The Listening Walk

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

He says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

One of the pleasures in my life is reading to my grandchildren. At a recent visit, I noticed a library book on the coffee table entitled The Listening Walk, by Paul Showers. The back-cover copy reads, “Put on your socks and shoes—and don’t forget your ears!  We’re going on a listening Walk. Shhhhhh. Do not talk, do not hurry. Get ready to fill your ears with a world of wonderful and surprising sounds.”

After reading the book to my three young grandsons, we put on our shoes and headed out on our own listening walk.

It was hard for the brothers not to talk, but when they did, they mentioned the sound of birds cawing in the trees, the wind whistling around the houses, our footsteps, and the cars on the street.

When I returned home, I decided to go on my own listening walk. In the sky, the geese honked in chorus as they headed south for winter. Feet crunched through leaves on the sidewalk. The wind swirled the leaves in the air as they fell from trees.

The beautiful sounds of creation inspired me. The listening walk calmed my soul.

 Each day, I pray to hear God’s voice, listening to His words for my soul. I’m reminded of Elijah desiring to hear from God, waiting for the presence of the Lord to pass by. While waiting, the powers of nature nearly overtook him. Scripture says, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). Elijah heard the whisper of God and responded to His voice.

Stillness goes against our noisy culture. The blaring world sidetracks us from hearing the truths of God’s Word. The family, the job, and other responsibilities pull us in a thousand different directions with the next call to urgency.

Intentional effort is needed to turn off the sounds of the world—television, computers, phones, social media, music, the opinions of others—and tune our hearts to the still small voice of God.

God gives us a reminder to pause and refocus on Him, breathing the Holy Spirit into us in the fast pace of life.

Every day presents its own battle for us to listen to God. It’s easy to look at daily cares or problems and be discouraged. Yet, we have God’s powerful word that helps us remember he is fighting for us. The promise in Exodus 14:14 offers us this encouragement: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (NIV) We can hear God’s voice whisper his strength.

Casting my cares on the Lord, he calms my anxious heart with his peace.  

A child’s book and a simple listening walk showed me the value of listening to the God of creation and my life. I desire a listening life, leaning in for God’s still small voice in the daily chaos, knowing that God is sovereign over the confusion.

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The Listening Walk – encouragement on listening for God from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: Is it time for you to go on a listening walk?

 

Finding His Float

by Amber Weigand-Buckley @BareFacedGirl

You know what the hardest thing about floating in the healing peace, joy, and rest is? The challenge to get to the water even though it might be but a few steps away. 

My head likes to tease me with the hope of REST. I tell myself: As soon as you do this, you can step away from your desk and take a 15-minute snooze… And sometimes, even crazier: As soon you get this call made, you can eat and go to the bathroom. 

Are you killing yourself trying to earn a restful float in the healing pond, away from the stressful monotony of your day? We get so comfortable believing if we can get one more thing accomplished, we will find our healing peace. 

This mindset reminds me of the lame man in the Bible, who was sitting by healing water. He knew if he could “get there,” he would find the relief he’d been talking about. Why then was he stuck in making excuses?  “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me” (John 5:7 NIV).

 It took Jesus to shake him out of his mindset. It took Jesus to break into the reality that peace and healing were mere inches away from his hopeless place. 

Jesus said simply. “Get up, pick up your mat, and walk.” He was healed instantly. 

You might be thinking, “Can’t the people around me see my need for healing space and rest and time in the water simply to float?”

The answer… yes, they can see your condition. Yes, your friends know which way you should go. But that guidance can only do so much to carry you. It’s only in a willingness to get out of our mindset of carrying the load and into the healing power of the water that we can find His healing. 

The truth is, we can break away from the sickness of the stuck in doing: thinking this is the lot I’ve been given… just suck it up girlie. 

I remember what it was like to take a skydive. The most fearful part was when my foot was stuck on the edge of the plane. In fact, from 10,000 feet up, the heights didn’t scare me, because I was so far from the ground, I couldn’t perceive hitting it. But when my foot got stuck on the edge of the plane as I walked out on the strut, it scared me for a second … it was so close… things weren’t working right. 

It only took my jump guide to lift my foot up a tiny bit… and oh my, it was the best float of my life. 

Are you listening to God’s call today to lead you into His floating space? Are you thirsty for the water, but are thinking I need to do that one more thing, and I will get there? Do you need his hand to pull you out of stuck and into your much-needed healing place?

All the one more things of our day add so much to our weighty burden, piling even more up on our frail human frame. 

But today Father, I’m giving every one more thing of this day to you, because you’re calling me to rest. I’m willing to let go of this mountain of to-dos to fall into the float of abiding in You. You are where my healing comes from, and I will take the few steps I need to get to the water. 

No matter how busy you are, you NEED to feel Him, but no one is going to bring the pond to you. But it’s there. Come to the water. Find your rest in His Float. Abide. 

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Finding His Float – encouragement from Amber Weigand-Buckley, @BareFacedGirl on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Amber Weigand-Buckley is the editor and art director of Leading Hearts Magazine. Text LEADINGHEARTS to 64600 to get the latest issue free and check out leadinghearts.com.

Join the conversation: When is the last time you found your rest in the Lord?

 

The River of Life

by Lori Altebaumer @lori_altebaumer

And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.                                                               Revelation 22:1 NKJV

Standing beside the mountain stream watching the crystal-clear water rushing by, I am reminded of the river of living water spoken of in Scripture. The urge to remove my shoes and step into the flow is strong. But this stream carries snow melt straight from the mountaintops. The water is so cold it makes my bones feel like they might shatter. It’s not even close to pleasant.

Yet the beckoning is strong, an irresistible invitation to step into something sacred. My shoes slide off, and I brace myself. And in the momentary pain⸺ until thankfully my feet go numb⸺ I am a part of this river that comes from far above and flows down into places I will not see or know.

The water captures the light, illuminating the variegated colors of the rocks beneath its surface, transforming the ordinary into extraordinary. The pure water swirls around my ankles in a dance that sparkles and hops as it hurries on.

Tranquil pools of water bring a sense of much needed peace, but it is the active, flowing water that transforms the rocks and hard places of life into something so lovely we can’t resist the urge to step in.

Our lives are full of hard places, some of our own doing, some as the results of the actions of others. There is no life that escapes these stones of bitterness: hurt, fear, insecurity, grief—the list goes on. Whether they are our own hard places or the hard places of others spilling over, they make a solid lining for the pathway of our lives.

But our hearts long for more. We’ve lived with the hurt and disappointment, the confusion and doubt for so long we may have buried the longing so deep within us we no longer recognize it. But it’s there. And even more, we thirst for a beauty that inspires us, something so beautiful we can’t resist its invitation to step in. Like the river flowing from the mountain tops, quenching the thirst of all it touches, moving with purpose toward its final destination, we find our purpose in the movement of our lives. And it is there, too, we find the beauty.

What a joy to know that the hard places in our lives can be made beautiful beneath the pure, living water of our Creator. What a comfort to know He has a plan to redeem the ordinary and unwanted, to transform it into something extraordinary. That plan is the River of Life which flows from His throne to carry us into His eternal blessings when we step in through our faith in Jesus Christ.

Perhaps the first blessing is to know the beauty of those transformed hard places of our lives has the potential to inspire others. It invites them into the River of Life that has the power to transform them as well.

Like stepping into the frigid waters of the mountain stream, it may be painful at first. But as the apostle Paul declared, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory…” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV).

Today I face the momentary discomfort and invite the River of Life to pour over the hard places in my life, giving God the sovereignty to transform it for His purposes, in the hope another may be encouraged to step in.

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The River of Life – encouragement from @Lori_Altebaumer @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. With her boots on the ground, head in the clouds, and heart in His hands, she is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart in search of life’s best adventures. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Her first novel, A Firm Place to Stand, released in January 2020. She also

A Firm Place to Stand by [Lori Altebaumer]

blogs regularly on her website www.lorialtebaumer.com. In between writing, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here.

Join the conversation: What is there in nature that really speaks to you about God?

Lost in Chicago

by Janet Holm McHenry @LookingUpFirst

Have you ever gotten lost? My husband Craig doesn’t let me forget about Chicago.

We were driving from California to Washington, D.C., for internships in the capital. Those were back-in-the-day days. No GPS. No Google Maps. Just an old-fashioned paper map in my lap the whole trip.

Yes, I did a little driving myself: from Wells, Nevada, to Wendover, Nevada—all of fifty-eight miles. He still kids me about that.

It’s hard to get lost when you’re simply on Interstate 80 the whole way, but for some reason the signs were not helping in Chicago in the middle of the night. We took a wrong turn trying to find a campground. It cost us maybe an hour’s time in the whole mess.

There were two problems: first, it was dark, and second, everything is flat back there. We Californians, who tend to orient ourselves with our mountain ranges, tend to get lost in flat spaces.

I feel as though I am wandering in the dark right now without GPS or Google Maps. The days blend into each other. Work and home all look the same. My wardrobe is the same from day to day: yoga pants and a t-shirt. The only day that breaks up the routine is Sunday—with a worship service or two online from the living room couch.

The truth is, though, that we always have a directional finder: God’s Word. Every day we can open the Bible up, ask for God to direct our reading and thinking, ponder a bit about what we have read, and lean into the purposeful living that he graciously provides.

There are a few ways to actually dwell on or meditate on God’s Word. One is to approach the Bible with a pen or highlighter. With a pen, I find my reading becomes a search. I ask God, “Show me your good word for me today. Show me what I might share with others.” And he always does. I will underline any verses that seem to stand out to me.

Another way is to journal a Bible pictorially. Each day I will choose one particular verse to sketch out with colored pencils, then illustrate with a simple drawing. This slowing-down time of pictorial journaling helps me think about the verse I have chosen and how it might apply to my life.

One other way to make reading the Bible purposeful is to journal a Bible for someone in the family. I have been reading the Bible all the way through for about twenty years, but for the last five years I have journaled Bibles for my grandchildren, starting with the oldest. I think of the child as I am reading and look for ways to encourage him or her with personalized, marginal notes, verses, and drawings.

Word studies are also fascinating in the Bible. In the back of most Bibles is a concordance, which is an alphabetical list of important words found in the Bible. For example, if you were feeling dry emotionally, you could look up the word water in the concordance and find refreshment. Or if you were praying for a family member to be healed, you could look up the word heal and receive hope and direction for ways to pray.

All of these practices help me see the Bible in fresh ways as I seek direction for my own life. However we choose to study the Bible, we will find it gives us a sound roadmap for our day’s decisions, our relationships, our attitude, and the words we share with others.

He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths. Isaiah 2:3 NIV

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Lost in Chicago – encouragement from Janet McHenry @LookingUpFirst on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author:  Janet McHenry is a national speaker and the author of twenty-four books—six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk, which has encouraged tens of thousands to pray for their communities while they walk. Her business name is

Looking Up! because she encourages others to seek the Problem Solver, who can do the impossible. She would love to connect with you : https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite way of taking in Scripture?

God Never Wonders, “But What If…”

By Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

When God asks Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you,” (2 Chronicles 1:7), He is asking a question most likely we would like God to ask of us: “Tell me anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” Although God’s question is in the form of a statement, some biblical translations frame it as a question, a question showing God is omniscient. God knows Solomon’s reply—asking for wisdom—which fits with God’s will.

Omniscience describes God’s knowledge, specifically, knowing everything. There is not a single thing He doesn’t know. But Solomon doesn’t know all. God invites Solomon to examine his main motive for life, and Solomon asks for wisdom. Good choice. Unfortunately, a current motive doesn’t guarantee long-term godliness. God knows Solomon’s debased future choices, yet God still gives Solomon a choice.

It’s a perplexing situation but all of God’s questions throughout the Bible and His invitations to every one of us are based on the same thing. He knows every single detail about our lives even before we make any decisions—because of His omniscience—yet He still gives us choices. Psalm 139:16 tells us:

“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.”

God knows everything about Solomon; his character and his future actions, and His own plan for Israel He will do through Solomon. We focus a lot on Solomon’s reply, and what we might reply, but God is revealing truth about Himself: His knowledge of everything and His graciousness in giving something to someone whom He knows will not always make good choices.

God doesn’t have to wait and see how our lives turn out before He can decide what to do with us. He is aware of all of time at once; He is not bound by human time. He already knows the beginning from the end; He’s the Alpha and the Omega. During God’s conversation with Solomon, this truth is emphasized: “For the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought” (I Chronicles 28:9). God doesn’t learn, He never forgets, He never misunderstands, nor is He ever surprised by anything. Additionally, He never thinks, “But what if …” or “If only …” We do. But He doesn’t.

What comfort for us. We never have to wonder, “What would God have done if Solomon had asked for something totally selfish?” We never have to wonder, “What if I’d made a different choice? Would God have done something different?”

These are deep questions, and we will never know fully here on earth how God’s will and our choices coordinate. But one thing we need never wonder is, does God know the future? Because  Nothing is past, present, or future to Him. He knows all and never has a false, uncertain, or confusing thought. How incomprehensible to our limited minds. We can’t grasp it.

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God Never Wonders, “But What If…” – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to share about God’s nature. This devotional is adapted from her book God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature (co-authored with her husband, Larry). Kathy lives in Southern California and is a mom and grandma. She is a speaker and the author of 58 books including Bible studies, commentaries, and Christian living topics.

Reach out to her at: www.KathyCollardMiller.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/KathyCollardMillerAuthor
Twitter: @KathyCMiller
Pinterest/Kathyspeak, youtube: https://bit.ly/2SwiL03

Join the conversation: How would you answer the question God asked Solomon?

The Waiting Game

by Sharon Wilharm @SharonWilharm

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.                                                                         Hebrews 11:31 NKJV

I remember the first time I stood behind a podium to speak to an audience. I was a ninth grader, chosen to introduce the speakers at the morning session of the Florida Baptist Acteens Cometogether. How excited I’d been to sit in the green room, making small talk with Barbara Joiner, the “Cookie Crumble Lady”, and Julie and Johnny, a ventriloquist act. Then the time finally came for me to leave the green room, walk the three feet to the wooden podium, and wait while the speakers settled themselves in the stiff chairs on either side of the stage.

Something happened in those steps between the back of the stage to the podium. As I looked out at the crowd of teen girls and their leaders, a peace came over me. I smiled as a younger girl on the front row snapped my picture. In that moment, I knew that this was my happy place, that the stage was where I was destined to be, and that someday I would be the one sitting in the stiff chair on the side of the stage while someone else introduced me.

The only problem: I was fourteen-years-old, and no one has any interest in hearing what a fourteen-year-old has to say. So I waited. And waited. Praying that God would give me wisdom that I might share as a speaker. But even though He’d open up opportunities to speak here and there, mostly He just said, “Wait. It’s not time yet.”

For forty years I waited, and just about the time He began opening the doors to the opportunities I’d dreamed of, Covid-19 hit. Fortunately, those forty years were not spent waiting in vain. God has taken me on so many side journeys better than I ever imagined, each one preparing me for the next role. I know He’s got me right where I’m supposed to be, so I can wait it out and see what it is He has for me to be doing right here where He’s placed me.

Rahab also had to wait for God. We have no idea how long Rahab had searched for the truth. How frustrated she must have been as she listened to reports about the Israelites and their God and wondered if she would ever be allowed to join them.

But when the Hebrew spies showed up at her door, she was ready. As soon as she had them safely hidden on her roof, she pleaded her case, and when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, Rahab and her family were whisked to safety outside the camp of Israel. She went on to marry a godly man, raise a godly son, and ultimately be a part of the lineage of Christ.

Rahab was stuck in a place she didn’t want to be, but it turned out to be exactly where she needed to be. God sent His messengers straight to her, and because of where she was situated on the city walls, she was able to deliver them back to safety. They needed her as much as she needed them.

It’s easy to get frustrated waiting for God’s timing. We may feel like He’s forgotten us. We may be tempted to jump ahead and take matters in our own hands. But if we put our trust in Him, He will deliver us. And when He does, it will be so much better than anything we imagined.

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The Waiting Game – encouragement from @SharonWilharm on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Christian speaker Sharon Wilharm is a women’s ministry leader, popular media guest, and award-winning female filmmaker whose feature films have impacted audiences around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Sharon draws the audience in with humor, engages them with stories, then ties everything together to bring to light spiritual truths. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, showing them how to find God’s will for their life through prayer and scripture. 

Sharon’s movie Summer of ’67 is a Vietnam War love story told from the perspective of

Summer of '67 Poster

the women left behind. Sharon’s dad was aboard the USS Forrestal when it caught fire on July 29, 1967. She grew up listening to her parents talking about the Vietnam War, and wanted to pass along to younger generations the experiences and sacrifices made by the men and women of the 1960’s while reminding all audiences that God is bigger than whatever comes our way. 

Join the conversation: Are you on hold, waiting for God?

The Summer of My Disassemblement

by Stacy Sanchez

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Dude, I don’t know who lied to you, but you can pitch.”

My young player looked away from me to the pitching rubber and began wiping the dust off of it with his cleat. “Riiiight. Wanna bet?”

“Heck, yeah I want that bet!” I stuck out my hand to shake on it.

It was the first day of practice for the new baseball season. I lined up the players at the mound and had them throw to home plate to see who might have the skill needed to be a pitcher. I liked to try them out at every position to find their best fit. Who knows? I might discover a future Nolan Ryan. (A coach can dream, right?)

The young boy shook my hand, but sheepishly said, “My last coach told me that I didn’t have what it took to be a pitcher. I tried, but he said that I had too many quirks to fix, and it would take too much work.”

“Well, I don’t know about his eyesight, but I picked you for my team because when you tried out I could see in the way that you threw the ball you had the potential to pitch.”

“Usually, I get stuck in right field.” he mumbled.

I poked his shoulder. “Hey! Right field isn’t a bad position to play. Some of the best players play right field. Have you ever heard of Babe Ruth?  But I don’t think you will be there very much this season.”

He looked up at me from under the bill of his cap; this time with a little twinkle of hope in his eyes.

“You do have some habits to break and mechanics to change. We just may have to get you back to the basics to rebuild your form, but let’s give it a try. I’ll put in the work if you will.”

“Ok… I guess. Looks like this will be the summer of my disassemblement,” he mused.

I tried to mask my amusement at his misuse of the quote. But it made sense, and I went with it.

“Yes, it just might be. But, so worth it.”

You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Currently, we are in the process of renovating our home. I am up to my ears in paint, tile, contractors, and mess. We’ve had to strip the house bare to be ready for construction. My house is a disaster area, which drives my type-A personality crazy. No matter where I turn, I am bound to be in the way of one contractor or another. (By the way, why do they have to start so early? Is the sun even up at 6:30 am?)

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6 ESV).

In order to update my home and bring out the beauty I know she has in her, I have to make peace with living in a construction zone. In order for God to make me into the person He knows I can be, I have to make peace with being a construction zone. It feels like I am in a constant state of disassemblement. Just when one project is finished, God decides that I, as His home, need a little more improving. Aren’t you glad that Jesus was a carpenter? We can be confident that he has the expertise needed to bring us to a glorious completion.

My young pitcher discovered that the summer of his disassemblement wasn’t always fun. We spent many practices together working to make him into the pitcher I knew that he could be. Neither of us gave up. I’m pleased to report that young man was elected into the all-stars that year—as a pitcher. 

Lord Jesus, it seems fitting that you were a carpenter. You know exactly how to repair the cracks in my foundation and sand off my rough edges. It may be hard and hurt sometimes as You complete the construction, but Lord, my desire is to be a home that You are proud to live in. Have Your way in me—even if it is early in the morning. Amen

TWEETABLE
The Summer of My Disassemblement – insight and encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: Are you a construction zone right now?

Caring for the Elderly: Whose Home?

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

In everything, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12 NASB

According to an AARP study, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months (about 18% of the population.)  In six out of ten cases, the reason for the care is a long- term issue and not a short- term recovery situation.  I am in this caregiving situation right now as I write this article.

Proverbs 16:31 remind of the value of the elderly: “Gray hair is a crown of glory…”

Ephesians 6:2 echoes the Old Testament command to “honor your father and mother”.

When you find yourself in a “someone has to move” in order to keep the one you love safe and well cared for, here are a few questions to begin the discussion:

What are the desires of each party? (What do the aging parent(s) and the caregiving child and their spouse hope to have happen?)  It is important to have these conversations to listen to the heart of each side of the equation. Many families welcome the aging parents into their homes, often because they already have a strong close bond and relationship. If children are still in that home, then it is prudent to ask if the children can manage the stress of adding an aging member to the household. If you are already caring for a special needs child, have a mate deployed, or are dealing with a prodigal child, pray through what it means to bring a family member who needs care into your home.  Consider if your marriage will survive your role as caregiver.

What is the financial situation of the aging parent? What is the financial situation of the care giver’s family?

In some cases, the parent has planned ahead and has agreed to a move to a graduated care facility where they begin in an apartment with a little oversight from trained professionals, with the ability to graduate up to increasing oversight, care and meals, and finally up to a skilled nursing facility. These facilities are often very nice but can be very expensive – and if this type of care is selected, someone must foot the bill.

What move would keep the caregiver healthier?

Caregiving is rigorous. Initially nearly 50% of caregivers describe themselves as in strong physical health, but those who have been the caregiver for more than 5 years, only 20% describe themselves as healthy and strong. In some families, the children rotate in to help a parent who is staying in his or her original home, other times, it is mom or dad that travels to various relatives so the caregiving is shared.  The health of the aging parent is a major factor in these decisions, but the health of those extending care needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Who moved?

In our case, Bill’s dad is frail in body and his mom is frail in mind.  We knew Bill’s dad would be easy to integrate into our life and home. Bill’s mother on the other hand, refuses to move—or even talk about moving. Because our ministry of writing and speaking means we can live most anywhere, we moved near his folks to offer daily help.  However, what we have learned from other care giving friends who have gone before, each day is a new day, and God will lead step by step along the way.

TWEETABLE
Caring for the Elderly: Whose Home? – insight and wisdom from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrel


About the author
Pam Farrel. author of 50+ books, is an international speaker and co-director (with her husband, Bill) of Love-Wise.comHer newest book is Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authors Jean E Jones and Karl Dornacher) from Harvest House.

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Pam and Bill are the bestselling authors of Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti(and small group DVD series); Single Men Are Like Waffles, Single Women Are Like Spaghettiand the teen version: Guys are Waffles, Girls are Spaghetti.

Join the conversation: Are you in the middle of elderly care? Please share any tips you can give us!

 


Faith over Fear

by Shirley Brosius

Times are tense. Just listen to the news. Wars, natural disasters, Coronavirus.

Will Covid-19 visit our town? Our family? It may. But I live by the saying printed across the front of my face mask: Faith over Fear.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Early Christians faced persecution that might have dampened their enthusiasm to spread the gospel. Paul encouraged his protégé Timothy not to be intimidated.

We too might be intimidated by frightening circumstances. We feel helpless against an unseen enemy. But I bolster my faith by remembering the truths of Christianity.

God is on His Throne. I’ve thought much about this as my husband and I navigate the senior years. Can we pray for wellness and expect God to heal us even in life’s final decades? Well, we pray, but we also know we are in God’s hands, experiencing an age and stage He has designed. Therefore, we rest in the assurance that He is in control no matter our age . . . and no matter the world situation.

When Job questioned God about his illness, God never “explained” things. He simply pointed out His Sovereignty over nature (Job 38:8-11 NKJV).

That same God governs nature today, from the most powerful waves to the most potent virus. So I remind myself God is in control. I pray and ask Him to halt the spread of the coronavirus. And I do my part by washing my hands and respecting boundaries.

God is with me. He has promised: “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NKJV). Like the old song says, you’ll never walk alone.

When I am in need, God may touch me through friends who offer assistance, through medical personnel who offer healing, through the wise counsel of others. His Spirit calms me as I look to Him in the night.

God uses all things to the Christian’s good. How might something called a “pandemic” be used for good? Perhaps it makes us more mindful of our blessings or forces us to interact more thoughtfully. Perhaps it brings us to our knees as we seek God’s good for ourselves and our nation.

We like to quote a verse that says God works all things together for the good of Christians. But the following verse reminds us that our greatest good is to be conformed to Christ’s image (Romans 8:29). And there’s nothing like tough times to offer opportunities to act and react more like Jesus.

God has greater things in mind than my personal comfort. I want a quick fix. I want “the answer.” I’d like to be healthy and happy and go my merry way without a care in the world. And perhaps without thinking about God. But facing challenges toughens us, builds our character, and makes us consider what purpose God has in mind for us.

God offers heaven if life on earth becomes unbearable. When I was a girl, I pondered a sign posted on the front of a local home that read: “Prepare to Meet Your God.” I have prepared my heart by embracing Jesus as my Savior, and I hope you have as well.

So I calm my worries by remembering heaven awaits—now or later. Eternal life begins . . . now.

These tenuous times call for discipline and commitment to live by God’s truths. By remembering who we are and Who God is, we slay the giant. We conquer fear with faith.

TWEETABLE
Faith over Fear – encouragement from Shirley Brosius on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Shirley Brosius


About the author:
 An author and speaker from Millersburg, Pennsylvania, Shirley Brosius has written Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference and coauthored Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. She speaks at women’s events throughout the east as a member of Friends of the Heart, three women who share God’s love through messages, skits and song. Shirley has a daughter waiting in heaven, and she enjoys passing on inspirational thoughts and books to two married sons and five grandchildren.

You can find out more about Shirley at www.shirleybrosius.blogspot.com, www.shirleybrosius.com, or www.friendsoftheheart.us

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Join the conversation: Are you struggling with fear during this season of isolation?

It’s Not Okay, and I Forgive You

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT

When someone hurts me, and they apologize, I usually respond with the same phrase: “It’s okay.” That works, right?

I don’t like saying, “I forgive you” because it ends up sounding sanctimonious. I’m not a stained-glass sort of person, so I tend to steer away from churchy vernacular.

But here’s the problem: If someone hurt me, it’s not okay.

Maybe the hurt was unintentional, maybe it wasn’t. It doesn’t matter. Hurt is never okay, and the truth of the matter is “it’s okay” and “I forgive you” don’t mean the same thing. They shouldn’t be used interchangeably, but I fear that there is a generation of Christ-followers who haven’t learned to distinguish the difference. I’m among them.

I don’t like admitting when I’ve been hurt. It feels petty. Like I’m nit-picking or being too sensitive. I think: Surely I’m mature enough to absorb a few hurt feelings.

So instead of dealing with the hurt, I pretend it isn’t there. I tell myself that no hurt was intended, so I should be happy to carry on working with or being around whoever hurt me. God commands us to forgive. So that’s what I do. They hurt me, and it’s okay.

But that’s not forgiveness. That’s denial. And it’s dangerous.

Denying that you’ve been hurt never allows you to heal. The hurt just gets hidden, stamped down in the dark recesses of your heart. Maybe you’ll be functional for a while, but the hurt won’t stay there. It puts down roots. What started as legitimate hurt at being wronged may grow into bitterness. Your heart will eventually overflow, and what comes out won’t be pretty. 

Our hearts are the core of who we are. When we speak, we speak from whatever is stored in there. Jesus said, “The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fill his heart” (Luke 6:45 NASB). If what’s in our heart is mercy and grace, that’s what we communicate; if it’s damage and pain, that’s what we communicate. If you’ve spent a lifetime hiding your hurt rather than facing it, your heart will be cold and resentful and afraid, and that’s not a heart God can use.

So what do you do to heal a hurting heart?

Friend, you can’t do anything. But Jesus can.

The first step to take may seem obvious, but if you’ve made a habit of hiding your hurt, it won’t be obvious to you. Your first step toward healing is to admit that you were hurt. Name it. If the hurt is some fuzzy concept, you can’t do anything with it.

If you can’t identify how someone hurt you, you can’t really forgive them. Choosing to live your life in hurt and pain is choosing a life of bondage, and you’ve put the chains on yourself.

Acknowledge the hurt. Name the hurt. Then, you can give it to Jesus.

You may not be able to address it with the person who hurt you, but you can address it with the Lord. You can recognize that how you were hurt wasn’t okay, and you can choose to forgive.

That doesn’t mean you’ll forget what happened. It doesn’t mean you will be immediately able to move on. Honestly, it may be better that you don’t, especially if you’ve come from an abusive situation. Forgiveness and restoration aren’t the same either.

Our world is full of Jesus-followers who have concealed emotional trauma all their lives because denying it was easier than confronting it. Stop hiding from your hurt. Stop ignoring that it exists. It’s time to heal. Give yourself the opportunity to do that, and be brave enough to extend it to others.

TWEETABLE
It’s Not Okay, and I Forgive You – insight & wisdom from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-

Finding Fireflies

drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on a mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.

Join the conversation: Are there hurts festering in your heart today?