My Daly Outreach Ministries

My Daly Outreach Ministries

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Caregiver Christmas Challenge

Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

With the beauty and celebratory time of Christmas right around the corner, I come to you this month with a plea or what I call my “Christmas Challenge.”  As we focus on finding the perfect gifts, baking our treats, singing our favorite carols, and spending time with friends and family, there is one small thing I would like you to do for me this year.  Philippians 2:4 says, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”  I would like you to give some serious thought about the interests of at least one caregiver you know.

It could be the parent you see each day at your child’s school who cares for a child with a special need physically, mentally, or socially.  It could be the woman in your church who takes care of her spouse who may live at home but couldn’t make it without her full time assistance.  Or maybe it’s the man you know who visits the nursing home daily to check on his dad to make sure he is safe and eating each day. Still yet a professional caregiver that works in a doctor’s office, a hospital, or in a rehab facility.  The examples could go on and on, but hopefully by now you have a person in mind. 

I am asking you to take the time to do something special for this individual in the month of December.  Maybe you could go and sit in their place so they could have an hour to themselves?  Maybe you could take dinner to their house one night that they don’t have time to cook for their own family?  Maybe you could mail them a card of encouragement filled with scriptures?  Maybe you could take them for coffee and ONLY listen to them talk?  Maybe you could find out what they really enjoy and make or purchase them a special gift?  Maybe you could call them and remind them that you see what they are doing for another and that you are praying for them? 

Caregivers give and give until many times there is nothing left.  It just dawned on me that maybe if I reminded all of you how much caregivers need encouragement and love maybe this Christmas you could personally share the love of Christ with a caregiver who desperately needs to experience it.  I would love to know what you did if you wouldn’t mind emailing me and sharing.  I promise this small act of love will not go unnoticed.  You will be amazed at what it will do for not only the caregiver but for your heart, too!  I thank you in advance and pray that your Christmas will be the best you’ve ever experienced!  

Monday, November 25, 2013

How Did God Love You Today?

I wonder how many days pass us by that we never really stop and notice God showing specific acts of love toward us?  I am completely guilty of this or I wouldn't ask you!  Today, I stopped long enough to see several simple yet powerful ways God chose to express His love to me.  

First, I found out this morning that during the Thanksgiving holiday week at Liberty I was able to park directly in front of my building instead of walking my normal one mile trek! This was especially wonderful since it was 23 degrees!  Later in the day I found a penny on the floor of a classroom where I was a participant in a training session.  For over a year now when I see pennies I am reminded of God's promises and love due to my dear friend, Gena O'Neal.  Later in the afternoon, our entire library staff was treated to wonderful snacks and again they were two of my favorites which were cookies and hot chocolate!  To make it even better, the hot chocolate was from Panera Bread!  When I packed my things to return home this afternoon, I realized once again, with a smile on my face, that I didn't have to make my mile walk, which is all uphill in the afternoon, but instead only had to walk across the parking lot to my car.  On my walk I stopped to take in the beautiful Christmas tree and tress that were covered in lights along the road in front of my building.  I love Christmas lights and they evoked happy feelings and memories.  Upon going through the mail, once I was home, I found a card addressed to me.  I opened it to find a note of love and encouragement from my sister, Maxine.  It just said that she loved me and was praying for me.  What a great way to end my day with a love letter from God!

Each of these simple experiences today could have been overlooked or even ignored but today I took the time to see each one for what they were.  Each was an example of how God showed his love toward me in a specific way.  I encourage you to notice these acts of love within your own day for it will humble your heart that God actually loves you so much that He takes the time to do special things just to make you happy.  I also challenge you to find ways in which you can be the vessel God uses to show His love to another like the card my sister sent me in the mail.  Simple acts can equal amazing results if we only allow Him to use us!  

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Reliving the Past

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 1 Corinthians 5:17

Yesterday, our family took somewhat of a pilgrimage.  We went to visit with friends who daughter is a patient at UNC's Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC.  We were very excited about seeing them because we have not since September and so I really hadn't thought about what type of effect going to this particular hospital would have on me.  

As I drove into the parking lot, I became flooded with memories that were not pleasant or warm.  Then as I walked into the lobby I felt a sense of anxiety for everything looked, smelled, and remained exactly how it was only 4 years ago when my Taylor was a patient.  

The elevator served as a time machine that seemed to be taking me back to those very moments when we spent a week of our lives here watching God perform a miracle in our daughter's body.  As we walked onto the floor and into the room it was all so familiar.  Taylor turned to me and quickly said, "Look, Mommy, she has butterflies on her ceiling just like I did." I was able to keep it together but almost lost it.  I was amazed that she remembered things like that from so long ago.  

We had a wonderful visit with our friends and God gave Brian and I both His strength and power to focus on encouraging others instead of focusing on our past and painful memories.  I know God can do the same thing for you.  God wants us to use what He has brought us through in order to encourage others who are experiencing very similar things!  Don't be afraid.  He will do it and the results are fantastic!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hold On

I recently studied Acts chapter 27 and I was amazed at what God revealed to me about caregivers through this story of Paul.  I always love to study this man of God for he was the most unlikely to have been chosen by God and I see myself in that same light.  I wonder all the time why God would have chosen a woman from North Carolina whose only dream in life was to be an elementary school teacher to be a voice for caregivers all across the world.  Are you like me and every wonder, “What was God thinking?”  God chose all of us to do a specific and special thing in this life and once He reveals it we must embrace it and trust Him fully.

The way in which I connected with this story began when God called Paul into situations that never seemed to come easy for him.  This is the point where the southern girl in me says, “Bless Paul’s heart!”  Here he stands with a passion for Christ and for people to give their lives to Him through salvation, yet he once again finds himself in a terrible situation.  He is sailing for Italy on the Adriatic Sea for he knows God has called him do so.  That’s how our lives can be, too!  God called me to ministry for caregivers but  doors to speak and share what He has given me to share don’t always come very easily or from where I think are best.  This is where our obedience comes into play and it becomes our decision to either follow where He says to go or refuse and miss awesome opportunities to serve Him and others.  Many speaking engagements I was least excited about in the past turned out to be the very best and most influential to the ministry all because God chose them and lined them up instead of me!

In Acts 27:20 the Word tells us that, “When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days and the storm continued raging, we finally gave up all hope of being saved.”  I have felt that same way after days, months, or even years of praying for God to intervene in my raging storm with no visible results.  I, too, have felt like giving up on the dream or vision that God had given me because of being in the dark about what His plan was for my life.  Finally, Paul tells us that, “On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic[c] Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.” Acts 27:27  I have been at this point as well where I felt that the storm was coming to an end and I could sense the end was in sight yet day after day what I had been praying still did not happen.  This can become a very frustrating time for us as believers.  We know God is always faithful for He has been in the past yet waiting for His perfect timing can be agonizing! 

Paul and the others on board the ship finally get close to land but still not to their final destination when, “the ship struck a sandbar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf, “in Acts 27:41.  What?  You mean after enduring and surviving the horrible storm for all that time they have gotten this close to the land and the ship runs aground?  I would have been crying out at this point to the Lord for sure!  In fact, I have done that so many times as a caregiver.  I can remember my husband, Brian, having operation and procedure after another believing each one was going to be what would slow his heart rate and begin to heal him only to find that it was not a success and we had to try something else.  Paul doesn’t stop in seeking what God has promised him and neither should we!  I never gave up hope that my husband would be healed but at the same time I did not know how or when. 

Paul told his fellow passengers they were to jump off and swim or either “were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely,” in Acts 27:44.  I love it that Paul told them to get to their destination with whatever means they had.  Even though their ship, which can be our life as we know it, had fallen apart, he wanted them to know that they could still make it with the pieces that were left.  Caregivers are no different.  When I became a caregiver my boat definitely broke into a million pieces and I can still remember days when it was hard to even wake up and face my situation.  I have made it to shore over and over as the many storms of life have come upon me.  God has never left me nor forsaken me and nor will He you. 

Had Paul not kept his eyes on God’s promise everyone on the ship may have been lost but because he continued to trust, they were all saved.  Paul did make it to the place God had promised and so will we!  Amen!  Praise the Lord Almighty!  

I am now in love with this story because it is real and applies directly to our lives as caregivers today.  This is why I am so in love and stand amazed at God’s holy Word, the Bible.  It is timeless and relevant in our world today just as it was in the days it was written.  How precious we are that our God loves us so much.  God went to the trouble of writing His promises down for us to read and re-read as a teaching tool and a weapon in our defense for a life full of storms.

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Must Read

I just finished this awesome book and I had to share it with you.  Ruth has always been one of my favorite women of the Bible but after reading this book I also feel in love with Naomi!  Then there was amazing Boaz, who just represents our Lord completely as he not only redeems Ruth but loves her and provides for her, too!  That's exactly what Jesus does for us!  I love it!

This book takes the book of Ruth step by step as if you are invisibly watching all the events of Ruth's life take place right before your eyes.  You feel the emotions, good and bad.  You sense the desperation and the joy of these followers of God.  You see that life isn't always what we think it is or going to work out the way in which we planned it.  What we do see is that God's plan is always the best and God actually does use all our "bad" for our "good."  

Ruth had a lot going against her but God used her to continue the family line our our Savior Jesus Christ.  Because Ruth chose to follow God and be obedient, she became a blessed woman and forever a part of Christian history.  We may never know what our choice to follow God and be obedient to Him will mean in the future of others and the kingdom of God.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Caregiver's Last Resort

 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
March 9:17-24

I have read this story many times over my lifetime,  yet until recently God had not revealed to me the connection of this story to caregiving.  The father mentioned here had suffered for years taking care of his demon possessed son.  After receiving no help or relief, has come to his last resort which was Jesus.  Let me stop here and ask, “How often as caregivers do we look to all other sources of help before we, out of desperation, turn to our last resort of Jesus Christ?”  I know I have done this and have to continue to remind myself to turn to Jesus as my first source of assistance, so don’t beat yourself up!

This father addresses Jesus and explains his situation and circumstances to him.  He explains to Jesus that he went to other people for help, which were Jesus’ disciples, yet they were of no help.  I like that this caregiver father was real with Jesus.  Many times we approach the thrown sounding good and looking good when all the time Jesus knows our hearts and knows what’s really going on, so why aren’t we truthful? 

Jesus responds to this caregiver by commanding him to bring his son to Him.  I want to shout when I read this for God still wants us to bring the ones we care for to Him.  He wants us to not only trust Him but trust the care of our loved ones to Him.  Jesus also asked the caregiver some very serious questions.  First was, “How long has he been like this?” which shows us that Jesus has an interest in what is happening in our personal situations and in our suffering.  It causes me to think that Jesus could read the eyes of this caregiver and sense the years of despair and frustration that lied within.  Our God has a heart of compassion for His children.  The father replies by explaining how bad things are and begs Jesus to take pity on them and help them if He can do anything.  I stopped with conviction when I reread this for I know many times I used to pray, “God, if you can do anything, please do it now.”  How silly and insulting that must be to our Father God.  The words “if” and “God” don’t belong together at all!  We must approach our Savior and Healer with confidence and assurance instead of doubt and half hearted hope.

Second, our Savior tells the caregiver that if he only believes his son can be healed.  Thankfully the father realized the power he is before and openly admits that he believes Jesus can do anything and we read of his son’s healing.  Wow!  I love the power of Jesus Christ and the way in which He uses it graciously and amazingly in this caregiver’s life and in ours, too. 

This healing was immediate, which all of us would like if given the choice.  For me, I have been praying for my husband’s healing over seven years, now.  I will tell you that healing is taking place yet it happens over time and didn’t happen all at once.  In fact, my husband is still not completely healed in the natural realm but we have already claimed his full healing and thank God for it daily.  We also have set backs when Brian is feeling bad or has slow days and still fear can creep back in.  During those times, we remind ourselves of where we were and how far God has carried us in order to stay focused on Him. 

I love this caregiver father for he not only accepted the call to care for his son, but also loved his son enough to carry him to Jesus.  Caregiver, don’t ever underestimate the power you hold in bringing your loved one to the throne of Jesus Christ daily.  Jesus cares and He is waiting for you just like He was that day when this desperate father brought his demon possessed son to the healer.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Valley Behind Us

Be ready in the morning, and then come up on Mount Sinai. Present yourself to me there on top of the mountain.

For over seven years, my husband and I have gone through the hardest times of our lives.  We have faced death, illness, financial insecurity, depression, anxiety, fear, and heartache.  We have also seen the love of God through others who have stood by us and helped us in ways that continue to amaze us.  We found hope, comfort, love, and gained a renewed faith in a God we loved but didn't fully trust.  We learned more about God and ourselves than we could have ever imagined. This time was definitely a valley in our lives.

Today our family was blessed to take a short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway and took in all the beauty God has created there.  We have now lived in Lynchburg, Virginia for 9 weeks and daily see why God has called us here for this new season.  As I looked back at the pictures we took today, this one really stood out to me.  I saw more than just me and my husband, Brian.  I saw that we were standing high above the valley!  We were on top of the mountain.  We see in the scriptures that God called many of his people to the top of a mountain, so we are excited because He has called us out of the valley and to the mountain top in many ways!

Each time a person met God on top of the mountain, miraculous things would happen!  I am blessed to have stood on top of this mountain today with the valley behind me!  I also never forget that I stood with my husband and best friend that according to the best doctors in the country should not be alive!  God never left us in the valley and He continues to stand with us on the mountain top, too.  God had plans that we could have never dreamed possible, but we are loving every minute of it!  Don't ever underestimate God's power and where He can take you if you only obey!