Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘blessings’

Hands On


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Today I am headed to provide respite for a wonderful daughter and her dad who are caregivers for their mom and wife. They make it possible for this lovely lady to be in her home. She is a sweetheart, but Alzheimer’s is robbing her slowly, day by day, of her ability to function independently. Hands on care is such a gift! Whatever we can do to take care of our caregivers, we should do as often as possible. Give them a respite occasionally. Who knows, I may be that person tomorrow – that person who needs 24/7 care in order to remain in my home. God bless you, dear readers. Reach out to someone today!

When Troubles Shower You


Today’s sermon was titled, “Out of the Whirlwind.” It was presented by a guest pastor, Rev. Carol Shellenberger.  As is my habit, I listened to the message and took notes poetically. The message was based on Job 1:1, and 2:1-11. Through my filters and personal experience, here is what I heard her say:

Job was faithful and blameless.
He was upright, loving and kind.
God was praising him to Satan,
“Job’s the most respected man you’ll find.”

Satan told the Lord, “Job is protected;
He has everything and is richly blessed.
If you take it all away from him,
He will curse you to your face like all the rest.”

So God allowed Satan to do whatever
Against all he owned, and eventually to him.
For 37 chapters, Satan took his health and wealth.
Job’s life was gruesome; he felt doomed and grim.

Finally in the 38th chapter, God spoke to Job.
Essentially His message was, “I am God, you know?
Where were you when I made the earth?
Who are you to talk so much and question so?”

It wasn’t God telling Job not to complain.
It was God setting boundaries and establishing power.
God is indeed all-powerful, The Omnipotent.
Job responded, “No one can oppose your mighty shower.”

It is alright to shout and complain
When life showers you with troubles galore.
God doesn’t promise you freedom from trouble;
He promises you PEACE and so much more.

I know my notes only partially reflect the message the preacher intended today. But, I think I caught the flavor of her message. Job has always been a troublesome book for me. It doesn’t paint a very pretty picture of God. Not the loving, compassionate God I want to turn to in time of trouble! So, when troubles shower you, how do you find comfort in studying Job? Misery loves company? Job survived it so I can, too? Nothing is so bad that with faith and perseverance, we can’t endure it?

I have a friend with a brain tumor. Her pain is so intense some weeks that a shower is not possible. The water hitting her body hurts too much. There is no cure. It’s inoperable.

Another friend who was the caregiver for her mom who had pancreatic cancer, lost her five-year-old daughter in an accident just weeks before her mom died. A month later my friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A cousin whom I dearly love has been through the trauma of bankruptcy. She and her husband lost their home and their business in the recent economic downturn. From a position of wealth, security, and family harmony, she suddenly was homeless, broke, and facing marital difficulties as a result of the financial strain.

You have friends or loved ones, family members, neighbors who struggle against seemingly insurmountable odds, too, don’t you? How do they cope? Some take seem to manage better than others. What makes the difference? Job cried out to God, but he never lost faith. He complained bitterly, but he never stopped believing. In the end, God replaced his home, his animals and crops, his wealth and his health. The family he lost could not be replaced, but he found new love and he found peace again.

When troubles shower you, the message of Job is this: do not let the sorrow overtake you. Do not let the shower wash away your faith in God. Keep your conversation open with God. Complain bitterly, question His motives, ask WHY as often as you want – but in the end, know God is God. He will not forsake you. Heaven awaits.

The bulletin at church had a very meaningful Prayer of Confession followed by an Assurance of Pardon. Let me share it with you.

“Redeemer God, we like to see ourselves as Job saw himself – blameless, upright and God fearing. We would like to present ourselves before You, worthy of Your bountiful love and care, but we know we are not. Some of us avoid all news that is bad. Some of us imagine that there is little news that is good. Some days we exchange places with each other.

Forgive our customary silence that says nothing and does less. Forgive our usual despair that dreams of shadows and hopes for night. Forgive our lingering doubt that wonders where You are. Help us to hear You calling us in the whirlwind, reminding us to whom we belong. Come, Spirit of God, to inspire our speech, our vision, and our trust.

God’s hope is more tenacious than our despair;
God’s joy is more resilient than our grief;
God’s love is more compelling than our disgust.
By grace, we are gathered to God.
By faith, we rest in God’s promises of forgiveness and restoration.
Friends, believe the Good News.
In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.”

God is with you.

By God’s Omnipotent Power, be at peace.

Watching the Wind


We returned to Montana from California yesterday. It was a whirlwind trip. We dashed there to celebrate family events (birthdays, graduation, acceptance into the Navy). While there, we arranged also to spend time with friends and to attend my husband’s high school reunion. All the way from Ennis, MT to Elko, NV we watched the wind part the storm clouds before us as we drove in the sunshine. The roadsides were sparkling with new fallen rain, but the sun and wind dried the roads. We had smooth sailing! Reaching the central valley of California, we were told it had experienced a heatwave the week before… unseasonably hot – in the 90s. But as we sat with old high school chums on the patio midst the almond orchards, the cool breeze kept the temperatures in the mid-70s for us. Watching the wind rustle the new leaves on the recently blossomed branches was delightful. Not too strong… no paper plates were blown away… just right! Ah, thank You, God!

At our son’s in east-central California, again there had been storms just before we arrived. The wind parted the clouds, gave us perfect temperatures, created glorious sunsets and sunrises, and made our stay picture perfect!  Days in the mid-70s allowed us to take drives in his little convertible sports car with the top down, casually walk around the shopping malls with our granddaughters comfortably attired in shorts or sundresses, and leisurely lounge on their patio for barbecues and blab sessions. What a life!

Back in Ennis, watching the wind takes on a whole new dimension! The sky was gray and threatening as we drove into the Madison Valley. Deer, antelope, elk and eagles, usually plentiful and visible in the late-afternoon, were hunkered down out of sight for the night. Angry wind blew in heavier clouds which dropped their contents as we slept – happy to be back in our comfy bed with our own pillows and our snoring pup between us! Whistling wind continued in the mistiness of morning. It blew the storm clouds to the Madison Range east of us. Blue sky and sunshine emerged again. Watch the wind. It’s strong. It has a mission. Welcome home!

Yes, You can and so can I


When I read this post by Parashar in India today, I was inspired to share it with you because I think we all should read it and think about our ability to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in our own little part of the world. We don’t have to be an actor, or a millionaire, or somebody big and famous. You and I sitting right here at our computers, wherever we are in the world, can get up, go out, open our eyes and hearts, and see a need. Make that plural! There are so many people in need of the blessings we have to give. They are all around us. We can help! Click on this link, read what “Parashar’s Tales” has to say, and then come on back to JanBeek. I’ll tell you a tale of my own… one about seeing, doing, giving, and making a difference that keeps on giving. It’s what life is all about!

‘Can an Actor change a nation? – Yes, He can and so can I’ – Aamir Khan graces cover of Time magazine.

My story is about Zahid. When I met him five years ago, he was a nineteen-year-old from Pakistan, living in a remote part of Montana, receiving medical treatment, and wanting to pass his GED. I was a recently retired educator who had spent 24 years in the classroom, a dozen or so years as an administrator, and a few years post-retirement working with illiterate adults – teaching them to unlock the codes to enter the world of printed words. My husband, recently retired and looking for a vacation destination in which to live, chose this fly-fishing mecca – and we came from California to south-west Montana – ready to enjoy our Golden Years. It didn’t take me long to get involved in the community. Among my passions is reading, so I joined the Friends of the Library. That’s where Zahid came into my life. He was here in the USA on a medical visa, receiving treatment for burns that had ravaged his body when he was a little boy. A remarkable family hosted him in Oregon about a decade ago when Save the Children selected him and sent him from Pakistan to a burn center in the USA for help with his scars and disfigurements.  About a year later,  he returned to his home – still needing treatment – but his VISA would expire, so he and his family worked for the next decade to try and renew the VISA in order to give him another chance for specialized treatment. By the time he obtained it, they had retired from Oregon to Montana. As fate would have it, we all ended up in this darling little community at about the same time. Zahid asked the librarian if she knew someone who could tutor him. She sent out an e-mail request to the Friends. I responded.

That’s the key, my friends. I responded! Five years later, Zahid has reached out to many as he set goals and accomplished each one with the help of people just like you and me.  Found a tutor to help him (that was me – check!), obtained his GED (hooray – check!), received political asylum (check!), got a green card and a job (check!), pays his taxes just like you and me (check!), passed his driver’s test (check!), bought a car (check!), learned to change the oil and check the tire pressure and take care of his car with my husband’s help (check!), applied for and was accepted at a two-year college (check!), moved to dormitory housing at the college (check!), got a job with the school’s housing department to help pay his room and board (check!), successfully completed year one of college (check!), found a tutor for his pharmacy tech test (check!), passed the test to get into the pharmacy tech school at the college (check!), landed a job at the college pharmacy (check!)… The list goes on… and Zahid will continue to set his goals and accomplish them,  checking them off one at a time, and looking back and staying connected with those who have helped him along the way ( including his parents back in Pakistan), thanking them in a multitude of ways.  One day he will return to his home. His goal is to build a hospital in his hometown, to make treatment for boys like him possible right there someday. I have every confidence that down the road a ways he will check that off his list. It may not be in my lifetime, but I will have played a small part in each of those successes along the way. My heart is full as I see this young man moving forward to make a difference in his world.

We never know the ripple effect when we reach out to help someone. It continues into eternity. We never know… but God does! Can we change a nation?You bet! We can change the world. One person at a time. Get up, go out, look around. You have the future in front of you – needing the blessings only you have to give.

God Bless You!


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