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Grandma’s Hands

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Today I had the privilege to attend a memorial service for our dear friend Jean that I had previously  posted about. Chuck and Jean had planned to celebrate their anniversary at the end of this month. Next month my husband Danny and I should celebrate our 38th anniversary. We really do not know what tomorrow holds and so we strive to live each day without regrets.

Danny’s parents died when he was a young boy. After we were married and expecting our first child we asked an older couple in our church to be our other set of grandparents to our children. They graciously agreed and our children have always loved them. A few years ago Grandpa John left us for heaven but left a spiritual legacy that still profoundly affects our adult children.

We are thankful Grandma Ruth is still with us. It is comforting to know that she has prayed many a prayer for us over the years and we pray for her and love her as a mother. She has been an invaluable source of counsel and comfort to us. We are blessed.

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Not too long ago she sent me this poem. I’d like to post it in her honor and that of my dear friend Jean who was also a praying grandmother. I hope you are blessed by it.

GRANDMA’S HANDS — by Melinda Clements

Grandma, some ninety plus years, sat feebly on the patio bench. She didn’t move, just sat with her head down staring at her hands. When I sat down beside her she didn’t acknowledge my presence and the longer I sat I wondered if she was OK.

Finally, not really wanting to disturb her but wanting to check on her at the same time, I asked her if she was OK. She raised her head and looked at me and smiled. “Yes, I’m fine, thank you for asking,” she said in a clear voice strong.
“I didn’t mean to disturb you, grandma, but you were just sitting here staring at your hands and I wanted to make sure you were OK,” I explained to her.

“Have you ever looked at your hands,” she asked. “I mean really looked at your hands?”

I slowly opened my hands and stared down at them. I turned them over, palms up and then palms down. No, I guess I had never really looked at my hands as I tried to figure out the point she was making.

Grandma smiled and related this story: “Stop and think for a moment about the hands you have, how they have served you well throughout your years. These hands, though wrinkled, shriveled and weak have been the tools I have used all my life to reach out and grab and embrace life.

“They braced and caught my fall when as a toddler I crashed upon the floor. They put food in my mouth and clothes on my back. As a child my mother taught me to fold them in prayer. They tied my shoes and pulled on my boots. They held my husband and wiped my tears when he went off to war.

“They have been dirty, scraped and raw, swollen and bent. They were uneasy and clumsy when I tried to hold my newborn son. Decorated with my wedding band they showed the world that I was married and loved someone special. They wrote my letters to him and trembled and shook when I buried my parents and spouse.

“They have held my children and grandchildren, consoled neighbors, and shook in fists of anger when I didn’t understand.

“They have covered my face, combed my hair, and washed and cleansed the rest of my body. They have been sticky and wet, bent and broken, dried and raw. And to this day when not much of anything else of me works real well these hands hold me up, lay me down, and again continue to fold in prayer.

Mom Jones Hands

 

“These hands are the mark of where I’ve been and the ruggedness of life. But more importantly it will be these hands that God will reach out and take when he leads me home. And with my hands He will lift me to His side.”

I will never look at my hands the same again. But I remember God reached out and took my grandma’s hands and led her home.

When my hands are hurt or sore or when I stroke the face of my children and husband I think of grandma. I know she has been stroked and caressed and held by the hands of God.

 

Depression, Mental Illness and the Christian

If you have ever had a headache (pain in your brain) and taken a Tylenol or Advil for relief; then I appeal to you to humbly consider reading this entire post.

Having suffered from chronic fibromyalgia pain for almost 20 years, it is a challenge living in this broken world and yet living a victorious, grateful Christian life.

Over the years there have been subtle accusations of being a hypochondriac, lazy and the idea that fibromyalgia is a pretend auto-immune disease. Just because we don’t understand the “why” doesn’t make something less real. Chronic pain has been a major tool the Lord has used in my life to humble me, make me compassionate and also to teach me how to pray. I am now thankful for this “thorn in my flesh.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) http://bible.us/59/2co.12.7-10.esv

I have been fortunate to have a humble doctor to treat me. He knows that the human body is fearfully and incredibly formed. (Psalm 139) http://bible.us/59/psa.139.13-16.esv

Consequently, he knows that even though he is a very knowledgeable doctor that there is much unknown to him, so he is willing to think out of the box. He is compassionate.

There has been a division within the Christian church with whether “mental Illness” does truly exist. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since Rick and Kay Warren suffered the tragic loss of their youngest son, Matthew to suicide. Rick said Matthew had struggled with mental illness for most of his life.

Matthew Warren

What do we know about the mind? Can it become ill? Can it be born with deficits? Do you believe there are Migraines and Fetal Alcohol Syndrome?

  • The mind is what separates us from other living animals, as we have been created in God’s image with the ability to feel, love, choose, etc. (Daniel 4:16) http://bible.us/59/dan.4.16.esv
  • We know the mind / brain is an organ that is our body’s central control system and we see that eventually it can fail and become diseased like the rest of the body.
  • When we receive salvation something supernatural happens that affects our minds. (Ezekiel 36:26-27) http://bible.us/59/ezk.36.26-27.esv
  • We know the mind is closely tied to other parts of our body. (Prov.15:13) http://bible.us/59/pro.15.13.esv

The Bible talks about a “double-minded man”, “being out of your mind”, “puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind” and also “people who are depraved in mind”.

It also talks about demonic attacks on the mind. In Luke 8:35 – Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid.

Just as I am commanded to give thanks in all things http://bible.us/59/1th.5.18.esv including chronic physical /emotional pain…we are also commanded throughout the scripture to set our minds on the Lord.

But he (Jesus) turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me.         For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”                 Matthew 16:23

I have days that I do this well (setting my mind on the things of God) and days that I don’t do so well. All Christians have this challenge. I suspect Matthew Warren did too.

Thirty years ago before blood bank testing, a close male friend named Richard had a blood transfusion because of surgery complications. He never was well afterward. He contracted two types of Hepatitis along with the new strange HIV virus. How did the church respond? Poorly, like a child might respond.

They didn’t want to believe that God in His sovereignty would allow such heartache to one of His own, even in this broken world. So they concluded the only thing that made sense to them…Richard had to have been a hidden homosexual, probably never was a real Christian. They slandered my friend. I believe it was rooted in fear and self-protection, but it was still very wrong.

Do I believe in the power of Jesus to set people free from illness? Absolutely. Do I believe in the power of Jesus to heal me from fibromyalgia? Absolutely.  However in this broken world, often healing doesn’t come and most of the time sickness makes no sense.

On Richard’s deathbed he quoted Job 13:15 to my husband, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” http://bible.us/59/job.13.15.esv    It made no sense to him, but he knew his Lord.

Let’s not be so arrogant that we think we understand it all. Right now we see in a mirror dimly (we don’t have the whole picture), but one day when the perfect one (Jesus) returns, we shall see face to face! Let’s give up our childish ways….let’s love.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For we know in part and we prophesy in part,

but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.

When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

http://bible.us/59/1co.13.8-13.esv

Also See:Shedding Light on Depression and Thoughts of Suicide by Randy Alcorn http://www.epm.org/connect/quarterly/2013/Feb/7/eternal-perspectives-spring-2013/