Aged Woman, I am Watching You

Having just tucked my two little charges into bed, I rounded the corner into the living room. I stopped suddenly at the scene unfolding before me.

Standing on her tip-toes, the woman reached up and gave her husband a kiss. He touched her cheek with his hand, and they both shared a special smile, as they gazed into each other’s eyes. He whispered something in her ear, and her cheeks turned rosy.

I’m not sure how old I was when I witnessed this sweet moment, but the memory has stayed with me through my teenage years until now. At the time, I felt awkward for having intruded on something so private, but over the years, this memory filled my heart with hope. Hope that one day, I too could be happily married.

In my teenage years, I helped this family with babysitting. I’m pretty sure this dear lady had no idea I was watching her. Yet, there I was a teenage girl, quietly taking in how she loved her husband, her children, and how she cared for her home.

I was watching her as she faithfully lived according to the Word of God.

This sweet lady has long been someone I have looked up to, trying to emulate the love she showers on her family and ministry.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” – Titus 2:3-5

And, there are others. Other “aged women” I have watched on a weekly basis. They taught Sunday school. They worked in the nursery. They cooked meals for fellowships and conferences. They decorated the church. They sang in the choir. They cleaned the church. They did all these things while loving their husbands and raising their kids. They kept their homes in order, and some even had to work outside the home. Some cared for sick family members. Some cried over their wayward son or daughter. These ladies have watched as their children went off to college, married, and had their own children. They have seen their husbands retire. Some have lost their husbands. Yet, they all have lived according to the Scriptures. They have all been examples and “teachers of good things”.

Aged woman, I’m still watching you. Will you “continue steadfast” in your faith and convictions you once taught your own children? Will you continue to be faithful despite the difficulty that comes with increasing age? Will you continue to have a sweet disposition, even after you have retired from your ministries? Will you still love your husband after age has slowed him down? Will you continue faithful in your Bible reading and prayer time?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness.” – 2 Peter 3:17

Aged woman, I need you. I need you to teach me how to age in God’s grace. I need to know that life can still be joyous, despite its many disappointments. I need you to teach me that no matter how painful life can become, there is still a “reason for the hope that is in you”. Teach me how to reach out and minister to others with a happy heart, even when my hands are hurting and my heart is failing.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” – I Peter 3:15

Aged woman, the world needs you. The world today is telling women that it’s OK to leave their husbands and children in order to “find” themselves. The world is telling women that they don’t need to keep their homes. The world is telling women that if they stay at home to care for their families, they have no value or beauty. The world is telling women that it’s not healthy to push their faith on their children and that they shouldn’t make them go to church. The world is lying to women today. Aged woman, the world needs you to be a candle in the darkness. They need your shining example that it is better to obey God than to follow their own pleasures.

For those women whom I have looked up to since I became a Christian 30 years ago, thank you for your examples. I could never have been the wife, mother, or keeper of my home that I am today without your example. And now, as time continues to move faster, I too, am becoming an aged woman. I only pray that I can teach others as you have taught me.

Let your lights so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16

Meditation Monday – Winds of Change

Time has a way of bringing about change. With change, often comes uncertainty. Foundations that for years seemed stable and reliable, can be shaken in the winds of change. Yet, when we make Christ the foundation of our life, we can have a sure confidence that will never be shaken, no matter how much life around us changes! When your world seems to be shaking with rumors of change on the horizon, plant your feet firmly in the Word of God! Don’t be afraid, for you are standing on a firm foundation!

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the Lord shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” -Proverbs 3:25‭-26

Meditation Monday – Seek Him First

As is our culture, we become infatuated with improving ourselves spiritually and physically with the start of each new year. We determine to eat healthier, be kinder, and smile more in bettering our ourselves in the eyes of those around us. While it is never a bad idea to seek to become better, the Bible says that we need to seek something else first.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

When we focus all our efforts on seeking God, and strive to be like Christ, everything else in our lives should fall in place. We don’t need any other new year’s resolution than this: seek Him first!

A Year Ago

A year ago today, I had no idea that our family was about to embark on a journey that would forever change our lives. I had no idea that just a few short days into 2017, my husband would be diagnosed with colon cancer. I never would have guessed that it would be a year filled with private tears, and worry.

A year ago today, I had no idea how good our God is! I had no idea how far the reach of His comforting arms extended! Never did I expect the honor of witnessing the miracles He performed, just for us! A year ago today, I had no idea how much God really cared for and loved me. I had never experienced such great, unexplainable peace in the midst of great chaos!

A year ago today, I didn’t understand that in order to shine brightly for God, you have to be surrounded by darkness.

I didn’t know that God could use you for His glory during the hardest of your trials and struggles. I didn’t understand that when we are in our weakest state, that is when our God is strongest! Never would I have guessed that walking with the Saviour in 2017 would be the sweetest walk I would ever experience!

Today, I am facing the future of 2018. Sometimes, I look ahead in trepidation, wondering what surprises are lurking in its dark corners. Yet, the fear doesn’t last very long because all I have to do is think back to a year ago and remember how God saw us through the most difficult journey of our lives. 2018 will hold it’s trials, and who knows, maybe they will be more difficult than what we have already faced! I know that I can trust God, however, to be right there with me, from the start of the journey, all the way to the very end!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19

Thank you, dear readers, for joining me in my discoveries of God’s goodness and mercy in 2017! I hope and pray you all have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! And whatever is in store for your 2018, I pray you claim the promise of God’s peace!

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” – John 14:27

(Photograph taken by Kasey Photography)

Meditation Monday – All is Calm?

When singing the Christmas hymn, “Silent Night”, I have always pictured peace. A night where the stars twinkled brightly, and the cool air was calm. Yet, reality more than likely tells a different story!

The barn was probably smelly and the animals dirty. Did Joseph have to clean out a stall before he made a bed for Mary in the dirty hay? Were they afraid of being caught in someone’s barn? Mary was probably exauhsted and in pain after giving birth!

Despite the reality of the situation, the world looks on the account of Christ’s birth with reverence and wonder. No one seems to dwell on the hardships that Mary and Joseph faced that night. All we see from scripture is their great faith and trust in God.

On a night that was filled with fear, God brought peace. On a night that seemed chaotic, God brought calm. On a night that must have felt lonely, God threw a celebration!

Why not trust God in your lonely, chaotic, and fearful night?

“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” – Luke 2:7‭-‬16″

Meditation Monday – It’s Your Choice

Ever have one of those days where everything seems to be going wrong?  Just when you think you are catching up, something else happens to throw you back again?  When facing a day that seems to be unraveling at the seams, you have a choice.  You can choose to be frustrated about your day and be short-tempered, making everyone around you just as miserable as you are; or, you can choose to be happy despite your circumstances, thus shining the Light of Christ in you even brighter!

“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” – Proverbs 15:13

When Your World is Changing

We have been listening to Christmas music since late October.  While I haven’t tired of the music itself, I have noticed the excitement that first accompanied those joyful melodies, has begun to wane.  A spirit of reflection has replaced the excitement, bringing many happy memories to mind.  These memories however, eventually lead me back to reality.  Life is changing all around me, and there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Families growing and spreading out, are natural reasons for shifting traditions and dynamics.  Declining health, battling cancer, financial struggles, troubled marriages, and the death of loved ones, are also causes for change.

So, how do you cope when your world is changing?  Here’s what I have personally learned:

Trust God with Change –  When we feel that our lives are beyond our control, we tend to become fearful and anxious.  Our comfort zones are shaken, and we feel insecure. Don’t forget that God has a plan, and is allowing change in your life for a reason.  Although change may be difficult, you can trust Him to use it for good in your life. Stop fighting change, and trust God!

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” – Deuteronomy 31:6

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Rejoice in Change – Rejoicing through difficulty reveals hope and peace in the believer. Someday, God will wipe away all our tears.  Someday, we will all gather around a table, furnished with the best food we can imagine, and dine with The Father.  Someday, there will be no more pain, sorrow, or death!  This hope we have for our future can give us peace for the change we must endure today!  If you are not sure where your hope lies, please check out this page titled, There is Hope!

“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.”  – Romans 15:13 

Give during Change –  Giving when it is hardest to do so, results in the biggest kind of blessings! When we are busy serving others, we don’t have a lot of time to dwell on the sorrows of change. Give your time to your family and friends.  Show kindness and thoughtfulness to your neighbors and co-workers.  Continue on in your service to the ministries at church. Extending generosity when you are in the midst of your own struggles, can help change someone else’s life – for good!

“How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.” – 2 Corinthians 8:2

God NEVER Changes – When my life begins to feel unstable because of the changes going on around me, I find peace in this one thought: my God NEVER changes!  Different trials has brought me either further away or closer to God, but HE has never changed His postion.  His voice still sounds the same, His Word still reads the same, and His comfort still feels the same.  My God, who is also my Friend that never fails, will always be there for me!  I don’t ever have to doubt if He will answer when I call.  He will be the same God to me when I am ninety-five, that He was to me when I was 25!

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”. – Hebrews 13:8

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

“For I am the LORD, I change not…” – Malachi 3:6

If you are struggling with change in this busy holiday season, don’t be downhearted.  Trust God with your change, and allow Him to work for your own good!  Once you do, you will find it easy to rejoice, even when your heart is sad.  Rejoicing makes for a generous spirit, and giving when it’s hardest is a gift that can change lives! And don’t forget – God never has, and never will change!

 

 

 

 

Meditation Monday – Self Control

We’ve all done it.  We’ve all lost our tempers in a fit of anger, or slipped into panic mode during stressful situations. From hitting the snooze button for an extra hour of sleep, to having that extra scoop (or three!) of ice cream, we all have allowed ourselves to indulge in guilty pleasures from time to time.  Yet, when we continually lack self-control in our lives, we break down boundaries that are keeping us safe.  We become unreliable and weak, making ourselves slow-moving targets for the devil’s fiery darts.  Lack of rule over our own spirits make us unfit for the service of our King. So think twice the next time you want to give in to your anger, or indulge in that extra portion of dessert.  You will be much safer and stronger if you chose to control your spirit!

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” – Proverbs 25:28

Meditation Monday – The Art of Silence

“He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.” – Proverbs 17:27

When someone has wronged us either in word or deed, it doesn’t take but a few milliseconds to come up with a response.  Often, those quick and thoughtless responses can be more damaging than the offending deed!  The Bible tells us to use our words sparingly.  We can’t undo what has been said or done to offend us, however, we can control how we respond. Using the art of silence can help us from saying things we regret in the heat of the moment.

“There is no law that says that we must comment on everything that is said to us or that we must critique everything that is done to us.  If something has been done that disappointed us, it has already been done and there is no undoing it.  There is no need for us to summarize our displeasure.  This is the time to use the art of silence.” – Jack Hyles

 

 

 

 

 

He is Kind Unto the Unthankful

Nearly two years ago, I was sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the emergency room.  Despite the busyness of the nursing staff around me, I felt alone, and scared.  It was after midnight, and my husband had been whisked away to have tests done.  Several hours later, I knew something was wrong, when three grim-looking doctors came into the room.  They explained that my husband did not have a concussion as previously thought, that he had actually experienced a stroke.  My heart began to pound, my hands shook, and a flood of emotions raged in my chest.

However scary that moment was, in just a few months, I would be praising God that my husband had that stroke!  For it was because of an imaging test done that night, that his thyroid cancer was discovered.

Yet, at that moment in the emergency room, I was not very thankful.

A year later, after my husband’s thyroid had been removed, and his radioactive iodine treatment was complete, I was once again, sitting in another uncomfortable chair.  This time, in a hospital room, next to my husband’s bed.  I was holding his hand., as another surgeon explained to us that my husband had stage 3 colorectal cancer.

I’m pretty sure I had a hard time expressing thankfulness at that moment.

Yet, here I am today, expressing deep thankfulness to my Heavenly Father!  Not only for the trials He allowed in our lives the last two years, but for His kindness.  Our family is a living testament to the fact that God is kind to the unthankful!  Despite the fears and the sorrows we have had in the last 2 years, God has showered us with His tender care.

“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” – Luke 6:35

He showed us kindness through His comforting word.  There is something about the scripture that comes to life when you are walking in a valley.  Suddenly, verses you have read a hundred times before, have new meaning and understanding.  Comfort and hope are found in abundance throughout the scripture!  On the day that I watched my husband struggle to walk because of his chemo treatment, I felt the Comforter’s hand on my shoulder as I was reading Psalms 139.  Yes, God is kind to the unthankful!

He showed us kindness through our brothers and sisters in Christ.  The visits to hospital rooms, cards in the mail, hot meals, and thoughtful gifts to our family, all helped to ease our present suffering.  One day, I had found myself standing in the adult diaper section of the grocery store.  I was angrily swiping away tears, trying to decide what size my husband would need.  Once I got home, I had allowed myself to become filled with rage. How could radiation do this to my husband!?  Throwing open the mailbox, I angrily yanked out the package that was tucked inside.  The return address showed it had come from dear Christian friends who recently moved to Florida.  Angrily ripping it open, the first thing I pulled out was a package of Dove chocolates – my favorite! Suddenly, my tears of anger had changed into tears of thankfulness that God would be so kind to unthankful me!

He showed us kindness by providing our needs.  Because of the aggressive treatments, my husband had to cut back his work hours.  Yet, we never missed paying a bill, we never missed a meal, we never had to wear clothes with holes in them, and our vehicles continued running!  Once, toward the end of my husbands treatments, we realized we wouldn’t be able to pay the kids school bill.  I made arrangements with the principle and the business office to delay our payment.  We weren’t sure how we would be able to pay it.  We never mentioned our financial situation to anyone, not even family.  Yet, a few days later, we received a card in the mail with money in it- more than enough money to pay the school bill!  God showed us kindness by making provision for our every need!

He showed us kindness by answering prayer.  God not only answered our own personal prayers, but also the prayers of others who were praying on our behalf.  During the moments we had reason to be afraid or down, our spirits were lifted.  My husband was positive about his cancer prognosis, and I never once struggled with anxiety!  Those things alone made us know that we were being covered in prayer.  When my husband’s chemo had become particularly difficult, he had an appointment with his oncologist.  The doctor asked if my husband needed a refill on his pain medication.  When he learned my husband wasn’t taking pain medication, he was shocked.  “In all my years of being an oncologist, you are my first cancer patient that hasn’t needed pain medication!”  My husband replied, “that is because God is answering the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ!”  Yes, God is truly kind to the unthankful!

The wonderful thing about being a Christian is that God loves to shower His children exceedingly and abundantly beyond what they deserve or even ask! Here are just a couple more of the many little ways God was kind to us!

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,” – Ephesians 3:20

Last spring, we took a family trip to the Creation Museum.  We were going to have to leave early because my son had broken the flat screen TV in our hotel room.  We didn’t have the money to pay for it and eat the next day.  Once we arrived at the museum, we bumped into some friends.  I never mentioned the broken TV, but at the end of our conversation, the lady slipped me a handful of money and said, “God told me to give this to you.”  Our family was able to stay the entire day as originally planned and pay for the broken TV!

There was another time I was feeling particularly sorry for myself.  My husband couldn’t get away from the cancer clinic long enough to go on our yearly camping trip.  How I longed to get away from “cancer” for just one day!  However, because of his weakness from treatments, my husband couldn’t camp in a tent.  The cabins I had looked into were all booked up until September.  During the last couple weeks of summer, I received a phone call from a campground.  “We have an opening in a cabin you were asking about.  Are you still interested in a one night stay?”  Um, YES!!

So this week, our family will be joining the millions of other American families who celebrate Thanksgiving.  We will carve a turkey and watch football.  We will eat pumpkin pie.  We will play games and laugh until we cry.  We will thank God for my husbands healing from his stroke, and his remission from his cancers.  And we will be thankful for all the kindness our God has shown to us, when we were so unthankful!