My Daly Outreach Ministries

My Daly Outreach Ministries

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

His Joy

Deuteronomy 31:6(NIV)

  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

The holiday season can be very difficult and painful for many caregivers.  There isn't time for parties or attending even family festivities for the caregiver must remain by the bedside of the one he/she cares for.  The work they accomplish doesn't stop for even Christmas.  I have recently spoken with several caregivers who were very sad over missing special church services, not being able to get any shopping done for family or friends, and from overwhelming feelings of not being able to do all they feel is expected by those around them.  It breaks my heart for I have often felt those same things during this time of the year.  

I must admit that several years ago I got to a breaking point where I realized I was not physically or mentally able to continue all I did during the holidays before my husband Brian became ill.  You may have to do the very same thing.  It is perfectly fine to change traditions and the way you have done things forever so that you can actually enjoy yourself.  I suggest trying to talk with family and friends and if this doesn't work still do what works for you and your immediate family.  This may sound harsh but you must take care of yourself.  If your family and friends don't understand or care how life has changed for you as a caregiver, your holiday may be more peaceful without them.  Also, remember if people ask to help you and its something another can actually do for you, let them!  God may have sent them to be His help to you!  You would never tell God no.  So don't tell them no.  

I also send my thoughts and prayers of comfort out to all caregivers who have lost the ones they cared for this past year and face their first Christmas without them.  This is a very real pain you are feeling.  Don't allow others to belittle it or underestimate the loss you have experienced.  But DO ALLOW God to be your comforter and healer.  His joy can overcome anything including the pain your heart is feeling at this very moment.  Remember, Jesus felt and took it all when He hung on the cross for you. Cling to His love and call His name anytime you need Him.  He will be there and He will never leave nor forsake you.  

He is the true joy of this season.  Let's not allow the enemy to ever take that away from us. Remember, you were CALLED to be a Caregiver and your work is unto the Lord.

 

Monday, November 30, 2015

God Himself Will Provide




Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Abraham replied.
“The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”
 Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.
Genesis 22:7, 8

The closer I walk with God and study the teachings of Jesus the more the Holy Spirit reveals to me through the Word about my own personal struggles and victories.  Take this story for example when God asks Abraham what we all believe to be the unthinkable which was sacrificing his own son.  How ironic that later God would actually be the one who gave up His Son for all of us.

I have read this chapter and these particular verses over and over but just last week they became fresh and exciting to me in an entirely new way.  God has asked something big of me which seems impossible.  I know it won’t be easy and I also don’t have the means for which to do it.  So, I am completely relying upon my trust in Him and His plan and provision.  Don’t get me wrong.  This is NOT an easy time but during it, I have drawn even closer to God and can hear His voice even clearer through daily messages of encouragement and reassurance.  

I love it that Isaac called to his Father.  That is our first step, too.  God tells us repeatedly to call or cry out to Him yet most of the time we barely whisper.  Next, Isaac asked his Father a question.  God never minds our questions and since He is the one who created us I don’t believe the way in which our brains operate is a surprise to Him.  He made us to communicate with Him.  Our Lord is conversational!  It all goes back to being made in His image.  

But now comes the answer which to Isaac didn’t make a lot of sense in the moment but did a little later in his day.  The two were going up a mountain to give a sacrifice to the Lord but to Isaac it seemed they didn’t have one.  Abraham knew that God had asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the son he had waited for so long and loved so much.  God was testing to see if Abraham loved Him more than his own son.  So we read Abraham’s response which explains how “God himself will provide…” even though in that moment it seemed impossible.  In my own moments of waiting I often forget that God is GOD!  I often compare God to a human which is wrong and actually insulting to my Lord.  He is all knowing and the Creator of all.  Because of this, NOTHING is too hard for Him due to the fact He made it all and rules it all.

Just as Abraham readies to sacrifice his own son, God provides a ram in the brush for the offering.  See the wording there.  God provides.  He always does. Even when it’s not done the way we believe it should be and in our timing.  Try and wrap your mind around the idea that God actually knew you before you were created in your mother’s womb, gave you life, loves you, and wants to bless you by providing for you.  After you accept all this for truth life becomes full of joy you can’t explain but want to share.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Opposition

 

 

Job 23:6(NIV)

  Would he vigorously oppose me?
    No, he would not press charges against me.
Let's be completely real with one another.  Okay?  There are days we all face where it seems as if everything in the world is working against us.  There are days when I actually cry out to the Lord asking if He is still there and if He is why He isn't doing something to help me.  (Remember, I said I was going to be honest and that's not always pretty.)

But that's really never the case when it comes to the Lord.  I always go back to Job because his story is one we all should read repeatedly.  Job actually DID have it all.  God loved him and blessed him but then along came the devil.  Doesn't this sound very familiar even in our own lives?  Well, if not for you, it definitely does for me.  

I think back to the days before my husband was diagnosed with a life threatening heart disease and given 6 months to live.  I was a 32 year old wife to the love of my life, living in my dream neighborhood, being a mommy to my beautiful 3 year old daughter. And on top of all that, I was an elementary school teacher, which had been my dream since childhood.  Life was good.  New cars filled the garage, new furniture stood throughout my home, and I wore the latest fashions. Hence, my pre-Job days.

In less than a year the lifestyle I had known changed for without my husband's generous salary and benefits we could not longer afford to live this life style on a teacher's salary.  I must admit I get down sometimes, even now, wondering when all that was lost will be regained as it was for Job but I also know God has never left us or forgotten us.  He continues to provide for our family on a daily basis and I also believe has much we cannot imagine. In fact He reminds me daily through Jeremiah 33:3.

You see, when we are faced with the question Job had of whether God is opposing us, we must stop and remember He would NEVER "press charges against" us but instead paid our ransom by sacrificing His only precious Son, Jesus.

Friday, October 16, 2015

In the Desert



[ Psalm 63 ] [ A psalm of David. When he was in the Desert of Judah. ] You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.
We all understand what this scripture meant to David for he was residing in both a spiritual and physical desert at the time this was penned.  The question I pose to you today is what does this verse speak to your life and your circumstances?  

Unfortunately, I will admit one of the only things I worry about in my life from time to time and experience anxiety from is that of my family's finances.  The enemy works to convince me that it is my obligation and responsibility to provide for my family and that I can never do enough for them in that area.  The truth is it God has not given this task to me for it belongs to Him alone.  Now, yes, I will work and do my part for God honors this but He continues to remind me that He is my family's provider.  So for me, the water within this scripture represents money.

Yes, I actually said the word that Christians don't like to address or confess.  Instead of looking for money in my dry parched bank account, I need to seek God first and keep my eyes on Him.  If and when I am wise enough to do that, He takes care of all our family's financial needs.  He has done it over and over in our family's past and will never leave us or forsake us in the days to come.  

So today I made the choice to focus on Jesus and all He has done, is doing, and will do in my life instead of what I don't have or worry that I won't be able to do.  If He calls me He will equip me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Blessed Are You

 
Matthew 5:11  “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."
  
For years I would read this scripture and wondered if Jesus was confused or maybe fatigued from a journey when He made this statement.  Being blessed in my mind could never include insults, persecution, and lies against me.  The problem remained that I continued to miss the most critical portion of the verse which was "because of me."  

I now understand that if another casts an insult or lie against me because I serve and love Jesus Christ, it really is a blessing.  No, not in the way the world defines a blessing but most definitely the way in which heaven sees it.  Remember, when we are obedient to the commands and direction of the Lord, the devil will act quickly in order to derail us and his most used weapons are insults, persecution, and lies.  The Word of God tell us that he is the father of lies.  

What a shock it would be to the next person who insults, persecutes, or lies about you when you confront them by thanking them for the blessing!  What a great way to steal their power to hurt you.  You can do it with the strength of the Lord if only you ask for it.  Jesus is our greatest defender and always will be.  Leave it to Him and forgive.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

When a Caregiver Gets Sick


 He gives us strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” —Isaiah 40:29–31

What happens to those being cared for when the caregiver is sick?  This is something that we don't think about until it happens but when it does it isn't pretty.  I always say, "I am not allowed to be sick or feel bad."  In actuality that is true for most caregivers, for they must continue on and make sure things get done. 

One example of this would be our family's last vacation where my husband and I both became very sick with sinus infections.  We both sought help at a local urgent care and were both placed on high power antibiotics and encouraged to rest.  Well, for a heart patient this was twice as serious and my husband felt twice as bad which meant he rested in the hotel room for 2 days.  We even tried to cancel our trip but were told we would lose our money, so we stuck it out. 

For three days I took my antibiotics and pain meds and walked around amusement parks and even spent one day at a water park all for the sake of my 11 year old who was supposed to be celebrating her birthday!  I was miserable and don't remember parts of it, which is a little scary, but I did what I had to do.  That's what caregivers do... even when they're sick.

By Thursday of our week's vacation my husband and I were both a little better and were able to salvage the last few days.  I learned a lot that week.  I learned that caregivers never really get a vacation but I wouldn't have done it any differently even if given the chance.  I take care of my family better than anyone else ever will and there are lots more vacations in our future. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Ready for Rain

1 Kings 18:41-19:8

Elijah Prays for Rain

41 Then Elijah said to Ahab, “Go get something to eat and drink, for I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!”
42 So Ahab went to eat and drink. But Elijah climbed to the top of Mount Carmel and bowed low to the ground and prayed with his face between his knees.
43 Then he said to his servant, “Go and look out toward the sea.”
The servant went and looked, then returned to Elijah and said, “I didn’t see anything.”
Seven times Elijah told him to go and look. 44 Finally the seventh time, his servant told him, “I saw a little cloud about the size of a man’s hand rising from the sea.”
Then Elijah shouted, “Hurry to Ahab and tell him, ‘Climb into your chariot and go back home. If you don’t hurry, the rain will stop you!’”
45 And soon the sky was black with clouds. A heavy wind brought a terrific rainstorm, and Ahab left quickly for Jezreel. 46 Then the Lord gave special strength to Elijah. He tucked his cloak into his belt[a] and ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to the entrance of Jezreel.

It was imperative that I include this entire section of scripture in order to really bring my point home. Today I began to prepare for a something that won't happen until three weeks from now.  Even though I don't know the final outcome I believe God is saying yes and continuing to confirm what is ahead.  So I am acting as if it is already decided and I am moving forward.

One of my dearest friends called me today and when I told her what I was doing she didn't laugh but instead said, "You are being like Elijah. You are just preparing for the rain which God has promised!" What a blessing this comment was to my heart for I struggle daily with doubts and fears about the future and what God truly wants for me.  

Elijah must have looked pretty foolish as he proclaimed the rain was coming and that Ahab was to go ahead and prepare when not one cloud filled the sky.  How odd it had to have been to the servant who went SEVEN times to look for a rain cloud until finally one was found.  What an amazing example Elijah is for me as he never doubted but instead spent his time in preparation and in the end we see that, "the Lord gave special strength to Elijah." I want that same strength and know God will give it if I only ask.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Fearfully & Wonderfully Made


This scripture in its entirety hangs in my daughter's room as a reminder of who she is in the eyes of the King of Kings.  She was created and designed to be unlike anyone else on the planet so that she alone could accomplish works for the Master which no one else could ever do quite like her.  The very things she feels are her "problems" are in fact what makes her even more fearfully and wonderfully made.

She has always been small in size, which to many was seen from her very beginning as a negative.  On the contrary God has used her size to her advantage.  Because she is petite people take notice when they hear her speak for her intellect far exceeds her years.  They ask her how old she is which gives her an audience and a platform to be heard.  What may have been seen as a negative God uses as the very thing which attracts people into her arena of attention.

She prefers working alone and hates large crowds of people.  "Oh, this is not good for her." we have heard over the years.  "She needs to be with other kids more!" is another we have grown to ignore.  The fact is that God created in her a personality which thrives from independent work which He then uses in amazing one-on-one ways.  The fact is she likes all age people.  Her best friend this summer was a 75 year old woman at the pool who she talked with and exchanged gifts with.  She also loves small children and they love her back.  And don't get me started on her numerous "college aged" friends who adore her.  She asked me one day why people thought all her friends had to be her age and I told her I wasn't sure. 

She doesn't like athletics.  Now, in her defense she has tried soccer, cheer-leading, and volleyball at some point throughout her childhood only to discover none of these activities gave her heart joy.  She is a creative spirit who loves pottery, baking, collecting crazy things, crafting, painting, and more.  She's also incredibly talented at creating video tutorials on just about anything. What I love is that unlike most kids her age, she shares the things she creates or bakes with others in our apartment building or neighborhood.  Now that's special.

And finally there's having Tourette Syndrome.  To learn more about this visit this link http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/tourette/index.html.  Due to this disorder she has involuntary "tics" or movements.  As well as the physical issues that accompany this disorder she also combats things such as anxiety and obsessive compulsive behaviors.  And due to the anxiety and not to mention having a dad who has fought for his life against heart failure for the past 9 years, she has separation anxiety which she is constantly made fun of for from others.  The way in which she handles all this is just incredible.  She has overcome great odds. But what's hard are those who don't know how to handle it.  When family and educators don't "get it" it can cause great pain for her which stays with her.  Being made fun of because of things you cannot help is heartless and should never happen, but it has.  I believe that God will use her pain and being misunderstood by so many as a catalyst for helping others with Tourette Syndrome in the future.

So I end today by saying that God allows me to raise young lady who I know He will continue to use in BIG ways.  I also pray that she understand HE thinks she is fearfully and wonderfully made and because of that His love and support is eternal.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Recliner Always Wins


1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

During this past week I spent two days and one night with my Dad who underwent surgery to remove a cancerous kidney.  While attempting to rest beside his bed in a hospital recliner I realized that serving God does NOT always mean it will be comfortable or something I enjoy.  Many times I am called into frightening and difficult circumstances which force me to step outside of my comfort zone.

I learned years ago, during many of my husband's hospital stays, that no matter how nice the recliner appears or how far it reclines, you will NOT get a decent night's sleep in one of those contraptions!  The recliner always wins no matter how hard you try or how many pillows you use.  It is not comfortable but it is where a caregiver finds him/herself on many an occasion.  This is the place we hope to rest but instead we find it to be a place we would love to leave and not deal with.

On Tuesday night when I first laid back in the hospital recliner I knew it was not going to be easy but I really didn't care for my location was most important.  This uncomfortable recliner placed me right beside my Daddy so that I could hear his voice when he called.  Serving our heavenly Father is the VERY same way.  When we chose to get close to Him in order to hear His call and then serve Him, it can become very uncomfortable.  It takes a child who is dedicated and loves the Father in order to remain in that uncomfortable place, but in the end the rewards from His call and our service always outweigh the discomfort and the pain.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Rest?... Really?

 

Mark 6:31

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

I read this scripture and it sounds so good.  I think of places of rest I enjoy such as snuggled in my chair with a blanket and a hot cup of coffee.  While this picture seems wonderful the reality is that as I sit in my chair I hear my daughter calling for me from down the hall.  As the delicious coffee reaches my lips my sweet dog jumps into my lap and I struggle to keep the coffee in the cup.  Just about the time I try for the third time to settle in, I hear my husband call me.  Now don't get me wrong.  I adore my daughter, my husband and even that ball of fur, but it can be frustrating to be so needed in the midst of desiring a few quiet moments of rest.

As a caregiver, this increases in intensity and can become even more overwhelming.  The average caregiver will eagerly share with you that they are not "allowed" to rest or have time for themselves.  I understand that feeling fully and unfortunately have made that very same statement many times over the past 9 years as a caregiver.  You spend so much time doing things for others that you and your time of rest can become lost in the list of "to dos".  At the end of the day you meant to spend some quiet moments with the Savior but somehow it just didn't happen.

Rest may not come in the form of a week long vacation.  It may be only 10 minutes alone and you may have to work really hard to make even this short amount of time happen, but please, try for it is worth it.  Jesus tells us in Mark chapter 6 that He wants us to come and be with Him in a quiet place in order to rest.  What a beautiful picture I begin to imagine.  Resting with Jesus sounds like the ultimate yet we are too busy to take Him up on His offer.   Let's make a point in the days to come to find a few moments to spend with the One who gave His all for you and me.

Monday, July 27, 2015

"Yes...BUT Wait"

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord
 
How do we react when God doesn't say "yes" or "no" but instead, "wait"?  The older I get and the longer I walk life's journey with my Jesus, the more I hear Him whisper "wait" but in the same breath He also says "trust Me".  The trusting is what can become difficult when the Lord shows you amazing promises and blessings yet after showing and confirming them to you, He asks you to be content and wait for His timing.
 
I don't know about you but that does not always come natural for me and it is definitely an area I continue to need strengthening.  Call it excitement or impatience, I want the blessings and promises God has for me NOW!  All at the same time, I know that when I wait on my Lord even greater things than I could have imagined come to pass.  God's timing truly is better than my own and when I begin to doubt or question Him I must stop and remember.
 
Remembering God's past timing and goodness only gives me hope and encouragement.  For instance, I am thankful each day that relationships before my husband did not work out for I would have never met and married him!  Each time God has us wait it is because He desires the very best for us.  We are His children and that is BIG!  
 
So the next time God says "wait" I ask that you accept that with gladness for you know something better than you wanted or expected at that moment is going to become a reality in your future.  

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

He Knows

I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Revelation 3

I and my husband have been doing an amazingly eye-opening Bible study this week by John Ortberg entitled "All the Places to Go".  It deals with the open doors that God presents to us each day and the choices we make when He does.  Pastor Ortberg shared Rev. 3:8 early on and it has made a lasting impression on me for only now has this scripture, which I have read numerous times, actually penetrated my heart in a personal way.  And that's exactly what I love about the Word of God for it is living and applicable to my life TODAY and it was written thousands of years ago!  

God knows our deeds or actions and He begins with this as to say, "Okay, Jessica, I know all about what you've done, how you think and the person you are, but guess what?  I am going to love you and do some amazing things through you anyway!" 

 Our Lord uses the word "see" which is powerful for He wants us to stop, look and really take notice.  Growing up when my parents were very serious they would always say, "Jessica, look at me when I am speaking to you." That in essence is exactly what God is saying here.  Then He tells us an open door or opportunity or decision has been placed before you that no one can shut.  I love how it shows God remains in complete control even when it seems the world around us is in complete ciaos. 

Finally God addressed the "elephant in the room" when He says "I know that you have little strength".  Some would see this as an insult but not me.  I see it as a complete relief that my God understands I cannot do it on my own or without His help.  I think its wonderful!  And then just like an awesome parent, God ends by saying I am doing this for you because I have seen your efforts in keeping my Word and not denying that you know Me.  Remember, God began the scripture by saying He knew our deeds which included both of those things along with tons more!

Don't underestimate God and what He can do through you.  Yes, we are all messed up and broken and yes, we all have little strength BUT there's nothing to fear or worry about for we serve a God who says, "I know and I've got this.  All I need you to do is trust and obey."

Monday, July 6, 2015

Judge Him Faithful

"By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." Hebrews 11:11


I absolutely love the miracle of Issac's conception and birth for it shows off the amazing power of the Lord not only as the Creator but also as a very personal God.  You see, when He promised a child to Sarah it was impossible in the natural yet Sarah had faith and believed God would bring about that which He said.  Sarah longed to be a mother yet nothing "she" could do made it happen.  I can relate on so many levels with the story of Sarah for I find myself having similar conversations with God when He places promises and things He wants me to do in His name on my heart while I know full well I cannot accomplish them under my own ability and strength. 

Don't get me wrong.  I am stubborn and I try to do all I possible can to "assist" God with His plans just like Sarah did, but to no avail.  When Sarah gave up trying and allows God to use her as His vessel she witnessed her promise from the Lord become a reality within her life.  God tells us to rest and wait on Him all throughout His Word, yet we struggle and remain frustrated when we need not be.

I ask you today to join with me in making a conscious effort to grow a spirit more like that of Sarah when she released it all to God and waited in faith for His promise to happen.  There are many promises God has spoken to me and I must learn to faithfully wait for His time and His plan.  Sarah judged God faithful and she was proven right.  I long for the same to be said of me.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Power In a Whisper



"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

Yesterday on the way home from North Carolina back to Virginia, my husband Brian said those dreaded words every caregiver hates to hear, "I don't feel good."  We immediately stopped due to him feeling nauseated in order to give him medication for nausea.  While doing this our 12 year old daughter became very upset and began to cry thinking something terrible was happening to her daddy and begging us to go to a doctor or the ER.

I immediately shifted into caregiver mode and reassured my daughter while trying my best to assess Brian's situation all at the very same time.  Did I mention I had a dog in the back seat, too?  Better to laugh than cry, right?  Well, as I entered back onto the highway for still another hour before reaching our destination, I asked Taylor to pray for her daddy.  She did and Brian began resting and waiting for the nausea to lift.

What I loved was during the hour ride I would hear Taylor from time to time whispering, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" aloud.  I have taught her that when the enemy, the master of fear, hears this name he must flee.  What a sweet sound that was to this caregiver and mother's ears.  During a very fearful moment my 12 year old was calling on the name of Jesus to fill our car and help us all.

We did make it home and by the time we reached town Brian's nausea had lifted.  He told me after we were alone later that he all of sudden felt sick and the only way it lifted so quickly was the Lord.  He knows and I do too that there is POWER in the name of Jesus especially when it is spoken by a frightened 12 year old little girl.

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Storm Is Coming

James 3:16 (NIV)

  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

 I can remember vacationing at the lake as a young girl when all of a sudden the temperature would begin to fall and the wind would begin to move.  My dad knew instinctively, without the help of the Weather Channel, that a storm was approaching.  He would jump into action giving us all orders as to how we needed to secure the campsite while he secured our family's boat in the water's edge.  During those days we camped in tents and would all pile into our family's van seeking refuge from what could sometimes be very violent North Carolina summer thunder storms.  

Life is no different.  We can be enjoying our life when all of a sudden we begin to feel the temperature of a room or people change.  We begin to see a shift in a situation very similar to the shift in the wind before the onset of a storm.  Those who are close to the moving and guiding of the Holy Spirit will sense these things even stronger through discernment before any true signs of the storm actually appear.  When this happens it is our duty to begin praying like never before.  This is the time when prayer warriors should drop to their knees and cry out to the Lord for protection and defense from the enemy.  The storms of life are brutal and can leave us beaten and bruised.  They are real and they don't exclude anyone. 

God actually tells us very clearly that we will have trials in this world but to be of good cheer for He has overcome it all!  So, will storms come?  YES, they will!  But, what a hope and comfort we have in that God sends us warning signs before the storm hits so that we can prepare our hearts through prayer, fasting, and time in His Word.  I believe He does this so that we, too, can get our camp secure and braced before the storm arrives.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

God Granted His Request


Jabez was more honorable than his brothers. His mother had named him Jabez, saying, "I gave birth to him in pain." Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let Your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
1 Chronicles 4:9–10, NIV

Do you realize that you are no different than Jabez?  I have to remind myself every day that I am loved no less than any of those mentioned within the Bible.  I also relate to those within the Word of God like the man, Jabez.  

There are days when I feel God may have put me on the back burner.  I never believe He has forgotten me or forsaken me, yet when long periods of waiting occur or suffering enters my life I have to be honest and admit that doubts enter in.  This is how I relate to Jabez.  His very name gave him a beginning of being associated with pain.  Even though much was "against" Jabez, he was still very aware of who his God was and the power of calling upon Him for help and blessing.

When I read these scriptures it is evident to me that Jabez had no doubt but instead came before the Lord with confidence.  He asks for very specific things.  He asks for blessings upon himself and for God to enlarge his territory.  Some believe that is selfish, but not me.  God tells us all throughout the Bible that He loves us as His children and desires to bless us.  

Jabez continues in his prayer by asking God to keep His hand upon him for protection from the enemy as well as keep him from harm and even pain. Again, some like to criticize Jabez by saying his prayers were selfish but I must defend him by saying, no, he isn't.  Do you know how I know he wasn't being selfish or self-centered in God's eyes?  "And God granted his request" is all I need to know!  

I know God will grant my requests as well so I continue to pray with confidence and I pray you will decide to join me.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I Will Help You

For I am the Lord your God
    who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
    I will help you.
Isaiah 41:13

Today marks the 9th anniversary of my husband's diagnosis with congestive cardiomyopathy, or unexplained heart failure.  It is difficult to believe it has actually been that long when I can recount each moment of that night in my head like it were yesterday.  What's funny is that after all this time when I meditate on the events that took place I can still remember the fear I felt that night and the way that Brian looked at me when he thought he was dying.  To be honest it is all pretty surreal and I lived it.  But you see, that's how God works.  He carries us through things that we cannot do on our own.  

Soon after the realization of Brian's situation 9 years ago, God sent our family Isaiah 41:13.  To most the message is simple but to us the message is true and filled with power and an ever present comfort.  To imagine the past nine year's journey without God holding my hand, whispering for me not to fear or Him helping me daily in countless ways is horrifying.  I can tell you today that this scripture is real and God means every single word of it.  How do I know this?  I have lived it for the past 9 years of my life.  I still remember sitting in waiting rooms and in the middle of the night watching Brian sleep and squeezing my hand until it hurt for I was holding His hand as tightly as I possibly could. 

Today I celebrate this momentous day for several reasons.  First, because I have seen through my husband that God continues to be in the miracle business.  Second, because I have a husband and my daughter has a father when doctors told us otherwise.  And third, because God has done some amazing things through our pain for not only our family but for others all around the world.  God really has used what the enemy meant for harm and turned it for our good and His glory.  Today I praise the Lord even more than I normally do for it is a reminder of His great love and power in my life and in yours!