Reassurance for the Caregiving Roller Coaster Ride

Recently, I was on a walk at Prairie Queen Lake, which is bursting this time of year with blooming trees, insects, birds, and fish. It is buzzing with life and the energetic fervor which summer brings. As I was going along the trail, however, I came upon a dead swallow under the shade of a tree. He was lying serenely on his back with his feathers tucked beneath him. He was so beautiful and fragile-looking. It seemed so strange that amid all the vitality around me, this little bird was dead, seemingly forgotten.  It was a striking image and my thoughts returned to him this week for a particular reason that I will share with you.

Summertime is bursting with energy at our house too, but not always the good kind! Our youngest son with autism thrives on structure and routine, but when school is out, our daily schedule is less predictable.  This has been the catalyst for multiple meltdowns which include verbal and physical aggression.  It is an emotional roller coaster ride and can be exhausting mentally and physically for the whole family. Last week felt like a series of unwanted and unbidden roller coaster rides.

I was battling despair in our current situation, and I had a passing thought that it would be much easier for me if I could just lay down and die like that little swallow. These kinds of days cast me at the feet of Christ as I call out to Him and pour out my heart to Him.

This is what I wrote in my journal:

Oh Lord, in the dark moments of my soul, I need your truth to pierce through the film of despair and recall me to praise you and hope in You. I feel so much despair in my current circumstance. I feel so brokenhearted, but You say that You are near to the brokenhearted. You say that you give me Your peace and remind me not to be afraid or troubled. You say that if I ask anything in your name that You will do it, and so I ask You, Jesus, by Your name, my Adonai, that You would pour out Your Spirit like a torrential rain upon my heart so that in my pain, I can have peace. So that in my pain, I can have joy. So that in my pain, I can have love.  A First Corinthians 13 kind of love which only comes from You. A kind of love that endures to the end. I don’t want to stay in this valley forever, but if it is Your will, then I will stay in the valley. I will pitch my tent here, sing my praises here and offer my sacrifices here. Here in the valley, You will meet me.

The next morning was just as difficult. More roller coasters. I wondered how many days I could stand the volatility in our home without going crazy. My husband called from work and suggested that I listen to a sermon from Alistair Begg saying that it might give me some encouragement.  I took his advice and I listened to him recount a story of finding a dead sparrow when he was cleaning out his gutters. Alistair had been battling worries and fears, and the discovery of the bird in his gutter reminded him of the song, “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.” 

Why should I feel discouraged? Why should the shadows fall?
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home?
When Jesus is my portion, my constant friend is He, 
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

It was God’s way of reminding him, “I’ve got you,” and I felt that He was saying that to me too! After the episode finished, I thought, “Well, you know what, I might as well listen to another sermon just to stay encouraged.” I scrolled to a John Piper podcast and picked a sermon at random. As the episode began, the reader announced that the passage that John Piper would be preaching would be Matthew 10:24-31. This was the last part of that passage:
Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. The very hairs of your head are all numbered. So, do not fear, you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Immediately after hearing these verses, I knew Christ had drawn near to me through His Word. He used the little birds to tell me I’m more valuable than the swallow that I saw on my walk. It may have seemed cast aside and forgotten, but that swallow did not fall to the ground apart from the Father! He knows the number of hairs on my head and the number of hard days I’ve been through. He knows our struggles. He knows the pain and the hardship we face! I had written in my journal the day before, “In the valley, you will meet me” and He did! He offered His peace to me once again. 

In John 14, Jesus said, “Peace, I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. So do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Before I became a Christian, each problem and heartache caused me to question and curse God and run from HIm. I hadn’t pondered Psalm 139:

"Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to  the heavens, You are there; If I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me;  and your right hand will hold me fast." 

There is no situation that we will face that is out of His reach. It wasn’t until I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ that I began to run to Him for all of my hurts instead of away from Him. My God-ordained broken-heartedness draws me near to His heart, which is exactly where He wants me to be! Charles Spurgeon said it best, “I have learned to kiss the wave of suffering that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” 

Maybe you know the suffering that I have described. Maybe not yet, but one day you will. When that day comes, will you run to the Peacemaker, the Burden-Taker who has suffered too, on our behalf? It is the sweetest place to be!

Reassurance for the Caregiving Roller Coaster Ride
This post first appeared at the Sincerely Sarah Kelsey blog.


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