devotionals

While my youngest grandson took a nap, I had my iPod plugged into my ear, listening to one of the Beth Moore Bible studies on the life and person of Jesus Christ. Something she said really caught my attention in a special way. She was talking about Jesus' directions, ""But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," Matthew 5:44. She then referred to Romans 12:9, "Let love be without hypocrisy." In other words, we are supposed to mean it,  not just "act” it.

As Sandwich Generation caregivers, we are sometimes caught in situations where we have to care for someone we don’t like very much. I’m so blessed to have good relationships with all my parents which has made my caregiving much easier. But I have talked to people or read articles by  those who are caring for parents or other elderly relatives they just don’t get along with. And even though I don’t have to deal with that specifically in my caregiving, I’ve certainly worked with people in the past who were challenges. As one of my pastors commented in a sermon, they are EGRP – extra grace required people. 🙂

God convicted me long ago to pray for the EGRP in my life. He has even led me to specifically pray for Him to bless them. It's definitely NOT always easy or even my first choice. But He has kept working on me, over the years, to choose to do this, even when I didn't feel like it.

I was excited and challenged by what Ms. Moore said in this Bible study (which I HIGHLY recommend, by the way). She offered a very practical suggestion how to do it and I love it!  She said, “I ask God to give me several verses so that I can begin to pray over them, praying for them, praying for how I feel about that situation, about that particular person and He will begin to give me the mind of Christ for that person and change the way I feel.”  Isn’t that a terrific idea?

Praying for and choosing a verse or two specifically for that person will keep us from the “I’m not sure what to pray so I’ll just pray, 'Please bless them and hold them close Lord,' over and over.” Don’t get me wrong. That’s an excellent prayer for them as well. BUT by having a couple (or more) of specific inspirational Bible verses to Scripture pray for them, we will be praying according to God’s will, we will be coating them in specific prayer, and we will be allowing God to work on our hearts and minds all at the same time. Sometimes we may be blessed to see these EGRP’s change as a result of our prayers. Many times we won’t. But I know, in my life, I’ve seen myself change for the better. Come to think of it, this would be a great gift for any of those we provide senior home care giving, not just EGRPs! What a gift to them and what a gift to ourselves.

Do you get frustrated during cold and flu season because you and your grandkids have to miss church so much? Or are you the grandparent who watches them for an hour or two when they're sick so their mom and dad can go to church, then high tail it to second service yourself (that's us 🙂 ).  That's fine for you and the parents, but what about the kiddies? How about doing a homeschool-Sunday School for them when you're babysitting for the parents?

If they're extremely sick, they may only be up to a Bible story or, perhaps, a Christian DVD. But if they're feeling OK other than being contagious, you can have a really great time together. My grandkids and I just did that this morning. I took over a couple of favorite childrens books of Bible stories that we all love, including the Pray & Play Bible. We read about Jonah and talked about the different lessons we can learn from his life, like:

  • God is present everywhere so there's nowhere we can hide from Him. Psalm 139, including 8-12 – "If I go up to the heavens, You are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn,  if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to You; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to You."(NIV)
  • God wants everyone to be saved and that should be one of our desires as well. – "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9
  • Jonah had to choose to obey or disobey God. We have the same choices daily, and we should always choose to obey God. Every time we disobey God we are following Jonah's bad example.
  • Every time we cheerfully obey we are following Jonah's good example. In fact, every day when we wake up, we can tell God "Thank You for this day. Please use me today and help me to make the right choices."

After we finished the story, we sang a couple of songs from the book then had a great time making BIG FISH puppets from envelopes, following the book's suggestion to cut one strip off the skinny left side of the envelope and a triangle out of the middle of the skinny right side. They put their hands in the big opening and "swam" the fish around. They had so much fun decorating these and I had so much fun watching them.

They all did a great job and we had such a delightful time. As they worked on the fish, I praised God for yet another fun opportunity to do a bit of "soul-fishing and soul-training" of my own with my sweet grandchildren.

Merry Christmas cute country clipart for the Sandwich Generation

Happy Second Sunday of Advent! My senior mom and I returned late this week from visiting family. It was so wonderful to see family members we rarely see and we were thrilled with all the wonderful hugs and love. Then we got to come home to even more wonderful hugs and love from family we are blessed to be close to. Talk about a wonderful HIGH for the week.

It wasn’t all happy and roses though as we had to deal with some health issues for a close senior relative, including a CAT scan to see what, if anything, was causing some stomach discomfort. After a lot of prayer and concern, the doctor said nothing major was showing up and that hopefully the discomfort would pass, otherwise more tests would follow in the coming weeks.

So far, praise God, the pain seems to have vanished and our dear kin is doing much better. I was so encouraged by all the prayers from our family, including one grandchild who even asked her class to pray. It is such a blessing to see the fruit of our teaching blooming so wonderfully in the next generation! And it is so encouraging to see God’s hand at work, even in dark situations. This time, it looks like He is giving us a reprieve. I know another time He may allow us to go through “high waters.” I also know that, even then, we can rest solidly on His promises including one of my absolute favorites from Isaiah 41:10:

Do not fear, for I am with you;

Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you,

Surely I will help you,

SURELY I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

I LOVE that second SURELY, don’t you! 🙂 What a wonderful verse to give us hope during difficult situations! And what a blessing to be surrounded by family and friends who God often uses to encourage us.

One of my online friends who is great at that is Denise Brown from Caregiving.com. Today, she is kicking off a “Caregiving Holiday Progressive Blog Party” for care givers. To any and all who are visiting from that party, WELCOME! The goal of SandwichINK is to provide information and words of encouragement to all care givers, with a focus on the Sandwich Generation. The Sandwich Generation is made up of those who are providing senior home care to aging parents while still caring for kids at home and/or even helping extensively with grandchildren. Many of us are also in the Baby Boomer Generation.

I’ve been a member of the Sandwich Generation for over ten years, helping with senior parents, including my father who is now in heaven after battling with Parkinson’s Disease for over 15 years. I also help care for four of my many wonderful grandchildren, and deal with a wide variety of issues in that arena including special needs. Life is always challenging, never boring, and definitely rewarding and I am so grateful to God for that! I enjoy helping others, both through hands-on care and through my writing. SandwichINK, along with SandwichINK Real Estate Info (where I combine my love of real estate with the needs of the Sandwich Generation), both give me a chance to do just that!

I’d love for you to sign up SandwichINK’s free email. You’ll get regular updates on all that’s going on here, including fun projects for grandparents, great resources for senior home caregivers, tech tips to keep your computer working well, happy holiday ideas like Advent wreaths and fun Christmas tree ornaments, and so much more! 🙂

Thank you for stopping by and have a blessed Christmas season! Don’t forget to click on Caregiving.com’s Party Widget to find more interesting Progressive Party sites!  And check back tomorrow for A Pause for Advent! 🙂

Words of Encouragement for multi-generation caregivers

Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.

Before the mountains were born

Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,

Even from everlasting to everlasting,

You are God.

Psalm 90:1-2

I love these Words of Encouragement from God. Whether senior home care is keeping us busy, or grandchildren, or both – as is often the case for the Sandwich Generation, we can have peace of mind that comes from knowing that God is there from everlasting to everlasting! 🙂

For more pictures and words to encourage your heart, pop over to Penny Raine’s blog.