Alone With Jesus

Some times, many times, days just don’t go the way I would have hoped.

I had a tooth with a crown just break off recently.  I needed a new crown and some build up work done to make it right again.  That is not a cheap investment either, but important.  The dentist did not get all the decay so now must redo the whole process again.

I am praying for one who has considered suicide recently.  I just had a two-part series posted on my personal experience with suicide of a friend.  I am saddened for this woman, for her family.

I recently found myself wishing that things were going a bit differently than they were.  I was placing blame all over the place until God reminded me that satan is everywhere desiring to devour me.  I uttered these four words: “Satan, get thou behind me!”

But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”  Matthew 16:23

Some days, the road just seems filled with bumps, holes, blockades.  When life feels hard, rather than falling into one of those potholes, I need to be looking for that quiet place to be with Jesus.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  Matthew 6:6

Jesus sought to be alone at times.  He knew He would meet His Father.  He could lift His heart’s desires, hopes, and even those things that were so heavy upon Him to His Father.

And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there Mark 1:35

David knew this too.

I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears.
  Psalm 34:4

I want to meet the LORD wherever I am and in all circumstances.  I cannot do that while deep in worldly thoughts.  I need to step aside, away from the world, removing myself from the negativity, the fears, the heaviness, the busyness.

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do what pleases Him.  And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He has commanded us. Whoever keeps His commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit Whom He has given us.  1 John 3:19-24

Father, You are my God and Creator of my soul, my mind, my heart, and my body.  You know all that goes on in and through me, Father.  Thank You for reminding me Whose I am.  I may live in this world, but I am Yours and want to stay connected to You with every breath.  Thank You for guiding me and lighting the candle along what felt, what feels,  like a dark path.  I am walking with You today.  I want to stay here with You.  I pray in the Morning Star’s Name, Jesus.  Amen. 

You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13

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Rejoice in the LORD

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Isaiah 35

The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad;

the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus;

it shall blossom abundantly

and rejoice with joy and singing.

The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,

the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.

They shall see the glory of the Lord,

the majesty of our God.

Strengthen the weak hands,

and make firm the feeble knees.

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.”

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,

and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

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;

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.

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.

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.

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.

 

The Way of Holiness is surrounded by waters, plants, and animals that reveal the glory of the LORD.  All of creation shouts.  Redemption has come and we, the people, sing with rejoicing.  Healing and forgiveness make way for gladness and joy.  The hard things of this world fade away, leaving sorrow and tears to be no more.

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a Mighty One Who will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness;
He will quiet you by His love;
He will exult over you with loud singing.  Zephaniah 3:17

Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!”  1 Chronicles 16:31

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.  Psalm 16:9

Father God, I rejoice in Your Holy Name.  I sing to You and worship only You as I continue to learn of Your ways.  Your highway to holiness is the only way I want to be journey upon.  Your Way is the Truth.  May I walk steadfastly along that highway, remaining close to You, precious LORD.  As I ponder these and other verses about rejoicing, my heart lightens.  The heaviness of this world, all the heartaches and soul aches I see and hear about me seem to fade into the background as You stand strong and faithful beside me.  You come before me and are my way.  I follow You.  May I be in Your will in this world, and may I be strong in You that my heart would not grow faint.  

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.  Isaiah 40:28-31

May I wait upon You and sing praises of joy to You, only to You.   In the Strong Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

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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

Are You Being Spent in the King’s Service?

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“’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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Empty, Purify, Fill Me, and Pour Me Out, LORD

As I seek Your face, Father, I want to be empty of me.  How can this happen, LORD?  Can I truly be empty?

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:20-24

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

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I accepted Jesus Christ as my LORD and Savior, asking forgiveness for the sinful person I was.  The old Linda is gone and the new Linda lives.  I am empty, was emptied, yet need to empty again and again.  The sinful one keeps edging her way back in.  The love of Christ never leaves me though.  I am being emptied moment-to-moment.

In the emptiness, I need to be purified so that I may walk in purity through this world.  Only You, LORD, can purify me.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD Malachi 3:3

For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.  Hebrew 9:13-14

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  2 Corinthians 7:1

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Father, as I am emptied and purified, I want to be filled with You, filled with Jesus, filled with Your Spirit, that I may walk in Your Light.

I am the LORD your God,
who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.  Psalm 81:10

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.  John 14:16-17

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Yes, Your Holy Spirit dwells in me, Father.  I am so very thankful and love You with all of my heart.  Thank You for bringing me into Your family, for accepting me as I am, and molding me on Your potter’s wheel.  I am a vessel of Your making.

Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?  Romans 9:21

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:21

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Pour me out, O LORD, into this world that I would do what You have called me to do and be the woman that You have made me to be.  Use me, LORD, as You will.  May I be empty for Your use, LORD.  Teach me Thy ways, my Father.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works. Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.  Titus 2:11-15

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.  Romans 7:25

Father, You made me and desire to use me.  I pray that You empty me of me, and that I am willing to be emptied.  I pray that You purify me so that I may walk in the cleanliness of Your Holiness.  I pray that You fill me with all that is You.  And then, Father, pour me out into this world in the ways that You have appointed for me, for my life.  In Jesus’ beautiful Name, Amen.

Give Yourself to Jesus

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For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).  
Matthew 1:23

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:14

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I am grateful, Father, for the beautiful Gift of Your Son.

May I believe with the eyes of faith.

May I see with the eyes of my heart.

May I hear with the ears of my soul.

I come to the manger with the heart of a mother.

The Cross is before me on which I nail my sins, knowing that I am forgiven.

I walk the path You have for me when I stay by Your side.

I am so glad I am Yours…

and am thankful that You are always weaving me into the one You created.

Thank You for leading me to Christ Jesus.

In His Name, I pray.

Amen.

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Thank you, sweet friends, for visiting me here at “Being Woven” as you do and for blessing me with love and comments.

May your Christmas be sweet and your hands be open to receive our Blessed Savior.

31 Days of God-Woven Moments – October 22

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I write because I follow God and this is what He is having me do these days.  I share my life here on this new kind of paper.  As God weaves my life, He has given me beautiful God-Woven Moments, experiences that He wants me to share with you.  I cared for my Mama for fifteen years and I am blessed to be able to write about giving care.  Please join me today…

Preserving Dignity

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Dignity: the quality or state of being worthy, honored, or esteemed

Weaving dignity into a tightly woven piece of art called caregiving is of vast importance.  Care recipients depend upon caregivers for the physical aspect of their care, but we far too often forget that emotional and psychological wellbeing is vital to one’s wholeness.  Many things can sever an adult’s self-respect and dignity.  It can happen slowly over time or quickly through a stroke, heart attack or accident.  Loss of abilities, such as driving, walking, talking, doing basic care for themselves, or losing the ability to make decisions often means loss of independence.  That loss is usually what eats away at one’s dignity.  Independence is an asset that lends value to life.

Even to your old age, I am He,

And even to gray hairs I will carry you!

I have made, and I will bear;

Even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

As a caregiver, what can you do?  First, learn to see your care recipient through the eyes of God’s unconditional love.  God sees them as His beautiful creation.  So should we.  This should cause the preservation of dignity to be central in our caring.  We should be empathetic, aware of and sensitive to their feelings and thoughts.  Try slipping into their shoes for a better understanding of what they might be going through.  A relationship based on dignity and respect is key to the way we give care.

We can show respect of privacy by closing a door while you help them dress or use the bathroom.  Knock before opening any closed door.  Get their permission before sharing any confidential information, whether it is to family, staff, or friends.  Respect their right to make choices, if they are able, so they can feel some sense of control over their life.  By treating them with dignity, we are listening to their concerns, asking for their opinions, including them in conversations.  Never talk to others as though they are not even there, and try to speak to them as an adult whether they understand or not.     

The care recipient usually knows us and we know them.  We know their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses, and their needs and desires.  I needed to let my mother make some of her own decisions.  Some of her wishes were dementia-driven.  Rather than tell her “no” or argue with her, I walked gently, working around her decisions to keep her calm.  There were times when she wanted “2 eggs over-easy, bacon, toast with strawberry jam” and she wanted it now.  Now was 8:00 P.M.  The nursing home kitchen was closed; we had no IHOP then.  I found a little cafe that cooked breakfast 24 hours a day.  I could drive there, order a Mama-breakfast and she would be thrilled, eating it like there was no tomorrow.  Yes, it was hard on me, but it was worth it to see the pleasure she had eating her favorite meal. It can prove to be more important to let them make decisions for themselves (or think they have) than to try to control each issue. Decision-making is hard to give up after they have done it for many years, but when we want the best for them, we, too, must be willing to relearn.  Dignity can easily be lost in our overprotectiveness or always knowing what is best.    

Our tasks may start as simple, but they usually change over time.  I never imagined I would be cleaning my mother’s bottom, helping her put on a dry diaper, or feeding her.  There were times when her inappropriate actions caused her to be treated like a child by administrative staff.  Many of her inhibitions were loosed with dementia.  My mother, Italian and Irish, was a feisty woman, a proud one, but some situations really took a toll on Mama’s dignity.  My mother did not like to be told what to do, nor to be put down.  As she aged, it became part of my job to restore her self-esteem.  I learned to slough off indignities by talking about how she took care of my sisters and me.  I talked about the dress shop she owned and all that entailed being an entrepreneur, or about her WWII experience at the Naval Supply Depot typing up supply orders for all the ships at sea.  She also loved to talk about her life as a Navy doctor’s wife.  On her silly side, she loved to tell me how “gorgeous” or “beautiful” she was as I gave her a bed bath, or how “cute” her own bottom was, always with a twinkle in her eye.  She made light of those hard moments and I joined her with laughter.  These were our ways of coping with indignities.  To find the best ways to get through these hard moments is your task.  Caregivers who enter into the world of the person they’re caring for can accomplish more for that person’s dignity and respect than almost anything else. Listen to them.  Encourage their telling you about the life they once led, their passions, their daily routines, and their memories.  All of this still matters.  Be a good listener.  It does not matter if they repeat the same story.  Respond so they know you are interested.

   Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.  Proverbs 31:25

Doing what a caregiver must for the physical comfort of your care recipient is extremely important, but do everything with compassion and empathy.  You will feel so much better because you provided dignity and happiness in the midst of having to do the tough stuff.  You will also create your own enjoyment in the caregiving process.   

Something else I found that brought respect for my mother was to frame many of her photographs, beginning with her childhood on up through her 80s.  I placed them around her room.  When staff members would come in, they could ask Mama about a certain photo, “Who is that beautiful lady?” “When and where was this?”  “What were you doing here?”  These conversations became protracted because Mama’s longterm memory was excellent; she loved to tell her stories.  Making an album or wall collage of grandchildren also gives them pride to share. The staff began to see my mother as a woman who had a childhood, who had been a professional, who had parents, siblings, a husband and children.  They no longer saw Mama as just an old person who, one day, might be angry and demanding, or happy and loving on another.  Mama became real and respect grew.  The loss of independence takes so much away from a person, yet knowing that they are being heard, cared for from the heart makes such a difference in the way the one being cared for handles their own inabilities. 

Caring for someone of the opposite sex can be difficult.  They need to be treated in the same manner as I have shared here, but when a person has never had his daughter see him privately, it is hard.  As the caregiver, ask how they would like you to handle the situation giving them choices.  Be calm, bring humor if possible, and be dignified in the way you approach this.  If they know you are lovingly caring for them, they will adjust with time.   

You are God’s gift to His creation.  You are His hands on earth.  Be delighted.  What you are giving is better than any other gift you could ever give.  Yes, it may be tough.  Caregiving may test you to your limits, but often those tough things can bring rewards so great that you will feel wonderfully blessed.  I know that I can still feel the hugs and the kisses on my cheek, and hear Mama’s laughter as well as her words of endearment and gratitude to this very moment.  Yes, fifteen years was long and hard, but there were so many precious moments.  I would never exchange those years for the freedom of not caring for my mother.

And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to Me.”  Matthew 25:40

Father, I lift up each giver of care whom You have placed with one who needs that care.  I pray for patience and tender love as they care for another.  May we always remember that dignity and strength and respect are from You and that we would look to You for guidance as we take each step in Your will.  Teach us how to laugh and love in the hard moments, to bring joy and delight to those we care for, to do all we must by wrapping those tasks up in dignity and respect so that the recipient feels special, and to listen with empathy as though we are right there in their shoes (or slippers).  Father, we want to love as You love, feel as You feel, and be Your hands, voice and heart here on earth.  I ask for Your hand upon us as we walk this walk.  In the strong Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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Photo: @ Critty Joy
To catch up on the previous days of this 31 day challenge, you can find them listed here.

By His Power

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It is he who made the earth by his power,
who established the world by his wisdom,
and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.

When he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,
and he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain,
and he brings forth the wind from his storehouses.  KJV

Our God…He is Mighty, Majesty, Power, and Strength.  He is King.  He is all that He is and can make what He wills come to fruition.  His Son gave His all for us.  May we humble ourselves to accept His offerings for our salvation.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, He is the King of glory. Selah.   Psalm 24:10

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty; The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength; Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.  Psalm 93:1

“Also the Glory of Israel will not lie or change His mind; for He is not a man that He should change His mind.” 1 Samuel 15:29

“Out of the north comes golden splendor; Around God is awesome majesty.” Job 37:22

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:3-4

Father, You are my all.  When I stray from Your hand, please hold on and keep me near that I will remember the all that You have done for me.  You provide, protect, and give my life purpose.  Thank You for encircling me with Your love.  May I be faithful and trustworthy to You, my Father.  May I respect and revere and be awed by You in all ways.  And may I be pleasing unto You.   You are glorious, LORD…glorious and to You I give all the glory.   In the Name of Your Son, I Pray.  Amen.

The LORD said in His heart…

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

And when the LORD smelled the pleasing aroma, the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.  Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done.

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”
Genesis 8:20-22

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As we look another cold blast from the Arctic straight in the eye, we may be frozen to the bone, tired of winter, ready for summer or spring, anyway.  It is only the first week of March.  We may have weeks left of this winter weather.  We just don’t know.  But one thing we do know is that God told us that He will always have winter and summer, cold and heat, seedtime and harvest.  ALWAYS…while the earth remains.  He said it in His heart.

When you or I say things in our hearts, it more often than not is said with honesty, integrity, wholeheartedness.  We mean it.  Our hearts speak from the very being of who we are whom God made.  Our hearts speak with the openness and gloriousness of life.  

When God speaks in His heart, He speaks with His all, in His Truth, and the words spoken, whether silently or aloud, they are His very Word.  He says twice in verse 21, I will never again…. Neither will I ever again….  NEVER AGAIN.  He means that.  We, His children, know that.  As we learn to trust and revere Him as we grow in Christ, we come to realize that what God says, He speaks only Truth.  

So, we must accept these wintry blasts and walk in the snow for a breath of fresh air.  Or sit by the fire and keep warm.  Put on extra layers of clothing.  Let us spread our godly warmth to those who are cold, who need a bowl of hot soup, who need a jacket or pair of mittens.  Let us spread God’s Love by the warmth and truth that is in our hearts.  Winters are here to stay as long as there is the earth.

Father God, may we be Your emissaries to those who are cold without You. May we share Your love through kindness and caring, through giving and hugs.  May we stay warm ourselves because we are standing under Your wings of protection.  May we be a sweet aroma to You by our words and our actions.  In the beautiful Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God 
as a fragrant aroma.
 Ephesians 5:1-2

Objects of His Infinite Affection

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.  Psalm 139:16

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Spurgeon writes, “Before we had a being in the world we had a being in His heart.  When we were enemies to Him, He knew us, our misery, our madness, and our wickedness.  When we wept bitterly in despairing repentance, and viewed Him only as a judge and a ruler, He viewed us as His brethren well beloved, and His bowels yearned towards us.  He never mistook His chosen, but always beheld them as objects of His infinite affection.”

 

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”  2 Timothy 2:19

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Father, You are my God.  You knew me and know me.  You love me despite my failings.  You saved me out of the depths of Your love.  You have my name in Your Book and I am Yours for always.  One day, I will stand before You and will know the love that You have always had for me.  Oh, how blessed I am to have You for my Father.  Thank You, thank You.  I am so very humbled.  I feel so adored, so cared for because You are such a loving God.  I have far to go in my walk with You but I want to be near You and to continue to learn to walk in Your Ways, to imitate You for I am Your child.  I will stand firm on the Foundation of the Cornerstone.  In the Name of Jesus, Your Son.  Amen.  

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.  Ephesians 5:1