Author Julie-Allyson Ieron offers devotional thoughts and Bible-based encouragement to overwhelmed caregivers of aging parents and other relatives.
Julie is the author of more than two dozen books, including The Overwhelmed Woman's Guide to ... Caring for Aging Parents. (www.womencareforagingparents.com)
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Friday, January 22, 2016
We’ve had a snow day here in our neck of the woods. You’d think that would be rather good, in a way--a time to catch up on lots of stuff you’ve been too busy chasing around in the outside world to finish. (Come to think of it, I did get a bit of office work in.) But I didn’t get nearly as much done as I’d have expected. Although Mom and I did singlehandedly (okay, with the help of one shovel between us, and one mop handle) attempt to move 500 cubic feet of the white stuff over the side of our deck. We got about two thirds of the way in before quitting in exhaustion. (She shoved her way into the action with more energy and strength than it would have taken for me to resist her participation!)
In days like these, we find within our energy stores an extra deposit from God—a strengthening for the task that feels supernatural in origin. We certainly felt that yesterday—that is, until we ran up against our physical wall of exhaustion. But, that’s the physical and clearly temporary brand of strengthening.
I reread a prayer this morning, from the quill of the apostle Paul, that speaks of a different kind of strengthening—a more permanent one—one that doesn’t leave us drained at the end of the experience and collapsing in exhaustion, but instead energizes us for a new kind of future so fabulous that we can’t even begin to imagine it. Here it is, found in the closing of his second letter to the Thessalonian Christians—a letter my pastor has been preaching through since the first of the year.
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal encouragement and good hope by grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good work and word (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 HCSB).
I pray this Scripture with many of my new students as they enter their writing studies (in part because of the word word that makes up a key part of the prayer). But today, I felt very much like the Lord Himself whispered this prayer into my heart—as if the Holy Spirit and the Son of God, who intercede for me always, were praying it for me.
To encourage my heart.
To strengthen me.
To prepare me for the good work (ergon) He has in store for me.
To open me to the good Word and to the good words (logos) He has for me to speak or to write.
Look where this strength and encouragement finds its source: in Jesus Christ and God our Father. And it’s based in the love of God for us. It’s the source of our hope. And, as I mentioned in the lead-in, it’s eternal, perpetual, everlasting, forever, since the world began and after the world ends.
So, I pray this Scripture into your day today—may our Lord, through His love and His Mighty Spirit, show His love for you by giving you an encouragement that will last. So that you may have His hope to sustain you—the hope based in the solid foundation of His promises to you. And may this love and this hope from Him bolster in your heart a firmly planted, growing resolve to keep on with your hard tasks. May it give energy to your tired body—and vibrant life to your tired soul. And may you, now rejuvenated in His strength, do with energy and enthusiasm the work of His calling on your life. May you not only do His will, but speak His words, today and every day.
Oh, and if you're caught in a snow day (as most of our part of the country continues to be), be careful moving that white stuff. It looks fluffy and sweet--like cotton candy--but boy-oh-boy can it leave your muscles aching!
Julie-Allyson Ieron has the creative mind of a writer, the heart of a caregiver, the tenacity of a journalist, the others-centeredness of a businesswoman. She has published 35 books. Her newest are The GOD Interviews: Questions You Would Ask; Answers God Gives and: Gentle Hugs for Grieving Hearts.