I was tempted to take a break from blogging after reading this post on a friend’s blog this morning: “I’m taking a week off from blogging. Lots happening in my world this summer. And it’s getting a little more difficult to keep up with…which is a great thing!”
Yes, friends, I too will have some really cool things to talk about in the coming days and weeks. There is just so much going on this summer!
The ways and timing or God’s mercy and grace can be so fascinating—and infuriating. God is curious to us when we are living in a posture of trust. If He is infuriating us, that’s a clue that we are not trusting him. I am currently fascinated by the way God is moving.
It was just seven months ago (at the turn of the new year) that I was sharing with you about a new and extreme level of strain on our caregiving situation. We’ve been getting a few weeks of reprieve from that strain with extra hands on deck this summer. Still, various other challenging things about Carly’s situation have actually gotten worse. For example, her health, sleep, and anxiety issues remain forefront of our minds and consume our lifestyle. Another hospital procedure is being scheduled for the first week of August, we’re getting set up in a new multi-specialty clinic for a transition of care, and we’re renewing commitment to therapies that have been set aside for a few years.
The net of it is this — Life at the Jamieson house is the usual mixed bag of chaos, challenge, and delight. In many ways, our family is not all that different from many other caregiving families in the summer. We are wrestling between the joys of extra family time and moments when stress triggers problematic communication. And because I am hearing from so many other families about how relationships are experiencing extra strain, I decided to skip the break and just face the issue head on in my post today.
The hectic demands and worrisome health decline associated with Carly’s current situation contribute to stresses and fatigue in our household. It doesn’t take much to trigger tension and sensitivity in conversations and relationships. So, we’re trying to be careful about staying on top of biblical practices that help keep relationships strong and healthy. One of the tools that moves us toward strength and healing is found in the 12-step process. It involves the practice of making amends.
Have you heard of the 12-step process? Steps 8 and 9 are very helpful — even essential — in the caregiving home (any home, for that matter).
I make a list of the people I have hurt and become willing to go to them to mend the relationship.
I make amends with the people I have hurt, except when to do so might bring harm to them or others.
Forgiveness opens the door to freedom and healing. Many years ago, my mentor and counselor Ron Keller encouraged me this way, “Closure brings healing and changes wounds into scars. Scars don’t hurt—they are only reminders of something that happened in the past.” Practicing a lifestyle of making quick amends has lifted many weights, clouds, and wounds from my life over the years.
In his book, Discover Your Course for Life, Ron explains, “Wounds are like open reservoirs in our minds that are filled with mostly unresolved experiences. A simple word from another person, a “tone” or a glance, can trigger an inappropriate, disproportionate response to the situation. This naive, innocent input from the other person can set off a chain reaction or overwhelming, out of control behavior without us knowing where that intensity came from.”
By the love that you have for one another, the world will know that you are my disciples.
If you remember that your brother/sister has something against you, leave your offering there before the alter, go and be reconciled to your brother/sister first and then come back and present your offering.
Caregiver stress is no excuse for sin. We are imperfect people in the trenches of complicated lives. We will be vulnerable to sin and sensitivity. But we have the Holy Spirit and biblical tools to help is overcome temptation and be redeemed from mistakes. Let our prayer be not for perfection but trust and obedience.
Sometimes the power isn’t in doing it perfectly the first time but making a godly recovery to come on the side of victory!
May God multiply that kind of grace in our lives this summer and beyond.
Lisa Jamieson is a caregiver consultant, pastoral counsellor and author of popular books and Bible studies including Finding Glory in the Thorns and Jesus, Let’s Talk. She leads a weekly online discussion group welcoming caregivers in families living with disability. Lisa and her husband, Larry, are co-founders of Walk Right In Ministries, a non-profit organization building faith and community with special needs families. They live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome.