A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

A Simple Life, a Childlike Faith

From a child to a mother

posted by Linda G. Howard

Shelly Demeree is a poet whose work appears in various venues

From a Child to a Mother

by Michelle Demeree

With mothers, there is a love so real

and so expected.

So expected that we forget how much

They love us.

They give great parts of their heart

To us.

We want to say, “Thank you, for your love.”

Picking the strawberry fields

posted by Linda G. Howard

Spring in Central Florida means many delights; but one of the best is fresh strawberries.  When our children were young and early spring arrived, we would pack up a small lunch and some water.  Then we’d pile into a car with some friends; and we’d all head for the strawberry fields.  In the morning, while the dew was still on the berries, the children and I would pick enough strawberries to eat and freeze.

For anyone who has worked in the fields, you know that the exquisitely satisfying part of harvesting berries is sampling the luscious sweetness while bending over the fruit laden plants.  You don’t ever take home the largest, reddest and plumpest strawberries. Those are eaten in the fields.

Last month, my daughter, Carol,  was speaking at a conference in Tampa.  She arranged to visit with us for a few days because she wanted to be with her ailing father.  As she and I traveled from Tampa to the East Coast, we passed a strawberry farm.  The harvesters’ large straw hats were the only part of their heads that was visible as they bend over the plants hurriedly picking the ripened fruit.

We spied the farm’s roadside stand. Quickly wheeling the van into the parking lot, we stopped to purchase a crate of berries.  When berries have slept in the fields the night before, you don’t get one or two quarts.  Twelve quarts are the minimum.

Giggling like two children who’d uncover a chest of gold nuggets, we climbed back into the vehicle, munching our treasure all the way home.  The juice ran down our fingers and onto our wrist.  We laughed, trying to lap up every escaping drop.

That road trip was the beginning of what has become a sorrowful but surprisingly joyful adventure for our family.  The day before, I learned that my husband’s diagnosis was “adult failure to thrive.”  In short, his body had moved from terminally ill into the dying process.  All of the family has come now to say good-bye to their father and grandfather.

He has suffered from dementia for about 15 years.  We became accustomed to his forgetful ways.  Yet, during these precious, holy days, he has slowly slipped closer to eternity.  This morning when I went into his room, I knew that he didn’t recognize me.  Because his aide was there, I didn’t ask him questions.  I left the house at 7am for my work and I didn’t return until 7pm.

After his caregiver had left, I tiptoed into his room and kissed him hello.  Again, the vacant, yet, confused and slightly frightened look stared at me.  I smiled and asked in a chipper voice, “You don’t know who I am, do you?”

The fear melted and he shook his head, “No.”

“I’m your wife of almost 50 years and you really should remember me,”  I said, laughing.

With his eyes closed, he returned my laughter with his own.

I continued to tease him, “I have pictures to prove that we are married.  We have three wonderful children and four amazing grandchildren.  Guess you don’t remember them either.”

He opened his eyes grinning with pleasure but he shook his head, ‘No.”

“You are an engineer, who worked for NASA.  You had five inventions and you designed a lot of the liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen piping on the shuttle.  You helped put the men on the moon and no one can take that away from you.  In short, you are a pretty amazing man.”  He smiled.

“Do you remember Jesus?”  I probed deeper.

Again, he smiled, but with a broader grin. “Oh, yes, I do,” he whispered to me.

“That’s the only person you need to remember,”  I said, taking his hand in mine.  He tried to smile as he traveled back into his semi-conscious state.  When I returned to his room about an hour later, he was smiling.

On the afternoon we bought the strawberries, before the fruit could go bad, I prepared several quarts of the berries to freeze.  They sit in my freezer at the top of the fruit section.  Each time I open the freezer they sit waiting for me, still red and inviting.

I’ll eat those berries while they are still frozen in a few days or a week or month from now.  I’ll taste the ripe goodness locked in by the cold.  I won’t eat them in one session but one berry each night.  I’ll make them last as long as I can and I’ll remember this lovely time.  But I’m waiting now–waiting until this adventure is over and my husband has gone home to be with the Jesus he still remembers.

 

Hope in the middle of despair

posted by Linda G. Howard

I received from a friend who is actively involved within the mentally challenged community.  She has worked as a professional.  Her family is deeply involved in the professional community.  She is a volunteer with Special Gathering.  Currently, she is part of the management team for a US Congressman.  While this Word was specifically given to members of the mentally challenged community, these principles apply to every crisis in our lives.

Please feel free to pass the below along to people who will pray for people who are going through any crisis.

CRISIS PRAYER

If you believe God is sovereign, then every circumstance of your life including crisis is UNDER HIS CONTROL.

You know that God can eliminate a crisis or problem instantaneously.  If he hasn’t done that, then you need to be looking for more than just deliverance from it.

It takes real spiritual maturity to seek God for something other than deliverance in a crisis.

Do not ask for deliverance from the situation, but rather for BOLDNESS (not rescue) in face of this threat.

Set aside your desire for personal protection and fling yourself out before God as a vessel to be used in this crisis.

  • When faced with the lions’ den, if Daniel prayed simply for the crisis to disappear, the chance for God to be exalted before the King would disappear.
  • Daniel didn’t pray for the crisis to go way.  He prayed for God to do something miraculous through it.

SO WHAT DOES IT MEAN

  • Discern all that is at stake besides my comfort
  • You will find God exalting himself in every aspect of your life.
    • Jesus did this when he faced the cross.  He asked God for deliverance coupled with a prayer for submission.  His willingness to walk the path of God’s will and bring glory to His name came with a price.  JESUS DIED FOR US.

ASK FOR PRAYER

WE NEED THE BODY OF CHRIST TO PRAY FOR US; WE ARE IN CRISIS.

We won’t have the strength, except for the prayers of God’s people.

PRAY THIS WAY

  • I boldly submit to the work of God I cannot see.
  • I do not cut God short by praying for the easiest way out, but pray that God’s holy name will be glorified.
  • I yield to his ways even if it means that our deliverance is delayed.
  • I pray God gives  us strength (not deliverance) to carry out this difficult assignment.
  • I pray for Grace to prevail through the storm rather than to be rescued from it.
  • I ask for specific deliverance, but along with it, I ask God to resolve the crisis in a way that honors him and allows for the greatest display of his POWER, LOVE AND MERCY.
    • Jesus prayed for an end to the crisis (being crucified on the cross) that would exalt God the most.
  • Ask for God to be honored in how the conflict is handled.
  • Ask God to be glorified in our faith.
  • Pray for God to make Himself famous and show himself strong in this crisis.
  • Lord, do something miraculous here!

QUESTIONS FOR GOD

  1. God,  what are you trying to accomplish?
  2. God,  what are you wanting to do in me through this crisis?
  3. God,  how can your name be glorified here?

AMEN

Hiding in clear view

posted by Linda G. Howard


I have six locks on my door all in a row.  When I go out, I lock every other one.

I figure no matter how long somebody stands there picking the locks, they are always locking three.

~Comedian Elayne Boosler

Within the developmentally disabled community, there is a great need for health and safety instructions.  Special needs ministries are probably the only chapel services that must carry rubber gloves in our suit pockets.  Additionally, at all times, we have available information regarding medications and emergency numbers to call even though most of our members are legally competent adults.  We realize that we must be like Comedian Elayne Boosler and think of credible ways to keep our members safe.

My husband is much this way.  He began preparing for crises months and years ahead.  He wanted to be sure that his family was safe.  I must confess that I would let almost everything slide; but we have been ready for many emergencies because of his insistence.

When I came to work with Special Gathering, I was met with another Preparer in Richard Stimson, the founder and executive director of the ministy.  At times, I would verbally resist his constant preparation efforts.  Yet, I’d learned from my husband, that I am a bit of a Pollyanna to believe that safety measures are not needed.  Each time there has been a crisis within the ministry, we have been prepared and knew exactly the correct steps needed to maintain calm among our members and to insure that the needs of the people involved in the emergency were met.

Several years ago, The Special Gathering choir sang at a local church. I preached and all of our members attended the services for their missions Sunday services.  At the end of the service, the offering was taken.  The ushers came to the front of the church for a dedication prayer and to deliver the offering plates.  As the ushers stood at the altar table during the prayer, one of the church’s ushers had a seizure and she fell to the ground.  The church pastor and I were on the podium and we heard the thub when she fell but the pastor could not see who had fallen.

Without missing a minute, three of Special Gathering volunteers came to the front of the church.  They started timing the seizure.  After three minutes and before the service ended, one of  our volunteers called 911.  The seizure had not ended and our procedures dictate that the EMT’s should be called.   The service ended peacefully; and the pastor and I went to the door to greet the people of the church.  I stopped for a few seconds to insure that everything was all right with the seizuring woman and our volunteers.

After almost everyone had left the service, the pastor asked, “Is your member who had a seizure going to be all right?”

Puzzled, I said, “It was one of your members who had the seizure, not mine.”  Shocked, she rushed into the sanctuary to see who seizured.

Later, we laughed about how efficiently Special Gathering volunteers had taken charge of the situation.  ”My members would not have known what to do, if you had not been here.”  Then she confessed, “Unfortunately, neither would I.”

Sometimes we hide behind a large tree, thinking that we can’t be touched.  The problem is that we don’t realize that we are hiding in plain view. Like Elayne Boosler, it might be wiser to buy six locks and use the alternating three.  Thereby, we insure that there would be a method to keep our homes and lives safe.

The Bible gives advice in preparing for every thing from marriage to missions work.  There is business and money advice.  Much of the Law gives common sense preparation rules for health and safety.  God spent thousands of years preparing the hearts of people for Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection.  It is always wise to take time to follow Biblical advice and prepare.

Are you prepared for crises in your life?  What additional preparations do your need to make?

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