Saturday, May 27, 2023

Choosing Gratitude

Some years ago I read a book by Nancy Leigh De Moss called Choosing Gratitude.  In one chapter she lists 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 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 like they can, gratitude to the Lord is the gateway to His presence.

Gratitude is further the only sure path to peace.  Life difficulties can 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, my sister, and other saints who have gone ahead of me to heaven are no longer suffering from disease or heartaches of any kind, but they are praising God before His throne right now!  I too can join in that praise by thanking and praising the Lord now.  Life is difficult at times.  I often find gratitude a difficult choice to make.  Yet in the measure that we walk with gratitude, peace will follow.  Resolve with me to to strive to walk that path.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Spring Blessings

When fighting discouragement, pain, or trials of any kind; it is wise to think about God's precious promises in His Word and also the beauty all around us in God's world.  I would like to share a few of those beauties today.   Most of these flowers are right from my back yard.  Enjoy and be blessed.

Saturday, May 13, 2023

Mothers on Mother's Day

As I write this post, it is Mother's day weekend in the United States.  If  you are a Mother, may God bless you with a wonderful Mother's day.  May He bless you with sweet experiences and sweet memories.  May He fill your heart with thankfulness for the blessing of being a Mother and perhaps also a Grandmother.  

If you are a caregiver for a Mother who is ill or disabled, may God bless you and strengthen and give you joy in your care-giving task.  If you are a Mother of a a child who is ill or disabled, may the Lord also bless you in the same way.  May the Lord fill you with joy and fill the gap where the gap is wide and deep.   

If you are a Mother who has lost a child due to death or estrangment, may God comfort and bless you with His sufficient love.  If you recently lost a mother to death or even lost a mother many years ago, I pray the overflowing unbounding and comforting love of your Savior will overflow in Your heart.   Once again, may the Lord fill the gap where the gap is wide and deep.   

There is no love like the love of the Lord. Like a mother bird cares for her young, the Lord will care for and comfort His own. Psalm 91:4-5 says, "He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."   Wherever you are in life's pathways, revel in the Lord's love for you!

Saturday, May 6, 2023

The Tight-rope of Care-giving


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

On June 15, 2012 some of you may have seen televised Nik Wallenda’s dream come true, as he walked across Niagara Falls between the U.S. and Canada on a tightrope. He covered the 1,800 feet in approximately 25 minutes walking the two-inch wire in elkskin-soled shoes and using a balance beam.  Now I would not recommend viewing Niagara Falls in this fashion. One might even argue the wisdom and even rightness of taking such a risk. I think there are lessons we can learn from this incident, however.

Much of life-and certainly caregiving-is filled with challenges. Because of the uncertainties and constant changes and declines of care-giving, it can feel as if one is in imminent danger.  During care-giving days, one is not able to predict what the next year, let alone the next month or day will bring. It can feel like one is walking in a fog on a tightrope. As Wallenda made his walk across Niagara Falls he found the heavy mist to be very challenging. Also the winds hit him and were definitely more than he expected. After awhile his forearms started to tense up, and he began experiencing numbness. The steps and days as a caregiver can feel the same way. 

ABC televised the walk, but insisted Wallenda use a safety tether to prevent him from plunging into the roaring waters of Niagara Falls should he fall. I do not know how great a safety measure this was in reality, but I do know that Christian caregivers have a wonderful source of strength and safety in the Lord Jesus Christ. Care-giving can feel like walking over stormy waters, but the Lord is a reliable source of safety. Also Wallenda walked across that tightrope putting one foot in front of the other. That is what Christian caregivers and all believers need to do. They need to take life one step at a time focusing on the Lord and trusting Him.

When Wallenda stepped onto Canadian soil he was immediately asked for his passport, which he extracted from a protective pouch in his jacket. To me that passport is a picture of God’s Word and its promises. It is what helps us walk the tightrope and stormy situations of life like care-giving. 

Wallenda said that the prayers of others helped him immensely. He said it helped him reach the safety of the other side. So we too need to be willing to ask for and rely on the prayers of others when we are going through stormy times. Wallenda further said that in the middle of the wire he started thinking about his great-grandfather. His family’s legacy for performing daredevil stunts is what helped him persevere to the end. So we also can follow the examples of the Biblical saints and our godly ancestors who have gone before us. Their past faith can encourage us to be faithful and to trust God.

Christian caregiver, walk step by step focusing on the Lord as you experience the stormy waters of care-giving. Rely on God’s Word and prayer. Trust that God will get you to the other side.