Tag Archive | mercy

Week 9: Five Ways To Keep Up Your Courage, Dear Heart!

Here we are, ready to face another week and new challenges. In morning worship today Matthew 6:34 caught my eye…”sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Yep, a new day, and I’m in trouble again! 😅

I have a friend I am hoping will guest post for me. She spent many years caregiving for her husband. He passed away a little over a year ago. She is a lovely, joyful Christian lady. Her prayers have and do mean the world to me. So, stay tuned for some pearls of wisdom and encouragement from a caregiver who has finished her course in caregiving. I hope!  Meanwhile, here are a few ways, simple, but tested and true, that I rely on to encourage my heart when things are tough. In my case, that seems to be frequently!

  1. Write down one of God’s promises or attributes and repeat it to yourself at least five times during the day. Sounds kooky, eh? Well, in Psalm 136, “His mercy endures forever, ” is repeated 26 times in 26 verses. Our Father, the best and most perfect of parents, is driving home an important truth to our busy, burdened, distracted hearts. Repetition has power! Instead of believing any lie that is told often enough and loudly enough, pack some truth in those dark moments.
  2. Go out for some fresh air and sunshine when available. Vitamin D helps fight depression, and if you can find a beautiful spot outside for a walk, go for it! Or, look for your city’s botanical gardens or find a spot with lots of plants and greenery to enjoy. My daughter and I have even used the “free zoo”, i.e., PetSmart to help beat the winter blues. Little critters can be so entertaining.
  3. Find a simple way to bless someone else.  I really do mean simple. When you bake, share a few pieces with a neighbor or friend. Put a card in the snail mail to encourage someone. Take a few minutes to e-mail a friend. Little things can mean a lot. It is more blessed to give than to receive. I feel so needy so often, but giving is an important reminder not to have tunnel vision and be focused only on my own problems.
  4. Listen to beautiful uplifting music.  Remember how young David soothed the troubled King Saul of Israel by playing beautiful music for him? I highly recommend the Psalms set to music. You can find many beautiful settings published by Crown and Covenant. However, the array of beautiful music at our very fingertips through iTunes, etc., is astonishing.
  5. Talk to a trusted, godly friend and ask for prayer. Always talk to our Father in heaven first. He uses His children to wrap His loving comfort around our hearts, so you and I should open up to a select circle of trusted friends. Trust takes time to build. Maybe you don’t have a trusted friend at the moment. The very overwhelming load you carry means time is a limited resource. Pray about this, too. In the past year I have spent some very sweet moments praying for a few minutes at a time with some lovely ladies. We send short notes. “Praying about…x, y, and z.” Initiate! Ask. Can we pray together for a few minutes this week?

Believe it or not, this is my short list. I could go on. Tell me how I can be a better encouragement to you. What is your biggest fear or discouragement? If you have posted here, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

 

 

 

Week 4: My Tears in Your Bottle

“You number my wandering; put my tears in Your bottle; are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, then my enemies will turn back; this I know because God is for me. ” Psalm 56:8-9

For you ladies who are in my shoes, I think you will understand when I say that I have lived at this Psalm address for the past year especially. The past twelve months have rocked our personal world. We were used to living in that uncanny rhythm you develop with chronic illness. Survive through the rough days and make the best of the good days is how we roll. I plan my house projects around times of year when my hubby perks up a little.

The pain of this past year has made it hard to breathe at times. Not one but three devastating diagnosis for my husband have been delivered at intervals with barely any time to adjust to the ramifications of the prior news. On top of crushing, inescapable reality, financial hardships and family stresses piled up like a mountain.

“This I know, because God is for me.” This pile of trouble upon trouble has proven to me over and over again that I am God’s beloved daughter cared for so personally by Him. “He shall send from heaven and save me…Psalm 57:3” When I have felt lonely, overwhelmed, forgotten, His love and provisions have come just when I needed them. Yes, even before I knew I what I would be needing, His help appeared!

Let me tell you about my fifteen minute mad dash through Wal-mart this past summer. I had just a few things I really needed and just a few minutes to get my errand done. Five minutes in, I recognized a lovely mother of three littles that I had not seen for a few months. We exchanged hurried greetings, but she expressed a great desire for company for the two hour round trip to the homeschool conference we were both attending in the coming week. My attendance was required so that I could tutor to offset my daughter’s tutorial fees for her classes. Voila! We exchanged phone numbers, and she planned to pick me up on Monday.

A few aisles later I ran into another friend. He told me that he and his wife would pray for us — my husband had a blood clot in his leg at the time. Also, he expressed a sincere wish to help in any way they could.

The very next day five minutes into our trip to church, we knew our only car was in need of the ER! I was being shuttled to the needed conference on Monday as my husband got the news that our car needed open heart surgery, basically. For eighteen days I barely had to worry about transportation because friend number one and friend number two had already offered their help. Despite having an exterior water leak that required my sister and I to dig down three feet so the pipe could be repaired, despite my husband’s incapacitation at the time, I knew I was loved and cared for. Alone? Forgotten? Not for a moment! An accidental meeting? No way!

Maybe that is why you found my blog. Our Heavenly Father knows we need companionship and comfort in our trials. My hope is to share His comfort with you. How is God comforting and caring for you? I would love to hear your story.

 

When I was sick, you visited Me

Recently I heard from a client who was sick, lonely, and discouraged. In fact, she has been chronically ill for years, but the past few months have taken the cake, so to speak. She has a wonderfully supportive , godly husband, loving family, and loving church family.  But the plain truth is, even with all of the above, being chronically ill gets very lonely. The Son of Man is perfectly able to understand our weaknesses. Matthew 25:31-46 illustrate His compassionate understanding of situations of human vulnerability and how TRUE saints respond.

In fact, Christ goes so far as to warn His listeners, then and now, that those who blindly ignore the needs of the poor, the prisoner, and the ill will be separated from the sheep in the “last day”.  Compassion and mercy may be the special gift of some saints, but all are required to practice these virtues.   Some are truly in the position to always have to be on the receiving end of charity when they would rather not be.  I think of saints in other countries, especially, who suffer persecution for their faith, famine, etc…  Even so, just being sick qualifies one for acts of mercy and compassion. Please don’t forget your chronically ill friend.

As Matthew Henry so succinctly expresses, “He will take the kindness done to them, as done to Himself…which shows a respect to the poor that were relieved, as well as to the rich that did relieve them. Note, Christ espouses his people’s cause, and reckons himself received, and loved, and owned in them. If Christ himself were among us, how readily would we relieve him?”

My friend and client’s discouragement blew a little spark into a flame today. When I struggle with loneliness and discouragement, I will keep looking out for those around me who need a special word of encouragement.  Even a “visit” of an e-mail or card can lift someone’s spirit’s heavenward for that moment.  My little pile of saved cards from caring friends is stored in a special place. Even without the finances to fund generous mercy, I have the ability to practice this Christ-like virtue. My Savior also takes note, and remembers every caring visit and loving word and work. How great is His condescension to us!  All His sheep are recipients of amazing, undeserved mercy and compassion.

Take time for beauty…

A Beautiful day in Appalachia

While cleaning on my job this morning I was randomly listening to a tv show called something like Doctors. As he spoke to the audience about how we are so stressed we don’t even take time to breathe, I noticed the glorious blue sky filtered by the bare winter woods. He instructed the audience to stop right there and take three deep breaths. I did, while gazing at the beautiful wooded back yard where I worked today. Breathing deeply did feel good, but will certainly not take care of the real stresses in life.

God instructs us to “Be still and I know that I am God.” Some days this is so very hard to do. Most of my “be still time” is while I am driving, and must also pay attention to traffic.  But when I do give the Lord a concerted effort to listen quietly to His Word, I find His beauty thrills my soul.

Return, O Lord! How long?

And have compassion on Your servants.

Oh, satisfy us early with Your mercy,

That we may be glad and rejoice all our days!

Make us glad according to the days in which you have afflicted us,

The years in which we have seen evil.

Let Your work appear to Your servants, and Your glory to their children.

And let the beauty of the Lord be upon us,

And establish the work of our hands for us;

Yes, establish the work of our hands.

Psalm 90:13-17