Tag Archive | help

It’s 2017???

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

moms-masterpieceI feel like I’ve slipped on a snow-covered mountain, landed on a heated fanny pack, and slid from November into the middle of January. That fanny pack had no brakes or controls. But it sure melted the snow, creating a fast, slippery path to the bottom of the virtual mountain. The only thing possible to do was hang on and pray God had the reins and no trees or boulders jumped out in front of me.

It was a rough ride. But here I am … standing to tell about it. Praise God for guiding us and making our paths straight.

On November 3, my mother injured her leg, which became sore and infected. The first night in a week she spent alone, she fell. No new injuries occurred. But her long-term degenerative disc disease became agitated. Unable to walk because of the pain, they placed her in a nursing home for rehab. Thanksgiving Day, we brought her home for the family meal. She went into A-fib and spent almost 2 weeks in the hospital until they got her heart rate calmed down enough to send her back to the nursing. More determined than ever to get back on her feet, Mom worked hard during her PT appointments. Progress was slow. But we saw some improvements. Christmas Day, she got out of bed and walked, with the aid of a walker, to the recliner across the room. It was like a marvelous Christmas present God had sent to all of us. She was so proud of her accomplishment.

2:00 a.m. December 26, the call woke me. Mom was having trouble breathing, and they had put her on oxygen. Later that morning, a phone call reassured me her breathing was easier. That evening, another call, this one from my sister, requesting we come into the nursing home. Mom said she was dying and wanted to see us. About 11:00 that night, another ambulance ride took her to the hospital again.

Ten painful days of watching her slowly inch her way into heaven took their toll on my sisters, brother, and me. But her suffering made it easier for us to say goodbye.

During all the heartache and grief, I could see God’s hand working in my mother’s Passover and in my own life.

He loves us all so much. He even takes care of small things that cause us extra stress.

There were two parts of planning her funeral that concerned me more than the rest. 1. The Sunday of her burial was to be bitter cold. And yes, I complained to my Father. I hate the cold. How could I stand outside on a hill for a half hour or so? 2. I didn’t want to pick out her coffin. The thought of going into a room filled with empty coffins made me cringe. I really didn’t want to go there.

Father knew my concerns even before I expressed them to him. He arranged for my pastor to perform the services when the pastor of my mother’s church declined do to previous commitments. Pastor Roger knew nothing about my anxiety about the weather. But he suggested the entire service be done at the church rather than going to the grave site. I felt a God-hug at that moment seriously.

Father also took care of the coffin selection without me even asking. My sister asked the funeral director if we could have the service on Sunday because of two different members of our family starting radiation treatments the next day. The director said, “Yes, on two conditions. One, you have the service at your mother’s church (we intended to do so anyway.) Two because of the rush, would you be okay if we simply did for your mom what we had done for your dad.” That meant they’d pick the coffin for us–the one we had for Dad. We knew these people personally and knew they could be trusted to do it right.

What a relief to put all things great and small in our Father’s hands. He does take care of us and gives us rest when we go to Him.

How about you? How has the Father given you rest and comfort recently?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

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Continue on the Path

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. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (Hebrews 12:11 – 13 NIV)

fall-path-4-webDuring a painting session with my daughter, we worked on fall paintings in practice for an art party I had planned. Rachel, recuperating from surgery, enjoyed the calmness of the experience and worked diligently for two hours. Her energy spent, we called it a day and signed our “masterpieces.” Hers looked great.

Mine not so much. I lugged it home and analyzed it for several days. With the art party growing closer, I had to figure out what annoyed me so much with the painting and “get it right.” Gene pointed out that all my trees were basically the same size and color. I watched videos on YouTube. Studying the experts’ methods helped me determine what I had done wrong. I took Gene’s advice and varied the size and color of the trees. I incorporated some of the experts’ methods. I worked over five more hours on this painting until I was satisfied. Now, I’m ready to tackle another similar painting in preparation for the art party. And I’ve learned a valuable lesson—rushing through artwork can cost you a lot of time.

Rushing through life costs a lot of precious time as well. I think I know what I want to accomplish and how to achieve my goals. I rush in without much thought and even fewer plans. I fail. Then, I spend time researching the outcome. I seek advice from knowledgeable people. I even consult the Bible for answers from God. I work on fixing the problem, which now takes three times as long as it would’ve had I taken the time to do all those things before I messed up.

Ah, but all these things are part of the discipline our Father teaches us. No, it doesn’t feel good. In fact, repeating processes hurts. But God is at work in us, teaching us to turn to Him first. He’s producing righteousness and peace within us. He’s making our paths straight so we don’t stumble the next time or maybe the time after that. But eventually, we get it. Our wimpy arms and our shaky legs grow strong. And He places us on a path where we can reach out to others, teach them His ways, and encourage them to continue on course.

How about you? What discipline is the Father using in your life to strengthen you and to make your path straight?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

Enough with the Surprises Already (Part 3)

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. (Psalms 91:5-6)

They say seconds always third themselves. I wasn’t wanting to prove that old adage correct at 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning at the cabin. We had had enough surprises Friday night with unexpected guests and Saturday morning with two flat tires. Who needed any more disturbances?

HunterNevertheless, at 2:30 a.m., Hunter started to bark … and growl. I wasn’t about to get up and check outside. As long as whatever was outside stayed outside, I was perfectly fine. Did I mention the lady who took us for the tires told us about a nuisance bear in the area. He had gotten into her trash more than once. Nice story. I didn’t need one of my own. So I buried my head under my pillow and tried to go back to sleep.

Hunter growled again.

Gene jumped out of bed like someone branded him with a hot iron.

I thought, Hide Hunter. He’s coming for you.

Instead, Gene braced himself on the top bunk beside our bed and moaned. I knew immediately his leg was cramping. Wrong! Both legs cramped. Poor Gene couldn’t move. If you’ve never had leg cramps, trust me you don’t want them.

I got Gene some tonic water and leg cramp pills. About 20 minutes later, he was able to relax enough to go back to sleep.

On the way home late Sunday morning, I spent a lot of time in prayer: “Please, Lord, don’t let thirds forth themselves. We’ve had enough.”

God is good always, all ways. We arrived home safe.

In retrospect, God had the weekend planned. He knew those people would be there. But He showed me I don’t need to let unexpected circumstances distract me from my time with Him.

God also knew we’d have two flat tires. Nevertheless, He enabled Gene to return to the cabin safely, and He led us to an honest tire dealer who gave us a great deal on four new tires, which, by the way, we would’ve had to buy in a few weeks anyway.

As for Hunter’s barking and Gene’s leg cramps … somethings just don’t seem to have an obvious purpose. However, whatever was outside stayed outside, and we didn’t find anything disturbed. God’s protection? I think so. And God eased Gene’s pain quickly through the medication.

There’s always something to thank the Lord for.

How about you? What are you thankful for today?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Enough with the Surprises Already (Part 1)

Be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

Surprise!

unexpected guestsFriday evening as we approach our cabin, a car has taken up residence in our yard along with its driver and passenger, who are sitting in beach chairs, sipping wine coolers, and enjoying a campfire.

If you know me, you know I need solitude … not company at the cabin.

Gene looks at me before climbing out of the truck and says, “Who is that?”

Too befuddled to speak, I shrug.

“Hey! I haven’t seen you in years. How are you? Brenda, this is one of my hunting buddies …”

Turns out the intruder had been invited several times to hunt, but hadn’t been there for about 5 years. He and his fiancé had dropped his daughter off at a college in northwestern PA. Our cabin was closer than traveling home. So they thought they’d spend the night. I guess, since he knew where we kept the extra key, he assumed he didn’t need permission to use it.

Excuse me—not your cabin. There’s a name for this. It’s called trespassing. I say little and make my way into the cabin, laptop in tow.

Another Surprise

Gene, however, offers them our Bar-BQ sauce for their hot dogs, sits with them all evening, chatting about old times, and shows them pictures he’s captured with trail cams.

Meanwhile, I’m in the cabin, screaming in my spirit—“Why are they still here?” Yes, I am an introvert. I thrive on solitude. Gene comes in and assures me they’ll be gone in the morning.

In the morning? Seriously? The morning begins at 12:00 a.m. and ends at 11:59 a.m. During what part of that 11 hours and 59 minutes do they intend to depart? Gene gets up at 5:00 a.m. to check his trail cams. That means I’ll be alone with these people for … . Will they expect coffee, eggs, pancakes, and pleasant conversation? Yikes! I’m not prepared for this.

By now I’m in tears. I know I should be more like Jesus and Gene, accepting the uninvited guests with open arms. Show them kindness. Show them hospitality. But all I want to do is show them the road.

The Biggest Surprise

So I pray for forgiveness. I get an unexpected answer as I sense the Lord speak to my spirit.

What did you come here for?

I came to spend some time with you, Lord, to write, and maybe get a painting done.

So why aren’t you doing that?

I pause. This isn’t a test of hospitality. It’s a deterrent to keep me from doing what I’d come to do. If I let my emotions control the situation, I’ll waste precious writing and painting time. Peace floods my soul. I get busy on my synopsis and get it about halfway finished before bedtime.

The woman comes in for blankets. They’ve decided to sleep outside—under the stars or in their SUV, I’m not sure. Gene hands her an armload of blankets and pillows. I offer her sleeping bags for extra cushion and tell her they’ll be more comfortable outside because it’s so stuffy in the cabin, especially in the bedrooms with their small sealed windows. In the summer, humidity is almost unbearable back there.

I wake up the next morning about 7:00 a.m. to find the blankets, sleeping bags, and pillows on a tidy pile on the coach closest to the door. I have the cabin and a couple hours to myself. I finish my synopsis and two cups of coffee.

Then Gene comes back from his mountain excursion with another surprise. I’ll tell you about it next time.

How about you? How have you handled one of life’s surprises?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

Be a Service Dog

All Scripture is God-breathe and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV)

Lab 3 4 webBecause of a disabling disease, my friend Joan employs a service dog. This dog tirelessly caters to her every need from handing her shoes in the morning to replacing them at night. There seems to be no task he can’t accomplish short of driving her van and paying her bills. Impressive animal in deed, but he’s new at this. Although he’d been trained for two years and had earned service dog status before entering Joan’s household, he still has somethings to learn. You see, Joan is also deathly allergic to latex. The agency, which trained him, did not train him to detect latex. Joan has to do that herself. Not to worry, she trained her previous dog for her specific requirements. No doubt, she can train her new companion.

Joan hasn’t told me exactly how she managed to train her first dog to sniff out latex. But the end result saved her life more than once. One of the funniest stories she told me about it was, the dog grabbed a bag of chips from her and won’t let her open it. The only thing Joan and her husband could figure out was the company must’ve changed the ingredients in the glue used to seal the bag to include latex. Now that’s a sensitive sniffer. Joan could tell you many instances where that dog spared her a trip to the hospital and perhaps saved her life.

Like Joan’s dog, we are in service to our Master. He is training us to “sniff out” dangerous situations and warn those around us. We need to heed our Master’s voice. We need to develop sensitivity to demonic activity and satanic devices that could potentially destroy not only our faith, but also other’s souls. We need to warn those around us of the pitfalls set in their paths.

The only way to accomplish the “service dog” status is by studying God’s word and praying for discernment. Then put into practice what we’ve learned.

How about you? What have you noticed about your environment that could be a potential threat to those around you, and how have you shared your concerns?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

 

 

V is for Voice

Design 1From listening to the sweet voices of my youngest grandactives to the bass voice of my husband, I get a mix of sounds and octaves. Voices are remarkable. No two are identical, just like snowflakes. Isn’t it amazing how we can recognize a person’s voice without seeing him/her? Moreover, there are truly incredible and unique sounds people train their vocal cords to make like hitting those ridiculously high, glass-shattering notes in an opera or imitating a fire siren. Regardless if we have those talents or not, our voices enable us to communicate our desires, our emotions, and our thoughts.

Of all the extraordinary things our voices can do, I’m most thankful for my voice because with it I cry out to God, and He hears, understands like no one else can, and sends His peace.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3).

How about you? What are you thankful for that begins with the letter V?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks

H is for Helper

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

Continuing the alphabet challenge, H if for Helper:

Pray for HelpIn preparation for the PA Renaissance Faire, I’m making fairy princess wings and dragon wings. And my grandactives volunteer their help without hesitation, pulling out the pins as I instruct them. Acquiring help for certain projects comes easily, especially when you have volunteers.

However other tasks, I stubbornly work on myself, refusing to seek assistance—like the day I decided to strip the paper off my living room walls and replace it with a fresh coat of paint. The endeavor turned out to be almost more than I could handle. I got the project finished by myself. But it took about three times longer than I thought it would. Through the ordeal, I learned a valuable lesson … I can’t do what I did thirty years ago, or at least not so gracefully. Bottom line: there’s no shame in asking for help.

Most of us trudge through life in much the same way too headstrong to seek help. We take on unnecessary struggles, stress, and heartache that way. If the Lord is our helper like the above verse suggests, we should call out to Him for help before we find ourselves “waist deep in tacky strips of steamed-off wallpaper.” Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit as our comforter, guide, and yes, helper (John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26).

I don’t know about you, but I’m learning to ease the stress in everyday life by asking for help early in the morning.

How about you? What H words come to mind that describe our God?

See you in a twinkling,

Brenda K. Hendricks