As caretakers, we face the grueling tasks of caring for our special need loved ones day after day, with no end in sight. While our situations may be difficult, tiring, frustrating and overwhelming, God is in the midst of our trials (Ps 46:5). He promised never to leave or forsake us (Joshua 1:5); but we ask ourselves, “What do we do when the road keeps winding and there is no straight path”? The answer lies in the words of Apostle Paul, who stated that we need to be “Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2 kjv). He gives us strength, hope and peace (Ps 28:7;John16:33) even in our difficulties.
Do you know that you and I are free from the burdens that others place on us or the burdens we place on ourselves? We are free from our current and past issues that have held us captive (Gal 5:1). We obtained our freedom because Jesus suffered and died in our place, rose triumphantly from the grave on the third day, and is seated on the right hand of the Father interceding for us all (Rom 8:34). Scripture states that God will bring with Jesus those of us who have died in the faith (1 Thess 4:14).
Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Tim 6:15); He is the head of all principality and power (Col 2:10), and just as He died in our place, He has stood in our place to be our burden bearer and to be our overcomer (John 16:33). May we cherish and relish Easter Sunday, a reminder of Jesus’ resurrection, where He was victorious over death.
In my busy schedule, I manage to do these four steps to improve my daily life.
1. Meditate. Begin your day with prayer, reading of the word, and meditating on the Lord. Jesus is the light of the world and those who follow Him will not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). Understand that you can do all things in Christ who strengthens you (Phil 4:13). Regardless of your current or past life-issues, you have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Co 15:57; 2 Co 2:14).
2. Establish a time line for your daily activities by recording them in a daily planner. Here you will record your appointments, meditating times, exercise times and the many things you plan to do. List only what you believe you can accomplish daily.
3. Exercise. If you chose to walk outdoors, stretch at home or exercise at the gym, you will find that exercising will cause you to increase strength and improve your health and happiness. I enjoy the gym because I like talking to people there and talking for me, is therapeutic.
4. Drink a Smoothie. I start my day with making and drinking an eight- ounce glass of delicious smoothie. There are various ingredients people may put into their smoothies, but I like to include berries, apples, greens, nuts, carrots and other ingredients. You may want to speak to your health-care professional if you are allergic to nuts or if you need to curtail sugar in your diet.
Please send comments. I will appreciate them.
Joan M. Blake
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By Joan M. Blake
As parents of special-need children/adults, we face continual life-issues which do not go away. What do we do? Where do we go from here?
1. We should pray and find solutions to our problems.
2. We should continue doing exciting things for God
3. We should reach out to others who are going through similar challenges
- We should pray and find solutions to our problems. Before finding solutions to our problems, we must face our challenges with love and patience. We must remember that these children/adults are ours, and that God gave them to us. We must pray and put our situations in God’s hands. At best, we should find solutions to the various problems we face, by considering the severity of the issues our children/adults face and by determining what we need to do to help them. Do we need to consider in-home care, and if so, for how many hours during the day? Should we consider a day program or other alternatives if available, so that we could have time to attend work or have time during the day?
- We should continue doing exciting things for God in addition to praying and trusting Him. Do you have a prayer partner? Do you know people who need prayer? Do you call others during the week to encourage them? As caretakers, we get so busy with our own issues, that we forget that people need people
- We should reach out to others who are going through similar challenges. When we do so, we operate as a team; we gain ideas from one another; we get encouraged and feel better about ourselves. Please join me as we purpose to become a support group of encouragement.
In the past years, we have seen and heard of the massive devastation that hurricanes Harvey and Irma and other hurricanes have caused in the Caribbean and how hurricanes have affected areas in Florida and other states. Excessive rain led to flooding and winds that resulted in trees, debris, houses, cars, boats being thrown around. Residents have had to prepare for the storms by boarding up their homes and businesses, and seeking safety in shelters. But the worst was, the aftermath of the storms, when people returned to their homes and found that they had lost everything and had difficulty picking up the pieces of their lives. Although Massachusetts’ residents were not hit as hard from these storms, my husband and I got a taste of what an aftermath of a storm was. In 2018, my car was totaled when our tree fell on it and my husband’s car needed repairs. The following is a discussion of how physical and emotional storms have similar characteristics and the four ways that you can brace yourselves from the storms of life.
Characteristics of a physical or an emotional storm:
- You want to seek shelter from the storm
- Every storm has devastating effects
- There is lost from the aftermath of a storm
- You must pick up the pieces of your life after the storm.
Ways to brace yourself from the Storms of life
- Whether you have been through a divorce, a death of a loved one or still caring for a loved one, you have been through emotional storms or still going through a storm, and people do not understand why you are overwhelmed with life. The Almighty God is your shelter (Ps 91:1); He knows your pain, your weakness, and you can turn to Him to help you through your difficult times.
- The person who is not going through divorce, separation, the death of a loved one or the caring of a loved one, has no idea what you are going through. You feel the devastating effects of your storm and may feel lonely, exhausted or guilty, but in turning to the Lord, you can receive strength and peace (Ps 46:1; Phil 4:7).
- You may feel emotionally lost by your divorce from a spouse or the death of a loved one, but God promises that He will never leave or forsake you (Deut 31:6). You may be tired from caring for a loved one, but God reminds you not to be weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you do not lose heart (Gal 6:9).
- You may feel overwhelmed by picking up the pieces of your life, but by turning to the living God, you will be renewed; because God makes all things new (Isaiah 43:19).
What was your past like? Your past could have stemmed from situations such as domestic violence, chemical dependency, or emotional pain that have lingered and impacted your current life. To move from your past, you must know and understand your past, forgive those who have hurt you, and forgive yourself.
Understanding your past includes looking for reasons that you were in the situations. What got you in a domestic violence situation? Maybe you experienced fear that allowed you to stay in the situation longer than you anticipated. What issue or issues you were facing in your past that have contributed to your feelings of loneliness, anger, fear or abandonment today?
Your current feeling of abandonment or loneliness may have resulted from the actions of your parents who had a problem with chemical dependency or by a parent who left the home intermittingly. Now, as a husband or wife who has experienced rejection for the same reason listed above, You find yourself not able to love your spouse. From your past examination, you found out that you have not forgiven yourself.
It is not too late to forgive the person/persons who have hurt you as well as yourself. Simply, go to God in prayer and ask him to forgive you for harboring unforgiveness in your heart against the person/persons who have hurt you. Also, ask God to forgive you for blaming yourself for the mishaps. Matt 6:14 states that if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
I have written this article with the purpose of helping someone who may be suffering from emotional pain and wishes to go to God for relief. I have no background in medicine/ counseling and this article is not a substitute for medical treatment and/or counseling.
Joan M. Blake (Author)
God wants his children to live a blessed life, but there are steps each of us must take to do so. These steps include reading and studying God’s word, praying and worshiping God, being thankful for the blessings God has given us, and loving others.
When we read and/or study the Bible, we recognize the many blessings that God has for us. For example, we learn that we are blessed with every spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Eph 1:3). Jesus came to set us free from sin; it is by grace that we are saved and not by our own doing, for grace is a gift from God (Eph 2:8). Because Jesus died in our place and rose again, He sits at the right hand of God as our high priest forever interceding for us (Rom 8:34). Jesus is our peace and hope (Eph 2:14; 1Tim 1:1-2); He came so that we can have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
When we commune with God through prayer and worship, we receive God’s blessings as He takes our burdens and comforts us (Matt 11:28). We also understand how much God loves us (John 3:16), how He is patient toward us (2 Peter 3:9) and how much He forgives us (Eph 4:32).
Our communion with God also leads us to be thankful for the many blessings that God offers us. We thank God for the little things as well as the big things. For example, we thank God for good health and strength, for food on the table, for a job so we can provide for our families and for the blessed life He has given us.
Lastly, God wants us to love and treat others with kindness. When we love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:31), God is pleased with our actions.
A blessed life includes reading and studying God’s word, communing with God through prayer and worship, having a spirit of thankfulness, and loving others. May God bless you.
When you and I are going through difficult moments, some of us feel alone, hopeless, and wonder whether our problems can ever be solved.
We forget that we are not alone, for God is always with us (Isaiah 8:10; Ps 139:7-10; Ps 46) and He promises never to leave or forsake us (Deut 31:6). Although He knows our difficulties (Ps 139:4), He desires to communicate with us.
We feel hopeless when we fail to activate our faith and believe God during our most difficult times; but God can, and will come through for us. He has done it for me after twenty-two years of praying and waiting for Him to heal my Special Needs daughter. While her healing is not complete, I have noticed positive changes in her life. Most importantly, God has been working diligently on me and I thank Him for it.
God has not forgotten you; He has a plan for you (Jer 29:11). Be patient, pray continually, praise God, and give Him thanks ( 1 Thess 5:17) for what He has already done.
To experience a healthy life-style your mind, body, and spirit must be working closely with each other.
You need to understand who you are and what your purpose is in this life. Even with knowing these truths, at times, your mind operates in doubt and it is a place where you need to visit often to understand if you are operating in God’s will. Understanding God’s love and relationship to you as a Father to a son or daughter, is crucial to your experiencing and fostering a healthy life-style and having a mind of peace, love, humility, confidence and strength.
The state of your body may tend to affect your mind. It is important to eat the right foods such as essential fruits, vegetables, lean meats, a gluten-free diet while avoiding junk food, to maintain a healthy life-style, to have a strong body, to have energy, to experience weight loss, and to have overall good health. Your body is a temple of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19) and treating your body well helps your mind and spirit.
Those three tiers, mind, body, and spirit, all interact. If your life is short of a spirit-filled life, I believe that your mind will not operate at its best and may affect your body. If on the other hand, you are experiencing a spirit-filled life, you are happy; you exhibit joy in helping and sharing your life with others. We conclude that having a healthy life-style must incorporate a healthy, mind, body and spirit.
The above views are simply my views and may not be the views of others.