Changing of the Guard

by Michele McCarthy

The ambulance was already headed to the hospital when he called me. He pressed me to go get his car. Only dad would be more concerned about his car than the fact he was in an ambulance. I assured him I’d retrieve his car, but right now I needed to know the hospital to which he was headed and why. He told me he’d fallen at a restaurant, and when he saw the angle of his foot, he knew something was broken.

An unexpected call from your elderly dad from within an ambulance is a tad unnerving! Yet I felt the peace of God settle over me. We had grandbabies for the weekend. My husband took over their care as I punched my sister’s number and headed out the door. Even as I drove to him,  I prayed for Dad’s healing and cast my cares on the Lord.

Dad had fractured his hip, and surgery was scheduled for the next day. His surgery went well. But the medicines wreaked havoc on a man of 89, who rarely took a pill his entire life. From his recovery forward, he had fits at night, believed he was being held captive, and was tormented with foot cramps.

During his eight days in the hospital and three weeks in rehab, he only managed to take a few steps. Progress hadn’t come as we thought it would.

In a matter of minutes on that fateful day, I had been thrust into being responsible for the man who parented me well. The changing of the guard. Roll reversal. My highly active, rental-property-working dad needed significant help. It is a situation most of us will face at some point in our lives, but not easy for either party. I was determined to remain a child who honors her parent.

Since he wasn’t walking yet, after rehab, we transferred him to an assisted living facility. His mind never seemed to recover from the trauma or the meds. He talked of his childhood hometown and a Mexico work facility. He thought he saw his great grandmother and wanted to introduce my grown boys to their great, great, great grandmother.

He hadn’t been there but a few weeks, when I felt the Lord tell me to bring him back to his home. The calm and peace I felt assured me it was the right decision. After phone calls, meetings, and paperwork, we brought him back to his freshly scrubbed, rearranged, and restocked house. Happy to be back in familiar territory and in his own chair, he seemed like he was on the road to recovery. He was less confused and making progress.

Everyone faces the unexpected. Many face far worse than an elderly parent’s broken hip. In fact, we are promised there will be troubles in this life. But when we put our trust in God, when we trade our yoke for the one Jesus gives, we find rest (Matthew 11:28). Fear and worry have no place in a heart that trusts God.

Before I understood my identity in Christ, my full inheritance, and the abundance of His love and goodness toward me, finding rest and peace felt elusive. They felt more like a denial of reality. But now peace is a place where I dwell—anywhere and anytime. Like Jesus, I can sleep through the storm and proclaim, “I trust you Jesus for direction and answers. Thank you for the good You will bring out of this situation.”

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

michele mccarthy

About the author: Michele McCarthy is married and a mom to two sons and Gigi to five adorable grandchildren. She is a Texas Christian University graduate with a degree in Education. She attended Lifestyle Christianity University in Watauga, Texas. Michele is a co-founder of LWT (Living Write Texas), a Christian writing group for women. She loves reading, painting, all things witty, and hot fudge sundaes.

In Michele’s new book Aunt Ida Clare, Rosalina is not quite sure what to think of their new babysitter. Aunt Ida is quite the sight. Rosalina’s Daddy calls her flamboyant. Aunt Ida Clare shares the purpose behind speaking life-giving words to an unsuspecting brother and sister. She is positively the best thing to happen to these impressionable children.

Join the conversation: Have you learned to trust God in other kinds of trying situations?

Are You a Butterfly or a Slug?

by Doris Hoover

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.                                                                                                                                                    Matthew 6:34 NIV

 A Monarch butterfly flitted from one flower to another. Then it lifted on the breeze and fluttered through the garden, light and carefree. Enchanted by its graceful movement, I got lost in its happy world. The tiny creature seemed to be dancing on air currents, free from any kind of worry.

I wished I could feel as weightless as that fluttering beauty, but a family situation weighed heavily upon my shoulders. I felt more like a slug than a butterfly. I was creeping beneath a load of concerns. Even though I knew the Bible instructs me to cast my cares on the Lord, I was so consumed with my burden, neglecting to look up to see Jesus offering to help me.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25 NIV ). He directed his disciples’ focus onto the birds. They never plant seed or harvest crops, yet they have food to eat. God faithfully provides what they need. Each day they wake up singing delightful melodies, content in where God has them. In fact, they seem as happy and unburdened as butterflies.

Certainly, you and I carry legitimate burdens. Some issues, like health problems or the loss of a loved one, are so intense we can feel overwhelmed with distress. Life can be a challenge, but the Lord doesn’t want us weighed down with worry, crawling about like a slug. He doesn’t want us obsessively mulling over our problems, analyzing them from every angle, fearing the worst that could happen.

The Lord asks us to look at Him instead of our grim scenarios. The future is not for us to control. The only one who has that kind of power is the One who holds the future. He wants us to hand Him our heavy hearts. He can bear the weight that crushes us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

So how can we take hold of the rest Jesus offers? Through prayer. By giving our burdens to Him as we sit in His presence. Prayer is a divine passageway that brings our worries into God’s realm in exchange for peace for our troubled hearts. And as we do, choosing to trust Him with every concern, the Holy Spirit fills us with a sense of wellbeing. We feel lighter knowing we don’t bear our troubles alone. The One who has power over our circumstances is sharing the load.

As I watched the Monarch butterfly flit among the flowers and listened to the birds sing that day in the garden, I thought about the power of prayer. Closing my eyes, I asked the Lord to take care of the issues that weighed me down. I leaned into His strength. My shoulder and neck tension relaxed and I could feel my spirit rising above my burden. I was no longer a slug. As I released my worries to the Lord, I felt as light and carefree as a butterfly dancing on the breeze.

TWEETABLE
Are You a Butterfly or a Slug? insight from Doris Hoover on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

doris HooverAbout the author: Doris Hoover lives in Florida, but she also spends time along the coast of Maine. Her passion is discovering God’s messages in nature and sharing them with others. You can visit Doris at captivatedbythecreator.com. 

Doris’ book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional invites you to step outside to discover the treasures God places around you. She leads you to beautiful places in her home town. Her poetic descriptions and beautiful photography draw you into moments that will stir your heart.

Join the conversation: Is something weighing you down today? How can we pray for you?

Plumb Tuckered Out

by Cheri Cowell

My grandpa would come in from working outside, sweat dripping from his nose, his shirt covered in dirt, and breathing heavily. Grandma would bring him a cold glass of water and ask if he was okay. He’d smile and say he was good, but he sure was “plumb tuckered out.” My sister and I would giggle, because we could see exactly what he meant.

After working in my own yard today, I know how he felt. I looked just like my Grandpa–sweat dripping from my nose, covered in dirt, and certainly breathing heavily. There are actually many things that make me feel “plumb tuckered out.” House cleaning, grocery shopping, and my day-to-day job tasks are all physically wearing. I can also feel this way while serving my family, even though it is a joy.

Likewise, I can easily become tuckered out in doing good, giving and giving, and caring and loving. Lately, I’ve been tuckered out with the prayer burdens of others–it seems there are so many needs coming from everywhere. I may not be covered in dirt and sweat, but my spirit is huffing and puffing.

The Bible calls this being wearied and burdened. God knows the limits to our strength and offers a prescription. We are to call on Him. Whatever life throws at us, call on Jesus. He is our tall glass of water. He’s our warm bath. He’s our encouragement.

When you’re plumb tuckered out, come to Jesus and He will give you rest.

So what does that look like? If my Grandpa had just stood there holding the big glass of water my Grandma handed him, it wouldn’t have done any good. In order to receive refreshment for our souls, we must drink the water. That means sitting still and listening, or taking a next step on an unfamiliar path. It might be getting rid of something we were never meant to carry. Sometimes it means drinking in the Spirit with an attitude of praise and thanksgiving.

There are many ways we can align our life’s rhythm with His, but it takes getting our mind off of what we are doing and drinking the life-giving water only He provides. The Scripture below reminds us that when we notice the signs of weariness, we need to do something to address the need–to restore out souls and change our rhythm. Jesus is our Tall Glass of Water. Are you drinking Him in?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28 The Message

cheri cowellAbout the author: Cheri Cowell‘s Bible study, One Story, One Mission, One God, shares how God’s mission has been the same from Genesis through Revelation. To learn about this and Cheri’s other books visit www.CheriCowell.com

Join the conversation: How do you refresh your weary soul?

Photo by Caju Gomes on Unsplash