Thursday, March 17, 2011

Breathe in His Grace Part I

2:34 p.m. Today's project was to breathe in the sweet aroma of the grace of God through the Son Jesus Christ, by the workings of the Holy Spirit!

Last night, things did not go well. Steve had an emotional breakdown over putting on his C-pap mask (which he has done successfully every night for several months) and I tried to help, to no avail. The combination of irrational confusion on his part and late-night exhaustion on mine was a bad one. After he got safely settled down with his mask in place and humming along, I had a lot to confess before I went to sleep! I prayed for spiritual renewal after the pattern of Psalm 51:10:

Create in me a clean heart,
O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit
within me.

We both had a good night's rest despite the prior night's trouble, and enjoyed a pleasant morning of devotions and Bible study. In my journal, acknowledging the "caregiver burnout" that I've read so much about and thought I'd escape, I wrote, "Father, please forgive me and help me to know when I am at the weakest part of my day and send a warning! I ask for Your Spirit to refill me today, and for each day..." Conviction weighed heavily upon me, but just being able to pray for help from the God of the universe was such a comfort in itself!

God not only answered that prayer, but blessed me in several ways today. Our friend Howard called up, and asked if Steve could come over and help out in his orchard. That was a godsend, because Steve loves to work over there, and it would make my mornings errands go much more quickly and smoothly. The Lord is the One who put that on Howard's heart, although he needed the work done, I'm sure. As Psalm 103: assures us, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and full of compassion."

After doing some banking, I took the memory card out of the C-pap machine over to his neurologist's office to download into their computer. The nurse came out with it a few minutes later, saying that Steve is doing even better than the last time they read it--far fewer apnea episodes. Praise the Lord. I have noticed him sleeping very quietly and soundly, and I thank the Lord for His kindness!

God had a blessing for me in regard to the Heart to Home ministry, too. The Holy Spirit directed me where to look for my notes on the organic gardening class I'm scheduled to teach to kick off our spring series of classes! That saves me quite a bit of time, since the material will be essentially identical to last year's class that was well-received.

On a smaller level, I saved quite a bit with coupons over at Vons grocery store; made a nice cosmetics sale; and had a pleasant time driving across town with our daughter Heidi after she dropped off her car for maintenance. And I will be looking for the Alzheimer caregiver support meetings at the local Janet Goeske Senior Center--it's time!

Tonight's Mary Kay training meeting will be especially fun, with an "Eyes Cream Social" theme featuring new eye makeup techniques and ice cream sundaes. I'll be giving the inspirational message based on Proverbs 29:25, "The fear of man brings a snare." (About fearing to ask for help from others as well as fearing their opinions, as it relates to making the calls and connections that are the lifeblood of our business). Since most of our unit's consultants and directors are believers, we'll learn marketing skills, acknowledge the week's accomplishments, and enjoy fellowship as well.

Steve came home refreshed and energized, and set out to walk the dogs in good spirits. And I feel refreshed as well by my day away from constant care--loving and fulfilling care, but care nonetheless. I guess I didn't think I'd become overburdened, because I remember caring for my five children with almost no babysitters, 7 days a week for 20-some years, while leading Bible studies and women's ministry programs. Of course, having a husband who supported the family well and was an active dad made the burden seem light, a blessing from the Lord even in difficult times.

I realize now the extent and depth of lack now that my husband can no longer fulfill his headship role, all decisions must be made by me (on the human plane), and his health and safety are now my responsibility. Add the financial strains of fixed income, and we've got ample territory for the enemy to try to trespass on!

Like a widow, I am relying solely on God's generous mercy and grace for wisdom, provision, and the prayerful support and encouragement of church friends. Scripture is very clear about those who need God's assistance due to circumstances they cannot prevent or change. When I think of all of the ways the Lord has carried me the last two years, I can only do one thing:

Breathe in His grace!

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