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Listen while you read: "He Hideth My Soul"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 71:9 – Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. (KJV)

We were early that very first Sunday morning when my husband Marcelo and I walked into what would become our new church home. Sitting on the back row in her wheelchair, an elderly woman, excited to see us, motioned for us to come near.

We went over and she proceeded to ask us a very important question: "If you see two flies in the kitchen, how do you know which one is a cowboy?" Smiling, she answered, "The one on the range!"

We found out that her name was Juanita. She was in her eighties, and nobody got past her without leaving with a smile on their face!

She lived with her daughter and her son-in-law, and arthritis prevented her from getting around.

Over the years, we grew to love Juanita very much, and she and I became very close. Her joy, humour, and love for the Lord were contagious.

One day at a restaurant, a server came bustling out, both hands carrying trays of food high above his head. In her wheelchair, Juanita stopped him and said, "Uh-oh, sonny, you left something there behind you."

He turned to look behind him while still juggling the heavy trays. When he asked her what he had left behind, Juanita said, "Your footsteps!"

Physically, Juanita couldn't do much, but from that wheelchair, she moved mountains when she prayed!

Though she didn't have much financially, every year when our church held its "Penny Bucket" contest to help pay for children to go to summer camp, Juanita would bring her Ziplock® baggies full of pennies. That was a big deal to her, and it meant so much to her to be able to contribute.

Along with jokes and riddles, Juanita would hand-write Scripture verses of encouragement and pass them out to any and all who passed by her wheelchair on Sunday mornings.

Our God does not cast us off in our old age nor does He forsake us when our strength fails, and Juanita knew that. She didn't let financial or physical limitations restrict her from serving the Lord in any way that she could.

Towards the end of her earthly life, Juanita became bedridden and eventually went physically blind, but believe me, there was nothing wrong with her spiritual sight. Her outlook remained positive, her humour stayed intact, and she continued being a prayer warrior.

When she passed away, my husband and I attended her home-going celebration, and there wasn't a dry eye in the place, not because of sadness — we knew where she was. Many people shared how she had prayed for them and their families and the wonderful results that they saw. Then Juanita's daughter shared with us the crazy, hilarious, funny things that she had said and done throughout her life. We all couldn't help but have big belly laughs!

As we left the celebration service, I was about to get into our car when I spotted on the ground a spanking new, shiny penny!

It was as though Juanita had jokingly tossed it down from heaven. I laughed as I picked it up … and then, I blew her a kiss.

Prayer: Lord, thank You that even during old age, You have a purpose and plan for our lives. You never cast us away nor forsake us. Amen and hallelujah!

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About the author:

Cheryl Mariano (Cheremiah) <>
Chandler, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging story, Cheremiah.

    What a great story, Cheryl! Thank you and God bless!

    What encouragement as I face my later years, thank you.

    Thank you for your message today. I am encouraged by it. Very much.

    As a rapidly aging senior who lives in a mostly senior environment, I appreciate this!

    Beautiful message.
    Thanks Cheryl.

    Thank you for such a reminder for us old folks. It was such a heartfelt message. God Bless you.

    I absolutely loved this devotion. May we all be prayer warriors like Juanita. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Great word today full of encouragement Cheryl.

    Thank you for sharing that heart-warming story. It was a great way to start my day!

    Thank you!
    A lovely and inspirational story.
    (Ottawa, Canada)

    Cheryl, thank you for sharing this devotional with us. I really needed to hear this message of encouragement in my old age. Blessings.

    Thank you so much. I was having a down time with some issues and needed this, it made me chuckle and uplifted me right away. God is good. Blessings.

    Good Morning,
    Thank you for your Devotional, and the wonderful reminder that even at 80 years of age, I can still serve our Lord, and His people.
    (Northern Ontario, Canada)

    Good Morning, Cheryl,
    There should be a Juanita in all our lives…thanks for sharing her story. I will soon turn 81…it was especially good for me to hear.

    Dear Cheryl:
    Thank you for sending out this wonderful message. I really needed to hear it (read it).
    God bless you dear Cheryl. You and the Lord made my morning!
    Hallelujah, Amen!

    Good morning Cheryl,
    I really appreciated your devotional “Never Too Old To Be Used”.
    Thank you.

    Hello my friend
    What a beautiful devotional. I was into from the very first word and wished I could meet this wonderful lady of God. Wow!!!
    May we all strive to bring God’s love and joy to all who pass by us!
    Thank you for sharing this.
    God bless.

    Greetings Cheryl,
    Thanks for writing another beautiful devotional and a great tribute of the special lady that Juanita was to so many people. She was a great example of showing the Lord’s love and care even though she endured many health issues.
    Blessings to you for your thoughtful writings.

    Hi Cheryl,
    What a delight to read your message of hope to be useful as we age. Juanita was an amazing woman for sure and a great focus for your story. You have a wonderful way with words. I like how you described what I would call a celebration of life service as a “home-going” celebration. Well named indeed.
    These devotions help centre my day, and many, like yours, help centre me for years afterwards.
    Thank you for your thoughtful contribution to lives over the internet.
    (Ontario, Canada)

    When our church was building an addition and a dear Scottish lady said but what can I do. She was told, you can greet people with a big smile and she said I can welcome people I will do that, but they call that duty being ON THE DOIR. Well, she said on the door in her mind is you are strung up like Jesus on the cross and to greet in Scotland is crying. They say to children stop your greeting.
    She took turns with another woman. We would not have dared had them there at the same time as, like the lady you talk about, these ladies could be trouble on their own but together, worse.
    They are both gone now. The hardest part of growing old is losing friends and relatives, as my husband’s one Grandmother said, I might as well go – all my siblings, friends and even my enemies are all gone.

    Cheryl – thank you so much for your delightful devotional about Never Too Old To Be Used. As a 78 yr old senior I know so many people who could benefit from this story. They seem to believe that losing physical power also means losing brain power. I hope to send this devotional on to others. I often tell folks in Nursing Homes, etc. that they have so much power as prayer warriors. Thanks again and God Bless.

    Dear Cheryl,
    Hearty and hilarious!
    Thank you for introducing us to this saint.
    Keep writing.

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