Saturday, April 30, 2022


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.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Jesus Is Still King

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 fact, our church choir is going to sing a wonderful song based on that awesome verse in our Palm Sunday service.  I enclosed a link to this song which our choir loves,  It is not, however, our choir singing.  Here is the link:

In these unusual times Jesus is still King over all life's trials including the war in Ukraine and the lingering coronavirus, family care-giving challenges, our own illnesses or bodily pains, wayward children, job issues, and whatever other trials we may be facing.  

A couple years 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.)

Saturday, April 2, 2022

His Abounding Love

(This is a chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)

God is a God who is abounding in love.  Sometimes in the storms of care-giving challenges it may not feel that way.  Feelings do not change the truth of God's unfailing love for you, however, dear caregiver.

If you think of your life as a building; the Lord is your sure foundation, dear caregiver.  He is guiding you through the difficult challenges of care-giving.  He is guiding you with His wisdom and knowledge when you feel like you are hitting your head against brick walls.  Many times when I was a caregiver I felt so alone.  Yet I always knew God was with me, and now as I look back I see how He lead me each step of the way.

Every building also needs a door.  Prayer is the door or access to the very presence of God.  So is trust and thankfulness.  As we trust in Him with a thankful heart, He will pave the way.  Family care-giving is overwhelmingly difficult at times.  I know that, dear caregiver, because I lived it.  Yet God's presence is with you all the way.  You will sense that presence more, as you pray to Him and trust Him with a thankful heart.

Every building also needs a security system of some kind.  This is to prevent others from coming in and doing damage to property or people.  The caregiver's life needs a security system also.  That security system is the Word of God.  As caregivers listen and wait for God to speak to them through the promises of His Word, they are able to fight off the devil's attempts to discourage them.  They are able to rest in the abounding love of the Lord God.

Dear Caregiver, there is not even one area of your life that the love of God is not able to reach.  God's wide and loving arms are able to reach around any care-giving challenge in your life.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  His love is deep enough to meet your deepest discouragement, as you go about the business of caring for your loved one.

Not only is His love with you, dear caregiver, but so is His all-sufficient power.  He can calm your fears.  In your own strength it is not possible to face the challenges of family care-giving, but He has promised to give you His strength in you!  With His strength in you and with His abounding love surrounding you, dear caregiver, you can do whatever He asks of you.  Rest in Him!

(Perhaps you know someone who is a family caregiver, or perhaps you are caring for a loved one yourself.  This may be complicated by the current world crisis.  Consider ordering my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  It is available at Amazon here:  You can also find it elsewhere online like at Barnes and Noble.  I even saw it at Target online.  Finally, you can receive a copy directly from me by emailing me for specifics at )