Exodus 4:15-16 - You shall speak to him and put words in his mouth; I will help both of you speak and will teach you what to do. He will speak to the people for you, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were God to him.
Getting along with other people depends on our ability to communicate well. Our words, which we had good intentions on saying, sometimes turn upside down and cause strains in relationships. For example, it could be a friend let you down, or a co-worker was supposed to help you finish a project but didn’t. Each time that someone has let you down, you try to tell them that you’re not mad at them, you just want an explanation. Yet, they don’t receive it that way. They think they know what you’re thinking when they don’t. There must be a better way to communicate to others the right way and not in such a way as your words come out upside down. There’s someone who can help us with that. In the Bible, when Moses was told that God would be sending him to Pharaoh to tell him to let the Israelites go, Moses complained that his speech wasn’t eloquent. It made God angry because Moses didn’t trust God, but God still provided Moses’ brother, Aaron, to speak for him to the Israelites and Pharaoh. God will do the same for you. We just need to take a deep breath before speaking and ask God to help us use the right words when communicating. He might not send you someone to speak for you, but he can give you that quiet assurance that you aren’t alone, and he will help you communicate more effectively.
Isaiah 35:3 - Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way.
You’ve just gotten off work so you decide to visit your mom. You pull up and head out of your car towards the door when you notice it’s already opened. Your heart begins to beat rapidly as you hope something hasn’t happened to your mom. You enter your mom’s home and start calling her name. You hold your nose because it smells like something is burning. You call your mom’s name again, as you reach the stove and take off the burning pan. Searching from room-to-room you discover your mom watching TV in the living room; oblivious to what’s going on around her. It’s happened again. Your mom forgot that she had something cooking on the stove. She’s done this before, but not to this extent where the pan was burning. You also notice how cold it is in her home. Maybe because the door was left over, but you discover she’d turned off the heater. When a parent dies there is great sorrow. However, there is a different kind of loss when you lose a parent to dementia and slowly watch them deteriorate. Steps will have to be taken, you know, to get your mom help. It tears your heart apart. Then God steps into the room and puts his arm around your parent. You know it’s going to get harder, but you are comforted that God will strengthen her hands and steady her knees when she is unable to care for herself any more. He will also comfort us as we walk through this season of our parents’ life, and help us make the right decisions for our parent’s care.
Psalm 62:8 - Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Here I am sitting at my computer creating this post, and today I’m feeling a bit angry. Angry that my body hurts so much it’s hard to move. But did you know that it’s okay to sometimes be angry? It is a natural feeling to have when you see your body degrading as your health condition is trying to snatch away years of being able to do what we want to do. It’s also okay to sometimes be afraid; afraid of what the future will hold for you. Perhaps you can’t work anymore and you don’t know how your bills will be paid. It’s okay to sometimes stay at home and rest when you need to, because that way you might be able to do things that take a little more strength. Did you catch the words, “It’s okay sometimes”? I believe this is one of the keys to finding your way down the chronic health condition highway. Let that road lead you past anger and fear and onto trusting God with everything in your life including your feelings. He can handle your woes and give you his loving comfort.
Psalm 145:8-9 - The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The LORD is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
There it is again. Guilt. Yes, guilt. Guilt we feel because our chronic pain or illness causes us to no longer be able to do what we used to do. And, someone else has to pick up the slack. They have to do extra chores or even show up to family gatherings without us. Out comes the measuring spoon, no, out comes the soup ladle as I’m covered with a cloak of shame and guilt. Have you been there? If so then you know what I’m talking about. So what’s a person to do? We love our family and friends. Our hearts break to let people down. Thankfully God does not hold it against us when we must turn down an invitation to attend an event. If we ask him, he is quick to show us what we can and cannot do. He will never judge us. And we can ask God to help us cut ourselves some slack. But even if others don’t give us grace, God can help us drop that cloak of shame and guilt, and pick up his robe of compassion.
Psalm 119:82 - My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, "When will you comfort me?"
You’ve just heard some bad news about your health. How could the doctors have not known that you were developing a life-threatening disease? What about all of the regular blood tests and exams? Did the doctor hurry through your visits thus passing over irregularities? But however you got to this point, you’re here. It’s really happening. So what are our reactions to this kind of news? In public we put on a good face and say that it’s going to be okay. But in the quiet moments when you’re alone, you may find yourself screaming out loud, “This isn’t fair! I can’t do this! Why do I have to do this?” Your friends may look at you and feel proud at how you’re fairing and holding up under this terrible burden. Do you tell them what’s really going on? Did you know that it’s possible to do both? You don’t have to muster up a good face when in public, because you can still be screaming inside and be at peace. It doesn’t make much sense, I know, but it is possible to be at peace with something terrible when you know you have God’s arms encircled around you bringing you the comfort you need, and helping you believe that there can be a turn around.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.