Barb's Space

Observations about life, family, church...anything else that is on my mind from the perspective that God rules, no matter what

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Location: Indianapolis, IN, United States

I am a 67 year young woman who has changed much in the last few years. I'm single again. I changed jobs twice (learned new skills), had a serious stroke in 2008, "retired" and after getting better started taking up new interests, and am trying to get more fit. (I was fit before Mom fell and was diagnosed with unspecified dementia in October 2017. For the next year, family had a roller coaster ride seeing her get rehabilitated, then out of her condo to assisted living, and when that didn’t work, into a long term care facility.) Some things have matured. I've enjoyed watching my three guys grow into men I respect and am proud of. One waited 11 years to have his first birth child. Today I'm a grandma of seven (four boys and 3 girls between two families), the third girl born in May 2018. I have learned to love Jesus even more, and I have regained my sense of adventure. Someone said, "The best is yet to be."--I believe it, if I keep an open mind and heart and keep growing and walking with God.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Talk with God

The past few months have been a stabilizing time for my mother, who is now in a nursing home. With the right medication, her disposition has grown calmer and sweeter again. Her love for Jesus has resurfaced in the last three months, and she’s asked to have communion about once a month. I’m so thankful to the Lord for His grace, mercy and love every day, which puts me in remembrance of a poem I recently shared on Facebook. Here it is. Written in 1992, it’s just as true today!

This poem was written after one of my winter seasons - a time when I felt God was very distant from me. It was so good to become aware of His presence again! My worship times came alive, and creativity came back with a rush. I felt I was truly seeing the world with new eyes, and I was very grateful to the Lord. I also began thinking about how I wanted to view and respond to my next winter season, and that prompted this prayer.

A Talk with God 
Barbara A. Irwin

© Copyright 06-27-92

What shall I offer You, my Lord, my King? 
Of Your grace and mercy my soul does sing. 
You give me eyes to see and ears to hear, 
And a heart to receive what You hold dear. 

The closer I draw to You, Lord, each day 
The more I want You to teach me Your way. 
You hold me tenderly with cords of love; 
Your peace enfolds me from heaven above. 

Lord, as I approach Your heavenly throne, 
I come assured, knowing I am Your own. 
Each day more and more my prayers come from You 
As You shape my thoughts, words and actions, too. 

I want to be transformed day after day, 
So secure in Your love that I'll not stray 
When life's seasons change as they always do. - 
When winter comes back, I want to be true. 

I want to realize You're there through my pain, 
That I've earth to lose and heaven to gain. 
I want to gaze on that heavenly prize; 
I want one day with my Jesus to rise. 

So for now I'll enjoy spring and summer, 
Storing mem'ries for days in December. 
Your plan is true no matter the weather; 
I'm going to be with You forever! 

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

God is Greater than Anything the Enemy Can Do!

We had to move Mom into a permanent care home last Wednesday. It was so sad. She has the kind of dementia where there are psychotic episodes mixed in. You never know what you’ll face from one day to the next and sometimes one hour or even one minute to the next.

But all this is continuing to teach me how to persevere in love and warfare. Mom is still the Lord’s, lock, stock and barrel. She says she’s doubting Him, but He says, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” He says, “I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.” Our wonderful, caring Lord says, “When you pass through the waters I’ll be with you, ...and when you walk through the fire you won’t be burned.” Our dear heavenly Father says, “Even as a nursing mother doesn’t forget her child, I won’t forget you” (my paraphrase). My God says that what He’s started to perform, He will finish. Mom will have a godly finish, even though this season is really rough.

It’s hard to see when we have been dealing with the daily ins and outs of this thing since the end of October, but God really is in control. He knows those who are His and has never lost one of them. For that I’m so thankful!

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mom’s Party and My Memories

When I got to Mom’s assisted living apartment on Sunday, I found her up and dressed and ready for a small breakfast. She remembered the party we were getting ready to have for her and was looking forward to it. The party was a blessing with her family, a few workers from the facility and a few friends. What mercy from our loving heavenly Father!

Mom is well loved. Her life has been an encouragement to many over the years. She endured her mother’s death just before her teens, and living in a home she ran away from at age 16. However, she ended up at her godmother’s house. Mom didn’t know this lady, but she listened to her and returned home. She was narrowly saved from going into prostitution, and stayed home till she married my dad at 19.

Dad and Mom had a good life; she met Jesus for the second time as an adult, and her life started changing. She was very hungry for God. By the time I was getting messed up in college, Dad had met Jesus and they both received the Holy Spirit, equipping them to war for their children.—I owe my salvation and freedom to God and my parents.

Then Mom's life crashed in 1983 when Dad, Mom, my kids and I were driving to visit my sister and her family. A large semi hit us head on, and the car was totaled to where we were told it was a miracle that anyone made it out alive. Dad died on the way to the hospital. Mom was quite hurt and almost died a couple times in the ensuing days, but she eventually learned to walk again, and ended up in church where she taught others about God’s love and faithfulness through her story and knowledge of the Bible. I am so grateful for the godly influence she’s had on my life. She has also mentored others, visited the sick, and been a good friend.

Now that friendship is being returned in spades. People are remembering her and her family during this season. I pray that her last days here be filled with God’s peace, His joy and His love. Happy birthday, Mom. I love you.

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

92nd Birthday Musings

I am thinking about my Mom again today. Tomorrow is her 92nd birthday, and we are having the birthday party she wanted today. In a couple hours I need to be with her as they get her ready. I am hoping and praying for God to help wake her up in a good mood so she can enjoy the festivities we are having at her assisted living residence.

The last few months Mom seems to really be going downhill cognitively and becoming very volatile mood-wise. What is my response to be? How do I love her under such difficult circumstances? I have learned I need to immerse myself in God’s Word, seeking His heart and mind moment by moment. Last night I had to confess extreme weariness—weariness to the point that I didn’t even want to seek God about it or anything. Who did I confess that to? God. Seldom in my life have I been that honest with Him, but if I’m trying to draw close to Him, I’ve learned this kind of honesty needs to become a way of life.

This morning I woke up looking for miracles again. At this point, I don’t even know what kind of miracles we need, but I’m looking up and I’m available for whatever He wants. Whatever’s going on down here, God’s in His heaven and in me, so I’m looking for how He wants to manifest Himself. Have a good day everyone—I’m going to!

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Saturday, May 05, 2018

God’s Faithfulness Has the Last Word!

Good morning, everyone! Been thinking about trusting God lately. I don’t know about you, but my trust hasn’t come without fear. My fears haven’t so much been of the “What if God doesn’t show up?” variety, but run more along the “Have I been faithful with my part?” line of thought.

When there is a lot at stake and I don’t know what is required and I have to trust that others will do what they said they would do, it is easy for me to lose it. As if I can make things turn out right.

The Bible says, “Having done all, stand.” But what if I don’t know if I’ve done all? God wants me to trust Him regardless. He is in control even when people are unfaithful or make mistakes. His way is perfect even when mine isn’t.

Thank You, Jesus! I know, and had it confirmed yesterday by reading a devotional from Christine Caine’s Unexpected that I need to keep looking up past the problem and see Jesus, my unchanging, faithful Friend and Lord as higher, bigger, and greater than the problem, because He is!! 

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Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Heart Cry

As I consider some issues before my Lord lately, one thing I’m seeking Him on is how to help keep an elderly shy, private person engaged in life. Her interests have always run towards unusual things in today’s world, such as prayer and teaching the Bible. She has never been good at small talk, but she’s been very gifted at discipling others. Today, others are trying to get her to be more social through crafts, eating in a public dining room and such. She hates it! She is the type of person who has always had few but very committed friends, friends who seek what she seeks and are even now committed to her in this season of trial.

Thinking about all this, there go I, unless God opens me out more well before then. I’m a reader/student who also loves prayer, the Bible, discipling and much quiet. In the quiet, my heart expands. Around people too often, my heart seems to shrink. So today in trying to help someone else with God’s wisdom, I’m also trying to help myself.

I know we were all created as individuals with specific inclinations and purposes from before the foundation of the world by a loving God. But I also know the enemy has tried to cause us to be much less, and closed off to as many of God’s purposes as he can. If I don’t seek my Lord now, life will only close in on me as I age.

Dear Father, in Jesus’ name, by the power of Your Holy Spirit will you please open me up to what You want for my life so I’m not limiting You or Your influence in the world through me? I want to love and walk with others in ways You want me to, ways that glorify You, bring others to You, and leave me open to life till the day I’m to go be with You whom my soul loves. Thank You so much for hearing and answering.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

GOOD News!

I’ve been thinking lately about news and what the good news of God’s kingdom does for me. First, though, I have to hear and receive it. I have the news of salvation through my Lord for the future and for now. Once I receive that, I have the good news that my Lord loves ME and wants to help me live each day to the fullest by working in, through and for me. Both those pieces of His news give me hope, but receiving is a daily proposition.

There is another piece of good news that is reawakening in my heart recently. The body of Christ for the most part lost sight of it for many years, or else has held onto it in a religious way that hasn’t brought us the life we were meant to have from it. That, according to John Eldredge, is the good news that God says He is making all things new.

Without getting into the theology of timing, etc., that promise is in the Bible, and it is for now. What it means is there is nothing that is good in this world that we won’t see again and enjoy in its best form. When all looks dark and dreary, I’m beginning to look at that promise of my Lord and say, “Because of what God tells me, no loss of something good is gone forever. It’s a temporary loss I can endure here and now, because it will be restored to me in a greater way than ever before.” I will live to see this good on the earth God made for me to rule and reign over when He first thought of creating people. 

Because of this promise, I receive the energy to fight and war to see as much of His kingdom now on earth as I can, knowing that my Father is keeping track and keeping score and will bring that promise to fruition in its proper time. If you want to have this hope deeply implanted, I encourage you to ingest (not just read) John Eldredge’s new book, All Things New. Looking for wonderful days to come...

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New Levels, New Victories...

I wanted to call this “New Levels, New Battles”, but that’s not how my Lord sees it. It seems the last year and 3/4 has been full of trials. In August 2016, my ex-husband’s father went home to Jesus, followed in February 2017 by my ex-husband, followed last August by my ex’s stepmom. Both  of my sons’ grandparents went home with sweet spirits and hurting bodies. My ex went home with colon cancer, but with love for our guys and for his Lord. There was a breathing spot for about two months. God is good to give us what we need when we need it. Thank You, Jesus!

At the end of October 2017, we began another trial, this time with my mom. She fell, ended up in the hospital, and was in rehab for about a month, even though she didn’t hurt herself much. Her balance was bad, and she had to learn to walk better. On the first of December she came back home with 24/7 nursing care which we weaned her off over the next month. She was back using her walker, but things weren’t going well living alone at 91 1/2 years of age. We started looking around and found a good assisted living place that she liked down near my sis and her husband. Things worked out and she moved in on Friday, February 23, 2018. She has lived alone for over 30 years, though, so this was an adjustment. But declining abilities have followed her.

Mom has fallen 3 times since her move, and is still being stabilized. This is causing all sorts of family upheaval, and the Lord is really working on all of our hearts. We are in process, but I sense victory ahead.

The Lord has shown me blogs to read that are shedding light on where we are now, and I’ve really been praying about how to deal with things. I have many prayer partners, friends of mom’s, friends of mine and family, and that puts us in a good place... More to come...

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Role of Books...

Study to show yourself approved unto God... Books have been a lifeline to me. When I became a Christian at around 21, the King James Bible became my first teacher. As I grew, I learned that sometimes other versions say things in a way that I find easier to understand and obey, but King James will always be a favorite. As I continued on in life, I started having problems in certain areas, and since I had few mentors, books on my problem areas became my mentors. 

I have researched finances, abuse and marriage, parenting and mental problems to name a few areas. Then there have been fiction and biographies. God has been very good to instruct me over the years. 

I have just started putting some of these reads on Goodreads so that others who want to see some of my education can, and learn from what I've learned from. My name is Barbara Irwin, and you are welcome to see both what I have read and what I'm reading now. These types of websites (Goodreads) can be used to help others just like weight loss and healthy living websites like SparkPeople, so enjoy, and maybe you can be a resource for others too! 

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Time to Reclaim My Inheritance

It seems the Body of Christ is in a very active season right now. There appears to be a push for growth amid a lot of sad and challenging happenings. The wheat is growing and "getting wheatier" (maturing) and the chaff is more and more showing itself for what it is. "Ye shall know them by their fruits..." .

As I spend time with the Lord, I am hearing that it's a time for many of us to prepare, and that if we don't, God won't be able to use us in some of the ways He desires. I have some gifts of the Spirit that need to come back to the forefront again, but I can't bring them forth on my own. I am praying for myself--to be stirred up in my spirit in these areas, and I'm beginning to ask others to pray for me.

Which brings me to an important point--if you have been gifted by God in areas you haven't operated in for years, that doesn't mean the gift is gone--it just needs to be stirred up again. If you don't want it to be stirred up, you may need emotional or physical healing, or both. God is calling us to be willing to come into His plans and purposes in this hour. How will we respond?

Part of what God wants to deal with is disappointment. The Bible tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick. Many of us have sick hearts and don't want to move on with God because past prayers weren't answered the way we thought they would be or should be.

I'm thinking of a few past prayers of my own right now. I really wanted my son, Joseph Daniel to be healed, but six weeks after birth he went to heaven. I have been devastated about it for years, but in the last few months the Lord put on my heart that I could ask Him for vindication. The Bible says that when the enemy is found out, he must restore seven-fold, and that is what I'm now believing for. I don't fully know what that looks like in my life, but I'm seeing signs... . The same for the daughter I lost... . I also have seen more than enough church splits I prayed to avert that happened anyway. Now I'm in a very good church where I'm really growing....There are other things, as well, and I'm now revisiting them and asking the Lord for what He wants to teach me.

I know it is not God's will for me to have a sick heart because of prayers that seemed to go nowhere. That is the enemy's strategy to render me ineffective/unfruitful. My heavenly Father still has a plan, and He will perform it--with me or without me. But right now He's giving me opportunity to deal with the things that would hinder me. What about you???

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