Giving Care

I’m now noticing that when I was in the middle of caregiving that I didn’t have much time or energy to help others. I was very selfish and drawn in on myself. I was worried about getting through each day and I didn’t worry much about my neighbor.

Now I’m trying to take this attitude and turn it around, so that I can look at others and see if I can help to meet their needs. This is so hard when all I’ve ever thought about was my needs. Yes, I extended that to my husband and my children, but never outside of that circle.

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.

Mark 12:30-31

As Christians we are commanded to love our God with everything that is within us and to extend that love to others. As Christians we are not only to take care of ourselves and family, but to also extend care to others. What does this look like? I’m not sure, but I know that my giving care will look different from yours. We are all called to do this. We should pray and ask what caregiving we can to today for others.

Wisdom and the Rest of the Prayer.

Whenever I hear the word wisdom, I think of King Solomon. He was supposed to have prayed for wisdom and also received it. In the context of this prayer, we are asking for wisdom to know the difference. The difference between acceptance and change, and when we should do either one.

I don’t think I’m a very wise person. In fact, I look back and some of the things that I have done are really stupid. I wonder where my brain was when I decided those things. But praying for wisdom; that’s just a step up. We are coming to the Lord and saying we don’t know what we should do and asking Him to help us. We have to be humble to ask this.

To be humble is to admit that you are not a good judge of a situation. Perhaps you are too close to the situation to determine what should happen. To be humble you need to acknowledge that you are not in control. To be humble you need to have a peace about letting God have control. To be humble to listen to the Lord and do as He tells you.

He may speak to you through the scriptures, or perhaps a good friend who you trust. Always seek counseling with others because you may be too close to the situation to make a good decision.

The rest of this prayer is about humility. Living only one day at a time; which is all the that Lord has promised us. Enjoying what is happening now; not letting the past or future ruin what joy there is in a day. Accepting any hardship, knowing that the Lord will get us though it. Doing what the Lord would have us do because blessings will always come with following the Lord.

This whole prayer is one that can help you live your life. It encompasses living in the Lord in a few sentences. Since doing this blog about the Serenity Prayer I think that I will have to take it more to heart then I’ve done in the recent past. I’ve reminded myself why I used to pray this a lot. I don’t have Joe to take care of anymore, but this prayer is too good to set aside.

Courage

“mental or moral strength to venture, persevere,
and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

After Serenity and Acceptance comes Courage. Courage to change the things I can. Whew! Tall order. Changing our attitudes, feelings and outlook on life takes courage. We have to have a “mindset” that we will change this or that and work on doing so.

Lately I’ve had a problem with courage and changing things. I want to change my lifestyle into one that is healthier and better for me. I have a membership to the local YMCA, and I even wear a Fitbit. It seems that I have trouble getting my mind into that mindset that will help me overcome some of the physical problems that I have. Without giving you a list, just know that I’m in my “senior” years and I’ve found that the stress of taking care of my husband for 16 years and especially the last 5 of those years have taken a terrible toll on my body. I managed to also work full-time during those years and I still work full-time.

I also have trouble with studying and reading the Bible, going to church and just getting out. Of course the pandemic has a lot to do with not going to church or going out, but I used to be very active in our church and I had no problem jumping in my car to take off somewhere. You’d think that I’d be able to study the Bible more, but I find my mind just isn’t in it.

So I’m going to try to ask God for more Serenity. I don’t have too much of a problem accepting things, I had a lot of practice with that one while Joe was still alive. But the courage to change stuff I have to work on. I might just ask for a bit of Wisdom while I’m at it.

Serenity

My father was a recovering alcoholic and he spent a good portion of his time later in life attending AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. He never cared about his “anonymous” status and would tell anyone that he was a drunk, just one drink from a bender.

From his recovery in AA, I came to know the Serenity Prayer. Every meeting is started with this prayer (at least they used to!) and it is (or was) a staple of life recovering from alcoholism.

One day, I took a really good look at this prayer. Oh, I knew it, could recite the first four lines by heart. That is all of the prayer that AA used, but they are powerful. This prayer kept me sane while I was taking care of Joe and I came to depend on it.

God, Grant Me The Serenity… who doesn’t want serenity? Have you ever had the kind of peace and serenity that only God can give? I have, several times, and each time I know it’s not me that caused the total and utter peace within.

Early in Joe’s medical history, he had a pretty serious surgery. He would end up having three extremely major surgeries, all of them lasting 10 hours or more. This was the first of those surgeries. He was to have a craniotomy and a biopsy done on a small tumor that showed up in a really bad place. It was in the place in your brain where all of your nerves gather to form the spinal column. Tricky surgery. Then, once the neurosurgeon was finished he was going to be passed on to the plastic surgeon to try to fix some of the scalp and skull that was rotting before our eyes. Yup, Joe was going to get a “twofer”.

Of course we had to get to the hospital before sunrise. I kissed Joe and off he went. I was very nervous about this surgery. Little did I know at the time that I would become a champ at sitting in waiting rooms. I was feeling really nerved up, so I went outside to walk around the hospital campus. While I was outside I was just praying for Joe and the doctors and nurses taking care of him. Suddenly, in my “minds eye” so to speak, I saw an operating room with someone on the operating table and doctors and nurses all around. I couldn’t see faces, but I knew it was Joe on that table. At each corner of the room was an angel. Then I realized that angels were watching over the operation…. I was floored and a peace came over me. My anxiety just kind of floated away.

I know the kind of Serenity that this prayer is mentioning. There are many times in my life I have called on God and requested this Serenity and usually He will bless me with peace.

More on the Serenity Prayer next time….