My friend knows from experience she is not alone in this struggle; Jesus is there, guiding, listening, healing.
Why I am saying ‘Just Because’ a lot more these days…
(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by veteran Diva Rachel Myers. Love Rachel’s ‘just because’ outlook in this season of her life! Be encouraged by this devotional.)
My husband and I recently took the kiddos up to NYC for the day. We did not have any grand Broadway tickets, fancy dinner, nor high-end shopping spree in mind (well… it might have been in my mind, but that’s the only place it was). We simply gathered the kiddos into the car on any empty Saturday morning and headed from the Philly Suburbs up to NYC… ‘Just Because.’
My family is doing a lot more ‘Just Becauses’ lately. I used to be very good about taking the kiddos places when they were younger. As my kiddos have gotten older, school, church, sports, dance, and electronics have crept into our daily lives and we tend to have less family outings.
Yet, last year my world stopped in May as my 100% healthy, bursting with life 73-year-old dad turned gravely ill within 24 hours, suffered dearly and took his last breath 3 months later due to a rare version of the Shingles Virus. Dad was my pillar of support, beloved best friend, moral compass and best babysitter ever. Since my mom has Alzheimer’s, I was honored to be the one by dad’s side every single day of his battle. Dad and I had a bond like no other, and I truly believe that God blessed us both with the gift of those 3 months to help us each endure the impending loss.
Prior to becoming ill, dad would jump at any opportunity to go on an adventure no matter how great or small. After he worked tirelessly to provide for his family, he had just a moment to relish retirement. Dad was willing to book any next vacation just as quickly as he would throw on his brown loafers when asked to grab a quick ice cream with the grandkiddos. Once dad fell ill, he never could use his body nor mind, again. He never left a hospital nor rehab facility, and he most certainly had no more outings.
It is so hard to not take things for granted. It’s human nature. I preach to my own kiddos that they take so much for granted as I look around their rooms, backyard, lunch boxes, schools, churches and more! Yet, I too, take so, so, so much for granted. I get annoyed when my K-cup machine water vessel is blinking, and I must walk all the way over to the facet to refill before my freshly brewed coffee can arrive in my cup within 60 seconds. Yet, I watched dad lose his ability of mind to make coffee, hands to refill water, legs to walk, and mouth to swallow. Dad was just one of the hundreds of patients that I came across during his battle in the hospitals and continue to encounter as I walk the halls of mom’s long-term care living facility. Both dad and mom are not the only ones enduring a state of without.
I continually refer to the experience of dad’s illness as ‘game-changing’. It has made an imprint on me and I am forever changed. I WISH I could walk a life where I continually feel so blessed and grateful for every breath, moment and thought that I take. I WISH I could be that perfect mom that so thankful that she has 2 darling, healthy kiddos even though they are in a moment of bickering and driving me crazy.
Yet, I can say for sure that I look at life oh so differently now. I know that dad is in Heaven and wants me to live this life to the absolute fullest and embrace all of God’s great gifts. So, the ‘Just Because’ outings are happening a lot more in this household these days. Every time I take my kiddos somewhere ‘Just Because,’ I know that I am honoring my dad and feel so very grateful that I have the mental, physical, financial, and spiritual ability to do so.
So, NYC baby… Here we come!!!! We snapped a quick family selfie in front the Hudson, let my youngest run in the water fountain, grabbed embarrassingly, huge, street vendor pretzels, headed to Central Park, purchased pounds of candy from Dylan’s Candy Store, and wrapped up with a delicious dinner at the famous Angelo’s Pizza. All of this… ‘Just Because.’
I bet that this special NYC memory would not have been made prior to the death of my dad. I would have let that Saturday go, and got a few extra loads of laundry finished. I now thank God every day for the ‘just Becauses’. I make an intentional effort to fill our lives with special blessings and more importantly have fun in the simplest of moments, as it is the ultimate way to honor my beloved dad and praise God for His great glory.
I transitioned from Corporate America to stay home with my kiddos, and recently received my Masters in Education to teach at my church PreK. I suffered the horrific loss of my beloved dad this past year, and continue to walk the journey of caring for my mom with Alzheimer’s. Despite my difficult times, I feel more connected to the Lord than ever. I feel called to find my purpose, make a difference, and foster a sense of community in God’s love that will lead, inspire and nurture myself as well as others. Dealing with the loss of a parent, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, navigating through long-term care living facilities, raising a Christ based family within the everyday community, and deciding if I want to go to Barre or Yoga are just a few of the pieces of the puzzle in my life right now.
Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.
This is a guest poem by veteran Diva writer Ana Nunez. A little over a year ago, Ana submitted a devotional called “Fully Known and Truly Loved” (read that here.) and this year, she said she was working on some poetry. I feel like Ana’s poem, “Where There Is Peace” is such a good companion piece to that first devotional about God’s love for us!
[This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. Another wonderful devotional from Agnes that forces us to face the question…are you easily angered? Plus, she just released a new book this weekend, Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success. Congrats, Agnes! ]
Are You Easily Angered?
Anger is the result of unmet expectations – some expectations are unrealistic and some are right. Regardless of the type of anger we are dealing with, the Bible cautions us in (Ephesians 4:26-27) that in our anger we should neither sin, nor let the sun go down while we are still angry and not give the devil a foothold in our lives.
Oh, how Satan loves to torment and destroy our testimony with the spirit of anger. I know this because I was once afflicted with this vile spirit. I was easily angered by life’s situations and circumstances. By the grace of God and daily surrendering my life to Jesus, I intentionally walk in victory from the spirit of anger.
My friends, we cannot fix the situations and circumstances in our lives that lead to anger by trying to put a distance between us and our past. The more we try to, the angrier we become. We must intentionally choose to learn from the life of David by:
- Allowing our anger to draw us nearer to God – (Psalm 142) reminds us that David’s hope was in God and so should ours – even when we do not know how God will take care of the situation.
- Letting Hope defuse our anger – this can be accomplished by starting an honest conversation with God, asking Him to show us what’s underneath our anger and choosing to put our hope in God, not the outcome of the situation. (Hebrews 6:19).
Christ follower, ask the Holy Spirit to destroy every spirit of anger in your life.
If you are currently not a Christ follower, please accept Jesus into your life today and He will give you a hope that can change the future.
All glory to God!
Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals
[Closing Editor’s Note: If you have any questions about accepting Jesus into your heart, or just want to talk about Jesus, as a Christian this is my duty! 🙂 I would love to help answer any questions as best I can. My contact info is below.]
Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime.
I was almost home when I turned the corner and continued to down the street. All of a sudden a black cat darted from one side of the street to the other. At once my mind said, “Oh no! That’s bad luck!” I quickly realized the thought and rejected it. “I don’t believe in superstitions anymore!” I said back to the thought. I continued, “I believe in God’s word not in superstitions,”
Have you ever been stressed? I would imagine most of us have been or currently are under a lot of stress. Life is stressful and messy at times. When you combine “ex” with “stress,” you get “ex-stress,” which means without stress. How can we live without stress?
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos. Please check out her last guest story here. So it’s February and we are still beginning our New Year…but maybe you feel like you’re struggling with your resolutions, or maybe in a rut. I felt like this was the perfect time to place this devotional on Transformation from Agnes.]
Are You ready for a Transformation?
My friends, as we still begin a new and glorious 2018 that the Lord has blessed us with, it is noteworthy to give God all the praise, honor and adoration for His provisions that include our life, health, physical, spiritual and emotional needs. So, take a pause with me as you read this month’s devotion and meditate on (Psalm 148).
What is transformation? The dictionary defines it as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Personally, I like the Biblical definition in 2 Corinthians 3:18.
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
So, what gets in the way of our transformation? In my experience, SHAME is the number reason. Again, the dictionary defines shame as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Friends, there are two types of shame – (a) a well-placed shame that comes because of our disobedience and (b) a misplaced shame that comes because of not meeting standards.
Regardless of the of the type of shame we are confronted with, to live a transformed life this new year, I encourage you to:
Break the cycle of shame – by accepting you can’t change the past. There are many things in my past that have caused me great shame but I am emboldened by the word of God in ( 2 Corinthians 5:17) that I am new in Christ, the old is gone and the new is here.
Do the work of forgiveness – by simply confessing your sin(s) and making a total turn around and not touching that sin again. Be intentional about your decision by staying away from behaviors that will lead you down the path you have forsaken (James 5:16).
Do the work of freedom – by embracing the reality that God can forgive and remove your shame and that Christ can and wants to change your future – after all, that is why He died on the Cross of Calvary. The Lord reminded me recently not to allow my past to weaken me – how cool is that! (Isaiah 43:25).
Christ follower, live in transformation this new year and let God manifest His glory in your life.
If you are currently not a Christ follower, the first step is to accept Him as your Lord and Savior and He will help you begin the work of transformation in your life.
All glory to God!
Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP).She is the author of God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals
We had a wonderful holiday in Paris. We did about a week in Paris overall, with 3 days in Paris (including a trip to the Palace of Versailles) and then the rest at Disneyland Paris (and traveling) because we have a major Mickey Mouse fan on our hands. This post is just about the first half in the city, which really was romantic.