Growing Older Praying

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. Luke 1: 13 We often forget as we read Luke chapter one about the life of John the Baptist’s parents, that God was concerned for the needs of this elderly couple. Maybe in old age they had all but forgotten their prayer for children, but God had not. God had heard their prayer. God was still working on the answer. They didn’t have to follow some special formula. Zacharias and Elizabeth simply needed to remain faithful to what God had given them to do. In the same way we who have grown older without seeing the answer to things for which we have prayed can be encouraged that God also remembers us. Neither age nor weakness alters the power of God to answer prayer . It doesn’t matter how many years pass, if we are praying something in God’s will for our lives He hears us. He delights in answering the prayers of we who the community and sometimes sadly even the church consider past our time of usefulness. But the good news is that we are never out of warranty! Miracles can still happen because God never gives up, never forgets and never forsakes us. Don’t be afraid. He has heard your prayer!

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Caligiuri, Peter (2018-03-07). Reflections of Hope (p. 3). Kindle Edition.

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Getting Ready for Summer

 While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 ESV

Even though here in the North East we have had some April snows this year it is certain that warmer days are ahead soon. With our Easter nursing home program  in the rear view mirror now is a great time to begin planning a Summer visit. Summer is a great time to bring in young people because they are off from school. There are still things like family vacations, trips to the park and sports to compete for their time but this is a good opportunity to bring in volunteers who couldn’t be a part of our Christmas or Easter presentations.

If you are wondering what to do here are a few ideas.

Focus on July 4th – Have kids tell what they are thank God for in our country

Mix in songs like God Bless America, America the Beautiful and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. This usually gets our residents singing along with us! I also open up the program for the young people to sing a few of their own favorite worship songs together. Even though the seniors may not know these they are blessed just to see the excitement and joy of youth praising God. As we always do don’t forget to allow time for visiting afterwards. The last few years one young lady has been delighted to bake cookies to hand out. We just check with the staff before giving out food to make sure of what is allowed for individual residents. Another young person is getting credit towards acceptance into the National Honor Society for her work visiting seniors. Have any ideas of your own? Let us know! Have a blessed week in Christ.

Wouldn’t Change a Thing – Moms

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them!  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand. Psalm 139:17-18

Since the birth of Laura in our church family 6 months ago I have been getting a crash course in awareness of downs syndrome children and families. These moms who collaborated to make the video 50 Mums and 50 Kids, come together for this interview to give us all a sneak peek behind the scenes and help us to get in touch with the reality of both the blessings as well as the challenges presented by having a child with downs syndrome in their families.

What we experience with these mothers is a no strings attached love that reflects God’s love for all of us. He values us in a way that is not related to what others think of us or what he can get out of us. These mothers share that  the greatest challenge is to simply communicate that we don’t need to be afraid. Together we can tear down the walls that built on fear and the lack of personal experience.

As a long time chaplain at both nursing homes and an assisted living home that includes some residents with downs as well as various, emotional and physical disabilities one thing that I share with these Mums is the frustration in how little people outside our community seem to understand about us. These heart warming videos help to break down barriers as we see the real beauty of these kids and their mothers together. Pray for us that God would open new doors in long term care ministry as well. Have a blessed week!

Can you Hear me now?

This month I began learning along with a small group of other prospective volunteers how to help with hospice care. The love and dedication of the woman who is training us has been both an inspiration and example. As a volunteer chaplain and a song leader my ministry at Nursing home has focused on what to say or sing to give hope. This week I was amazed to see just how much hope quiet listening can give. I came away from the orientation sessions with this one quote. I pray it will be a blessing to you as well.

“The quieter we become, the more that we can hear!”.

If you are like me and wish God would speak more clearly, then ask yourself- How quiet has my heart been this week?