Thursday, September 16, 2021

All We Need

 


One of the difficulties of transitioning to the role of caregiver for a parent is dealing with grief of loss. Parents often provide nurture and counsel well into their children's adulthoods; my mom certainly did.  And so when Mom stopped cooking for us and lost interest in the daily details of my life, I was angry and grief-stricken.  

Earlier this week a friend and I were talking about the difficulty of not casting blame when other people let us down.  We came up with a pretty simple prayer from the perspective of frail and fallible human beings who are walking side-by-side along life's path with other frail and fallible human beings: 

Dear Lord, help me speak when I need to speak, remain silent when I need to remain silent, and pray when I need to pray.  It isn’t as though other people can keep me from what I need; that’s the devil’s lie!  All I need spiritually and emotionally resides in my relationship with You.  Help me look to my own obedience so that in every present moment I choose Your will rather than my own. I release those nearest to me from the heavy responsibility of meeting my heart's needs, and pray to increasingly find all my needs met in you.  

As they make music they will sing,

    “All my fountains are in you.”

Psalm 87:7 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

So Do Not Fear...


This morning a Facebook friend said she'd had a rocky 2021, and asked for Bible verses that provide help in time of need.  I posted my life verse, Isaiah 41:10: "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 you with my righteous right hand."  I often wake up with these words going through my head.  All my life I've been prone to the anxiety of fear, and I often have to pray through to peace following an initial fearful response. 

Earlier this week I noticed a that my left arm had a rashy appearance. I remembered a scary account I'd read online of someone who had a similar rash and later died, and I panicked.  I called our local doctor's office and, still feeling so frightened that my blood pressure tested 20 points higher than usual, poured out my fears to the nurse practitioner.  He judged that I was being silly, and he all but rolled his eyes.  With exaggerated patience he explained, "Sometimes, when we are upset, our skin becomes reactive." I felt patronized, foolish, and humiliated.  

I had not been upset until I noticed the rash, but in retrospect I realized I'd become overheated as I sat cozily in front of our propane heater, reading.  When I'd stepped outside into cooler air, the rash had faded, so that all that was apparent by the time I reached the doctor's office was slightly mottled skin.  I felt terribly embarrassed and foolish, and sat through the rest of the visit with downcast eyes, making mumbled excuses and replies to medical questions unrelated to the rapidly disappearing rash.  

I made a couple of errors that day.  Had I stopped to pray, the Lord would have kept me at home. Indeed, I did send a panicked prayer heavenward, felt the Lord say "This is nothing to worry about," and I ignored Him!  I don't know why I gave way to fear as I did.  But when I got back home and asked forgiveness, I felt no condemnation from the Lord, only reassurance, the kindness I craved, assurance that He is my advocate, and love.  And, sweetly, He also provided the solace of a dear friend who felt so badly for me that tears of empathy came to her eyes.  The Lord's compassion as expressed through her was a great blessing.

The Lord does not meet our fear with condemnation although there may be gentle reproach; I think of Jesus with an almost amused expression on His face as He pulls Peter from the churning waves. But most of all He shows compassion and hurries to our aid with truth-speaking, calming, forgiveness and love.  Jesus does not patronize or ridicule us when we are afraid, He reminds us of who He is, and calms us with His comfort and truth.  

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Caregiver's Prayer

 


The prayer at the beginning of this post and the reading below are from my book, 100 Days to Freedom: Release From the Self-Condemnation of Overweight, published in 2016.  This was near the end of my time as primary caregiver for my mother, who had Alzheimer's.  It is entitled Doesn't He Leave the Ninety-Nine:  


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.
  1 Corinthians 15:58



Thursday, February 4, 2021

Waiting...Trusting...WAITING....

In every stress we face, God is with us, He is sovereign, and we can trust Him.  I am reminding myself of these truths day by day as we wait for our Covid vaccinations.  Thanking the Lord for His abiding presence with us, for His provision, and praying to stay calm and trust Him.  

Friday, December 18, 2020

Peace in the Midst of Pain

 


One morning during the time my mother was nearing the end of her journey through Alzheimer's, I awoke with this verse in my mind:  

Joy in the midst of sorrow,

Peace in the midst of pain, 

Faith in the truth of God's promise

There will be sunshine after the rain.   

Earlier this week we received news of the sudden and unexpected death of a member of my husband's extended family.  In our prayers for these dear people we remember that many are suffering grief of loss especially now, during the Covid pandemic, and we lift those who are suffering grief to the Lord.  How blessed to know His presence goes with us through every season of life, and that even when we are blinded by pain we can trust that His comforting, providing, loving presence is with us.  Lord be near those who are in grief today.  Bring them through safely, in Jesus' Name we pray.  

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sharing


Some time ago, I remember feeling taken aback when a Christian Facebook page featured a post from a lady who had done a beautiful meme of Isaiah 41:10.  "This is my life verse," she said.  

I felt somehow usurped because Isaiah 41:10 is my life verse.  Of course I quickly subdued the childish idea that anything in the Bible is exclusively mine and mine alone, but...isn't it?  

The Bible often speaks directly and uniquely to some specific need we have brought to the Lord. Verses jump out at us, find a responsive chord in our hearts, and we know the Lord has spoken to us. We feel uniquely loved when this happens because we know the Lord has seen our need and has responded. How amazing to be covered by His love in this way!   

In her sermon this morning, our pastor stated that Isaiah 40 is one of her favorites. It is also one of mine!  I've come a bit further down the God-lit path of understanding than the day I felt an initial unwillingness to share my life verse with a fellow sister in Christ, and today I was able to recognize that Isaiah 40:1-2 does not belong exclusively to any one Christian, but is a statement of the comfort available to all God’s people. It is like one big comforter, or blanket, and we all can partake of its shelter.  

Under this covering of grace, there is no sharing involved in the way we tend to think. From childhood, we've learned that "You need to share" means that we aren't going to get as much as we would like to have because we have to allow others a portion of the whole.  But in God’s Kingdom, the whole blanket belongs to all who avail themselves of its shelter. That others also are sheltered by the same grace given us does not diminish each of our personal claims to its warmth; that others are warmed by God's covering does not cause any one of us to be less warm.  

There is a wonderful unity shared by those who are sheltered beneath the same blanket of grace. No matter our differences, we are under the same covering of His love.  Lord, help us find our unity with one another through You as we share the grace You have provided us through Jesus Christ.  Amen!