How awesome the love of Jesus is!
Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.
(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)
As we conclude our introduction to this series, I thought it would be good to look at a basic…
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Until I wrote Out from the Shadows, I thought a caregiver was someone who took care of a person suffering from a disease or disability.
Then, as I thought and prayed about what to share in the book, it took on a life of its own. I originally imagined I would address the complaints suffered by caregivers and offer some encouragement. But as I mulled over devotions I had written over the span of several years and added new ones as God gave them to me, a very different picture emerged.
Yes, some of the devotions addressed predictable issues as burn-out and keeping our perspective. Then a golden thread emerged, one filled with the rich hues of majesty and loyalty and glory.
I realized that a message had emerged from the shadows.
Because caregiving is not gray. At times it is black with despair. Other times it is cloaked in the royal colors of surrender. It always runs blood-red with sacrifice. It is as white as the righteousness of the Savior who bought our freedom and as intense as the daily deliverance from our personal prisons. Sometimes it is hot with tears; other times it rests in the coolness of living waters.
But it is never gray, unless we have allowed our hearts to let go of hope.
Today I realize that caring for others is a universal calling. Caregivers are moms. Dads. Grandparents. Aunts, uncles, children, and spouses.
Caregivers are people who can’t walk away from someone who is hurting.
Our heartaches, struggles, and search for meaning are universal conditions. The golden thread is a common one, running through eternity. The colors of our lives connect us to each other and to the God who cared enough to risk it all for love.
He left His home in glory to walk in the dust with us. He gave away his life that we might live. He has never once left us alone in our hour of need.
God calls us to care in this same way for others. It’s a high calling, a blessed burden, an honor.
This is caregiving.
In her new book, Out from the Shadows, Pam shares how God uses our life circumstances to form the qualities He wants to develop in us. It’s not just for caregivers, but for all who need uplifting encouragement, to continue on a daily basis in loving and serving others. Pick up a copy ($8.96 paperback; $2.99 kindle) today at http://www.amazon.com/Out-Shadows-Pamela-Thorson
Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), released March 28. Pam resides in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Contact her at www.pamthorson.com.
*A note from Amber:
In Pam’s post today, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 12, which teaches us about how we are all connected to each other, as one body, and how we need each other. God has given each of us a unique purpose and individual spirit, yet we are all a part of the same body.
I want to thank Pam for taking the time out of her busy schedule to share with us. God has truly blessed her with words of encouragement and hope. I know it has not been an easy journey for her and her family, and I feel very honored to be able to help in spreading the word about her work, and to call her a friend.
God bless you all! – Amber
I don’t usually write poetry very often, but these words just came into my head after a friend shared a link on Facebook this morning to a song I hadn’t heard in probably 25 years or more. It brought a lifetime of memories, a sea of faces, and then the tears flowed.
While I don’t always know why certain words come into my head, this subject is one that I know too much about, but with all my heart, wish I didn’t.
The subject is drug addiction. And it is one that I have lost too many family and friends to.
When I look back over the years, and remember all the faces of those that I loved that are no longer here, it leaves a heavy and empty space in my heart. I wish I could go back in time, to share with them what I know now. But I can’t.
Perhaps sharing my words now will help someone else, before it’s too late.
And Then the Tears Flowed
I once was an addict. Now I am free!
My Hero & Savior, Jesus rescued me!
Some don’t believe. They say it’s a scam.
If only they knew The Great I Am!
So many have died. So many deceived.
If only they’d known, they could’ve been freed!
Too many friends gone now. Such sorrow to bear!
No one was listening, had no one to care.
The devil’s deceitful, he’s the master of lies.
He’s hateful and laughing, as another junkie dies.
Don’t take that needle, it’s the devil’s dance!
Come to Jesus now, while you still have a chance!
Jesus will help you, if only you’ll call.
He gave His life, ‘cause He loves us all!
His power transforms us. His Spirit fills the hole.
His hope brings back joy that the enemy stole.
An addict’s been cured!
The dead have been raised!
Jesus is praised!
No matter how far down you go into the darkness, Jesus can rescue and save you!
“Jesus glanced around at them and said, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27 AMP)
Have you ever had one of those moments when the phone rings and on the other end is someone in desperate need of consoling? You know, like a family member or friend with a shocking message of being diagnosed with cancer or some other terminal illness, or news of a horrible accident with a seemingly hopeless outcome? Perhaps you, yourself, have had a frightening diagnosis, injury, or circumstance.
Needless to say, it’s not an easy situation to respond to. It is usually uncomfortable, because most of us immediately feel incapable of doing anything useful, no matter how much we may want to help.
Many times over the years I’ve been asked to pray for someone. And I always did. But for a long time, my prayers were more in the form of begging God to “please help”, and I’m not really sure that there was much faith in my heart that God was even listening.
As I studied the bible more, my relationship with God began to change. I started to trust in Him more, even though I couldn’t always understand everything. And my faith grew stronger. This had an impact on my prayers as well. I stopped begging, and started believing. I started believing in the power of prayer, and I started believing in miracles.
Now I need to explain something here. For over half of my life, I lived apart from God. I knew a little about God when I was young, and I had a little bit of faith. But after praying for healing for my grandmother (in my begging and unbelieving way), she died the very next day. And I lost my faith, not understanding, and I chose to turn my back on God. But, thankfully, He didn’t turn His back on me. I won’t go into all the details, but over time, God continued to speak to my heart, calling me back to Him.
I want to share a few scriptures that have had a very strong impact in my faith since then.
The first one, “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths”. (Proverbs 3:5-6 AMP) From these verses, I began to learn more about trust, which is an issue I have always had struggles with. I finally understood, there will always be people that will mislead, deceive, and disappoint me, but God is ALWAYS faithful.
The second verse is, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]”. (Romans 12:2 AMP) After living apart from God for so long, it took a while for me to understand that there were many “worldly” influences that had filled my heart and my head, lying to me about who God is, and limiting my faith in Him. But this verse taught me that I need to ignore what the world says and does, and to constantly renew and refresh my spirit in God through prayer and reading His word. And having a pastor that is dedicated to teaching and preaching God’s truth has been not only helpful to me, but necessary.
The third verse, and perhaps the hardest for me to grasp was “Jesus glanced around at them and said, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God”. (Mark 10:27 AMP) To fully understand this verse, I had to go back to the beginning, to how God created everything. I had to try to picture it in my mind, to imagine such an awesome power. And I had to choose to believe it in my heart, which caused me to feel very humbled by His majesty.
As I said earlier, I now believe in the power of prayers, and I believe in miracles. Not only because of the stories told in the bible, but because I have witnessed them personally.
Many of you may have read my book, “Faith, Hope & Miracles”, where I shared the miracle of what happened to my youngest son when he was killed in an accident, and then brought back to life and fully healed. As thousands of people were praying for a miracle for us, the doctors said there was no hope for my son’s survival, let alone recovery. But when an 8 year old boy comes back to life and tells you what it was like to sit on Jesus’ lap in heaven, things change!
That was a few years ago. More recently, I received a call asking for prayers for a 1 year old girl that had been diagnosed with the probability of leukemia. The first blood test indicated a very low white blood cell count. A second test was done a few days later, and the results were much worse. So a bone marrow biopsy was requested. In the meantime, a network of thousands began praying for this little girl and her family. Before performing the biopsy, a third blood test was ordered. This test came back perfectly normal, no indication of leukemia was found!
At the same time, many of us were also praying for a woman with issues regarding her uterus. At first, x-rays showed a couple of “spots”, so more tests were ordered. These spots were found to be 2 medium sized cysts. Further tests a short time later using a microscopic camera revealed that the cysts had grown to large fibroid tumors. This woman went in for surgery last Monday to have the tumors removed, but the tumors had just disappeared!
There were no medical explanations for how these three individuals were healed. But the bible gives a perfectly clear explanation…Divine Intervention.
I have personally witnessed many other miracles aside from physical ailments. There have been financial matters, legal troubles, marital and relationship struggles, all with seemingly impossible odds. Some have been resolved instantly, others over time. But in all circumstances, there was prayer and faith.
There is one thing that I must make perfectly clear, in order to prevent any misunderstanding. God does indeed perform miracles, and they are all around us, every day. But we must remember and understand, He is God, holy and righteous and all powerful. He is not a “genie at our command” that grants our every request. This is what I did not understand when my grandmother died. Sometimes we do not get what we ask for. God does things according to His ways, and in His timing. Though I cannot explain the ways and the whys of God, I can say with all confidence and certainty that He knows what He is doing, and it is all good. His timing is always perfect, and He is always faithful. We can and should trust in Him completely!
One mistake that is often made is the “I’ll give Him a try and see what happens” kind of attitude. If the wish is not granted as soon as asked, then we say there is no God, or He doesn’t listen. It is the perfect excuse to give up on Him.
I admit freely, it is not always easy to believe and have faith. In fact, sometimes it is downright hard! But it’s not about getting everything we want. It’s about knowing that there is One that loves us so much and wants for us to be with Him for all eternity. It’s about knowing that we don’t deserve to be in His presence, and there is nothing we can do to earn the privilege, but that by His mighty love for us, He provided a way for us, through repentance, baptism and receiving the gift of His Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). We can choose to live with Him, on purpose, following in His ways.
We all have a choice. We can be like the world, unbelieving, scoffing at, mocking and rejecting what the bible says. Or we can choose to believe what the bible says, believing in the power of pray, trusting in His answer, knowing Jesus is the one true God, and we can choose to believe in miracles. What do you believe?