Sunday, April 26, 2020

Why Is There Suffering In This World?

Why does God allow suffering in the lives of Christians?  Why are we living in an increasingly dangerous world of persecution and suffering? Why has a world-wide virus appeared on the scene causing havoc in people's lives?  Why is there abuse of all kinds and hardships in our world? If you are a family caregiver, why did your loved one become ill?  Why is there suffering of any kind in this world? If God is a God of miracles, why doesn't God just fix things?

There are no easy answers to these questions.  We do know that sin entered this world when Adam and Eve, the first people, disobeyed God.  Hence, we no longer live in a perfect world.  It is now a world affected by sorrow and sickness.  Also people make bad choices sometimes which unfortunately affects other people as well.

Jesus said we would face trials in this life.  He also said, however, that we can take heart, because He has overcome the world (John 16:33 in the New Testament of the Bible).  He has promised to always be with us and never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5b in the New Testament).  We also have the assurance that someday all will be made right and perfect when He returns.

Being my first husband's caregiver and watching his body deteriorate and fighting breast cancer myself during part of that time was a very difficult experience for me. There have been trials that have continued/continue to follow me in the years since that time in my life such as family members who are going through trials I never would have imagined.  This by default affects me and those who love me.  Why did/does God allow that in my life?  

There are no easy answers to these questions.  I do know God has used the difficult experiences in my life to teach me valuable lessons.  I am learning that I am not in control.  I am learning of the need to depend on the Lord, even though I still am prone to fret and try to solve things in my own strength.  I am learning of the need to seek God for Himself and not for what He can give me.  I have seen His faithfulness over and over.  Through trials I have grown and continue to grow in my love for the Lord. I have come to know not just in my head but in my heart in a deeper way the truths of His promises.  I often still get easily discouraged, but I know that feelings are not a measure of God's truths.  Feelings do not negate God's promises to always be with me.

We have just experienced another Easter in mid April, even though because of the Coronavirus it was a very different Easter.  Christ suffered unimaginable suffering, so we could be saved. Easter also assures us of His presence in our lives through the trials we suffer.  It proves His love for us.  We need no other proof of Christ's love, when we really contemplate what He did for us. Rest in that, dear reader.


Sunday, April 19, 2020

April's Anniversaries

April brings to mind significant milestones in my life.  Twelve years ago in April after an eight month period, I completed all my cancer treatments. Then April is the month in 2006 when we had our first indication that my first husband, Wayne, had a serious neurological disease.

April of this year also marks the sixth anniversary of the publication of my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  As  many of you may know my passion to encourage caregivers was ignited as a result of my own experience of being my husband's caregiver for four and a half years.  I experienced the emotions and struggles of a spouse and family caregiver who step by step saw her husband deteriorate and become more and more disabled.   As a result I first started this caregiver blog a few months after Wayne's death in early 2011, and then at the encouragement of one of my readers I wrote my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers which was published in April of 2014.

Below is the synopsis written on the back cover of the book.  Part of it is a repeat of what I already said.  I apologize for that:

"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."

You can order the book at Amazon which is the first link below.  Your can also order elsewhere online and at Barnes and Noble which is the link below the Amazon link.  Amazon has a Kindle version and Barnes and Noble has a Nook version as well as a paperback version.  Finally you can order directly from me by contacting me for details at  If you order directly from me it will be a signed copy:

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Joy

I love Easter best of all the holidays.  I love it for its deep spiritual significance.  Yet how does Easter relate to us always and especially in this time of crisis?

Easter means that the Lord Jesus came to this earth and lived a perfect life for you and me.  He later died on the cross to pay the price for our sins, and then He arose again on the third day to prove that He had won over sin and death and Satan. If you and I have accepted his gift of salvation by repentance and faith, we are His child now and for eternity.

Easter also means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, identifies with our pain and the pain of our loved ones. As we struggle in our own needs or to help our loved ones, Jesus Christ identifies with us. Having suffered the worst possible pain for us on the cross He is able to sympathize with our heartaches and weaknesses. He is also an all-powerful Savior to whom we can freely go for grace in our moments of sadness and overwhelming and crushing needs.  (Check out Hebrews 4:15-16 in the New Testament.)

Because of Easter and Christ's sacrifice, we can freely approach God the Father Himself with both our needs and our loved one's needs. We can cry out to Him for help and call Him our “Abba Father,” because He considers us His special children (Romans 8:15). Easter also means that when our hearts are so weighed down with the heartaches and overwhelming circumstances of life that we do not even know how to pray, the Holy Spirit will intercede and pray for us! (Romans 8:26)

Easter means that although we will always face trials and troubles in this world, the Lord Jesus Christ has overcome the world.  He is also our source of peace even in the most challenging of times (John 16:33).  Even in overwhelming circumstances and even when we do not understand God's ways in allowing certain things in our lives, God is working for our ultimate good. We are victors in Him! (Romans 8:28 & 37)

No matter what happens in our life situations we will slowly heal emotionally and spiritually. God will always be with us, and joy will return one day. His love for us will never fail. He proved that love for us on the cross. That is the meaning of Easter for all of us.

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.)