Saturday, May 30, 2020

Choosing Gratitude

Gratitude is one of the most important attitudes that we should cultivate. When I was a family caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, it was difficult to be thankful in the chaos and drama of watching my husband's body deteriorate step by step.  Life became so very overwhelming at times. Life as a widow also involved moments of grief and challenge for me.  Although happily remarried, life continues to have struggles and challenges.  That is the nature of life on this earth.

One of the things that began to help me in this area, I learned as a caregiver for my first husband. The course of action that helped me was to write down a few things each day for which I was thankful. This simple practice did much to open my eyes to the little wonders and love gifts of God which were still in my life.  It is a practice I still carry on today.  I now often write down things for which I am thankful that day based on the promises I find in the Bible in my morning devotions.

I think gratitude has to go even further than writing down a few things for which I am thankful each day, however.  It has to be a heart attitude.  In the measure I  experience this heart attitude in spite of difficult circumstances, there will be joy and peace.

A few years ago I read a book by Nancy Leigh De Moss called Choosing Gratitude.  It is a book I would like to relocate and read again.  In one chapter she listed eight reasons for a grateful heart in spite of circumstances.  One reason is that gratitude is a matter of obedience.  It is commanded by God throughout His Word especially in the Psalms and the New Testament Epistles,  Gratitude also draws us closer to God.  When we long for a greater sense of God's nearness or life's stresses pile up, gratitude to the Lord is the gateway to the Lord's presence.

Gratitude is further the only sure path to peace.  Life difficulties can pile up and become overwhelming.  Prayer is a good avenue of release, but it must be accompanied with gratitude (Philippians 4:6-7.)  When gratitude combines with prayer and we open our eyes to God's blessings and mercies even in the midst of heartaches, peace follows.  When we thank God even when we can't understand what He is doing in our lives, there is peace.

Gratitude is also a gauge to our heart.  It is often easy to be thankful for the obvious blessings.  It is less easy to be thankful for the more difficult and hard to understand blessings.  If one is thankful in all things, it shows a heart which believes that God is always faithful and good and can be trusted. Giving thanks in all things is not acquired in a moment.  It is the result of many choices to be thankful even in difficult moments.

Gratitude is the will of God.  Choosing it is more important than choices we make about any other of life's decisions.  All other life decisions pale in comparison to choosing gratitude.  Gratitude is proof of being filled with the Holy Spirit.  It is evidence that we are yielding to His control. Gratitude further reflects Jesus' heart.  Even the night before Jesus was put on the cross He showed gratitude to the Heavenly Father in His prayers at the Last Supper.  He gratefully and willingly submitted to the Father's will in spite of the horrors of the cross just before Him.

Finally, gratitude prepares us for heaven.  Think of all the saints in heaven praising God before His throne.  My first husband is no longer suffering from his neurological disease, but he is praising God before His throne right now! So are other loved ones who have gone on before me.  I too can join in that praise by thanking and praising the Lord now.  Life is often difficult.  Yet in the measure we thank God in and even for the difficulties peace will follow.  Resolve with me to walk that path, dear reader.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

God's Wonderful Plan A

God has laid on my heart a certain truth many times in the past few years.  Nancy Guthrie writes about this truth in her book, The One Year Book of Hope.    Nancy says, "God's plan for your life is unfolding, and nothing and nobody can hinder it---Whatever is happening in your life, you can welcome it as God's sovereign Plan A.  God carries out His own good purposes without mistakes or regrets, and His plan is never thwarted."

Nancy also says that Satan tries to scheme and destroy, and many things in this life are difficult and sometimes tragic.  God doesn't run behind Satan, however, frantically trying to clean up his messes.  God is not forced to go to Plan B.  Satan's schemes do not catch God off guard.

God, even in the tragedies and sad moments of life, always has a good plan for our lives.  He is always working for His glory and for our spiritual good.  It was God's Plan A that I was a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne.  It  was God's plan A that I became a widow.   God's plan A was in operation for my life in the years and events that have followed in both the times of joy and heartache.  It was God's Plan A for me, when I began a new chapter in my life with a man I love.  Bob and I were married in July of 2019.

God's Plan A is always in place for you as well, dear reader.  This is true in all the events of your life.  He is rejoicing with you in your joys and is always there to comfort you in your sorrows.  Let's then rejoice in our faithful King and Savior.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Afflictions-Gifts from God?

"Afflictions are painful, but they are also a gift from God."  Such was a comment made recently in a church sermon in my church.  Really?  How does that work?  Doesn't it seem as if we go from one trial of affliction to another in our lives?  I remember even childhood hurts, periods of unemployment, loss of parents, cancer in my own body, watching my first husband decline over a period of four and a half years and then die.  I am presently lamenting my sister's cancer diagnosis, and a close family member's spiral down in his life.  I am further lamenting the upheavals the corona virus has caused in our world and has caused in the normality of our lives  So how are afflictions a gift from God?

II Corinthians chapter one in the New Testament tells us that a child of God receives comfort from the Lord when going through difficult times.  In fact, afflictions, trials, suffering, fuels God's comfort.  Therefore, we need to run to the Lord and not outside resources for our comfort in difficult times.  If we do this, we will begin to see our difficult times as gifts from God, because we are receiving God's comfort in the process.  His comfort then produces joy in our lives in spite of the difficult circumstances.  This is a wonderful testimony to the world around us.  When we suffer difficult times this in turn enables us to better comfort and help others in their trials.  So yes, trials and afflictions are meant to be a gift from God.

This is not to say, that trials and afflictions are good in themselves.  I hurt deeply in my past trials.  I hurt deeply also in my current trials.  The Psalms are also full of the writers lamenting one difficult situation after another.  God cares about our sorrows.  Yet, it is good to know that He even uses our afflictions for good purposes in our lives and in the lives of others.  He also draws us closer to Him in a wonderful relationship through these things, and He makes us depend on Him and not on other useless resources in the process.  God is good.

(My sister, Nancy, who was just diagnosed with a serious cancer gives testimony of this along with her husband.  Nancy says this, "'When our world is shaken, when our hope is broken, still you are God of all!' Even when we go through very tough times and trials such as a pandemic, and a cancer diagnosis, we still have an amazing God who is in control! All the glory and honor belongs to our Lord and Savior!"
They sang of their hope in the Lord in the wonderful song  below.  Just click on the link.  You will be blessed.)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Six Year Anniversary

Recently Facebook Memories reminded me that is was a little over six years ago that I published my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  Writing and promoting the book six years ago stirred up emotions about my own difficult days of seeing my first husband, Wayne, decline in his body and then losing him to death.  I also had some fears.  Satan would have liked me to feel like no one was going to read the book, but I also knew it was in God's hands.  I further felt a passion to help current caregivers.  That is the reason I started this blog, and that is the reason I wrote my book.

In spite of the emotions I was excited  about the new book.  This book and other events in those six years since the publication of this book has helped other family caregivers including my current husband, Bob, who read the book while taking care of his wife at that time.  For that I am very thankful to the Lord.

If you are a family caregiver or know someone who is a family caregiver consider reading this book.  It is available at the Amazon link below.  It is also available at Barnes and Nobles below and elsewhere online.  It is further available from me directly at  Just contact me there for details.

Once again here is the Amazon link to the order page for my book:

Here is the Barnes and Noble link:

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Sing Your Way Through Suffering

Last week in my post we talked about the reasons for suffering in our world. During these times and in all times of life, whether pleasant or difficult, we need to pray, read Scripture, and develop our relationship with the Lord.  Today we talk about the wonderful place singing has in times of trial.  Singing can be a source of comfort.  It also lifts us up and honors God, if we praise Him in the midst of suffering. 

Many of you are suffering the ill-effects of the corona virus and/or the repercussions of the stay at home policies connected with the virus.  Some people have lost jobs or have their hours cut back.  Many of us are missing attending church every week.  Live stream online services are wonderful, but it is not the same thing as worshiping with God's people in person each week.  Many people are also feeling isolated in their own homes or in a nursing home.  My heart goes out to family caregivers and their loved ones at this time.  How isolated, unsupported, and alone they must feel.

Joni Eareckson Tada writes about this in the below article.  She talks about the value and blessing of singing though our sufferings.  Just click on the below link.  It will be worth your time.