His Wisdom for Her World

Guest Post: Band-Aides for My Heart

By on November 14, 2013 in Faith with 0 Comments

Many of you remember Melissa Meredith and her beautiful words of encouragement to women. This summer, Melissa moved home to live with her parents to care for her mom who has been diagnosed with ALS. Melissa is chronicling this journey at http://the-meredith-family.blogspot.com, where this post originally appeared. She graciously allowed us to share her latest post. We hope it not only brings you comfort, but that you’ll join us in lifting up Melissa and her family to the Father and praying for their comfort. 

My heart, it’s calloused.  No, scratch that.  It’s r-a-w.  Close to three months ago, I packed up what little belongings I owned and moved a state away to be near my family after my mom was diagnosed with a terminal illness.  Caregiving is perhaps the most privileged ministry I’ll ever spend my hands and heart and time and energies on.  But I need a band-aide for my heart.

Sometimes you just have to fold up your own emotions in a nice little handkerchief and place it in your back pocket.  Sometimes you just have to keep your composure and offer a smile, a soft answer, a gentle hand until you can find a tiny space all alone to let the tears streams and release those locked up sobs.  It’s those whispers of, “Oh sweet Lord Jesus, strip this sassiness within me today, or “Lord, hold me back!” or “Dear God, I don’t think my heart can take another moment.”  It’s waking up every morning to the sound of the cough assist machine sucking the harsh reality of ALS away after a rough night of little to no sleep.  And it’s going to bed after tucking mom in after a fist-to-heart-to-hand battle to get the ventilator and chin strap and lift chair just right and as comfortable-HA!-as one can be.  And it’s praying that God would rock you to sleep and just hold you and tend to the wounds of your heart and just. . .be near.  Cause you’re doing everything you can.  But the weariness, that emotional ache of seeing your mom choking through her meal, and fighting back tears as her voice can’t keep up with her wit, and watching helplessly as she struggles to find a tolerable fit for her vent mask, well, it’s just. . .I need a band-aid for my heart.

When my mom was first diagnosed, I reached out to a few people who had walked this road before.  And they said the same thing.  “This journey. . .this journey will refine your faith.  This journey will draw you so close to God.  The Word will become like honey to your lips.  Prayer will be a balm to your spirit.”

They were right.

Band-Aid #1: The very minute you said, “I’m slipping I’m falling,” I pulled you into my bosom and held on to you tight. Don’t you worry. I’m not letting go.   Don’t be beside yourself with anxious thoughts.  Let my love and let my peace calm you down and fill you with a cheerfulness that satisfies your deepest aches. {Psalm 94:18-19} 

Band-Aid #2:  You say, “Lord, I don’t know what to do!  But I’m fixing my eyes on you!” Child, you {care} in my name, in all faithfulness, and with your whole heart.  Don’t you be afraid and do not be dismayed, for this battle is not yours to win.  You will not need to fight.  Find strength in my promises, anchor yourself in my love, and watch as I work on your behalf.  I will be with you through it all.  And while I’m working on your behalf, I’m going to fill you with joy unspeakable. {2 Chronicles 20:12b, 9, 15b, 27}.

Band-Aid #3: And as you anchor yourself in my love, I become the strength your weary soul is thirsting for.  I am your Rescuer.  {Psalm 118:14}

Band-Aid #4: Pour yourself out. Utterly spend yourself. Serve with your whole heart. Give. Love. Satisfy the needs of the one you’re caring after. Even while you’re standing in your own scorched place with your own heavy heart with your own painful wounds. {Serve anyways.} Serve in my name. And I will satisfy you. I will guide you, continually. I will satisfy your heart’s desire in the place where you stand, that scorched place, giving you my strength, little by little until you are like a spring of water, overflowing, a spring whose waters do not fail {Isaiah 58: 10-12}

Oh my soul.  Satisfying.  Like a healing balm—like honey—on open wounds are these verses to me.  Band-aides to my heart.

Would you pray for me?  Would you pray for my dad?  My sister and her family too?  As we walk this journey as caregivers, we’ve reached a tough spot.  We need prayer too.  It’s humbling.  And utterly vulnerable.  And desperately appreciated.

Pray for: 1) rest, physical and emotional, 2) unity in spirit among family members, 3) freedom from difficult expectations and feelings of guilt, 4) time to take care of ourselves so we can care for mom, 5) wisdom beyond our years to make decisions, and 6) and spirits laced with the Fruit of the Spirit {love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control}.

Thank you, faithful ones.  Thank you for being on your knees before the Father on our behalf.

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About the Author

About the Author: Raised on Southern sweet tea and craft shows, Melissa is a native Oklahoman who now calls Texas home. She graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2013 with a Master of Divinity with a concentration in Women’s Studies. She has served on staff as a Women’s Minister, and now serves as the Director of the Horner Homemaking House on the campus of Southwestern Seminary. Her life calling is to write, mentor, and equip women to savor, and share, the hospitality of the Lord in their hearts and homes. She believes that a life-giving home is a place of belonging and becoming. Melissa loves teaching God’s Word to women, gathering her family and friends, celebrating with pie, and sharing life on front porches.

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