WHEN YOU ARE A CAREGIVER TO MANY
Ps 9:9The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
Ps 9:10Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
When you are a caregiver of many… You may begin to feel that nobody cares for you. It’s easy to become emotionally and physically exhausted to the point of whining like a victim to yourself and to God in your quiet time. And, if you find you don’t have time for quiet time anymore, you may find yourself whining to God quietly while you serve others. Then, you may begin to feel like Paul, “Oh what a wretched soul I am…I do what I don’t want to do and what I do want to do I don’t…” I am paraphrasing Paul here. Let’s look at his exact words:
Ro 7:15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
Ro 7:16And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.
Ro 7:17As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.
Ro 7:18I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.
Ro 7:19For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.
Ro 7:20Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
Ro 7:21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me.
Ro 7:22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;
Ro 7:23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
Ro 7:24What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
Ro 7:25Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
During a particularly challenging time in my life when Jacob was young and he had many appointments with specialists, I quit taking care of myself, but then I got mad that nobody else was taking care of me… I was a mess. I gained 20 pounds and ended up with shingles. One day, I was washing and cutting strawberries for my children and my husband. I was in a place of pouting (silently), but I had a smile on my face. I was trying to fake it until I made it.
God knew where I was and what I needed. After I placed all the strawberries on a plate, I walked into the living room to place them on the coffee table. As I was walking into the living room, I thought, “I wish someone would cut strawberries for me.” It was a little pout thought. It wasn’t even a prayer. I wasn’t even trying to complain to God. The only reason I even remember this event is because when I went back into the kitchen, the largest juiciest strawberry was sitting on the counter. Apparently, it had fallen off of the plate. I stood by the counter and I ate that strawberry knowing that God was speaking to me through this seemingly happenstance moment of a strawberry falling off of a plate.
Truthfully, He was because I realized that God knows my thoughts whether I speak them to Him or not. He also knows my needs whether I tell them to Him or not. And because He is a loving Heavenly Father, even when we are being kind of pouty, He judges us with grace, and He understands the struggle. He knows what we need before we even ask. On this particular lonely-heart, tough physically hard place, My Heavenly Dad knew I needed a big, juicy strawberry just for me.
After that, I felt like I had new energy. I felt less sorry for myself and more passionate about serving others as my Savior had done. I began exercising and watching what I ate. I recognized that I had to make time to take care of myself because nobody was going to do it for me, and the shingles went away. It was a hard lesson, but it was full of God’s grace every step of the way. Remembering this very hard season of my life also reminds me that I am not to focus on the cost I have paid in serving others but more so, I am to focus on the price my Savior paid that I, and you, would have life and have it to the full.
Kristina Seymour loves to encourage and equip women through the Word and through community. She is the author of The Warrior Mom Handbook, The Warrior Mom Leadership Manual, and The Warrior Wife Handbook; they are available at Amazon.com. Kristina's Bible studies are for women who desire to live by faith in the midst of their everyday lives. She has learned that women can't survive on caffeine and animal crackers alone; women in the Word and in community are united and able to stand firm. To learn more about Kristina, please visit her recently founded Share & Company Publishing House http://seymourkristina.wix.
Originally published Tuesday, 23 August 2016.