Saturday, November 26, 2022

Joy

 


In the early morning I love to spend time in God's Word.  As I am having my devotions I enjoy watching the darkness outside turn to light.  Morning is one of my favorite times of the day.  Sometimes the morning awakens with a brilliant sunrise.  More often, it is a more gentle awakening with light becoming more and more evident in the lower sky.

The psalmist said in Psalm 143:8-9, "Let the morning bring me word of Your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in You.  Show me the way that I should go, for to You I lift up my soul.  Rescue me from my enemies, O Lord, for I hide myself in You."  David, the Psalmist, was looking to the Lord for light and guidance in His life struggles. 

Even though I enjoy the beauty of early morning, I also sometimes I struggle to wake up to a new day with its issues and problems.  Currently I have a sister with a terminal illness.  This illness with its prognosis that she is facing breaks my heart. I was able to visit her and other family members about a week ago.  My family members live about 500 miles away.  I can testify that my sister's faith remains strong and is fixed on the Lord.  Our time together was one of sharing burdens and grief, but also joy and gratitude.  As my pastor recently said lament often comes before gratitude, and they often comingle together.    

I have other struggles and laments in my life as well.  Yet spending time in God's Word and watching the new day unfold always reminds me of the joy the Lord wants me to experience in spite of life's struggles and sometimes because of them.  

The night before Jesus went on the cross He spoke to His disciples of the joy He wanted them to experience.  That joy is found only in the Lord and not in the things, circumstances, or even people of this world.  Jesus said to His disciples that they would find joy in Him alone.  This is true of His disciples today, as well.  Jesus also said that no one will be able to take away our joy (John 16:22b).  He further said, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).  Jesus said that He promised the things He did before He died, "that they may have the full measure of My joy within them." (John 17:13b)  Jesus wants us to have overflowing abundant joy in Him even in the face of obstacles and deep trials. 

With His joy we can live with courage and with inner confidence.  We can't produce this confidence in ourselves.  It can only come by abiding in Him and by the Holy Spirit in us.  Jesus called Himself the Vine and called us His branches.  He said, "I am the true vine---Remain in Me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.  Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me." (John 15:1-4).

Joy can be found in Him in spite of circumstances!  Joy can be found only in abiding in Him!  Joy can be found only in seeking His glory and living for Him.  Joy can be found in Him in the deepest night of trials and by rejoicing in His light!



Sunday, November 13, 2022

Grace That Will Keep Us


I had not intended to post this week, because of some events happening in our extended family which has greatly saddened my heart.  Yet this morning in church our choir, of which I am a part, sang a song which greatly encouraged me.  Perhaps it will encourage your heart as well, if you are going through some extra difficult times.

The name of the song is "Grace" by Carolyn Hamlin.  Here are the words for that song:  "Lord, as I seek Your guidance for the day, I find my thoughts unyielding, confusion crowds my way; but then when I  bow to You, the challenges You guide me through.  Your promises are ever new. I claim them for today.  Your will cannot lead me where Your grace will not keep me, Your hand will protect me.  I rest in Your care.  Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me; and when I am faltering, I still will find You there.  Each new day's design is charted by Your hand and graciously revealed, as I seek your master plan.

Keep my steps faithful when from You I go.  Return me to the joy that Your blessings can bestow.  Your will cannot lead me where Your grace will not keep me, Your hand will protect me.  I rest in Your care.  Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me; and when I am faltering, I still will find Your there.  Your eyes will watch over me, Your love will forgive me; and when I am faltering, I will still find You there."

If you are hurting today, as I am, may this song bless your heart.  God is always there to comfort and to guide.  His grace to us is a wonderful blessing.  His will does not lead you where His grace cannot keep you.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Beyond the Weariness

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with or weary from a situation or circumstance in your life?  Perhaps you are the caregiver for a loved one which requires much of your time or energy.  Perhaps you have a serious illness yourself.  Perhaps you have a situation at work which is overwhelming.  Perhaps you have a family member who is requiring much encouraging and counseling, and you find this emotionally draining.  Perhaps you have yet another very difficult situation in your life, and you feel weary with it all.  

Yet you can know that God has placed you exactly where He wants you to be at this moment.  He wants you to be a tool in His hands for the benefit of someone else.  So you and I must stay the course and persevere in what God had called us to do.  This task that God has called us to do may only be something we can fulfill through God's strength and will.  We can also pray for each other, as we persevere in the tasks God has given us.  I ask for such prayers from you.




Friday, October 28, 2022

Trusting God When It Is Difficult

 


This week with her permission, I am going to use the words of a Facebook friend of mine.  She recently posted the words below on her Facebook status.  I got to "know" Rachel in a widow's group online of which I was a member a few years ago.  When Rachel became a widow she and her first husband were missionaries in Mexico.  Rachel too has remarried.  I have much respect for Rachel Chatham and share her words with you below:


For all of my life I've read about the story in the gospels where Jesus calms the storm and rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith.
The complex aspect of this is: Why did Jesus consider it a "lack of faith" for the disciples to be concerned and afraid of the storm?
Commentators say that it is because they weren't trusting in Jesus to take care of them. But the situation is much more complex that that easy answer.
Only two chapters prior to this storm, John the Baptist was thrown in prison for proclaiming the gospel and then later he was killed. Nowhere in scripture is there a guarantee that if we follow Jesus we will have happy and safe boat rides in a turbulent sea.
And yet, Jesus corrected the disciples for their lack of faith.
We all know that I watched my husband die on the mission field all the while his only desire in life was to serve Jesus and to preach the gospel. Isn't that what the disciples were doing in the boat? Weren't they proclaiming the name of Jesus?
When the storm raged It doesn't seem unreasonable for them to be afraid because they all eventually were martyred for their faith.
How did they know that they wouldn't die serving Jesus on a boat as they died later on in proclaiming the gospel? Paul was later shipwrecked, possibly on this very sea, and experienced much suffering because of the cause of Christ.
I think where the problem lies in our thinking is that "God would never..." God would never let our baby die. or God would never allow us to walk through poverty or the loss of a career. and finally, God would never allow my husband die on the mission field........"
Often times, when we approach the encouragement from scripture to "do not fear" it can seem to be based on an assumption that painful tragic things do not happen to God's people.
The encouragement we typically believe is that we are to trust God to calm the storm. Yet, tragic things very much do happen to God's people. The storms aren't always calmed and godly people do literally die in them.
Fear can almost seem reasonable and a normal healthy response, even while trusting God because we don't see in scripture a guarantee of safe travels and protection from tragic events.
What God has shown me in these years of widowhood and painful times, is to trust him, like Daniel, whether we live or die. We trust him whether we are in poverty or blessing, whether we watch our husband die or celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary, whether our baby dies of a life threatening disorder or whether God spares his life.
What God has shown me in the various suffering of my life, is that no matter what happens God is in control and he is good and loving.
I have found the answer to be a whole hearted yielding and surrendering to Jesus no matter what the outcome and having faith in his character that God is good and he's got my back.
II Corinthians 11
"Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked."
II Corinthians 4:17
"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, yet our inner self is being renewed day by day. For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Goodness of God



It has been said that we have either just passed through a trial, are currently in the midst of a trial, or about to enter a trial.  Life is always a mixture of deep trials and also joyful moments.  Some of you are going through deep trials now.  Perhaps you are caring for a loved one who is sick.  Perhaps you are ill yourself and are fighting a serious illness.   Perhaps God has placed you in some other deep trial.  

Yet even through the trials there can be joy.  It is also through the trials ironically, that we learn of the faithfulness and goodness of God.  Through trials we learn that His mercy never fails, and that we are held in His hands.  God is good all the time and in all situations and circumstances.  His goodness and love is always running after us.  This should make us want to break out in song and praise to Him.  

Below is a link to a song about the goodness of God.  Click on the link below, and let the words of the song wash over your heart and soul.  God bless you.  



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-f4MUUMWMV4

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Things Too Wonderful to Understand


The book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible is a book I have read more than once.  There are many profound insights in the book of Job especially in the last chapter, Job 42.

Job says to God in verse one of chapter 42, "I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours is thwarted."  Accepting God's plan in all things is sometimes difficult when going through difficult circumstances.  I found this to be true when I watched my first husband, Wayne, deteriorate step by step in his physical abilities.  I found this to be true also when I loss him to death nearly twelve years ago.  It is further true when the Lord provides both daily blessings and also allows difficult trials and stressful and sad moments in my life today.

Job did not know what God was doing in his life when he sent a whole series of very difficult trials.  Yet in the last chapter of the book of Job, Job comes to the realization that it is not his place to question God.  He says in Job 42:3, "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me."  God does not owe us explanations for what He allows in our lives.  All we need to know is that God knows what He is doing and that He is a God who is always good.

Later on in the last chapter on Job, Job comes to realize that he has developed greater intimacy with God because of his trials.  Job says in Job 42:5, "My ears had heard of You, but now my eyes have seen you."  In effect, Job is saying this, " In the past I knew things in my head about You, but now my heart knows You in an intimate way that I never experienced before.  This came about because of the trials You allowed in my life."

The same experience that Job had of growing in intimacy with God through trials can be our experience as well.  We can trust God, because He always provides for us even in times of trial, and He is a God who is always there for us through both our joys and our trials.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Nursing Homes


There are many wonderful nursing homes which provide excellent and loving care.  In some situations this is the best choice for loved ones which can no longer be cared for properly at home or even in  a transitional setting.  My husband just retired after a 6 year term as a board member from such a wonderful nursing home in our area.

Having said that, we all know that nursing home abuse does exist in some facilities and settings.   I was recently made aware of a website/organization which is making people aware of this.  So today I am giving you as readers a link to their page on the web.  Hopefully, you will find their information insightful and helpful in your search for help with your loved ones for whom you are caring.

Here is the link to their page:  https://nursinghomesabuse.org/nursing-home-abuse/

Abide in the Vine, Jesus


I love the last words and prayers of Jesus to His disciples as recorded in the book of John in chapters 13-17.  I have always found them to be a great source of comfort and joy especially when I am struggling though difficult circumstances.

Perhaps you, as a reader, are going through difficult circumstances.  It could be a difficult family care-giving situation, a difficult illness yourself, or a host of other trying situations.  To you and all of us Jesus says, "Do not let your heart be troubled.  Trust in God, trust also in Me."  (John 14:1)  Jesus goes on to say in John 14 that He is preparing a place for us with Him, so that we can be with Him some day.  He also says that He is the way to that place and throughout life's trials here on the earth.  Jesus says to us in John 14:6 that He is the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father.  While He is preparing Heaven for us, He has also sent the Holy Spirit to guide, teach, and comfort us now.  What a blessing in facing life's struggles!

Jesus further tells us in John 15 that He is the Vine, and we are the branches.  We need to abide in Him.  We need to remain in Him, to cling to Him.  If we do this, He will give us all we need to walk this life with its challenges and joys.  In fact, He will give us strength and joy in the midst of the trials.  

Jesus, the Vine, cuts off every branch that does not bear spiritual fruit, but He also does prunes branches that are already fruitful.  Living plants need to be pruned in order to be even more fruitful.  Spiritually this means the undesirable things in our lives also has to be pruned away by His loving hands.  That is the reason for some of the challenges and trials we face.  These trials help to prune away undesirable character traits, draws us closer to the Lord in a more intimate relationship, and helps us to stop depending on ourselves and outside resources and to rather depend on him-to abide in the Vine.

Jesus says to us, the branches, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit, fruit that will last." (John 15:16)  He will help us to bear fruit in and because of our challenges and trials of life.  We will then be  beautiful reflections of Him, and we will be used in a  mighty way in the place where He has placed us in our  lives.  Pray for His pruning and guidance in life!  


Saturday, September 24, 2022

For Those Who Are Caring for Others

I think the picture below says it all.  Many of you are struggling with being a caregiver for a loved one.  In the best of times this can involve sacrifice and sometimes struggles.  Yet you continue to persevere, and you continue to love.  Care for a loved one must involve sincere love and a focus on honoring and glorifying God.  Otherwise, it may deteriorate to resentment at God and your loved one for whom you are caring, because of the struggles and burdens sometimes connected with family care-giving.   

Having said that take respite time whenever possible, dear caregiver.  Take a few minutes each day to recharge by spending time in God's Word and prayer.  Also spend some time doing things you enjoy each day. Take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually in the same way, as you care for your loved one.  Finally, ask people to pray for you and to help out when possible.  Thank you, dear caregiver, for all the love you show to your loved one in their time of need.  Thank you for all that you do! 



Saturday, September 17, 2022

For Those Receiving Care From Others

 


About two years ago a friend on mine, who was a caregiver for her husband, Walt, until his death posted on her Facebook status.  What she wrote was very profound.  So I asked her at that time, if I could share her words on my blog.  I would like to share her words again this week on my blog post.  My friend addressed her words to those who are the recipients of care from someone else.  This is what my friend wrote:


"I am bringing this up because there are a few of my dear friends here who are struggling with guilt and feeling like a burden with having a family member or friend become their caregiver. When Walt was first diagnosed with his brain tumor, he turned to me and said. "I would not blame you if you left me...I don't want too.." I stopped him before he could finish. I told him to never go there again. I told him that I am here and he is here, and we are a team. We are going to walk this journey together each step of the way no matter how painful or difficult.

It was an honor to be the one to walk with him. It was an honor that he put all his trust in me when the time came for me to take over all his care. Please don't waste precious time feeling guilty or feeling like a burden to those who are caring for you. Take that time to tell the person who is by your side how much you love and appreciate them.

I have a letter from Walt that he had written to me while he was still able to write. In one part of the letter, he talked about how well I was taking care of him. This letter meant everything to me. After Walt died, I would often have thoughts that I did not do enough, or I could have done better....a lot of guilt. I would turn to Walt's letter and his words would tell me to stop thinking like that. If you are able to write or even record a message for the person who is caring for you..do so now. Just because you are being cared for doesn't mean that you can't care for others. You just may have to do it differently then you have before. God still has a purpose for you, so ask Him how you can help others while being helped."

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Lord's Answers to our Questioning

 


This week's blog post prayer is for those who are family caregivers for years on end or have found themselves a caregiver for a second or third time.  It is the caregiver's questions for the Lord and His answers in Scripture.


Dear Lord, why do I find myself in this position as family caregiver for so many years or once again?  If I have to undergo trials, why this one?  

Because, my child, I have planted you in this area of service for a purpose.  "Each one should use whatever gift he (or she) has received to serve others faithfully administrating God's grace.----If anyone serves, he (or she) should do it with the strength God provides. so that in all things God will be praised through Jesus Christ."  (I Peter 4:10-11)  Dear child of mine, I know what area of service and trial is best for your spiritual growth and for your love for Me to become more intimate and sweet.

But, Lord, I am so tired.  

My child, I have said, "Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest..  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and my burden is light."  (Matthew 11:28-29)  Yoke yourself with Me, and I will carry the burden.  This involves surrender.  It involves resting in Me and not resisting, but the blessings are wonderful.  If you rest in Me, I will take your exhaustion and uncertainty and turn it into calm expectation.  

But Lord, aside from the tiredness, I also feel so weak and unqualified for this.

"You are My servant, I have chosen you---So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold with My righteous right hand."  (Isaiah 41:9b10)  I have also said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."  (Hebrews 13:5b)

Yes, Lord, but what about the heartache and less than pleasant moments of dealing with my loved one's illness?

I have said that I may allow grief at times, but I will also show compassion and My great love is unfailing.  (Lamentations 3:32)  "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world."  (John 16:33)  Also I have promised to someday wipe away every tear. I have said that on that day when I return for you "there will be no death, or mourning or crying or pain."  (Revelation 21:4)

But, Lord, what about the huge personal cost and sacrifice this care-giving involves for me?

My child, I came to this earth from a beautiful place in Heaven with the Father.  I took on humanity, and I identified with my chosen people. I washed the disciples' feet as an example, and I died on the cruel cross for you. I, Jesus Christ, "being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped."  I emptied myself and made my self nothing "taking the very nature of a servant---and became obedient to death even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8)  When you see what I did for you, your attitude should be the same as mine in your service to others.  "I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master---Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them."  (John 13:16-17)

How can I have joy and peace in the middle of difficult moments, Lord?  

"Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again; Rejoice!---The Lord is near.  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God---" (Philippians 4:7)  Also think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent,  and praiseworthy.  "And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)  

Friday, August 19, 2022

Blessings of August Past


Wednesday on August 24th it will be my birthday.  I am thankful for my Lord being with me and being faithful to me these 75 years in the valleys, mountaintop experiences, and in the in between times in my life.

I am reminded of another thing which happened eight years ago in August.  On that day my local newspaper published a story about my years as a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne.  That article talked about the struggles I experienced as a caregiver, but it also talked about how my faith helped me through that time in my life.  Finally, the newspaper article talked about my book to encourage family caregivers.  Here is the link to that newspaper article that was published eight years ago:  http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/local/2014/08/26/caregiver/14628253/

I probably posted a link to that newspaper story eight years ago when it was just published, but I thought it was worth giving you the link to it again.  It gives a good rendering of my story (or rather the Lord's story) and portrays my passion to encourage family caregivers.

If you have not ordered my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers, yet, you might want to consider ordering it for yourself or for someone you love.  It contains over 100 short chapters or meditations to encourage family caregivers.  My story is intertwined in the chapters as well.  Here is the link to the Amazon order page for my book:  https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1470784479&sr=1-1

It is also available elsewhere online as well.  Finally, you can get it directly from me by e-mailing me at jesuschild54@hotmail.com for specifics.

I know the challenges of family care-giving, dear caregiver, and I care about you.  Thank you for all that you do for your loved one!

Saturday, August 13, 2022

He Identifies With Us


Jesus wept.  His friend, Lazarus, had died, and the shortest verse of the Bible says, "Jesus wept."  (John 11:35). Jesus knew that He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Why then did He weep?  It may have been partly, because of the unbelief of the people.  I think it was also because Jesus was identifying with the grief of Mary and Martha, the sisters of Lazarus.  He felt and cared about their hurt.  He was perhaps also distressed that we experience things like sin, sickness, and death in this world.

Dane Ortlund says in his book, Gentle and Lowly, that the Lord Jesus is our intercessor and advocate.  He shares with us in our actual experiences, be they grief or joy.  He actually feels what we feels.  He weeps with us when we weep. He is also right beside us.  For those of us who are His children there is a solidarity between Him and us.  He defends our cause before the Father, be it sin or distress.  He can do this based on His own suffering and death.

When we understand all this, why do we still feel the need to self-advocate?  Why worry or fret?  Why not just run to the Lord with our heartaches?  We can always trust that He is with us and will never forsake us no matter how deep the trial.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Serving Where God Plants Us


Recently, God reminded me in my devotions of the need to be willing to serve where God plants or sends me.  This willingness can only come when I see my own unworthiness and sin and from seeing how much Christ went through on the cross to forgive me. It also comes from a humble heart and thankful heart and from seeing God's glory.  Where God places me may not always be to my liking and may involve sacrifice and even heartache at times.  It may mean working through my fears about what God has assigned me and trusting Him once again.  

The same is true for you, dear reader, be you a family caregiver or be you ill yourself with a serious illness.  It is also true if God is calling you to another difficult assignment.   Calling from God does not always mean being a pastor or missionary.  It may mean being His faithful servant in the day to day of life's pathways and trials which sometimes involves heartache and sacrifices but also joy in the Lord.

God has been with me in the past in what He has asked me to do and in where He has placed me in life.  He has done the same for you, dear Reader.  He will be with us in our future assignments and trials as well.   In July seven years ago, I had an interview about my caregiving years with Wayne, my first husband, and then my loss of him to death.  The following October an article appeared in Guideposts concerning that.  This is the link to the article:  https://www.guideposts.org/caregiving/hope-and-inspiration/stories-of-hope-for-caregivers/the-gift-of-caregiver-respite?fbclid=IwAR1T32aM7wsnReUG7otknamCb0dJWXtijAzfRHPxfgWCAR8PL0fiudPRpjc


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Caregiver Tips


 

In my last blog post we discussed how stressful family care-giving can become.  It can affect the caregiver physically, emotionally and mentally.  If you did not read that last blog post and would like to read it now, click on the link below.  

In this week's blog post we are going to suggest some valuable tips for managing family caregiver stress.  These tips are  suggested by the Caring Bridge site online.  Since stress is often very real for a family caregiver, the caregiver often feels frustrated and exhausted.  Hopefully, these tips will be helpful.

These tips include eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising.  These three things are so basic, but they are easy to neglect when taking care of someone else.  They are necessary to the well-being of both the caregiver and the person who needs care, however.  A caregiver cannot take care of someone else, if she or he is not taking care of herself or himself.

Other tips include completing small tasks one at a time to regain a sense of control when life become chaotic, taking quiet time for oneself, having a healthy dose of laughter and spending quality time with others whenever possible.  At the same time a caregiver need to know how to say, "no." to requests and outside responsibilities.  Family caregivers have enough on their plate.  They do not need to add other responsibilities to their "to do" list.

Family caregivers can further benefit from journaling.  When I was caring for my first husband I benefitted much from journaling and writing down my feelings as part of a support group online.  Also engaging in activities once enjoyed and finding relaxing things to do is so helpful to a family caregiver.  Even doing something like coloring has been found to be beneficial in calming stress.   (Yes, there are adult coloring books available out there for adults!)  It is so vital for a caregiver to not neglect his or her own medical needs as well and to also know when to ask for and accept help.  Caregivers need to take care of themselves in order to take care of others effectively!

Finally, a caregiver needs to take time for prayer, reading Scripture, and developing a relationship of dependence on the Lord,  This is the most important thing a family caregiver can do.  This is true not only for family caregivers but for all of us. We need to trust in the Lord, and leave our burdens at His feet.  We need to take one step at a time, trusting the Lord to lead us through the difficult and stressful moments.


Here are some caregiver assistance groups suggested by Caring Bridge:

AARP (1-888) 687-2277
Family Caregiver Alliance (1-800) 445-8106
Caregiver.com (954) 893-0550
Caregiver Action Network (202) 454 3970
Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving (229) 928-1234
Well Spouse Association (1-800) 838-0879

Friday, July 22, 2022

Caregiver Stress

 


Family care-giving can be one of the most stressful jobs possible.  It is often life changing in its dimension and demands.  As a caregiver in my volunteer job, I know there are huge rewards gained in giving oneself in the care for others.  This can be true for family caregivers as well.  The difference for family caregivers, however, is that they are sometimes with their family members 24/7.  There are also many over-layers and deep personal connections with the person for whom they are caring as a family caregiver.  This causes emotional and physical stress which has the potential to cause health problems down the road for the caregiver.

Caring Bridge is a wonderful site online which allows people with health issues to write about their health issues in order to keep a number of people updated as to what is currently transpiring in their changing health situation.  My sister, who has been fighting cancer, uses that site regularly.  Recently for some reason I was offered a free e-book from the organization which established the Caring Bridge site,  The e-book notes signs of  family caregiver stress and tips for handling the stress.  I plan to share some of these signs of caregiver stress with you on my blog post this week.  In another post I will list ways they suggest to cope with caregiver stress.

Physical signs they list which could suggest caregiver stress overload include constant fatigue, frequent headaches or other bodily aches.  It could also involve rapid weight loss or gain or abuse of medications.  Emotional signs of too much caregiver stress can include such things as moodiness, irritation, anger, hopelessness, and sadness.  Sometimes family caregivers also lose interest in previously enjoyed activities and hobbies and feel lonely and isolated from other people.  

The long term effects of family care-giving can further cause mental issues such as short-term memory loss, anxiety, and depression which can weaken the immune system and increase the risk for chronic disease in the caregiver.  Besides the constant need for alertness and being on task in the role of being a family caregiver, caregiver stress is often complicated by financial strain, relationship role changes brought about by the illness of a family member, and the lack of rest for the caregiver.

As I said previously in this post, I will share some practical tips for dealing with caregiver stress suggested by the Caring Bridge e-book in an upcoming blog post.  Today let me end with a Bible verse going through my mind, as I write this post.  Jesus says to you and I in Matthew 11:28-30 in the New Testament of the Bible, "Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  

Life is difficult.  Family care-giving is difficult.  Yet in the measure we can give the worries and anxieties to the Lord, not fret, and yoke ourselves to Him; the burdens are eased.  The Lord wants us to leave our anxieties with Him and rest in Him.  Then our burdens become lighter.  He is carrying the heavy load for us.  He knows what He is doing.  We just have to trust Him.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Broken So We Glow

 


Sometimes we have to be broken by care-giving challenges, sickness, or a host of other possible trials in order to glow like the broken heart above in the picture.  Recently a Facebook friend posted something on her status.  I thought it was pretty profound.  I decided to post it here on my blog.  You will find it below.  I believe it speaks for itself.  


Broken!
I was in Dollar Tree last night, and there was a lady and two kids behind me in the LONG line. One was a big kid, and the other one was a toddler. The bigger one had a pack of glow sticks, and the toddler was screaming for them. The Mom opened the pack and gave him one which stopped his tears. He walked around with it smiling; but then the bigger boy took it, and the toddler started screaming again. Just as the Mom was about to fuss, the older child bent the glow stick and handed it back to the toddler. As we walked outside at the same time, the toddler noticed that the stick was now glowing; and his brother said, "I had to break it so that you could get the full effect from it."
I almost ran, because l could hear God saying to me, "I had to break you to show you why I created you. You had to go through it so you could fulfill your purpose."
That precious child was happy just swinging that "unbroken" glow stick around in the air, because he didn't understand what it was created to do - which was "glow".
There are some people who will be content just "being," but some of us are chosen... we have to be "broken."
We have to get sick.
We have to lose a job.
We go through a divorce.
We have to bury our spouse, parents, best friend, or our child...
In those moments of desperation, We were broken. But... when the breaking is done, then we will be able to see the reason for which we were created. So when you see us glowing, just know that we have been broken
Copied and Pasted!
Copied from Robert Wilson


Saturday, July 2, 2022

Freedom

 


July 4th is Independence Day in the United States.  It is the birthday of our country, and it represents freedom.  I am thankful for the freedom of speech and worship that I have as a United States citizen.  What is even more important, however, is my freedom in Christ that I experience as His child.

Freedom in Christ includes freedom from the penalty and power of our sins.

Freedom in Christ includes freedom from fear in spite of adverse circumstances.

Freedom in Christ is freedom from self and selfish willful ways when we are trusting in the Lord.

Freedom in Christ involves joyful service to others.

Freedom in Christ involves knowing the truth of God's Word which sets one free.

Freedom in Christ means serving the Lord.

Freedom in Christ means I can come to Him anytime with my needs.

Freedom in Christ means the ability to live in a joyful relationship with the Lord.   

Psalm 18:19 says,  "He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me."   What a wonderful freedom we find in the Lord!  Praise Him name for that!

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Something to Bless Your Day Today

With all that is going on in our world we need the Lord and His Word to cheer us and encourage us.  Many of us are also experiencing difficult circumstances in our personal lives.   We also need the Lord and His Word to cheer and encourage us in those personal trials.

The beauties of spring and God's creation that are all around us can further help to uplift and cheer us.  I have been posting pictures on Facebook from time to time of flowers popping out on our yard.   I would like to feature some pictures today again on this post.  The only difference is that these pictures were taken a couple years ago.  May these pictures be a blessing!  Remember creation's beauties are God's love gifts to you!












Sunday, June 19, 2022

Father's Day

Today is Father's Day in the United States, so I am once again taking a bit of a break from my regular format.  I am thankful today for my Dad who showed an immense amount of patience and perseverance in his life.  He patiently endured the struggles that most farmers endure.  He always put his trust in the Lord during those moments.  I also saw his patience, perseverance, and trust in the Lord during those years of major health problems.  I still have a postcard that he sent me while he was in the hospital.  He wrote this that day, "I feel a little blue, but there is One Almighty above who loves and cares."  My Dad always read Scripture and prayed at the table as well.  His example helped me to persevere during some very difficult moments in my life like caring for my first husband, fighting breast cancer, and losing my husband to death.


Today I also am thankful for my first husband, Wayne, who was the father to my sons and now lives in Heaven.  His Godly example to his sons and his gentle and loving nature were wonderful examples to all who knew him.  He was a hard worker, and loved his family very much.  He also persevered until his death though some very difficult health problems.  In many ways he reminded me of my Dad.

Finally, I am thankful for Bob who became my husband nearly three years ago this coming July.  He is a loving and concerned father to his daughters and also grandpa to his grandchildren.  He is very concerned about their welfare.  He also cares about my children and their welfare.  He further loves me.  He often reminds me of God's blessings to us.

Today, dear reader, thank God for the blessing of Godly men in your life as well.

Saturday, June 11, 2022

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 remarried, life continues to have struggles and challenges.  That is the nature of life on this earth.  

Yet there have been many awesome answers to prayer also in the last years in my life.  One of them is the recent successful life-giving surgery of my sister, Nancy.  God has worked in amazing ways in other struggles in my life in the last years as well.  He further daily brings blessings sometimes through the beauties of creation and sometimes through other people.  

When I begin to struggle with life's difficult moments, I have learned that the course of action that helps me most is to write down a few things each day for which I am thankful. This simple practice helps to open my eyes to the little wonders and love gifts of God which are still all around me in my life.  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 as well as other blessings that I see transpiring in my life.

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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

God's Love in Our Need

 


Perhaps you are overwhelmed with the situations in your life right now.  Maybe you are overwhelmed by family caregiving responsibilities, or perhaps there is another trial which is weighing you down.  Maybe you are simply burdened with your own sins and failures.  In life situations like this your needs and sins placed at His feet is the very thing that attracts God's love to you.

Ruth Meyers says this in her book, The Satisfied Life, "What qualifies you to receive God's love?  We qualify simply because we need it.  She then quotes C.S. Lewis who wrote this, "Our whole being, by its very nature, is one vast need, incomplete, preparatory. empty yet cluttered, crying out to Him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose."

Jesus took upon Himself the horrors of punishment for all His people's sins past, present, and future.  If we are a child of God, can we not now then trust Him with all our needs and heartaches?  God's very heart is to love us as His children.  Instead of running around fretting and worrying when a new trial arises, should we not instead run to Him?  Should we not instead just bask in and enjoy His love?  Trials are never easy, but He tells us to run to Him and rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dane Ortlund says this in the epilogue of his book, Gentle and Lowly, "Whatever is crumbling all around you in your life, wherever you feel stuck, this remains, undeflectable; His heart for you, the real you, is gentle and lowly.  So go to Him.  That place in your life where you feel most defeated, He is there; He lives there, right there, and His heart for you, not on the other side of it but in the darkness is gentle and lowly.  Your anguish is His home.  Go to Him." 

The Lord will be faithful to the end of your trials, each and everyone of them.  He will also be faithful to the end of your life and take you to live with Him in Heaven, if you are His child.  That is how great and enduring is His love for you as His child.  Dane Ortlund says this also in his book, "Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into glory.---In the coming age we will descend ever deeper into God's grace in kindness, into His very heart---"


Friday, May 27, 2022

Thank You, Lord, for Answered Prayer


Last week in my blog post I asked all my readers to be caregivers by your fervent prayers for my sister, Nancy.  Below is the link to my last week's blog post, if you did not get to read it.   https://christiancaregiving.blogspot.com/2022/05/requests-for-fervent-prayer.html  

For those who fervently prayed for Nancy I am happy to report that Nancy came through an intensive twelve hour plus surgery with flying colors on Wed, May 25.  She has to spend time in the IC for a few days and one to two weeks total in the hospital. Yet when we consider her having gone through this type surgery she is doing very well.  (She was given some blood on Friday, because of low blood levels, but otherwise she is doing well considering the circumstances.)  This is because of hundreds of prayers that were sent on her behalf.  Thank you for your prayers.  Please continue to pray for her in the months of recovery ahead.  This all also happened, because we have a faithful God.  Thank You, Lord!  Praise Your name!

If you want to read the caring bridge post my niece wrote the day after surgery in behalf of her Mom, my sister, you can click on the below link.  May you be encouraged in your faith, as you read it.

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nancyvandyke/journal/view/id/62901669cac2ec2ac87f4813?fbclid=IwAR0hOeW2GSzhxvGIwqt2gAuVW0FzthHG_qgqHMPosuEMIGZMhGajyESo3JQ

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Requests for Fervent Prayer


Because of my years of being a caregiver for my first husband, Wayne, I have a desire to encourage family caregivers.  In a sense we are all caregivers to someone we know and perhaps love. Caregiving can be an intense day after day endeavor for months or years like it was for me.  It can also involve stepping up and being a caregiver for a shorter term illness.  

Caregiving can also come through words of encouragement and prayer for people you know and love.   I am asking that you will do that today.  I am asking that you will pray for my sister, Nancy, her husband, her adult children and spouses, and her grandchildren.  Nancy was diagnosed about two years ago with colon cancer.   This cancer is also in the lining around her organs.  Nancy needs prayer and so does her family members who care about and for her.  She has already been in an intense battle against this cancer through chemo and surgery to remove a tumor which was ready to burst in her colon.  

The chemo is no longer working as it should.  So in a few days on Wednesday, May 25 Nancy is scheduled for a very serious surgery in a hospital a few hours from her home. She will need to stay in the hospital for seven to fourteen days after surgery, and there will be recovery time at home after that.  This surgery is serious and scary to those of us who love her.  It also gives us a sense of hope and excitement at the possibilities.  Will you please pray for her and her family?  Please pray that this surgery will take place as scheduled, and that it will produce great results.   Thank you ahead of time for your prayers.


(Below is Nancy's story in her own words.  It is a link to her latest Caring Bridge post concerning this upcoming surgery.)  

https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/nancyvandyke/journal/view/id/62815cb01c4e7bd91fad37f1?fbclid=IwAR1xZrdpxKrkOLd9vnezu2Z9SICGr9h0f4tj8RpNA_BC0bo5bbAKCVvzfu


Saturday, May 14, 2022

Faith


Faith is a beautiful thing.  Faith must be in the Lord alone, however.  Faith in anything else in this world will always fail us.  Faith in the Lord is the only true source of stability, hope, purpose, and refuge when life's difficult moments occur.  Faith in the Lord helps us face the realities of life when they become overwhelming.  In fact, faith demands that we face reality with its challenges both difficult and exciting.  We need to in faith pray to the Lord to help us accomplish this.

How do we hold on to faith when we feel overwhelmed by the problems all over the world and by the problems we see in our own lives and in the lives of those we love?  I have a sister who has been fighting serious cancer for about two years now.  My husband's sister-in-law just passed away from cancer.  Other family members in both Bob and my families are going through struggles as well.  Bob himself was and is on antibiotics.  How does one hold on to faith in the struggles of life?  

The answer is that we trust the Lord.  We know that He is in control.  We trust that He provides joy and strength even in the most difficult of situations.  We trust that His love for us is unending and limitless.  We trust that He will never forsake us.  We also trust that He will guide us through this life step by step and in the end take us to be with Him.

Also when we slow down enough in our hurrying and scurrying through life to recognize our many blessings and to recognize the goodness of God through it all, we grow in our faith and love for Him.  We then see how many prayers God has answered in our lives.  We recognize His daily provision and protection for us.  Then gratitude and joy follows replacing all the negative emotions.  Yes, sad emotions and lamenting are still often there, but our perspective changes.  It become an eternal and faith-filled perspective.

It is difficult at times to maintain that faith in the face of obstacles and heartaches.  Only the Lord can give us the faith we so desperately need.  Yet prayer, reading God's Word, and worship paves the way to this kind of abundant faith-filled life.  It is the means the Lord uses to guide us and walk with us throughout life and into Eternity.  There is no better friend then Him.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Eight Year Anniversary

 



Time has a way of continuing to march on.  A little over eight years ago in April of that year I published my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  Writing and promoting the book eight 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.  

At the time of the publication of my book 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 eight 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 late 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 jesuschild54@hotmail.com  Just contact me there for details.


Once again here is the Amazon link to the order page for my book:
rhttps://www.amazon.com/Dear-Caregiver-Sharon-Vander-Waal/dp/1629524263/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482027543&sr=1-1&keywords=Dear+Caregiver

Here is the Barnes and Noble link:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dear-caregiver-sharon-vander-waal/1119198854?ean=9781629524269

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Affirmations


We all have situations in our life that are difficult.  We talked about that in last week's post.  Some of those situations can feel like grief experiences.  Some of those situations can make us feel all alone in the experience.  Yet in some cases, the difficult experiences involves things which we cannot control, things we can't fix.  They may involve circumstances for which we can only pray.  

I have one such situation in my life, a situation for which I have been praying for the last few years especially.  A book I am reading talks about not getting emotionally bogged down in difficult situations that we can't control or change.  The book goes on to promote making decisions to move ahead with purpose and joy in spite of the situations in life which are out of our control.  

The book also talks about monitoring our thought life and replacing as much as possible our negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  This idea very much mirrors the Scripture passage in Philippians 4:8-9 which says, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right,  whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."  

The book discussed above also suggests writing some affirmation sentences.  So I will share some of the affirmations I recently penned.  Be you a family caregiver or you are dealing with some other heartache in your life, may these  personal affirmations be helpful to you, and may they inspire you to write your own affirmations.  The edited version of my affirmations that I wrote are in the following paragraphs.

"I will chose  to be thankful today.  All things will fall in place in due time.  I am where I am supposed to be in my life now.  My life has purpose.  I don't need to fear for the future.  God has my entire life planned, and He is in control.  My life is good.  I have a comfortable home and a husband who loves me.  I don't need to have my whole life figured out.  I just need to rest in the Lord and be thankful for the blessings, to be joyful.  I can and need to accept things as they are in trust and joy.  

I am resilient and strong in the Lord.  I can be present and joyful instead of preoccupied and worried when I feel fatigued or face problems.  I need to be very aware of how stress affects my body and to try to not go down that road.  I need to accept what I cannot change and accept the good in others.  Instead of saying, 'I will never-----,' I need to say, 'I will with God's grace---.'

Even if everyone lets me down (And they won't.  There is always someone who is there.), God is still with me.   God won't let me go through anything in my life without His help and the situation growing me.  I will enjoy the present moment.

I will say each morning, 'This will be a good day.'  I will do an activity today that I enjoy.  I will substitute negative thoughts with positive thoughts today.  I will be aware of the blessings of creation today.  I will live today without the situation for which I have been praying a long time seemingly resolved.  I will do this no matter how long it takes for the situation to be resolved or no matter if it ever gets resolved the way I would desire it to be resolved.  No matter what I can still find and have joy in my life."

This blog post was not written to suggest that there is no place for lament or sorrow in our lives.  Many of the Psalms are laments. There are also some very sad situations right now besides the one to which I alluded above in both my husband's and my families which weigh heavily on our hearts.  Yet joy and praise in the midst of difficult times can do much to lift our spirits, and they are pleasing to the Lord.  The Psalms often command a "sacrifice" of thanks to our Lord.  So what affirmations could you pen concerning a troublesome situation you are facing, dear Reader?  Why not write down a few thoughts and trust God to see you through step by step and moment by moment?

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Why Is There Suffering In the World?


Why does God allow suffering and broken-heartedness in the lives of Christians? Why are we living in an increasingly dangerous world of persecution, suffering, and war?  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.  I have had my own bodily aches and pains as well.  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 Good Friday and Easter in mid April.  Christ suffered unimaginable suffering, so we could be saved.  In his book, Gentle and Lowly, Dane Ortlund, says the following, "To you I say, the evidence of Christ's mercy toward you is not your life.  The evidence of His mercy toward you is His-mistreated, misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned.  Eternally.  In your place.  If God sent His own Son to walk through the valley of condemnation, rejection, and hell, you can trust Him as you walk your own valleys on your way to heaven."  

In yet another chapter in his book Dane Ortlund says this, "You have often left Him; has He ever left you?  You have had many trials and troubles; has He ever deserted you?  Has He ever turned away His heart, and shut up His bowels of compassion?  No, children of God, it is your solemn duty to say 'No,' and bear witness to His faithfulness."






  

Monday, April 11, 2022

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.