iBelieve

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24

Archive for the category “God”

Just a Glimpse


I have something in common with a pregnant woman and an ultrasound. Read on to find out.

Most expectant mothers look forward to their ultrasound appointment. Valuable information is processed during this exam. Depending on the timing and type of ultrasound (2-D, 3-D, or 4-D) the doctor can evaluate size, weight and health of the unborn baby. They can also tell if there are multiple babies in the womb. The mother leaves the appointment with her baby’s first picture. What a treasure to be able to get a sneak peek of the contents of the womb. Gender is identified if it presents itself. Some like to keep it a secret and be surprised at the birth while others give the information to a loved one who plans a gender reveal party.

The ultrasound is a glimpse of what is to come.

So where do I fit in?

I recently had foot surgery. I am home from work for a couple of weeks and unable to drive. I have not been outside the house for more than a week and my only interaction with people is either through phone calls, email, FaceTime, text messages, or Facebook. The one person I see daily is my husband.

A while ago, I subscribed to the United States Postal Service (USPS) informed delivery service. This service is like an ultrasound of my mailbox. Each morning I get an email showing me images of the mail I am to expect waiting for me in my mailbox. I have seen cards addressed to me, and often who they are from, but I do not know how big the envelope is or the contents inside the envelope. I can only see that someone was thinking of me. I can choose to not open the email in the morning so I can be surprised when I open the mailbox and have my own personal mailbox reveal party.

Getting a peek into the unknown is rather exciting. I am cherishing the sentiments from friends just as much as a mother-to-be holds onto the first picture of their unborn baby/babies.

John 1:1 The Word Became Flesh

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Was it Just a Dream?


Last Tuesday night, or sometime into Wednesday morning, I had a dream. I was standing in a space. There was nothing special about this space, but I remember standing there with people I did not know. I asked one person next to me, “What are we doing here?”

“Waiting for someone”, was the reply.

“Who?” I inquired.

“Oh, you will know them when you see them” was the casual response.

“Are you sure?” I questioned.

“Yes, I am sure” they said.

I stood in my place; I had no urgency to leave and I was curious to know for whom we waited.

The group of people around me once casually standing started to move back and out of the way as someone was coming through the crowd. When I saw the person, I exclaimed, “Jesus!”

Although excited, I felt a great amount of peace at seeing Jesus. He had long brown hair, dark eyes, and wore a white robe with some brown lines or something on it. He was not glowing as I imagined He could be, and the more I think about it, the whole dream seemed a bit muted from color.

The person in the crowd was correct. I knew Him when I saw Him.

When Jesus and I locked eyes, my only question was, “Can I have a hug?”

He opened His arms toward me and He hugged me.

I used to think I would be nervous meeting Jesus, but in my dream He was peaceful. All I wanted was a hug and he obliged. I woke up and felt His peace.

50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Luke 7:50 NRSV

Like Peeling an Onion


Today is Father’s Day. I can say the simple phrase that many people can voice with me, “I miss my dad.” But this phrase packs a lot within and it really is not a simple phrase. Sort of like peeling an onion, there is so much more to the phrase.

Let me peel about my dad.

Outer layer, I miss my dad; he’s been in heaven since 2009. He worked hard at his job and he worked hard caring for his wife and kids. He loved my mom and that is the most important example he could share with all five of his children. Mom and dad bickered a lot but they were both perfectionists who would approach a process differently but always end up with the same outcome. I don’t think they ever went to bed angry at each other. Another valuable life lesson from both of them. Sadly, my first marriage was nothing like theirs and it fell apart quickly. Dad stood by me through that difficult time; never judging, but always supporting me.

The second layer, he loved his kids. He never belittled us. His conversations with us were always positive words and he was lovingly stern so we would turn out to be respectful adults. My siblings and I are high-functioning people. He was always goofing around with us too. He’d be in the back yard with my brothers and me as we played basketball. He had a famous “hook shot” which I picked up and made as my famous shot when I play basketball with my nephews. The hook shot is a lifesaver when we play a game of Horse.

The next layer includes the grandkids of which he was blessed with many thanks to one sister and one brother. He went by the name “Gramps” and it still sticks when we talk about him. He loved each grandchild and treated them so kindly. He used to slip bingo winnings into the hands of my niece and nephew when they lived with my parents for a short time. He put up a small basketball hoop on the side of the garage much lower than normal because my nephew used to play basketball like the big kids. And, he was really good for such a little guy. Of the great-grandkids he got to meet, he showered the exact same love, but his health was failing and he could not do as much with them. However, his love was evident. Always giving of himself.

In the next layer I remember a back-and-forth conversation with the neighbor kid, you know, the one where you say, “My dad could beat up your dad”. Thinking back to the other dad, yes, I bet my dad could have whooped him, but in truth, my dad was friends with everyone. I never saw him fight, nor did I hear him bad-mouth anyone. In fact, I was invited many times to run errands with him and in the course of each trip, he would talk with everyone he met as he seemed to know at least one person at each errand. I commented to him that everyone likes him. He assured me that was not true, and in my youth I did not comprehend that we cannot be liked by everyone, but he didn’t explain it. I had to learn that lesson on my own. Not everyone was his friend, but he treated everyone equally with kindness. What a beautiful life-lesson and I am thankful for the invite to go on errands.

The next layer, he was a devoted son. His dad was a watchmaker and when he needed parts, my dad would have to walk, after school, to get what he needed, bring it back home and head out to baseball practice or a game. My grandma would make dinner and leave him a plate and even though it was late he always cleaned up after himself. I clearly remember him jumping up from our dinner table to begin doing the dishes after a meal my mom cooked for the family. Dad was aware of what was important to others and a clean kitchen was important to my mom.

Getting deeper into the onion, my dad thought he felt called to be a Priest. Obviously that did not pan out as I am here today blogging about him. But his Catholic faith was important to him; my parents saw to it that we all attended Catholic school. Those years have planted Holy Spirit seeds in my heart and the love for the Trinity has sprouted within me.

He also was a very good baseball player; a pitcher actually. He tried out for the Detroit Tigers one time, but realized that his shoulder was not built for the majors. Instead he coached my brothers’ little league teams.

Can we talk aim for a second? That man had an eye for a straight line whether it was baseball, horseshoes, basketball, or those, heaven-forbid, pointy lawn jarts. He had an aim that kept him a winner much of the time.

At the core of my dad, he loved. He loved his country and it was evident when he quit school at the age of 17 to join the Navy during WWII. I regret not remembering much about his stories of his Navy days but I am fortunate to be the holder of his photo album from that period in his life. He was a handsome Sailor. At the conclusion of his church funeral, the Honor Guard performed a service of their own for their fallen comrade. They removed the flag that covered his casket, folded it and presented it to my mom. Someone snapped the most precious photo of that flag transfer and the look on my mom’s face was priceless. She was proud of my dad and was honored to hold his flag. The bugler began playing taps and that is where we all shed some heavy tears.

Truly cutting into an onion gets the eyes to water; thinking about my dad has the same effect. I miss my dad.

Magnificat of a Precious Child of God


A Magnificat is a canticle used in Christian liturgy, especially at vespers and evensong, the text being the hymn of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:46–55). I wrote this Magnificat while on silent retreat in March 2021.

All praise and honor to my Creator, my Savior, and my Protector!
When I feel alone, I am comforted to know that the Holy Spirit prays with me.
When I am silenced by suffering, I am grateful that the Holy Spirit prays through me.
When I feel helpless, I am strengthened by knowing that Jesus, who resides with the Father, is praying for me.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

Late Night Visitor – Left Behind


I haven’t been writing during Covid. With limited interaction with other people for a year, I did not want my blog to give voice to a pandemic that took away so much for so many. But I had to write today to let you in on a little secret.

Last weekend was Mother’s Day. I have no idea why, but nothing pushed my buttons to trigger the grief of childlessness or the reality of being an orphan. Sure I miss my mom immensely, but I have thanked God numerous times over for calling her home when he did in 2019 before all the pandemic craziness happened. I am not sure how caring for her the way my family did would have been possible. So once again, “Thank you, God!!”

The secret, then, and I feel like whispering, is that I looked around my house and realized grief is gone. Without thinking about it, I cleaned and rearranged the room he was in and I saw one of his favorite sweatshirts lying across the back of a chair. I have this weird intuition about this sweatshirt though.

Have you ever been in a relationship that just wasn’t working out? One person pines after the other and it gets to be annoying. The annoying one finds every excuse to return if only to get a glimpse of the one whom they so desperately want to spend their life. One excuse is to leave behind something important to them, like this sweatshirt, for example. My intuition tells me that grief may show up to get the sweatshirt.

Maybe it isn’t really intuition, but reality that reminds me grief could be back at any time. However, for now, I am enjoying the freedom from grief while I have the chance.

I started a new hobby; quilting. It keeps my mind occupied with creativity and learning something new. I would love to show my mom some of the things I have been creating, but have a feeling she has been around in my quiet times observing my creations and the gifts God gave me. As for the childlessness and quilting, I would love to give to my own kids or grandkids quilts sewn together, every fabric pull to match their personality and every stitch with them in mind, but instead I gift family and friends with the same intentions.

Giving may just be what turned grief away. I like this revelation.

Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.
Song of Songs 2:12

Late Night Visitor – Missing Someone I Never Met


I get to know people more by observing them because I believe their actions speak louder than words. When all someone has are words, then the consistency of the words speak to their character.

In the 10+ years I have been blogging, I realized early on that there is a blogging etiquette. One doesn’t write a blog, hit send and go on with their day. No, they search out topics of interest and find other bloggers that inspire them and subscribe to their site so they can keep up with the postings and comment on the writing.

Early on, I was impressed with a group of bloggers who were taking a “Post a Day Challenge”. I was too far into the year to begin the year-long challenge so I read and subscribed to some Christian bloggers that touched my heart-center with their words.

Butch Dean, Wordsmith’s Desk, is one such blogger that hit my sweet spot talking about the love of the Lord and many well-written stories of his past. His wife, Bonnie, also blogs and her site is called Memory Bears by Bonnie. When Butch hit send, Bonnie was right after him and their blogs showed up in succession in my inbox.

A post from Butch came on Thursday, October 22, 2020 and strangely one from Bonnie did not follow in my inbox. When I read the post titled, I’ve Changed My Address, it made me cry. Butch had his son send out his very last post that was beautifully and creatively written. He let his readers know that he is now face-to-face with the God he so lovingly had been writing about.

I get to know people more by observing them because I believe their actions speak louder than words. When all someone has are words, then the consistency of the words speak to their character.

Godspeed Butch. May the peace of God fill the hearts of Bonnie and all who loved Butch.

The Traveling Banana


I have good intentions, but those good intentions are only good if acted upon. Read more…

Meager Offering


I often feel like a five loaves of bread and two fish sort of person. I don’t have much, but when I hand it over to God, He can do miracles.

When Jesus heard that John the Baptist, his cousin, was beheaded, He boarded a boat to be alone. I can only imagine His thoughts about John. After all, he was preparing the way for Jesus by baptizing people. He was given the honorable task of baptizing Jesus.

John suffered a horrible death. His work on earth was done.

The crowds may not have realized the relationship between Jesus and John. They may not have known why Jesus pushed off shore for some alone time to grieve. What they did know about Jesus was his ability to heal. So they chased after Him and when He saw them, He had compassion on them and went ashore.

Jesus often told people around those whom he brought back to life, such as His friend Lazarus, to feed them. Jesus spent a good portion of the day healing and reviving those who sought His attention on that hillside.

It was time to feed the crowd that followed Jesus that day. To me, this indicated new life and giving His people strength to go forward to show others who may be nonbelievers, how to believe.

A young boy, who happened to be nearby, packed a little lunch for himself that morning not knowing he would be handing it over to Jesus. He had a meager offering of five loaves of bread and two fish and Jesus blessed it, multiplied it, fed the large crowd and had left overs.

What meager offering do you have to hand over to Jesus today?

I often feel like a five loaves of bread and two fish sort of person. I don’t have much, but when I hand it over to God, He can do miracles.

If Jesus healed you or a loved one, restored a sour relationship, or has given you peace over a situation out of your control, grab a bite to eat because you have been given new life. Celebrate and give God the glory He so deserves.

Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish. The number of the men who had eaten was five thousand.

Mark 6:41-44

Motherhood


I could only imagine what motherhood was like so I planted a garden.

I dug into the earth with my shovel and pushed it as deep as I could with the help of my foot buried inside a steel-toed shoe. Mindfully in the moment, I heard the melodious crunching sound the shovel made as it sliced into the dirt hitting buried rocks and matured roots from past plantings. The sound exhumed memories of watching my dad dig up space for a garden in the backyard when I was a kid. I dug shovelful after shovelful of earth and flipped it upon itself and worked the soil into a place of new beginnings.

Backyard nesting and oh, that fresh dirt smell.

As I made my way down the aisles at the garden store, I found a large selection of Knockout Roses. I felt like I was peering into the hospital newborn nursery window as I looked at rows and rows of rose bushes. Each rose similar in species had a unique look. I reached down and gently pulled out the one from the group that resembled me and put it on my cart. As a new mom, I was sure to gather together the potting soil and nutrients my budding plant would need to flourish in the space I had prepared.

I dug out a space to fit the rootball and added weed-killing plant food to the hole. I talked to the new rose bush, attempting to ease its fear of change leaving the pot it was grown in and introduced it to my yard. I loosened its roots so it could feel its way into the new space and feel at home too. I filled new soil around the root and pressed it into the earth. Wearing a new mother’s glow, I knelt down next to the rose and said, “Welcome to my yard; welcome to my life! Enjoy your first refreshing drink of water from the garden hose.”

This was a process repeated five more times.

I observed mothers who put their all into raising their offspring. That selfless act was revealed in the maturity of their children at an early age. In a similar fashion, I put in a lot of time and energy into warding off weeds so they would not interfere with the growth of my roses.

My garden was spoiled.

I fertilized and watered and the sun was my daycare provider. Here they are a year later! Oh, how my babies have grown!!

1st Birthday

I could only imagine what motherhood was like, so I planted a garden.

Psalm 144:9-14 (NIV)

I will sing a new song to you, my God;
    on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you,
10 to the One who gives victory to kings,
    who delivers his servant David.

From the deadly sword 11 deliver me;
    rescue me from the hands of foreigners
whose mouths are full of lies,
    whose right hands are deceitful.

12 Then our sons in their youth
    will be like well-nurtured plants,
and our daughters will be like pillars
    carved to adorn a palace.
13 Our barns will be filled
    with every kind of provision.
Our sheep will increase by thousands,
    by tens of thousands in our fields;
14     our oxen will draw heavy loads.[a]
There will be no breaching of walls,
    no going into captivity,
    no cry of distress in our streets.

 

Late Night Visitor – More Visitors


When I wrote my first Late Night Visitor post on April 10, 2019, I didn’t know it would become so important in my grief process and become a series of posts. If you are grieving, I hope each entry has helped you in your walk with grief as it has helped me to get it out of my head.

In that first entry, grief came to me in the middle of the night, standing next to a large suitcase and without a return ticket from where it came.

Recently grief, ignoring the shelter-in-place orders and social distancing regulations, has invited anxiety and panic into my home. They follow me around and have been known to hold my hands, whisper lies in my ear, and wake me out of a sound sleep. So annoying.

As they hold my hands, I am not able to clasp them together to make praying hands. I cannot lift them up to the heavens to give God praise and honor He rightly deserves.

The whispers in my ears I know are blatant lies, but they are said over and over and over especially when I am alone. And during this pandemic, I am alone a lot of the time; I started to believe this negative one-way conversation. As they whisper in my ear, they grip my throat in a way that it tightens and my breathing becomes shallow.

From my experience, anxiety and panic are nocturnal too. Their most active time is around 2:30 in the morning while I am sound asleep. They poke and prod at me. They continue the negative whispers in my ear and in the silence of the night, it rings louder. I lose about 1.5 hours of sleep because of their active lifestyle.

I alone do not have the strength it takes to fight these enemies. I am weak and powerless on my own when grief and its friends, anxiety, and panic, gang up on me. But even when my hands are constrained and my throat feels tight and my breathing is shallow, I can find it within me to whisper four syllables, “Jesus, help me” and I am no longer alone.

Listen to my cry, for I am in need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me. Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name.

Psalm 142:6

Jesus brings His army of angels to fight these battles for me. They rush in and unbind my hands and they force the grip away from my throat.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

Exodus 14:14

I cannot see the spiritual war going on around me, but I know angels are present and God’s peace covers me like a blanket. Suddenly my hands are lifted high as my heart and mind recall what I know about my relationship with God…

I am a child of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  I have Jesus Christ living inside of me. My God has promised to meet every one of my needs and He is right here with me at this moment.  

If you are bound by grief, anxiety, and panic, know that you too can cry out to Jesus for this same protection.  You are not alone.

 

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