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Archive for June, 2011

“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

As our parents age, many of us face a role reversal and find ourselves parenting our parents.  But because a parent was disabled, ill, or perhaps dealing with their own life challenges there are those who face parenting our parents even from the time when we should ourselves still be enjoying childhood.

This week we continue our 8 week series of women who have faced tough circumstances with interviews highlighting women journeying through the reversal of roles they faced parenting their parents; these women will share how God held their hand.

“When Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was in bed with a high fever.  But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her.  Then she got up and prepared a meal for him.”  (Matthew 8:14-15)

God’s Word is available to guide us through all situations—even a parent living in our home!  You might recall the TV sign-off from a popular show in the 70s and 80s, “Good night John Boy.”  The Walton Family, including grandparents, grown children, grand children, siblings and parents all lived together, worked together and struggled through life issues together.   This view of extended family was unique for many nuclear families in that time period although quite common a hundred years ago.  As parents have aged and with the changing economy, it is once again being seen much more frequently; it has become more common again in society. God’s Word can encourage us through the challenges of this role reversal.

The interviews this week are with women who faced these changing circumstances and how they learned to journey through the challenges with humor, patience, and trust.  Please join our conversation by going to this Daily Devotional link: Role Reversal…Parenting Our Parents.  It is Real Life, Real Women, and Real Truth.

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As a young African-American girl living in Kansas, I remember looking forward to waking up on Sunday mornings and getting ready for church. I was full of excitement as I eagerly watched for the church bus that would pick us up for service. After arriving at the church my first stop was Sunday school. I loved going there because that’s where I learned about Jesus.

After Sunday school it was time to go to morning worship service. I wasn’t as excited about going there, probably because I didn’t understand what they were saying as a child. All I used to think about was, I’ll be glad when this service is over! The African-American worship service could last up to two and a half hours or more. I thought that was too long for me, after attending Sunday school for an hour, which I really enjoyed. Especially considering I really didn’t understand what was being taught.

Finally, after the choir had sung about six songs (every verse included) the pastor would give a sermon for up to an hour or more. Then it was time for each auxiliary to give their report. I was ready to leave!  But even though I was ready to go, we had finally reached the point in our service for food and fellowship, which I loved.  Most Sunday’s at church there was a dinner celebrating the activity of one of the auxiliaries of the church. If there wasn’t a dinner, there was always popcorn, peanut brittle or bakery goods to purchase to help the church building fund. Oh how, I enjoyed the baked goods riding on the church bus back home.

One day when I was eleven years old, I was sitting in a morning worship service and I heard the pastor say that God loved me. The pastor told us we could know Him through His Son Jesus. I had heard this message before in Sunday school. However,  something about the message this day really caused me to focus my attention on what he said. After hearing that God loved me and wanted me to be a part of His family, I said a prayer and invited Jesus into my life. In the Bible, John 3:16 says: For God so loved the world, that He gave His One and Only Son, and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. I may not have understood what all that meant, but I did know that I wanted to be a part of God’s family.

I always wanted a Mom and Dad like my friends had. When I was asked the question of where my mom and dad were, I was never able to give a straight answer. I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone that both my parents had a mental illness. It was because of their mental illness that my grandparents raised my four siblings and me. So, after inviting Jesus into my life and becoming part of God’s family, my family grew. My family unit now consisted of Jesus, my grandparents and my siblings. What a wonderful family!

“Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”  John 1:12,13

Click this link to read more of this lady’s story and the amazing ways God held her hand through truly challenging times.

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“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

      for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

We are beginning week two of our eight story series of women who have faced tough circumstances.  These women were held by God’s hand through various challenges, and this week the story is about how God worked in one woman’s life in her divorce and singleness.  Real Life, Real Women, and Real Truth!  

“For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel.  “It is as cruel as putting on a victim’s bloodstained coat,” says the Lord Almighty. “So guard yourself; always remain loyal to your wife.”  Malachi 2:16

As I faced divorce or contemplated staying in a marriage that was unhealthy, these words haunted me bringing sorrow, shame, regret, confusion, pain, and the certainty that God could never forgive me for walking away from my marriage.

Yet, in the midst of all of those emotions I discovered a loving, generous, forgiving Heavenly Father that brought my head to rest in His loving arms and restored me to joy, health and wholeness.

This week through the Daily Devotional, I will share my journey of discovering the power in the promise of Jeremiah 31:3–“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.  With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.  I will rebuild you, my virgin Israel.  You will again be happy and dance merrily with tambourines.” 

Please come journey with me each day this week.  It is my prayer that my sharing may bring hope and healing, but perhaps you would share some of your own journey with a comment that the Lord God might use to continue the healing of my heart as well.  May today you know the Joy of the Lord is your strength and re-discover how close His everlasting arms of love truly are.  For the rest of this week’s Daily Devotionals, go to this link:  Divorce and Singleness.

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“Though they stumble, they will never fall,

      for the Lord holds them by the hand.”

Psalms 37:24 (NLT)

Through June and July, Given the Time will share eight stories of women who are no stranger to tough circumstances.  These women were held by God’s hand through various challenges and they share how God continues to give them strength.  Real Life, Real Women, and Real Truth!  

It was September 12, 2010 at 6:00 p.m. when I got the dreaded call and every parent’s worst nightmare. It came from a well-meaning friend.

“Carrie, I had some friends call me and they said there was a car accident they drove by and got out to help with. They said TJ was in the accident and didn’t survive!”

My husband, Trent, and I had ridden our bikes into town and had just sat down for dinner. Obviously I didn’t really believe my 16 yr. old son could be dead. That happens to other people, not me. We began calling my son’s cell phone. Then his girlfriend Lydia’s phone, and her brother’s phone as well since we knew they had all just left our house together 45 min ago. No answer. Both Trent and I called TJ’s phone leaving messages.

“TJ, we heard there was an accident, please call us back and tell us your ok!” 

“TJ, this is mom again, I’m freaking out and feel like I’m going to fall apart! Please call as soon as you get this!”

I kept pressing redial and his phone kept going to voicemail. The same with Lydia’s phone and her brother, Roy’s, who was TJ’s best friend and the driver.                                    

I felt sick to my stomach. We got home and got in our van to trace the route they would have taken to youth group where they were headed. When we came upon the scene of the accident, we learned the inevitable.  We stood horrified at the police’s recall of the event. Our son had died instantly upon hitting a tree. Roy had looked behind him for a second and when he looked back up at the road, his jeep had wandered into oncoming traffic. He overcompensated and went into the ditch.

My husband dropped to the ground in agony of losing his best friend. My daughter, Cami and I clutched each other and sobbed. I had never felt such a wave of despair and hopelessness in all my life, and I had been through a lot already in life.

Our minds were reeling as we went to the hospital, calling all of our friends and family on the way. Suddenly we realized how Roy, only 17 years old, would be handling the fact that he just killed his best friend and sister’s boyfriend.  When we got to the hospital, we asked to speak with Roy, who was in a separate room with his parents. They were waiting for Lydia who was in emergency surgery, and had been airlifted to the hospital. At this time she wasn’t expected to live.

Roy’s parents reluctantly agreed to let us meet with them and Roy. We knew TJ would have been so upset if Roy’s life would have changed for the worst now. So we hugged him as we all cried, and assured him that this was not an accident. TJ was only meant to live 16 yrs. God knows our given time on earth before we are born. He gives and takes away, and we are honored to have been his parents for as long as God let us have him.

Lydia, TJ’s girlfriend, was in a coma for 4 days and missed TJ’s funeral. She was shocked to hear that he didn’t survive because she said that he had visited her in the hospital and he was fine. I don’t know if it was the drugs or if God let them say good-bye.  All the emergency personnel were shocked to hear that Lydia was back in school after 3 months and without any brain damage. She is a miracle. But she is heartbroken without the partner she thought she would eventually marry.   I began to emotionally and mentally let him go last summer as God laid that on my heart and mind. But Lydia had just opened her heart to TJ. Please keep her in prayer as she still doesn’t understand why God wouldn’t let her go with TJ.

Our reaction to Roy and his family was not heroic. Could I have dealt with thinking my kid’s life was cut short? What would he have been? He should have gotten married and had kids. Was he “jipped” out of his life? No. That was never supposed to happen. TJ did what he was meant to do. He accomplished God’s purpose for his life. He ran a good race and finished first in our family! (Now he’s probably gloating. He was always first and early for everything.)

To continue reading Carrie’s story and hear more details of her journey through the traumatic death of her son, please go to this link on our Daily Devotional page:  Loss of My Child.

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