Saturday, November 28, 2020

Though None Go With Me

 Are you ever puzzled with God's plan for your life especially during difficult moments?  Do you ever wonder why a sovereign, all-powerful, and loving God allows hardships and grief in our lives?  About a year ago my new husband, Bob, and I watched a  powerful and thought provoking DVD that I have in my possession called, "Through None Go With Me."  This movie addresses some of these questions.  The movie is also based on a song with that same title.


In this movie the main character, Elizabeth, went through a series of heartbreaking circumstances that could have destroyed her faith.  In her young adulthood she had vowed to always follow Jesus no matter where He lead.  Yet in the course of her life she lost her first love, her father died unexpectedly, and her son and his wife were killed in a car accident.  Later her husband, Will, developed dementia, and she eventually lost him to death.

Perhaps you are questioning why God has allowed certain trials and hardships in your life.  We all face deep trials and hardships at times.  There is no easy answer to this question, but we can know that God is a wise God, and He sometimes allows and appoints suffering in our lives both for our good and to encourage others.  When we trust God in times of hardship God is glorified and others are encouraged in their faith.  Elizabeth, in the movie to which I referred, was able to better serve and help others because of her suffering.  She was able to relate to others better and thus help them in a more productive and loving way.

Suffering helps us run to God more quickly and can help us to love Him and His Word, the Bible, more intensely.  His promises in His Word can become very precious to us during those times  Throughout the years that I was my first husband's caregiver, saw him deteriorate step by step. and then die; I clung very tightly to God and His Word.  I also did so when fighting breast cancer some years back..  During times like these we can say to God, "---in faithfulness You have afflicted me." (Psalm 119:75)  In times like these we can see that God is good.

During times of hardship we also learn patience and humility.  We further ironically grow in our joy.  Joy increases in times of trial when we respond to trials with submission.  This is because we learn during these times that only Jesus is our ultimate joy.

What is your heartache or hardship today?  Run to Jesus.  Remember and make the words of the song mentioned above be your theme for life.  "I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.  Through none go with me, still I will follow, no turning back, no turning back." Then yet another song flows through my mind.  It is a song sung at my wedding to my new husband, Bob, 16 months months ago.  That song says, "Through it all I've learn to trust in Jesus.  I've learn to trust in God.  Through it all I've learn to depend upon His Word."


Here is a link to the song, Though None Go With Me:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mG-Pvqv2PHs

And here is the link to the song, "Through It All": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcE9-AngoeM

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Thankfulness

 


This year I am very thankful for many things.  One of them is my marriage to my new husband, Bob, a little over sixteen months ago on July 13th, 2019.  This was after many years of watching my first husband, Wayne, deteriorate in his health and then eight years of being a widow.  I am thankful also this year for the beginning of a restored relationship with a loved one and seeing this loved one begin his life anew even though there are still many struggles.  I am also thankful for many other things like life, health, and a host of "little things" which I so often take for granted.  I am very thankful that God has kept both Bob and I healthy so far through the whole COVID virus crisis in which we are now living.  Above all, I I am thankful for my salvation and for my personal relationship with my Lord.  

Yet for many of you the holidays can be a discouraging time, if you or your family are going through difficult circumstances.  It may be difficult to find things for which to be thankful in such a scenario.

Yet a thankful heart opens up blessings from heaven and foretastes of heaven that cannot be attained in any other way. A thankful heart further revives hope and allows us to communicate on a more intimate level with the Lord. A thankful heart does not deny the reality of life's challenges, and life certainly presents a host of problems and heartaches. A thankful heart does, however, recognize the Lord's presence and joy in the midst of those problems.

So perhaps the best place to start is to thank the Lord each day for His presence and peace. Also as you go through the day look for even the Lord's tiny treasures which He has placed on your path. Look with spiritual eyes for His wonders in your life. I have mentioned this before but I remember as a caregiver being challenged to write down each day at least three things for which I was thankful that day. That helped me immensely in persevering in the care-giving role.

It is said that a thankful heart takes the sting out of trials and adversity,  Life often produces many challenges and trials. Yet we are commanded in the Bible to give thanks in everything. We may not always FEEL like giving thanks, but when we offer a SACRIFICE of thanks in spite of our feelings or circumstances, God gives us joy in spite of our circumstances.

That does not mean we always feel happy. Happiness and joy are not the same thing, but joy in the Lord and grief can coexist. It may seem nonsensical to thank God in and for difficult circumstances. Yet in the measure that we do so we will be blessed, even though the adversities may remain. Thank the Lord today for His blessings!

In the United States we are celebrating Thanksgiving Day this week. It is a day when we especially try to remember to thank and praise God for the blessings of the past year.  Life is often challenging and difficult. Yet there are many blessings in our lives even in the most difficult of moments,  Thank the Lord for your blessings daily and not just on special occasions. It will lift your burdens and add joy to your life.






Saturday, November 14, 2020

Do Not Live In Fear

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


Care-giving and watching my husband decline in his health and then his death in January of 2011 has been one of my life’s most difficult tests. Knowing I could trust that God loved me and was in control in the midst of the confusion and grief of it all made and continues to make all the difference in the world.

God is sovereign and in control. Nothing happens to a Christian caregiver or his or her loved one that is not filtered through His love. This is true even in the heartbreaking events which often accompany care-giving and sometimes their death. This is a difficult truth to accept. When this truth is accepted, however, it a soft place to land when one is overwhelmed with life’s difficulties.

God is good. Circumstances may be bad, but God is good. God is the very definition and essence of goodness. He proved that by sending His son on the cross. He can help caregivers who are struggling to keep emotional and spiritual equilibrium in the midst of the heartaches of seeing their loved ones decline in their health. He can also slowly emotionally heal caregivers, when and if their loved ones are not healed on this earth.

Joy can coexist in the midst of the heartaches and grief that often accompany care-giving and possibly losing our loved ones. This is because joy is not based on circumstances which are favorable or perfect. Rather it is based on a relationship with the Lord. If the Lord takes your loved one to Himself sooner than you would like, dear caregiver, He will be with you each step of the way then also. There is deep hurt and grief in the loss of a love one.  It involves a process that takes much time and deep crying out to the Lord and depending on Him.  There is a scar that never goes completely away. Yet, the Lord's faithfulness will be with you all the way, and the joy of the Lord will return. Do not live in fear of the future, dear Christian caregiver. Never forget that the Lord loves you, and He is good. He is in control.


(This post as stated above is a chapter from my book.  It is in fact the last chapter of my book.  At this blog site I have often written new posts.  I also sometimes have included chapters from my book, as I did today.  If you are a family caregiver consider ordering my book.  If you know a family caregiver consider ordering my book for them.  Below is the link to ordering my book from Amazon.  Even though it says only one in stock, it should work for you to order there.  It will only take a day or two longer.  My book is also available through Barnes and Noble and elsewhere on the internet.  You can further get a book directly from me by contacting me at jesuschild54@hotmail.com and asking me for specifics.)



Saturday, November 7, 2020

He Never Will Forsake Us


The last several months have been laced with problems in the world and in our country.  These problems have included the Covid 19 virus, unrest and violence in the streets, political backlashing, and an uncertain election result in the United States for days after election day.  In addition to this many people are going through deep personal problems including serious illness, care of a loved one with a serious illness, job loss, an unstable family member, or a host of other personal trials. 

It is easy at times like this to give into fear.  Let's not forget, however, that God is in control.  If you are a child of God, you need not give into fear.  We have definitely experienced difficult times in these past months, but Christians who have gone before us also experienced very difficult trials.  God was with them, and He will be with us as well.  God has also brought us personally through difficult moments in the past, and He will continue to do so in the future.

Do not fear.  In Hebrews 13:5b God says to us, "Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you."  The  path may be difficult, but He will never forsake us. Let's trust that promise.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

My Book Is Still Available




 A little over two years ago I found myself selling my books at a vendor fair.  I have done this several times since the publication of my book.  Because of a new marriage in the summer of 2019 and the Covid 19 virus, I have not done that in recent months, however.  Perhaps I will be able to sell books at a vendor fair in the months ahead once again.

I wrote the following on my Facebook status a little over two years ago, "This is a photo of me today selling my books.  It was a great day.  I sold eight books.  More importantly, I had great conversations with people.  Thanks everyone who prayed for me today.  I am amazed how God can use our past sad experiences to help others.  God is good."

As most of you know, I wrote my book, Dear Caregiver, Reflections for Family Caregivers by Sharon Vander Waal (my name before remarriage) after my experience of caring for and then eventually losing to death my first husband, Wayne.  After that experience I developed a passion to help family caregivers.  In the section below is a synopsis of my book.

 "Family care-giving for a loved one with a serious illness is a very noble and important role. It is also often a challenging and emotionally and physically draining endeavor. DEAR CAREGIVER is a book written to encourage caregivers in this all consuming but vital ministry for which many caregivers feel ill equipped. This book points to the Lord as the caregiver's source of strength. The book further seeks to provide practical and spiritual encouragement to family caregivers who have lovingly taken on a role which they did not anticipate or perhaps desire. 

The author is a mother and grandmother, and she was married to her husband, Wayne, for over thirty-nine years. In 2006 Wayne was diagnosed with a serious neurological disease. The author was Wayne's caregiver for four and a half years until his death in early 2011. She knows the heartache and physical and emotional stress of being a caregiver for a loved one. 

Hence, her passion is to encourage family caregivers in their struggles. The book starts with a brief synopsis of the author's personal care-giving story followed by over one hundred brief meditations written to encourage current caregivers. The author seeks to stay connected to her readers by relevant examples from her own care-giving experiences in order to drive home messages in the text and to enable the readers to persevere in the challenges of family care-giving. It is the author's desire to facilitate this goal through her willingness to be vulnerable and honest about the feelings and emotions she experienced as a caregiver for her husband. She explores both the blessings and challenges of care-giving and the blessing of drawing closer to the Lord through the experience."

Although you can not presently buy my book at a vendor fair, you can buy it online or directly from me.  Consider this as a wonderful gift for a family member, friend, or yourself who is caring for a loved one.  You can find my book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere online.  I have even seen it at Wal-mart.com!  Amazon says there is only one in stock, but if you order it, that just means it may take a day or two longer to get sent out.  You can also buy new and used from other sellers there.  The Amazon link is:  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   Further, you can order from me directly by writing to me at jesuschild54@hotmail.com for specifics.  



Saturday, October 24, 2020

The Valiant Rose


possessing or showing courage or determination.

 

The dictionary defines the word valiant, as possessing or showing courage or determination.  Our rose bush arbor along side our deck was full of roses in June. Right now the roses have all but disappeared for the season being replaced by God's beauties of the fall season.  There is one persevering and valiant rose, however, who greets me every morning when I sit in my sunroom looking out on my deck having my devotions.  This rose is there in spite of the other roses' disappearance and in spite of the cold weather.   

This rose reminds me that I need to persevere and be valiant in the Lord.  It reminds us all of that.  Life can be and is often difficult.  Yet there is blessing in perseverance (James 5:11).  Whatever you or I are experiencing in this life, let us trust and rest in the Lord and persevere in the faith.     

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Carried On His Shoulders


There are many of you who may be going through some deep trials.  Some of you are going through cancer or other serious illnesses.  In my family I have a sister  and a sister-in-law who are undergoing cancer treatment.  Others of you may be caregivers for a love one who is sick.  This too is a difficult path to tread.  Others are weary of Covid 19 related circumstances.  I know a family from another state and who are near and dear to me who were recently affected by that virus.  Some of you are weary of all the unrest in our country.  Some of you may be suffering financial issues or family break-up.  Perhaps you are homeless or know someone who is homeless.  Perhaps there is another trial you are enduring.

If you are a child of God, however, you know that the Lord is with you and even carrying you through it all.  He carries us through weakness, sickness, and brokenness.  He carries us on His shoulders like a Daddy might carry a young child who is weak and weary.  Your help comes from the Lord.

Sometimes when the trials are overwhelming and many, it is difficult to see that the Lord is with us and helping us.  At those moments we must learn to not listen to our emotions which don't always tell us the truth.  We need to listen instead to the truth of God's Word which promises that the Lord is always our help and will never forsake us.  We don't always have to see it immediately to believe it, because it is true that God is with us.  Our help comes from Him in His perfect timing!

Above is a song that my sister, Nancy, and her husband, Milo sing about those very things we just talked about.  The name of the song is "Shoulders."  Nancy is fighting a battle against colon cancer.  Yet through it all she gives a wonderful testimony of her faith.  So does her husband, as he walks the difficult path of  being her caregiver and her support in this cancer walk  Listen to the song above, and be blessed and encouraged.