Thursday, August 26, 2010

Weep No More

I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in My people;
The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her,
nor the voice of crying.
Isaiah 65:19

Once again the Lord has used an entry in C.H. Spurgeon's Morning and Evening Devotions to speak to my heart, I wanted to share it with you.

The glorified weep no more, for all outward causes of grief are gone. There are no broken friendships, nor blighted prospects in heaven. Poverty, famine, peril, persecution, and slander, are unknown there. No pain distresses, no thought of death or bereavement saddens. They weep no more, for they are perfectly sanctified. No “evil heart of unbelief” prompts them to depart from the loving God; they are without fault before His throne, and are fully conformed to His image. Well may they cease to mourn who have ceased to sin. They weep no more because all fear of change is past. They know they are eternally secure. Sin is shut out, and they are shut in. They dwell within a city which shall never be stormed; they bask in a sun which shall never set; they drink of a river which shall never dry; they pluck fruit from a tree which shall never wither. Countless cycles may revolve, but eternity shall not be exhausted, and while eternity endures, their immortality and blessedness shall co-exist with it. They are forever with the Lord. They weep no more because every desire is fulfilled. They cannot wish for anything which they have not in possession. Eye and ear, heart and hand, judgment, imagination, hope, desire, will, all the faculties, are completely satisfied; and imperfect as our present ideas are of the things which God hath prepared for them that love him, yet we know enough, by the revelation of the Spirit, that the saints above are supremely blessed. The joy of Christ, which is an infinite fullness of delight, is in them. They bathe themselves in the bottomless, shoreless sea of infinite beatitude. That same joyful rest remains for us. It may not be far distant. Ere long the weeping willow shall be exchanged for the palm-branch of victory, and sorrow’s dewdrops will be transformed into the pearls of everlasting bliss. “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Heavy Hearts

We are agonizing over the next step with my Gigi. I have been blessed to have an extremely close relationship with my grandparents growing up and into adulthood. There are not many of my most significant memories in childhood and young adult life that do not include them. As a married couple, Chad and I have spent 11 of our 16 years of marriage, together with Papa and Gigi. This relationship has been an invaluable blessing to us. Our children do not know life without them. Mitchell was 3 and we had no other little ones when we first had the privilege of living together. We were always on the same property with their “traveling home” parked next to ours and now we have lived together in this home for almost 4 years. Our hearts desire ALWAYS has been to keep both of them with us until the Lord called them home. Even when Gigi was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease our desire remained the same. Sadly, we are recognizing that for at least this stage of the disease, this might not be a possibility. As Gigi’s Alzheimer's has progressed, so has this stage of aggression. It is one thing to simply be dealing with confusion, hallucination, paranoia, hygiene care and so on but, unfortunately for the last few months, she has become quite physically combative and hostile towards my Papa and us. While she is tiny, every once in a while she can still pack a mean punch and for my Papa, who is essentially helpless in his wheelchair, that is not good. She is still mobile and he becomes an easy target. Most days, morning and evening dressing and undressing, mealtime and much of the day in between have had hours of agitation and hostility that we struggle to control. There are many days she refuses to eat or drink a single meal or any meal, and of course mostly refuses the medication that would help calm her. When she does agree to eat or drink, we are able to slip her medicine into what she is eating but there is truly no consistency in this situation. We have worked hard with the information we have learned about dealing with this stage of the disease, we have tried and are still trying different medication, and we have some help coming in but at this point, we are truly feeling helpless and the struggles are beginning to wear us down. We recognize that we have reached a decision making time as either homeschooling or our care for Gigi will have to be different this year. We know that we simply cannot continue to do both and we feel strongly that we cannot sacrifice our conviction to home school, so we must make changes as we can, as heartbreaking as it is. Simply entertaining the thought of having to move Gigi, is devastating to us and the final decision will not be made without much prayer and heavy hearts. We are currently learning about all of our options including Hospice, dementia homes or even simply respite care. Her physician had mentioned Hospice to us during her last visit, with the understanding that she may not yet meet the criteria needed to bring them in. We have had initial contact with them and will have an evaluation sometime this week or early next and they will determine if she is ready or not. If she is not able to stay at home with us, we are trusting that this move will only be temporary. Even if we have to place her in a home for a little while, our hearts desire is and goal that when this difficult stage is over and she enters the last stage of her disease we will bring her home again until the end. We are praying and trusting the Lord to bring about what He desires in this situation. Very possibly the Lord will supply the perfect solution and we can continue to care for Gigi at home, but for now we feel led to move in this direction.

I cannot express enough how we appreciate your prayers, words of wisdom and encouragement. These are uncharted waters and the ocean ahead looks vast and deep to us. We have been immensely blessed by the circle of support the Lord has given us both practically and prayerfully and we are exceedingly grateful for each of you both near and far.

Psalm 9: 9-10
The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed,
A refuge in times of trouble. 
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;
For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You.

The JOY of the Lord is my strength

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Mercy of God

Psalm 52: 8-9
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God;
I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will praise you forever because you have done it;
and in the presence of Your saints I will wait on Your name,
for it is good.

I was compelled to share the words from today’s morning entry of C.H. Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotions. I hope the beauty of God’s mercy hits you anew as it did me this morning.

Meditate a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His mercy as in the matter of it. It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; His mercy is like Himself-it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy. Some things are great, but have little efficacy in them, but this mercy is a cordial to your drooping spirits; a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds; a heavenly bandage to your broken bones; a royal chariot for your weary feet; a bosom of love for your trembling heart. It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, “All the flowers in God’s garden are double.” There is no single mercy. You may thing you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies. It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, yet far from it being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave thee. If mercy be thy friend, mercy will be with thee in temptation to keep thee from yielding; with thee in trouble to prevent thee from sinking; with thee living to be the light and life of thy countenance; and with thee dying to be the joy of the soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Another year

Isabelle and I shared yet another year of birthdays…I love that our birthday’s are so close together! Isabelle celebrated hers at the campout on Saturday with a beautiful birthday cake that a sweet friend, Brenna, made for her. Chad surprised me on Monday night with a small gathering of some dear friends to celebrate my special day. Isabelle became a “double digit midget” …the big 10… and I turned…well… another year older and continue drawing ever closer to the inevitable 4-0!

I asked Isabelle what she has learned this year…..”much more cooking” she replied, “I love cooking more than Math…that’s for sure!” She mentioned quite a few things….she has learned a lot about Alzheimer’s disease and how to better care for Gigi and Papa. She immensely loves her sewing lessons with Mrs. Dickson and accomplished a beautiful baby quilt for a dear friend’s baby boy (for whom we are anxiously awaiting)… and she mentioned that JD can scream really loud …I thought she already knew that! She is enjoying her journey through the New Testament, and devouring the Trailblazer series of biographies. She has a new found interest in the Leave it to Beaver show and has developed quite a fondness for our puppy, Rocky. 

When I reflect on what I have been blessed to learn and be thankful for this year… there are truly so many thoughts that flood my mind.  My Savior’s faithfulness is written even deeper on my heart, His care for my burdens ever fresh in my thoughts. He continues to assure me that His steadfast love never ceases and His mercies never come to an end…praise Him that they ARE new every morning. I am thankful for a deepening love for His word, in particular 1 Peter chapters 2 & 3; and that in spite of my sinful self, He continues to graciously use His sovereign hand to mold and refine my heart, life and will into what He desires of me. I recognize and praise Him for the heartache that brings about His desired changes and that in all and through all He pours out His perfect peace. I am blessed to live under the humble, strong and godly leadership of my dearest and best friend. To be the bride of this patient, gentle, longsuffering and kind man is my privilege…I have much to learn from him. I appreciate the beauty of seeing my children grow in stature and heart. To experience times of difficulty and joy with them, to be lavished with their love and receive often their swift and abundant forgiveness is one of my greatest blessings. To have been given these 36 years of hearing the voices of my dear grandparents, experiencing their “I love you’s, kisses, hugs, Godly heritage, friendship…. and the honor of caring for them another year. For the love of family, the continued wisdom and encouragement of older women, the sweetness of a beloved church body, and the treasure of rich friendships…..Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

The beautiful birthday card Chad drew for me!