Saturday, May 29, 2021

Toxic Behavior

This week I am going to discuss a topic that strays a bit from family care-giving which was the original focus and continues to be the main focus of this blog.  Yet the topic we are going to discuss is something that affects families and individuals.  It involves people who know and are influenced and perhaps abused by toxic people.  In many cases they think they need to cater to the "needs" of this toxic person and hope they can "fix" the toxic person.

Toxic people are wrapped up in their own agenda.  They seldom see their own faults and sins, and often blame others for all their problems. They may appear to be really nice at times, and may consider themselves spiritually and intellectually superior.  Yet they are usually unstable emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually.  They are often angry people and show it in their cruel words and actions. Sometimes it is blatant and sometimes it is more subtle.  Yet it tends to leave their loved ones and friends around them feeling inadequate and sad.

Now we all say hurtful things at times, or perhaps we do something that hurts the feelings of another individual.  Our spouses or friends may hurt us also sometimes by their words or actions.  The Bible talks about not using our tongues in a sinful way, and in one sense there is toxicity in us all.  In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it."   What I am talking about above, however, is something much more destructive than that.  

Do you recognize someone you know in the description I gave of a toxic person?  I do.  How does one deal with such a person in one's life, especially if they are a family member?  There are no easy answers.  However, we must remember three things.  We can't fix or change such a person.  Often we can only pray for them.  Only God can change them, and they have to want to change.  Secondly, sometimes the only thing to do is to remove oneself from that person's presence and influence.  Thirdly, if things ever become abusively dangerous; outside help and intervention should be sought.  

Finally, there are a number of internet articles on toxic people.  If you know someone who you suspect is having a toxic effect on your personally, you may wish to read some of these articles.  They may give valuable insight into what is involved with this kind of toxicity and insight into how to deal with toxic situations and people.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Lessons Learned From a Dishwasher


Way back in January our brand new dishwasher that we had just purchased the July before malfunctioned.  We were told that it was a faulty drain pump.  After months of the drama of waiting for a replacement drain pump and them sending us faulty replacement parts three times over for the old dishwasher, we finally received a new free dishwasher installed in early May.

This reminds me of my life and all of our lives.  Our lives need to be drained of toxic thoughts, emotions, and attitudes in order to be useful in God's kingdom.  God wants to help us fight discouragement, doubt, pride, spiritual dryness, sinful attitudes and actions, and fear which clog up our lives.  These things keep us from being as effective in God's kingdom as we could, and they rob us of joy.

A dishwasher also has to fill with clean water in order to do the job it was meant to do.  So we also need to fill our minds with good things-with promises, warnings, and instruction from the Word of God. Then we have to be filled with love for God and others and also filled with a desire to live our lives for Him.  This will help us to be flourishing people who function well in God's kingdom and in the world.  It will help us be people of joy even in times of difficulty.       

Friday, May 14, 2021

Caring for an Elderly Parent


Perhaps you have reached a point in your family's life when it is time for you to talk to an elderly parent about the need for more care for them.  Perhaps you are seeing declines in mental or physical health, or you are seeing an inability to perform normal daily tasks.  You realize you need to have a conversation with them.  This requires sensitivity and wisdom.  Click on the link below for some tips for accomplishing that task.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

God's Grace and Goodness


A favorite verse of mine the last several years is Hebrews 13:5.  In the later part of that verse God says, "Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you." I also love Ephesians 3:20 which says, "Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to His power that is at work within us"

I think back on difficulties and trials I have experienced in the last years.  There are current trials as well.  I also remember, however, God's presence with me through it all it all in the past; and I remind myself of His presence in current situations.  I further remember God's promises to me in His Word.  Finally, I have also seen His wonderworking power and work in the publication of my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  I further have seen Him granting many "immeasurably more" than I can "ask or imagine" other blessings including second love and remarriage.

God is truly with His children in good times and difficult times.  Life can be very difficult for the child of God at times, but He always works things for our ultimate good.  It may not seem that way at the time, but God truly is directing and guiding our lives, and His power is within us.  Thank God for that, because in my own feeble attempts I would fall flat on my face.

I can be sure of God's presence and  strength, because when I was a young woman I became His child.  I was raised in a Christian home, but I had to accept His grace for me personally through the Holy Spirit working in me.  This is true for all of us.  All of His promises in His Word hold true only if we have accepted Him as our Savior and Lord.

God is the Creator and King, the one Lord over the universe.  After sin entered the world people rejected God.  God won't let rebellion stand forever, but He sent Jesus as a sacrifice for sin.  He not only died to pay for our sins; but he rose again victorious over sin, satan, and death.  He offers us forgiveness and reconciliation, and we are invited to accept that offer.  When we turn to Him for forgiveness He transforms our hearts, and slowly makes our desires for Him and His will more and more important to us. (Check out Romans 19 and Ephesians 2.)  

What is beautiful is that the Lord not only desires to save us from our sins and failures, but He is then with us as we face life's struggles.  Lysa Ter Keurst says this in her book, Embraced "Though we may get our hearts broken from the effects of sin in this in-between time, God's goodness will eventually set the world right.  In the meantime, we must hold fast to the truth of who God is and His unchanging nature:  God is good.  His plans are good.  His requirements are good.  His salvation is good.  His grace is good.  His forgiveness is good.  His restoration is good.  That is what I believe about God.  God is good."  There is victory in Him!  Praise the Lord!

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Suffering and Trials

Suffering and trials, be it a pandemic or a personal loss, are often God's way of speaking to us.  He is showing us that He is sovereign and in control of everything in our life and in the world around us.  Suffering and trials are an opportunity to seek God, to pant after Him, and to long for Him.  It is a time to listen to God and learn from God.  It is a time to remember God in a special way.  Although every trial in our life is not the result of some particular sin in our life, it is also a time for repentance and turning to God.  

Some time ago I ran across a quotation from one of my devotion books which I had posted on my Facebook page that year.   This is what it said:  "Suffering calls us out our our shallowness into the dangerous and demanding but ultimately delightful depths of an intense life with God.  We simply cannot confront the harsh realities of loss and pain without being stretched and deepened."  

That is a pretty profound statement is is not?  There is much food for thought in that statement.  If deep suffering and even petty daily irritations deepens our intense life with God, should we not actually thank Him for difficult circumstances and situations in our lives?

At the very least I think we should be encouraged and not discouraged when the difficult moments come. Recently I also read the following in my devotions, "To look around is to be distressed; to look within is to be depressed; to look up is to be blessed."  Discouragement is a favorite tool of Satan.  Will we succumb to discouragement, or will we choose gratitude which is God's way of healing our souls?  Lord, help us choose gratitude and Your joy and encouragement.