"...to console those who mourn in Zion,
to give them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they may be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."
I haven't the time to do much writing of my own for the moment. But here is something that every Christian should read. This one hits me really close to home. Those of you who have known me for any length of time know that I am responsible for the care of my 86 year old mother. Her health is stable at the moment, but her quality of life is terrible. She's not by nature a very happy woman, and less so now that she has lost her independence. Were I not a Christian I could find myself sharing the sentiments described in the link that follows; but I AM a Christian, and see that her life has meaning and value, to her (whether she recognizes it or not) and to me, though seeing her this way is difficult and painful. God has ordained this period in her life, just as he ordained her infancy - an even more helpless condition. Because she's not as cute as her infant self was, does not negate her worth. Because she's closer to the end of her life than she was in the beginning does not negate her value (she's not a car, but a person created in the image of God). Our life's value is not to be measured by the amount of pleasure we are able to give others, or the amount of service, or of the amount of time we may or may not have left. This time my mother has lived this way is purposed by God, and has great value to me, if not often in pleasure, in deeper ways, ways leading to growth, patience, maturity (I hope).