Wow! If there is one word to describe this past year it would be difficulty! As most folks that know me, know that my family takes full time care of my Mother -in-law. Elton is an only child so the full responsibiltyfalls on us for her well-being. She is blind and cannot do much. Well, come September (after a pandemic and Eltons job loss in the oil field) my dad had to bring my mother from New Mexico to my home for full time care. I thought things were hard but this brought a whole new meaning of hard!! My mother has COPD and is on full time oxygen, has dementia,and is bound to a chair. My dad works full time at the age of 78 and cannot take care of her anymore. Let me just say that taking on this responsibility does not just affect me but the whole family unit! I describe it like taking on a newborn baby.There will be bathing,diapering, dressing, feeding, etc. Waking up at 4:30 EVERY day with no end in sight. Some days there is a complete feeling of being isolated and exhausted from the monotenous schedule day in and day out. Since we are still raising kids ( 1 in college and 1 in High School)it can be a challenge for sure. Also seeing someone that was once full of life and gasping for air takes on an emotional toil as well. But I said this to say that life is hard folks! In fact it down right stinks at times, but I'm here to tell you there is Hope amongst the hard! I dont see many folks and I dont get out much because of what we call "our nursing home" LOL, but I cant imagine going through life without Hooe in Christ! I am constantly reminded of James 1:2 to count all our trials as joy. It produces steadfastness. Literally putting one foot in front of the other. Our trials over the last few months have brought about times of great joy also. Knowing that out of obedience honoring our parents it has shown our children "the younger generation "that caring for the elderly honors God and shows us that ALL lives do matter. ( I am currently taking bids on which one is going to take care of Elton and I later in life and no one is jumping on that haha!) Our parents spent countless hours taking care of our needs as children and it's only fitting that we do the same as they get older and in need. This looks different for each family, but it's something we must do. The blessings we have had throughout this journey are many. I am so sorry for such a long response but I did not know how to explain our hardships in one tiny comment section: )
"All my Hope" reveals to me that we ALL have trials. We sometimes focus on ourselves and how hard we have it.....also known as a pity party. But seeing believers outside of your cir le struggling well gives you hope. With a pandemic, the way we communicate may be a little different but to us folks "cooped" up all day, it has brought Community right into the hard places. Thank you FH family for trying to keep us "in the family" with Kendalls weekly messages and things like FH womens group. Ashley has led out in faith and kept us going as a group of women encouraging other women.
God has used several people as a blessing to our family. One of the unexpected blessings has been our Hospice Family and also a new caretaker that helps me 5 days a week with my Mother in Law. Since I live in isolation at my "nursing home" most days, these folks are a bright spot that keeps us all going. One example was at Christmas time. I decided to have and arts and crafts session with my mother LOL! If you can imagine what craft time was like with 4 year olds that pretty much resembles the scenario. Well as usual my projects often involve Elton! So off we go. We made countless manger scenes out of 2X4s and 1X6s. Cutting, painting, mess everywhere!!! But oh the sweet Joy's when my mother was able to give her hospice friends a "gift from the heart". Such and unexpected joy for sure!!! It shows you that even in the mundane and simple living that you can still be a blessing to others through a craft session :)
Often times when we think of seeing "the hand of God" moving we think of seeing "our efforts" wrapped up in a nice little pkg of serving on missions, helping the poor, and traveling abroad preaching Gods word. But I am reminded that seeing Gods hand move is often in the simple, hard, mundane, everyday walk in this short time we have called life. So I believe that the Moving Of Gods hand starts with us being "cooped" up as a church family and loving those around us well :)
I am so thankful for Kendall and his diligent study of Gods Word. During this "season"of hardships for so many folks with a pandemic, chaos in our country, elections, moral decline, etc. We could go on all day about all the things that are disturbing as a Christian in our world today, but it is a stern reminder that our hope is not in this world. What a timely study Kendall has brought to us in Philippians! It is so encouraging to me to open the pages of the Bible and find believers like Paul who finds joy in the hard places. He was bound to a guard day and night, but yet he was encouraging the church by his imprisonment. It gave the believers hope knowing that whether he died or lived it would further Gods message!! To live is Christ and to die is gain. What a great reminder that we can take hold of these words and live out today in faith and joy. We can see the hand of God moving through great men like Paul encouraging the church, by sharing how we struggle well and advance the gospel. Paul knew that God always takes care of the righteous! In Chapter 1 verse 19 Paul knew that through the prayers of the saints and with the help of the Holy Spirit that his hardships would turn out for his deliverance. Whether it be in death or in life! We get so wrapped up in ourselves and focus on the things of this world that are meaningless. We truly can have joy like Paul knowing that if we were to die today it would be better for us. And to live gives us a chance to spread the gospel to those around us! I think we can see the "hand of God moving" when we open our eyes to the truth of Gods Word, and know that by hardships we are pressed to know him more. Like Paul, we can pray for one another and know that joy can be found in it all when we know our eternal destination! May our manner of life be worthy of the Gospel!!