Just what is the measure of a woman who has grown to an old age? When the joints hurt doing simple household chores? When she feels unable to help herself or those she cares about? What if she lives in a total care facility — even has to wear a diaper? Or when Dementia or Alzheimer’s or a stroke or heart attack has taken the mind or abilities away? From a physical standpoint, old age seems immeasurable.
The world measures by physical beauty — slender figure, wholesome complexion, youthful hair color and agility. When so much of that worldly beauty changes, what is there to measure? Gray hairs, wrinkles, poor eyesight, hearing loss, protruding belly, mental slowness? The world’s yardstick is tough on her. The moral and spiritual character often is torn asunder. Yet, God measures differently.
Creator God made His children in His Image. Can one allow the world to be the judge? God is Judge — He sets the standard. No other. Beginning to end, He sustains, carries, and promises.
Follow me to Ericka’s site ~ Blessed Transgressions for the rest of this post.
Kate Motaung gives us a word and we spend five minutes writing on that word.
This week the word is FIVE:
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” John 6:9
How can five loaves feed so many?
I ask Jesus questions like this. How can I do all of this and still get this or that done? How can that happen when I do not know how? How? … How?
He commands. The Holy Spirit directs. God guides. My job is to be obedient. I am to do as He says and He will make it happen. He will feed over five thousand with what looks to me as five simple loaves of bread and two fish. What looks to me…what looked to the disciples…but what we see is not what the Lord sees.
He knows and does…heals…loves…cares…is. The Lord is the One and Only, the Holy One of Israel, the God of All. He can take five loaves and feed as many as He desires.
It is about trust and obedience and faithfully following. I desire to live this way. I desire to walk in His way for my life. I want to be one who is a barley loaf made for many, to feed many through His Word, His love, His joy, His blessings. I can only do and be when I am in His will.
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1
As I began this series about journaling and caregiving, I shared how important writing my thoughts and feelings is for me. In Part 1, I gave a variety of ways to journal. Today, I want to share why journaling can be good for your well-being.
There are many benefits to journaling. A journal does not argue with you nor talk back. They allow you to vent, release bottled up feelings, relieve stress, and can clarify thoughts and ideas. They give voice to things felt inside such as guilt, anger toward yourself, the care receiver, or even family members. Journals can hold your frustration, heaviness, and can take some of power away from these feelings. They allow you to rationalize some your required decisions, see both sides of them by writing down pros and cons. In a journal, you can list or organize events of the care recipient whether physical, emotional, or mental, symptoms noticed and behavioral changes, doctor visits with the outcomes or listing the questions needed to be asked prior to the visit. Notes can be made of other appointments, medications taken and any changes in medications, plus any noticeable changes of the care recipient when trying a new drug. Records of eating habits and changes in habits can be duly noted. Journals work for bills needing to be paid, or tasks that need doing, or just making a grocery list. If you are a paid caregiver, keeping track of tasks you do, but family may be unaware of, may help with future pay increases.
… Please join me @ Beyond the Nook for the rest of this post.
Five Minute Friday @ Kate Motaung’s
Word to write on for five minutes is listen.
I listen with both ears most of the time. I listen with both ears and my heart most of the time. I listen with only one ear attuned to the speaker some of the time while the other ear is shut off or tuned into a distraction. And then there are times when I have no ears on, no heart open, and I hear zero.
I am one of those people who needs direct contact and/or no distractions in order to hear what is being said. I want to listen and hear it all. I want to be able to grasp the whole thing, gaining understanding, even wisdom. I cannot have other people talking at the same time or I lose it all. I need quiet. I need only one person speaking at a time.
God has asked me to listen and obey. I want God to speak to me when He calls for He is telling me something I need to know from Him. He may be speaking to me when I have asked for direction. The world around me must be quiet. More importantly, I must be still on the inside.
I have journaled since I was in high school. It has been my way to express myself, to pray, to release emotions, and to create.
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Psalm 45:1
As I praise the LORD, so too may my pen place the words or the drawings down in creative ways that glorify God. Not all journaling will be praises, but it can lead to time with Him and time in prayer for those we care for and about. When we fill our hearts with praise, the power of that praise can come tumbling out on paper.
I willingly took on the care of my mother with the help of facility staff and a Christian woman twice a week. We cared for her for fifteen years. I have two sisters, but they live thousands of miles away so their annual visits were really all I could count on from them.
As a caregiver, no matter what your individual circumstances may be, there will always be many things that cause you to need an outlet of some kind. There usually are unrelenting demands, no time for yourself, stress, and frustration. You may feel a physical toll on your body, loneliness, anxiety, even depression. On top of these and other stresses, if there is a struggle with family members over the way you do things or have an accusation tossed out about you by an angry sibling or even by the dementia-riddled mind of the one you care for, you feel burdened and weary. Feelings as a giver of care well up and can be a heavy weight upon you.
Please join me for the rest of this post @ Beyond the Nook.
“You shall not oppress a sojourner. You know the heart of a sojourner, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. Exodus 23:9
properly, a guest; by implication, a foreigner:—alien, sojourner, stranger
a person living out of his own country
foreign shepherds, nomadic tribes wandering about in the land
I have been a wanderer much of my life. I was born into a Navy family, Daddy being a Navy doctor and officer. We changed duty stations about every two to four years, but he died early in life. By the age of thirteen, I was no longer a traveler via the United States Navy.
But my mother loved to travel. She packed us onto a train one Christmas to spend the holiday with her family in Chicago. When we moved away from the Washington, D.C. area after Daddy died, she took about six weeks to go from the nation’s capitol to San Diego, California. We stopped to visit friends and family and to see just about every sight she could find along the route. Many Fridays after school, she would tell us kids, “Pack a suitcase because we are going to ….” (wherever she had decided to go for the weekend) and we did!
Even in college, I was blessed with one whole semester aboard World Campus Afloat (now called Semester at Sea), traveling from port to port – South America, Africa, and Europe. What an experience, gaining 14 college credit hours!
I became an adult and that wanderlust was still there. I settled down for wee bits of time, but found new jobs, moved to where I would want to be or transferred and then I would find a teaching job (or something new). Mom had told me, before college, that I would always be able to find a teaching job if I would go to college to become a teacher. I did and found her wisdom was almost always true!
I have sojourned hither and yon. I was a stranger or a guest most everywhere I went, at least for a time.
The LORD watches over the sojourners;
He upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin. Psalm 146:9
Then one day, 23+ years ago, I came to know Christ Jesus. I found that my heart had a home. My heart belonged to Him and I would travel this earth as a sojourner, a pilgrim, yet had a real Home in Heaven. I may wander more on this earth, in this life. As long as I stay close to Jesus, I will not feel as an alien. I am by His side and know my true Home.
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. Genesis 12:1
Abram left his home and sojourned in many countries among many peoples.
Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him. From there he moved to the hill country on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. And there he built an altar to the LORD and called upon the Name of the LORD. Genesis 12:7-8
Abram built altars in remembrance of all that God was doing for him and his descendants, for the covenants He made with Abram, for guidance as God took them from place to place.
“Set up road markers for yourself; make yourself guideposts; consider well the highway, the road by which you went. Return, O virgin Israel, return to these your cities.” Jeremiah 31:21
What kind of road markers, guideposts am I leaving to remind me of what God has done in my life?
- my salvation – God blessed me with forgiveness and a new life in Christ. I built a written altar in my journal along with the date of this momentous event. I praise God for my salvation.
- marriage to Kenneth, the husband God gave to me – I have a written altar of this beautiful date, a marriage license as well as the life he and I have built together. We try to live as an altar unto God.
- blessed me with parents who loved me; allowed me to care for my mother in her last fifteen years – another written guidepost, one which I have been blessed to share through Being Woven as well; my journal of many days throughout those years filled with the sweet memories of Mama. The hard times are written there and are important too.
- sisters who are caring and loving toward me – Thank You, LORD. – my road mark is the love we share now, along with the memories through words and pictures, road markers in my mind and heart of when we were children together.
- and many, many more!
Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not Thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with Thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Psalm 39:12
Father God, Thank You for dwelling with me as I journey through this world. Each day is new as I listen for Your voice. Thank You for directing me from one place to the next. I pray that I am aware of Your nearness, LORD. Thank You for comforting me, for guiding me, for loving me. Build my strength each day, Father, so that I may walk in obedience and humbly. Thank You for Your Presence in my life. I love You so. I am a sojourner. Yes, I was born in the country in which I live, but anywhere on this earth is not my true home. With You, in Heaven, …my real and only Home. Thank You LORD. I pray in the Name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.
God speaks to us through His Word. I continue to ponder this highway that I am on. I feel His nearness, His love for me, His joy as I learn from Him. I walk the road with God.
You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He may give it to you. John 15:16
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. …. So there was much joy in that city. Acts 8:5, 8
I desire to abide in You, my LORD, being obedient and submissive to You. I want to be a fruit bearer, honoring You with joy and song.
3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.”
“But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:32
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
May I serve You, my LORD, with boldness and strength, acceptably, with reverence and awe.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
“…to open their eyes so they may turn from darkness to light, and from the power of satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in Me.’ Acts 26:18
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. Psalm 46:4
Oh, LORD, You are my All in all. You are the One Who turns me from darkness to light, from blind to seeing, from deaf to hearing. You set me apart for Yourself. I am so very grateful. May the springs flow through me as I walk in this world…that I would be Your witness, Your light, Your salt.
8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.
Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. ….” Jeremiah 6:16a
This highway stands before me. I ask for the ancient paths and walk upon them for this is the good way. I know I shall find rest there. Thank You, LORD.
10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:17
I praise You, LORD. I sing and rejoice for I know You. You are my Guide. You are the Way of Holiness. Hallelujah! and Amen!
Photo 1: Patricio Hurtado from Chile: https://pixabay.com/en/hills-flowering-desert-flowers-960126/ CCO Public Domain (from Pixabay)
And a highway shall be there,
and it shall be called the Way of Holiness;
the unclean shall not pass over it.
It shall belong to those who walk on the way;
even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. Isaiah 35:8
A voice cries:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD;
make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3
Father God, I want to walk in Your ways, the highway of holiness. You are Holiness that I seek and desire. You are Love and Righteousness. You are Holiness. You make me whole. When I walk on this highway, I walk toward You. I so want to be wholly Yours, and walk the remainder of this life on earth in holiness.
But my people have forgotten Me;
they make offerings to false gods;
they made them stumble in their ways,
in the ancient roads,
and to walk into side roads,
not the highway, making their land a horror,
a thing to be hissed at forever.
Everyone who passes by it is horrified
and shakes his head. Jeremiah 18:15-16
I do not want to wander from this highway yet I am human. I have; I do; I will. I have made and will make mistakes and I do error. Yet, LORD, I do not want to. You have forgiven me of my many past wrong steps. I seek Your face, asking forgiveness for these paths I walk down when they are not Yours. Thank You for loving me back into Your arms, my Precious Father.
“Set up road markers for yourself;
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.” Jeremiah 31:21
I read Your Word, Father, as It is truly filled with the road markers that You have set before me. I may wander off the highway, yet I want to be able to find You and Your way no matter what happens, no matter which way I turn. I seek You and am learning to be quiet so that I may hear Your still and small voice, for I want to know You in the beauty of Who You are. You are my God. In the dark of night when the highway is black and there is no moonlight, I want to know that I am on Your path for me, for my life.
But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by Him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 2 Peter 3:13-14
With anticipation, with joy, and with expectancy, I continue taking step after step. Today, I desire to stay in this very moment with You, my LORD. Tomorrow, I want to walk beside You on Your road for me.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:17-18
God, You have transformed my heart, beginning with my conversion to be Your daughter in Christ Jesus. I walk as closely to You as I can. I hope to stay near You from this moment on. When I stray, LORD, please draw me near. I sense Your strength as I am drawn under the shadow of Your wing, into the cleft of the rock. I want to grow in love and righteousness, live according to Your Word, and be pleasing to You now and for always. In the Powerful Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
But this command I gave them: ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ Jeremiah 7:23
Amen and Amen.
Photo 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7895628@N03/2807135427; “Endless Road” via http://photopin.com; licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/
Photo 2: Stas Kulesh, a Russian travel photographer living in Auckland, New Zealand. https://hd.unsplash.com/photo-1451817045432-8c40f15299f9; https://unsplash.com/@kulesh; licensed under Creative Commons Zero
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)
A friend was teaching her four year old son about spoken words. She wanted him to know how important it is to think before he speaks, to use either kind words or no words at all, and to respond when spoken to in an uplifting and respectful manner.
She wrote “W O R D” on a piece of cardboard, making sure he knew what those four letters together meant. Then asking her son to take the tube of toothpaste, she told him to trace over the four letters with the paste as he squeezed it from the tube. For a four year old, this was great fun! Upon completion she praised him on his careful toothpaste tracing. Her next request surprised him.
She said, “Now, put the toothpaste back into the tube.”
He looked at the cardboard with the toothpasted “W O R D” on it.
Please join me at Blessed Transgressions for the rest of this post.
As in water face reflects face,
so the heart of man reflects the man.
Proverbs 27:19 ESV
Have you looked down into still water only to see yourself looking back? A physical appearance is what we see. Water or a mirror show us at least a vague mirror image of the one doing the looking.
As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person. NLT
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. NIV
As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man. NKJV
Who can see a reflection of the heart? The heart is inside and does not reflect anything outward. The heart does plenty on the inside like beating regularly, keeping the blood flowing through our bodies, carrying nutrients hither and yon, keeping us alive. When a doctor runs an ECG (EKG) on one’s heart, a graph of it beating can be seen with the eye. When the doctor places a stethoscope on the heart area, he/she can hear the beat.
Unless a cardiologist or other doctor is listening to or opening up the chest cavity to care for an actual physical heart problem, I tend to feel that my heart and I are on our own most of the time. I may reflect a piece of my heart by telling someone I love them. I also may share what “is on my heart” with another.
These ways are not the only ways my heart is reflected. Words and actions can reveal what my true heart nature is like. I may try to conceal, rather than reveal, this heart nature, my true nature. But God can see my heart for He knows me well. He created me, knowing my nature. He knows the thoughts in my mind and the nature of my heart. I cannot hide from God. No matter what travels in and through my heart, and should I try to conceal such from showing up in my expressions, in words from my mouth, or in my actions, they are still inside my heart. God tests my heart to grow me, to move me in and through these hidden, torturous plagues of the heart.
O LORD of hosts, Who tests the righteous,
Who sees the heart and the mind,
let me see Your vengeance upon them,
for to You have I committed my cause.
…but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God Who tests our hearts. 1 Thessalonians 2:4
What ensnares me from having my heart be in that very place that I want it to be so I can stand so close to my God? Do I hold envy there? or fears? or anger? or jealousy? or what? What keeps my heart from reflecting the heart that God made?
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. James 1:23-24
I want nothing to block my heart, nothing to be hidden there. I do not want any one to stumble because of me. Yet, perfect I am not, except in Christ…some day in Eternity. I desire God’s tests so that I will be more and more able to reflect the image of Christ Jesus from the inside-out and the outside-in.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18
Father, You know my heart. I so desire to reflect Jesus in all I am and all I do for I am Your daughter. Forgive me when I try to conceal things that I know are not of You. Guide me so that there is less and less of those things hidden in my heart. I want my focus to be on You, LORD, and not on me. May my heart reflect the love and beauty that is You. Walk near to me as I walk near to You, O LORD. Mold my heart and make me more and more into Your perfect vessel. I am Yours and will do all that You ask and require of me, LORD. Thank You for hearing my prayer tonight. With adoration, thanksgiving, and praise, I pray in the Name of Jesus. I love You, Father. Amen.
Hot Air Balloon Heart: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/fc/9b/d6/fc9bd6772ba3e1646c638a94a88bdfe4.jpg