do those things I can feel like I am shoved to the side and ignored.

How do we treat people? Do we love them just for what they can do for us? Maybe we love God like that too…just sayin’. Do we love Him and praise Him when He is “doing” all the right things according to our thinking? Do we rejoice only when our bank accounts are full, we are healthy, have plenty of food and things are going great in our lives? Or can we love Him just because He is- regardless of what we think He “does” for us? On the surface it seems like a very simple question with a very simple answer. But it’s not really.

Job’s wife told him to “curse God and die.” She didn’t like what she saw and she measured God by life. I want to be able to praise Him no matter what He “does” in my life. When He is silent – I want to praise Him. When He seems inactive – I want to adore Him. When He didn’t protect me like I thought He should – I still want to trust Him. Like I said – easier than it sounds.

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A Different View of Love

I won’t even try to update you on everything – just suffice it to say that I will be trying to keep up with this a little better. It’s sort of irrelevant if anyone reads or not; I need it too! Writing helps me sort out my thoughts and get them all in one place and hopefully on one page.

This has been an exceptionally trying week for me. It started with a horrible wreck. I take those a lot harder since Christopher’s wreck anyway. But this one involved an officer that the whole community has been following. He had been injured trying to break up a bar fight. His neck was broken and he was slowly beginning to regain his mobility. He had therapy at Jim Thorpe where Chris goes and I had spoken with him at a couple of races. He was a very kind man and the community was behind him as he stood and took his first steps recently.But his life ended in the wreck and it hit me very hard.

Then of course the Boston Marathon bombing really got to me too. Who would have ever thought? It certainly adds a new dynamic (and one more reason to run) to the OKC Memorial marathon coming up next week. Plus the huge explosion in Texas.. my emotions were all over the place this week and once again I bottomed out.

It’s really bad when I bottom out because I go into shut down mode and can’t get my work done. But I began to sort it out this week and realized I am really battling with depression. I think it is common with caregivers; but I still have had to figure out how to function. So I am working on all that….but in the process I really learned something in a totally different arena this week.

I have talked about how I understand the love that held Christ to the cross- it’s the love that keeps the caregiver sort of imprisoned and bound to their loved one. But this week while sorting through some things I learned something else. I was thinking about how relationships have changed since that tragic day in November 2008. I was thinking about how to overcome the loneliness (also common to caregivers); how to battle depression and how to win at this race called life. In the process I was also thinking about Chris and how he can do so very little for himself.

In my thinking I was also thinking about who he was before the accident. Then my mind started to think about how I love this Chris too. Of course he can’t actually do anything for me now – he can’t throw out all those philosophical questions that would keep us up all night drinking coffee and looking for answers! He can’t share his latest lyrics or song with me. He’s not the same Chris – but I still love him.

That’s when I got it. So many times in life we love someone for what they do – not who they are. I loved Chris’ music, his humor, his thinking, etc. But it’s the love for HIM that drives me to care for him day in and day out, through thick and thin. I also thought of all the people who loved him when he was in school at NSU. I know they genuinely “loved” him. But they do not know what to do with him if he can’t do the things he was doing before.

So this made me think about how God loves us – not what we do. Maybe we can write and play songs – perhaps that’s even a gift. No problem – but that’s not what God loves about us…He loves us. He loves past our doing…

Flip Side–do we love God for what He does? Or do we love Him just because we love Him? We can measure many things by what God does especially in our western culture. If we have money,houses and cars; He has blessed us. If we have a good time at church, He “showed up”. If we are spared an inconvenience, or had a close call, He was watching out for us. These are all great “experiences” but are we loving Him solely for what He does? What if He didn’t “do” anymore? If we didn’t feel His presence, had to drive an older car, friends walk away, or we have a wreck? Job faced these things – he lost everything – literally.But he clung to God even in his darkest night. He served God because He is God, not just for what He could do.

I’ve been thinking about this over the last couple of days. I’ve also shared of my trust issues with God because before I felt like that trust had been broken. I thought God was protecting my kids and He let me down. I’m learning that trust, faith and now love have nothing to do with circumstances. Unfortunately we are taught to measure spiritual success by circumstances. Too bad for Job, huh? I want to learn more – I want to love and trust God just because I believe He is there….He already “did” stuff for me He rescued my soul from the clutches of darkness. That’s wonderful – but I’m ready to know more about Him…I want to love Him for WHO He is – not just what He does.

This has been a very trying journey…and it’s not even close to over. I figure I’ll take care of Chris until I can’t anymore then we’ll go to the nursing home together! But I have learned so much during this trial. My faith has been rewritten, love is different and I view many things (like church and friendship) much differently than ever before. I am not thankful that this has happened to my son. But I am thankful that God has continued to reveal Himself to me even as I learn about life in Him from the furnace.

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Somebody Must Be Pregnant…

It’s a family joke that when I have a terrible day where things happen one right after another usually someone in the family ends up being pregnant! Besides that title sounded better than Mad as Hell…so as not to offend my real religious friends.

It seemed like every little thing was going wrong today you know – little things like light bulbs going out, knocking a chunk out of the top of my head while cleaning the back porch, weed eaters that don’t work, and the hammer falling out of the closet and hitting me right between my eyes on my forehead…for starters… just a lot of stupid little things. The trouble is that when I run all stretched out each one serves as a reminder that I have not yet removed a few choice words from my vocabulary! When I am already stretched to the max it does not take much, so today was just yuck.

On another note, the nurse called today and said she’s finally coming to see Chris tomorrow…for what I don’t know. I am all prepared to tell her that home health agencies that don’t care are a dime a dozen and I can make one short call to the Advantage hotline and have them in a whirlwind. It’s kind of a long story that has taken about 4 months to come together. So the short version based on what I have learned is that back in May when Chris’ PEG tube was malfunctioning all they had to do was put him in “home health” so they could replace it…instead they let me stew over how little he was getting to eat for a week before the hospital could “work him in” to get it changed.. that’s the short version of a very long trying story.

So a couple of weeks ago it had to be replaced again and they knew the site was infected and instead of helping me like they should we again had to take an alternate route to getting it replaced. I am leaving out details here on purpose… but I could make heads roll had I been vindictive. Anyway now he has a finger that he keeps all scrunched up and it looks really bad and I feel like I have no one to call. The dr’s office has been better but basically says they don’t handle it – whatever it is … if I can get a person at all. And of course the home health won’t touch him right now. I feel so stuck…I wish I was a millionaire and could pay for good care! But I’m not so I am sort of stuck. I feel like I am becoming a B….loaded for bear just daring someone to say the wrong thing! lol…

Why can’t people just do their jobs? And why can’t they do it with passion – with a heart? It seems like everyone just wants a paycheck; but they do not really want to put any effort in it – just work passively 9 to 5 and who cares about anything else? …just feel stuck and sort of out of options.

So my thoughts instinctively go to Psalm 127 where the psalmist spoke of God being my help. I even wrote a song about it back when Chris was in ICU. I know I will work through it somehow to end up in faith…but He doesn’t seem to be much help. There’s been no “miracle.” I pray for the place on the inside of Chris’ elbow to heal…and it grows worse and he grows combative when I try to put the braces on that can help him. The finger looks no better tonight and I actually am afraid since I cannot get any response that he could actually lose it. Yet I do not see God step in…why? What’s wrong with me? He has healed many crippled people before…healed lepers, the woman who touched the hem of His garment. Am I not reaching high enough, hard enough, long enough? My strength is gone…

Tonight I just feel so alone…so betrayed…but oh well.

I have a couple of orders that are rush orders so I have plenty to keep my mind busy late into the night. Just waiting…on what I am not sure. But God said when we wait for Him He will renew our hope and our strength. I know the 120+ in the upper room did not know exactly what they were waiting for either…but they knew when it came. So tonight…I just wait maybe He will answer.

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Just General Craziness

I know I have not blogged in a while. It’s funny, I started the blog to share my journey of how I keep faith in the middle of the furnace. I wanted others (and myself) to know that just because terrible things happen to us along the journey of life does not mean we do not have faith. But in the process I found that it helped me to have a place to put my emotions and then walk away. Then I think the pendulum swung the other way and I did not feel I wanted to be so open with my thoughts, feelings and emotions – none of which seemed too safe at times.

Some of that is due to one part of the journey that we as caregivers always have to deal with; people who we thought were friends and who walk away. And sometimes it is not so much that they desert us as they really do not know what to do with the “new” us and since we cannot be the “way we were” they cannot continue the relationship for whatever reason. I have found that those who wanted to stay connected with me even in this fiery trial have managed to be friends with the new me. Is it different? Yup – way different. Am I different? Yup – way different. But I really do understand.

I know I am the same person. I still like to play games and will still occasionally stay up a little too late playing the Wii just because I enjoy it so much. I still like to hike even though I rarely get to.  I like to kid, to talk, to read, play, sing, to love and to live. It just looks very different from here. But I found some freedom a few weeks back that has really helped me deal with the sort of prison I chose, or found myself in however you want to look at it.

As anyone who follows this sporadic blog knows, I am a runner. My first full marathon is 3 weeks from today! Yay! I had slipped into thinking that I was not allowed a life like others. And on one hand this is very true. I am home most of the time and it is can be difficult planning any sort of outing. But just because it is very difficult – does not mean I cannot do it. So I started getting out more. This can be costly when I have a race planned and family is unavailable…but I can do it! When I started telling myself that I can do what I want – it just takes more work to accomplish – I found a freedom in that somehow.

Anyway – as part of my withdrawal I simply had to find myself. The “new” or different self…And what’s cool – is I actually like myself. I don’t mind hanging out with my weird self. And over these last almost 4 years now I have learned a lot and do not need someone else’s acceptance. I have learned a lot about relationships; some people do not have whatever it takes to walk along someone who lives in a situation like this and that’s okay. It’s a long, painful and unpleasant road and not everyone can walk it with you. Jesus found that out too. The ones He poured Himself into while on earth could not handle the cross He bore.

I can’t say I have settled down  any, but I think in some ways I have become calmer. I have found out that many things in life just don’t matter that much. And other things matter a whole lot! My whole relationship with God is different. Sure I have had some times when I was very angry with Him and let Him know – as if He didn’t already. I guess something I have been thinking about this week helped me find some peace. Right before the wreck Chris was talking a lot about how he was okay with it if God didn’t want him to play the drums anymore. I hated it when he said it – but I did not know why. I know Chris had changed a lot that year before the wreck and I guess this week as I was thinking about some of the things he had said…Chris is okay with God. He made this peace before it all happened. He had already given up his drums and his life. I remember he shared one time that he was just a cup and God could pour out of him any way He desired to because the cup is never in charge of what goes in – or when it comes out. Somehow thinking back about all that helped me find a little piece this week.

I think one of the most difficult things about this journey is that Chris is gone — but he’s here. I have shared before about how I grieve over the loss, but cannot move on because it’s not gone either. It’s a very crazy emotional place to be in. But this week – I think no matter what I just love my son. Even though he is different, he is my son.

Maybe that’s how God feels about the church we see today. It’s dysfunctional (I don’t care what you say!) we haven’t even figured out His intense love for us…how do we expect to get any of the “big” stuff? lol I am finding that’s it’s just fine for me and God to hang out a lot. Is it okay when we can hang out with believers? Sure…but if my relationship with God is dependent on others, I have a stronger relationship with them than I do with Him. I made a lot of mistakes back in my “church-serving” days. My intent was to serve God and I think He was okay with it. But I ended up giving myself to the establishment instead of the Establisher. I’m actually kinda comfortable where all this has landed me right now… it’s not too bad…I know He walks with me..through the floods, and through the fire; not around them – but through them. And you know what’s really crazy? That’s just become okay with me; I couldn’t think of better company in the furnace, in the lion’s den than Him!

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Faith during the Storm

I know I have not posted for a while, but I just needed a break I think. Sometimes I feel like sharing here is a negative and I in no way ever want to be pessimistic or have readers think that. But in reality finding faith in the midst of the furnace is not always an easy thing. And that was really why I started this blog to begin with – to share the journey of faith even from the fires of life. Honestly, there have been times when I started out writing an entry and I wasn’t too sure I would come to a point of faith by the end of it. But usually once I got started faith always seemed to appear. It’s not so easy in the day-to-day walking it out though. There are many struggles that I face mostly every day and for several reasons I decided not to share it with the world for a while.  But I figure I will pick it back up and realize that each computer is equipped with a “back” button so you do not have to read if you don’t want to. But for those who need help finding perspective and faith in the midst of the furnace – I will continue to write. Perhaps I can help myself sort through to faith as well! lol.

Each day I deal with a huge range of emotions…that never stops. I can be so excited at the small bit of progress I see in Chris each day and still grieve over the son I lost. That is an ongoing battle that never ceases for me. Sometimes it is worse than others and most days I can suck it up to get through the day. But it seems like most of the time the situation casts a shadow over all of life; even other joyous occasions. But that’s just the way it is. Of course I always have the prayer that it will be different some day – any day. But my mind nags at me and seeing him sit here in a chair inactive wears on my mind and tries to convince me that there will never be a different day. I get caught between the two – not willing to give up hope yet having to deal with the day-to-day realities.

Some days are indeed better than others and there are days where Chris shows lots of progress. Those are encouraging days for sure. But how do I prepare for the future when I do not know what it might look like? I started a Master’s program online and I argue with myself while completing every lesson. Why am I doing this? I do not know that there will ever be a day where I can rejoin the “real” workforce. I am going to owe Sallie-Mae for the rest of my life. lol. – no really! Because what I really want to do when I finish this Masters in Health Education is complete one in nutrition as well. But I have this nagging why that won’t go away. Technically I have one more week to decide but I am no quitter – plus I have an A in my first class so far…

Then there  is the freelance work. It’s been a blessing really to find a way to generate some income. But when my emotions get fried I just stare at the computer and can’t seem to find the energy to write on topics that mean nothing to me. But I am learning to suck it up once again and get the work done as I have this nasty habit to support – I like to eat!

Pretty much there is nothing easy in my life. This apartment sometimes feels like a prison from which there is no escape. Other times it feels more like a refuge from the rest of life. Most of the time these days I feel more like I am safe and away from having to deal with many parts of life. I want to withdraw and not worry about any type of socialization.(which doesn’t happen much anyway) I think I have finally lost the need to live a social life like “the rest of the world.” I am usually content to just sit here. But there are times when I get glimpses of life as it used to be and I miss it. Like when I hear others talking about going to a movie – or going out to eat with friends it makes this little twinge in my heart because I miss life. But since nothing can be done about it I must learn to be content where I am.

I have started paying an aid to sit with Chris a couple of times a month so I can run a race or two. But boy did that put a crunch on my budget! Now a race that is about 25 bucks costs me 75 or so when the sitter is added in. That’s put a hurt on my racing schedule let me tell you! And in those moments where I realize I am sort of trapped – it all crashes in on me again. I just want to sit and sip coffee and stare at the wall…for no reason.

Now that is all the tip of the surface of the types of emotions I have to work through every day. You see the fluctuations? That is pretty constant, only I simply gave my readers a brief overview. For real. How do I deal? I am learning once again that I must run to Him. I have to try to learn how to trust Him with my emotions. I wrote this morning in my devotion for caregivers from Matthew 11 – where Jesus bid his followers to come to Him and find rest for their souls. That’s what I am learning…that He can provide rest for my mind, will and emotions. No matter how rocky they are I can find peace in Him. Sometimes it is only for a few seconds but if I can grab that peace I can make it for a few more steps. It is certainly a journey like most that must be taken one step at a time. And for now – I will cling to Him and trust that He can help me quiet my soul so that I can rest in Him…and trust in Him one more time.

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