Gift Ideas - Handmade and Other

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Church, Notes from Single Women (Part 2)

Please check out part 2 of Linda Stoll's series about how single women experience the church. This post shares the stories of 4 more single women. Check it out here: "Dear Church - Heartfelt Notes for 8 Single Women - Part 2"

Monday, April 18, 2016

Dear Church, Notes from Single Women

A few weeks ago my dear friend Linda asked me to comment on what I would like the church to know about singles and the church. My response, along with three other single women, is included on her blog in the post, "Dear Church - Heartfelt Notes from 8 Single Women." (Part one) Please check it out and also her calm, peace-filled, and friendly site.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Alzheimer's - There is Hope

Recently, after I wrote "Alzheimer's - Another Face of Grief" someone commented about the hopelessness of the situation. I was taken a bit off guard by the comment. Granted Alzheimer's Disease (AD) has no cure and while some treatments slow down the disease for awhile, there is as of yet no cure, no effective treatment. (I have heard that an ultrasound treatment is being tested in Australia that has had some success. Let's pray that it IS a successful treatment!)

Despite the reality that AD has no cure and my mom will continue to decline, I do not feel hopeless, I do not perceive the situation as hopeless. In fact, I have a great deal of hope, hope that is not based on this circumstance or on change. Where is this hope?

1. I have hope in the fact that one day my mom will have a new body and mind. After she breathes her last breath here on earth, her soul will be transported to Heaven. There she will be united with her Savior who she has loved and served throughout her life. She will be reunited with my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others who have gone on before us. AND she will receive a new, perfect body. Gone will be all the aches and pains, the diseases that have ravaged her mind and body here on earth. She will be able to think sharply, see clearly, and move nimbly.

2. I have hope in the fact that God brings good out of all things that affect those who love Him. Sometimes we have to look closely for the good, careful to be aware and not dismiss it. Often, I think, the good is the transformation God brings about in us as we trust Him through the difficult times. Sometimes it is an action we are motivated to do because of where we have been. The good may look different in each situation, but it is the promise of a God who keeps His promises.

3. I have hope in the fact that God will give us strength and that He will provide. God promises His strength to us, and repeatedly He has given me strength when I have faced difficult times. In the last two years as Mom's decline has worsened, He has shown up over and over as Jehovah Jireh The God Who Will Provide. He has provided caregivers, finances, strength, and solutions over and over again.

We could become entangled in the hope that she will get better, but this is most likely a false hope that will disappoint and leave us empty. Paul of Tarsus wrote in his letter to the Romans, "Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us" (Romans 5:3-5 NIV). My hope is borne not from the frailty of circumstances or the false hope of her disease getting better, but in the God who stands with us and provides for us in the midst of difficult seasons.

May you find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances you face. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Journaling for Stress Management

Stress is our reaction to our circumstances and to difficulties we face. Sometimes stress is good - we feel the pressure of a deadline and the exuberance of a task accomplished on time. Sometimes stress is overwhelming when we are trying to color with too many crayons at once. When stress is negative or overwhelming, how can we manage it in healthy ways?

Journaling is one effective practice to manage stress. Pick up a journal--one you have or if you're new to journaling pick up a plain notebook or a special journal at the store, whatever suits your style. Or turn on your computer or tablet. However, you want to record your thoughts, grab your favorite format and begin.

1. Write it out. Find a quiet spot to sit and just write. Write about what is happening, how you feel, the problems you face, the solutions you need but don't have. Write. Let the words flow from your heart and head out through your fingertips until peace begins to fill your heart.

2. Pray it through. Take your concerns to God. Tell Him all that you're facing and seek His direction, His solutions for your need. You may want to also combine this with reading the Bible. Pay careful attention to the connections between what you pray and what you read. When you see connections, jot them down in your journal. 

3. Surrender it. Concern by concern surrender them to God, expressing your trust in Him to take your burdens and to work them out for you. Peter wrote, "Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you" (1 Peter 5:8 NIV).  And He is able to give you strength when you feel depleted and able to give you solutions when it seems none are on the horizon.

Journaling Prompt: 
In a prayer in your journal fill in the blanks:
Dear Father, today my plate is full with _________________ and I feel _________________. I surrender _________________ to You.