Offering a Contrite Heart

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17 ESV)

It feels so difficult to say this, but lately I have been feeling very burned out. Emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I know we all go through this, and I think this is one of my seasons.

For the past several months, our family has been taking care of my Grandmother in her home, who has moved to hospice status due to her terminal cancer diagnosis. Therefore, we are there to support her while she lives out her final days. My grandmother’s wish was that her closest family members would be there every day to care for her, so we are all taking shifts. I come over every day after work and stay until 9-9:30, and I pop in on the weekends as well.

It is emotionally exhausting watching her deteriorate, and being with her as she deals with her own approaching death is hard, since she claims she does not believe in God (but I’m still believing!). She also is not an easy patient to deal with (as she would say herself!) since she has become more neurotic about things. I even have to wear a shower cap while sitting on her bed so I don’t shed any hairs! I can type this with a chuckle, because I love her more than anything, and her quirks have become somewhat comical amongst our family.

What I have learned, through all of this, is my tendency to rely on “good” activities to make me feel closer to God, instead of listening to where God will have me in the moment to do His will. Since I have been taking care of my grandmother every day, I have had to cut out and forgo many of my normal activities and routines, such as small group, meeting with friends, church, and volunteer meetings. Those are all good things to do, but I had to ask myself, was my irritation at having to miss my favorite activities to take care of her an indication of my own self-centeredness and tendency toward becoming like a Pharisee, instead of loving like Jesus loved and having the right priorities?

As the weeks have gone by, I have learned to let go of my disappointment and recognize that what I am doing right now in this short season of my life is of service to God. I can see that He is doing a work in me, through me, and for my grandmother as well.

I feel so deflated at times, when all I can offer is a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart during this season. But since God says these are His sacrifices, and He will not despise these offerings, maybe I am exactly where I need to be. What if all He wants is for me to let go of everything I am “doing” and simply pour myself out to Him, feeling I have nothing left to give? Do I believe that is good enough for Him?

What about you? Do you ever feel like the only thing you can offer is a broken spirit and contrite heart? Do you feel like what you are doing now is not good enough? Take heart, in that you may be offering the exact thing you need to give to God, and He is pleased with it and will use that to move you to a deeper place with Him.

Brandy can be reached by email here.

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