Saturday, February 15, 2014

God Cares for the Caregiver

Not writing for a while has left me feeling a big void. Over the past few years it had remained the one constant thing I did for me, so sitting down today and beginning to type and share my heart quickly brought back those warm feelings of connecting with all my friends both near and far. I have missed y'all! 

As with most things in my life, good or bad, I always feel God is driving home a message that will in the long run always help to refine me. These last couple of months has forced me to realize even more about myself since becoming a widow. The self-discovery never ends. I know without a doubt I have conquered much, and only with the help of my Heavenly Father, family, and friends. Still, I also know I have a long way to go. 

The biggest feat I am facing on my own is the feeling of vulnerability and learning how to "take care of me.” I can look back at all the trials I have overcome, yet I am still left with the feeling of fear and wondering if I will be capable of taking care of Tammy.  

Taking care of others in my life has always come easy to me, brought immense joy to me, and at times crippling heartache, but at the end of the day it has been something that has fueled me. But what happens when it's time to take care of yourself? Who becomes the caregiver to the caregivers? I am learning that now, and it is probably one of the biggest lessons of inner strength I have had to endure. 

 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.  1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV

This verse is a great comfort to me as it reminds me that although there may be days I feel pushed way past my limits.....God knows and most importantly has equipped me to handle what He has set before me. 

Taking care of yourself is a hard fact of life. Everyone has to do it at some point. Many, many people have to do it every day in incredibly difficult circumstances. Still, it has at times left me stumped and crippled, worrying that, in spite of all I have overcome by the Grace of God, I can’t do it. 

I was blessed to have had an amazing husband that took such great care of me in ways that truly mattered—like friendship, companionship, encouragement. Some days, I realize I no longer have that emotional support, that unconditional love that helped take care of me in ways I didn't even know. Other days, I’m overwhelmed by the thought of supporting myself practically and financially.  These things bring about great fears in me. I hesitate at times in sharing these things so openly, but I realize there is no shame in sharing what is real. As my son, Aaron, reminded me, this blog has always been a place to share openly and honestly about the real life issues that widows face and that being transparent in all areas is the way in which we can relate to one another. In these places, I’ve learned that my heart does not crave pity, just unconditional understanding as I try to figure it all out. 

So what do you do to start taking care of yourself? You get grounded. Coming back to a firm foundation will help you feel less vulnerable and begin to strengthen your confidence in yourself to move on in life. I have found that reaching out and reaching up is fail- proof way to begin to get through those difficult times. 

Reaching out to friends, family, or as I like to say my "go-to's!” is a tremendous blessing. God sends us angels that can help bridge that painful, lonely gap. Is it the same? No, but it is a comfort and blessing to know that you have people you can rely on for emotional support. In fact, I think it is critical to have these angels in our lives. I can testify that a little bit of encouragement and unconditional love can get you through the worst of days. 

But most importantly, friends, there are times where we just become too weary to reach out, and you have to know God is always there. "Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6. 

The Bible is full of encouragement. Becoming and staying grounded in God's word will build you up emotionally like nothing else can. As I was praying this morning I asked God to be my caregiver and give me the strength I need to move ahead. I felt His words powerfully come upon me...." I already have my child.”  

Be Blessed,