Friday, April 15, 2011

I Think I Can't/Please pray for Me!

I am tired.  This morning I took a long look at myself in the mirror and said aloud, "I can't do this."

"This" is an all encompassing term that refers to:

  • giving up my job as teacher
  • facing retirement at age 57 with a laughably small retirement fund 
  • becoming dependent upon Farmer John (my husband) for all my financial needs, and by extension, upon the farm itself; which I've learned is an undependable source of income.  
  • watching my mother continue to fade away from me
  • carrying an increasingly heavy caregiving load
  • coping with the fact that the much anticipated (and thus far one-and-only) royalties check that I will receive from my publisher will be for a grand total of $144.00.  I am being paid approximately fourteen cents a copy for the books my publisher has sold for me.  
 I could go on.  And on and on and on.  But I'll spare you.  Suffice it to say, that unlike the Little Engine That Could, I don't think I can.

If you are annoyed by Christian platitudes, as is at least one of my readers, please stop reading now.  You may go about your business, leaving me in the depths of depression (gloom, despair, and agony on me...).


I'm praying as I write this gloomy post, and here is the verse that comes to mind:

"Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you"  (1 Kings 19:7).

These are the words that an angel spoke to Elijah, who, even I will admit, was in worse circumstances than mine.  He'd fled for his life from the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel,  he was the only prophet left alive who was a true spokesman for the Lord; and now they were trying to kill him too!  When the angel spoke to him, Elijah got up, ate, rested some more, and then ate again.  He was then able to continue his journey.

I don't need physical food right now, I really don't.  I've just imbibed a 23 grams-of-protein power bar.  And so what kind of intake will truly strengthen me for the journey ahead?  Of what can I partake that will kick the whine out of my voice and put a sparkle back into my eye?

Wait, I know this one...

Prayer.  Praise.  Fellowship.  Scripture.

That's the formula I taught my students back when I used to teach Sunday School, and it is a formula that has usually worked for me in the past.   But there is one more element not listed here, and that is intercession.  It's hard to ask others to pray when we are in need.  It takes humility, and a willingness to admit we can't pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps.

This morning I was at just that point of despair.  After I'd proclaimed to my own reflection the impossibility of the path before me, I went to my computer, composed a pathetic little "Please pray for me" email, and sent it winging on its way to three dear friends who are my closest prayer partners.  When I arrived at work about an hour later, one of those precious intercessors was sitting in my classroom, praying.  She gave me a hug, held my hand and prayed aloud for me, pledged to continue to pray and was gone.

And I'm ok now.

The point of this rambling entry is, dear fellow caregivers, that you really cannot do what you need to do all by yourself.  Cry out to the Lord, and humble yourself to ask others to intercede for you.

Because even if you think you can't, the Lord can; and the intercession of others will help you to go forward in His strength and not your own.

Scripture:  "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me" (2 Corinthians 12:9).


  1. Praying for you! Desiring God has some really great resources about suffering and the sovereignty of God.

  2. Yes, He can! I've been reminded so often in the last few years that He truly does have each day in His hand. Even putting a friend in a quiet room for a moment of prayer :)

  3. Very well said. I am so glad you have the knowledge of scripture to uphold you. These were great choices.

    Praying that God holds you close during these challenging days.

  4. Prayers, Scripture and good friends.... will help us walk this journey through Alzheimer's care giving. It sounds like you have a very thoughtful friend!

    I'm keeping you in my prayers.

    There are days that I feel I can't do this you.... through prayer and taking one day at a time...we can do it.

  5. Dear Linda, I am praying for you. I read your posts for strength, and I am asking the Lord to send you strength right now. We all need prayer, and thank you again for reminding us that it is ok to ask this of others. With Love,

  6. Praying and honoring the mirror I found in your post. We are not meant to be alone. Perhaps that is why we never are. Praying for us all, and those we love.
    Amen Amen Amen

  7. I experienced this very thing (God's grace) through other's encouragement and prayers this week, too!

  8. Oh Linda!

    Sorry I missed this post earlier. We were camping as I wrote on Plant City blog where recently I wrote on "How to Manage Worry". Yes, will be praying and interceding for you.

    Many people don't know the depths of despair that we caregivers go through and you have touched me deeply. My book doesn't help financially also and my teaching retirement is so small. I read about Herman's suffering in Psalm 88 this morning and thought of you. Herman doesn't have any trite answers either, but just cries out to God day and night. Also Jesus wept I read in Luke 19 this morning. I am weeping with you, Linda, as well as interceding.

    We can't. God can and the Almighty LORD does deliver. So glad you had that friend pray with you at school--such a tangible, immediate answer for you. I have seen our creative God take away a car payment and reduce huge prescription bills when we switched from AARP when I thought we would keep going downhill financially. Now when the gas prices have increased I am learning couponing so we can live on a much smaller food budget. Georgene (Living on Less) is a caregiver for two and stretches the budget so creatively.

    I am substitute teaching two days this week and there is no car at home for my husband to drive now due to our crash with the second vehicle. Thank you, LORD, for only one car.

    When my AD husband needs full-time care, I will get someone to be with him so I can get out to teach or run errands. "Sally" and I may trade off caring for our two AD husbands while the other substitutes. (Our husbands are friends who love to tell each other the same stories over and over and can't remember what the other one has said!) I am praying that you find someone who can provide you respite as Dolores and Karen have. Then maybe you can just get out of the house from time to time, even substitute teach if you wish, even if the respite care were to get most of your paycheck. Karen and Dolores I don't think pay for their respite care, but I am not sure.

    Hugs and prayers,

    PS Thanks for your book which so helped me.

  9. I think my husband has Alzheimer's. I am going to go see his doctor tomorrow to talk about it. He does not know I am going. I am a Christian, as he is, but I am terrified. I took care of his mom part of the time when she had it and died 4 years ago. Our only daughter died at age 31 7 years ago. I KNOW God is sovereign and that He will carry us through, but I am still so afraid for my husband, not for me. He has always said that he does not want to know if he ever has it. Will you please pray for us? I WILL PRAY FOR YOU!!!

  10. Martha I hope you see this reply to your comment--you might let me know if you do. I want to tell you I was praying for you before I even finished reading your comment. I am praying for both you and your husband to be free of fear. My mom takes Namenda, Aricept, Prozac (anti-depressant) and Colestipol (cholesterol lowering med that off label also controls her irritible bowel). I share this because it has been almost a magic combination of drugs for her and she's maintained her level of functioning for 7 years. Her supplements are fish oil, lutein (supposed to help prevent macular degeneration) and a daily antihistamine.

    Some studies show that cholesterol lowering meds as well as anthistamines of some sort might help. Perhaps that is why Mom's done so well. That, and all the prayer.

    My point here is, medication helps.

    But of course, Your best help is in our Lord. Praying for you now!

    If you respond to this comment, I will see it. You can also email me at