Rise and Shine, Part 2
Arise, shine, for your light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
Do you want to be a life-giver in a dying situation? Giving life often requires death. Dying to self can happen in a thousand little ways. Do you need to change your well-laid plans in order to spend the day with a despairing friend, an elderly parent, a moody teen? Does your husband need you to pour life into him rather than a friend? Where does your village need you to intentionally step in with the goal of helping turn hearts toward Jesus? Before you answer, pray and ask the Lord to enable you to be intentional in these decisions. Ask Him to give you specific Scriptures you can share with your friend if it is appropriate.
Sometimes the Lord will direct you to do something that has no obvious spiritual overtones to the recipient. A grandmother burdened for a granddaughter treated her to lunch and a manicure. She had no agenda except to remind her beloved granddaughter of her love for her, with hopes that when her granddaughter needed a receptive listener, she would turn to her grandmother. The grandmother often texts her granddaughter fun facts, pictures from previous fun days and sometimes asks how she can pray for her. Her ultimate goal is to set a table where her granddaughter will always feel welcome, even when she knows her grandmother does not like her decisions. This grandmother is in it for the long haul, knowing her job is not to fix her granddaughter, trusting that task to the Lord. Are you in it for the long haul?
Start with where you are comfortable offering encouragement and ask the Lord to broaden your vision for where you can offer the help and hope of Jesus. Soon He will call you to a place that requires dying to self. The grandmother in today’s devotional dies to self every time she practices refraining from rebuking her granddaughter for her life choices. She dies to self when she refuses to remind her granddaughter that “she wasn’t raised this way.” Instead, she prays during every conversation, trusting the Lord to open her mouth with His Words, praying that she is planting seeds that will one day bear the fruit of her granddaughter’s love for Jesus.
Serving others requires giving up personal time and sometimes personal finances. It might require you entering the crucible of suffering that results in a sacrifice of energy and emotion. But this is where the treasures in darkness and riches in secret places are often the most brilliant. God can use your sacrifices to not only help heal your friend’s broken heart, but also deepen your understanding of God’s love and presence. Such sacrifice goes against our natural instincts, but God promises to create new life when we die to self. Through biblical encouragement, we become life-givers. As daughters of the King, we can go into the darkness of a friend’s broken heart, confident that the light of Jesus goes with us.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the the MARKINC website and listen to the audio resource for caregivers with Peter Rosenberger so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
“Whatever burdens my fellow caregivers struggle with, I can help. I’m willing to put it all out there.” So says Peter Rosenberger in the introduction of his book, Hope for Caregivers. When Peter married Gracie over thirty years ago, he knew she had some medical issues resulting from a near fatal car accident she was in at the age of 17. The full impact of those issues did not hit him until a medical crisis shortly after their marriage. Suddenly he knew that his life would always center on taking care of Gracie’s medical crises and that truth overwhelmed him. To this date, Gracie lives 24/7 with excruciating pain, is a double amputee and has had 78 surgeries with more likely. In this interview, Peter candidly discusses the pressures a caregiver experiences when solely responsible for his or her spouse’s physical needs. He humbly admits that he has made every mistake possible and is passionate about helping other caregivers avoid those pitfalls. Peter’s sense of humor makes his sometimes tough counsel easy to swallow and results in hope for the caregiver that is drowning in exhaustion, regrets, anger, grief and longing for something better.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.