Monday, March 13, 2017

Joys in the Midst of Sorrow

Sweet consolations: Middle, l to r: freshly baked apple pie,our 1-year-old granddaughter with her doll and new cowgirl hat, and the sunset backlighting some silk apple blossom stems.  
We're experiencing a cold snap here in Kansas, all the more insulting because it follows one of the warmest Februarys on record for us. We have basked in balmy temperatures in the mid-seventies for too many weeks to feel content with this morning's windchill, which was in the low twenties.  I hope my lilac bush doesn't give up on the early bloom it was obviously planning before today's frigid dawn.

I am rereading Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter.  I've often thought that in the hands of any other writer, an account of a family nearly starving to death would  have resulted in a story not fit for children. But Laura's focus on love and courage allows us to partake of the comforts to which her family clung when hope of relief grew dim. Her description of a meal of hot tea and coarse brown bread is remarkable not so much because she makes us believe they liked such fare, but because we are thoroughly convinced they were grateful for it.

I am reminded again of my new favorite Bible verse, Psalm 94:19. I can't decide which version I like best for this verse, so here it is in three of my favorites:
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.  (NIV)
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.  (ESV)
In the multitude of my anxieties within me,Your comforts delight my soul.(NKJV)
Whether we are enduring a long winter, or a long goodbye because of a loved one's Alzheimer's disease, there are so many things to be thankful for, even in the midst of our suffering.  I guess another way to convey this is in the old adage to count your blessings.  I only know that during this sorrow of seeing my mom fade day by day that the consolations the Lord provides are sweet to my soul.

The joys God provides in the midst of our sorrows remind us that He is present with us, and that we are loved.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Underneath Are the Everlasting Arms

My mother has been in nursing home care for 7 months now. I was Mom's primary caregiver for 12 years, providing her care here in our home. We never expected our Alzheimer journey with her to last so long. I prayed not to have to put her into a nursing home and I prayed not to have to apply for Medicaid. Both of these things have happened. I've tried not to waste time questioning the Lord; and I've caught glimpses of His great love behind these events. He is weaning me gently from a lifelong role of caring for my mother; as her only child I felt responsible for her emotional and physical well being long before her diagnosis with Alzheimer's disease.

God is good.

Hope you enjoy the meme above, created from a photo taken of a spectacular Kansas sunset just west of our farmhouse two nights ago.  God is present with us.  His love is behind everything that comes to us. Blessed be His Name!