Archive | February 2016

Week 8: Christ Jesus, my Shepherd, my Caregiver

Once again I’ve made my Lord’s Day rounds — caregiver visiting caregiver. Let me explain.

My 93 year old grandmother lies bedridden in my parent’s former living room which is now occupied by a hospital bed and recliner, adult diapers and clothing in the cupboard. She has the kindest and gentlest of women, my mother and youngest sister, meeting her every physical need day in and day out.

On Sundays they take a much needed day off for church and fellowship. Bright and cheerful Ms. E comes to stay with Grandma, and rain or shine, winter winds or blistering heat, my daughter and I pop by to walk the dog and visit Grandma for a few. Ms. E  is always happy for adult conversation, too. It is a long day for her. Caregivers need company!

My question is this: who cares for the caregiver? So many times I am too busy fighting my own fires to stay very connected to others outside my family.

Another week of desperate prayers here wondering how I’m going to stay on top of everything on my plate. Another week of putting on my big girl britches and finding out where to check the oil and coolant on my new old vehicle because my hubby has been too incapacitated to barely step foot outside the house for the past week. Good thing I checked! This old engine is needy, too. I know from listening to you ladies that this is your life experience as well.

So my body was fighting me, but His Spirit won. By His grace I rarely miss worshipping Him with His people on His day. Why? Why bother when I have so much on my plate?

Certainly not because I find my every need met at church. Often I feel alone, isolated from the other women because my circumstances are so vastly different from theirs. I have had to really work on reaching out beyond those walls and seeking out the common ground we have in Christ. What brings me back each week?

“Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,   and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

As Matthew Henry puts it, “Let your care for your souls and another world take place of ALL other cares: and let all the concerns of this life be made subordinate to those of the life to come…”  God and His holy angels attend the worship of His people on His day. His Word is the Bread of Life to my weary soul. It is my time to sit in His presence and rejuvenate for the week ahead.

Jesue Himself calls you and I, weary and burdened, to come to Him and find rest for our souls. He is my Caregiver and yours.

It is my hope and prayer to make this blog a little oasis for you, but I cannot give you rest and refreshment without time spent at Jesus’ feet, listening to His Word, being His sheep, and hearing His voice. Spend time with Him tonight!

Please feel free to share in the comments how I can pray for you. Caregivers need to care for one another. image

 

 

 

 

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Week 7: “He shall give His angels charge over you…

…to keep you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11

Three different road trips this weekend and three terrible accidents in full view brought this comforting Scripture to mind. You heard a bit about my broken down car a few weeks ago. The rest of the story is that my husband and I had just traveled the “NASCAR” beltway to the big city. Our axle broke as we gently and slowly rounded the corner on a quieter city street near an alley. Obviously it was not our appointed day of death! Despite the fact that our only car became a total loss to us — the weight of the broken axle ended up damaging the transmission — we were blown away by the miraculous protection.

Even more touching was the outpouring of love by a few of God’s people. We are up and running with another old vehicle kindly donated to us. Ladies, I know all about the financial strain that frequently accompanies any sort of health issues. Chronic illness has many ways of draining your bank account. More posts of encouragement on the topic of finances will follow.

Before I knew what or how God was going to provide for our desperate need for a vehicle, I had written a note stating Jehovah-Jireh which means: the LORD will provide. I found great comfort in that promise based on one of the very names of God.

What is your dire need in this moment? I realize I am a little behind in posting this tonight, just as running a few minutes behind spared me not once, but twice this weekend from potentially being involved in a bad car accident. I feel very comforted by knowing God can take these words and mostly HIS Word to be just the protection and comfort you need. When Satan hisses in your ear that God has forgotten you, shield your heart and mind behind His faithful promises.

“He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:4

 

Week 5: Better Than I Deserve

As I sit and write this, my car is in a city dead-end nook waiting for a moonlighting mechanic to replace vital parts so that we can have wheels again.

I had already scribbled down my thoughts of encouragement, good thoughts from God’s Word that encouraged me this week, as it was not a week on my favorite list. I can point you to Genesis and the life of Joseph, first of all.

“But as for you, you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good…”(Genesis 50:20)

This statement of Joseph to his brothers who had literally sold him into slavery has continued to bless my life when times are tough. God’s covenant grace and promises are a golden thread weaving through the Old Testament to the New. He is the SAME yesterday, today, and forever! For an amazing read, check out Genesis 37-50.

We all struggle with anxiety, doubts, and ingratitude when trouble strikes.

We are never really told of Joseph’s inner battles while sitting in Pharoah’s prison for more than two years. No family or friends  were nearby to comfort him, but the Bible gives us this insight: “But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison…(vs. 21) …the LORD was with him; and whatever he did, the LORD made it to prosper.” (vs. 23)

Whatever comes my way, it is better than I deserve!

Really! That is hard to write and even harder to get a grip on at times. We live in a me, myself, and I era. Entitlement runs rampant — like the homeless man on my front porch who recently refused a bowl of my homemade chili or even a sandwich. He wanted ROYAL FARMS chicken or nothing at all. But what do I mean? The Bible clearly tells us our hopeless, wretched heart condition in the sight of a perfect God and Creator. If you do not know what I mean, Romans is a good place to go after reading about the fall of man in the Garden of Eden in Genesis 1-3.

“There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God.” Romans 3:10 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

That is the bald, naked truth about each of us. Not good! But the God of covenant mercy and grace did not forsake us in our desperate need.

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:6-9

I am now encouraging myself so that it is hard to stop! I want to reread all of Genesis and Romans. Our car is still sitting there broken. We were still ripped off by our local mechanic who replaced this axle in January of this year. But, we could have been in a terrible accident. We are sitting warm and well-fed in my brother’s house. Of course, I would love your prayers that this repair would go smoothly this afternoon!  I hope you are encouraged today in whatever hardship you are facing. You and I, if you are a believer in Jesus, are recipients of eternal mercy so undeserved. If not, read and pray over the Bible words that I have shared. You do not want to face this life and the next one alone.

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32