This is a copyrighted stoy so I am supplying a link instead of pasting the story here. I have used this story many time in storytelling and it is a favorite of mine. If you can use it this Easter, I don’t see any harm in it. Mrs. Kempel wrote it for inspiration. Just promise me you won’t SELL it to anyone or put your name to it.
It was first published in the Focus on the Family magazine, April 1998.
In case any of you were wondering, the results of the TB test proved to be negative. I knew they would be negative on round two but of course, I had to have an “official” reading by a registered nurse. Thus, a round three was necessary.
When I admitted my mother into a 24-hour facility I was bombarded with things one never dreams of when admitting to such a facility. It seemed as if after taking care of her for four years in my home had been all wrong (but in fact, it was very right!) because I lost all control. The head of nursing at Hickory Creek told me, regretfully, that except for NASA, no other group was as regulated as nursing home care!
My mother’s care, while 24/7 which was more than I could give, was indeed, not all I had given her. It left me wanting. Some of the things were overcome by vigilance alone. My daughter and I “spoiled” mom by bringing her milk shakes and home made cooking whenever we wanted to. I called ahead to let the home know that I was bringing lunch or dinner to mom and loaded up a picnic basket! We ate together in privacy and loved it. The togetherness brought her great joy although Altzheimer’s robbed her of the memory a few minutes after I left. Still, for those few minutes I was able to see smiles and mom knew she was loved. That’s what was important.
If you must, for your own sanity, place a parent or loved one in a 24/7 care facility, please don’t be far away and please visit very often. It is a win-win situation.
One more thing: if you can visit others or like me, teach a class as a vounteer, it is well-worth the annoyance of getting a yearly TB test. Because I have the TB test, I can go into rooms and visit with a variety of residents, read to them, tell them stories, and best of all, pray with them. It is a well-worth doing task that goes unnoticed except for the facility which will love you for what you do and you will spread the light of God’s love as you go.
When you take the test, however, don’t let it slip your mind and get past that 72-hour check point. You will have to get another well-meaning stab!
Regular volunteers in nursing homes are required to get a TB test once a year. My test this year has not gone well.
In a drawer on the right hand side of my desk is an old greeting card lid. In it lie quarter size sheets of scrap paper. On each scrap there is a “tickle” reminder of a writing idea. Years ago my husband kept a “tickle file” of things that needed to be done. He looked at them once a week, and I swear, if my name was on it, that sheet must have gone directly to the bottom of the pile! Now, I must confess that I do no better than he did.
Since I have this category called Everyday Thinking on this blog site, I use it for those things that happen in just ordinary days of life.
This morning I happened to remember that yesterday I was supposed to have my TB test read. Well, I just hustled on down and have it read! “Too late. Past the proper time to read the test.” the on duty nurse responded with nurse’s authority. With a sad face and wrinkled brow I look at the nurse in charge and say, “And that means?” The charge nurse gently smiled and replied, “It means you get to have another one!” Now, I made it through the first run fine. Then the nurse tells me, “Now in 14 days,” as she circled the date on a calendar, “you need to have the second part of the test.”
So, last Friday I dutifully bared my forearm for test number two. Success depends on no bumpy places on the forearm 48 to 72 hours later. It does not count if it is 94 hours later. I bared my left forearm this time and believe me, I will return for the reading before 72 hours expire!
On my way home I scold myself. God’s Word reminds me that time and again Israel did not learn from past mistakes. Samuel spoke sternly to them upon his departure as the last judge of Israel. “Only fear the Lord and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things He hath done for you. But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed both ye and your king.” I Samuel 12:24-25
How very perfectly God’s Word fits into our daily lives. As I read that yesterday morning I thought with a sigh that Israel did not learn. I intend to learn from getting three injections when I could have had just two because I surely do not want four!
Maybe, just maybe the next blog will be from my tickle file. But, maybe not. It seems that God regularly uses object lessons to confirm the truth of His Word.
The possible favorite time to read on my Kindle™ is when I am waiting in line. Early this afternoon I was sitting (at least not standing) in line and took out my handy reading device. Because this handy gadget also marks the last place I read, the marked spot feel open to page 181 in Philip Yancey’s book, Where is God When it Hurts?” This book is well-researched and has so many illustrations that it has become a very slow, deliberate read for me. In fact, I have been reading the book on and off for about a year now. One hundred pages remain and now that I am on the homestretch, I am going to finish it. There are so many places to just stop and ponder that I keep stopping until I feel I should move on. Here is one of those places.
Yancey points out how important it is for people to just “be there” for others. Not to say the scholarly thing, the spiritual thing, or even anything, but to just be present. It reminded me of my good friend, Katie. When my mother was in her dying hours, Katie came and just sat with me. It was enough. Yancy states, “. . . no one offers the name of a philosopher when I ask the question, ‘Who helped you the most?’ Most often they answer by describing a quiet, unassuming person . . . someone who listened more than talked.”
I have no idea what my friend planned to do the day my daughter called and told Katie my mom was near death. Whatever it was, it waited. In fact, it waited for two days while Katie continued to minister to my family, not by talking. No, she cooked for us, cleaned up the kitchen, and cooked again. She was quietly there. Available. Quiet. Unassuming.
As much as Job’s “friends” are criticized for their undiscerning remarks to Job, those first seven days they only sat with Job. They didn’t talk. They were just there. They were available. For that, I commend them.
Who needs you to be quiet, available, just for right now? If you know of that situation, then I urge you to do your part. Do it graciously, quietly, and without any expectations.
All of those thoughts left me a little misty eyed while I was waiting for my name to be called and those thoughts linger still into the late afternoon. Thank you to Mr. Yancy for those words on page 181 and thank you, Katie, for your quiet presence that day now nearly five years ago.
This inspiring story was posted on Facebook this morning without a source credit (which tends to annoy me)so I tracked down the source and am now putting the story into your hands. I found a delightful site called Inspire 21, “stories for the 21st Century.” Since I am not selfish, I will give you the link at the end of the story. Enjoy!
A new minister was walking with an older, more seasoned minister in the garden one day.
Feeling a bit insecure about what God had for him to do, he was asking the older preacher for some advice.
The older preacher walked up to a rosebush and handed the young preacher a rosebud and told him to open it without tearing off any of the petals.
The young preacher looked in disbelief at the older preacher and was trying to figure out what a rosebud could possibly have to do with his wanting to know the will of God for his life and ministry.
But, because of his great respect for the older preacher, he proceeded to try to unfold the rose, while keeping every petal intact. It wasn’t long before he realized how impossible this was to do.
Noticing the younger preacher’s inability to unfold the rosebud, without tearing it, the older preacher began to recite the following poem…
It is only a tiny rosebud,
A flower of God’s design;
But I cannot unfold the petals
With these clumsy hands of mine.
The secret of unfolding flowers
Is not known to such as I.
GOD opens this flower so easily,
But in my hands they die.
If I cannot unfold a rosebud,
This flower of God’s design,
Then how can I have the wisdom
To unfold this life of mine?
So, I’ll trust in God for leading
Each moment of my day.
I will look to God for guidance
In each step along the way.
The path that lies before me,
Only my Lord and Savior knows.
I’ll trust God to unfold the moments,
Just as He unfolds the rose.
If you enjoyed being reminded to “let go and let God” unfold your life… please consider sharing this poem with a friend.
The author was listed as “unknown” but you know, I just had to know! The link is http://inspire21.com
When I wrote this piece, I not only gave it the 24-hour test, I gave it the 7-day test. I remain steadfast in my personal position which seems to be a hot item these days.With interest someone posted a status update on Facebook last week that involved a link from blogspot. The title: What Happened to the Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement? and it was in short, a tirade. It was written by a Mr. Dave Parton. I call it a tirade because Mr. Parton has written only this one blog. None before it, and I see none after it. Appropriately, he called his site, “One blog. One Post. One Question.”
It appears that Mr. Parton has a problem and just had to get something off his chest. Granted, he did put his finger on the problem with many independent, fundamental Baptist churches. He came to the conclusion that there are three reasons: pride, judgmental attitudes, and lack of love. Of course, each point is elaborated upon, I might say, without much love for the brethren in his approach!
The article made me sad.
Then it made me disgusted.
I just have to answer here in my own little spot in the blogville of readers and writers. (and I much prefer the friendliness of wordpress over blogspot!)
Mr. Parton is quite correct. In many, not all, not even a majority, IFB churches there exists pride. Guess what, the pride eats away at churches across America whether they list their church in any denomination or IFB. It is a favorite in Satan’s toolbox. Pride caused Satan’s fall. I am not surprised at that reason. As a rule, a great percentage of run-of-the- mill Americans and I would guess other nations as well, deal with a judgmental attitude. Then there is the lack of love. See my raised eyebrows? In the past twenty years I have felt more loved outside of my church than inside. Those reasons are valid.
Here’s the rub—Mr. Parton gave no solution. Possibly Mr. Parton is frustrated as many Christians face those frustrations in their churches too. In all my fifty years of being a born-again, blood-washed Believer, I have experienced all of those elements in churches. There have been times when I was part of the problem. I do not deny it. No I don’t deny it at all. The rub is that we cannot just get fed up and leave the world or the church to Satan’s grasp.
There is this element in our universe called personal responsibility. The breakdown of the IBF is the same as the breakdown of the family, or to be exact, the breakdown of individuals meeting their responsibility before God. The change starts when I start with myself. Never mind the family next to you in the pew. Take responsibility for yourself first. Then, set an example.
If your pastor is filled with pride and becomes a dictator instead of a loving shepherd, then you will need to do some investigative research and you might need to travel a little further to find a body of Believers who behave better. But, before you do that, make sure the problem will not travel along with you because you may be the problem! If you are sure you are not the problem, then keep yourself humble; maintain a walk with God that sheds His love without effort on your part.
I didn’t say this was easy. I do say it is necessary.
If you are part of a family that is seeking God’s best, a loving family, you will survive. We are at best imperfect people, loved by a Perfect God. At best, very best, we are just bleating sheep who need a Shepherd.
More important than being loved by others is knowing that you are loved by an God whose arms are strong enough, more than strong enough, to hold you close to Himself and that, my readers, is the very best place in the world. Moses knew that and his parting words to the straggling Jews just east of Jordon was a reminder that is so loving and supportive that it gives me strength in my weakest moments. Deuteronomy 33:27 states to my sometimes weary, weeping heart, “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. . .”
Face everyday saying, “Lord Jesus, my Father, I cannot do this day without You.” It is only then that the yoke of bondage is lifted and it does not matter what others say or might be thinking. It only matters that the relationship between you and your Shepherd is secure. That is the reason for the name of my blog site—the Shepherd’s Presence.
The Shepherd knows your name and when you cannot seem to walk another step, He will carry you. Yes, yes, yes, He will.
If you read my last blog you know that I am nursing a fat lip. Part of that nursing procedure is to be quiet. That is, no talking due to the fact that I have not yet been to the dentist to have the broken tooth tended to; the tooth irritates the cut in the upper lip. End of story: stay home, and be bored, or stay at home and read and putter. I choose reading. (The dentist is tomorrow and believe me, I’d rather read!)
So, this morning I read my Bible which is a usual thing for me to do. Nearing the end of Joshua I was struck by chapter 21, verse 45 which has a rather stunning phrase, in my opinion. It says, “. . . all came to pass.” This brought me to an abrupt stop. A section on history has just happened and it all came to pass.
From Abraham’s leaving Ur to follow God’s direction to the dividing of Israel into 12 sections representing the country, Israel, promised to Abraham nearly 500 years in the past. That alone gives plenty to think about.
It wasn’t enough. I wondered about Bible dating and puttered around on the internet to find a Jewish timeline. This is where I ran into another subject as I followed history to as far as about 300 years before the birth of Christ. Here, in print are the startling words of Aristotle and infanticide. You know, the guy you see quoted with words of wisdom in the Reader’s Digest, who seems to get undue respect? That one. Here is a quote from “History Crash Course #27 The Greek Empire, on http://www.aish.com:
The Athenians, not as tough as the Spartans, were not what you’d describe as “soft” either. For example, they thought nothing of killing infants (a common practice in all ancient civilizations even the “elevated” ones). One of the most influential thinkers in Western intellectual history ― none other than Aristotle- ― argued in his Politics (VII.16) that killing children was essential to the functioning of society. He wrote:
“There must be a law that no imperfect or maimed child shall be brought up. And to avoid an excess in population, some children must be exposed [i.e. thrown on the trash heap or left out in the woods to die]. For a limit must be fixed to the population of the state.”
Note the tone of his statement. Aristotle isn’t saying “I like killing babies,” but he is making a cold, rational calculation: over-population is dangerous; this is the most expedient way to keep it in check.
Herod came by his notion to kill all the babies in an effort to kill the future king of Israel from Hellenistic example. The idea was not new.
Now to look into the future I see a King in Jerusalem; He rules the entire world. It will happen. I know it because “. . . all came to pass.” History, after all, is His Story.
I don’t have a category called “everyday thinking” at random. If we will take time to observe, there is a life lesson in almost every day. Here’s one from personal experience.
We get lots of helpful materials at the local Active Adult Center. Groups come in and tell us what they have to offer. Nearly all of the materials handed out tell us that one in three senior citizens will experience a fall this year. Well, I joined the ranks last evening. I argue the fact, however, that anyone, any age, can fall on uneven pavement.
I don’t fly very well, it seems. The landing was a crash that sent me to the ER for stitches in my upper lip, a total of eight. You may add to the crash landing one pot of taco soup, and a broken tooth.
Stumbles happen to most of us. Sometimes, like mine here, are physical missteps. Sometimes the misstep causes injury to others. Misunderstandings, injured feelings, broken spirits can leave unseen damage when we use our tongues unwisely. While those injuries are caused by rash behaviors, those injuries can have long lasting handicaps.
So my advice: step cautiously; speak carefully.
While for all practical purposes, it seems as if I was not careful enough, I am also reminded this morning when the Holy Spirit used His Word to whisper to me, “the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delighteth in his way.” Psalm 37:23. God sees the sparrow fall; He saw my fall, (and my fat lip) so all is well. The Words of Jesus tell me, “Ye are of more value than many sparrows.” That truth makes me smile, at least inside. Fat lips don’t smile very well!
Sometimes the irritations in life present a time to examine methods we might be guilty of ourselves.
Last week a crew descended on a neighborhood in my fair city on a mission to clean as many carpets as they could in a given amount of time. The mission, however, was not benevolent. Is it ever? To say the least, this group of carpet guys was assertive if not downright aggressive. My daughter was a potential victim.
The key to these money-hungry-door-to-door salesmen is to never open the door. Nope. Not even a crack! One of even the smallest smiles or affirmations will make them descend with vigor and persistence rarely seen.
Although she never gave any permission or voiced any desire, the salesperson took the no commitment as an affirmation. In fifteen minutes a van pulled into the driveway, unloaded equipment and approached the door. He tried the doorbell. No answer. He tried knocking. No answer. Repeat. Yes, repeating to the point of harassment. After ringing, pounding, calling, yes, his irritated and now fearful customer called the police. The carpet cleaner guy did a hasty retreat.
Persistence, with the wrong motive does not pay with positive returns. So, what does this teach? David, the psalmist, in Psalm 40:1 says “I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined His ear unto me. . .” Patiently: in the sense of doing something that takes time to accomplish. Do we forget when approaching the Throne of Grace (Hebrews 4:14-16) that we are in the presence of the Lord? I hope not. God will graciously grant our requests in His time, and in His way. Don’t be the carpet cleaning guy. Show respect in that place of prayer.
Some of you readers have memorized Proverbs 3:5-6 years ago and it rolls off the tongue easily. It is featured on posters and in greeting cards. Yet, in a crisis, do we panic, or do we follow faithful instructions from God’s Word? Here is a story illustration I happened upon today on a site called sermoncentral.com
There was a man who got lost in the desert. After wandering around for a long time his throat became very dry, about that time he saw a little shack in the distance.
He made his way over to the shack and found a water pump with a small jug of water and a note.
The note read: “pour all the water into the top of the pump to prime it, if you do this you will get all the water you need”. Now the man had a choice to make, if he trusted the note and poured the water in and it worked he would have all the water he needed. If it didn’t work he would still be thirsty and he might die. Or he could choose to drink the water in the jug and get immediate satisfaction, but it might not be enough and he still might die. After thinking about it the man decided to risk it. He poured the entire jug into the pump and began to work the handle, at first nothing happened and he got a little scared but he kept going and water started coming out. So much water came out he drank all he wanted, took a shower, and filled all the containers he could find. Because he was willing to give up momentary satisfaction, he got all the water he needed. Now the note also said: after you have finished, please refill the jug for the next traveller.” The man refilled the jug and added to the note: “ Please prime the pump, believe me it works”!