Desiring a better country…

October 19, 2022 as Mother lay in her own bed, in her own home, with family keeping vigil, she drew her final breath. She left her earthly country home for her heavenly country home. Her life here may have spanned a hundred years, but it was never designed to be her permanent home. It was never meant to be. Her earthly life was the proving ground for the home God was preparing for her in heaven.

As a young adult she gained citizenship into her heavenly country by accepting personally Christ’s death and resurrection. Then lived out her life guided by the precepts of her destined heavenly home. Expectedly, the growing up years of my siblings and I were flavored with these principles.

Therefore, the celebration of her transition to her new country home played out against that background. A background that colored all that we experienced in the present with the shades of God’s love and plans for us individually. As she loved her family unconditionally, she represented the unconditional love of God for His children. While we messed up on more than one occasion, all of us knew that Mother’s love and forgiveness was as constant as the sun rising. It’s the same with God.

During Mother’s home going and celebration of life afterwards, reminders of God’s tender care of those He loved continued to unfold. The fulfillment of Mother’s longing to live in her own house in her declining years and to transition from there to her heavenly home was, I believe, God’s gift to her faithfulness. God’s finishing touch was in holding back the predicted rain and gifting us with the splendor of a exquisite autumn day as we said our final goodbye’s at the cemetery.

Family bonding grew even stronger as we came together to celebrate her life. It was family that conducted the funeral. So we all were intricately woven. That’s God’s plan is it not, to bring family together in such times to share the strength God has given each of us. And in doing so, we are able to go out from that place stronger than when we came. Maybe even finally to have the realization to lay aside those choices that have distracted us and prevented us from honoring God with our lives. Or even blocked our way to understanding what it meant to have a personal relationship with God.

Mother’s home going reminded all of us that life in this earthly country is not permanent. The day WILL come when we will experience the outcome of our personal choices here on earth. It’s unavoidable. Desire a better country, as Mother did.

The Season of Caretaking…

Advancing to the season of caring for elderly parents has the potential to create a major shift in how we live and even view life. Suddenly, long anticipated plans must be reconsidered. Adjustments in the ebb and flow of daily routines must be rearranged. Physical accommodations of living space need to be appraised. Financial aspects of this arrangement require careful planning. It’s a load that at times can be overwhelming. Our enemy is ever present wielding his weapon of choice in taking advantage of the negatives of this shift to darken our outlook.

But though our focus might be tempted to see only what seems to be an ever lingering uphill climb, we can take measures that will foster a new balance. There are many helpful resources that we can draw upon to provide what is needed to care for our elderly parents. Yet, the main resource, the one true extinguisher of such darkness, is located in the Bible. It’s the map that will guide us in the choices we need to make and how to deal with the problems that arise. For instance:

When we reach the point where we don’t know where to turn, it’s the lamp that will light our way.

When the sacrifices arise that we willingly or unwillingly have to make, we need ‘how to’ advice on what that looks like.

When the logistics and the daily in’s and out’s of caretaking, begin to weigh us down we need a place to cast those burdens.

When we feel we just don’t have what it takes to handle this upheaval in our lives successfully, we need a place to turn to to regain our strength and footing.

And sometimes we just need to be reminded of who we are truly serving.

Yes, sometimes God calls us to a season of caretaking that requires a great deal of self-denial, And even in that there is a source of joy to be discovered.

May my heart never grow tired. . .

As I grow older, I’m 73 at present, there are three particular verses of Scripture that have more of an impact on me now than ever before.

Isaiah 46:4

Isaiah 46:4, Even when you are old I will be the same. And even when your hair turns white, I will help you. I will take care of what I have made. I will carry you, and will save you.NLV

As the changes assault my body it sure lifts my spirits to know that my God changes not. The older I grow the more I will need help. And who greater to supply that than the One who made me. The help and care He showers on me never ceases.

Ruth 4:15a

Ruth 4:15a, He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age.HCSB

What do I have to look forward to as I age? According to the verse in the book of Ruth, God’s plan is to renew my life. I have already discovered how God manages this for me through my children and my grandchildren. The blessings He has given me in additional ways sustain me continually. There are multiple evidence on a daily basis of God’s efforts to sustain me. IF I have the eyes to see them.

2 Corinthians 4:16

2 Corinthians 4:16, So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. ES

And this verse is my anchor. Yes, I can’t do what I use to do. And no matter how much I dislike it or complain about it, it will continue to wear out. Additionally, a negative complaining attitude will draw my focus away from the renewal process of God’s intent.

* * *

I read recently about a 101 year old Laotian man who for 80 years has been a follower of Christ. For many of those years he has served as pastor of a large congregation. But as his body weakens, he is no longer able to pastor. Instead, he occasionally opens services with prayer, and continues to visit and pray for those who are sick. Here is his perspective on growing old.

“My heart has just wanted to serve the Lord since I was 20 years old. Now I am tired physically, but my heart is not tired for the Lord’s work. Though my outward body is declining, I pray my inner self is renewed daily.”

May my heart never grow tired of serving my LORD!