Your Best Friend


Your Best Friend

If ever you find yourself being broken apart,
Because the one you trusted has broken your heart,
And all the time you find yourself crying,
While on the inside you feel like you’re dying,

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – your best friend.

One time life gave you a fright,
Existence was as black as a moonless midnight,
You were feeling so out-of-place,
With no one to hug or embrace,

Then you saw the light,
You came to me in the middle of the night,
And you ran to me to give your heart,
And that’s when your new life did start

Call me if you feel lonely,
Come to me when your life needs to mend,
From time to time you need only,
Someone with love unconditional – Jesus, your best friend.

Copyright © 2008 by Jimmie Aaron Kepler
Originally published in “WORDS…RHYMES…POETRY & PROSE!”
Also published on: “Writing After Fifty” and in the book “Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection.”

Ten Thoughts to Encourage Others

Over the years I have noticed people with ability and skill to do a task or an assignment often lack the confidence to tackle the job before them. If they are a writer, they may fear to put words on paper. If an analyst, they may hesitate or question themselves before solving a problem or recommending a solution.

I have found that a little encouragement helps them make their goals and do their job. Here are ten thoughts on how I encourage others.

1. Show a Sincere Interest in the Person.

  • Listen to what they are saying.
  • When they are talking, look at them not your smart phone.
  • Be interested in what is happening in their life, the challenge(s) they are facing.
  • Let them know you care.

2. Acknowledge What’s Important. 

  • When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you offer a form of verification and support about who they are and what they’re doing.
  • A proper technique I use is merely to restate their question or challenge and then allow them to talk it through.
  • Follow-up and ask how it’s going, are they making progress.
  • Do not share similar circumstances you have lived through or had a friend or family member survive. It’s about them, not you!

3. Say “Congratulations.”

  • These magical “Words of Encouragement” at the right time can make all the difference between a person “keeping going” and “giving up.”
  • Congratulate them on a job or task well done. This recognition can be as simple as thanking them for meeting a deadline.
  • A “Post-It” note or email congratulatory word has fantastic results.
  • Give a person the credit they’ve earned. Do not claim it for yourself.

4. Be There. 

  • Sometimes the “ministry of your presence” is all they need.
  • Just being there for them is encouraging.
  • Many times all they need is a listening ear to talk through the issue or task.
  • Let them know “you have there back.” Many times these simple acts share hope.

5. Say “Thank You.”

  • Saying thank you is a common courtesy.
  • It is good manners.
  • People like a little reward for hard work.
  • A simple thank you will make others aware that you know what they have done worthwhile and find it meaningful to you.

6. Return the Favor.

  • If someone does something sweet for you, an excellent way to show your appreciation is merely to return the favor.
  • Returning a favor will both shock and encourage them.
  • Consider bringing them a coffee or offering to help them with their next project or routine tasks when they have a short deadline or a heavy workload. You might take their “on-call” where they can have a weekend break instead of swapping weekends with them.
  • Note: don’t ever do something expecting someone to return the favor for you.

7. Answer With Something Unexpected. 

  • I have a phrase I have used for years … love them from where they are to where they need to be!
  • Even when others let me down or they know I know they “dropped the ball” I don’t tell them so, I usually pick the ball up for them.
  • If something went wrong, help them focus on the solution instead of assigning blame.
  • It is incredible the long-term results this can have in encouraging someone.

8. Be a “Good Finder.”

  • A “good finder” is a person who looks for the good, not the bad in a person or a situation.
  • An example would be if a person is always late to meetings, but makes in on time to your meeting instead of saying “About time you attended a meeting on time” say “I really appreciate the extra effort you made to get here on time” without any reference to their usual tardiness.
  • A good finder affirms their coworkers or friends.
  • People will gravitate toward you where you’re a “good finder” as you’ll become someone who makes others feel good.

9. Smile.

  • Have you ever experienced the magic of a simple smile?
  • Have you ever noticed how when you smile at someone they smile back?
  • Share an encouraging smile.
  • Smiling will transform your own attitude as well.

10. Offer to Lend a Hand. 

  • You can offer to lend a hand.
  • Sometimes a person feels like the weight of the world is on their shoulders and no one cares.
  • Show them you really care by being there for them.
  • If a person gives me an excessive workload, I usually ask them if there is anything else I can do for them when I finish the job. I do not complain about the amount of work.

What are some ways you encourage friends or coworkers? These techniques also work with your spouse or partner. Please share your suggestions in the comments.

What are some ways you encourage other? Post your actions in the comments. They just might enocourge someone!

Photo Source: Pixaby

Charlie’s Bells

Charlie’s Bells by Jimmie Aaron Kepler

Jackson Smith lived in the pale yellow house with the whitewashed picket fence on Second Street. When he first arrived in town, he had already accepted a new position with the First State Bank. He brought with him a small inheritance from his favorite aunt, so he had not hesitated to purchase the three gabled structure.

Jackson prized the large porch on the house’s west side. He envisioned himself swaying gently on the wide swing. Handsomely painted a peaceful-gray, Jackson had it repainted a cheerful pale yellow to please his new bride when they married two years later. Since then, he spent many an enjoyable evening on that porch. The charm of Jackson’s home was appealing. An advantage was its’ location, just one block north of the County Courthouse and the bank.

Jackson possessed a keen intellect. He enjoyed athletic good looks, a healthy shock of sable brown hair, smiling amber brown eyes and naturally straight white teeth. The only flaw found in Jackson Smith was he would not attend church. He had been enlightened at State University. One religion professor taught church attendance wasn’t necessary. That man’s teachings were validation for Jackson’s inclination towards the avoidance of church interiors.

Jackson avowed his Christian belief but insisted on sleeping late on Sunday mornings. It was with a good-natured yet firm resolve that he rebuffed the invitations to attend the sermons of Dr. George Whitefield Jones. He attended a few times when he first moved to town and joined the church.

Since Jackson could answer anyone’s questions on Christianity with his thorough Bible knowledge and rhetorical prowess, even Dr. Jones left him alone. This was especially true since Jackson subscribed to the church budget based on his gross income. He was one of the church’s top five contributors while never attending. That was indeed the only gossip the mongers could muster on the man.

Anyone familiar with small-town customs knows that such a refined, young man cannot be allowed to go through life unmarried. The eagle-eyed wife of a bank trustee spotted Jackson within days of his arrival. She set to work matchmaking Jackson with her beautiful, debutante granddaughter who was of marrying age. She thought, Julia needed a husband and so she went to work.

The scheming matchmaker worked to pair the two, her activities so blatant that both parties and half the town knew what was afoot. In the end, most felt Cupid intervened, releasing the twin arrows from his bow that pierced the paired lover’s hearts.

Jackson was happy the meddling trustee’s wife had insisted her granddaughter visit that first summer. He thought it endearing how she had plotted so many events to bring them together. They were soon courting and then engaged.

As the impending nuptials approached, Dr. Jones began lobbying Julia to have Jackson pay for the repair of the church bells so they might ring out gloriously in celebration of their wedding.

Julia imagined her wedding day, a perfect June morning with a blue sky, she and Jackson exiting the church and laughing at being drowned in showers of rice. Dr. Jones had vividly planted the suggestion of wedding bells ringing. Julia, too often indulging in her favorite wedding daydream, actually began hearing the church bells ringing.

When Julia finally asked Jackson to pay for the bells repair, he said yes. It was a bit sad when it was discovered that the restoration turned out to be so much simpler than anticipated. The armature holding the bell didn’t need replacing. The rope had merely become frayed and gotten caught up into the gears. It only required untangled from the mechanism and replaced with a new line.

That Tuesday afternoon in May, the unexpected ringing of the bells after so many years of their silence caught the community entirely off guard. People rushed out of their shops or stood at home on their porches admiring the sound. The melodic ringing elicited broad smiles, a few sentimental tears, and cheery goodwill.

When the wedding day arrived, it was as Julia imaged. Mr. and Mrs. Jackson Smith exited the church with happy smiles as cascades of rice poured down on them. They dashed to the waiting car with the Just Married sign, the tin cans and old shoes tied to the bumper. The bells rang and rang. They resonated long and gloriously filling the blue sky with their joyous sound.

#

The Smiths were still unpacking from their honeymoon when the Richards family moved to town. Mr. Charles Richards was hired to replace the saw mill’s elderly superintendent, who after losing two of his fingers had grudgingly agreed to retire.

The Richards was an unassuming couple. Their family was small with one son, Charles Junior. Everyone called him Charlie. He had Down syndrome. It influenced his personality strongly.

Charlie was fifteen years old, always smiling and happy. He quickly gravitated towards the church. You’d find him there whenever the church doors were open. Some of the dear sisters thought his mother shooed him off in the church’s direction to have some time away from the simple-minded boy, but he was not a bother. He was competent and industrious when directed towards a task that was within his abilities. He was able and willing to dust and polish pews and rake leaves. Charlie had a special talent for plugging away at the most boring and repetitive tasks. He always completed them with industry and cheerfulness than no one else would, or even could.

Charlie’s efforts saved the church money. It was with appreciation that Dr. Jones would pay Charlie a small salary. The money swelled Charlie’s heart with pride. He would take the few dollars down to the shops on the square, buy himself a comic book and a double-dip ice cream waffle-cone with a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of butter praline.

The first time Charlie heard the church bells he wanted to ring them. A young man named Tom held the bell-ringer position. When Charlie found out that Tom would be leaving for college, he began lobbying to take over Tom’s duties.

Dr. Jones liked the idea of Charlie having the bell-ringing responsibilities, but he was also concerned with Charlie’s physical and mental challenges from Down syndrome that he might injure himself. The bells were as big as Charlie and weighed hundreds of pounds. The timing and rope pulling needed coordinating in just the right way to be safe for the bell-ringer and pleasing to the ear. It just so happened that Tom was both an athletic young man and gifted with a musician’s sense of timing.

It also turned out Tom was kind and patient. When he learned Charlie wanted to be the bell-ringer, he taught Charlie how it was done. To begin the lessons, Tom rigged up a phony rope next to his. He’d have Charlie practice pulling along with him.

This thrilled Charlie, as he didn’t really quite understand that his rope had no effect on the bells because when he pulled his line along with Tom, the bells rang. After several sessions of perfecting the timing with the dummy rope, Tom had Charlie assist him at pulling on the real line so that Charlie could get used to the weight and feel of the swinging bells.

It turned out that Charlie was a natural bell-ringer. He wasn’t just competent, he was good at it! Charlie performed his duties safely. He had a natural rhythmic gift. Often when pulling the rope, Charlie would let the rebound lift him several feet off the ground, thrilling to it over and over. Charlie would tell his parents that he felt like an angel flying in the church, and Charlie’s mother would say to him that he was an angel.

Charlie’s bell ringing pleased everyone except Jackson. In his enthusiasm to please his wife and have the bells repaired, Jackson had not thought through the consequences of having fully functioning church bells so close to his home.

Jackson liked sleeping late on Sunday. He didn’t mind Julia getting up and going to Sunday services at the church. His request was she be quiet and not awaken him while she was getting dressed. Julia complied as she dressed and ate her light breakfast, but it was pointless. Julia might as well have shot off artillery in the front yard because the bells woke Jackson up just as predictably as cannons would have. Every Sunday, the bells Jackson had paid to repair caused him aggravation, all the more so because he was responsible for their now flawless functioning.

Julia suggested since he was going to be woken up anyway, why not accompany her to church? Jackson almost softened but said no. He didn’t offer an explanation. It was then that she realized Jackson’s real aversion was to attending church. She pointed this out to him and gently queried him further, but this questioning was met with an uncomfortable silence. Julia decided she respected her husband enough that he could keep this secret.

Jackson decided to do something about the Sunday morning bell ringing. Dr. Jones chuckled at Jackson’s request to silence the ringing, pointing out that Sunday’s bells called the congregants to church. Dr. Jones even suggested there was a positive Pavlovian response for churchgoing people to hear the ringing bells. He again thanked Jackson for having the bells restored, shared how much Charlie enjoyed ringing the bells, and the community’s appreciation. Well, that shook Jackson’s resolve. He resigned himself to wearing earplugs which didn’t always work.

One reason Jackson no longer pursued ceasing the Sunday bell ringing was Charlie. He and Julia were very fond of Charlie. The boy often stopped and drank a glass of iced tea if he walked by their home when they were sitting out on their west-facing porch waiting to watch the sunset. The three of them would sit companionably enjoying the evening and chatting about subjects that suited Charlie. Julia would also praise him on his bell ringing. She liked watching her husband grimace disapprovingly, but there would be that smile in his amber brown eyes.

I’ll have to resign myself to hearing the bells ring all the days of my life, he’d grumble to Julia. She countered the bells should fill him with joy, reminding him of their wedding day. She told him to remember, their marriage was the reason the bells had been repaired. Jackson knew not to argue that point.

And so it was, every Sunday the bells announced church. This went on year after year. Charlie with his bell ringing was a faithful servant unto the Lord.

Jackson and Julia had always assumed that they would have children, but the years passed and it just never happened. Julia sought advice from a doctor and tried some different things, but in truth, they were content only with each other. They also enjoyed spending time with Charlie, who as he grew older was still a perpetual kid. They often took Charlie places with them, sometimes to a movie, or on an overnight trip to the lake. They would have dinner with the Richard’s family once a week, alternating homes and cooking duties. Mr. and Mrs. Richards eventually designated the Smiths to be Charlie’s guardian should anything happen to them. One Sunday Jackson didn’t wake up until noon. No church bells were ringing to serve as his alarm.

Jackson knew immediately when Julia returned from church that something was terribly wrong, her nose was red, and her face was wet with tears that continuously streamed down her cheeks. He lightly took her shoulders and pulled her to his chest, enfolded her in his arms and asked what was wrong. Julia could barely choke out her grief-stricken words, Charlie was about to leave for church this morning when he had a heart attack right in front of his Mama. They called Dr. Wilbur. He came right away, but they knew Charlie was dead. Dr. Wilbur said Charlie had flown to Heaven before he even reached the floor. His Mama said he really was an angel now.

Now the years had been kind to Jackson. His work ethic complimented his banking skills. Before he turned fifty, the board appointed him president of the First State Bank. When Julia’s grandfather passed away, he assumed his seat on the board of trustees. Jackson had remained faithful in both making and paying his subscription to the church’s budget. He was now their most significant contributor.

One morning Jackson called and made an appointment to meet with Dr. Jones. The aging minister had recently announced that he would be retiring on his seventieth birthday. Jackson wanted to meet with him while Dr. Jones was still in a position to help.

When he arrived at the pastor’s study, Jackson asked one question. He wanted to know who would be ringing the bells at ten o’clock A.M. every Sunday. Dr. Jones agreed there was still value in the bell ringing but said no one was willing to commit to taking the responsibility.

A couple of more Sundays passed with Jackson sleeping away his Sunday mornings because no one rang the bells to wake him. People started arriving late for the church service because they had no church bells to remind them to hurry to church.

The weather turned to match the cold, gray attitude that settled over the town on Sundays since the church bells stopped ringing. The joy of the little Down syndrome boy who grew into a happy man that had permeated the congregation and town for a quarter of a century disappeared when the bells stopped ringing.

#

Julia came home from the Wednesday night church business meeting with all the color drained from her face. She told Jackson the church had voted to remove and sell the church bells. The value of the brass and the money obtained would be given to help those with special needs unless someone stepped forward, called by God to ring the bells.

Jackson shook his head in disbelief. He said nothing.

The next Sunday morning at ten o’clock, Julia and her Sunday school class heard the bells ringing. They closed their Bibles, picked up their purse and hurried to the bell tower curious to see who was ringing the bells. Dr. Jones left his prayers and last minute review of his sermon as soon as he heard the bells ringing. He also headed for the bell tower. This was repeated by class after class from the oldest men’s class to the older preschool class.

They all arrived at the bell tower at the same time. Someone opened the red door. Inside was the president of the First State Bank, Jackson Smith. He was pulling the rope up and down, ringing the bells. A great smile was on his face.

“What are you doing?” questioned Dr. Jones.

“I’m ringing Charlie’s bells,” said Jackson Smith.


Photo Source: Pixabay

“Charlie’s Bells” was originally published in the June 30, 2015 edition of Beyond Imagination Digital Literary Magazine published by Dark Star Publishing, publication description: “Charlie’s Bells” by Jimmie A. Kepler in “Beyond Imagination Digital Literary Magazine July 2015” (Beyond Imagination 2015) Kindle Edition by Larry Lonsby, Jr (Illustrator), Craig Herndon Jr (Editor), Dayne Edmondson (Editor) “Charlie’s Bells” by Jimmie A. Kepler File Size: 1860 KB Print Length of Magazine: 147 pages, Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited, Publisher: Dark Star Publishing (June 30, 2015), Publication Date: June 30, 2015, Sold by subscription: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

“Charlie’s Bells” is included in “Charlie’s Bell’s: A Short Story Anthology” available on Amazon. It is currently priced free for Kindle Unlimited members.

Heed God’s Instructions

“Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.” Proverbs 10:17 — Crossway Bibles (2018-05-19). The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (p. 534). Crossway. Kindle Edition.

Our Witness is Important

If our private lives don’t match our public lives, our writing suffers. More importantly, we have people tune out the message of Jesus Christ because of our witness. They label us as just another religious hypocrite.

One of the most significant and miraculous things in life is to heed God’s voice. It is when we fully trust and follow in His ways.

How to Know the Ways and Instructions of God

I know what you are thinking, how can you know the ways and instruction of God?

You ask God through prayer. You spend time in His Word, that is the Bible, by reading, meditating on and memorizing Scripture, and attending a Christian Writer’s Conference. You listen to God’s herald. This would be listening to sermons as you attend church.

You might be thinking, but you don’t know me. I have really failed. I have broken so many of God’s teachings. How can He ever use me?

God is a forgiving God. 1 John 1:9 King James Version (KJV) tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Isaiah 55:8-9 (KJV) teaches, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God Has a Plan for Your Life

Never forget that God knows your heart. He even knows your most secret thoughts, feelings, and sins. God knows the number of hairs on your head. God knows everything!

Maybe you think you have everything under control. If you think that, you are wrong. Only God has everything under control.

Maybe you are feeling confused and just need direction in your life. Maybe the struggles of daily living and just meeting life’s expenses have you down. You feel spiritually broken.

One thing we can do in times of brokenness and confusion is looking at and praying for our needs. Don’t forget to thank and praise God when He meets your needs!

An example of God’s provision from my life when I began writing fulltime was finding a large unopened and undamaged package with twenty rolls of toilet paper in the middle of the highway. I stopped, picked it up, and took it home. My late wife shared she hadn’t purchased any that week when she bought groceries but had been looking for some on sale as our finances were tight.

God met this everyday need in our life. Another example could be a friend calls and speaks words of reassurance or encouragement when you feel depressed or hopeless.

God Uses Christian Writers

Christian writers are used by God to meet needs in other’s lives. We do this through the written word, through our speaking words of encouragement, and through the example of our lives.

We need to heed God’s instructions where others will listen to what God is saying through our writing and speaking ministry. When we fail to walk with God, our witness doesn’t point others to Christ, but can actually lead them astray.


Photo Source: Pixabay

Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Eleven

As most know who are reading this, I’m writing the first draft of a book with the working title, “Hope for the Caregiver” as a weekly blog post. I’m sharing my experience and lessons learned from my ten-year journey of being the caregiver for my parents and my wife. All three are now deceased. The blog post isn’t the polished, finished product. In fact, I find myself at times struggling for the best way to tell the story. The struggle is why sometimes the voice is a little different when I write a chapter. Here’s this week’s chapter.

Managing Worry

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry. You’ll be worried about their health and future as well as your ability to care for them.

My Story

I couldn’t help but worry about my wife’s diagnosis with neuroendocrine cancer in December 2013. I also questioned my ability to care for her. Scared describes my feelings along with anger.

Miss Benita (yes, I called her Miss Benita with the Miss in front of her name) had had stomach and bowel issues for several years. The doctors hadn’t been able to determine the cause of her pain. Then in late 2013, they found she had a malrotated intestine. While that’s not good, we at least thought they had found the cause. Yea!

Her gastro endocrinologist recommended one of the best surgeons in the southwestern USA. The surgeon agreed with the diagnosis. A date was scheduled for the surgery. At least she’ll get this fixed and be able to get on with life without pain was my thought. 

In the pre-operation tests, all looked okay. The surgeon commented that at least we didn’t have to worry about cancer. CT scans, x-rays, PET Scans, and endoscopy procedures had shown no indicators of cancer.

You guessed it. When the doctor briefs me following the surgery he mentioned a mass he found that hadn’t shown on any of the tests. It grew into the organs in such a way it couldn’t be removed. He had taken a biopsy. With the surgery being a few days before Christmas it would take until the first week of the new year to get the results. It came back positive for neuroendocrine carcinoid. 

The surgeon explained neuroendocrine carcinoid as the same type of cancer that had just killed Steve Jobs of Apple Computer.

Fast forward to late spring 2015. Miss Benita was diagnosed with a second cancer, Stage III Melanoma.

I had a pity party for myself. I was worried about how I would be able to handle caring for her as I was told this cancer would kill her. The oncological surgeon was very clear on that point giving her a very low chance to survive more than three years. And if by some miracle of God the Melanoma didn’t kill her, the neuroendocrine carcinoid would.

Part of learning to care for a person with a chronic illness is managing worry. 

I found myself facing worry from two points of view. I was concerned about the health and future of my wife. Worrying about a loved one is a natural response. I also found myself worried about my ability to care for her and pay the medical bills.

I found myself turning to my faith in God and trusting Him to make it through each day. I am a Christian. My Christian faith is foundational for managing the emotional challenges. I find comfort from reading the Holy Bible, applying the Bible verses to daily life, and praying using the Bible verse(s) as my prayer. This same comfort is available to you.

The Bible Says

Matthew 6:34 (KJV), “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

The Meaning Of The Bible Verse

What the verse is saying in today’s English is give your entire attention to God. Look for what He is doing in your life today. With the focus in the here and now you avoid becoming worried or worked up over what may or may not happen tomorrow.

There’s a reason why you shouldn’t get worked up. The reason?

God will help you deal with whatever comes your way, no matter how challenging or difficult they trials are.

Pray Using the Bible Verse

I thank you for the promise that you will help me deal with whatever hard things are in my future where I will be as ready as possible when the time comes.

I ask for the grace to handle today.

I trust tomorrow to the Lord.

Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver

Father in Heaven, help me to focus on today. Help me see you and your activity in my life.

Lord Jesus, help me not to get too worried or concerned about what may or may not happen tomorrow.

Almighty Father, teach me how to trust in you and let you take control of my life.


Photo Source: Pixabay

The Family Reunion

 

The Family Reunion

The setting was an old wood framed church house.
Built by a tree on the crest of a gently sloping hill.
Its wood siding all faded and weather-worn.
The brass church bell for years had been still.

He walked up the hill to the church house.
With each step, old long-past years reappeared.
Soon in his mind, he could hear the congregation singing.
Then down his cheeks streamed the warm, wet tears.

Once again, the old song leader was his Grandpa.
His young Mama on a pump organ played.
Packed on the third pew were his mischievous boy cousins.
Standing by the back door to the music his dear Daddy swayed.

And old remembrances flooded his being.
A grand family reunion was well underway.
Hearing again the stories of King Jesus,
He couldn’t hold the tears at bay.

Then he moved from the little wooden church house.
Walked down the hill on the path just ahead.
The music and memories slowly fading in the distance.
He arrived at a cemetery with the graves of his family long dead.

There will be a great reunion in heaven in the future,
They’ll all be reunited one wonderful day.
They were all Believers in Jesus,
He’s the Light, the Truth, and the Way.

Jimmie Aaron Kepler
December 2015

Picture Credit: Pixabay

 

Hope for the Caregiver – Chapter Ten

God Has Our Days Numbered

We need to remember God has our days numbered. God is in control. 

My Story

The day I originally wrote today’s thought was on Monday evening June 19, 2017.  It was three days before my father’s ninetieth birthday. My wife, grown children, and I all had a day of vacation scheduled for a big birthday bash for dad on Thursday of that week. Thursday was June 22, 2017. My dad was looking as forward to his ninetieth birthday celebration as we were. 

God had different plans.

That very Monday night around 7:30 PM dad calls me. He said, “Jim, this is your dad. I’ve fallen and can’t get up. Don’t call 911. I need you to come and help me.”

I drove the forty-five miles through Dallas, Texas traffic to his house with all sorts of thoughts racing through my mind. I admit I was weary of caring for him since my mother had passed away in December 2014. My father was becoming more and more high maintenance. He refused to move in with me or my brother. 

I never thought this would be an event that would lead to his death. What I learned when I took him to the hospital was that he had suffered a heart attack. In less than thirty-six hours he passed away. He died on June 21, 2017. It was one day before his ninetieth birthday. I knew he was okay spiritually. He and I had spoken on the subject often. His last words to me were, “I love Jesus.” And I cried and cried.

God’s plans superseded our plans.

The Bible Says

James 4:13-16 (KJV), “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”

The Meaning of the Bible Verse

Our future is in God’s hands and plans.

Pray Using the Bible Verse

  1. Heavenly Father, we thank You for every day of life and especially for the opportunity of being the caregiver for our loved one.
  2. We acknowledge God as the giver of life. We acknowledge that God has both our days numbered and the days of the one for whom we are providing caring.
  3. Lord Jesus, we trust You know what is best for our loved one and us. We pray Thy Will Be Done for our (the caregiver and the one receiving care) lives. 

Applying the Verse to Receive God’s Hope for the Caregiver

  1. Have you told God thank you for allowing you the opportunity of being the caregiver? Why not thank Him for allowing you to care for them?
  2. Have you accepted the fact that your mission is to give comfort care for your loved one? Comfort Care refers to the care plan for the patient focused on symptom control, pain relief, and quality of life (this includes spiritual care). Pray that God will help you accept your role in this care plan.
  3. Have you been willing to let go and let God have control of your caregiving and your loved one? Why not pray to acknowledge that God is in control. After all, both your and your loved one’s future is under God’s control.

Photo Source: Pixaby