Friday, August 25, 2023

Name Change

As you may have noticed my blog has a new name.  It's name has been changed from "Dear Caregiver" to "God's Sufficient Grace."  I will tell you why I renamed my blog in a moment, but first I want to give a little history.    

In 2011 I started my blog.  I entitled my blog, "Dear Caregiver," and it was directed mainly to family caregivers.  I had lost my first, husband, Wayne, only a little over a month previously due to a serious neurological disease called, Multiple Systems Atrophy. I had been his caregiver for four and a half years before his death. Caregiving had been a difficult period in my life, as I saw him deteriorate in his health step by step.  Hence, a deep desire had blossomed in my heart to encourage current family caregivers.  Thus my blogsite was birthed.

Then in  2014 I published my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  This book also was meant to encourage family caregivers in their very important God-given but sometimes difficult and challenging roles.  You can order this book from me directly by emailing me and asking for specifics   You can also order this book at Amazon

During the time I published my book and afterwards I have continued my blog as well under the title of "Dear Caregiver."  Yet I know that there are many struggles that we all as believers encounter on this earth.  Hence, I have found that in my blog posts I am gradually broadening out God's message to both Christian caregivers and other believers as well.  

This is true even though I still have a deep love and concern for family caregivers in my heart.  It is also true even though in many ways, I am still a Christian caregiver.  No matter what the trial we are facing, however; God is always refining us, trying to make us more like Jesus, comforting us, and in the process bringing glory to Himself.  In whatever we face, His grace is sufficient, and His grace flows from His goodness.  Hence the new title for my blog is now "God's Sufficient Grace."  Other than the new title you should find the blog to be very much like it always been.  I hope you will continue to read and be blessed.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Chapters Of Our Lives

We have many moments and chapters in our lives.  Some of these chapters in our lives are joyful ones.  Some of the chapters are difficult and challenging.  We tend to look at special dates on the calendar and reflect about the past moments of our lives.  I especially tend to do this.

Seventy six years ago on August 24, 1947 a little baby girl was born.  Her parents named her Sharon Lynn.  She was her parents first child, and she was born two weeks earlier than expected. As you may have guessed this little girl is the author of this blog post.

The chapters in my life included my birth in IA and my growing up years in MN and SD.  I was a quiet introvert type child.  Later came the early adult chapter of my life.  I moved to WI, taught first grade for three years at a Christian school, met and married my first husband, Wayne, and raised a family of three sons.

Later chapters in my life included the marriages of my sons and wonderful grandchildren. One of the difficult chapters of my life was the diagnosis of my first husband's rare neurological disease (Multiple Systems Atrophy) in 2006, my breast cancer diagnosis in 2007, and my first husband's death in early 2011.  One of the more recent chapters of my life was my marriage to my current husband, Bob, a little over four years ago.  

All these chapters in my life were ordained by God.  Psalm 139:16 says, "All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be."  God has ordained all the days and chapters of your life as well, dear reader.  If I had been able to chose, I would have not chosen the care-giving chapter of my life or perhaps even difficult moments which occurred before that chapter in my life.  I certainly would not have chosen the chapter of widow or some more recent challenges and chapters.

Yet God truly does bring beauty from the ashes of the difficult chapters of our lives.  God says in John 16:33b, "In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart I have overcome the world."  He has overcome the world, and He will use our heartaches to advance His kingdom and for our spiritual growth and even joy.

Dear reader, the Lord is using your difficult experiences to stretch and grow you in dependence on Him and in love for Him.  He is using it to bring new spiritual fruit in your life.  Finally, He is using it in His kingdom both now and in the days ahead.  God wants you to walk with Him holding His hand during both the joyful and difficult chapters of your life.  He wants you to rest in Him trusting that He will lead you through these times in your life with purpose for now and the future.  If you belong to Him; He delights in you, dear reader!

Friday, August 11, 2023

God's Faithfulness

I am currently reading a devotional book authored by Robert J Morgan called Great is Thy Faithfulness.  In one of the chapters that I have already read the author discusses God's wonderful promises to us found in the Old Testament.  These promises include God walking beside us directing our steps each day, hearing our prayers, and being our shield and reward.  The promises include His vow to renew and restore us and to even be with us in old age.  These promises also include His covenant love for us, His blessings, His strength, and his healing each day.  The Lord further promises to be our refuge in times of trouble, to delight in us, and to actually rejoice and sing over us!

Promises are found all throughout the Bible from Genesis to Revelation even in what we might consider obscure parts of the Bible. For example, in Hosea 6:1, God promises to bind up our wounds, and in Nahum 1:7 the Lord God promises to be our refuge in times of trouble.  Hence, there are amazing promises in the New Testament, but there are also wonderful promises as well in the Old Testament where we may be tempted to believe they would not be found as readily.  

In a world where we often face trials and heartaches it is wonderful to know and treasure the multitude of God's promises to us.  He is always a faithful and loving God.  We can count on His faithfulness and presence in our lives.  We can count on His promises in His Word.

Below is a link to the wonderful hymn, "Great is Thy Faithfulness."  I have been listening to this hymn frequently in the past weeks, as I I contemplate God's faithfulness.  May this hymn bless you today, dear reader.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Summer Blessings and Trials

July is now past, and August has begun.  How fast the days of July flew past, as every month of the year tends to do.  I am going to take a moment to look back on July, however, and its significance to me.   On July 30, 1971, fifty-two years ago I became a blushing bride for the first time.  In spite of my remarriage eight and a half years after Wayne's homegoing to heaven, I will always remember that day.  I also remember with joy our 39 years of marriage.  On July 13, 2019, four years ago, Bob and I were married.  I look back on the joy each of us felt on that day.  We have faced some new outside challenges this past year, but we remain committed to each other.

These were joyful moments in July in the past, and now this year there were difficult moments in July.  I have had back issues for many years, but in July as in the months before July of this year I have had some more major back flare-up issues.  Through a series of events including contacting my regular doctor and her ordering an MRI, I saw a spine specialist on July 31rst.  I fully expected him to suggest surgery, but because of my scoliosis complicating things, surgery would involve a recovery period that was too long.  

Hence, the doctor recommended doing an epidural instead.  By God's grace I was able to receive that epidural only two days later on August 2nd.  By the morning of the next day I was beginning to notice a difference for the good.  My back is still feeling very vulnerable, and there still are issues, but I am very thankful for God's grace in all this.

There were and are also uncertainties in all this.  Epidurals, for example, are only a temporary solution at best.  Yet God is the God of the unknown.  The future is not unknown to Him and He will lead.  We all need to remember that we are blessed no matter what is going on in our lives at the time.

At this point I am going to quote a fairly long passage from Lysa Ter Keurst's book, Seeing Beautiful Again.  This is what Lysa writes I think it applies beautifully here to our discussion:

"I feel the most unsettled when I'm uncertain about the future.  I suspect many of you are also facing circumstances that have left you feeling caught off guard and unsure about what tomorrow holds---There are thousands of scenarios that evoke these feelings of uncertainty, fear, and exhaustion from life not being like you thought it should be.

Whatever your situation is, you probably feel like you can't change it, but you still have to live through the realities of what's happening right now.  Sometimes you just have to walk in your 'I don't know.'---All this trouble is exhausting.  Walking in the 'I don't know' is scary.---But what if life settling down and all your disappointments going away would be the worst thing that could happen to you?  What if your 'I don't know' is helping you, not hurting you?

The crucial detail for us to have peace in the middle of everything we face is to stay close to the Lord.  We think we want comfort in the I-don't know times of life.  But comfort isn't a solution to seek; rather it is a byproduct we'll reap when we stay close to the Lord.

I wish I could promise you that everything's going to turn out like you're hoping it will. I can't, of course.  But what I can promise you is that God is close to us even in our 'I don't knows.'  God has lessons for us that are crucially important for our future, and we are learning them in the middle of our 'I don't knows.'  God has a strength He must prepare us with, and the training ground is here in the 'I don't know.' This time isn't a waste, and it is definitely not pointless when we are walking with God.

Let's cry out to God, declaring that this hard time will be a holy time, a close-to God time.  And let's choose to believe that there is good happening, even in these places.  Because wherever God is, good is being worked."

(If you missed my post last week about God being the Potter and we being the clay, you can read it by cliking on this link:  )