Saturday, September 24, 2016

Unexpected Life Changes

Life can hand us some unexpected life changes.  Some of these can be joyful like marriage or the birth of children or grandchildren.  Some can be difficult and a cause for fear.  Click on the link below, and you will read about a woman who was a missionary with her husband for years.  Therefore she thought she could handle life's unexpected changes.  When her husband was diagnosed with alzheimer's, disease however, she felt challenged and afraid because of these huge changes in her life.  Notice how she clung to the Lord and to Scripture in the midst of it.  Once again click on the link below:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Prayer From My Heart

"Lord, help me today to count the blessings and not dwell on the difficult moments. Help me not give into fear about the future, but rather trust that you will guide step by step."  These were the words that I posted about six years ago on my Facebook status.  I recently discovered these words in my Facebook memories. 

These words were written only a few months before my husband's death, although I did not know that at the time.  I knew at the time that my husband was declining significantly, but my brain and heart were not ready to accept the possibility that the end was near.  Yet as I said, the declines in my husband's body were real and significant.  They were becoming increasingly difficult to manage.  In fact, in October of that year we began to have to use a mechanical lift with him. Hence, this prayer came from my heart that day six years ago.

God has answered that prayer for me.  I do sometimes even in my post care-giving days feel anxious and begin to feel fearful.  In those moments, however, I can turn to the One who holds my future.  He has guided me step by step both during my care-giving days and now as a widow.  He has allowed me to go through difficult moments, but He has helped me through those difficult moments.  He has also made me aware of the value of gratitude and has made me think about my blessings.  He has made me love the Lord more and has made my faith sweeter. 

Dear Caregiver, in the challenging and overwhelming moments turn to the Lord.  He loves you so much.  I love you too, dear caregiver.  My prayer from my heart for you today is that you will also be able to dwell on the blessings and not on the difficult moments.  I pray that you will be able to not give into fear, but rather trust the Lord to guide you step by step.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Life's Puzzle Pieces

I have never been good at putting puzzles together.  It is not my talent, and I have never enjoyed trying to fit the pieces together.  I have seen completed puzzles, however, and often they portray beautiful scenes.

Sometimes it is difficult to see the completed product of my life's puzzles pieces as well.  It has been challenging sometimes to understand His plan in the overwhelming moments of my life.  As I watched my husband's body deteriorate during those challenging years as his caregiver, it was difficult to see God's big picture in all this.  The same is and has been true in many situations I face/ have faced in my post care-giving days as a widow.   God is so much wiser than I am, however.

Yet I can know by faith that the Lord loves me and is meeting all my needs.  He has forgiven my sins,  and He is fitting what I perceive as the missing pieces of my life into a beautiful picture.  When I look back on my life I can already see how He has used difficult times for His glory and my good.  I can begin to see how the pieces are fitting together.

 I will, however, never fully see the completed and big picture of God's love and wisdom until I reach eternity.  Yet as the picture above illustrates, my life is molded by the heart of God and by His love.  I may still see my life as having missing pieces, but He sees the beautiful finished product.  Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, "being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  He is fitting the puzzle pieces of my life together into something beautiful.  Dear caregiver, trust that the Lord is also fitting the puzzle pieces of your life together into a beautiful mosaic of His love!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

"My Ducks in a Row"

I need to confess something.  As the expression goes, I am a person who likes "my ducks in a row."  You would think that having been a family caregiver with all its challenges, uncertainties, and chaos would have permanently cured me of that.  Although I learned so much of God's faithfulness and grew in my love for Him during that time, I still fight that tendency to like "my ducks in a row."

I seem to have to learn and relearn, however, that God is in control and not me.  I am in control of nothing.  I read the following in my devotions recently.  It is as if Jesus is speaking:  "Your natural preference is to plan out your day, knowing what will happen when.  My preference is for you to depend on Me continually, trusting Me to guide you and strengthen you as needed.  This is how you grow strong in your weakness." (from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

That same day I read this from another devotional book.  It is meant to be a prayer of praise to God:  "Thank You that I can give myself up to be led by You---that I can go forth praising and at rest, letting You manage me and my day---that I can joyfully depend on You throughout the day expecting You to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in me and with me what You desire---that I can count upon Your working in me as a fact, totally apart from sight or feeling---that I can go forth praising and at rest, believing You and obeying You and ceasing from the burden of trying to manage myself without Your wisdom and power (adapted from Dr. John Hubbard).  Thank You that I can throw the whole weight of my anxieties on You, for I am Your personal concern." (from the book 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Meyers)

I often wonder why my natural first response to a new challenge is a moment of fear until I tell my soul to relax and trust the Lord.  I love Jesus' words in John 14:27, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  This is a promise and a command.  Life can be challenging with unending problems especially as a family caregiver, but let's you and I resolve to rest things with the Lord.  He is in control anyhow, and trusting Him is the way to peace.