Being Woven

Walk by the Spirit

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But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  Galatians 5:16

Oh, that I walk in obedience to the LORD in ALL my steps.  But I am human and that is just not possible UNLESS I let this SELF go, placing her at the foot of the Cross and trust, TRUST, in the Holy Spirit for each and every step.  God gave me free will and I choose to pick this self up and try to do things in my own power.

I want to…

  • …walk humbly
  • …stay close
  • …live and show the fruit of the Spirit to this world in which I live in
  • …accept my inability to do these things as I am
  • …that I must be moldable and tender

 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  Galatians 5:24

from Daily Help by Charles H. Spurgeon:

As a man does not make himself spiritually alive, so neither can he keep himself so.  He can feed on spiritual food, and so preserve his spiritual strength; he can walk in the commandments of the Lord, and so enjoy the rest and peace, but still the inner life is dependent upon the Spirit as much for its after existence as for its first begetting.  No man himself, even when converted, hath any power, except as that power is daily, constantly, and perpetually infused into him by the Spirit.

The motive-power of action to a believing man lies hard by the realization that God, for Christ’s sake, hath forgiven his iniquities.

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For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.  Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.  Galatians 5:17-25

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And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Matthew 18:2-3

Abba Father, may this world dim in my mind and Your Light draw me nearer to You with each day, in each moment.  May I be the clay that You desire of me that You can mold me into the Linda that You created me to be.  May I be Yours in all ways.  I want to be a light in this world, drawing others to You who live in the darkness of this world.  I want to walk in humility as Your Spirit guides my steps.  Thank You, LORD, for Your love of this imperfect one.  …for I love You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Daily Help (the February 19 reading) by Charles H. Spurgeon, compiled and edited by George Perry Dixon, The Family Inspirational Library, Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap, New York

linking up with:

On the Weekend:

http://www.barbieswihart.com/     The Weekend Brew

http://faith.5minutesformom.com/     Faith ‘N Friends

http://sandraheskaking.com/     Still Saturday

http://seespeakhearmama.com/     Give Me Grace

http://www.janiscox.com/        Sunday Stillness

http://www.spiritualsundays.com/     Spiritual Sundays

On Monday:

http://lauraboggess.com/    PlayDates with God

http://afieldofwildflowers.blogspot.com/    Small Wonder

http://donnareidland.com    Mondays @ Soul Survival

http://www.blessedbutstressed.com/    Inspire Me Mondays

http://www.solideogloriasisterhood.com/    Soli Deo Gloria Connections

http://www.thebeautyinhisgrip.com/    Sharing His Beauty

On Tuesday:

http://www.richfaithrising.com/    Unite the Bloggersphere

http://purposefulfaith.com/    Cheerleading #RaRaLinkUp

http://hollybarrett.org/    Testimony Tuesday

http://jenniferdukeslee.com/    Tell His Story

On Wednesday:

http://www.kristinhilltaylor.com/    Three-Word Wednesday

http://www.w2wministries.org/    Word-Filled Wednesdays

http://holleygerth.com/    Coffee for Your Heart

http://meredithbernard.com/my-pen/    W2W Wednesdays

http://www.juanamikels.com/    Wednesday Prayer Girls

Am I an Easter Child?

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I ponder falling deeply in love, more than before, with my Jesus.  Opening God’s Word to the Gospels and Acts to read the life of resurrection with Jesus brings me repeatedly to words such as cleanse, heal, anoint, deliver.  Jesus did these things over and over again.  Resurrection in Him gives me powers unknown other than through Christ Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus called me to wait for the Holy Spirit.  He came.  He lives within me.

As Easter nears, I question my being an Easter person (per Ann Voskamp).  Oh, I am.  I was once lost but have been found, was dead and now live in Christ.  Hallelujah! 

Walking with Him yet in this world can make staying the course as an Easter person, as a Christian true to Christ, not easy.  When I am around those who know NOT Jesus as their LORD and Savoir, I struggle at times when I allow them to try to change me to be more like them, the world, rather than allow Christ to continually mold me into His Image.  I was once of this world and do not want to return to those ways.  I try to let others know my limitations, things I do not want to do, words I do not use, things that are no longer appropriate for me. I want to let them know ME, the me that is His.  I am His.  I am an Easter child.  I have been baptized with Christ and now I live.  I live this day for Him.  I ask His forgiveness when I do not open up and share Whose I am and why I am the way I am.  I want to share my spiritual heart as He surely wants me to.  I do not live wholly for Him before others sometimes and I am ashamed.  I am not ashamed of Him nor the Gospel, but am ashamed of myself.  What happens?  I sink into a hole and cannot get out.  The world begins to engulf me.  I feel like I am drowning.  I do not call for His help.  I should.  I must!  I am sorry, my LORD.  Forgive me.  You know I am Your Easter child.  Hold me and make me whole.  Let me start again.  

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.  Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  John 11:25-26

Living the resurrected life does begin again… can begin again.  Thank You, LORD.  Living the resurrected life calls for dependence, for waiting on the Holy Spirit.  Living the resurrected life is forgiveness, forever knowing that I am His.  I want never to forget this.  Living the resurrected life is prayer, kneeful, faceful praying.  Living the resurrected life is searching, pondering, loving the Truth.  Living the resurrected life is emerging from the shelter of the cocoon, not holding tight within it.  It is spreading my wings into the world, but not being of this world, taking flight as the resurrected Easter child I have been created to be.  I am to be His, to grow, to be molded into the beauty of the LORD.  The world has no influence upon me if and when I walk with Him.  And I stand tall, turn to Him, knowing that I do let Him down, knowing that He forgives and loves me.

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning.  And I remembered the Word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’  If then God gave the same gift to them as He gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?”  When they heard these things they fell silent.  And they glorified God, saying, “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.”  Acts 11:15-18

I am praising You, LORD.  Hallelujah!  You forgive me when I am not worthy.  You love me who does not deserve Your love.  You are God and I love You with my whole heart.  You are the Holy One of Israel Who bought the Israelites from captivity and gave them Promised Land.  You are the Blessed Savior Who has brought me out of the captive world to be Your child, Your child who looks forward to spending Eternity with You.  Oh, I am honored and unworthy at the same time.  Oh, how grateful I am to You.  I am an Easter child.  I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus.  Amen.   

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Are You Being Spent in the King’s Service?

Dogwood with John 15-12“’Lord, I am Thine, wholly Thine; all I am, and all I have, I would devote to Thee.  Thou has bought me with Thy blood; let me spend myself and be spent in Thy service.  In life and in death let me be consecrated to Thee!’ Have we kept this resolve?” from “Daily Help” by C. H. Spurgeon

As a caregiver, I prayed this prayer and spent quiet time with the LORD to help me answer the question… much I did in God’s service and much I did not.

I spent 15 years as the primary caregiver of my mother, along with the staff of the facilities in which she lived. We needed to move Mama near one of her three daughters. For affordability reasons and because I was the one who would be able to be this primary caregiver, we moved her to Texas.  God had much to teach me and the school’s door seemed open to me 24/7 (still does!).

I attempted to hold the reins of control, to hold back the flood of change. None of us wanted to move Mama. A move is hard for anyone, but for one of 84 and strong willed, that proved especially tough. I also have one sister who truly struggled with the move and had words for me since I “seemed” to be the main decision maker in her eyes. Once the decision was made, then I held those reins for I wanted to control the physical and mental downward spiral of my mother as I watched her age and live with dementia and the related fears, anger, frustration, confusion, jealously, and so much more. Those reins were hard to hold though. Eventually, I had to give them and Mama to God.  I could not control her life nor the changes that were occurring.  I had to allow her to live out her days with the best quality I was able to oblige her and assuring the best care from the others watching over her.

During the fifteen years here, changes of residences from a senior apartment to an assisted living to a nursing home happened according to her abilities, her health.  She received the care she needed from loving staffs.  She was still able to watch her baseball games with the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox, plus the San Diego Padres.  She ate fairly well, and got to enjoy some of her favorites like ice cream sodas and sundaes, my home baked peach muffins, and fresh fruit I brought to her each time I grocery-shopped for myself. She was allowed to choose even with the diabetes.  There must be some independence no matter what the consequences.  Even though there was a narrowness of life because of the need for a nursing home, I found ways to broaden the opening.  We attended a local AA baseball game once or twice during each season, ate lunch out together when she was able or in when she did not feel up to going out. I would bring a meal treat to her as often as I could. We spent time together most every day, just the two of us, or in a small group for a Bingo game or a favorite karaoke singer.  Decisions were hers as often as she was able.  I followed through with her choices when I could.  And if not, I did as she did when I was a child saying, “We shall see, Mama,” and, by the next day, her dementia-riddled mind had usually forgotten.  But, at that moment, she was satisfied because she had made the decision.

Did I keep the resolve?  As best as I could.  I wanted God to orchestrate the care I gave to my mother.  I wanted Him to open my heart to her love, accepting it with the love He gave to me so that I could give back to her.  I wanted to be able to accept the hard and not-so-good days that often came with dementia and being 86, 98, or all those in-between. I wanted God to shield me from words that hurt, but also to help me not take those words personally when they came like grenades.  No matter what the day brought, I wanted to be able to love my mother unconditionally.  God loved me unconditionally (and still does) and I had His love through which to love my Mama. And I did.

I shared my life with many other residents at the various living facilities too.  I learned their names, addressing them when I would see them.  I sometimes was able to touch them on their backs with a little rub or by holding their hands.  I talked with them. I stopped for a conversation or a prayer.  I sat with them when Mama was asleep, when I could dawdle.  I smiled at them.  We all need someone who cares about us.

“This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

I resolved to be near my God so that I would obediently follow His will for my life, and for my Mama’s life in regards to my part in it.  More than once, I was called to the home because she was not feeling well and needed comforting. At times, she needed to eat something in order to raise her blood sugar (rather unusual for her!) so I would feed her (usually running to get her just what she would desire at the moment…eggs and bacon, an ice cream soda…!).  She, ever so sweetly, would tell me, from time to time, how much she loved me or how much she appreciated all that I did for her.  I returned the love with hugs and words, but my heart felt like it was overflowing.  I knew God was with us.  I prayed I was being spent in the service of my LORD.  (Mama was not always one to get “mushy” yet when she told me how she appreciated something that I did for her or what I meant to her, I knew that her words were really coming from her heart. She became more precious to me with each passing moment. At those moment, I felt that I was being spent in His service.)

We love, because He first loved us.  1 John 4:19

Father God, these precious moments with my mother were far more than doing her laundry or taking her for lunch or cleaning up after her. They were about being Your daughter in her presence. They were about being Your child for her in whatever way she needed me. They were about staying true to You while being there for her and for the other residents too. You are now, and were then, my Beacon from which I was guided. Thank You for lighting my path to be Your best for my Mama. Thank You for loving me so that I could love her as I did. I loved her so, Father. And I miss her now, yet it is with a peaceful heart that I came to know that I did my humanly best to keep Your resolve in the midst of many a moment…sweet ones or extremely difficult ones, all beautifully filled with Your Grace. Thank You for Your forgiveness when I failed to be in Your service for her (and now, LORD, too). Thank You, my Abba Father, for putting these tears of mine in Your bottle for they come, even now. You are the most beautiful Lighthouse, LORD. I am so grateful that You are my LORD. In the Light of Your Son’s Name, I pray. Amen.

How are you keeping this resolve? 

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Breaking for Spring

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This week is spring break in South Texas.  The kids are out of school.  I am not tutoring.  As I began thinking about this post, I was concentrating on the negatives of what can happen when teens gather on the beaches over this break.  But that is not what I really wanted to be writing here.  I decided it will be better to be praying for these young people instead, that God will touch them in His ways, for I know that He hears my prayers and the prayers of many others.

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin (or stumbling block). Ezekiel 18:30

On the other side of Spring break is Spring.  We see it in our year with little yellow and lavender flowers sprouting in clumps; the Texas Mountain Laurel is blooming like it has NEVER bloomed before.  The grass grows so quickly due to all the rain we have had in the past many months that mowing is required often.  My husband has mown around the flowers, leaving them to scream their little bright and cheery heads off while the yard looks maintained, to some delightful degree.

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Spring just may have sprung down here.  I hope that the rest of the country is having a reprieve from this harsh winter by now too.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.  Song of Solomon 2:11-13a

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I praise You, Father, for the beauty of this earth, for the fragrance of Your Mountain Laurels, for the bright yellows of these tiny flowers.  You made Heaven and Earth to pronounce Your Glory.  I see it all around me this day, choosing to see Your beauty and to lift Your children of all ages, especially those of teen and young adult ages, to You.  Father, protect them from satan. Guard them with Your legions of angels all around.  I pray that Your saving grace touch each one to their very core that they will turn from any ways that are not of You.  May they see Your Son clearly and know Your ways are the ways of truth, love, and beauty.  I thank You Father for hearing this prayer.  In Your Son’s Name, I give thanks.  Amen.

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Cities of Refuge with Charles H. Spurgeon

Then the Lord said to Joshua, “Say to the people of Israel,  ‘Appoint the cities of refuge, of which I spoke to you through Moses, that the manslayer who strikes any person without intent or unknowingly may flee there. They shall be for you a refuge from the avenger of blood.  He shall flee to one of these cities and shall stand at the entrance of the gate of the city and explain his case to the elders of that city. Then they shall take him into the city and give him a place, and he shall remain with them.  Joshua 20:1-4 

Thus they gave to the children of Aaron the priest Hebron with her suburbs, to be a city of refuge for the slayer; and Libnah with her suburbs,…. Joshua 21:13

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This city of refuge had round it suburbs of a very great extent.  Two thousand cubits were allowed for grazing land for the cattle of the priests, and a thousand cubits within these for fields and vineyards.  Now, no sooner did the man reach the outside of the city, the suburbs, than he was safe; it was not necessary for him to get within the walls, but the suburbs themselves were sufficient protection.  Learn, hence, that if ye do but touch the hem of Christ’s garment, ye shall be made whole; if ye do but lay hold of Him with “faith as a grain of mustard seed,” with faith which is scarcely a believing, but is truly a believing, you are safe.
 (from “Daily Help” by CharlesH. Spurgeon, March 4)

And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His garment, for she said to herself, “If I only touch His garment, I will be made well.”  Jesus turned, and seeing her He said, “Take heart, daughter; your faith has made you well.”  And instantly the woman was made well.  Matthew 9:20-22

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”  He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:19-21

Father, I know my faith wobbles to and fro.  Yet, Your Word teaches me that I am safe, protected with You and need only…ONLY…to trust You, to touch Your hem, to believe You are Who You are.  So much is possible with You.  May my roots grow deeper and deeper in You that I would know the security of You as my city of refuge.  In the Name of Your Son, I seek Your Holy Name.  Amen.

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Map: Map by S. Scott Richardson Sr. Russellville, AL  @ https://bleon1.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/10-cities-of-refuge.png

Hungry? Thirsty?

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Jesus said to them, 
“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, 
and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”  
John 6:35

I come to Jesus.

I believe in Jesus. 

So how can I be hungry?  hungry for God?

I have an insatiable appetite for my God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
for they shall be satisfied.”  
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So I am blessed as I hunger and thirst for the righteousness of God.
 
I will be satisfied.  I yearn for the Only One Who fills me up to full.

“The whole commandment that I command you today you shall be careful to do, that you may live and multiply, and go in and possess the land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers.  And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.  And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.   Deuteronomy 8:1-4

God reminds me of His Ways. 

My heart hungers for the taste of the One Who loves me so. His love is always waiting for me. That insatiable hunger that can never seem to be filled to the brim because I am who I am, this human being.

I hunger for His touch. I want to know He is right here. (He is, Linda. He is with you always…I remind myself.)

I hunger for His very Presence. He tells me He is in my life; He never leaves me nor forsakes me.

I hunger because I look to the world for the fulfillment of that which only God can give me completely.

God has so much more to give to me than I can possibly know.

Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.  So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him.  Deuteronomy 8:5-6

Only God can quench the hunger and the thirst with His Living Waters, with His Love, with Himself. He calls me to be obedient. He will discipline me. He humbles me. I may be hungry, but He will quench my hunger with Himself. (Only God, Linda.)

For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.  Deuteronomy 8:7-9

The LORD my God leads me into abundance of life, of living, as I follow His ways, walk in obedience to His Voice.

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry.  And the tempter came and said to him, “If You are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.”  But He answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”   Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus knew… He knew God’s commandments … the Truth. Jesus’ obedience is sure. His relationship with His Father brought Him through the temptation. I eat the Word. I devour His Truth. I learn of His Ways. I will not hunger nor thirst as I live by the Word.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by Your name, O LORD, God of hosts.  Jeremiah 15:16

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And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.  Deuteronomy 8:10

I shall not live by bread alone, LORD.  I come to You with a hunger and thirst for You, for only You, knowing that You are my Fulfillment.  Forgive me when I look to the world for that filling.  Forgive me for my disobedience, for my closed eyes and ears.  You have promised to take me into Your Promised Land.  I want to eat from Your abundance, from Your Word.  I want to bless You, my Abba.  AsI thirst and hunger for more, I know You are already filling me because You love me.  And I love You, Sweet LORD.  Amen.

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Heaven’s Dew with Charles Spurgeon

IMG_1350I have written about “dew” a few times recently.  Yesterday, I walked out on my back porch to where two Christmas poinsettias are sitting on a plant bench.  Our weather has been damp, foggy, with dew covering everything for much of each day.  This is not like South Texas very often.  I captured the beautiful dew on this bright red plant in some photos and just had to visit “dew” again.

Mr. Spurgeon writes a profound piece (as usual) which is most of my post:

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The Thirteenth of September.

From Charles Haddon Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Check Book”

257-The Dew of Heaven

“His heavens shall drop down dew.” (Deuteronomy 33:28)

What the dew in the East is to the world of nature, that is the influence of the Spirit in the realm of grace.  How greatly do I need it!  Without the Spirit of God I am a dry and withered thing.  I droop, I fade, I die.  How sweetly does this dew refresh me!  When once favored with it I feel happy, lively, vigorous, elevated.  I want nothing more.  The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires.  All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of Communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me.  But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

What a promise is this for me! “His heavens shall drop down dew.”  I shall be visited with grace.  I shall not be left to my natural drought, or to the world’s burning heat, or to the sirocco of satanic temptation. Oh, that l may at this very hour feel the gentle, silent, saturating dew of the Lord!  Why should I not!  He who has made me to live as the grass lives in the meadow will treat me as He treats the grass; He will refresh me from above.  Grass cannot call for dew as I do.  Surely, the Lord who visits the unpraying plant will answer to His pleading child.

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Mr. Spurgeon, you have blessed me this day.

Father God, more than Mr. Spurgeon’s words and word-pictures, Your beautiful dew on these bright red leaves has given me such a thrill, a delight.  They are so lovely.  The edge of the leaf furthest to the right in this photo has dew drops dangling from the its sides for it is at the perfect angle for that to happen.  …Your creation wearing your creation…  How beautiful You are, my LORD.  How beautiful You are!  The refreshment by Your Holy Spirit falls none too often.  The dew covers these leaves as You cover me.  You envelop me with Your Love touching my very soul, bringing life-giving living waters to this dry soul.  You wrap me in the moist air of holiness and teach me about holiness.  You soak me with tenderness and kindness.  I deserve none yet You give so willingly.  I praise You, Father.  I thank You for adopting me and then drenching me with Your dew.  You are Refreshment.  You are the very Dew that my body, soul and mind need.  I want to absorb You, LORD, Your Love, Your gentleness, Your beauty … right on in.  In the Name of Your Wonderful Son, I pray.  Amen. 

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Careful Medication and Eldercare @ Soli Deo Gloria Connections

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A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.  Proverbs 17:22

As caregivers, one very important task is to make sure that our care recipient remains safe to the best of our ability.  Keeping hope and joy alive around them is also a vital component for their mental and spiritual well-being.  Gracing them with unconditional love assures them that their comfort and best interests are a priority.  As you well know, this is not always easy.  “A joyful heart” is not always a simple matter to come by.  And that “good medicine,” medications themselves, can either be a hindrance or a help to one’s joy or safety.  A caregiver’s attentiveness to this most vital of issues is a must.   

Most people, as they age, need medications.  They are great if used correctly and safely.  They also require caregivers to have a watchful eye as to what is happening to their care recipient:

  • Are there changes in behavior and/or personality?
  • Do they complain about their body, such as digestive tract issues or headaches?
  • Are they sleepier than usual?
  • Do they trip or even fall?
  • If a new drug is added to the regimen, are they any side-effects or reactions?
  • Be aware, and as up-to-date as possible, of side-effects, contraindications of drugs for diagnoses given for the care recipient.  Many people become over or under medicated.  When changes are noticed, and if they are self-medicating, question the ability of that person to dispense their own pills.  Talk with other family members if they are a part of the caregiving team about what they might be noticing.  Make notes.  Keep an updated list of all medicines being taken, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, other nutritional products and herbal remedies.  Keep the list with you at all times. 

Reactions to medications vary with each individual and with particular drugs.  For older adults and people with disabilities, medications, whether prescription, over-the-counter, alcohol, herbal remedies or alternative-type medicines can help or they can harm. When not used appropriately or safely, medications can cause untold consequences.  Changes that occur with aging and with disabilities can cause people to suffer what are called medication-related problems (MRPs).  But these medication-related problems are often preventable.  Caregivers can help to identify possible MRPs.  Side-effects or “symptoms” of MRPs may include: excessive drowsiness, confusion, depression, delirium, insomnia, Parkinson’s-like symptoms, incontinence, muscle weakness, loss of appetite, falls and fractures, changes in speech and memory.  When these symptoms appear, they should be considered “red flags” that an MRP may be occurring.  Yet they may turn out to be unrelated as these same side-effects can occur under many physical or mental circumstances.  But when these effects interfere with daily functioning, a health care professional should be informed immediately, just in case.

Before prescribing any new drug, the doctor should be aware of all the other drugs and over-the-counter medications the patient is taking.  This is when having that list of medications with you is necessary.  The doctor should want to know of any new symptoms or illnesses.  If possible, care recipients should be given the opportunity to present the doctor (or other professional) with accurate and complete information about health conditions.  It is important to share new medical problems by fully describing the problem, indicating how long it has been a problem, if the problem has been experienced before, how it started, what was done to relieve it, and what worked or didn’t work.  For seniors with cognitive impairments, caregivers are the ones to describe the concerns.  Often, the elderly do not tell the doctor the whole story either.  Mama would go in and tell the doctor how great she was feeling, yet I knew better.  She either had forgotten or she did not want him to know that she was less than perfect.  This makes it very difficult for health care professionals to assess just what is going on for the proper treatment.  So be prepared to step up to the plate.

Have conversations regularly with the professionals involved in your care recipient’s care.  They may include a doctor, a physician’s assistant, a nurse, a pharmacist, an aide, or a host of others.  This team should be available to you, the caregiver, providing support and knowledge.  You gain confidence through the team and can then be ready to act, to assist, or to do it all.  If you have concerns about the ability of your care recipient being able to give themselves the medications, you need to address those concerns with this team.  It is so important to be on top of the medications and any problems because your attentiveness can lead to less medication-related problems, better outcomes, and improved daily functioning.

A few things to discuss with this team if the recipient is wanting to remain independent and handle the medicines themselves:

  • Will their memory function allow them to take the right medicines at the right time, in the right amounts what it needs to be?  Can they care of themselves?
  • Can they read the labels or should a large print label be ordered for them, if available?
  • Can they hear the provider’s instructions when given?  Ask the doctor or pharmacist to speak louder, if need be.
  • Does their dexterity (i.e., arthritis, Parkinson’s) allow them to open bottles, break tablets, prepare injections, eye drops, and inhalers well enough to do this themselves?
  • Can they schedule the various medications themselves without making mistakes?
  • One other question that needs to be asked but is not as pertinent to self-medicating as it is to just  helping: Are they having difficulty swallowing pills?  Are there other forms of this medicine that could be substituted?
  • A caregiver is key to noting these types of problems, sharing them with the medical team.  Being prepared to handle the medications may be your next step in the school of caregiving.  

If you do become the medicine giver, you must be as sure about each drug as you were expecting your recipient to have been when they were self-medicating.  When the drugs are purchased, ask any and all questions you can think of if you have not administered them before.  Usually, there is a pharmacist available to go over the important aspects of administration and side-effects.  You may need to prepare and administer injectable drugs, such as insulin.  Be certain you understand the dosage and how to inject.

I began giving Mama her medication shortly after she moved to Texas.  She had recently been diagnosed with vascular dementia, plus she had been diabetic for many years.  Soon she was placed on insulin.  Mama needed help in taking her glucose readings and then to establish the correct amount of insulin along with the correct type of insulin for a particular time of day.  She was injecting two — a short acting and a long acting.  She had blood pressure and cholesterol meds, thyroid plus a few other pills.  It was very confusing for her.  I also wanted her to maintain some independence while holding onto her dignity. As an example, I let Mama prick her own finger as she had done for years and place the blood on the glucometer.  Then with the proper dosage and type of insulin in the syringe, I would hand it to her so that she could self-inject.  She learned and remembered the sequence of needle placement which remained important.  She had some control over this process for many years.  Plus she seemed pleased to have me do the part that threw her for a loop.  I believe she was relieved that there would not be a mistake for she also understood that concern.

  • Store all of the medications in a designated location of the house, but not in the medicine cabinet of the bathroom or in the kitchen cupboard because heat and moisture can cause deterioration.  Be sure that they are stored out of reach of children who may visit, especially if there are non-child proof containers.  If the medication needs refrigeration, they should be placed in a container in one particular safe place in the refrigerator.  Medications that are taken by mouth should be kept separate from those used externally, such as ointments or creams.  Discard expired medications.  Never give your care recipient’s meds to anyone else or vice versa.
  • Medications are in high use these days.  Be knowledgeable and careful, and most of all, handle this step of caregiving with love and a smile.  Make it a light moment as you hand the pills to him or her with joy in your heart and that smile on your face.  They need some parts of their days to be joyful for both themselves and for you.    

…even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you.  I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.  Isaiah 46:4 ESV

Father God, we ask Your guidance in all we do for the precious ones You have placed in our care.  May we hear Your voice as You tell us just what to do for each one of Your children.  May we be available to Your call.  I pray for each one of us who has stood to Your call and said, “Count me in for I will be obedient to You, Father God.”  Let us have eyes and ears open to be aware of those things which are so vitally important.  Let us not fall down on this beautiful, although difficult at times, calling.  Let Your love flow through us to the one we are to care for.  Should we become weary, hold us up as well, LORD.  In the Sweet and Healing Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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Dew

These past two weeks, I have been pondering clouds and fog.  Dew has always fascinated me too.  God uses dew as another visual for us to learn about Him.

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The word dew brings to my mind refreshment, renewal, invigoration, even life. In the natural world, waterfalls, streams, lakes, rivers, rainfall and snow are sources of refreshment for the plants and soil of the earth. Another source is dew. It is the moisture from a wet ground that travels up or moist air that journeys downward. Whether traveling up or down, the morning grasses are laden with dew when the circumstances are just right. “Dew will never appear while there is either heat or wind. The temperature must fall, the wind cease, and the air come to a point of coolness and rest — absolute rest — before the invisible particles of moisture will become dew to dampen any plant or flower.”   (from Mrs. Charles E. Cowman’s Streams in the Desert, January 30th)

He provides and cares:

When the dew settled on the camp, the manna also came down.  Numbers 11:9

That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp. When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor. When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” for they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat. This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Each one is to gather as much as he needs. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.'”  Exodus 16:13-16

So Israel will live in safety alone; Jacob’s spring is secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew.  Deuteronomy 33:28

God uses the word dew repeatedly in His Word. Physically, we see it quenching the thirst of plants and crops. Just as the grass is rejuvenated by the early morning dew, God invigorates us with His love, His Word, His peace, His joy. We, too, must reach that still and quiet place in our being — that absolute rest — before the dew of God falls upon us. Our busyness, our rushing, our schedules keep us from that beautiful point. The quiet moments, the time in God’s Word, praying, sitting beside a stream in utter stillness, the lingering in the beauty of a sunset … these are the places when the wind of busyness ceases, the temperature of daily schedules falls, the air of worry and fear cools and rests. Then the sweet moisture of God’s love becomes dew to refresh our bodies, minds, and souls.

Ponder the words our Father invites us to savor for God promises to care for us in EVERY way:

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; not for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And who are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil not do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But first seek His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:25-34

We are compared to grass — tender, vulnerable, momentary. Yet, in Matthew 6, we are reminded of God’s loving care for us.  Our vulnerability, our tenderness, our momentary stay on God’s earth should lead us to trust in His care, for God is our only hope, the Trustworthy One.

All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass.  Isaiah 40:6b-7

He refreshes us with His dew:

Let them fear You while the sun endures, And as long as the moon, throughout all generations.  May He come down like rain upon the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.  Psalm 72:5-6

The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass.  Proverbs 19:12

Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak; And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.  “Let my teaching drop as the rain, My speech distill as dewAs the droplets on the fresh grass And as the showers on the herb.  “For I proclaim the Name of the LORD; Ascribe greatness to our God.!”  Deuteronomy 32:1-2 (Song of Moses)

The LORD renews His blessing to Israel, calling His people to return to Him:

I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like a lily.  Like a cedar of Lebanon He will send down his roots; His young shoots will grow.  His splendor will be like an olive tree, His fragrance like a cedar of Lebanon.  Men will dwell again in His shade.  He will flourish like the grain.  He will blossom like a vine, and His fame will be like the wine from Lebanon.  Hosea 14:5-7

The seed will grow well, the vine will yield its fruit, the ground will produce its crops, and the heavens will drop their dew. I will give all these things as an inheritance to the remnant of this people.  Zechariah 8:12

Likewise, He calls us to Himself:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”  Matthew 16:24

All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.  John 6:37


Dew of Quietness

Drop thy still dew of quietness
Till all our strivings cease;
Take from our souls the strain and stress,
And let our ordered lives confess
The beauty of Thy peace.

- Whittier
Source unknown
but retrieved from bible.org

Are you being refreshed?

LORD, I pray that I would know this absolute rest and that it will envelop me.  May I feel the precious moisture of Your heavenly dew refreshing me.  I want to know You, LORD. Teach me to be still. Teach me to ponder things of You.  Teach me to rest in You.  I do seek Your face.  Fill me with Your Word.  Moisten my lips that I may speak Your Truth.  Renew me, LORD, as never before.  O, Heavenly father, shower my heart, my mind, and my soul with Your heavenly dew. In the blessed Name of Jesus, Amen.


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Photo of dew:  from  https://melindaschwakhofer.wordpress.com

Boast in the LORD

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For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.  But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  

And because of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”  1Corinthians 1:26-31

As I quietly think upon this, Father, I thank You.  May I boast only in You.  I have no other reason to boast, LORD.  It is by the Blood of Jesus that I am able to boast at all.  I am nothing without Christ Jesus.  I thank You, Father.  You are Mighty God.  In the Name of Jesus, I lift holy hands unto You.  Amen.

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Photo:  http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1304.html

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