The God of Connections
In this weeks episode, I share first-hand experience of God being the God of connections. The verse that stands out to me for this is in Matthew chapter 6 where Jesus says to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things will be added to you.On the road of life we must have God as our guide. If we do no, we will be unfruitful, unsuccessful, and in a dangerous position. Why is this? Because only God knows the future!Imagine walking down a dangerous path in the middle of the night with no light whatsoever! The first bit of danger you come to will cause you to stumble. Well the path of life that we take in this fallen world is full of danger, but if you are seeking after God, then He will guides you around each of these obstacles, and guide you to the most fruitful end result! While seeking God, you still may not see where the best place to land your foot is on life’s path, but God does, and if you turn where He turns, your footing will be sure!
In this weeks episode, I share just a few stories of God’s orchestration of major connections on my path of life.
Chile for Christ
Missionaries Chad and Ruthanne have been working in Chile for the past seven years. They have learned that being a missionary is more that evangelization, it is also discipleship. “It is more than just teaching, it is listening to the questions, and then answering them according to God’s Word.” They have been teaching the people to dig into the scripture and find out three things… “What did you find interesting? How did you see God? How did you see man?” And then they are taught how to apply it to their own daily lives.
Their story is very interesting… from eating horse at a funeral, to learning to fix your husband’s dinner without complaint. You will be blessed as you listen.
For more information about Chad and Ruthanne, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Caring for Military Families
One of our neighbors is in the Army Reserves and will be leaving for a 9 month tour of duty in Afghanistan. As neighbors we want to be supportive of him and his wife and 3 young children. What can we do for their family while he is away serving our country?
Some of the followers of Wisdom of the Wounded offer the following ideas to those individuals whose spouse/father is in the military and away from home:
Suggestions from Karen: The girl that grew up next door to us has been going through this. I usually talk to her once a week, and some of her friends do really nice things for her: They have helped her with carpooling her kids, and have invited her kids to dinner, but not her, so she had some time off. Two of her friends took her on a special weekend outing for her wedding anniversary and her mom took care of her kids. One of their guy friends takes their two sons out about every other week to do “guy stuff”. When Tim has a Skype phone call, one of her friends comes over to entertain the kids so Heather has some time to talk to Tim alone after the kids have talked to him.
Suggestions from Jeri Mulder: I saw once a “prayer chain” was made. A family made a link for every day the dad/husband was going to be gone. They hung it all around the house and took off one link each day until he came home. It gave them something to do and was a visual reminder of how many more days before dad would be home.
Below are ways to help a parent handle the long list of daily jobs they are handling on their own while their spouse is away:
Laundry duty: Offer to do the laundry. If you have time, offer a “pick-up and delivery” perk.
Grocery shopping: Offer to do the grocery shopping. Slip a surprise in one of the grocery bags like a gallon of ice cream with 3 toppings or chips and salsa or a pizza.
Meal Planning: If a group from her church or neighborhood is interested, check out the website: http://takethemameal.com/. This is a great website packed with ideals for scheduling, menus, recipes and other ways to show you care.
Pack school lunches for kids: When one parent is in charge of everything, packing school lunches for a week or more is such a blessing. Check with the mom on what items the children like and dislike. Again, if you can spread out this responsibility among many individuals, it will not be a burden for anyone.
Be a “Handy Man”: Get someone handy to come over every 2 weeks to do a running “honey do” list of stuff that breaks or needs replacing. What a wonderful gift this would be!
Send children fun care packages with snacks and a small toy or activity or book.
Offer to help carpool once a week or more.
Help them keep a photo journal of everyday activities for the spouse who is away. When he or she returns, they will have a review of all they missed and can get caught up.
For the one serving: Send him or her care packages, updates from home (local newspaper, church bulletin), beef jerky, chewing gum, dice or cards, photos of their family at home, pictures of local happenings (buildings going up, new restaurants, road construction, simple things like local parks, ice cream joints etc.), things to bring “home” to them – a photo of their house, notes about what’s being done to support their spouse and kids.
I should also share that I received a number of “reassuring” pep talks from well-meaning people when they’d ask about my son. Instead of just listening and saying, “That must be scary or difficult or hard,” they would say things like, “He’s in God’s hands,” or “God will take care of him,” or “Don’t worry it will be okay, most kids come back.” None of those things were helpful.
I do believe that we are ALL in God’s hands…however, that provides no assurance that we will be safe from disaster or harm. I did believe God would take care of him. I did not believe God would take care of him the way “I” wanted him taken care of. I was sure God had his eternal soul, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t come back without a leg, arm or with brain injuries. That didn’t mean that he wouldn’t watch friends be killed and have to kill someone else or just wrestle with the pain, extreme anxiety and fear of his own demise in a bad and painful way, or watch others experience that terror (which IS the trauma that my son experienced even though never deployed). There are many casualties in any kind of war. God doesn’t promise those who are engaged in war that God will have a magic bubble around them to protect them from the horrors of war.
No, I did not believe there was a promise that God would protect my son. If there was, then why were so many others prayers not answered? This statement was no comfort. I needed someone to listen to my fear, experience my pain with me and just pray with me.
If you have additional ideas or comments on this topic, please share them below. Do you have a caregiving question? Ask Karen!
Wrap it Up
Today’s post in the fourth and final part of my series on Fear. In the first post I wrote about the most prevalent fear I see in people: uncertainty or the unknown. In the second post I wrote about the antidote to that poisonous fear: faith. In my last post I wrote about courage and how that helps us when we lack faith. However, if we have faith, we need no courage.
So what is faith? For me, it’s these two questions:
Do I believe in God?
Do I believe God?
Do I believe in God? Do I believe he’s the creator of all things? Do I believe that God really has the ability to do anything he desires?
Do I believe God? God has promised me some amazing things:
God will give me eternal life.
God will not give me more than I can handle (even though it may feel like it at times…at times of weak faith in particular).
God will protect me and never forsake me.
But what about Stephen? Stephen was stoned to death, the first Christian martyr. Did God protect him? I think he did. What about our friends and family who have been taken from us by illness or tragic accidents? Did God protect them and not forsake them? I think God did.
Maybe God’s promises are more about our eternal souls than our earthly lives. Colossians 3:2 instructs us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things. So if I believe, and I mean really believe, in God and God’s promises, I have nothing to fear, so why would I need courage?
If God is for me, who can be against me?
That would be an awesome thing. Sadly, the reality for me is that I lack faith in God and his promises at times. That’s the reality for most of us. In those times when we lack faith, we must muster up the courage to do what we know God would want us to do, which will build our faith over time.
How can we muster up the courage to do what God is calling us to do in times of fear?
Spend time with God
Read God’s Word
Spend time with people you know of great faith
Let go of your agenda and get on board with God’s.
God has promised to give us anything we ask for if it is in line with his will. How awesome is that?
I have a friend whose very young son was very sick. It looked like he might die. This was a terrible thought for my friend to face. He had recently lost another family member and was very fearful of losing his son. Despite this, he found the strength to put his son in God’s care. He found peace in the midst of his son’s illness. He found God in this deep and dark place. He didn’t know if God would save his son’s earthly life or not, but he knew some things for certain:
God is God Almighty and can do anything.
God is good even when we don’t understand the bigger picture.
God is faithful…always.
This friend knew that he would be okay with God by his side, no matter what happened. He hoped and prayed that his son would survive, and he knew that either way, God would be with him.
This moment of deep faith impacted the rest of my friend’s life. He now lives a life of very deep faith, in part because he had this moment of great fear and found great faith within himself.
I know most of you are wondering if his son lived. Before I share that with you I want to make a point: The bigger question is did he find faith, and would my friend have been okay—and his son okay—either way. He did find faith, and praise God that his son did live and is now a fine young man.
I pray that each of you has a moment like this—a moment when you need deep faith and are able to find it. I suggest that you ask the Creator and giver of all things that you receive the gift of real faith.
Build your faith this week and starve your fears to death.