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   and Founder:

   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Elderly (2)


Love Is in the Air Between Us

Cynthia Ruchti's novels and nonfiction works often encourage people to reflect on life, love and change. In this Relationship UPGRADE, she helps us focus on loving our aging parents.

"Why did I wait so long," Cynthia says, "to figure out my mother-in-law’s love language?"

Oh wow. Do I (Dawn) relate to that! It took me years to discover how to relate to my dear mom-in-love. But once I understood, that relationship blossomed.

Cynthia continues . . .

Her message on our answering machine was simple but poignant: “Where are these people? Why can’t I ever reach them?”

My mother-in-law’s voice shook with emotion.

I didn’t hear her message until I returned from a long, tiring, but rewarding week-long conference. My husband had been home but hadn’t reached the phone before our answering machine kicked in. He’d quickly assured her he was there, right where she expected him to be.

But I couldn’t shake the quaver in her voice when I listened to the message after I returned home. It represented so much more than disappointment.

Her words symbolized a gap between our lives, between our methods of marking time—enough/not enough—and my understanding of her deepest need.

Although she’s almost 1,500 miles away from us, she lives on the same property as my sister-in-law, so we’re confident Mom has what she needs physically. Someone is watching out for her best interests.

But that closeness to her daughter sometimes lulls us into thinking her needs are met.

One of her felt needs is the assurance we care. To her, if we’re not present to answer the phone, we don’t care. Or we’re too busy for her.

Maybe the fact that travel is part of my job is harder on her now that she can’t physically travel, too.

Her love language must be quality time.

And neither my husband nor I considered how to honor that when loving her from a distance.

We’re not alone. Many live too far away from their aging parents to be involved in day-to-day care or to show up for often for a quality time visit.

When distance is an issue, how can we bridge the gap? How can we upgrade the way we love our aging parents?

  1. Initiate the calls. Don’t wait to be called.
  2. Call more frequently than you imagine necessary.
  3. Listen leisurely, whether the stories are stale or fresh.
  4. Collect tidbits of information your aging parent might find interesting.
  5. Call on days that are important to your parent, but also call just because.

As I wrote the recent release—As My Parents Age—I remained immersed in the subject of caring for aging parents, even though my father and mother died in 1993 and 2010, respectively. And respectfully.

I Peter 4:8 (AMP) lingered in my mind while I wrote, and returns to redirect me often:

“Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others].”

As I reviewed my list of UPGRADE suggestions, I was impressed with its connection to loving our God, who is both here (through the Spirit) and distant (not seeing Him face-to-face until well into the future).

Can I—can we—demonstrate our love in similar ways?

  1. Initiate communication with God. Don't wait for Him to have to tap us on the shoulder to remind us about our relationship.
  2. Pray more frequently than we imagine necessary. It will keep us in step with His directives and pace.
  3. Listen leisurely in prayer, but to old stories and to new.
  4. Watch for reasons to praise Him, to express gratitude, to celebrate with Him.
  5. Remember Him uniquely on His "special days," but connect with Him just because. It's a sign of a healthy relationship.

Whether it’s your parent or God who needs an “I love you and I’m thinking about you” call, when will you follow-through?

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed-in-Hope through more than 20 novels, nonfiction, devotionals, and through speaking events for women or writers. She and her grade-school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin, not far from their three children and five (to date) grandchildren. You can learn more about her and her books here, including her recent release, As My Parents Age.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of stephiejo at Pixabay.


Wind Up, Don't Wimp Out!

Yesterday (October 1st) was Dawn Wilson's birthday. While she won't give you her age, she'll let you in on the conversation that went on in her brain in this Attitude UPGRADE.

"You're over the hill," Satan whispered. "Beyond your productive years.”

The mirror didn't lie about the "over the hill" part. Laugh lines, wiry chin hairs, age spots—ugh.

Yet, although I was a bit depressed after Satan's assault, the truth is, I'd caught my spiritual enemy in a lie. "Only God knows how many years I have left," I quickly countered.  

And I counseled my heart: Stop acting like you have one foot in the grave!

I exited my pathetic pity party and planned my next adventure. I emailed my friend Judy about planning a conference together—something we'd talked about for a long time.

"Let's get this thing rolling," I said. This was no time to wimp out!

Yes, aging can bring a number of problems: forgetfulness, disillusionment, lack of motivation, negativity, stagnation, poor health and other issues.

But I am still alive.

I can decide to celebrate each day and not get stuck in regrets. I have hundreds, maybe thousands of fruit-bearing choices to make before God calls me home (Psalm 92:14).

I remember a cancer patient's advice to her loved ones: “Speak to the part of me that is still alive.” It's great counsel for anyone going through a crisis, but also for the senior set.

I realized I needed fresh ground rules—strong “finishing well” commitments. So I thought and prayed, and made these decisions:

1. I will keep "forever" firmly in view.

As a teenager, eternity seemed "a lifetime away;” but now I’m embracing and preparing for it.

Facing forever will affect how I live right now. I can learn to worship better, overcome hindering habits, and practice being holy, because God is holy (1 Peter 1:16).

Action Point: Study how to be more like Jesus, because we’ll live with Him forever (John 11:25; 1 Thessalonians 4:17).

2. I will seek God daily for His plans and deeper fellowship.

As a young wife and mom, it was often tough to have a consistent time alone with God; but today, with fewer distractions, I have more time to study and pursue intimacy with Him.

We’re never too old to learn new lessons from God.

Action Point: Don't get set in your ways. Cultivate a soft, teachable heart (Psalm 25:4-5).

3. I will dream big dreams and plan adventures with God.

On the far side of 50, I want to spend time on things that matter to the Lord. I want to take risks for the Kingdom, not play it safe in my comfort zone.  

There may be times I need to pause, and maybe take some extra rest breaks. I may need more time to pause, reflect and modify my ministry to fit my season of life. But I don't want to wimp out!  

I want to stay creative and intensely involved ... be a woman of influence ... and burn out for God!

Action Point: Study the lives of Noah, Moses, Daniel, Anna and Elizabeth to see how God called and used people mightily in their elder years. Emulate contemporary seniors who are still on fire for God.

4. I will invest in people, not things.

These are years to simplify, not to accumulate—to release my grasp on possessions with an eye to stewardship. Who can I encourage? Who can I help? (In many cases, lives are at stake!)

I can’t take my stuff into heaven, but I can store up things there that matter (Matthew 6:19-21). I can pour time and resources into people by sharing the Gospel, teaching truth, assisting those who are hurting and using my creativity to meet others’ needs.

Action Point: Give possessions and funds to relatives and believers who will use them wisely. (Note: Just because there is a specific need, it doesn't mean that particular need is where God wants you to give. Pray first!) Consider ministries too. Someone may be desperate for things gathering dust in your home.

5. I will make choices to leave a spiritual legacy.

I want to make a difference long after I've gone to heaven. You probably do too.

Action Points:

  • Make sure your family knows you love them... and often, love is spelled T-I-M-E.
  • If you’re not living a godly life, ask God to give you a fresh awareness of His presence and a desire to obey Him. The world needs to see Jesus in you!
  • Scrapbook photos, adding snippets from your “life message” (Psalm 78:4).
  • Create a will with spiritual impact: Who gets your Bible? Your stewardship funds? What do you want to say to loved ones after you’re gone?

There are a lot of “I will” statements here. The truth is, no matter our age, we cannot accomplish anything of lasting value without the help of the indwelling Spirit of God. Ask for wisdom and rely on His strength (James 1:5; Galatians 5:16a). 

I want to do all things for God's glory, in God's way, and by God's power. Don't you?

God doesn’t quit on us; we must not quit on Him. So don’t wimp out. Instead, wind up for the glory of God!

Which of these "I will" statements, acted on, would most revolutionize your life right now? 

Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Ministries, is the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), and Upgrade with Dawn. She is the President of the San Diego chapter of Network of Evangelical Women in MInistry (NEWIM San Diego). She co-authored the devotional LOL with God with Pam Farrel and is a contributor to It's a God Thing.  Dawn and her husband Bob have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of iosphere /