New Devotional for Caregivers

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Back In Synch

My dad died. He was godly. He was loving and kind. He was passionate about reaching lost souls. He also was very sick. And he didn’t get well.

He’d been very sick before—many times. Once when his heart was out of synch, God intervened supernaturally and restored his pulse to regularity moments before a scheduled cardioversion (a procedure to shock a heart back into rhythm). Other times God healed him through skilled surgeons.

So, I expected God to do something supernatural for him one more time. The fact that He didn’t, when He could have, shook me.

Most sane people go to the Psalms to find uplift when they have questions of faith. But I’ve never made any claim of sanity. My offbeat self goes to a rather unexpected place in Scripture for rejuvenation: the prophets. Weird, I know. But Isaiah and Jeremiah might as well be my best friends. Their insights astound me with accuracy, relevance and clarity.

So, when my faith crisis hit, I turned to these old friends. As I navigated the treasure map of passages I’d marked before, my eyes rested on Isaiah 56. I’ve always thought this chapter reads like God’s one-on-one response to my private thoughts. I started reading, nodding and agreeing, and kept on until I hit 57:1, which all at once became my personal cardioversion.

“Good people pass away; the godly often die before their time. … No one seems to understand that God is protecting them from the evil to come. For those who follow godly paths will rest in peace when they die” (Isaiah 57:1-2 NLT).

God’s voice spoke as clearly to my soul’s ears as if He’d spoken to the ears hiding out under my blonde locks. The candor of the passage forced me to listen. This isn’t about you, Julie. It’s about your dad. He deserved peaceful rest. I didn’t fail him. I allowed him to achieve what he’d lived for all those years.

Hmm. Right. So then a lot of things aren’t about me. There’s a news flash I could have lived much longer without facing. The truth is, God has purposes only He knows—not only for me, but for my loved ones. Sometimes He chooses to move them onward and upward.

It’s no surprise to Him, though, that this offbeat, south-of-sane child of His sometimes needs a biblical cardioversion from the ancient prophets to shock me back into rhythm. And He doesn’t hesitate to use their electrically charged paddles on my spiritual heart.



Blessings and prayers,

Julie

Not one to fit neatly into one category, Julie-Allyson Ieron uses her odd assortment of talents in a way that’s all her own. She’s a violinist/author/teacher/caregiver/vocalist/friend who addresses her books and presentations to groups as varied as writers, church women, librarians, caregivers, Bible students and senior citizens. 

© 2014, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Take a Break!

I’m pretty sure I received an email from God.
I’d been writing all day—seven hours straight and counting. Definitely beyond the wise max for one sitting. But I had so much more to get done on this rare day without family doctor visits or other interruptions. I had to capture those hours.
My head throbbed. Unconsciously, I brought my hands up to my temples. I’m so tired.
That’s when the email dinged. I’m usually disciplined about ignoring emails until I’m finished working. But when my right hand returned to the mouse, it clicked “Open Outlook” on its own. There I found the email—a devotion with a subhead that grabbed me:
Coffee Breaks Are Not Optional

It might as well have been flashing blue neon. I read further: “We must … learn how to stop working. That’s called rest.… It was on God’s Top Ten List.”
Hmm. Is Someone looking over my shoulder? Kind of eerie.
I may not have much trouble with some of the commands on God’s Top Ten list: Don’t steal—okay, what’s not mine doesn’t belong in my sticky fingers. Honor your parents—I work at that every day. Don’t take God’s name in vain—I love that Name. But Sabbath rest? Surely, God you didn’t mean for me to get worked up about that one. Yet, it is prominent on the list, which is why I realized the devotion written by Ed Gungor was pretty much an email from God, sent via Ed’s keyboard.
I did a little homework on rest and found a pertinent challenge in Hebrews: “Whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest” (Hebrews 4:10-11 ESV). Rest is a privilege God offers—and it’s increasingly obvious that He considers failure to accept this offer an affront—a sin every bit as appalling as failure to keep any of His other commands.
But God … I began my moan.

Just stop! You know what to do!


So, I pushed back from the keyboard and dragged myself to the family room to rest. Was it in the schedule? Nope. Was it necessary? You bet! Mostly because I never want to be on the wrong side of the Word—even when it arrives via an email from God.

Blessings and prayers,

Julie

 © 2012, 2014, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Replacement

I was standing in line at the post office when my cell phone rang. It registered as one of my colleagues. That’s odd. She always emails.
“Hello? Julie?” Her voice sounded strained, panicked. She didn’t pause for me to say hello. “The speaker just cancelled for my conference; it starts tomorrow. I have hundreds of people on their way from all over the country. Please tell me you’re available to replace her.”
And so, for neither the first nor the last time, I became (trumpet flourish):The Replacement. I flew into a frenzy. I had to reshuffle appointments while creating a fresh presentation to parallel the topics the original speaker advertised. I had only hours to pack for the week-long trip before getting on the road.
Don’t think for a minute I’m complaining. I’m a willing replacement. When a conference director or TV interviewer tells me, “We’d love to have you back,” I always reply, “I’d love to be back. And, if you ever need a last-minute replacement, I’d be happy to fill in.” I mean it, too.
There might be a temptation for some to feel slighted, like, why wasn’t I invited first? But a true replacement is as Paul suggested to Timothy, “ready in season and out of season” (2 Tim. 4:2 ESV). That’s actually a great motto. Like a backup quarterback, I never know which day I’ll get called in.
I was noodling on this as I prepared for a last-minute radio broadcast the other morning. That’s when my Bible reading took me to Acts. The followers, huddled in the upper room waiting, did a head count. Only eleven original disciples remained, since the betrayer Judas had allowed guilt to drive him to suicide.
Peter, remembering an Old-Testament prophecy, knew the disciples (learners), about to turn into apostles (witnesses), needed a twelfth man.
My eyes froze on something I’d never noticed before. The circle of Christ-followers included a crew of replacements waiting on the bench. Everywhere Jesus had gone during His ministry years, these folks had followed. They’d heard all His sermons. They’d slept where He slept and travelled the roads He trod. There had always been the big twelve—the ones we hear about. But there were others, just as faithful, just as attentive, just as available.
After identifying two of these followers with potential, Matthias and Justus, Peter voiced the group’s prayer, “O Lord, you know every heart. Show us which of these men you have chosen as an apostle to replace Judas in this ministry” (Acts 1:24-25 NLT).
When the answer came back as Matthias, Matthias willingly became the twelfth man replacement: “And he was numbered with the eleven apostles,” Luke reports in a matter-of-fact tone (Acts 1:26).
We know little about Matthias. Clearly, he didn’t trumpet his own publicity, but God took notice of his willingness to serve, his faithful heart, his availability. So, in honor of Matthias, and replacements near and far, I’ve prepared a Manifesto for Replacements
As a Professional Replacement I will …
  • be available
  • be enthusiastic
  • be prepared to jump in with little notice
  • check my ego at the door
  • bring a good attitude with me
  • fill in wherever I’m needed
  • seek others’ best interests over my own


Matthias gained an unparalleled privilege when he agreed to become God’s Replacement. I gained the privilege of addressing an attentive, enthusiastic crowd at my friend’s conference. And so it will go any time we agree to join God’s team as The Replacement.

Blessings and prayers,
Julie

 © 2014, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jesus Still Loves Me

Treasured friend,

The other day, when Mom and I were doing our music ministry at a local senior home, we were witnesses to a startling miracle. Many of the residents are quite healthy and independent, but some are succumbing to dementia. Sadly, it seems the disease steals more of who they are with each passing week. One sweet gal, in particular, is more and more lost in her own world, less and less aware of her surroundings.

Anyway, on this particular day Mom got it in her mind to try out the music box setting on the organ with a little ditty from Sunday school days, "Jesus Loves Me."

No sooner did Mom strike the first chord of the chorus that a voice rang out above the din of the room. It was very much in the range of an outside voice, not an inside voice. It also was on pitch and in perfect time. Yes, as you guessed, it was this sweet gal. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so."

Some memories, it seems -- and some truths -- are simple enough for a child and enduring enough to rise through dementia's cruel fog.

Jesus' love is like that. He has staying power. Listen for His amazing promise: "The one who has My commands and keeps them is the one who loves Me. And the one who loves Me will be loved by My Father. I also will love him and will reveal Myself to him" (John 14:21 HCSB). This sweet gal reminded Mom and me of that blessed truth.

Our prayer for you is that you are able to stay aware of the amazing love of God today -- and keep looking for the little miracles He places in your path.

Blessings and prayers, Julie

 © 2014, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: orders@joymediaservices.com