I was sitting outside on a Friday afternoon waiting on a ride. We had just returned from the brain cancer center at Duke the night before and like all other trips over the last few years, I was emotionally drained, mentally spent and spiritually exhausted. A twenty four hour trip felt like an eternity played out in slow motion. As a result, my body ached. My weary soul felt like a 5 ton ball and chain weighted down by a Pandora’s Box of emotions with a black rain cloud looming over my head.…and this was after a good appointment! Where was God?
If you are or have been a caregiver of any kind, maybe I just described a day in your life. Those feelings may deeply resonate with the troubled caverns of your heart and that little voice inside your soul may be shouting, jumping with hands waving in the air, saying “Yes! Yes! Me too! I’m not alone after all.”
I have really wrestled with the complexity of being a caregiver. I have found that the harder I try to find the perfect balance in life, the more unbalanced I become. The more I attempt to figure “it” out, the more lost in the weeds I feel. Frustrating? Absolutely! Coincidence? Not a chance!
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”(Matt 11:29-30, NIV).
A simple posture shift from “me” to “He” and from “I” to “We” can turn the chaotic world of caregiving back on its axis. In theory, this perspective shift is simple but the process of change is anything but. We are human and our pesky sinful nature craves control like a rebellious teenager. The idea of releasing our white knuckled grip on the steering wheel of our lives or those that we love is not only uncomfortable and unsettling at times, but terrifying and seemingly impossible.
“Easy” and “light burden” are not among the phrases I would use to describe life as a caregiver. If I’m honest, it would be the exact opposite. “Crushing” and “Burdensome” sound more appropriate. Don’t you agree? Yet, the Lord commands each of us to lay down our troubles, relax our clenched fists and take HIS yoke because it is easy…the burden is light…and He’s got our backs!
So why then do we buck God and wrestle tooth and nail for that control that we feel is better off in our hands than those of our Heavenly Father? As I type those words, I feel the absurdity wash over me. Who am I compared to the King of Kings? What could I possibly think, say or do that could possibly one up God? The answer is so simple…
But isn’t that how we live so often? Satan is a cunning opportunist. He will not waste time or opportunity to plant his seeds of fear, doubt, desertion and desperation in our lives. He seizes every moment of distraction and weakness to infiltrate our thoughts, feelings and behaviors to give us a false sense of entitlement and security that our way is the best way and surrendering the authority and control of our lives to the Lord will only lead to devastation, heart ache, longing and despair.
Unfortunately, it happens. I have been set up and taken down by the enemy’s ploy on more than one occasion during this difficult season of my life. But praise God, He is so faithful and he showers me with abundant grace and endless forgiveness each day. God is so patient with me. He is just like a Daddy teaching His child how to ride a bike. He gives me a push, but he is never far out of reach. If I fall down, He dusts me off and picks me up. When the tears flow and I am scared to get back in the saddle, He wipes my eyes and puts my feet back on the pedals to begin again. When I say “I can’t,” He is there to say “oh yes you can.” “With God, all things are possible” (Matt 19:26, ESV).
A Lizard and his Lunch
As I waited alone in my driveway; wallowing, wandering and waiting on God to show up, my attention suddenly turned to a small brown lizard on the hosepipe beside our home. I am not your stereotypical outdoorsy kind of boy momma that loves that kind of thing. So, on a typical day, I would have done my best to ignore this lizard altogether or I probably would’ve run away from it. But this day, I was captivated. I could not take my eyes off of this lizard. I watched him change colors as he moved from one position to another on the hose and I watched him breathe and move along with ease. It was fascinating.
As I am watching this one lizard show unfold, a new character is introduced…enter Ant, stage left. Follow me here, I promise there is a point to my story. Almost in a blink of an eye, what looked to me to be a tiny, insignificant insect, turned into something life giving and nourishing for God’s lizard. My point is not to give you a lesson in God’s food chain but to illustrate the difference between what we think we need and deem as significant in our lives versus what God deems as necessary, significant and life giving in our lives.
Other humans, including ourselves, will fail us every, single time. God never will! He provides for us in ways that we never even knew we needed Him to. He gives us exactly what we need, just when we need it.
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matt 6:25-34, ESV).
God Always Has Our Backs
I walked out into the driveway that day feeling alone, tired and forgotten. But in that moment as I sat mesmerized by the lizard feasting on his lunch, my eyes were opened to the gift the Lord surrounded me with.
It was one of those picturesque kind of days where the sky looked as clear as blue glass, not a cloud in the sky. The fall breeze gently whistled through the trees, the leaves danced…the birds sang joyfully off in the distance…God was all around me and He was showing off! He orchestrated His creation to play a perfect little symphony just for me. Every sense stimulated in a harmoniously, balanced way. God used this sacred moment to get my attention, to slow me down, to quiet my racing thoughts and to just be in that moment. It was exactly what I needed. The perfect provision in the midst of my lonely drought.
There I sat. NOT just me, but WE.