By Daphne Reiley
Recently, I was done. Poke me with a fork. I was so empty and parched that I had absolutely nothing to give. Yet, as do most caregivers, I kept trying to give and was failing miserably. Then came the Women’s Retreat our denomination holds each fall. Thank God. Literally.
Of course, I went with a plan for my own “filling-up” and rest. I love it when I so obviously give God a chuckle.
My plan was to have a weekend of silence and solitude — which is where I usually get my fuel, my time with God that is so rich and full. However, God apparently had other ideas — like God tends to do when we make plans without consulting God.
As soon as I walked into the lobby, God began placing people in my path who genuinely wanted to know how I was doing. When I responded, they continued to listen. All through the weekend, precious women — being God with skin on — listened to me and helped me begin to see God’s hand, God’s promise for me. Oh, so sweet.
I came away from that weekend filled to overflowing — as full (or more so) than I had been empty upon arrival.
So, speaking from my own recent experience, I cannot stress enough the importance of setting aside time for YOU — even in the midst of ongoing crisis, or chronic illness, or simply stressful daily living.
We cannot give out of an empty cup. When we do attempt such a thing, first of all the quality of our giving is compromised; second, we end up deeply conflicted and out of the loop in our conversations with God; and third, we end up sick ourselves (mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically).
If you are a caregiver, you know that being sick is “not an option.” So, it is encumbent upon us as caregivers, as spiritual and emotional support for the caregivers in our lives, to set aside time to refill our cups.
Check with your community of faith for upcoming respite ideas — retreats, “day” spa gatherings, circle meetings, support groups, respite programs. This is too important to ignore — or to go without.
God’s grace abounds, but we have to be able to see it which is difficult if we’re exhausted.