Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Can't!

I believe that God's light shines uniquely through every one of us, and so as we learn from one another, we gain a more comprehensive knowledge of the Lord. In this way the body of Christ is knit together and strengthened.

During the past five years I've written about my experiences as an Alzheimer caregiver, seeking God's guidance and then recording the results. The portion of God's light that shines through me in a way that might edify others has little to do with the physical labor of caregiving. I came to understand this truth because when I was tempted to spend time describing specifics of my labors for Mom, I often felt the Holy Spirit's restraining influence. The anointing with which the Lord has entrusted me has to do with making a successful transition from a past relational role to a new identity and ministry as a caregiver.

The Lord often calls us to serve in ways for which we are not naturally well-suited. I remember when I received God's call to be a teacher. I had a passion to help small children to avoid spirit wounds, but few other qualifications for the job. I was not patient, or particularly maternal. I was not a person who could be spontaneously creative, and so every classroom session had to be preceded by hours of preparation and even rehearsal. Filing the deluge of teaching information and materials in a manner that gave some hope of future access was burdensome and time consuming, because I was not by nature orderly or organized.

Furthermore, my nerves just weren't created to withstand the strain of teaching. I developed insomnia, and for the 15 years that I taught first and second grade I often operated on just three to five hours sleep a night. I would occasionally not sleep at all.

The logical recourse would have been to find another line of work, but the Lord kept His hand upon me and I knew that I was where I was supposed to be. And so I had to learn to walk in His strength and not my own.

You see, we human beings will not access the Lord's strength as long as we are able to utilize our own. Whenever I've cried out to the Lord saying, "I can't," I've felt his gentle strength and the warmth of His smile. I hear Him say, "I know you can't, Child, but I can!"

Fast forward twenty-five years from that call to teach, to a chilly March day in 2004 when Mom's nurse practitioner said, "Your mother has Alzheimer's disease." As an only child I knew that I would become my mother's caregiver by default.

"Oh Lord," I cried, "I can't!!!!"

But I felt His gentle strength and the warmth of His smile...

If we say, "No," to God's call to serve based on our own "I can'ts," we remove ourselves from the influence of His sculpting hand, forfeiting great blessing.

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. Beautiful post, Mom. I feel the Lord speaking to me.

  2. Yes, yes. You are so right. This entire post is fraught with Spirit power. Goosebumps!