Comfort · Coronavirus

Suffering At Christmastime?

This is a re-post from 2012 when my mother-in-law was suffering with cancer and under Hospice at Christmastime. I thought it was appropriate for this year of so much difficulty.

The hissing of the oxygen concentrator is steady, and lulls my mother-in-law to sleep.  I slip in and pull the sheet over her shoulders and turn off the light.  Then lying down in my bed, the monitor in both our rooms in the “on” position, I hear the machine’s hissing, and also her breathing and frequent cough.  I whisper a prayer for her comfort and a good night’s rest for her.  These are the sounds of Christmas in the parsonage this year. 

Some say, “What a terrible time to have a loved-one so sick, here at Christmas.”  I’ll admit that Christmas in the parsonage is usually filled with a different kind of activity – the celebratory kind.  It would include parties, a hot oven putting out all kinds of confectioneries, and a calendar crammed more full than a New York subway at rush hour. 

I also admit that this year will be a different sort of Christmas in the parsonage.  Already it hasn’t been the normal routine of Christmas movies, cantatas, drives through the country to see the lights, or even baking sugar cookies with colored sprinkles.  Instead it’s been about giving our time to my mother-in-law, who has little time left. It’s not been about what I want for Christmas, but about what she needs. Instead of harried schedules, we find ourselves taking time to sit and chat, to ask questions of her, for our own memory’s sake.  “Remind me again how you and Dad met.”  “Tell me about the day you trusted Christ as your Savior.”  We talk about heaven, the things we know from Scripture, and the things we imagine will be waiting for us there.  We sing, we read, we laugh, we cry. 

It is for all this and all other kinds of suffering that our Savior came.  He was born a babe in a manger in order to give us hope for eternity – for what lies ahead that we cannot see.  We know that heaven’s shore is just beyond, and for that we rejoice.  This is why we have Christmas.  This is why Jesus died – to redeem us and give us a relationship with God.  He makes sense of all the suffering in our lives. 

So, really, perhaps Christmas is the best time to suffer.  We have all around us the reminder that Christ came to prevent our eternal suffering, and to keep our current suffering in perspective. 

Looking into my mother-in-law’s room and watching her sleep, I remind myself that this (suffering) is why He came.  It will be worth it all when she sees Jesus.  And just think, she could see Him very soon!  Yes, this is why He came.  Merry Christmas, Mom C.

Refresh your heart with this truth if you are suffering this Christmas.

Coronavirus · gratitude · salvation

Why Coronavirus Inconsistencies Make Me Grateful

I think I’ve shaken my head out of confusion and disbelief more in the last few months than in my entire life.

The reason?

Inconsistency.

It’s centered around the Coronavirus, of course (because isn’t everything these days?).

  • You may not sit inside…Of course we serve inside but you may not sit outside!
  • Only half capacity in store…Only 7% in stadium!
  • Church may not meet…Half the building may be full.
  • Masks are required at all times by everyone…Most of the staff have masks pushed down below their nose.
  • No one may stay overnight at the hospital with a patient…We can make allowances for you to stay.

I could go on, but I think you get my drift. It’s not as much what we have to do, but how inconsistent all the rules are that make this a season of frustration and confusion.

This frustration made me sit recently and think about how thankful I am that my salvation is rock solid. It is all based on Christ Who never changes and on His Word that is forever true! I never have to wonder if He has changed His mind or if there have been new guidelines added as to how to get to heaven! It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Realize I’m a sinner on my way to hell.
  2. Understand that Christ took my place on the cross to reconcile me to God.
  3. Accept Christ as my personal Savior.

All that will never change. Why?

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8

What peace that truth gives! My daily life goes on with a grateful heart. Christ lifted the rules (the law) and saves us by grace!! How blessed we are!

So in reality, I can be thankful for the inconsistencies because it makes me realize once again what a wonderful gift my salvation truly is!

I’m done ranting about the Coronavirus…until I start ranting again. Just kidding. I really am asking the Lord to help me to remember the grace-filled life I get to enjoy for ETERNITY and be thankful instead!

Maybe this reminder will give each of us something to share with others when we start to shake our head again. The world needs to know of our Savior Who is ALWAYS full of grace, and that never changes!

Christian growth · Coronavirus · obedience · Spiritual Refreshment

(Don’t) Follow Your Heart!

Don't Follow Your Heart - A Christian Webcomic
Photo Credit

As our world continues its restrictions and we all find our daily life in a new routine, I wonder if you’re feeling a bit lost?  I’ve been getting up and asking,

“What should I do today? How should I spend my time?”

My flesh (my heart) tells me one thing, the Spirit of God another.  Sadly, I haven’t always listened and obeyed God’s voice.  Why?  The pull of the flesh is strong!  My heart wants me to be lazy, comfortable, at ease, and not pushed into hard things!

It’s so easy to believe that ~

  • I deserve a little extra sleep!
  • I’m too busy to stop and pray.
  • It doesn’t matter if I don’t get to _____ or ______.  No one is going to see it but my family!
  • I’m too exhausted to even think about working on a Bible study.
  • I never was good at memorizing things; forget trying to memorize Scripture!

Continue reading “(Don’t) Follow Your Heart!”

Coronavirus · Prayer

How To Pray During the Coronavirus

c21fb-prayer2bjournal2b001

Good evening, Friends!  I am posting totally out of my normal routine just to let you know that I’ve posted a new video to You Tube this evening.

As I’m sure you’ll hear in my voice on this video, I have a true burden about using the remainder of this during the Coronavirus with our ear leaning in towards the Lord to hear from Him, and also knelt before Him in prayer. If we don’t take advantage of this time to seek the Lord, how can we expect things to be different when it’s lifted?

The video is just under ten minutes long.  I’d love for you to listen and then ask God to help you to apply these simple truths to your own prayer life.

One man in I Kings made a difference because he prayed.  We can be just as effective…but we must pray.

Let’s refresh the world around us by having a heart for prayer.

Lovingly,

denise a