This year started out much more rough than I expected. Last week I finally hit a WALL. I became overwhelmed with weariness and hit the wall of TENSIBLE – being stretched beyond what I could bear. I began crying out to God in tears, “Eleven years! I have been caring for this man for eleven years and doing everything I could to lay down my life for him, earnestly trying to esteem him and his needs above my own! I just knew it was what YOU would do, Jesus! But I can’t do it anymore. It has become a life of laundry and cooking and changing the TV remote 20 times and being distracted by all the “where is…?” questions and not understanding the non-sensical communication. Eleven years is ENOUGH!” This was not pretty, friends. I'm being about as transparent as I've ever been here. I think most of you know me to be a person of much patience and compassion, but alas, it just seemed to run out and in the moment, I felt desperate.
Then I did something I've never done before. I got in my car and went for a very long drive so I could cry and scream and tell God how empty my tank was. No more compassion, no more patience, not even any love in my tank that day. I parked my car under a tree and called my one sibling, who is a powerful prayer warrior and I told her of this invisible, yet impenetrable wall I had come up against. She prayed in the Spirit and then told me she heard the Lord tenderly speaking over me and saying, “I see you, child. I am with you right there where you are and I have enough oil to refill your tank. I love you AND I SEE YOU.” A couple of days later I shared what I went through with one of the women in our Dementia support group. She felt led to send me a blog by Anne Graham Lotz, which had been given to her. The blog was about Hagar; cast off into the wilderness, unwanted and unloved. The scripture quoted was Genesis 16:13: “She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her, ‘You are the God who sees me’ for she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me.’”
What incredible confirmation! God breaking through the wall the enemy had tried to erect around me and not once, but twice, reassuring me that He sees me, He cares about my situation, He knows I have come to a place of weariness and emptiness, unable to go on in my own strength. Ah, how he loves it when we stop trying to soldier on in our own weak flesh, with the broken, empty tank! He reaches in and reminds us, “My grace (my oil) is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
He confirmed His word to me, and then by His grace, He refilled my empty tank with fresh oil. I could feel it when I woke up the next moning and I was happy to see John, happy to cook his breakfast, and to figure out the mumble jumble of words, the topsy turvy alphabet that spills from his lips.
I do not know how people get through this long, grievous goodbye without brothers and sisters in the faith to walk it with. I’m so grateful for the non-judgmental love and understanding from my sister and from my support group sisters. After this whole incident I began praying EARNESTLY for a weekly companion for John, to give me a break for FOUR HOURS. In a small miracle of events, a good friend intervened and made some phone calls. God used her in ways I could not have imagined. While I prayed to God for this one willing volunteer, HE sent me not one, but FOUR! Four men answered the call! I spent the next few days walking around in amazed gratitude, so thankful that suddenly I have some freedoms. HE IS THE GOD WHO SEES ME. He is the God who understood my tirade of exhaustion and wearines. He is the God who re-filled my tank to over-flowing!
Psalm 30 (the Message version):
I give you all the credit, God--
you got me out of that mess,
you didn’t let my foes gloat.
God, my God, I yelled for help
and you put me together.
God, you pulled me out of the grave,
gave me another chance at life
when I was down-and-out.
All you saints! Sing your hearts out to God!
Thank him to his face!
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
I called out to you, God;
I laid my case before you:
“Can you sell me for a profit when I’m dead?
auction me off at a cemetery yard sale?
When I’m ‘dust to dust’ my songs
and stories of you won’t sell.
So listen! and be kind!
Help me out of this!”
You did it: you changed wild lament
into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
I can’t thank you enough.
Kelly Ferrari Mills