Dear Shining Lights:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God’s] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 AMPC
Being me: a woman, a daughter, a sister-caregiver is like you being you. It’s complicated. Yesterday, I made a good list. I even narrowed my daily tasks down to three but…life happens. The three never came to be and instead I grappled with the unexpected reality of another death in the family, then another disagreement between loved ones, followed by a glaring reminder of the lack of concern for what primary caregivers do — not only daily but sometimes moment-by-moment — until the day was over and all that was left appeared as a pile of urgent but not necessarily priority items. All my boxes, still unchecked.
But what was also glaring, albeit the next morning when I had clearer thoughts, were the opportunities to learn a lesson about the gift of being free to have these experiences. Although everything in my life is not naively summed up as my personal choice or decision — that’d be too easy – I am still free to be me, even in small ways. Even on the most complicated, mind-numbing days: I am free to listen to others and show compassion, I’m free to take notes and pray for others at church, I’m free to center in, get quiet and hear what my spirit is saying, and I’m free to write, which is cathartic and freeing in itself. For all these things I’m grateful. And I never would or could have realized any of the above had it not been for the distractions from my “three things” on my to-do list.
So the next time I am preoccupied, swept away, and tempted to feel overwhelmed by the drama around me and the demands of me, I pray to center in on all the freedoms I have and acknowledge that I may plan many things in a day or a week, but God orders my steps.
- The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. Prov 16:9
- The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Psalm 37:23
As a caregiver, we may get pulled in so many directions that we think we might literally split into halves. But I hope you will remember your freedoms. Freedoms to worship God in all of your roles – as caregivers, as a spouse, as parents, as sisters, as brothers, as daughters, as sons, as people saved by God for good works. And when we can remember that the special people in our lives have smiles that light up the world, may we forget what didn’t happen as expected and be a beacon of light, as well. Really,