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We have all heard that “communication is key” but what are the keys to good communication?
What makes communication break down in the first place? I remember hearing a radio talk show many years ago, a man was describing how he and his wife had two totally different views about how you take care of a sick person. He was down with a cold, and asked her for some orange juice, she came back with what he thought to be a thimble full, and his expectation of a big tumbler full was unfulfilled. The two  were raised differently, one with small glasses of O.J.  being left alone to sweat it out, the other being pampered with lots of juice, soup and attention. Case in point, communication is not just words, and it is also important to note that whatever it is, goes through a sort of prism of our own personal experiences, thought processes, and communication styles.

What goes out of our mouth, hits the ear of the hearer, goes through the filter of their point of reference, bents, insecurities, etc. and they take it the way they do according to that. Each person has their own filter.  What the difficult task is , is to be completely vulnerable in exposing our filters to the people around us, so they understand our communication styles. This of course includes our insecurities, anxieties, fears, opinions etc.  My husband grew up in a large, loud, Spanish speaking  family.  They all spoke over one another, and nobody took it with any offense.  I, on the other hand, grew up in a family where you didn’t communicate at all, and children were to “speak when spoken to” ” seen and not heard”.  No noise at the dinner table etc, so when I first experienced my husband loud talking, I thought he was angry with me, and broke down crying.  He and my children to this day speak with passion, a bit loud, but I understand this to be their style.  They on their part, speak to me with a softer tone, and try to be mindful of my need for a  less robust conversation.

How do we find the best way to speak to each other? I tried to think of the best communicator of all time, and  of Jesus, it is said: (John 1:1)” in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God and the word was GOD….and vs 14 and the word became flesh and dwelt among us” The very word of God, came to earth and became a man so that we would know how to live in this world amongst each other in a bond of love and in humility.

In the book of John, Christ used the term ‘ Verily, Verily I say unto you’… no less than 18 times. In one book!  When a word is spoken twice, it means listen carefully.  I think we have to take notice of this first off, as he knows our  propensity to listen with only half of our attention.  We need to be sure that the person is really taking a hard listen if we have an important thing to impart to them.  Don’t expect them to be listening intently to your heart felt outpourings if you don’t get their undivided attention first. Also notice, we may need to repeat ourselves.

Jesus spoke to the disciples, and crowds  in Parables ( stories which teach lessons ).  Jesus used things very familiar to the people around Him to paint mental pictures so that they would understand the things He was trying to impart to them.  Many times, we need to find a thing that our spouse, or child, friend etc. can relate to, and use that to paint a picture of how something may be affecting us, or maybe what we may need from them.  Whether it is using children’s toys or a husbands computer program, or car engine, golf game etc. There is a way to ‘story tell’ so that making a parallel using that imagery will help them connect with you.  Reading the Parables will help understand what I mean here.

Jesus said we are the salt of the earth, from what I have read about this, Jesus being a Rabbi, would have understood that  sacrifices and blessings were made with an application of salt. Salt was used to preserve, to purify, to bless, and to flavor.  When we communicate anything to one another, let us keep in mind, that we are called the salt of the Earth, which should heal one another, and purify, when one is in the wrong, salt will draw out the poison of sin ( in 2 Kings 19 Elisha threw salt into the poison well to heal it, and turn the water sweet)  apply the words of restoration to them in love = salt, Blessing = salt we should be blessing each other by actions, and words, every day, without fail. Jesus is our example, and He gives us all we need to carry out loving one another in this way… ” Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”

He has given us the key, He knows us- each one of us Intimately, our very  hairs are numbered, he knows our hearts,  our failings, and the things we have endured.  We can trust that He will give us the wisdom to use the keys He has given us to lovingly, communicate with one another.  As we desire to do what is in the best interest of the people we love, We can’t go wrong in seeking Him for guidance and wisdom in the process.

Give Me Humility Lord

Humility is a term I have not understood very well in my lifetime. It got tangled up with inferiority, self doubt, timidity, and many other things, but God in His wisdom never lets us stay in a state of confusion about such things, so He lays out lesson plans for us to learn how to walk in true humility.

Definition: modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

It takes conflict in one form or another to expose the lack of real humility in our lives. First God exposes us through various conflicts. For me, I was certain God wanted me to step out in my gifts, and serve the church with my talents in decorating for events etc.   As I volunteered, I went up against a person who has been in charge for a long time, and  has had a fairly iron grip on the whole program. I would try to be a part, but felt I could not really do what I was good at. I didn’t necessarily want to be ‘in charge’, but I did have a feeling of self importance. I wanted autonomy, to be taken seriously, after all I did that for a living in the past…  I was good at this stuff!  I was seeing things in myself I didn’t know were there;  attitudes not pleasing to God.   Here is the kicker… I realized that in this process, I was also dealing with a childhood hangover- VALIDATION.  Some heavy emotional baggage from childhood left me in need of much grace in this area.  I have struggled with needing affirmation from and for the things I do.  Affirmation for a job well done somehow validating my existence? In my heart I know it is ridiculous,  but it is the trap I fall into if I am not careful.

Do I really think it matters if I contribute? Was it really because I want to be a blessing or because I have a need to fulfill in my own life?  When we serve our families, is it for the accolades, the appreciation, the elimination of guilt, the fulfillment of being better than your own parent?

By His grace I know it is not about me, and my need for using my gifts and talents, rather, it is all about giving preference to others in serving wherever I can with no regard to my self.  These are the ‘golden nuggets’ of true love in the church, and in marriage and family : that we not regard ourselves as the most important, but that we look to serve the people around us because we care about them, and love them, not for anything we can get in return, no accolades, appreciation, gold stars, or brownie points.

Phillipians2: 1-8 “Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,make my joy complete being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves;
do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.Have this attitude among yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus,who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but laid aside His privileges emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

It is difficult to look at yourself in terms of Pride and Humility, however, I think of scriptures which say GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.” James 4:6

“I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing.”—Ezekiel 34:26.

ERE is sovereign mercy—”I will give them the shower in its season.” Is it not sovereign, divine mercy?—for who can say, “I will give them showers,” except God? There is only one voice which can speak to the clouds, and bid them beget the rain. Who sendeth down the rain upon the earth? Who scattereth the showers upon the green herb? Do not I, the Lord? So grace is the gift of God, and is not to be created by man. It is also needed grace. What would the ground do without showers? You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing. In vain you labour, until God the plenteous shower bestows, and sends salvation down. Then, it is plenteous grace. “I will send them showers.” It does not say, “I will send them drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives it in such a measure that there is not room enough to receive it. Plenteous grace! Ah! we want plenteous grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plenteous grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without saturating showers of grace. Again, it is seasonable grace. “I will cause the shower to come down in his season.” What is thy season this morning? Is it the season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of great heaviness and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “As thy days so shall thy strength be.” And here is a varied blessing. “I will give thee showers of blessing.” The word is in the plural. All kinds of blessings God will send. All God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives converting grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” Look up to-day, O parched plant, and open thy leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering.

I pray I will learn quickly this lesson of HUMILITY, as it is my desire to do your will Father, and be all you want me to be.

Daughters

‘Daughters’ is a subject that has been on my heart lately, one, because my only daughter just became a first time mother; joining us together in a bond only mothers experience.  For the other reason, I have been speaking with many mothers of teenage girls who are at their ‘wits end ‘ dealing with manipulative, disobedient daughters.  I feel so much compassion in my heart for the parents who are going through the gut wrenching experience of dealing  with rebellious teenage girls. I know, there are plenty who deal with boys too, but this post is all about daughters.

The first thing we ask ourselves is- “where did I /we go wrong?  Many of you haven’t done anything wrong perse’, but I have some things for you to think over that may help you find the root, leading the way to better communication, and helping the young lady find her way back home.

Every girl has a need for a strong, HEALTHY relationship with her father. A father is God’s expression to her about who HE is.  Her sense of security and well being comes from strong leadership in the home. How a husband treats his wife teaches her how she will respond as a wife herself, and while she is living in your home, she will test the boundaries and limits of your marriage.  Manipulation is only possible if the two of you are presenting a weak front, divided, and not on the same page with one another.  She will “play you like a cheap guitar” mom and dad, if you don’t have each others back! If she knows that you talk things over , and agree together, double check facts etc., she will not get away with the trickery and lies so easily, she will stop trying once she figures out there is no space between you. Confrontation and consequences for her actions are essential.  If she perceives that she is getting off easy for bad behavior, she will spin out of control.  What is worse, she will accuse you of being horrible, but if you do nothing at all, she will believe in her heart that you don’t care, and don’t love her.  I know that one from personal experience.  I was a rebellious teenage daughter.  My parents fought about discipline. My mother wanted dad to do it, and he felt like the big arm of the law, who had to do the dirty work, so they fought… then gave up.  We grew up completely out of control, wishing someone would care enough to say something. Consequences for bad behavior need to be appropriate for the situation, if she sneaks out, she gets grounded, with zero privileges.    But don’t overplay the same card. Grounding the girl for every infraction is counter productive.  If the problem is school related, ie. being irresponsible about homework, take something away, and add a responsibility that relates to school.  I have heard teens talk about how the punishments their parents give them don’t make any logical sense, or that they just want to personally benefit from their child’s mistake by getting work out of them. The other thing to consider, is how do you listen to her? Or, do you just talk AT her? You would be surprised how much can be solved by just sitting down and giving a place for her to share her heart, dreams, fears… she needs the security of knowing you are for her, but will stand for the right thing, and will be just, fair, and strong.  Ecclesiastes 4:9 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.10 For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.11 Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? 12 And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. If you are together Mom and Dad, you will succeed in giving the girl a stability she needs to gain control of the chaos we like to call the TEENS.

For the single parent:  It is no easy thing to beat this daunting task alone.  But in Ecclesiastes, it says a cord of three strands.  Meaning that God is one of the strands.  You aren’t in it alone, and certainly if you have a church family, or synagogue, you can find plenty of people to come along side to bear your burden with you.  We are never expected to go through these things by ourselves.  Reach out and call for help, prayer, and support if you don’t have a spouse.  If you are divorced, you still need to try to be on the same page when it comes to your child.  Put aside your own differences, and look out for the needs of your daughter.  It is difficult to do when you don’t get along, but if you have any ability to do it, try!

I have been so very blessed to have a daughter who has been a tower of strength, virtuous through her teens, a model daughter who cared for everyone. Her father and she have always had a strong bond.  She is confident, and accomplished, and now she has a son.  It wasn’t always easy in our relationship, we didn’t always get along.  Because of my baggage with my own parents, I was the weak one, and she was BORN with a determined, strong will…just like her father.  Lately, we have been experiencing a closeness I never thought was possible.  I feel so privileged to share her company, her life, as I have always admired her so much, this is a dream come true for me.

I will finish this post with a song by John Mayer:  Daughters

“Daughters”

I know a girl
She puts the color inside of my world
But she’s just like a maze
Where all of the walls all continually change
And I’ve done all I can
To stand on her steps with my heart in my hands
Now I’m starting to see
Maybe it’s got nothing to do with me

Fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Oh, you see that skin?
It’s the same she’s been standing in
Since the day she saw him walking away
Now she’s left
Cleaning up the mess he made

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Boys, you can break
You’ll find out how much they can take
Boys will be strong
And boys soldier on
But boys would be gone without the warmth from
A womans good, good heart

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

“Keep Me Low”

Keep me low, keep me low…. I woke up this morning with these words going through my brain, over and over again. They became part of my prayer, as I realized that my new subject with the Lord is humility. I remembered an episode of The Dog Whisperer I saw recently ( I know, it sounds strange, where is this going?) There were two aggressive wolf hybrids which Caesar Milan was called in to help with. When he was introducing the regal, white wolf cross to his pack through the chain link fence, he was looking for one thing before he would let the huge canine join on the other side : his head to go low. It is a sign of submission, and acceptance that you are not the one “large and in charge”. I lay there in bed thinking, praying…this is not working!
prostrate

I got up and went out where it was quiet in the living room, (yeah, snoring was distracting my prayers and thinking) After a time of praying on my face and asking God to keep me humble, I started getting bombarded with all the thoughts of what I had just given up. All the wrongs that had been done to me flooded in to my brain, and those words, “keep me low” started to make sense. I prayed more, and God started speaking to my heart about how in Genesis 21, there is a very small passage where Hagar and her son were in the wilderness, cast out from Abraham and Sarah’s family, God SAW her ( I AM ) the God who sees your need, your sorrow, the injustices, ( I AM ) your deliverer , comfort, strength, whatever you need.  I AM YOUR deliverer .  I have given you all that you need that pertains to life and godliness,  (2 Peter 1:3 ) , so walk in my strength and power.  I have overcome these things on your behalf, (John 16 :33) so put them to rest! This will be a process  for me that is for sure!

I love the story of Pilgrims Progress, Christian loses his burden at the foot of the cross.  That is at the beginning of his brave journey to the ‘Celestial City’.  Along his way, he falls into slumber, fights Appolyon, gets trapped in Doubting Castle, and locked up in Vanity Fair.  What is wonderful though, is that he had companions along the journey, some tested him, and some lifted him, yet all the while, The King was always there, His servants were there to guide and cheer him along the way.  Let us not grow weary in serving one another along our path to the Celestial City.  We are servants of The King!  To see a weary pilgrim along the path, and wonder what their problem is, and go along your merry way is just not pleasing to the king. (Ephesians 4 :2) If you see someone who you have a tendency to avoid, you may want to just find out what is going on in their life.  Chances are, you may be the only person who comes along side them as a traveling companion along their wearisome road.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
5so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Micah 6:8 He has not shown you oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you :
to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

I have had this piece of old luggage  that I have carried with me my entire life.  At times I didn’t notice it too much, because I turned it into a backpack, but it grew larger and heavier as time went on.  As long as I had distractions, I would forget it was there, but like an elephant in the room, everyone noticed how it was destroying me, causing me to be more burdened, and thrown off balance from it’s weight. Eventually, I had completely lost my way.

That old backpack carried years of unforgiveness, bitterness, and pain from my past.  I thought I could just talk through things with those who wronged me, ( parents)  and we could get all the closure and forgiveness, and all would be well with my soul, but when they  didn’t respond to my gesture, but accused me of just wanting to hurt them by talking to them, shunned me for half a year, then called one day as if all is well,  thoughts of closure were left unfulfilled.

I started sensing some ‘strangeness’ when my adult children would be with me, they had become so concerned about this  “pack” on my back how was sucking the life out of me, they got together with dad and called for an intervention. He never said anything to me, he had a’ hands off wait and see what happens as I pray approach.’  As I explained to him, it is like the scripture which says, two are better than one, when one falls in a ditch, the other is there to lift him out. I had felt my husband knew I was in the ditch, but was sitting under a tree to see if I could find a way out on my own. Two of my children are more vocal and will call me out on things, and the breakthrough began.

After conversations with one of my sons, I started to realize how much I needed more accountability and started bravely getting back involved in the women’s ministry.  I jokingly say all the time, “there are two types of women in the world… toxic, and non toxic”.  I grew up with the second type, and I think I have had a fear of women ever since.  The new subject of study?  Humility. Have I been blessed so far?  Well, I have met all the non-toxic, full of loving Balm of Gilead types!

After a long talk with my only daughter, who is ready to have her first child, I got view into some things God wanted to expose, deal with, and so it began.  I had a long talk with hubby that night, and as I prayed both as I fell to sleep and  when I woke up, God showed me a few MAJOR things.

I asked the Lord to please help me get over these things,  I don’t want to be crippled by them!  He gave me a scripture Matt 18:22 Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”  In forgiveness, did it matter if we had talked it through? No. Just forgive… ALL of it!  Once and for all!  O.K.  I will with your help,  The Bitterness- lay it aside!   Eph 4:1  Yes, Lord, I will. This burden has been my constant companion for so many years, you will have to be my strength, but I am ready, your love has lifted this burden, and I am so new in you today.

I went straight to my computer to check Morning and Evening on line, C.H. Spurgeon. I was so blessed by it, I felt sure God changed the message to fit my need!

“I will help thee, saith the Lord.”—Isaiah 41:14.

HIS morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for Me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with My blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside My glory and became a man for thee; I gave up My life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ‘Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of My all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.'”
O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

“Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

Just as Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress was not even close to completing his journey when his burden fell from his back, I too have a long way to go.250px-pilgrims_progress_22I will be writing so much more as He is doing His work in me!

Life Lessons Are Hard

She is sorely missed

She is sorely missed

Learning lessons in life is no fun.  They take trial and effort, pain and loss, tears and courage to move on.  I am not at the point where I am ready to share the wisdom I have learned from this last round of lessons, but I read a blog from a friend this morning, that encouraged me to write just to say that along the way God is Good.

We recently lost our dog, she was a faithful companion to me, always there through good days and bad, sick or in pain, she cheered me.  Though a month has passed, I still cry as I am writing this… But God is still so good.

We have a grandson about to arrive any day now, and we are as excited as new grandparents could be!
It is my second grandchild, but my first is 13,  it is like starting all over again.

When I start feeling like I have come closer to the center of knowing God’s message through the long process I have been going through  I will share the words He gives with the hope it will save many needless steps for someone else along the way.

Families In Crisis

Sometimes there are things beyond our ability to control,  huge crisis situations hit the already stressed out family of America. Many people lost their shirt this week as well as their jobs with Black Monday. I know it is amazingly stressful, loss of homes at a record rate, Hurricanes, Floods. Tornadoes, War!  We are families in real CRISIS.  It takes strong leadership at the helm of the ship to navigate the family through such treacherous waters.  It takes a loyal and attentive first mate at his side to get through such rough seas.  This is not a time to be divided, or petty, or self centered about things, it is a time to see the big picture.

Many grandparents, aunts and uncles are caring for children of soldiers who are deployed. What a great sacrifice they are making for us, laying their very lives on the line for our freedom!  What a great privilege to be a partaker in that, by watching the children of our soldiers, and keeping their children’s hearts and minds safe and secure, training them, and loving them through the hardest time in their little lives. It is a huge privilege, yet a difficult challenge for some, keep the big picture in mind, that these children are in need of extra reassurance and love, our world should be all about them, not about merely fitting them into our busy lives.

Ask yourself: what would happen if we lost everything? What is the worst that could happen?  Many have… and live to tell the tale.  I am not being insensitive, I am merely saying it isn’t something to get worked up about. We will survive the worst things that happen to us, we always do. It is for the building of our faith, the proof that our GOD is faithful to us in our time of need, whether we fail to call upon Him , or we seek Him with all diligence! Stress comes from not knowing what will happen, and feeling like you won’t pull through somehow. I am saying that you need not feel like you won’t make it. You will make it, and you have a Great Savior who keeps you safe through every storm!

HOW FIRM A FOUNDATION

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?

In every condition, in sickness, in health;
In poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth;
At home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
As thy days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.

Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen and help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of woe shall not thee overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

Even down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus has leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to its foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake.

John Rippon -1787

Isaiah 43:2

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

2When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.

I am sure of this very thing, there will always be times in our lives, when we will go through things which will test us, and even shake us to our very foundations.  If however, our foundation is solidly established on the Rock, who we set our faith itself upon, we will be able to withstand the hardships to come.  Never lose hope, and don’t turn on each other in times of trouble. These are the times to be the most resolute in your familial unity, and in your  faith.  If you have no structured plans, or predetermined emergency plan for your family, it is a good time to start in on that. If you don’t have a living trust, or at least an advanced directive for your health care provision, see the video below, it is so necessary. With today’s privacy laws, a wife can’t even make a doctors appointment for her husband without an advanced directive.  In time of crisis, such as an accident, if you go to the hospital without one, you will be unable to find out your family members condition at all, without their consent, or advanced directive. In case of your care, if you do not have it pre-stated, the hospital takes control, your family has no sway if no legal documents have not been drawn up.  Have a family plan. Be prepared for every eventuality. If you are prepared ahead of time, it is amazing how much more equipped you are to handle the situations, reducing the overall feeling of helplessness.