About Me

Monday, November 21, 2016

LISTEN TO LOVE

The Spirit whispered to me as I stood in the emergency room. My grandmother fell and hit her head. Her confusion and lack of memory alarmed me enough to call the ambulance.
 While my grandmother was off for some tests,  I watched the hustle and bustle of the doctors and nurses attended to their patients.  I prayed and asked God to use me to bring hope to anyone that needed it. 
In the corner, stacking the gauze, towels, and other supplies was a volunteer.  She looked tired and worn.  The Lord impressed upon my heart to speak to her. 
"The doctors and nurses would be lost without you," I said as I tried to make eye contact.
She looked at me with confusion.  I repeated the statement.  "The doctors and nurses would be lost without you."  She gave me a shy smile. 
 Over the course of our short conversation, I learned that she volunteered a few nights a week after her day job.  I told her how much we appreciated the volunteers at the hospital.
“I have been to this emergency room with my grandmother
more times than I care to mention. Volunteers are the glue that holds this emergency room together. Thank you!”   She smiled.  
"Thank you for talking to me, you are the first person who has talked to me all day.  I was so very sad and angry, I felt like my life didn't matter.  I was going to go home and just cry.  You have made me so happy, Thank you again."
She told me that her grandmother took her last breath in this hospital and that is why she volunteers.
"God bless you," I said.
"He has, you took the time to talk to me." 
She turned and finished stocking the shelves.
God knew this women's loneliness.  
I've felt the same void in a room full of people at church. I usually don't feel lonely, but on this particular day, my heart was crushed after a breakup with someone I thought I would marry.  A dear woman sat with me.  I don't remember all we talked about, I remember how she made me feel. Loved and important.
God notices everything and everyone and wants to use us to reveal His love to them.
 I praised God for the opportunity to show someone the love of Christ.  May I always be ready to Listen to the Spirit.
My grandmother did have a concussion. My sisters and I showed her the love of Christ by singing to her and spending time with her as she healed.
Has God used someone in your life when you were lonely or sad? Has God used you to bring love and joy into a persons life?
Join the conversation.






Saturday, November 5, 2016

MORE ALIVE THAN EVER

"I miss grampa," my son said with tears streaming down his face.
"I wish he never died"
My heart broke as my son sobbed and hugged his bear.
I missed him too.
I prayed and asked God to give me the words to say.
"I also miss grandma Colby, and Terry, and I know you must miss Sue."
My fourteen-year-old son has experienced much loss over the last few years. All followers of Jesus.
As I hugged my son the Spirit impressed upon my heart 2 Corinthians 5:8 where the Apostle Paul states,
Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
I thought to myself,
In the Lords presence, no one is dead. In fact, they are more alive than ever.
"Michael, Their bodies are in the ground, but their spirits are with Jesus. They are all more alive than ever. No cancer or Alzheimer's. "
I silently thanked God for giving me the words to say to my grieving son. I too was encouraged, picturing my loved ones walking and talking with Jesus.
"Do you think they are talking to each other?" my son said as he hugged his bear tighter.
"Yes, I bet grandma and Jesus are square-dancing."
"I still miss them, mom."
"It's ok to miss them, but they do not want us to fret because we will see them again."
"I can't wait to hug them and Jesus."
My son smiled and swirled his bear in the air, the bear danced.
Death will never have victory over a believer (tweet this)
Do you have a loved one in Heaven?  Share a fond memory. Join the conversation.



Friday, October 28, 2016

WHO'S IN THE PEW NEXT TO YOU?

"I didn't know she was part of our congregation." My husband said as we left the church.
Hotdogs were fitting for our Fellowship Lunch as Wilma Briggs, All American Girls Professional Leauge baseball player, shared her story.
My son was riveted as Willie unfolded her history. Her dad taught her to  bat and field better than the boys. When she wasn't stealing bases she was milking cows.

Pictures and memorabilia were passed around as she gave details about the movie, A Leauge of Their Own, directed by Penny Marshall.
"I'm in the scene when the credits roll," Wilma said.
Impressive. A movie star and Professional Baseball player. I thought to myself.
Wilma picked up the antique bat. "I led the league in home runs in 1953,"
So why hadn't I heard her story in the past?
You can find her short Television interview  here.
I gave Wilma a hug and thanked her for sharing her remarkable story.
Am I so caught up in my life that I am oblivious to my brothers and sisters in my church?

I do know a few fascinating people in my church, even if they didn't play Professional Baseball.
Jill came here from the Philippines a few years ago. She
speaks perfect English now and has learned to navigate the highways and byways of Rhode Island. She is a remarkable wife and mom.  She makes her curtains, and I look forward to her cooking at potluck dinners. She spearheaded a book collection drive to send books back to her homeland.  I learned that people in the  Philippines put up Christmas decorations in September . 
We have a security guard who works for Gillette Stadium. He stands shoulder to shoulder with professional ball players and famous singers. 
My congregation has many business owners, and a doctor for the State of Rhode Island. I wondered why this doctor would get up in the middle of service. He has the final say for hospitals to administer certain  life-saving shots.

Each person is fascinating. I want to make it a point to spend time with my brothers and sisters here on earth, Afterall, we will be spending eternity in Heaven with each other.
What fascinating people sit in the pew next to you?
Join the conversation.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

LOVE MEETS DISCERNMENT

"She needs you to back off, she knows what she is doing. She is too afraid to say anything to you. She loves you and does not want to hurt your feelings."
 Lisa said to me as we discussed our mutual friend Mary and the upcoming Christmas Party.  My heart was broken. 
I was new to the church and wanted to make friends and get involved. I met a wonderful woman named Mary. She was sweet, kind, and had the gift of hospitality (sound familiar).

We decided to plan a Christmas get together at her house.  She was eager for me to help. Little did I know she did this every year and it was the highlight of many people's Christmas.  Being the zealous party planner that I am, wanting to fit in and carry my load I called her to offer ideas and assistance.  The next Sunday we spoke after Church.  The following week I called to say hi and discuss the details of the upcoming party.  She seemed hesitant of my ideas.  I was confused. 
 Are we planning this together?  I thought.   
After my phone conversation with Lisa, I realized that my motive was to be admired. I never inquired about Mary's talents and abilities, I just wanted to show off mine.
I picked up the bible and through tears of repentance, I read Philippians 1:9-11 NIV. 


And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

As I prayed to have love and a delicate discernment is all situations, especially with Mary, God gave me the wisdom to call her and apologize.   
She apologized for not speaking with me first.
The party was wonderful.  We sang Christmas Carols, ate great food and thanked God for Jesus.  I understand why everyone looked forward to Mary's party.
Mary and I are still great friends. Lisa too. 
The evil one would have loved us to remain in the unspoken hurt and pain, putting an unseen wall between us. (Tweet This)
When love meets discernment, the fruit of God's glory and righteousness is revealed.
When did you need discernment?   
Join the conversation.





Friday, October 7, 2016

LIFE ON HOLD?

"My life's been on hold for 3 years" my exhausted friend said.  She cared of her elderly parents.
"Now that they are with Jesus I can continue my life, I loved taking care of them, I miss them, but now I can continue with my life."
Another friend stated,
"This  knee surgery put my life on hold for the least six weeks."
I made the same statement to myself as I stood in Trauma Unit one of Rhode Island Hospital. As machines beeped, doctors performed a tracheotomy behind me, and a woman coded in the next room, I stared at my sister laying on a cold metal table in a neck brace.
My sister needs me, I have to put my life on hold to take care of her.
Ninety minutes prior, she was rear ended by a pick up truck that fled the scene.
After examination, the doctor determined she had a small fracture in her neck.
The physicians did not know the extent of the damage.
Thoughts rushed through my head as I held my sisters hand.
How can I take care of her? My book, On Hold. Speaking, On Hold. Coffee with friends, On Hold. 
I felt guilty for thinking about myself and not my sister.
The Holy Spirit impressed upon my heart, This IS your life, Your life is NOT on hold.  YOUR plans may be temporarily on hold. I am with you, guiding you and teaching you through this experience. You are here for a
reason. You are here to pray for your sister and others.
I began to pray for those around me. The man behind me now can breath.
The woman in the next room was saved by the electric paddles.
The scared family and friends in the waiting room. I told them I prayed for them, I saw an instant peace as their shoulders dropped and they smiled.
I was part of Gods plan through prayer. (tweet this)
Now, my sister is out of her neck brace and I am back to my schedule.
I thank God for the valuable lesson I learned that day and for allowing me to be part of His plan.
MY schedule may be altered but my life is never on hold.


Friday, September 23, 2016

FORGIVE MYSELF?

“You just have to forgive yourself,” my friend told me.  I sinned against God and a close friend.
My heart broke.  I know God forgives, but forgiving myself?  Somehow that did not sit right in my spirit.  However, I would repeat the phrase to others when they felt the lack of forgiveness.



You just have to forgive yourself.
 What does this mean?  Is it biblical?
 Through prayer and study, the Lord revealed to me why my spirit was unsettled about the statement.


As a believer, I know sinning against God is inevitable.   Even the Apostle Paul confessed his struggle.
"For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing" Romans 7:19
What did the apostle Paul do when he encountered his own sin?
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!"  Romans 7:24-25
He acknowledged his sin.
He acknowledged the need to be rescued from it.
He thanked God for Jesus' deliverance.

He did not forgive himself.
As I continued to study I heard these questions echo in my head.
Did you hang on the cross?
Was the sin of the world put on you?
Did you endure excruciating pain?
Are you God?
Tears filled my eyes as I exclaimed
“NO! NO! NO! NO!”
You did, Lord, You were the one.”
I remembered the following verses.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;”1 Peter 2:24
"For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people."  1 Timothy 2:5-6

Why do people say, “You must forgive yourself?”   In my case it was ignorance. I repeated what I learned. 
I claimed 1 John 1:9- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But, I still felt tormented by the guilty feelings of sin. I sincerely repented, so why the angst?
A former pastor helped me to understand, "When we sin against God, it leaves a spiritual wound. The wound needs to heal. The feeling is the healing process. God is not condemning us."

I no longer say, "You must forgive yourself". I acknowledge my sin before God and claim His promises of forgiveness and acceptance.
I thank and praise God for the finished work of Christ on the
Cross.   I run into his arms and  receive the healing.  
 I would love to know what you think about this topic.
Have you ever told someone or yourself, "Forgive yourself?"
Join the conversation.


Friday, September 2, 2016

WHAT WERE YOU EXPECTING

Unmet expectations can cause angst, as we discussed last week

My son is autistic. When life does not go as he expects, the closest object can become a projectile and his body shakes as he sobs.
His therapist stated,
"Michael is already at the playground sliding down the slide in his mind, his expectation becomes a reality to him before the activity occurs."
My heart broke for my son. I understood. 
I visualized situations playing out in my head, only to have my hope dashed against the rocks of disappointment.
With help from his therapist and Scripture, Michael and I began to realize the difference between reality and expectation.

In the Bible, the word expectation is interchangeable with the word hope.
Hope is not wishing,  it is a quiet confidence in knowing.
I did a Bible study on the word expect. Holy Ghost goose bumps appeared when I found the word in the least likely place...
 Rahab the prostitute expected great things after she met the spies in Jericho  Joshua 2
The spies made a promise to her, they would rescue her only if the red chord remained in the window upon their return.
Her situation did not immediately change when they left, men probably still wanted her services. She waited at least three weeks but kept her focus on the chord.
The word for chord here in Joshua is Tiqvah
My son has named one of his stuffed animals Tiqvah.
Blue letter Bible has another meaning for it besides chord

 hope, an expectation

Nowhere else in the bible is Tiqvah used for chord or rope.

God is so good to use the word expectation and chord together.  Rahab's expectations were not dashed against a rock or torn down when the walls around her fell at her rescue. Her expectation became reality.

Rahab stated  in Joshua 9 &11 -I know that the Lord has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the landmelt away before you. And as soon as we heard it, our hearts melted, and there was no spirit left in any man because of you, for the Lord your God, he is God in the heavens above and on the earth beneath.
Her story continues

Matthew 1:5-6   Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. 
Jesus was in the lineage of King David.

Rahab looked to God for her hope not the actions of people or situations.
I want to learn from her.
How about you?
What do you put your hope in?
Join the conversation.