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6 Practical Tips When Caring for Aging Parents

Tips Aging Parents

Wouldn’t it be great if our aging parents came with an instruction manual? But, no guidebook exists. We don’t have a troubleshooting checklist.

So, here we are struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parent, who cared for us, now needs our care. And we are often physically emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. So, how can we excel at this challenging, God-given task?

The first – and best – things we can do are not “tangible.” Things like pray constantly, rely on God for daily strength, and humbly seek His wisdom. And let’s do those things. Every day let’s do those things. (The tips in this post are found in Kathy’s new book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Read the first 5 days of devotions now. Or order from Amazon!)

6 Practical Tips for Caring for Aging Parents

But practical things are helpful too. And in the little bit of experience I’ve had caring for my father-in-law and my parents, I’ve stumbled across a few things you might find helpful too.

  1. Mark your calendar with a pencil – Like you, I’ve cancelled lunch plans to take a parent to the doctor. I’ve blocked off weeks for hospital stays. But the one that really hurt  was when I had to cancel keeping my grandson for a few days. After I threw my pity party, God got my attention. In this season, my parents needed me most. I can make plans, but I need to hold them loosely. I’ll never regret the time spent with my parents.
  2. Build a network of accountability – My husband has talked me down off the ledge more than once. The night Mom told me to leave her house, she didn’t want me there, sent me running out of the room ready to explode. (It was the dementia talking, but it still hurt.) My husband calmed me enough to pray, then God did the rest. We all need 2 or 3 trusted people who can not only act as a sounding board but also keep us properly on our God-given task.
  3. Help your parents find new ways to enjoy life – Due to Parkinson’s, Dad can no longer fish or golf. But he spends a lot of time beating my brother and me at dominoes. Dementia prevents Mom from doing pretty much everything she used to enjoy, but we color together and she loves beading with one of her caregivers.
  4. Ask for and accept help – Whether you care for a parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibility with a family member there will be times when you need additional help. It may be ongoing or for a single afternoon, but don’t let pride or self-sufficiency get in the way. There are people who would love to help they just don’t know how. If someone says “Let me know if I can do anything,” give them a time, a date, and a task!
  5. Choose to act in love even when you don’t feel like it -True love, agape love, is love of volition, not emotion. This truth is freeing to me! We don’t have to feel guilty about not always feeling loving toward our parents when caring for them gets hard. Choosing to act in love pleases and honors God!
  6. Practice praise and thanksgiving – The caregiving journey is often deeply discouraging for the parent and the caregiver. Purposefully praising God for who He is and looking for things to thank Him for are not only the best weapons against anxiety, they also foster joy and peace. (See Philippians 4:4-7.)

These ideas are just a start. All of you caregivers have some hard-earned wisdom to share.

What practical ideas can you share with us to help us excel at caring for our aging parents?

 

 

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents

Caring for Aging ParentsStruggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

Read first 5 devotionals.

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Are you a Caregiver for an Aging or Ill Parent?

Caring for Aging Parents

If you are a caregiver for an aging or ill parent, check out this new resource and enter for a chance to win a copy of upcoming devotional book “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents!”

My husband and I skipped right over the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents who lived four hours away. I desperately wanted to do it all right, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. Burdened with the responsibility of caring for them.

No one prepared us for this!

Yet, here we are, struggling to navigate the family role-reversal. The parents, who cared for us, now need our care.

We truly want to excel at this God-given task, but it challenges us at every turn. Many days it demands more than we feel we have to give.  Physical, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion are constant companions.

Encouragement for the Caregiver Available Soon!

30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents will be released May 21st! The idea for this devotional book flowed from my own need and life experience. My caregiving journey was still fairly new when I realized I needed a regular flow of spiritual encouragement and refreshment to keep going strong. While many resources exist that provide practical tips and help caregivers navigate the healthcare labyrinth, not many speak directly to our soul needs.

Caring for Aging ParentsWhether you care for your parent full-time, part-time, or share the responsibilities with a sibling or professional caregiver, this book is for you.  30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents goes to the Bible to find hope and encouragement for those caring for aging or ill parents. This daily devotional combines Scripture, biblical insight, life experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to help you rest in God’s grace and rely on His strength during this challenging season of life. (

Will You Help Spread the Encouragement?

Do you need some encouragement as you care for your parents? Maybe you know others who need encouragement too? I would be honored if you would help me spread the news about 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents. Here are a few ways you can find out more and share info about the book with others.

You can enter the drawing up to 3 times! In order for each time to be counted, please make a separate comment for each entry (Note: If you are reading this in an email, click through to the blog post to comment.):

  1. Preorder a copy of the book and leave a comment letting me know you’ve done it.
  2. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest and leave a comments letting me know you’ve done it.
  3. Leave a comment answering the following question:

In your experience, what has been the most challenging aspect of caring for your ill or aging parent?

 

 

 

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Want to Be a Part of My Book Launch Team?

Caring for Aging Parents

Word of mouth is always, always the best advertising. That’s why I’m looking for a few dozen enthusiastic and well-connected folks to be part of the book launch team for my soon-to-be-released devotional “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents.”

This book is very personal to me, as it reflects my current stage of life and how it impacts my relationships, including my relationship with God. If you are – or have been – a caregiver for your parents or other aging relative at any level, you know that their journey is also your journey. This devotional book combines Scripture, biblical insight, personal experience, reflection questions, and prayer prompts to provide spiritual and practical encouragement to those caring for aging or ill parents. (Find out more about 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents.)

Benefits of Being a Book Launch Team Member

  1. A free book – Every member of the launch team will receive a printed copy of the book from New Hope Publishers.
  2. New connections with some awesome people – I’ve already begun building the team and it already has some wonderful, fun, godly people on it! You will all enjoy the new connections.
  3. Encouragement and support – If you are currently a caregiver for an aging parent or relative, then you will be surrounded for a weeks by folks who get you. They know what you’re going through because they’ve either been there or are there now.
  4. My sincerest gratitude – I can’t get the word out about this great new resource by myself. I need help. And I will be so thankful to everyone who lends a hand.

What are the Expectations for Team Members

I know you are busy! But if the thought of committing to anything else makes you break out in a cold sweat, then please don’t read any further. But, if you’re still with me, I promise to make being a launch team member as easy and painless as possible. And, you don’t have to do it all. You can help in one area, a few, or all, based on what your schedule allows. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the ways launch team members could potentially help:

  1. Social Media – You could either initiate posts and memes I will make available in advance or you can share things I post. (There will be a private page on my website full of promotion resources.)
  2. Reviews – Review of the books on Amazon, Goodreads, ChristianBook, and Barnes & Noble are always helpful!
  3. Guest blog – If you have a website or blog, I would love to be your guest. I could provide a topical guest post and a book for a giveaway.
  4. Preorders – Although launch team members will receive a copy of the book from the publisher, preorders will help push the book up in the rankings on release day. If you have someone who would enjoy getting the book as a gift, a preorder would be helpful!
  5. Launch party – If possible, I would love for you to attend the Facebook launch party. (The date is still to be determined.)
  6. Caregiving groups – If you are a part of, or know of, any groups for caregivers that would benefit from hearing about this book, I’d love for you to share it.

Launch activities will begin the first or second week of May and continue through the launch date, tentatively set for May 21st. There will be a private Facebook group just for the launch team so you will know what I’m doing and when. You can pop in only when you have time. And after the book is fully launched, that group will end.

Want to Apply to Help?

The number of spots on the launch team are limited. So, if you would like to help, fill out and submit the application below today! I will let you know as soon as possible.

Apply Now to Join the Book Launch Team!

With the vast number of books and resources available today, this helpful devotional could easily be lost in the crowd. But with a little help from a few friends, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents can stand out!

 

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5 Tips for Setting Spiritual Growth Goals for 2018

discipleship goals

This time of year, many of us reflect on the condition of our lives. We may evaluate the health of our bodies, our relationships, or our work situation. We may even “resolve” to change things. But if we’re really serious about improvement, we will set some goals and establish a plan to move forward. But have you ever considered doing the same with your spiritual health? The New Year is the perfect time to do some “spiritual evaluation” and set some goals for spiritual growth.

We can’t cause our spiritual growth. Only the Holy Spirit has the power to transform us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). But God does expect our obedient and active cooperation (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). One way we can purposefully “train ourselves to be godly” (1 Tim 4:7-8) is through spiritual evaluation and goal setting.

This post includes both a “Discipleship Evaluation” tool and a “Spiritual Goals Worksheet” for you to do just that. But keep in mind, resolutions and goals are often hard to keep. Statistics show that, at best, only 46% of New Year’s resolutions are still kept six months into the year. People lose their resolve quickly because they set unattainable goals.

First, use this free Discipleship Evaluation form to honestly evaluate your current spiritual condition. This tool covers 17 different key discipleship areas. Your weakest areas can be great growth areas in 2017.

Next, set spiritual growth goals using the five tips below. Planning is not “unspiritual.” Living a life that glorifies God will not happen by accident. This free “Spiritual Goals Worksheet” walks you through specific areas of discipleship such as time with God, ministry, service, and Christian education.

Most importantly, ask God to guide you as you evaluate your spiritual health and set goals for growth. He will bring the spiritual transformation as you strive to live a live that pleases Him.

5 Tips for Setting Goals for Spiritual Growth

The following five tips will help us set personal discipleship goals that will keep us growing through the year:

  1. Concentrate your efforts. Set just one, two, or three goals at a time. Don’t spread yourself too thin. When you experience success then add another goal.
  2. Be realistic. Set attainable goals. If you don’t read your Bible regularly now, don’t set a goal to read the entire Bible in three months. Instead commit to read it 3 to 5 times per week.
  3. Think concretely. Set goals so progress can be measured. For instance, this goal is too ambiguous: I’m going to spend more time with God. Instead be concrete: I will read one Bible chapter and pray for 10 minutes five times a week.
  4. Include strategies. Develop strategies designed to move you toward your goals. If one goal is to memorize Scripture, determine how you will do that. What verses you will memorize? How often you will tackle a new one? What memorization techniques you will use?
  5. Create manageable steps. Break your overall goal into a series of smaller goals that are doable and will foster success.

How do you feel about setting spiritual goals? Have you ever set spiritual goals in the past?

This last group of resources focuses on a specific area of discipleship like quiet time, prayer, Bible reading, or Scripture Memory.

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5 Bible Reading Plans for the New Year

Do you plan to read your Bible regularly in 2018? Many of us start the year with good intentions, but regular time with God in His Word often falls by the wayside because we’ve failed to put a plan in place or because we’ve set the bar too high.

Planning is not “unspiritual.” Paul told Timothy to “train yourself to be godly” (1 Timothy 4:7) because real spiritual growth takes discipline and purposeful intent. “5 Tips for Setting Spiritual Growth Goals” will help you realistically plan for your personal spiritual growth.

5 Bible Reading Plans

A great place to begin is with a Bible reading plan. Haphazard reading will always be just that – haphazard. If you have a plan, then you have direction and structure. You never have to wonder, “What will I read today?”

Each of these 5 Bible reading plans below is for a full year. Some are more time-intensive than others. Look at each of them and pick one that will challenge you but not overwhelm you. Don’t set yourself up for failure.

For instance, if you are currently reading your Bible only for a few minutes just a few days a week, don’t try to read the Bible through in a year which requires several chapters 7 days a week. You may become discouraged quickly and give up. Instead, choose a plan that has smaller chunks of reading for 5 days a week. (Note: The first three plans were developed by Kathy Howard. The last two were developed by Dr. Doug Lamb, one of Kathy’s former pastors.)

5 Bible Reading Plans for 2018

  1. Key Character Bible Reading Plan – Spend 5 days a week discovering how God wove individual lives into His overall plan! From Abraham, Moses, and David to Peter, John, and Paul, God still uses His people in the Scriptures to impact His people today. With the life and work of Jesus Christ central to this Bible reading plan, it’s a daily experience you won’t want to miss.
  2. Christian Doctrine Bible Reading Plan – This 5-day-a-week plan walks you through the foundational beliefs of the Christian faith. The first quarter focuses on “Theology,” the study of God and His character. The second quarter on the nature of the Bible, mankind, and Christ. The third on “Soteriology,” the study of salvation. And the fourth on the Holy Spirit, the Church, and end times.
  3. Chronological Story Bible Reading Plan – Spend a year getting familiar with the big picture of the Bible. Read through all the major stories and key passages in five days a week.
  4. New Testament in a Year – This handy daily Bible reading guide will take you through the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs in one year.
  5. The Bible in a Year – Dr. Doug Lamb, developed this daily plan to read through the entire Bible in one year. He is glad to share it with you.

Pick a plan that works for you. Print it off and put it in your Bible. Get a journal or notebook to record insights from the Holy Spirit, God’s direction for you as your read, and your prayers to Him. May 2016 be a year marked by spiritual growth and wonderful time with our great God!

I’d love to hear from you! Share with us about your plan to read the Bible in 2018.

Some additional posts you may find helpful:

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It’s Not Too Late to Help a Child This Christmas

Last week, my husband and I did something new together and had a blast! We volunteered our time at a shoebox processing center for Operation Christmas Child.

When our children were growing up, our family packed three Christmas shoeboxes every year. Each of our kids got to pick boy or girl, the age category, and the items for one of the boxes. Since they are all grown, it’s been a few years since we packed one. So this year, we helped our 5-year-old grandson pack a shoebox.

Christmas Shoebox

When I went online to print a trackable label, I was drawn to the opportunity to volunteer. Since we moved last summer, we now live close to one of the processing centers. So I signed us up. We spent the better part of a day working and felt as if our time truly made a difference in the effort.

Operation Christmas Child

Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, delivers more than 9 million shoeboxes each year around the world. These boxes are checked and sorted in one of 8 processing centers across the United States. Volunteers are responsible for removing financial contributions, checking boxes for inappropriate items, adding additional items if needed, and sorting and packing the donations into shipping boxes.

Operation Christmas Child

4 Ways to Help a Needy Child this Christmas

It’s too late to volunteer at a Shoebox processing center this year, but it’s not too late to give to a child in need this Christmas. (FYI, in case your interested in volunteering next year, here’s the link to the Operation Christmas Child volunteer page.) Here are 4 opportunities to give now:

  1. Build a Shoebox online at Operation Christmas Child
  2. Help the child of someone in prison through Prison Fellowship’s ministry, Angel Tree
  3. Share the love of Jesus with a child in poverty through Compassion International
  4. Give a gift that helps a family in need through World Vision

Because of the most precious gift ever given to us – Jesus Christ our Savior! – let’s give back. I’d love to hear about ways you’re giving back this year!

Some other Christmas posts you may be interested in:

 

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6 Christmas Bible Reading Plans

The Christmas season has officially begun. More than likely, activities like shopping, baking, and gift wrapping fill your December to-do list. If we aren’t purposeful, all the holiday activity can easily overshadow the reason we celebrate.

Christmas Bible Reading

I have a challenge for us – for you and for me. Let’s commit to putting Jesus at the top of our list every day between now and Christmas. Let’s make time with Him each morning a priority. (Check out these practical tips for having a Quiet Time.)

What would that look like? For me, it means sitting with a mug of hot coffee, my Bible, and my journal before I start my daily activities. I read and meditate on God’s Word to renew my mind with His truth. I talk with God in prayer, sharing my heart and listening for His direction.

Over the years, I have discovered that I need the discipline of a Bible reading plan. This great discipleship tool helps me be intentional and regular with my Bible reading. For a brief few moments I contemplated developing a plan to use and to share with you. But then I realized there is no need to reinvent the wheel and decided to find out what Christmas Bible Reading Plans are already available.

6 Christmas Bible Reading Plans for the Season

I’ve done a little internet searching and found 5 great Bible reading plans for the Christmas season.

  1. “Christmas Bible Reading Plan” on BibleStudyTools.com – “Designed for personal or family reading times, these 25 New Testament readings highlight the birth of Jesus and the purpose for His coming. Related Old Testament passages are also featured daily.”
  2. Spend Christmas Together– This 25-day advent plan is designed to help you slow down and prepare your heart for the coming of the Savior.
  3. “Rediscovering the Christmas Season” – Another YouVersion.com reading plan, this 25-day plan combines Old Testament and New Testament readings.
  4. “All the Colors of Christmas” – This family advent devotional by Focus on the Family has a small price tag but would be a great activity for you and your family to do together!
  5. “Family Christmas Bible Reading Plan” – I found this 25-day plan on the website for a church in Ontario, Canada. It focuses on the purpose of Jesus’ coming.
  6. “Bite of Bread: Bible Reading Plan for Christmas Week” – This 7-day plan by Christians author and blogger Andy Lee at Daily Grace focuses on the significance of the name “Jesus.”

What are some things you plan to do to keep Jesus at the top of your Christmas to-do list? Let’s talk!

Other helpful resources:

 

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23 Days of Thanksgiving

We have reason to thank God every moment of every day of every month. Really, every day should be “Thanksgiving.” But sometimes we simply forget. Or get too busy. Or we allow all our “asking” to push out gratitude.

Yet, giving thanks to God is both a command and a privilege. He commands us to praise Him. And thanksgiving ushers us into His presence.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4

Will you join me in purposefully thanking God during the days leading up to Thanksgiving? I have put together a 23-day guide to help prompt our daily thanksgiving from November 1st through Thanksgiving Day.

Use this guide to prompt specific reasons to thank God for what He provides and how He works in your life and the world. The day’s Scripture passage can be read before you pray or as part of your prayer. Pray quietly by yourself, with your family, or both!

The days, prayer prompts, and Scripture are listed below. But for portability, here’s an printable PDF version! 

I know there are many, many more things we can thank God for. Please feel free to add to this list by leaving it in the comments!

DAY

THANK GOD FOR…

SCRIPTURE TO PRAY

Nov 1 Physical life – your body, mind, and ability to relate to your creator. You were made in God’s image! Psalm 139:13-16
Nov 2 Salvation – Christ’s death & resurrection, God’s mercy, forgiveness, and grace Ephesians 2:1-10
Nov 3 Your spiritual gifts, skills, & life experiences 1 Corinthians 12:1-11
Nov 4 That God chooses to use you for His purposes Ephesians 2:8-10
Nov 5 God’s physical provision – home, food, clothing, job Matthew 6:25-34
Nov 6 Your intellect & creativity – the ability to think, respond, build, and plan Exodus 35:30-35; 36:1
Nov 7 Family – thank Him for specific people and the part they play in your life and in God’s purposes for you Genesis 2:21-24;

Psalm 68:6, 127:3-5

Nov 8 Friends – thank Him for specific people and the unique ways God uses them in your life Proverbs 17:17; 27:6,9
Nov 9 Laughter – Life is full of God’s good gifts to us. This is one! Proverbs 17:22
Nov 10 Spiritual protection – The Spirit within you is far greater than the enemy 1 John 4:2-4
Nov 11 God’s constant presence with you and the comfort, guidance, strength, and power His presence gives John 14:15-21
Nov 12 God’s creation with all its beauty and wonder Psalm 19:1-4
Nov 13 Provision from God’s earth – water, oxygen, light, energy, food Psalm 147:7-9
Nov 14 Your senses – the ability to hear, smell, see, and touch Proverbs 20:12
Nov 15 The Bible – God’s revelation of Himself to us! 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Nov 16 Prayer – the privilege of communicating with God Matthew 6:6-15
Nov 17 The church – you are a part of God’s family  Romans 12:4-8
Nov 18 Christian pastors, teachers, and ministers – be specific Ephesians 4:11-13
Nov 19 Your country – one way God chooses to protect His people Romans 13:1-7
Nov 20 Your trials & struggles – God uses them to shape you into the image of Jesus 1 Peter 1:6-7
Nov 21 Music, your voice, and the ability to praise God Psalm 149:1-5
Nov 22 The boundaries God established for us protecting us from the consequences of wandering away from His good will Deuteronomy 4:39-40
Nov 23 God’s unfailing love – even when we are not aware of it, God faithfully loves us and acts in love towards us Rom 5:6-8; Ps 63:4
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Are You Too Busy? A Brief Checklist

Our culture has lied to us. It tells us that “busy” is good and margin is bad. In fact, surely an overflowing calendar means we are wanted. Needed. Talented. A person of worth.

Is that what Jesus meant about giving us a “full” life? Or is “busy” one of those “thieves and robbers” He warned us about?

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

Full or Busy?

In John 10:10, “life” refers to “life in the absolute sense as God has it” and that He extends to us through Jesus. It is eternal life, found in part now and consummated in eternity. “Full” means abundant, overflowing, to abound.

God desires our lives to be “full,” not busy. “Busy” is packed with activity – some purposed by God, but a lot purposed strictly by us. “Full,” on the other hand, describes a life filled up with the plans, purposes, and peace of God. A “full” life will be characterized by relationships, service, good works, and time. Time to focus on things that matter for eternity. (See this post for a little more on the danger of “busy.”)

Busy Checklist

Now, let’s get personal. Are you too busy? Though not a scientific test, the following checklist will give you a good idea. You may be to busy if:

  1. You apply any makeup in the car – other than lipstick –more than once a month
  2. You grab fast food for dinner more than 1-2 times a week
  3. You regularly turn down invites to get together w/ friends
  4. You’ve felt led by God to participate in an area of service or ministry but said “no” because of your schedule
  5. You feel like you and your husband are just “two ships passing in the night”
  6. You have dinner with the family around your table less than 4-5 times a week
  7. You and hubby have a detailed flow chart to get the kids back and forth to their activities
  8. You flop into bed every night exhausted
  9. You skip church to just “stay home and rest” more than twice a year
  10. You have good intentions for a regular time with God but it rarely happens
  11. You rarely enjoy long conversations with current friends
  12. Weeks go by without seeing your local friends face-to-face

Our lives may even be packed with “good” stuff, but without any margin, we have no room to respond to God’s best for us.

If God has shown you that your life is too busy, that you’re missing out on the full life He offers, consider doing a serious evaluation of your calendar. Here’s a guide to help. Give up busy. Embrace full!

Is your life full or just busy? What are you going to do today to change it?

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Are You “Blessed?”

Today’s devotional thought was written by Kimberly Texidor, minister, Bible teacher, and leader of the Facebook group “Soul Tired: A Walk 90-Day Walk through the Psalms for the Weary Traveler.”   (It’s not too late to join in!) This devotional is based on Psalm 1:1-3.

We just met “Harvey.” My family and I live and minister in the Houston area where we hurricane Harvey recently left devastating flooding in its wake. As the community mobilized to help with the cleanup process, there was an urgent need for what they call “mudding out” homes. It is as gross, smelly, and difficult as it sounds, but the work is vital to the survival of the property. 

As I scrolled through social media one afternoon, I came across a photo of a family’s soggy, ruined possessions tossed onto the street along with sheetrock, carpet, insulation, and a lifetime of memories. On the top of the pile lay a cutout sign that probably once adorned their mantle. It simply read #Blessed. 

I have to admit, I’m often perplexed by this “blessed” movement. So often the hash tag comes alongside photos of smiling families, cute children, new cars, or luxury vacations. What does it really mean to have a “blessed” life? What am I actually telling someone at the grocery store or coffee shop when I tell him to have a “blessed” day?

What does it mean to be “blessed?”

For the Psalmist, this “blessed” life was more than a collection of stuff or a season when everything goes according to plan. In the original language, this word is literally translated “happy”. This kind of blessed life is a deep-running happiness that endures outside of circumstances, seasons, floods, or feelings. 

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1:1-3, NIV

What can we learn from Psalm 1 about this “happy” life? First, the text says this abiding happiness comes from a disassociation with the wicked and an attachment to God and His Word. (vv1-3). This happy person recognizes the sneaky nature of evil that would cause a follower of God to first walk, then stand, then take up a seat and sit with influences that bring harm to our souls. 

Second, this blessed person is consciously and consistently spending time in and meditating on God’s Word. In a changing, uncertain, storm-ravaged life, the blessed person chooses to focus on God’s eternal promises rather than temporary circumstances. As Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

How Can I have a Blessed Life?

The truth is, if I base my happiness on the people, influences, or stuff in my life, where will I be if it all blows away? If I build a life on unhealthy relationships and decisions, will I feel happy when I see my own face in the mirror? To use the illustration of Jesus, if I’m building an entire life on a castle made of sand, who will I be when it falls? (Matt. 7:24-27)

But we can build a different life, a blessed life, even a happy life. We can build a life based on God’s Word and on living connected to Him. This person, according to Psalm 1, will be a stable, steady, well-fed, blessed person, through all the storms and seasons of life.

Apply these Blessed Truths:

  • Would I describe my life today as “blessed”? Do I base my feelings of blessedness on people, things, circumstances, or something else?
  • Are there unhealthy people or influences in my life that are causing me to walk, stand, or pull up a seat and sit in places where a child of God doesn’t belong? 
  • What commitment do I need to make in regards to meditating on God’s Word?

It’s not too late to join the “Soul Tired” community! There you will find the 90-day reading plan for the Psalms, daily devotionals and lots of discussion in a loving community!

 

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