tuesday mornings…prayers of vulnerability

My hand is ‘out of joint’ this morning; I woke up during the night, and something had shifted. Painfully. Thankfully, things are moving better as I go about my morning.  My heart is out of joint, too, with the pain of a friend newly diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer,  old friends painfully grappling with estrangement, a third friend and her family already too many days at Children’s Hospital. My heart and mind keep cautiously approaching these explosive facts, trying to figure out what to do, to help or to understand; wondering when quiet, versus questions is the kindest, least intrusive form of care. Then wondering if intrusion is what the moment needs. Doubting that sequestration in a prayer closet is the answer, but having NO CLUE how to proceed. If I feel vulnerable and at a loss…how do they feel??????

For my friend with cancer, I feel angry and afraid. Very afraid. There are too many pieces of life attached to her, for me to calmly ‘let go’ and trust.

For my friends who are parting, there is so.much.sorrow

For my friends in hospital – there are weeks of wearying work ahead to facilitate recovery.

You likely have loved ones to add to the list.

I feel vulnerable in relationship to all of them – (how am I ever going to help?) I FEAR that I, their sister, their friend, will surely fail them in these moments.

I feel vulnerable for them – these strong , amazing advocates for others, who will now have to ask for themselves. I have lost.. it is not a journey one enters lightly. I have held the stone of sorrow…I have wearied my brain and bones in caregiving work. Perhaps this is why I feel vulnerable FOR them, this glimpse of what lies ahead. None of them are strangers to the journey either. Truthfully, I would not trade those journeys – the intertwine of beauty with ashes – the tracing of one’s hands across the face of God in the heart of Christ, along this journey we call life.  But I have not walked their sorrows, and I do not envy them the walking it now.

Vulnerability    History helps. I remember a time, when I was invited to flat-out worship God, but found myself in a position of vulnerability. As if on cue, the words flowed, telling God all the ways in which I felt vulnerable, all the fears and questions for which I had no practical answers. I had been circling the problems, puzzling them from different perspectives, rather than bringing them to a Holy God. The God of the Storehouse found in Job 38:  “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?… Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges and shake the evil out of it?” There it is. Job, with a season full of woes, and  God reminding him that nothing is beyond his reach; the whole passage a call to worship. Three chapters worth.

Job responds, “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.”  And, “My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42;2,5

Finally, I know what to do. God of the Storehouse, we stand amazed that you have every resource at your disposal. Bring them to bear, we humbly pray, on this array of needs. Help us to trust not only in your power, but in the goodness of your grace. We worship your goodness, Oh God.

 It is not ours to judge one another, but where we need to shift, to repent and change, please show us the way. Help us to RUN in that new-found freedom. We worship your goodness , Oh God.

HELP US TO SEE YOU, over and over  as we go about our days. And in seeing, to worship you truthfully; not as we expect you to be, but as you are in power and majesty, in righteousness and glory. May your glory fill the whole earth, as you shake the evil from its dust. No plan of yours can be thwarted. We worship your goodness, OH God.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On Easter Sunday, we spotted the first trilliums in the woods. They remind me again, of the triune completeness of our God; the Father to give us life, his Son to teach and save us, the Holy Spirit to lead and empower, the living of our own resurrected life. He is complete. And in Him, we find the help we need.

jlf 4/15

1) Quotes from Job Cpts. 38-42. NIV The Holy Bible.  Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI 1983

Welcome, welcome…

You may have noticed (or not) that 4011caregiverstreet has a new writer. Whooppee! Caregiving involves such a broad scope of needs, skills, and settings; gathering providers from all walks of life. From outset, the hope was that caregivers serving in any of a variety of capacities could find encouragement, and/or contribute here. We’re thrilled to have a fresh, well- informed voice, to add perspective. Godspeed, Feg!

The H.o.P.e. Revolution

The  H.O.P.E  Revolution – because God does not intend for anyone to live in the dark…

‘Tis the season… of wish lists and mulling spices, candles and tinsel, and the ever-widening crevasse between those with bustling energy and family recipes and too-long lists and kids coming home and those w I th o u t.  When ‘joy to the world’ is almost tangible. I love it! I love searching for just the right tree, just the right gift, and just the right party dress for beautiful daughters turned women. Daughters who can hardly wait to get through the door before they are pulling off gloves and pulling out sugar and vanilla. It is just so.much.fun. And each Kelsey, Grace, Katrina or …Sierra who walks through the door brings exactly the right ingredient. ‘Tis the season.

But it is also the season of dark mornings, winter winds, and Salvation Army buckets. And either harsh reality, or the passing dark, has my mood swinging up AND down. That ‘joy to the world’ feels so buoyant inside my warm coat and mittened hands, that it surely can’t help floating out to reach everyone. But they say that for some, joy to the world is only a faint echo, heard over the deep and oft-times, deepening, crevasse. Speaking of music: I can barely restrain myself till October, to begin the Christmas music. Carols, and bells, and voices, ‘gainst the back-drop of starlit skies and snow sparkles. Silent Night melding into Gloria in excelsis…they say some cannot hear it at all. At all? Some for whom the echo is …nothing at all?

So, midst a prayer launched from my escalator-cruising emotions, I’ve elected to launch a h.O.p.E revolution. I ‘hope’ that to someone out there, on the edge, it will prove a gift, not from me, but from the One who gives all good gifts.

PS. A great and passionate lady, Kim Wallace, gave me the nudge to get this going. May her dreams turn to wishes, and those wishes ride on wings of hope.

Day 1: Today I hope that at least three women will be made safe physically and spiritually, through the efforts of Jungle school of Medicine – spreading h.O.p.E

Day  2: Praying for ‘angel escorts’ for all home and adventure bound college students, everywhere. And where it would make a difference, I wouldn’t mind if they could actually SEE the angels on each others’ vehicles

About 4011caregiverstreet

‘Where the rubber meets the road,’  encouragement means truthful dialogue about how to keep traveling when the way is rutted, or the tires are worn. I’m not a caregiving expert, but I’ve been blessed with some real-world  experience via  parenting a special needs child, and working part-time as a healthcare provider. My PT  role involves training and support of caregivers in the physical care of a loved one. I am repeatedly amazed at the impact of a small word of encouragement. Parenting – well, how many hats can one wear in a day????? Truthful for me has to do with honest takes on what one faces, and a belief that God’s word is the bottom line in navigating life. The name 4011 Caregiver Street comes from Isaiah 40:11, which states, “He tends his flock like a shepherd:He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; and gently leads those that have young.” NIV    Caregiving appears in multiple forms, related to children, illness, aging, special needs, fostering, mentoring; being a spouse or  friend, and the list goes on.  It is rewarding, challenging, exhausting, at times sacrificial,  and often unexpected either at onset(parenting a grandchild) or in practice. It regularly asks us to do that for which we feel ill-equipped , or unprepared(who knew children were so messy!!!). There may be other verses that more directly apply to caregiving as a whole, but God has consistently been gentle with me, as I continue down this unmapped road on worn treads. And He has been faithful to lead every, single step of the way. Always. and gently…  Whether you are caring for a newly born, or a newly-young elder, my hope is that you will find refreshment, hope, encouragement, HELP(like a great idea), and scriptural truth as you sojourn here. I’m guessing that tomorrow’s  ‘great idea’ might come from one of you; please feel free to share your insights and encouragements; they may be just what your fellow traveler needed to hear. 2/2012 J