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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hobbies, Careers, and Fruit Smoothies

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. 
Against such things there is no law. 
~Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

Kudos to all caregivers who still work full time, have school-age kids, and somehow find the patience and gentleness to be a caregiver. 

I say these things because I totally lost those tasty ingredients, which blend into a Galatians 5 fruit smoothie.  Seriously I must have misplaced my recipe.

Forbearance (patience)?

Blend those together and you get ... not me. Thank the Lord for calling me out on this and asking me to come to him. Into the prayer closet I went, only to find out that he already had all the ingredients together for me and didn't spill a drop.

Here's the scoop. A couple of weeks ago the doctor decided to double Dad's dosage of a certain pill with the promise that it might go well; but, with a warning that it may bomb. It bombed! The pill that would help him with his memory, calm his mind, did exactly the opposite. And essential oils, which usually pulls him out of the abyss, couldn't. 

Poor Dad went from walking with only the support of a cane to using a wheelchair. He liked it better since weakness, dizziness, and the accompanying frustration, had settled quite nicely and morphed him into a grumpy old man, and me into a don't-bother-me caregiver, which is putting it mildly. 

This happened of course in the middle of a very important project that my client, and good friend, had entrusted me with and paid for my services. I needed to get this done, though she has been extremely patient and kind. Editing and writing for me is not a hobby, it's a passion and allows for some much needed income. 

Sidebar: Visit My Books Page to see a list of my books and get up-to-date info on freebies and other fun stuff. Would love a review if you've downloaded my books or bought one. Awesome!

Sometimes, when my eyes are on me, me, me, what-about-me, I start believing that Dad is faking it. After all, this is a man who preached for over 40 years, who loved his congregation, was strong enough to climb on top of a building even into his eighties, and had a word of wisdom for everyone who crossed his path. Surely he can write his ABCs, do a puzzle or know when to go the bathroom? Surely he can take a few steps on his own without falling? Surely he still knows how to read God's Word? 

No (takes a deep sigh), he can't. 

I went into my War Room, and of course once you start complaining to the Lord (not the intention of a War Room), all the other complaints of life emerges. I'm angry, it's not fair, I'm alone, we have no money (this is not true; God provides every month but that's a whole other blog post), I'm tired, and my body aches. This is a nasty tasting fruit smoothie. Not a pretty picture but sometimes God takes you to the bitter ingredients because he's gracious, merciful, patient, and kind. 

Not for a second did I think God would answer my prayer. Not ... for ... one ... second. But ... he did. 

Once in a while, so I can vent, he gives this writer poetry (an awesome "hobby" to learn since words don't have to rhyme anymore). Hobbies, I think, are so important to have even if one isn't a caregiver. But for a caregiver it's a break from the everyday. It's a moment to enjoy. Interruptions may come but take those minutes when you can crochet, knit, draw, paint, sing, play the kazoo, read ... or write. It's therapy.


Don’t worship the tree
But the tree Maker
Don’t worship the fields
But their Creator
Don’t worship the sun
The moon or stars
The ocean waves at His command
The shores are His
As is the deep
The sky alive
His hands do keep
All that breathes
Shall worship You
The Lord
He is
Forever true

Did you think my poetry would have a lot of complaints? I did too, but these words came out instead. As did the following: 

Thank You

Thank You for sunrises
I praise You
Thank You for my children
They are made in Your image
Thank You for aches and pains
A small chance to share in Your suffering
Thank You for isolation
A way to put You first
Thank You for Your promises
On which I stand
A reminder there is none like You

Handing over my feelings, thoughts, and career didn't go without a fight. My prayers in that War Room went something like, "Yeah, yeah, I know. Well fine then. Please forgive, blah, give me patience, love, and all that other stuff ..." Seriously, there was no pleasantness of words or repentance until I decided--slowly--that maybe just calling out his name, then reciting all the words that are his character might help me lose all this anxiety, anger, and hopelessness:

God you are ...

I pray every caregiver can find God's ingredients to make that perfect fruit smoothie in order to love, have joy, find peace, patience, to be kind, good, remain faithful, gentle, and sprinkle a little self-control on top. Lord knows we need to sip of this drink now and then.

God helped us laugh again, my Dad and I, but not without a scare. Dad didn't want my help, complaining I never help him anyhow, and Mom knows nothing, he says, "I'll do it myself." He was trying to get into his wheelchair but he forgot to put the brakes on and the wheelchair did what wheelchairs do and rolled away. He fell ... hard. His screaming brought me flying down the stairs.

No matter how I moved him, he kept screaming in pain. I thought he had broken bones. It took me about 10 minutes to even get him to lie straight so I could check.

"Where does it hurt?" I asked.

"Nowhere," he replied.

"Why are you screaming?"

"Because it hurts."

He then decided to take a nap on the ground to which I replied, "It's probably more comfortable on your bed."

After another 5 minutes or so I managed to get him up. He was dead weight. Finally he sat safely in his wheelchair and for some reason we began to laugh. It was kind of that holy laughter when everything seems fine and we loved each other again. There's no other explanation, but God, and a little taste of a Galatians 5 Fruit of the Spirit smoothie.


  1. As I read your message, I am recalling taking care of my parents.Their time on earth has gone and they are celebrating victory in Heaven. There are times when we need to vent and we are blessed to know God loves us whether we are happy or angry with a situation. :-)

  2. So true. Sometimes there's nothing but God's grace I'm living on. Thanks Melissa.

  3. I loved this honest post. Not one of us is perfect, and sometimes the trials get to us. God knows that's gonna happen, and He's more than ready with grace and help. Thank you for the concept of a fruit smoothie. I'm going to remember that!

  4. Next time a fruit smoothie turns up in my hands I'm pretty sure I'll be having flashbacks of this post! Thanks for being so real, and showing us us what to do when we buy into nasty instead of tasty.

  5. Great combo...love smoothies and words.

  6. It's truly amazing how shifting our prayers to thankful ones can bring so much peace and comfort! Prayers for your family right now!

  7. Great testimony here. Caregiving is a picture of Christ--but a picture of how hard being Christlike can be.

  8. Thank you for sharing this encouragement! Shifting to a thankful heart allows us to endure the hard, doesn't it?!

  9. What encouragement!! I'm sharing this with a friend. xoxo

  10. Great message and I love the ending!! "and a little taste of a Galatians 5 Fruit of the Spirit smoothie."

  11. Dear Deborah, I loved every part of this. The reality of how we fall short, the truth about the real life frustrations and demands and the Lord, ready and waiting to refill us if only we draw near to Him. God bless you and your beautiful ministries!

  12. This was a beautiful read which I really needed today. Thank you. It made me smile, it made me cry BUT most of all it reminded me of the magnificence of our Creator and all the Blessings he gives to us.

  13. Wow. I don't know if I have words, but I'd love a taste of that fruit smoothie. I think of my father-in-law who has many of the dispositions you described in your father. And we just moved him to a new facility (3rd time in 15 months because of home closures). Thank you for this encouragement and the poems are great!