May 18, 2015

Change...Signs that things are moving again...

It is a lovely morning in Phoenix. I woke up early today, around 5 a.m., only to fall back to sleep until 8. By the time I finally dragged myself out of bed, I found that I was tired and rather grumpy. Yes, that is what happens to me so often when my sleep is disrupted early in the morning. Still it is a good day, even if it started with a fright!

I have been having dreams again, and this morning, I had a series of tornado dreams. I hate tornado dreams. Of all the dreams I have regularly, these are the ones that I detest most. The good news is that I rarely panic when I have them now. I used to wake up in one of those "cold sweats" where I was shaken up as if I had actually lived through the moment. Now, I am in the dream, looking out the window, seeing the debris fly around, and watching as the tornado approaches my house, but I am not afraid. I am calm, and I take cover as I wait it out, as I wait for the storm to pass over me. I think the reason this is so is because I have the peace of Christ ruling in my heart and in my mind. So while the dream world seems in chaos, the inside world of my heart and mind is at peace. I am not afraid. I am not scared or worried about the outcome of the dream.

Tornado dreams typically represent the fact that things, events or circumstances are outside of one's control. In short, when you dream about tornados, it is almost always linked to personal situations where you feel like you have either lost complete control or you are at the brink of losing control. They are called "control dreams" because the desire subconsciously is to regain control of whatever even or circumstance is ongoing in your life. In my case, I can point to a couple situations where I feel as though I have lost control. I may not really feel that I have lost control, but there is a sense of chaos and that is causing my mind to worry, to fear, and to stress over it.

Today is a good day to examine the events in my life that are out of control or close to being out of control. I think the number one issue or event is my parent's health needs. This weekend, my brothers (two of the three) came to Phoenix to celebrate my Mom's early birthday. It was nice that they came, and it was good to see them. However, the other reason they came was to see my Mom who is having health challenges and memory problems. Her short-term memory is failing quickly, and as a result, it is starting to cause us (my parents and myself) to change the way we do things on a daily basis. For example, Mom is no longer driving on her own. Second, she is often getting confused on dates, so we are having to make sure that all appointments go through my Dad or me. Third, she is not able to do much cooking anymore, so I am having to pick up that slack and take on more of the cooking/cleaning duties. It is a challenge, for sure, and with my current schedule of teaching and online studies, it is difficult at times to maintain control.

My brothers wanted to get a feel for what might be coming down the road. I appreciate that fact, and I understand what they were thinking. However, the way things worked out, well, it wasn't really for the best. It turned out fine, but nothing was settled, and no real discussion took place. I am still in the exact same position I was in previously -- not really knowing what I will have to do next week, month or year.

All of this is to say that while I am struggling with my own life, I am functioning as a caregiver for my parents, and that is a burden that is getting heavier and heavier each day. Still, I am blessed to help, and I am trusting the Lord for His provision -- but I am feeling the pinch and the bite -- of a tightening belt, and it scares me. Yes, it scares me.

A case in point -- I took my brother to lunch today. Well, my parents wanted to take him to lunch before he heads back to CA (his home). My son went along too, and it was nice for the five of us to have time together this way. I offered to pay for my brother's lunch since I owed him for his purchasing of dinner on Saturday. I didn't mind really, it was just that when the bill came, I was reminded of my "out go and my income" being out of sync with one another. My reserves are dwindling down and even with my refund check (coming any day now), I just don't see how I am going to make ends meet this summer. God has me covered, I know this, still the out go is significant, and as I continue to support my parents (filling in the gaps), I am spending far more money than I make. End of story.

I need another job. I need a part-time job or some better paying job just to keep my head above water. I am not sunk yet, but I can see the water line rising, and I don't want to be dog paddling to keep myself afloat. I want to earn a good income, to be settled, and to have enough to cover my base needs AND put some away for a rainy day (and my retirement). I know that day is coming -- retirement -- and I know that I need to start saving now. However, I don't make enough to save, and that causes me worry. I trust the Lord, really I do, but the writing is on the wall, and frankly, I am being hopefully optimistic to think that I can be sustained like this long-term. I cannot, I just cannot. God provides, and I thank Him for His provision, but I need to see this resolved now, and I think this is the underlying issue that is keeping me from sleeping well at night.

Update

I didn't finish this post completely this afternoon, so I am wrapping it up now. The good news is that I survived the weekend with my family in town. Not much has changed for me since that time, other than to say that the "status quo" is still in effect. Yes, everything is pretty much as it was before the weekend. Still, I am glad to have spent time with my family, and for them to see what is going on in our life. So often, we are isolated from the truth of such matters, and for family that live far away, they rarely get to see what we experience (those of us in the trenches). Yet, the Lord was good to allow us to be together, and I am confident that He will make the most of the situation as time proceeds on.

In other news, I am really struggling with back pain. I am not sure what I have done, but I have had intensive back pain the past couple days. Yesterday was by far the worst day for me, and today is getting more painful as the hours wear on. I thought it might be my bed or my desk chair. I am not sure right now, but the pain is coming from my sacroiliac joint and it is referring pain to my right hip. The combination is getting me down, but the Lord has me covered and I am thankful that I can rest today as I need to do so.

Overall, I am blessed, so very blessed to be alive, and to be in the condition I am. I am praying and trusting the Lord for His provision over every area of my life. I know He is good, and that as God, nothing is outside His power. I can rest in this knowledge, and I can take hope that He has be so very well covered this day.


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