Saturday, February 27, 2016

When God Doesn't Fix It

I recently finished reading a book by Laura Story called When God Doesn't Fix It. There was much with which I could identify in Laura's story.  Both of our husbands had neurological issues.  Her husband had a brain tumor which after a surgery to remove it resulted in huge complications and lasting effects.  My husband's disease was a rare neurological disease which became progressively worse leading to his eventual death.

There were also many differences in our situations.  Yet the truths we both learned through our circumstances were very similar.  These are truths which are helpful to anyone going through a difficult time in life, be it family care-giving or another challenging circumstance.

In her book Laura tells her story. She tells of the brokenness and the struggles. She also discusses the myths we tell ourselves in times of difficulty and then contradicts those myths with the truths of God's Word.  One of the myths she talks about is the assumption that when God allows trials God is not with us or just does not love us.  The truth is that when things look the darkest God's light is with us the brightest.  Also when God does not fix things or He withholds what we want, it does not mean He does not love us or is punishing us.  It just means God has something better for us.

This "something better" God has for us may not look the way we thought it should. It may go through the pathway of trials, challenges, and heartaches.  If we choose trust and not bitterness, however, this leads us to a deeper, more dependent, sweeter, and more intimate relationship with the Lord.   It brings us to a trusting relationship with the Lord where we know we are secure in the God's hands.  We may not like what God has allowed in our lives, and we sometimes struggle with the "why" of it all.  Yet we know God's ways are always best and that blessings often come from the trials.  They are often "mercies in disguise."

I like how Laura says that we should use and share our stories even when we are still struggling.  We don't have to have everything resolved in our lives to share our stories.  We do not need to have won a complete victory to share our stories. We also don't have to be a great example or always "have it all together" in our faith walk in the midst of our trials.  We further do not have to be famous.  All we have to do is to be willing for the Lord to use our story.  We need to remember that it is not about us. It is about the Lord.  Our stories are just a part of the Lord's larger story.

As mentioned before, we can grow through the difficult experiences in our lives by replacing the lies that we tell ourselves with the truth of Scripture.  It is in trials that we learn that we can't do it on our own, but must depend on the Lord.  God uses our difficult experiences to stretch us and to make us realize that joy does not come from circumstances going our way, but from the Lord Himself.  Also since God is with us in difficult circumstances, we can have joy in the midst of them.

At the same time we must learn that this earth will never satisfy.  Only eternity will bring complete joy and fulfillment. Always thinking that if we can just get through a particular set of difficult circumstances or attain a certain level of success we will be happy is an illusion.  Joy is found only in the Lord and ultimately in eternity.

Further God's grace is sufficient in our brokenness and trials, and often God's power is shown more clearly in our weaknesses.  We then have His power in us, and God is magnified in the process.  This does not mean we do not wish our circumstances were different, but we can have joy and trust in the Lord in the midst of the difficult circumstances.

This is the link to the Laura Story interview.  It may take a little while for the interview segment to come up, so be patient.  Even if you are not able to buy her book, just listening to her short interview will be a blessing to you:

Here is another link.  It is link to Laura singing her beautiful song, "Blessings."  In this song Laura talks about how blessings can come from trials.  In fact, trials can be "mercies in disguise."

Besides considering buying Laura's book you may consider ordering my book.  A link for ordering my book is on the right hand side of the screen.  Either way trust the Lord, as you sometimes walk the challenging and heartbreaking paths of this life. Share your story and believe your story is part of the Lord's bigger story.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Witnessing God's Faithfulness

I was reminded yesterday through Facebook memories that six years ago my husband, Wayne, and I moved into the condo where I am now living. That moving day was a Saturday as well. 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 six years ago we moved to a 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 have a nice home which meets my present needs.

This is what I wrote on Facebook the evening of our move 6 years ago: "We are all moved in including pictures up thanks to the wonderful help of people from our church and also Pat, Troy, and Sanna tonight! 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!" (As a side remark Troy and Sanna are my son and his wife, and Pat is my sister-in-law.)
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 difficult 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 grew. My deep personal love for the Lord grew also during that time. He is using that experience in my life even today. God will also be with you, dear caregiver. He will provide step by step giving you the strength and direction that you need.

If you would also like to reread my personal testimony that I gave in church about a year ago you can go to a former post of mine. It can be found here:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Your Divine Valentine

(This is a blog post which I have published the last couple years.  I think it is a message repeating again, as today is Valentine's Day.)

Dear caregiver, do you ever feel the sorrow of things lost?  Do you ever miss the way things were in the past with your loved one for whom you are caring?  Does the approach of holidays such as Valentine's day make you feel melancholy and sad?

During those moments of sadness remember that the Lord loves you with an infinite love.  He in effect is your Divine Valentine.  He is sufficient.  He alone can give you all that you need.  Below is a poem called Your Divine Valentine:

Your Divine Valentine

A Valentine may play a love song for you, but God sings you the sweetest love song in the universe.  (Zephaniah 3:17)

A Valentine may give you flowers, but God sent you the most beautiful rose of all, Jesus.
(Song of Solomon 2:1)

A Valentine may bring you chocolate, but God provides you with something even sweeter, His Word.  (Psalm 119:103)

A Valentine may love you for a lifetime,but God loved you before you were born and will love you for all eternity,
(Jeremiah 31:3)

I am praying, dear Christian caregiver, that you are blessed by the wonderful love of God this Valentine's Day and always!  Be sure to check out the Bible references, so you can unwrap evidences of God's wonderful love for you.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

In the "Impossible" Situations

Care-giving for a loved one can be very difficult and challenging at times.  There are times when the situation can seem impossible. I remember feeling that way as a caregiver.  Yet God always provided a way for me until God took my husband, Wayne, home to Heaven with Him.  God always promises to guide and pave the way even in the seemingly impossible and difficult situations.

This reminds me of a post that I published just a few days ago at my other blog site, a devotional blog called "Moments With God."  This particular post is based on Joshua chapter three in the Old Testament of the Bible.  It shows how God did the impossible for His Old Testament people and can do the same for us, no matter how impossible our situations.  Click on the link to that blog post below.  I hope you are blessed, dear caregiver.