One of the most Honorable and Praiseworthy qualities admired most about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. , was that He was a Diplomatic Ambassador of Peace! Dr. King was a PEACEMAKER, and a strong man of FAITH, INTEGRITY, JUSTICE, BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES and VALUES! In His avid quest to fight for equality and justice he embraced non violence! Dr. Martin Luther King was a Baptist Minister born at noon in his family home on January 15,1929 in Atlanta Georgia. How ironic his Queen Anne style home was in what is known as the magnificent “Sweet Auburn District.” He was an avid and dedicated prominent leader in the “Civil Rights” movement! However it was because of his gallant efforts he was violently assassinated in 1968 at the age of 39. Dr. King fought long and tenaciously for the equal rights for people of Color! He wanted the same rights that were extended to Whites extended to all people! He was especially instrumental in ending legal segregation that plagued African Americans in the South. Dr. King led many powerful and peaceful demonstrations. For his many efforts he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964!
Dr. King came from a ancestral lineage of Baptist Ministers. His father and his grandfather were ministers! They both became pastor’s in succession of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia! He was raised in a very comfortable, loving and stable middle class Christian home! He was a brilliant, well educated and gifted man! He excelled prolifically in his studies and skipped both the (9th) ninth and (12th) twelfth grades! He was admitted to the impressive Morehouse College at the early age of only (15) fifteen years old.
King was aware from a very early age of the obvious discrimination that existed against African Americans. There is an interesting little story of when he was only 6 years of age, his white playmate told him that they could no longer play together since they were now going to segregated schools! Before King’s going off to college, he first went to work on a tobacco farm in Connecticut. It is here he realized that the same discrimination was not apparent that he had experience in the South! He took note of the many activities that both whites, blacks, reds, yellows, browns and all colors shared. Here basically all Colors participated together! They went to worship together they could eat out publicly together, it was an eye opening experience!
King enthusiastically entered Morehouse College and initially his desire was to study medicine and law. However he became impressed with the marvelous oratorical skills of Benjamin Mays an activist, educated and intelligent man who was pursuing equal rights and racial equality! Mays had made and indelible impression upon his father, Martin Luther Sr. The young budding Martin remained impressed as well. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1948! King then attended Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. King early on had a charismatic personality and was elected student body president of the predominately white student body. He eventually earned his Bachelor’s of Divinity in 1951. King then went on to Boston University, it is here he earned a Doctorate! Here in Boston is where he met the love of his life Coretta Scott. She was studying at the New England conservatory of Music. They married in a beautiful lawn ceremony at her family’s home! The ceremony was officiated by Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., his father in 1953. From their beautiful union was born 4 wonderful children!
Of the many protests that was led by King it was the infamous Montgomery Alabama bus boycott that received acclaimed nationwide attention. Here the lovely intelligent Rosa Parks a hard working gentle natured Black woman who was tired after a long honest day at work, as an excellent and skilled seamstress decided not to give up her seat to a white passenger. Mrs. Parks was in turn arrested under the segregation laws. A concerted effort was made by the Activists they strategically planned and implemented a strategic and successful peaceful bus boycott. There were numerous marches and “sit ins”…
It was on his way to support a group of sanitation workers in Memphis,Tennessee that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated! Senator Edward Kennedy chartered a plane to bring Dr. King’s body home to Atlanta! At least (30) thirty buses and (100) one hundred planes were used to bring mourners for his “Homegoing Celebration” Sympathy was poured out from all over the world! The night before King had delivered a most prophetic message! He made this statement: ““I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.” It was the very next day while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel, he was killed by a sniper’s bullet! King’s loyal supporters throughout America were quite upset and 100+ riots ensued in various cities across the country! After much uproar and ongoing media attention! His white assassin James Earl Ray pleaded guilty, was convicted and sentenced to 99 years in prison. He later attempted to recant his confession of guilt and said that he was coerced by his attorneys. Ray held to the stance it was a conspiracy! Dr. King’s family came to his aid and support of Ray’s defense and embraced him. Ray died before he could be acquitted. Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow made this statement upon Ray’s death; “America will never have the benefit of Mr. Ray’s trial, which would have produced new revelations about the assassination…as well as establish the facts concerning Mr. Ray’s innocence.”
Dr. Martin Luther King has been compared and contrasted to some of the greatest! To name a few; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln. The fact remains that he was martyred has further served to keep his memory alive. His legacy lives on in the hearts of many as well as in the history of America’s historical corridors and the world at large. His legacy has a life of its own!
It was after his death that he was accredited with an overwhelming international status. There are roads, highways, buildings, schools and institutions named in his honor throughout the United States. In 1986 he was honored with a national Holiday celebrated on the 3rd Monday in January. In 1991 the Lorraine Hotel where he was assassinated became a Museum. In London they have a sculpture of him over the door to the west front at West Minister Abbey in his honor. Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” oratorical famous speech is well remembered and often quoted by many universally! Excerpt from this speech: “And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Dr. King was a wonderful inspiring man of God whose voice in the midst of the prevalent and tumultuous prejudice harnessing America opened the pathway to equality for all colors! His eloquence, charismatic style, self sacrificing, courageous and arduous commitment will forever be ingrained in the chronicles of America’s History as well as the hearts of many! King lived under the microscope of the Federal Bureau of Investigation the ongoing surveillance was spearheaded under J. Edgar Hoover. Many unfounded allegations were made to undermine his credibility. But none of them could serve to tarnish his incredible, impeccable, accomplishments as a committed man of God and strong ardent peaceful contributions as a Civil Rights Activist. Nor his infamous merited accomplishment of receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo Norway! Upon His acceptance he stated “I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind,”said King in his acceptance speech. “I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him.
Indeed there is so much more that could be said about this dedicated man of God; Dr. Martin Luther King Jr… Yet, I close here with another memorable excerpt from “ I Have A Dream!”
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
Depression is America’s number one health problem. A growing number of our population suffers from depression. The state of the economy has greatly impacted many! During the Holiday season when everyone is seemingly happy and cheerful many suffer from “Seasonal Depression.” Depression can be brought on by trauma, prolonged stress, high blood pressure, diabetes, chronic pain, living with a substance abuser, sexual abuse, obesity, unemployment or unresolved family dysfunction. A decrease in neurotransmitters is also a major factor in depression. When anger is not dealt with properly it can actually manifest in the form of depression. Depression is actually unresolved anger turned inward. A person can actually be depressed for years and not know they are depressed.
A depressed person suffers from self- defeating beliefs. Here are a few of those beliefs. I have to be loved to be happy. I must give up my beliefs to please others. If others don’t like me I can’t be happy. I can’t trust others they will only hurt me. I’m inferior to others. I should never hurt anyone else’s feelings. This is why it is so important not to compare yourself with others. Comparing will either make you feel superior or inferior. Everyone has there own unique shortcomings. We all are in a state of “becoming”. Know that God made us all uniquely different yet equal.
There are varying degrees of depression.The foundational causes of depression are usually rooted in some type of personal injury. A deep sense of hopelessness, fear, bitterness, anger, ambivalence and despair are usually a side bar of depression. Depressed people are usually focused inwardly. A deep sense of shame often keeps the depressed person in a state of emotional isolation. Angry with themselves and sometimes even angry with God they experience a great deal of conflict. Depression is often described as feeling as though you are totally alone in a black bottomless hole.
A chronically depressed person may often have suicidal or violent thoughts towards themselves or others. They also suffer from distorted thinking, which can resort in magnifying situations. A great sense of loneliness is realized since they feel unwanted, unimportant and unloved. They may over eat, under eat, sleep excessively or to the extreme be unable to sleep at all.
In extreme depression there is frequent loss of emotional control and frequent crying spells. Overwhelmed by the depression their being inhabits a deep void. Although often remorseful after improper behavior, they have the potential to exhibit extremely violent and self-destructive behavior. A depressed person can use their depression to manipulate others. Attention getting depression frequently ends up in loss of mate and friends.
Bipolar depression alternates between manic and depressive moods. There is much medical evidence to substantiate genetic predisposition in some individuals. In between episodes they can have long periods of normal functioning. This type of depression can take a toll on those afflicted as well as their friends and loved ones. Depression of this magnitude accounts for the majority of mental hospital admissions. In most cases the assistance of a prescribed anti-depressant medication is necessary. This helps to replenish the depleted neurotransmitters. This kind of treatment is only viable by a qualified Psychiatrist or a medical physician.
Depression is of a spiritual nature as well. Although the word depression is not mentioned The Bible on numerous occasions mentions hopelessness and despair. Remember when King Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and wandered eating grasses, grew long, long, hair and his nails grew as claws.
He finally lifted his eyes to the Lord and praised Him. His understanding was restored.” Read Daniel 4: 32-34. What about Job, Moses, David, Elijah or Jeremiah, these are just a few examples. Or how about King Saul who had a tormenting spirit? Encouraging a depressed person to think realistically from a biblical perspective is crucial to their healing. Depression can be cured with the right therapeutic help when it is not of a biological nature. The power and direction of the Holy Spirit is much needed in dealing with a depressed person. Help them to understand that God loves them because of who He is and not because of who we are. (Without God we really aren’t much of anything.) His love for us is not based on what we do or do not do. That He loved us so much He allowed His son Jesus who was sinless to die for us. When we accept Him as Lord and Savior He stands patiently waiting to help us with our varied sin weaknesses. A truly Christ centered life will give your life new meaning! Fellowshipping with balanced committed Christians is a plus. Spending time doing something for someone else will give them less time to spend in introspection or self- pity.
Let them know God already knows all what has transpired in their life. Encourage them to develop a personal intimate relationship with Him. Not a religious knowledge! But to really begin understanding that the Bible is not a fantasy! The examples therein are for us, then, today and tomorrow! Once you accept Jesus He is forever there for you. Just don’t leave Him out! You are adopted. Your old self should gradually begin to take on the characteristics of your heavenly Father. But for this to take place you must spend time with Him. Begin to meditate on His WORD! Start with Romans 5:1-6 and Philippians 4: 6-9. Be patient know that God has promised to work everything in your life for good eventually. Learn to properly verbalize your anger. Don’t suppress it. It’s okay to be angry!
Christians often experience depression. Feelings of abandonment override their ability to rationalize that God really loves them right where they are. This is why it is so very necessary for committed teachers of the Gospel to expound with wisdom and simplicity. Keeping it on a level for all to understand. To reinforce that we can really do ” all things through Christ that strengthens us”. To know that fear is not from the Lord. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the daylong; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“Beyond The Walls” by Alpha 7. Smooth instrumental music that will calm the agitations of the soul.
What does it mean to love someone? Does it mean you give them everything they want? Does it mean letting someone run over you? Does it mean you tell them what they want to hear? Does it mean you never make them angry? Does love ever end? Webster defines love in this way; strong affection for another based on kinship ties. Example: maternal love for a child. Attraction based on sexual desire. Admiration or benevolence. Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion. A beloved person: Darling. Brotherly concern for others. To hold dear. To feel a lover’s passion, devotion, or tenderness. An unselfish concern of God for man. The scriptures tell us that “God is Love.” Tell me can you really truly love someone and not know God? Or better yet to the degree you know God; does it help you love in a profound way? According to I Corinthians LOVE…is PATIENT…is KIND…does not ENVY… does not BOAST… Is not PROUD…is not SELFISH. Keeps no record of wrong doings…does not DELIGHT in EVIL…but REJOICES in TRUTH. Always protects. Always TRUSTS. Always HOPES. Always PERSEVERES. Does your definition of love encompass Biblical principles?
I have found that love is a term that many people use loosely. If you listen clearly they usually base love on doing or not doing something for them. Love is not giving someone what they want. Love is not letting people run over you. Love is not telling people what they want to hear. If you love them you will speak the truth in love. Just know when you truly love people they will get angry with you sometimes! Their perspective of you will modify. You are no longer the kind wonderful person that they thought you were. All of a sudden you will be perceived as being cold, uncaring, and selfish. They will accuse you of not really loving them when you don’t give them what they want. Don’t fret! God knows your heart. In the meantime pray for them. Begin to practice healthy boundaries with them.
There are many angry people who will chew you out at the drop of a hat. They have oodles of pent up unresolved anger. Cancer, high blood pressure, eating disorders, temper tantrums and depression are just a few results of stored anger. It’s okay for them to have a tantrum. But you are expected to appease them. Anger is natural. Encourage them to find healthy ways to express their anger. Suppressing anger is unhealthy. Just know it takes more control to not respond than to throw a fit. Did you know you can be angry and sin not?
By the way you must let go of some people you love. I am not talking about letting go like in divorce. Divorce occurs because two adults are not able to work through whatever problems they are experiencing. They are not able to keep the commitment they made to each other for whatever reason. Often this is because they really didn’t think things through first. Many couples are unaware of the necessary tenacity for an enduring marriage. (But that’s another column). When I say letting go I mean putting them in hands of the Lord. Allow Him to intervene. There are those who just enjoy a habitat of tension and confusion. Did you know you could break unhealthy cycles by employing better ways to resolve conflict? Avoiding conflict is not healthy. Allowing a cooling off period before discussing the problem may be helpful. Words spoken in a fit of anger can be very damaging. Letting go and allowing them space to feel the consequences for their actions can be beneficial to their spiritual maturity.
The world is a very inconsistent place. God’s standards are not respected nor appreciated. God must be the central focus of your life for true successful living. The prophets pleaded over and over with God’s people to return to his principles. God wants to be first in your life. God has instructed us to; “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thine soul, and with all thine might. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto they children and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest……. (Deuteronomy 6) God loves us and is faithful. His WORD is true.
Love will help you weather the storms of life. Love must be balanced. The term conditional love is often used today. I often hear I can do without your kind of love. Well your kind or my kind of love is not love at all. God sets the standard. God is love. Unless we measure it by His standards it's merely subjective opinion. For example; the more I don't rock your boat you love me. Once you rock my boat I tell you to get out. Now all of a sudden you cry, "You don't love me". As long as I let you rock my boat it's thought of as love. WRONG! How can something as important as Love be reduced to such insignificant terms. Don't get love confused with how you feel. You can not like what someone does and still love them. It is love that actually helps you to respond or not respond to them despite the way you feel. Remember God's love rejoices in the truth! Beware of counterfeit love. When you have been truly loved you will know the difference. True love is kind of like quality; you know it when you see it. "I love the Lord because he heard my voice and my supplications. Because He has inclined His ear to my prayers." (Psalms 116) This is one of my favorite passages of scriptures. We are saved by God's grace. The Lord has saved my entire household! This motivates me to stand for what is right. Our purpose for living is to praise and worship HIM! Knowing that forever we will be together gives me an unexplainable peace and security in the midst of a world full of turmoil. For this I am eternally grateful!
Few people really know what it means to be loved. People live in estranged relationships for years. Households are literally filled with strangers. Sickness, anger, resentment and unresolved bitterness becomes the cohesive components to bind them together. Don't spend a lot of time in the garbage of life! God has a better way for you to live. It's never to late to implement His principles in your daily lifestyle. He can and will guide you. Get off the broad road. This is the worldly road. The broad road leads to destruction. The narrow road leads to God. But there are only a few that find it. Scriptures tells us that love covers a multitude of faults. This does not mean we ignore or condone sinful habits. Don't be deceived! There are consequences for sin.
God always allows you to choose. It is the unselfish concern of God for man that explains love in a nutshell. God loved us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. To redeem us from the power of sin. In order to free us from sin's captivity. He laid down His life for us! There is no greater love than this? Does grace give us the right to willfully sin? God forbid! Out of spiritual ignorance we support all the wrong things in people. We literally "love them to death". When they are six feet under we cry, rant, rave and shout. But why wait until it's to late? Why do we allow people we say we care about to slowly die little by little right before our faces? Why not do something while the blood is still running warm in their veins? It's because we don't want to hurt their feelings. Right! We don't want to hurt their feelings but what about hurting their life? We prefer to take away their motivation to change by comforting them in sin. Motive is always key in whatever you do. Some people have been loved so wrong for so long they can't recognize true love.
We can not change anybody. But we can stop supporting what we know is wrong. Some thing's will just not be understood on this side of heaven! Believe it or not God does not support wrong! I don't care if you have two or two thousand or two million people to support you if it's wrong it's wrong. No one is above reproach. Just try reading Jeremiah. Look at what obedience and love he had for God and His principles! For over 40 years he pleaded with Israel. They ignored a great opportunity for spiritual, moral and ethical maturity. They still chose to justify their sins. Did you know that they did not repent in Jeremiah's time? I wonder if they thought Jeremiah was too negative and needed a personality adjustment? Just imagine the rejection and ridicule he received for taking a stance against sin! Jeremiah didn't just talk the talk. He walked it! He was steadfast! God is about freedom! Sin is a slavemaster. Did you know that it is easier for many to believe a lie rather than believe the truth? God is a Spirit of Truth. "They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in Truth"!
God will bless and keep you in any and all circumstances. Remember GOD is Love! God is eternal! "Stand fast in the liberty that Christ has set you free and be not entangled with a yoke of bondage! Sin is bondage. The Love, freedom, and security that God provides is priceless! Get off the broad road. Discover that narrow road that only a few find. Commit to making a conscious effort to sin less and love with Godly Love! HALLELUJAH!
“Love Is Patient, Love Is Kind. Love is felt most when it’s Genuine”.
Did you know that Thanksgiving means so much more than Turkey & Dressing? Yes, it is a time to come together and enjoy a plenteous wonderful meal that has been prepared with lots of love. Yes, it is a time to come to gather together with family, friends and loved ones and give thanks. Yes, you can even remember that Christopher Columbus an Italian Explorer discovered the Indians in America. It has been recorded in history that he actually sailed across the Atlantic in order to find spices in India.
He sailed for King Ferdinand II and Queen Esabella of Spain. He had a fleet of three ships, the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria with an approximate crew of 90 from Palos Spain. He landed in a new world of the Americas. Many do not realize that Columbus initially had a twofold mission. He wanted to open trade routes and bring in the Word of Jesus Christ! He was named the “Admiral of the Sea” by the King and Queen. He is known for the man that discovered America. That is partially true? Yes, he too did get sidetracked. However, if the Truth be told he actually discovered the Indians!
As the settlers trickled in the atmosphere began to change. It has been said that a group of religious radicals called “Puritans” were pilgrim settlers that had been driven out of England. In 1614, explorers landed in an area called Massachusetts Bay. They actually eventually settled and built a colony called “Plymouth Plantation.” They were taught by Squanto the Indian how to survive by using corn in a plethora of ways for food. They were taught how to fish and use the herbs of the land. Plymouth was surrounded by the Wampanoag who were a large Nation of Indians. Eventually Squanto negotiated a peace treaty between the Indians and the settlers. They lived peaceable for about fifteen (15) years. It was at the end of the first year that a large feast was given. Squanto, their friends and the Indians were honored. The feast lasted for over three (3) days. It is here originates why we here in America celebrate Thanksgiving. How all too soon all was forgotten.
As word got back to England of the prosperity and peacefulness that they were experiencing in Plymouth, many people came by the boatloads. As there numbers increased the tension increased. There began to be a debate as to who possessed the land? The original agreement was cast aside. Since there were no fences, boundaries, land markers etc. (fences etc. are customs that originated in England.) The incoming settlers declared the land as “public domain” this meant it was their’s for the taking. With absolutely no respect for the current treaty between the Indians and the Puritans the newcomers began to seize and destroy the existing peace that had been established. All for the sake of becoming prosperous. Rather than share in the prosperity that had already been established they sought to destroy it and become prosperous themselves. They exiled the current Puritans and with scriptures in tow they overthrew the existing peace agreement. Then along with the use of British soldiers they captured and made many of the Indians slaves…. The rest is history….
I said this all to shed some light on a story that as a child I was taught that in 1492, Christopher Columbus discovered America? But if in fact you search the chronicles of history you will find that he actually, really discovered the Indians. We in America really celebrate Thanksgiving because of the peace treaty that was made between the Puritans and the Indians. Who collectively managed to come together and celebrate their treaty and new life together. If you are a Christian you should know that spiritually speaking Thanksgiving goes even further back than that! The scriptures are full of passages to tell us how we should work, love, live and be thankful for all that God has given us. He even gave His only Begotten Son that we might have a right to the tree of life. But just like the story of Christopher Columbus what was originally intended all too often gets set aside. The principles of this story has constantly repeated itself throughout history in so many ways. All too often what really happened is set aside and replaced with the partial truth.
God wants us to know the Truth of His Word. Life for the believer or child of God really should go much deeper. But all too often one settles for what is partially true. All too often the original agreement is forgotten and laid aside. This is why it is so very important to know the Lord and His Word for yourself. Ephesians 4 tells us; “not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine, to the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the Head-Christ from whom the whole body joined and knit together by what every joint supplies,…….” Knowing the Word of God has its spiritual benefits. When truly taken to heart it motivates, grows and spiritually matures you, convicts, and encourages you to do and want to do things His way. Neither do you just settle for the partial truth or believe just any and everything. But you seek, desire to live and study His Word, apply the principles therein and live your life to please Him! To give thanks to Him each and every day!
God’s ways are far better. But all too often they are laid aside. Many are given and accept a partial story. Many are pressured by the need to be accepted by the majority, to suppress the truth, as well as their desire to dominate and control and have things done their way. One must earnestly seek the truth rather than settle for a partial truth or to be misled by how things appear. As God’s children we are encouraged to “seek Him first and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” What things? Whatever things you need to fulfill his plan in your life will be provided. He did not say that this would be easy. Yet, we can and should be thankful for each and every day. You know regardless of what happens that He has everything under His control. That He is a Spirit of Truth! We can be thankful because you know without a doubt that all of His WORD is true! We then can truly celebrate Thanksgiving knowing that His Son Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for us. That we have been redeemed and purchased and belong to Him. That we are saved completely by His grace alone! The TRUTH really does set you free!
When you know that regardless of how things appear God knows! As I said earlier as a child I was taught that Christopher Columbus discovered America. But as I matured, I inquired and studied. I found out that that was only partially true. It was in fact the Indians he discovered. (For additional information read the history about the Wampanoag Indians.) The Truth will always stand the test of time. As God’s ever growing child I know that God has so much more for us in store. He does not want us to settle for less than the Truth. He wants us to study His Word and rightly apply the principles therein. He has promised to bring what has happened in the dark out to the Light. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. His Word will be a “lamp unto your feet and a Light unto your path”. Do not be sidetracked or derailed by what you hear or how things appear. Know the Truth and His Word for yourself! Let it be your desire to want the things in life that the Lord wants you to have. To know what God wants you to know, to commit to His will and way and trust He will lead, guide and protect you. Know that nothing that happens in life gets by Him. This is why He says in the first Psalms “Do not walk in the council of ungodly people. Do not stand in the way of sinners. Nor sit in the seat of the scornful. But to delight yourself in the law of the Lord….” As a child of God you can rest assured as said in Romans; that in His time He will work out everything for your good, if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Too often what is right is laid aside. Man made institutions waiver. Since we live in an ever changing world your Faith and Trust must be in Him!
God’s Word is true. It is His desire that we grow in the grace and knowledge of His Word. To know Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection! That we are to be steadfast unmovable always abounding in His Word. Not only giving thanks when we eat or on Thanksgiving or Sunday. But each and everyday of our lives. We are told in Colossian 4; “Continue earnestly in prayer, being villigant in it with thanksgiving, meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the world, to speak the mystery of Christ, which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak, Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one..” God can and will make a way out of no way!
God truly is the DAYMAKER. Who else can make a day? True ministry goes beyond the walls! Christ came and His plan of salvation has been offered to all who will believe in their heart and accept Him as Lord of their life. We are to worship and praise the Lord each and every day. We are to live a life of worship. This is why we should live lives of thankfulness. To focus and set our eyes on Him regardless of what happens, has happened or will happen. To give thanks and know that He will give us today our daily bread…… Psalms 107 says; Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so……..” Not only on Thanksgiving but each and every day.
Yes it is a good thing to celebrate and give thanks! But know that Thanksgiving really does mean so much more than Turkey & Dressing. We who are the Lord’s must do as Psalms 100 tells us to enter into “His gates with thanksgiving. And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting. And His Truth endures to all generations. To God be the Glory!
M = To keep your MIND on Jesus! “The Lord will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed on HIM!” Isaiah 26
O = To be OBEDIENT and committed to God and His WORD. “We ought to obey God rather than man” Acts 5
T = To be TRUTHFUL & trustworthy. “God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him must worship HIM in Spirit and Truth.” John 5
H = To be HONEST and honorable and honor God in your heart, life and home. “Strength and Honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Psalm 31
E = To exercise Godliness! “But to refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto Godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little… I Timothy 4
R = To know you have been declared RIGHTEOUS and are a member of the royal priesthood of God! “But ye are a chosen generation a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into the marvelous LIGHT!” 1 Peter 2
To GOD Be The GLORY!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
DeBorrah K. Ogans is a Marriage Educator, licensed Christian Counselor, life coach and ordained minister. She is certified through the Sarasota Academy of Christian Counseling in Creation Therapy and holds a Master’s Degree in Biblical Clinical Counseling. She is the author of a pre-marital guide “How Do I Love Thee: Things You Need To Know Before You Say I Do,” and “Holy Matrimony: Now That You’re Married”.
DeBorrah has written extensively and has a plethora of columns and commentaries on life subjects that are widely published. DeBorrah along with her husband is co-founder of Alpha 7 Ministries, a Counseling and Music Ministry that reaches “Beyond The Walls”. There are times when we all need some encouragement in our walk with the Lord. The Counseling Ministry was designed to encourage, motivate and uplift you in your journey. The Music Ministry produces and records music for every musical taste: Contemporary Christian, Gospel, Praise & Worship, Instrumental Gospel/Jazz, and Easy Listening.
Do you need STRESS RELIEF?
Are you stressed? Is there something weighing on your mind? Is there some inner conflict? Is there something happening in your life and you don’t know how things will work out? You are not alone! At some point in time everyone experiences a certain degree of stress. Feelings actually lets you know that you are still here! A small amount of stress is actually healthy. It keeps you on your toes and motivates you to shift. Do you need stress relief?
Life today can be quite complex at times. There are many pressures on varying diverse levels, more so at times for some. You can actually worry yourself sick. To name a few stress affects your happiness, brings on acne, hair loss, weight gain, weight loss, high blood pressure, panic attacks, anxiety, impacts your sex drive as well as hampers your infertility. If you are experiencing a significant amount of stress don’t wait until you are completely over whelmed to find some relief. Conflict and stress are a normal part of life. If your patience is getting close to nil know; you are reaching your limit. Don’t wait until you explode and get really angry to express yourself. This will only further complicate the situation. While angry and out of control you say and do things that can be destructive. Begin to shift.
Stress is defined as; “Forces from the outside world impinging on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life that can help us learn and grow. Conversely, stress can cause us significant problems.
Stress releases powerful neurochemicals and hormones that prepare us for action (to fight or flee). If we don’t take action, the stress response can lead to health problems. Prolonged, uninterrupted, unexpected, and unmanageable stresses are the most damaging types of stress.” medicine net.com
When you are stressed it becomes difficult to respond properly. Many often become verbally or emotionally abusive. For some they respond physically , in an inappropriate manner when they lack proper coping skills. When stressed you can become tense, it may be harder to concentrate, you may even get a headache or your heart begins to race. This is a clear indication that YOU NEED to shift. Here is something that will help you. Imagine a cup of ice cubes being slowly yet gently poured over your head. Allow yourself to feel the coolness of the ice gently melting over you. Begin to Allow your anger to subside. Please! Think before you respond!
When the pressures of life begin to get to you it is important that you get a grip on your emotions. No, I am not saying go into denial! How you feel is important. Your feelings need to be validated. Depression will result if you don’t. Depression is anger turned inside! When it gets to this point you may need professional help! Seek out resources for anger management if you have “out of control behavior.” Quite often you have learned some unhealthy dynamics that need to be changed. It may be hard for you to just say how you are feeling without being so angry. Your anger is a clear indication that you are also hurting. This will often result in something or someone triggering your anger and setting you “off.” If this is the case know that you are being controlled by remote. Learn how to stay “on” track!
Here are a few ways to relieve stress.
If you are stressed? It is important to begin to spend some quiet time to unwind. Writing a letter to anyone who has hurt you is good. Express exactly how you feel. This is for your eyes only. Then tear it up and throw it away! You can also get an empty chair; imagine that the person is sitting there, and say to whomever has hurt you how you feel. Take control and release any anger, hurt, shame or disapointment! You are now beginning to take out the trash that has begun to weigh you down. Listen to some relaxing music, exercising, or just taking a walk helps. You now have decided to no longer let what has happened to sit on the shelf of your mind and ferment! You are now beginning to move towards letting it go. This also heps you move towards wholeness.
If your family is stressed? Set aside some quiet time aside from the television or any outside distractions and have a family “pow wow.” Allow those concerned to briefly talk about how they are feeling. Then have them talk about how things can be improved. It is helpful to have one of the children to moderate you will be surprised. Your objective is to create a healthy, loving , open, nurturing, safe environment.
Is your marriage stressed? You need to set aside some quiet time where the two of you can calmly discuss what are the issues at hand. Rekindle that love that brought the two of you together! Restore the JOY of just being together. When two together row a boat it gets to the desired destination faster. Having a weekly date night is great as well! Remember you cannot change what has happened. But you can decide to go forward. Yes, you will probably have to revisit where you have been. But this is to remind you of where you do not want to stay or continue to go.
Is your job stressing you out? You need to make an appointment to talk to your supervisor, boss, employees or co workers and let them know how you are feeling. Make sure you are not angry when you do this. Find a neutral spot if possible. Writing down what you want to say will help you stay focused. If you feel that you may lose your thoughts or say something inappropriate reschedule. Graciously delay it until you are ready. The point is you want to take control not loose it. If they are not willing; it make be better to begin looking for employment somewhere else. If you don’t at some point your health will become affected working continuously under such poor conditions.
Incorporating prayer and meditating on the scriptures will yield much peace in your life. Actively implementing the principles are key to resolving inner conflict and stress. The scriptures where meant to point us to a better way of life. To develop a personal relationship with God our Creator. God has provided a wonderful plan of salvation for all who are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Jesus is able to save you from the power of sin reigning in your life! Jesus came to show us that better Way! To help you discover your true purpose in life!
Stress again is a normal part of life. Taking the time to communicate your feelings in a healthy manner means you care. Redemptively confronting what ever the problem is or however you are feeling is always much better for you and those around you. Everyone has a not so good day from time to time. Don’t major in the minors! Just make sure that stress has not become the theme for your everyday lifestyle. Life is too short and precious to spend the majority of your time stressed! It is important to begin to work towards having a healthier balance in life. Begin moving towards creating a warm, more peaceful, safe and loving environment! Learning coping skills and ways to manage stress will also result in a healthier outlook as well as becoming healthier spiritually, physically and emotionally.
“Beyond The Walls” by Alpha 7. Smooth instrumental music that will calm the agitations of the soul.
Monitor Your Stress Level
The GREATEST GIFT That Was Ever Given
HIS Name is JESUS
Over 2,000 years ago God sent His Son into the world that we might be saved and not condemned. On the profession of our FAITH we are accepted into His Family and become children of God. The Child in the manger has been recognized as The Traditional Christmas scene down through the ages. It is much more than a tradition it is a True story! As you Celebrate Christmas with your family, friends and loved ones with your plethora of family Traditions; I would like to take a few minutes to share “The Chronicle of Our Lord and Savior!”
“FOR unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9
“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you; BLESSED are you among women!” But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her. “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His Father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob FOREVER. And of His kingdom there will be no end…….
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Now there was in the same country shepherds out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, and angel of the Lord said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of GREAT JOY which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is CHRIST the LORD. And this will be the sign to you : You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths in a manger. And suddenly there was an angel a multitude of the heavenly host PRAISING GOD and saying; GLORY to God in the highest, And on earth PEACE , GOODWILL toward men!
So it was when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when then they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning the child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and PRAISING GOD for ALL the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them.
And when eight days were completed for the circumcision of the Child, His name was called JESUS, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb…
This is the greatest event that ever happened in the history of the world! So much so that a choir of Angels sang and the sky was lit with a brilliant STAR! “JESUS is the Bright and Morning Star” He wants to Light your heart and give you purpose and meaning in your life! CHRISTMAS IS WHEN WE CELEBRATE “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” TO JESUS! Jesus lived an amazing sinless life to conquer sin in the flesh for us! So we would not be condemned but saved. He was crucified a shameful death on the CROSS, died for us and then after three days in the grave HE arose victoriously with ALL power! When you accept Him into your heart you become God’s child and His precious Holy Spirit comes to live within you and your body becomes a Temple. You are then given the gift of Eternal Life! Jesus then becomes your Messiah, Savior and Lord! Jesus is the GREATEST GIFT that was ever given! JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON! Have a wonderfully, MARVELOUSLY Blessed MERRY CHRISTMAS and a JOYFULLY Blessed NEW YEAR!!! “GLORY TO GOD in the HIGHEST and on earth PEACE to men on whom HIS FAVOR rests….” (St. Luke }
We’ve Come To Bow Down And Worship HIM!
Do You Have A Healthy Worship Environment?
When you leave church do you feel convicted, inspired and encouraged to grow spiritually? Do you feel that your intimate personal relationship with God is growing? Do you have a desire to create a home, living and work environment where God’s principles are practiced daily? Do you desire to know God through His word? Have you truly accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Is the Holy Spirit active in your everyday life? Do you really embrace repentance? Or do you subscribe to the “nobody’s perfect syndrome” and excuse any faulty behavior under the guise of unconditional love? After taking a sincere personal inventory of your own life can you say you are truly growing spiritually? Or have you really just conformed so you could be accepted? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty”. Godly liberty does not sanction anything that goes against His principles. Neither does it make you conform to legalistic rules, concepts or beliefs. God always gives us the freedom to choose. Of course, you must be aware that there are consequences for whatever choices you make. God is a God of balance. A liberal healthy spiritual environment teaches you that God is sovereign and points you to His Word. It is in the Word of God you will find multiple examples and solutions for day to day living.
In contrast, in an unhealthy church environment the right of the individual to choose is greatly diminished. Instead you are encouraged to conform. Unity means to agree not to rock the boat. Asserting yourself and exercising what you believe is discouraged. Instead of strengthening family relationships an alliance to leadership is encouraged. Leadership then dictates and controls how you should think, live and give. Your pastor often becomes your voice of God and the only one to interpret the Word of God. The sermon is usually directed to someone who is not conforming. Once you have truly experienced someone who will prayerfully meditate on God’s Word and consecrates themselves for worship you will see a significant difference. Telling the truth of God’s Word rather than trying to manipulate people to do things their way is the desired goal. They really don’t have a hidden agenda. The message is for the giver as well as the receiver. This is why it is so important to know the Word of God. This is also how you can recognize if you have experienced an abusive worship environment? When you leave an unhealthy church environment you are usually trying to figure out what member was he talking about today?
If you are regularly worshipping in a healthy church you really know when you are truly growing spiritually. You are not just lead by your emotions and compulsively respond in the flesh when situations arise. When you embrace the Truth of God’s Word you are not derailed by the many obstacles life brings. You not only attend a healthy church but during the week you desire to continue to aggressively apply His Word to your life. In contrast in an unhealthy church there often are moral double standards. You are one way on Sunday and live differently Monday – Saturday. Praise & worship is just a channel you turn to on Sundays. The pastor usually is the only one with authority and does not welcome comments or an opinion that differs from his. Any outside speakers are prepped and are given a preliminary screening and encouraged to “back him up” with their comments. All too often leadership tolerates and sanctions immorality. They have an agreement with one another rather than honor Godly principles. Their weaknesses and flaws are again excused, kept under cover and fall under the guise of “nobody is perfect.” Those who oppose are put under a microscope and labeled unloving or negative. Sexual misconduct is merely given a slap on the wrist. If you look closely beyond the surface you will find that this type of environment encourages codependency and quite often members experience mental anguish as well as breakdowns and various continued addictions. Tithing, giving and regular attendance exempts you from undesirable consequences when you are a part of the group regardless of your behavior. It guarantees that you will be given unconditional support. Your dedication to the system demonstrates that you are supportive and have a teachable spirit but do you really? Disagreeing with the pastor means you are disagreeing with God? In an unhealthy worship environment the pastor is accountable to an inner board of hand selected “yes men and women.” Rather than serve God they serve their system. They often serve the pastor rather than carry out the true commission of the Church.
Today it is still very important to be prayerful and seek Godly direction. Just about anything goes today. God really does have a solution. God really does want you to live victoriously. Did you know that you can believe all the right things and be quite wrong? God really can deliver you from whatever? On the other hand He can and will keep you from falling! God truly is deserving of all the praise! When you read the Word of God you will find that Jesus spent a significant amount of time talking to the established church as well as reaching out to the lost. Jesus and His disciples were not readily embraced because they did not subscribe to or adhere to their legalistic approach. The seven churches mentioned in Revelations actually did exist. Notice they all lacked in some area. Did you know the rules and regulations of the law were fulfilled when Christ died on the cross? If you carefully, slowly and prayerfully read Hebrews it will give you a better understanding of God’s Grace and Favor. Grace and Favor are gifts from God. Did you know that when you accept Jesus Christ that your body becomes a Temple? His Holy Spirit resides within. you. God said, “I will put my laws in your mind and write then in your heart.” God wants you to have a personal intimate relationship with Him. He already knows you and everything about you. He knows everything! He wants and desires you to know Him and the “power of His Resurrection.” He also wants you to have a healthy worship environment. He does not want you to be a spiritual yoyo. God has all power! He can even turn an unhealthy worship environment into a place where His Spirit is truly welcomed. Repentance is key. This will allow you to start anew and become open and willing to be led by His precious Holy Spirit!
Jesus’ life, death and Resurrection really means something! He made atonement for all the sins of the world. That in itself is reason to praise Him! True worshippers worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The children of Israel wandered for forty years in the desert because they were disobedient. Their hearts were hardened by sin’s deceitfulness and they did not even realize it. We must combine the Gospel with faith. Nothing is hidden from God. When you truly know Him you can approach His throne of grace with confidence. Not in yourself but in Him. When you have a relationship with Him you can be patient. You know and realize that He will take care of you in any and every situation. Your desire is to please Him and have His will done in your life. Abraham received the promise by faith. God cannot lie. You can depend on His promises! Hope and trust in God will be an anchor for your soul. You know by faith He will impart His grace to you and help you in time of need. Jesus is the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.
The true tabernacle is not made by man. Christ is the mediator of a new covenant. We have been declared righteous. We have been made Holy because Jesus sacrificed His life for us. His body is now the curtain that covers us. His blood has cleansing power! We must learn to draw near to God through faith and a sincere heart. Always know God knows your heart. God wants you to set aside anything that hinders your spiritual growth. God will discipline you for your good so that you may share in His holiness. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.” Check out Hebrews the 11th chapter to find out what faith in God did for them! God is good and is so deserving of our sincere praise. Give Him a continual sacrifice of true honorable praise! Not “tinkling cymbals sounding brass” there is a difference. God really does want you to experience a healthy worship environment! God can and will equip you with whatever you need to do His will. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.” To God be the Glory!
Now that I am over fifty I can really look at things through my Mother’s eyes. My compassion has grown. It is such a gorgeous day. I know Mom would have loved the brilliant sunshine and stunning blue skies. Today we took her some beautiful flowers. My Mom always loved fresh flowers, she will always be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. She will always and forever be alive in my heart. There are times that I miss her dearly; but I have peace knowing that she is resting and happily present with the Lord. I can look back and be thankful of the times I spent with her.
In her later years my Mom gradually began to say what I now call a “slow goodbye”.
My Mother was a very strong willed woman. I was her only daughter among my many brothers. I will always remember how she reminded me that she prayed that the Lord would give her a daughter. It was actually just abreast a few months of her forth decade in life that I was born.
I believe that by this time she had a pretty good handle on being a parent since I was her ninth child and as I said before her first and only daughter.
My Father labored many hours away from home providing for our family. My Mother adorned me with all the girly trimmings for as long as I can remember. Frilly Priscilla curtains festooned my bedroom windows along with my white high standing white wrought iron bed. I think I wore pink nylon and organza dresses with embroidered flowers with matching bloomers and pink satin ribbons to adorn my hair seems like forever to Church. Let’s not forget to mention how I had to stay up while she pinned curled my hair with bobby pins on Saturdays for curls on Sunday. This was almost until I was thirteen years old. I eventually was able to turn in my white socks for cinnamon colored stockings.
My Mother was born in the early 1900’s and that was the thing to do way back then for a girl child. I was especially elated that she spent many hours laboring at her much ravished Singer Sewing machine fabricating me a plethora of uniquely designed everyday dresses. When school started there was one for each day of the week. She even made me a red plaid Dr. Kildare dress. I can remember her up and about sewing more nights than I remember her sleeping and resting. I now realize the many sacrifices she made for me. Coming from such humble beginnings makes you really appreciate the preciousness of time.
I have learned that time in fact, is really a precious priceless gift.
Years later on another occasion I can remember the day my husband asked her if he could marry me. Since we were so young I was a bit queasy as to how she would respond. He had graduated early from high school at sixteen. So I had chosen not to be present. My Mother was in her late 20’s when she married. Here I was a mere 17. I could only wonder what she would say. She had planned that I go on a college tour and………. But whatever my then, husband to be said to her, he won her over, from that moment on. It was at that time that they bonded. He became another son to her. We were engaged for one year. When our very own daughter was born she adorned her with the same delicately made pink embroidered dresses.
Each time one of my children were born (we had four more sons) she came to our home for an extended visit. We spent many nights just enjoying the company of one another. I always appreciated the way she respected and loved our children and my husband. I knew somewhat, but it was not really until her “Home going” celebration that I realized just how special her relationship was with my husband. My husband paid a tribute to her by playing one of her favorite hymns “His Eye Is On The Sparrow>” . It was at that moment he shared with the many guests that were present, that in over thirty years there had never been a cross word between them. I don’t know many son-in–laws that can say that! These are just a few of the many memories that I cherish to this day. There are so many many more.
Little did I know until much later on in life how those memories would get me through the changes, challenges and transitions that her life encountered. Age has a way of creeping up on you. It gradually robbed her of all her much adored independence, gifts, talents and strength that she profusely exuded. My Mom was always a strong figure in my life. I always felt as a child that she was so stern. This of course is understandable since I was her one and only daughter. She was a very intelligent an educated woman. She was well respected by her academic colleagues. It was when I was in Jr. High that she entered into teaching. She wore many hats as a wife, Mother, teacher and actively took on many roles and a list of responsibilities at her place of worship. She was an advisor and confidant to many pastors. Let’s not forget her excellence as a seamstress, gourmet cooking skills and passion for gardening!
I said all of this to give you a poignant illustration of what was. … I can remember her telling me how she was beginning to feel strange in this body of hers. That that person looking back at her in the mirror was beginning to be quite interesting. How her body just would not do the simple tasks as she wanted. After she retired and well into my adult years she continued to sew, cook and garden. But slowly and surely her strong physical stature begins to slightly so ever bow. I would drive up and spend the day with her often. I can remember her equilibrium suddenly changing and her many falls. Osteoporosis gradually began to take its toll on her ever shrinking frame. Her once tall and grand stance resembling a much shorter humbled bowing position. The many bruises on her arms and head. But thank God no fractures or broken bones! She would jokingly say her hard head now came in handy. But she remained determined. I can remember the garage door falling on her. I asked her “What were you thinking of? You don’t’ even drive!” Here our roles begin to reverse.
My Mom loved to write and faithfully would journal her daily thoughts and dissipating activities. Her memory filled cherished journals and her Elementary Primers are my most treasured remnants. It was in her journals I have her recorded memories of her much expressed LOVE for me, her long gone sister, brothers and parents. Who all went before her, of her many friends and acquaintances, my brothers and especially her loving relationship with me, my husband and our children.
My Mom as I said was articulate and had no problem expressing herself. in anyway. She could even discuss the sports statistics with my husband; as well as discuss God’s Word or any current or past News topic. Her home cluttered with memorabilia and a library of books along with an assortment of various nursery foliage inside and out. As time began to take its toll she asked me in a very cognizant moment to promise to allow her to stay in her own home until the Lord called her home. She did not want to loose that part of her independence. Her home was a place for any and all to come to and enjoy her wonderful cooking and company. I lived an hour away so she would come for weeks and stay and visit with my family. But no matter how much she enjoyed herself “there was no place like home“. My mother never learned to drive therefore she had to be chauffeured and transported. I spent many hours up and down the freeway taking her to the Dr, shopping and to run errands. I had a brother who lived right around the corner from her and one that actually lived with her. But since I was her only daughter that would not do. At times it was okay. I did not mind because that was time I looked forward to spending with her.
As time passed her health began to decline. Her physical condition began to deteriorate to the place that she sometimes lost control of her bodily liquids. Rendering the necessity of subscribing to adult disposable undergarments. This is what happens often when one reaches their later silver years, especially so after having bore eleven children. My adult son who lived fifteen minutes away would frequently drop off a supply for me from Costco and visit with her. He would also give me an update on her condition.
Gradually Mom had succumb to cocooning and not venturing outdoors much. Her many falls finally made her yield to a cane. I can remember taking her to the Dr. for therapy so they could assist and teach her how to use a much dreaded walker. They stressed how she should try to walk uprightly as much as posssible. I can still remember the day when I was taking her to the car and she suddenly began to fall. I immediately lowered myself under her to brace her impact with the driveway. It was then I knew that there would have to be more changes. Her eyesight began to dim and arthritis began to painfully embrace her hands. Then there was her eye surgery, and……. Sewing and needle work gradually had to be set aside. I can see in her journals the gradual shift in her once brilliant almost flawless penmanship. I can see etched on the pages fragments of broken words painfully scribed and thoughts left arrested in mid air.
After her series of mini strokes her posture changed again along with her hymn singing and speaking. Her voice used for the many altar prayers now quieted, and her singing voice now only emitting a brittle scratchy throaty noise. The walker now obsolete and the need for a much needed yet regretted wheelchair. Along with a shower and bath chair and all the other paraphernalia that are needed when one cannot easily attend to all of the personal hygiene necessities. I purchased a padded desk lap pad to try encouraging arts and simple crafts, along with a mini water fall to solicit a tranquil environment, with soft soothing music in the background. Her living room now begins to shift from her antique furniture to a padded sofa for her to look out the window at her once lovingly attended garden. Her bed room now housed a hospital bed that she just could not get used to, her physical position gradually shifting from flowered bed linen. Life and her many once enjoyed pastimes became a thing of the past. Her once strong frame. Only a mere silhouette and her limbs delicately extended on her now almost immobile body. Although often a somewhat slight questioning frown.
She would light up whenever I saw her. No longer was she able to call or I call and talk to her on the telephone. This is when her slow good bye became a reality.
Must my Mother come live with me? The doctors are now giving up on her she is now in her upper eighties. I can remember how impressed they were with her intelligence she could sail through all of their mental tests. She would tell them her name the date and current news. How many children she had and where she was; then names all the presidents of the United States. But now gradually the signs of Alzheimer’s had begun to replace her many cherished memories. The Drs. now recommended that she be placed in a home. My live in brother now getting more and more frustrated. Which was really his warranted fears seeing our Mom gradually disappearing. The visits now fewer by her many friends. She can no longer attend her much loved worship services. She no longer enjoyed the walks around the block as I pushed her in her wheel chair. So she was kept inside gradually becoming a prisoner in her much loved abode. All besides her family who knew her were able to remember her as she was. Although there were a few who could see that this once articulate poised woman was beginning to wear like a fine fabric. Her appetite had begun to diminish significantly as well. I got her a nifty bed table to straddle her lap. We would prop her up with pillows on each side. There were times when she just wouldn’t eat without assistance. How ironic after all those years of serving others. So it became a challenge to see what would suit her palette. Well we will just have to feed her. Yes again the Dr.’s have now given up hope.
But yet Mom is still holding on. She has really begun to say her slow goodbye.
I, along with much anxiety and ambivalence begin to go and look for a care home for Mom at my many brothers insistence. One closer to me so I could see her daily. I now know that some care homes are just dreadful. Some are seemingly peaceful on the surface. But I knew within moving her would only hasten her good bye. Her once strong voice was echoing in the corridors of my mind “There is no place like home.” I reluctantly wrote the much dreaded family letter to inform all of my brothers that this is where we are. What do we do? They have wanted me to put her in a home for sometime. A few had ideas but none came to fruition of course. My live in brother now hesitantly took care of her household finances. Since he never married or had children he opted to vacate his varied career. Therefore Mom was his occupation. He could do as he pleased and Mom had a family member there in the evenings. Whatever else she needed I would try to accommodate. He would always call me and let me know her status when I was away. Sometime it worked and sometime it didn’t. So what do you do? I just wanted her to be as comfortable as possible.
Now again it is time to make more changes? My brother does not one someone in the house full time. What do I do? I am not able to care for her in our home. The Dr. says her care could run into the thousands and and …………… So what do I do? Mom must have known that that was one decision that I just could not make or did not want to make for her. That was one decision that I know she made with the Lord. So it was in her sleep, in her home late that night in January when my brother called and said; “Mom is gone.” I’m like, “gone where?” I suddenly remembered one day when she wanted to go back home.
She pointed out her window and told me she wanted to go home. “Mom you are home.” She wanted to see her “Papa.”
I took out a huge atlas I had purchased for her and showed her she was in California at home and Arkansas was very far away. She just looked away. Then it dawned on me. “Mom’s gone” my brother said again. I knew that Mom had starting leaving a little bit at a time. She was just trying to give everyone a chance to adjust. I knew now that she had made the transition. She had gone on to be with the Lord and all of her other relatives that she had been missing. She had slept away at home peacefully; just like she wanted. Now she was at rest with the Lord.
My Mom had finally said Good bye……..
There are many issues around taking care of an elderly parent or parents. Who does what and when? Just enjoy them as much as you can while they are here. Try and let them make their own decisions for as long as they can responsibly do so. Treat them with respect and dignity although they become childlike. In the last days of course you will have some regrets? If you patiently treat them the way you would want to be treated you will have peace knowing that you did all you could do to make them comfortable. Remember you never know how your latter days will be? But they will and can be overshadowed by the many many cherished memories! And yes of course you will always miss them. So shower them with LOVE while they are still on this side of HEAVEN!