YESTERDAY WAS HORRIBLE. Everything seemed to go wrong. I have been wondering how I will ever get another job by fall. Yesterday, I allowed my wondering to get me upset …thinking there was no way I could get a job by fall, since I do not know what I can do for a new career.
Then, feeling overwhelmed by all I have to do, I went to take care of my elderly mother’s needs. I was also to go to the grocery store, but got to my mother’s late because I was working on my writing…which is way behind where I think it should be.
I got to mom’s, house and she wanted her cane, but I couldn’t find it. I went into the basement to look for it, only to find the basement flooded, probably from the plumbers I had to hire for problems last week.
My sorrow mounted. Will this life of problems never cease!
Will I ever find joy again? Can there be a way out of this downward spiral?
I NOW KNEW I was going to have to spend more time on my mother. I thought hiring plumbers rather than installing a new water heater with my husband would save us a lot of grief. Instead, they most likely poured the sediment from the old water heater down the drain, causing the drainpipe to plug. Now, running water upstairs flowed into the washbasin in the basement, overflowing onto the floor.
I was beginning to feel heavy, like the weight of the world was on my shoulders. I have no income, and no foreseeable time to get an income. Someone has to take care of mother…and I do not know who it would be if it was not me. She does not really need to be in a care facility; she just needs help.
However, taking care of two homes, I do not know how I could also handle a job. Thinking this, I went home to do my mother’s bills. In her bill stack was a notice that I had yet to do her estimated taxes for the year. Here was another thing to do for someone else that prevented me from getting my work done.
Not only is my writing work not done, but I also have so many things to do around the house. We have already started about 10 projects in the yard we do not have time to finish. We also have to start our house remodeling. How can we get it all done!
Problems Turn to Pain
THE DAY WAS beautiful, with temperatures over 70 degrees at the beginning of April. Instead of feeling better over the beautiful day, I felt worse because I had so little time to enjoy it. Tomorrow is to be rainy, and today I am stuck inside doing more for my mother.
Then, the telephone rings. As I pick up the telephone, I notice four messages on my machine. My son called to tell me that mom woke him up to try to get him to come over because she hears a beeping in her house. All of the messages on my machine are also about the beeping. So, rather than fixing dinner, I run again to mother’s house to remove the battery from her smoke detector to stop the beeping until I can get a new battery. Then, I run back home to make dinner.
By evening, my husband expects me to be able to sit outside and enjoy the fountain I had worked in the afternoon to clean out and unplug. That was not going to happen, I told him. I still had dishes to do, I had to go to the grocery store, and I had to stop at moms again.
By now, my blood was starting to boil and I felt like I could just roar. I have been frustrated with our local grocery store ever since the new management took over. The shelves are poorly stocked, with things in the wrong place or missing.
I feel like throwing things as I move them to where they belong in order to get an item I need from under a pile of incorrectly stocked items. For the next item on my list, only one box of my cereal remains, and I have to climb to get it. I am now so angry that I am beginning to shake. As I reach back into the narrow passage to get that last box of cereal, boxes on the side begin to fall onto the floor.
Now so angry that I can hardly control myself, I pick up the boxes and shove them onto the shelves, knocking down more boxes. Other people are starting to notice my temper tantrum. I feel like a fool!
By the time I get out of the grocery store, the only television show I enjoy watching during the week has already started. I forgo going to mom’s house and hurry home to try to catch the last half while unloading my groceries.
To calm my nerves, after turning on the television, I make myself a drink of wine and fresh squeezed orange juice. The drink did calm my nerves, but I drink so rarely that one little glass of wine has made me feel slightly unbalanced by the time I carry in my last bag of groceries.
I will have to forgo going to mom’s house until tomorrow, as I do not believe in driving when I feel my judgment may be at all impaired. As I am thinking that tomorrow will now also be taken up with my mother, I get a telephone call. My daughter needs me to watch my grandson at 8:00 tomorrow morning…so much for tomorrow.
When will I ever get my writing done? How could I ever find time to get another job with all I have to do around here? Just two years ago, I was gone to work 12 hours a day. I just cannot do that again. Whatever will I do?
The Point of Desperation
I FEEL HOPELESS and helpless. Whatever will I do? How can I ever handle all of this…my house, my mother and her house, my grandchildren, my writing business, my church work…and go back to working another job?
How did I do it two years ago? One, I did not have to take care of mom. I started caring for her shortly after she had a stroke about two years ago. Two, I did not have to take my grandchildren except on weekends. I could go back to only watching them on weekends, except I know how much it has helped my daughter’s family to be count on me since her divorce.
Three years ago, I quit doing my volunteer work to have time for my husband and our house. Now, I am back to working at church. My writing did not start until I quit my other job two years ago.
How could I possibly continue all of these things and take on another job, when I did not even have time to get enough sleep when I worked another job before and did not have all of these other things to do? I cannot do it all!
Others Do It…Why Can’t I?
UNTIL TWO YEARS ago, I went off to work, working long hours every day. Now, I see everyone else doing it. I feel as though something is wrong with me. I should be able to do it too. I did it before.
Everyone else is doing so much more than I am doing. Everyone else goes off to work and takes care of her house and family. Why can’t I?
Time to Rethink
THIS MORNING I got onto my knees to pray. Feelings of desperation were still inside of me. I must get my writing done, but every time I plan my days so I have sufficient work hours, something else comes up.
I needed to be on my knees to pray. I needed to feel like I was laying my head onto the lap of God as I lay my head onto the pillow in my reclining chair. As I lay down my head, God began to remind me of all the lessons He has taught me.
I should know better than to feel desperation. God taught me years ago how to turn fear into joy. I remembered and began to praise God. When we feel helpless, we need to remember that God is in control. God can and does change whatever situation He knows is best to change. If my situation is not changed, it is because I am where God wants me to be.
Praising God fills me with joy. Circumstances cannot fill me with joy. Even when everything is going right, I can feel desperate and hopeless. However, when I praise God, He takes away those feelings of remorse. He fills me with an unexplainable joy.
Why do I praise Him? How can I praise God when I feel as though everything is going wrong?
First, I must know that everything is not going wrong. Everything is going just as it is supposed to go. If I have done wrong and deserve the consequences of my actions, I must suffer through, knowing that God promises to take care of me if I recompense.
If I am going through times of trial, I can rejoice in knowing that it makes me a wiser and better person. I have known others who have not gone through any trials and have never learned compassion. I have known others who curse God when they go through trials and they never learned the important lessons of life. God allows trials in order to make us better people. Only when we endure and ask God to show us the way through will we receive all of the benefits God has to offer.
Only when we experience trials and learn from them will we grow to be useful to God. We are like bacon. Raw bacon is gooey and gross. When we fry bacon over hot heat until crisp, it is delicious. Uncooked bacon carries germs and diseases. Frying bacon kills the bad things in it and makes it useful.
Experiencing hard times can also make us useful. However, bacon fried on high for too long burns. Giving our problems to God prevents us from being fried until we are burnt out. Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
We have two reasons that our burdens feel heavy.
OUR BURDENS FEEL heavy when we try to carry the load ourselves or when we take on too heavy of a burden.
Yesterday I felt overwhelmed because I was thinking I had to carry all of the load by myself. I forgot to give part of my load to God. I forgot that He promises to carry my burden, if I follow Him. I needed to do what I did this morning…only yesterday.
I needed to lay my head in God’s lap and tell Him that my burden was too heavy. Then, most importantly, I needed to trust Him. I needed to trust that God would take care of all of my needs. I needed to trust that God would not expect more of me than He would give me the ability to handle.
Therefore, if I was working to the best of my abilities, I was doing all God expected me to do. I could expect no more of myself than God wanted me to do. I had learned that God gives each of us unique abilities and we should not compare our lives with the lives of others. All I can do is my own personal best with my own personal abilities, including my physical and mental limitations.
At times, when I have too much to do, I must also allow others to help me to carry my burdens. Time management professionals say that we need to share our workload with others to get more done.
The Bible teaches this also, “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) God put us on earth to love each other. In love, we must help each other. If my burdens are more than I can bear, I need to allow others to help. Just as I must help others, I must allow others to help me.
My husband knew this. He told me to ask my son to help with my mother’s flooding basement. My son said, “Sure. I don’t have any other plans.” One simple request lifted one of my biggest burdens. However, most of my other burdens remained.
I needed to lighten my burden. I still felt like I should be getting much more done than I was able to do. My worst problem was not my actual burdens, but my thoughts. I was thinking that I needed to add another job to my already full schedule. This morning, as I lay my head on the lap of God, I knew otherwise.
I knew God did not expect me to do more than He gave me the ability to do. If I did need to add a job to my schedule, I would need to remove something else in order to free up the time.
I may need to stop writing. I may need to go back to watching the grandchildren only on weekends. I may need to delegate more of my church work.
Whatever I would need to do, I may not know now. I did not need to know now what would happen tomorrow. I only needed to do my best with today.
We never know when we will die or acquire a new burden. In planning for tomorrow, we need to plan openly, ready to change as God provides direction. When God allows our plans to be interrupted, He knows what is needed. His plans are for real life. His plans include what we do not anticipate.
At Peace with the Unexpected
THIS MORNING AS I was writing this, I was interrupted to watch my grandson. Tonight, as I was kneeling in prayer to begin again, my son-in-law called for me to watch the grandchildren again. When I returned, I knelt in prayer, and my prayer changed.
“Lord, thank You for my grandchildren. Thank You for the opportunity to watch them. Thank You that my mother is still alive. Thank You for giving me the time to care for her. Thank You for changing the weather to give me a beautiful day for the one I missed yesterday. Thank You for the rain right now so I do not have the desire to go outside rather than working.”
“Lord, thank You for everything. Thank You for taking care of me. Thank You for caring about me. Thank you for giving me peace. Thank You for the opportunity to share what you taught me today.” “Lord, I trust You. I trust that each item on my to-do list will get done if and when You feel it is the right time to do it. I trust that You will guide me towards a different job when it is time. Until then, I trust You will take care of all of my needs…and if I do not have something, I do not need it now.”
“Lord, You are so good to me…better than I deserve. Thank You for my gifts and talents. Thank You for forgiving me when I complain about wasting time when you give me the opportunities to use my talents, but Your ways interrupt my plans.”
“Lord, I thank You that You have taught me to live in the present, thankful for what I do have, rather than complaining. Thank You so much that my attitude of yesterday is no longer typical, but the exception. I am sorry about my temper tantrum. I will rest tonight, knowing my present, and my future, are in Your wise hands… knowing nothing will happen unless You allow it…knowing You have promised to make it all work together for good.” (Romans 8:28)
“Lord, thank You that I can now count my sorrows as blessing, as another lesson learned. I pray that I will count my sorrows only as blessings, knowing You believe they are vital for my growth and learning.”
“Lord, thank You for being You…so much wiser than me. Thank You for forgiving me when I complain at You for allowing things I do not like or understand. You are all powerful. You are all wise. You would change a situation if You knew it was right. Therefore, if You do not change it, it is right, and the best way. I love You and thank You for not doing things my way, but Your way. I rest, knowing my life and our world is in Your hands. I rest, not worrying about tomorrow, but living for today…for what You would have me do at this minute. I rest…as You have taken me out of sorrow and brought me to joy. Amen.”
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