Thursday, September 26, 2019


But our citizenship is in heaven, and  from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. Philippians 3:20

This clip had me enthralled for its full 16 minutes. The start of the video,  informs you of the intent to create a crane, but I could not see how a bird would emerge from a bright orange bubble of melted glass. Not even the drawings made sense to me. But then I am not an artist.

As I watched the glassblower gently coax small lumps of molten glass into a head and tail, the shape of the bird began to take form. The result is stunning.

When I look at my life, I see only defects and restrictions. I cannot imagine becoming something beautiful and admired.

I can’t cover my sin.

I can’t overcome my selfish agenda.

I can’t see possibilities of how God might use the gifts bestowed on me.

I can’t.

But like the glassblower, Jesus wraps me in His robes of righteousness and gently coaxes changes out of me. Again, and again, He thrusts me into the flames of challenge only to pull me out and bring something new, something good, out of the mess of my life. It is not my goodness, but His, that saves me. It is not my efforts, but His, that changes me.

It empowers me to realize that because I am useless, because I am stained with sin, because of my list of cant’s, my only course of action is not to act, but to simply be in the hands of the glassblower.

Because of Him, I can let go of my shame.

Because of Him, I can take hold of His hand.

Because of Him, I am transformed by His robe of righteousness.

Because of Him.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. II Corinthians 3:18

Weary Joy: The Caregiver's Journey  
by Kim Marxhausen

and Amazon

Monday, September 16, 2019

Written in Our Hearts

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. . . Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. II Corinthians 3:3-6 and 17

God is God, and we are not. Our Pastor repeated this several times during our Bible study today. Like the good teacher he is he explained the phrase, told it as part of a story, and repeated it later in another context. 

That message should be clear; God is God, and we are not. 

Yet, we also learned we are one in Christ. 

These two statements represent an interesting set of competing ideas. On the one hand, we must stop seeing ourselves as God. We must recognize that we cannot be children of the law because Christ is the only one who has kept the law. We have not.

On the other hand, because we are baptized in Christ, we are one with Him. We wear His righteousness as if it is ours – even though we do not earn it, it fits none-the-less. We are one with Christ.

We must remember that any victory, power, or wisdom is of God. We cannot claim this for ourselves because, in comparison to God, we are nothing. We must let go of the need to control, of the need to do, of the need to count victory. These things do not belong to us because we are not God.

Yet, we are of the Spirit, meaning the power at work in us is not our own. God sends His Spirit to accomplish His work in us and through us. With the Spirit, we are everything. This truth should -- ought -- must give us the confidence to do the work set before us. It is not confidence in ourselves. It is confidence in the Spirit written in our hearts. The Spirit gives us life – a life that allows us to be, to do, to count victory – but to know that victory is God’s.

We know the law is written on our hearts, but this passage tells us that ink has been erased and replaced by the Spirit. The law is no longer there as a contract but as a response to the freedom granted by Salvation. We are children of grace. We are God’s, and in Him, we are everything He wants and needs us to be.

Our ministry is God’s ministry. Our work is God’s work. There are no rules or written direction, but there is the ever-abiding work of the Spirit. The burden of the law has been replaced by the Spirit’s freedom to serve. 

Weary Joy: The Caregiver's Journey  
by Kim Marxhausen

and Amazon

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Problem with Honor

This quote is usually attributed to Tia Walker, co-author of The Inspired Caregiver. It is a lovely quote, one to which we can all agree when taken at face value. It has become a meme passed along on social media. Shared both by people who are caregivers and by those who care about them.

Let me be frank; it’s not enough to care for someone by simply sharing a meme to show you care. It is, in fact, barely more than an empty gesture.

It is not my intent to criticize those who post this quote. I am all in favor of recognizing the challenges of a friend. I certainly want to see more awareness about caregiving. I am just urging you to stop liking these posts and then moving on to more interesting political banter or photos of new babies, cute animal video clips while forgetting what is behind the honor of caregiving.

You see, most of the time we honor someone when their work is finished. We honor the heroic acts of soldiers and first responders, the life’s work of scientists, doctors, and artists, or the dedication of public servants. It is well and good to honor these people because they make our life better and safer.

The honor of caregiving is not for past work; it is for present grief. Caregivers grieve over what their loved one has lost, whether that is mobility, memory, or freedom. Caregivers grieve over what they have gained, whether that is a new responsibility, new stress, or new decisions. This all happens out of sight and out of mind. 

Given the opportunity, we would all stand and watch in awe as a firefighter rescued an occupant from a burning house. We share video clips of people applauding soldiers at airports. We even honor elected officials who have worked hard for our community with our votes. But few people want to watch caregiving.

Who wants to see someone being helped to the toilet? Who wants to applaud the cleaning of an apartment that reeks of rotting food and urine? Who wants to videotape a caregiver wandering with a loved one, lost in dementia, around the purposely endless halls of a memory care center?

These are not the heroic feats we seek to document, but they are heroic none-the-less.

Right now, there are adult children caring for parents, parents caring for adult children, spouses caring for each other, neighbors caring for neighbors. There are also parents caring for disabled children and children caring for disabled parents, sometimes disabled by mental illness. These heroic acts happen everywhere and are completed by people who would love to have a “care”-free life as long as it still involved the loved one they care for.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. — Isaiah 41:10

God sees these acts of honor. He sees caregivers sacrificing to provide health and safety to another person. He notes their stress, their weariness, and He provides them with the strength they need when they think they cannot handle one more act of heroism.

But this truth does not let us off the hook. For those of us who are not living the day-to-day life of a caregiver, we have work to do, also. We can find useful ways to honor those who care for others.

We can serve God by providing respite. Can you stay with a loved one allowing the caregiver to practice self-care?

We can serve God by offering the work of our hands. Can you mow a lawn, do some laundry, take care of grocery shopping, or drive to a doctor’s appointment?

We can serve God by providing support. Can you be an accountability partner for a caregiver and commit to regular contact for emotional check-ups?

We can serve God by speaking up. Are there social, or even political situations where you can speak up and inform people about the needs of caregivers?

We can serve God by praying for those who honor a loved one in their care. When you lift someone up in daily prayer, you not only intercede for the subject of your prayer, but you ask God to keep this person in mind so you can see and meet occasional needs. In this way we move them from our phone into our hearts.

Together we can do more than “like” a meme. We can remind caregivers of the hope promised in scripture; the hope that is the certain truth that God loves them enough to send Jesus as their Savior and to send the help they need, now.

                     Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:22

Weary Joy: The Caregiver's Journey  
by Kim Marxhausen

and Amazon