Sunday, April 5, 2020

Favorite Scripture Passages from Nursing Home Residents

It is Palm Sunday today-just a week before Easter.  On what we call Palm Sunday, the crowds of old came out into the streets joyfully and loudly praising Jesus.  They said, "Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord." (Luke 19:38)  Later Jesus said, "---if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."  (verse 40)

In these unusual times Jesus is still King over all life's trials including Coronavirus and it's complications in other areas of our lives.  A few days ago I posted on Facebook a video clip of people from a nursing home in Sioux Center, IA sharing their favorite Bible verses which encourage them in difficult times.  I thought it was worth repeating here today. These elderly people have come to recognize Jesus as their King and as their source of comfort in life' s struggles.  Click on the link below and be blessed, as they share.   (As a footnote I was born in IA not too far from Sioux Center.)

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wait Patiently on the Lord

Psalm 40:1  says, "I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry."  In the last days and perhaps weeks, I have noticed the concept of waiting on the Lord many times, as I read Scripture.  Waiting on the Lord involves trusting in the Lord for our needs.  It involves trusting that He is in control.  Waiting on the Lord means we can trust him for the best possible outcome, but it may mean His timing is different than our own.

If you are a person who is living in fear because of the recent world-wide Coronavirus, wait on the Lord-trust Him.  If you are a caregiver who is caring for a loved one, maybe this new crisis has you feeling even more isolated or alone.  If so wait on the Lord-trust Him.  Maybe you have lost a job or are in danger of losing a job as a result of this crisis.  If so, wait on the Lord-trust Him.  Maybe you or someone you love has caught this virus and are suffering the consequences of this disease.  If so wait on the Lord-trust Him.  Maybe you are suffering from some other consequence of the  pandemic.  If so wait on the Lord-trust Him.

If we wait on the Lord Psalm 40:2-3 says the Lord will lift us "out of the slimy pit, "and give us a "firm place to stand." He will "put a new song" in our hearts and on our lips, "a  hymn of praise to our God."  Then not only will be lifted up, but many other people "will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

Waiting on the Lord is not always easy.  Sometimes His timing is so different than our own.  We are impatient and want things to be okay according to our definition and timeline, but God's timing is always perfect.  Often beautiful refining of our character happens during difficult times.  God's plan for us is always good even in times of difficulty and trial.  (Check out Psalm 40:5)

Years ago when I was going through cancer treatment I ran across this phrase: "Cancer is the little c.  Christ is the big C."  We could extend that further.  Joblessness is the little j.  Jesus is the big J.  Fear is the little f.  Father God is the big F.  Anxiety is the little a.  Almighty God is the big A.  Coronavirus is the little c.  Christ is the big C.  Wait on the Lord.  Trust Him.


Sunday, March 22, 2020

His Abounding Love

(This is a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

God is a God who is abounding in love.  Sometimes in the storms of care-giving challenges it may not feel that way.  Feelings do not change the truth of God's unfailing love for you, however, dear caregiver.

If you think of your life as a building; the Lord is your sure foundation, dear caregiver.  He is guiding you through the difficult challenges of care-giving.  He is guiding you with His wisdom and knowledge when you feel like you are hitting your head against brick walls.  Many times when I was a caregiver I felt so alone.  Yet I always knew God was with me, and now as I look back I see how He lead me each step of the way.

Every building also needs a door.  Prayer is the door or access to the very presence of God.  So is trust and thankfulness.  As we trust in Him with a thankful heart, He will pave the way.  Family care-giving is overwhelmingly difficult at times.  I know that, dear caregiver, because I lived it.  Yet God's presence is with you all the way.  You will sense that presence more, as you pray to Him and trust Him with a thankful heart.

Every building also needs a security system of some kind.  This is to prevent others from coming in and doing damage to property or people.  The caregiver's life needs a security system also.  That security system is the Word of God.  As caregivers listen and wait for God to speak to them through the promises of His Word, they are able to fight off the devil's attempts to discourage them.  They are able to rest in the abounding love of the Lord God.

Dear Caregiver, there is not even one area of your life that the love of God is not able to reach.  God's wide and loving arms are able to reach around any care-giving challenge in your life.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  His love is deep enough to meet your deepest discouragement, as you go about the business of caring for your loved one.

Not only is His love with you, dear caregiver, but so is His all-sufficient power.  He can calm your fears.  In your own strength it is not possible to face the challenges of family care-giving, but He has promised to give you His strength in you!  With His strength in you and with His abounding love surrounding you, dear caregiver, you can do whatever He asks of you.  Rest in Him!


(Perhaps you know someone who is a family caregiver, or perhaps you are caring for a loved one yourself.  This may be complicated by the current world crisis.  Consider ordering my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  It is available at Amazon here:  https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482027543&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Caregiver  You can also find it elsewhere online like at Barnes and Noble.  I even saw it at Target online.  Finally, you can receive a copy directly from me by emailing me for specifics at jesuschild54@hotmail.com )

Sunday, March 15, 2020

God's Plan vs Your Plan

We all have had hopes and dreams.  We all have had plans about how our lives should unfold.  Yet God's plan is often very different than our own.  We dream of a life that is a smooth path free of troubles and challenges until we reach the finish line.

Yet God says that we will face challenges and trials.  Our lives will not be a straight smooth line.  It will include many joyful moments, but will also include moments that are very difficult.  All the moments, but especially the difficult moments, God uses to stretch us and make us more like Him.  He builds Godly character in us, if we submit to Him even in the challenging moments.

In my own life I remember difficult moments even in childhood.  With my first husband, Wayne, there were many joyful moments.  There were also moments of unemployment, challenges of raising a family, and in Wayne's later years there were the heartaches of seeing him deteriorate in his health and then pass away in early 2011.  Following that there were the overwhelming waves of grief at times and the difficulty of facing life's problems without a spouse.  Yet through it all God has always been faithful.  God has also used my challenges to help others.  One of these ways is the publication of my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers, a book meant to encourage current family caregivers.

As most of you know I remarried after eight years of being a widow on July 13, 2019.  I married my current husband, Bob.  Meeting and marrying Bob was one of God's unexpected gifts to me.  It was part of God's plan for me which is always good.  God's plan during the joyful times and the difficult times is always good.  Yet currently Bob and I are facing a huge trial because of a situation in a family that is very close to me.  Things are happening and have happened in that family that I never dreamed would happen.  Sometimes I question why this happened so quickly after my new marriage, yet God's plan is better than my plan.  He allows me to go through ups and downs and even deep hurts.  Yet it somehow always is for my ultimate good, and it shapes and forms me to be more Christ-like.  It teaches me to trust God and of His faithfulness.  It also makes me thankful to God for Bob who has been my rock and support in all this.

What have been the heartaches and trials of your life?  Is it caring for a loved one who is slowly deteriorating in health?  Is it the loss of a job?  Has a loved one strayed off the path?  Are you worried about the current world-wide virus?  Is there yet another heartache?  Whatever the heartache, God is faithful and will be with you.  Consider it a joy, count it as joy, let it be an opportunity for joy when trials come.  God is with you.

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Simply Trusting

This post is yet another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

The Lord God is the caregiver's refuge, source of guidance, and assurance in the difficult challenges of family care-giving.  Care-giving is one of the most important avenues of service in the kingdom of God.  It also can be a time of despair, discouragement, and bewilderment while making decisions concerning the next wisest step in dealing with the health of one's loved one for whom one is caring.

Every caregiver needs  to ask the Lord to help and guide him or her through the difficult twists and turns of care-givng.  This involves also TRUSTING that God will guide step by step through this process.  God will not usually let the caregiver see far into the future, but the Lord has promised to lead step by step.  He will always walk alongside the caregiver with His sustaining strength.  He will be the caregiver's refuge each step of the way.

The caregiver needs to choose to rest in the Lord.  A caregiver cannot control the circumstances of their loved one's disease, but they can control their response to the circumstances.  That response has to be one of trust in the Lord.  When one sees one's loved one deteriorating in health it is so easy to become discouraged and to become fearful, but the Lord is the source of hope.  He has everything under His control.  He is worthy of our trust.

There are times when the care-giving situation become increasingly desperate and hopeless.  This can cause the caregiver to feel brokenhearted and want to give up.  Remember, dear caregiver, the Lord is very near to you when you feel this way.   God sees your overwhelming situation, and He hears your cry for help.  He can and will bring you through this storm in your life.  He will hear your every cry and meet your every need.  You may not always understand God's ways with you and with your loved one; but He will never leave you or forsake you, dear caregiver.

The Lord may not heal your loved one on this earth, but the Lord will heal your loved one.  As a child of God, even if your loved one's disease is not healed on this earth, your loved one will be completely healed in eternity.  No matter what happens, the Lord will heal you too, dear Christian caregiver.  He will heal you emotionally and spiritually and teach you valuable lessons about His love and faithfulness in the process.  Trust in Him.  Rest in Him.


You can order my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers at the Amazon link below:
https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482027543&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Caregiver

You can also order directly from me by sending me an e-mail asking for details at:
 jesuschild54@hotmail.com

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Encouragement for Our Lives

Life lately especially the last couple days has been difficult because of an extended family issue.  My husband, Bob, and the Lord has helped me immensely.  I found two encouraging pictures posted on Facebook recently.  This will be a short post, but a simple picture can convey much truth.  I hope you will be blessed and helped, as you view these pictures.


Sunday, February 23, 2020

Witnessing God's Faithfulness

I was reminded recently through Facebook memories that a little over ten years ago my first husband, Wayne, and I moved into the condo where I lived until a few months ago. Being a February day in Wisconsin it could have been a snowy or wet day, but that held off until AFTER we were moved in. I am sure this was due to the prayers of others in particular of a young granddaughter in IA who was praying specifically for that.

Wayne and I had previously lived 27 years on an acreage in the country and then 3 years in an apartment in town before moving to the condo. We had initially moved from the country because of Wayne's disease. We knew because of the prognosis of Wayne's disease that it would not be possible to stay living in our country home that I loved. I just would not be able to maintain a two acre place in the country without Wayne's help.

From that county home we first moved to an apartment in town, as I already stated previously. But ten years ago we moved to the before mentioned condo. Wayne lived with me in our condo for about 10 months before moving to Heaven. In the meantime I had more space to handle the equipment to take care of Wayne's needs those last months of his life than I would have had in the apartment. I also now had a nice home which met my needs even after Wayne graduated to Heaven.

This is what I wrote on Facebook the evening of our move ten years ago: "We are all moved in including pictures up thanks to the wonderful help of people---! Everything went right today. The weather was sensational. Our home looks beautiful, and everything has fallen in place. I feel so blessed tonight. I love our new house, but I also feel blessed by the overwhelming love shown us in the last few days. God is so good!" 
Those last ten months of Wayne's life after moving to the condo were difficult months. There were rapid declines in his health during that time. During that time I was able to acquire a mobile wheelchair for him and later was able to rent a lift. These were big pieces of equipment which I would not have been able to have in our apartment. In fact, my home began to resemble a nursing home. Wayne passed away on January 2, 2011.
As I said, those months were difficult months. In fact, the whole four and a half years that I took care of Wayne were difficult. Seeing my husband's body deteriorate during those years were definitely the most challenging experience I ever encountered on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level. This was especially true since I fought breast cancer for eight months in the midst of those four and a half years.
Yet I grew so much during those years. I learned of God's faithfulness, and my faith matured. My deep personal love for the Lord grew also during that time. He is using that experience in my life even today.  And now this past January I sold my condo because of my marriage to Bob Nyhuis.  God was faithful in providing a buyer for my condo at the right time.  God was also first faithful in leading me to begin to date Bob and then to marry him on July 13, 2019.  God will be with you, dear Reader, as well. He will provide step by step giving you the strength and direction that you need.  He is a faithful God.