Your Advice And Help Would Be Appreciated


Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Satan as Antichrist

English: Satan as Antichrist (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t spoken lately of my journey with my brother’s illness. Not much has gone on as there has been much peace.This all ended last evening.

I took him to eat at his favorite buffet restaurant. He enjoyed the company of strangers sitting next to us. I don’t say anything anymore to him, trying to stop him so that the others can eat. I figure I have tried several times, and he seems to love socializing, so I let it alone.

We got home, and the light bulb switched off inside his head, and he went from the opposite of peace to troubled. He and I spent two hours, chatting back and forth, me trying to explain that he is looked at by me as a valued human on this earth. His comeback was that he is useless. His comments that he runs into things, that he can barely walk, that his tremors are out of control bothers me greatly. He and I have this same conversation at least weekly. The same points are made by each of us each time. I have explained to him many times, in the most simple terms I can think of, that God is good, and Satan is bad.

I believe that Satan is playing my brother. I believe that Satan may believe that Al’s time may be not so many months or years away, and that he wants to do everything in his power to try to take Al’s soul. I believe this, because Al spends many hours in his Bible. I can’t tell you how much he understands of what he reads, but I believe that his memory is still sharp as a tack of all the years that he went to church, so his memory may be understood more than his actual reading.

I have tried so many things to help Al with this difficult time in his life. I have sat with him and we go over Bible verses. I have explained to him many times that God is with him and will take care of him. I take him many places to get his mind off of his illness. I have had our minister here and an anointing was done for Al, and also his room anointed. I ask from my readers many prayers, along with my own prayers.

Is the mental challenge that he carries within himself, keeping him from understanding what I am saying? Is it the fear that he carries about his illness and dying that is stronger than anything I could possibly say to him? Is Satan working overtime?

I do not know where to go anymore. I feel very frustrated but most likely not as frustrated as he is. My heart bleeds when I hear him say such negativity about himself. When I see his tears fall, and his voice rising to me, wanting me to desperately believe him when he says he is bad, I want to walk away from him, in order to not have to lie and say what he wants to hear. I can not agree with him, when he wants me so badly, to say that he is bad, that he deserves this, that he is being punished, and that he is useless.

What can I do my friends? What can I say? Do I bother the minister with another anointing? Do I pretend not to hear Al, in order to not start another argument or discussion?

Do any of you take care of a family member, or are you a professional caregiver for a person who also believes as Al does? If, so what do you do, how do you handle this?

Is this something that I need to accept, that this depression is a part of his illness? The professionals have tried many depression drugs, and so far not one has worked. This makes me believe it may be partly due to his mental challenges. I don’t know, but I do know that I feel for him. I love him, and I am reaching out, yet another time for your help.

66 thoughts on “Your Advice And Help Would Be Appreciated

  1. sometimes the best thing you can do is not engage in the conversation, step back and give it to God, he will carry it, he knows Al and has him, you don’t have to carry that burden. engaging in the conversation, is just feeding his demons…i’m not professional, but have learned from personal experience that letting go, is often letting God…

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    • i have wondered this myself, only staying with him by his chair so as not to make him feel i don’t care, but i think the obvious thing for both of our sakes is to step back. thanks buck for confirming this

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  2. I can only give you examples from my daughters who deal with depression, because the 2 people I’ve had to be a caregiver for didn’t beat themselves up due to their illnesses. When my daughters get in these moods, the only thing I can do is say…Do you believe you are forgiven by God? Usually I’ll get a yes from them. Then I say, well if God can forgive you, why can’t you forgive yourself? And…It’s a good thing God doesn’t see you the same way you see yourself. After all he loves you so much that he died on the cross to forgive you of your sins…do you think he wants you to think so lowly of his gift of salvation that you still hold onto your guilt? That usually makes them stop and begin to think about how they are acting. Maybe Al doesn’t need you to agree with him…just remind him of what God sees, and how God must feel when he beats himself up. If he answers no to the first question, then you have an opening to lead him to Christ completely.

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    • that is very good advice For. i touched briefly last night on the fact about how would God feel if he knew he was saying such bad things about himself. He replied that he would not like it, but continued on his venting. I think he doesn’t really understand what I am saying. I need to find shorter sentences, smaller words, maybe, because of his challenges. i loved your comment my friend

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      • Use the Bible to back up what you tell him. God says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. He says he washes us whiter than snow. There are so many verses that he can hold onto. You might even make little posters of them for his room, for him to be reminded of how God sees him. This way you won’t have to keep pulling those verses out for him.

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      • i got him a plaque yesterday, that i placed on his night stand so he can see it all day. it says God Is In Control of Your Day Today, Nothing fancy, not pretty decorations, just these simple, powerful words. i hope he looks at it often. thanks for your advice

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  3. Terry, there is no Satan in your brother … no evil what so ever – it’s his mental illness and his strong believes that messes him up at time. Just try to accept that is a state he will be in at times. It will pass … and if he doesn’t get too much attention he will come around. For me is Satan a manmade figure – that was made in the beginning … somebody to blame the evil/bad on. Sorry, if I have upset anyone

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    • you never upset me my friend. we are each unique and all have our own opinions, and i respect you for yours as you do for mine. his mental illness does play a big part in our problems with communicating. thanks Viveka for commenting. i always look forward to them

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  4. Dear Terry..I hear the frustration in your words. I cared for my mother in the last years before she unfortunately needed the care given by a nursing home. She had an aneurysm and then brain surgery. Because of this her personality changed slowly over months. She went from being a confident independent person to one of argumentative, and somewhat critical nature. Before my children could do no wrong in her eyes, but after the surgery and debilitation started she started to criticize and correct their behavior when it didn’t really need doing so. At these times I had to be a go-between and explain to my children why Nana was now like this…and then I would have to spend time with her to make her understand, and would have to deal with her tears of frustration and hurt. It was such a difficult time for me….and so I know dealing with Al has you at wits end. The repeated conversations that you need to have will I believe continue to happen, as he needs to express himself over and over. I believe he really in his mind does forget your words of comfort to him and will continue to need this. I don’t know if you can find something simple to say when he gets talking this way instead of you having to repeat everything over and over…suggestion only…” Al, you’re in one of your sad or melancholy times again right now…probably the best thing for you …to help is to go and read your Bible and ask God to help you feel better.. Know that I always love and care for you, or I wouldn’t be here with you. But I think you need to spend time with God right now…so dry your eyes and go and read your Bible.” I will be here doing ‘such and such’??? Terry this is only a suggestion and not meant to tell you what to do…only since you asked. Another visit from his Minister wouldn’t hurt just as a visit and to talk….and of course I continue to pray. I did mean to ask you at one point regarding getting respite care…you seem probably because you know what the medical care system is in the states, but have you checked for eg with Indiana State Medicaid Developmental Disabilites Waiver….I was just playing around on the internet and came across this…included in this waiver is ‘respite’ care…as I said you likely know all the resources in that regard…I hope that you have a representative that you can always check with…as we do here in Canada if we have a specific question. Sorry to have gone on so long…..just some thoughts Diane

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    • i think your advice is very good. another blogger suggested to walk away, and i can do this also, adding the words that you have mentioned. hopefully this will help. the other topic of the waiver, Indiana has this also and I have contacted them twice, there is a four year waiting list. in al’s circumstances and from what the drs. have said four years is too long to wait to even get to talk to a live person. i can submit an app they say but it will b years before they look into it because of the very long list ahead of him. it is sad, i think, because i am sure there are others out here exactly like us

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  5. Al is a Christian and by believing in Christ he should be reminded that Jesus will never leave him or forsake him. He is a good man and needs to be reminded that everyone thinks he is good and he should not even think he is bad.

    The fact that he has trouble walking and standing is because he is getting weaker from his illness and that is not a bad thing for you because you are there to help him in these situations. Then offer to sit down with him and pray for his strength and comfort.

    Walk daily with God at your side!

    Ed

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    • Ed, you are wonderful. you have made me feel better, as this is what i end up doing and saying most of the time, but always leaving wondering what else i could have said. now you let me know that i am doing it the right way. he is refusing to accept my words though, no matter how much i explain about his illness and that he is a good guy and i love him. thank you Ed

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      • Remember you both need to sit down and pray for God’s guidance and comfort and strength to help you both get through this together.

        I think if you tell him that we need to pray, he will know you are really interested in helping him. I know you are, but he see’s things in a different light and is looking for confirmation. I think offering to pray with him will help.

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      • you may be right. he and i have never prayed together, but maybe one time, when he had his heart attack. thank u for this advice Ed

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  6. Across all faiths, humans struggle against themselves, others, and forces that we cannot see like Shaitan (Arabic word for Satan). But God is greater. Stronger. More powerful. Do not fear, for God is with you. But the downers (whatever we name them), don’t give up either. Hence, you must not give up either, to continue to be the positive reinforcement to yourself first, and choosing the wisest course of what Al would want done onto him, according to his personality type (The Color Code by Taylor Hartman is so useful about personalities and what they need, and how various personalities interact with each other).

    Keep asking God to show you the way, I trust you are doing as much as you can, and just need to take it easy on yourself to not have to be perfect (as I remind myself too). There will always be the less attractive moments in caregiving that we must allow and forgive ourselves for, including frustrations with the actions of others. You’re already incredible, please don’t add ‘perfect’ to that list. You’re already amazing, please remember that less than fabulous moments don’t define you.

    With that said, keep praying to God for his protection, and we will all do the same as well. 😀

    Pink.

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  7. You have already received some very good advice, I really have nothing much new to add at all. I know that until we are in your position none of us can fully understand what is taking place or what action is needed.

    Our prayers continue to be with you and Al as you continue with your daily struggles. I am trusting the Lrod that He will intervene in the situation and work a miracle on your behalf. Lord bless.

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    • thank you Rob. i do have a question for you not pertaining to my blog, but your blog. i can not figure out how to fix it. i get half blogs from you where i can leave a like and a comment and others i receive there are no place to like or comment. do you know what i may be doing wrong? Also, thank you Rob, as you already know from prior responses, i believe so much in prayer.

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  8. I agree, good advice already given, I don’t have much to add. Maybe gently repeating the same message (as you are doing) is best. It gives consistency. It is just so hard to see that you are doing the right thing when you are so close and feel so frustrated. Hang in there, my friend. You are doing amazingly.

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    • thank you Elaine. it comforts me to know that you think i am doing the right thing. i always wonder what else i could be doing or what words am i not saying right

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  9. When things were going too smooth…it seemed my son would have to say something that would get me going…at least that’s what I called it…Like others…Say as least as you can…to reassure him and then exit…If he wants to talk more…he will find you…if not…he will quieten into his own thoughts…So sad…Mental disorders are something we just can’t seem to get a handle on…We want to help so much…but, we just can’t fix it!…Just beiing there with him …I’m sure is reassuring to him…and remember you have done all you can do…We have to learn to be thankful for the times when things are good…and know though …it probably will not last…But, as the good ended…so will the bad…It’s an evergoing circle…~mkg

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    • you truly understand what is going on here. thank you for the advice of me exiting, as i think this is what i should do for now. let him know i love him and understand, but quit feeding into the conversation and back out

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  10. I just want to add this — it may not be AL that Satan is playing. It may be YOU he’s trying to play through Al. If you don’t mind me asking, what was Al’s relationship with Christ before his illness? When his brain “switches off” and you have these talks, I have to believe that if Al’s relationship with Jesus was established before, then God will not hold this against him. This would mean that the questions and uncertainty are biological and not spiritual. That being said, the devil looks for our weakest areas and attacks us there relentlessly — you already know this. While it may not make a difference to Al (likely he doesn’t remember because you have to remind him during these times), it wears on you and that makes the devil do a little dance. When these things happen, jump on the blog and type: Pray. We will all know what you mean. There is strength in numbers, my friend, and immeasurable strength in numbers who pray. Love, Sandy

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    • someone said that to me before, awhile back, and i got very uptight with myself,, as i worked harder to make God my priority, prayed more, because I did not want to b the blame for Al’s sadness. i started blaming myself that he was ill.i knew i wasn’t perfect, and that i had failed so many times in the past. i don’t know if i misunderstood what was being said or if my faith is so weak that Satan would take me and use me against my own brother, but i could not deal with the two sided coin, Al’s misery, anger at his illness, and maybe me being a part of the reason. i don’t even know if this makes sense, but i had to stop. i had to separate Al from me. Al was always a strong believer from where I stood. He is mentally challenged, so only God knows what he has always gotten out of the messages, but I do know that he believes in God with all of his heart. All I know is that he swears he sees Satan on his shoulder and he talks to him and then he leaves eventually and God appears to him again, and then there is peace here. Maybe this is his mentality, maybe not, i wish i knew, but i, am thankful i can hop on here and write. i have to admit i am tired. i am exhausted. i have been taking care of Al for almost five years alone, and now his illness is becoming worse, not terrible, but worse. i need help, i need a break just like workers get a vacation, i don’t even get two hours. i appreciate your comment so much, and i can tell by your words that you care. thank you for your compassion

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      • Will it make you feel better if I tell you that I deal with a two-sided coin every day? That we all do? You are not alone in this — only your circumstances are unique to you. I’m here with you…all along the way. Sandy

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      • it does not make me feel better that you suffer in any way, but this two- sided coin living is something we all do live with. you are so right! we just each have different issues. I am glad we are friends Sandy. You seem to understand my situation, and I love your comments. Thanks for being with me!!!

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  11. I am more in tune with Viveka’s comments – I think Al is obsessing and his fear is now affecting you. It occurs to me that you both might need a break from each other (but I know you are looking into that). One of the symptoms of OCD is irrational anxiety about spiritual things. Hope this helps Terry! Juliexx

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    • could you send me in the right direction to learn more about this that you have mentioned? i would like to learn more on the subject. this may be what he is doing, obsessing over his fears of dying. this explains so much

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      • I only know from looking up obsessive compulsive disorder on internet – I don’t have any real knowledge but the spiritual thing made sense to me at the time during a long-ago anxiety attack of my own.

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      • when i read what u commented on, it was like, yes, this is it exactly, he is obsessing over and over on the same topic, while placing me in another stress mode once again. i think it is time to tell him i understand, i love him, pray with him and tell him to read the word, then exit the room. thanks Julie!!!!

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  12. Ya know, even Jesus had moments of doubt, so is it really unrealistic to expect that the rest of us will suffer the same? My grandmother suffered from dementia, and she was depressed. But she also thought those that were closest to her were out to get her. Some of this is the nature of the illness. Please don’t let his disease complicate your faith.

    And above all else, never forget God is with you.

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    • thank you Rumpy. I need to always remember God is with Al and me in this house. He will never stray from me! thank you so much for this uplifting comment. you are wonderful!!!

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  13. You have a lot of great advice here from a lot of people Terry. The ones that stand out the most, in my humble opinion, are from “forhisgloryandpraise”, Ed, E1aine and Ibtk. I will keep you both in my prayers. God Bless You!

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    • those are some of my best friends you have mentioned. Ibtk is one of my newer friends, and i find her very refreshing with her comments. glad that you are taking the time to get to know me

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      • I must confess, I did not know these people were your best friends. I simply thought that their comments were closest to what I believe Biblically and partly mirrored what I would have said. 🙂 As Christians we are to support each other since we are members of Christ’s body and members of each other. We need each others’ encouragement, prayers and affirmations. Also, God’s Spirit lives within each of us and bears witness of Himself. When we speak from the depth of our spirit where He dwells, we speak from Him and the things we say individually always go along the same lines since it originates from the same source in each of us. To God be the glory for the great things He has done, is doing and will continue to do in your life. Blessings Terry!

        Sheldon

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      • i must explain i do not know these people in person, but God has drawn us together in kindred spirit. i am happy that i am also getting to know you also. you say some powerful words, that i believe totally. I try to live for God and to follow his path. I do need the encouragement and comments from the bloggers. it helps me a lot.

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      • I understand Terry. 🙂 I am also happy to find friends who are trying to live for God as well. God is awesome and i’m sure we can draw strength from each other’s blog and comments too. I am sad about Al’s health but happy that you are there for him. God said he will never leave us nor forsake us. Right now you are the best demonstration of “Jesus” that Al will see and he needs to be reminded of the love of Jesus every day. You draw strength from the Jesus you see in your friends in the blog world and Al draws strength from you. I believe God is making abundant provisions for you both and despite the obstacles you are both blessed immensely. Be faithful Terry. 🙂

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      • i have never looked at it in this way. I always think I am not doing enough. To read your words makes me feel good about myself. This is one of the few places I am able to be with Christian people who are real. I have gone into christian chat rooms and was appalled at their language and left. here it is more real more open

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  14. You may want to look at books by Joseph Prince who speaks of Gods favor. He focuses on the Bible teachings that help us find and recognize God’s grace. We are in Jesus’ image and deserve what he did as the son of God.

    Not an answer to help you RIGHT now, but maybe a resource to provide an encouraging view for the longer haul.

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  15. Terry,
    This strange stuff happened with me when I was in a coma, and with my mother after her stroke. Mom said some really disturbing stuff, but later I just came to understand that she isn’t responsible for what she is saying anymore..God is just…He judges us in the light that we walk in, and Mom’s light is very, very dim right now.

    Fortunately for me, I came out of the coma, but my hallucinations bothered me a lot. What the Lord showed me is that the day I accepted His salvation, all my sins were forgiven — past, present, and future. Had I died in the coma, none of what I had been experiencing in that state was real…just the firings of different parts of a brain that was distressed, dying, and afraid. I think Al is probably having those same kinds of misfirings. Maybe satan is messing around, but I kind of doubt it. Instead, I think satan is jerking you around…Al is probably somewhat off-limits to him at the moment. Remeber, satan has to get permission for the garbage he throws our way from God..just like Job. My advice would be to not get too worked up about it, and maybe play music softly during those times. David was called to Saul to play music when Saul was depressed…Music helps me when I get depressed, and my husband played it in my hospital room constantly while I was unconscious. It might be worth a try. 🙂

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    • it comforts me when you say that Satan is probably not messing with Al, but why would Satan want to mess with me Bird? I have heard this comment from others as well, and I don’t think I understand. I believe in God also, so why would he want to mess with me? Can you help me with this by explaining better? This makes me feel like I am making my brother suffer more by not being a good enough follower of God, and I don’t think this is what you are saying. Also, the music, i do listen to, but not Al. I have gotten him music before, and an mp3 player, but he won’t touch it.

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      • The best way to explain this is that the minute you become a Christian, you are instantly satan’s enemy, and working against his agenda. If you seek out the Lord, and your life begins to bear righteous fruit, you become a dangerous enemy to him, able to draw other people to God’s kingdom, and he tends to attack those people more. The path to righteousness is the harder, less traveled path, and the closer you draw to Jesus, and the attacks get more consistent, you know you are on the right one. If a person becomes a Christian, and then does nothing else at all, it seems that life is no harder than it was before for them, because why should satan bother an enemy who doesn’t cause any damage to his kingdom?
        You shouldn’t feel at all guilty about how this effects Al. You have no control over what satan launches your way, and God knows how to take care of both of you at the same time. I imagine you writing about God in your blog is one reason satan finds you dangerous, and to me, it signifies that you are indeed following the will of God.
        As for the music, I find that very interesting that Al resists music. Is it because he doesn’t like music in general, or does he just not like Christian music?

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      • he doesn’t like music at all. the only music he tolerates is the music from where a ball game starts up. lol. i totally understand what you have explained to me and it makes so much sense to me now. i appreciate the time and effort you took to do this for me. now i hate Satan even more than ever! he has got to go!!!!! thanks my friend!!!!

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  16. Hi terry I don’t think Al is dealing with Satan. Al is dealing with Al. Heis dealing with so much negativity that it’s only natural for him to feel overwhelmed and then he voices it in the name of Satan. Most likely focusing on God’s love will help you both. I’m saying a prayer for both of you.

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    • thank you Mom. after all the comments i think that you are right. it is hard to turn him from this without God’s help. He is very negative and fearful of death. Thank you for the prayer. We both need them now

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  17. Terry, A great way to understand the leading of the Holy Spirit is if what you/Al are hearing give peace it is of God. If fear, doubt, worry, anxiety are the results it is not of God. Peace is one of the most important facets of God and can mean a world of difference in our thoughts. The enemy doesn’t like Al reading the Bible so he will attack. God knows your circumstances and Al’s. Don’t listen to the negatives or the thoughts that are fearful.

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  18. Sending comforting thoughts your way, my friend. I have someone in my life (different situation, but same thoughts you’re having) who is struggling to see God right now. I love this person very much and want nothing more than to have them see the light of the LORD and know that everything can and will be ok. I do believe we are called to share God’s truth with others and that we are called to be encouragers and people who do everything we can to show others that with God, peace and happiness will follow. At the same time – it’s not up to us to decide if or when other people accept this. That has been the hardest part for me to realize, but I am starting to come to terms with it. Doesn’t mean I have stopped trying to show love and show the way…but I realized I was hurting myself trying so hard to ‘save’ this other person. That’s not our job, it’s God’s job. So I guess what I am saying is, do everything with love…never stop sharing the good news and words of hope. Just remember that God is in control and He will decide when it’s time for others to believe like you do. I hope you have a good day today.

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    • you are right, it is not our works that work, it is God’s works and perfect timing. we can only do what God has instructed us to do. open their eyes and show them they way. as long as we keep trying, we are doing the right thing in God’s eyes. thank you Rob. great comment for me

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