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Staying Connected In Hard Times – Thanksgiving Grace

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a time to reflect, a time to give thanks.  For me (Dr. Kay), this Thanksgiving is more meaningful than others after being stranded at sea for five days on The Carnival Triumph followed by my mother’s death shortly thereafter. I view the world differently now — just watching the video about being trapped at sea brought streams of tears cascading down my face as I relived those trauma-filled days. And, before healing could take place from that surreal experience, I soon found myself at the bedside of my dying mother… Yes today God’s blessings of family and a life lived well hold a special place in my heart.

So this Thanksgiving blog is not about: 10 Ways to Eat Pumpkin (That Aren’t Pie) or How Capitalism May Actually Save Thanksgiving. It’s about love… it’s about faith… it’s about the power of the human spirit.

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Paul Taylor

Guest Blogger Paul Taylor and his wife Julie both spend quite a bit of time coming up with ideas, blogging, and researching all things related to childcare. They take care of all the necessary information related to “”. Paul personally thinks his blog will help finding information on all things related to a babysitter.

Staying Connected In Hard Times

In the past six months everything in my world has changed. My mother has had two major surgeries and been hospitalized for infection. She is 77-years-old and, previous to these surgeries, was in almost-perfect health. Since she had the surgeries, she has lost her appetite, lost more than 30 pounds, and has trouble with her balance and walking. She has also had an increase in medications times three and has a hard time taking her pills. The stress of it all has caused her not to be able to remember things easily and she does not always understand things as quickly as she had before. She needs someone around almost continually and I am that someone.

I was getting quite overwhelmed with the responsibility for awhile. Not only that but my work, house cleaning, young adult child still at home, and shopping, etc., were getting to me. It seemed as though I never had a moment for myself and it was discouraging. And not just discouraging but the future seemed dismal as I thought ahead. I am a Christian and I knew that this was not the attitude I should have or the direction I needed to be going so I started to talk to the Lord about how I was feeling. I was really quite isolated and He reminded me that we should be meeting with other Christians, “24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV) We all need encouragement today and especially when things are difficult.

This applies not only to those who are caregivers but also for those who stay home with young children. It is never good to be isolated and alone. I had been in a serious car accident several years ago, one that left me unable to walk for quite some time. It had also caused me to have emotional issues such as depression and anxiety disorder. For some time I was unable to talk on the phone or go places because I would have panic attacks. It has taken me years of healing from reading God’s word and prayer to get back out into the world. But during this time we also moved and I had not done much to make new friends. I attended church but had not gotten involved in any small groups and the Lord began to talk to me about reaching out and making connections with other believers.

My adult daughter was instrumental in getting me involved in a small group bible study near our home once a week in the evenings. My daughter volunteered to go with me to get me started. What a blessing this has been for me to get out once a week for a couple of hours and chat with other godly people and also to find out that many of them are dealing with the same issues that I am. In my age bracket (50 – 60) there are so many of us that are now taking care of aging parents. What a blessing to fellowship with them and to know that they understand and are also praying for me! I in turn get to minister to them and help and encourage them which creates a bond and even though we do not know each other well we are united by the Lord and by our mutual circumstances.

Anyone that works at home or finds themselves in any care giving role whether it be for small children, aging parents, or someone battling an illness, it is imperative that you reach out and get involved with people who you can connect with on some level. I find that small bible studies, Sunday schools classes, and church fellowships are wonderful ways for me to get connected. Other ways that are a lot of fun and help you to meet people are exercise classes, which also have added benefits for stress release and fitness. I have also had a great deal of satisfaction and met wonderful people taking art classes such as ceramics at my local community college. They have many programs that are not for credit, just for pleasure that do not cost a great deal. There are also book clubs for those of you who love to read. Getting hooked up is easy, just type it into your search engine and I am sure you will find many opportunities in your community.

It is so important to have people to talk to and to visit with when there are hard times in your life and even when there are not it is important to reach out and connect with others. I was really surprised how much better I felt just being around others who understood and empathized with my situation. Even better than that, in my situation, I know that they are praying for me and my family and through their prayers and my own, the Lord is sending more and more encouragement our way. He is the God of encouragement and perseverance and He cares so very much about what is going on in our lives.

I have had a friend through all of this surgery, hospital time, and taking care of my mom that is quite unique and God engineered that I want to share with you just to show you the power of God and how much He loves us.

About two years ago I was going to a week-long bible study at a church with my cousin who was visiting her mom from another state. To get to the church I had to use the toll road and every night on my way I would go through a toll booth and the same lady would be there. We exchanged pleasantries and I shared with her that I was on my way to a bible study. She got excited and she asked me to please ask for prayer for her and her sisters and she told me what was going on. I assured her I would and that I would be praying for her as well.

Not only did I ask for prayer at the bible study but I kept her on my prayer list for two years. When my mom needed surgery we decided on a hospital across town a ways and I found myself using the toll booth again. When I drove up I thought I recognized the lady as my friend, Al, who I had been praying for these past two years. I asked her name and sure enough it was. I immediately asked how her sisters Ruby and Carol were doing to which I got a very surprised look. I told her I had been praying for her for the last two years and reminded her of our meeting. She was overwhelmed and excited to know that someone had been praying for her all this time. We exchanged telephone numbers and we talked almost daily. She was there for almost every drive home from the hospital on the phone with me encouraging me in the Lord and just being an ear to listen. Her mother had passed away years ago and one of her sisters had also passed since I had begun to pray for them. She knew my heart ache and my discouragement and has been so faithful in these last months. That is our God and He is so good.

He prepared this friend for me all that time ago. And the people from the bible study group have been more than encouraging. My mom’s sister passed away a few weeks ago and they were bringing food to our door and sending their thoughts and wishes via texts and calls. The people in Sunday school have reached out to us as well, along with the pastoral care team who showed up from my mom’s church and mine. You do not really realize how much you need people until they show up. Sometimes we just think we have to do everything on our own because no one really cares anyway or you feel as if no one wants to hear your problems. I can assure you that this is not true. People are for the most part very caring and loving and willing to help in times of need. You do have to make yourself available and reach out to others or they will never know your desperation.

You always hear about the ugliness in the world and that people do not care. I have found that if you look around and find like-minded people that have similar situations in their lives you can find help and comfort through these connections. Not only will you find help, but you will find yourself in the position to help others, which is extremely and surprisingly healing for all involved. None of us were meant to make the journey of life alone. God sent His Son to die for us and take all these burdens on Himself and then rise again and return to the Father so that He could intercede for us if we belong to Him. And all that it takes to belong to Him is, “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (NIV) This world is hard sometimes but this is not my home. He uses people to love through them and encourage those that are struggling. Make yourself available to others so that you will not feel alone.

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