iBelieve

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

Archive for the category “Heart”

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!

Stuck In the Middle


I attended an Advent By Candlelight service at my church this past Sunday evening. Read more…

Knock, Knock


Read more…

What’s In Your Wallet?


Scenario 1
An elderly woman turns her house upside down searching for two lost coins. Frantic to find them she is relieved when she does; these two coins are all she has to live on. She goes to church and puts them both in the offering plate.

Scenario 2
Newly divorced, single woman lives in a tiny apartment furnished with lawn chairs and a donated kitchen table. She receives a bonus of $500 from her employer. This money is needed to make ends meet. She goes to church on Sunday and puts $50 in the collection plate.

Scenario 3
A shop-aholic goes to her favorite boutique and finds a dress perfect for a party. It is on the sale rack for ten percent off the price. She does the math in her head and feels that ten percent isn’t much, but at least she can tell her husband she got it on sale, and she makes a purchase.

Out of the three scenarios, who would you guess to be the biggest loser? Let’s break this down.

Scenario 1, it was not uncommon for the elderly woman to give all she had. God blessed her by meeting her needs and she was never without food, clothing or shelter. She lived by faith.

Scenario 2, the newly divorced, single woman went shopping after church. She found a great deal on a new television and had half of the bonus money left over.

Scenario 3, the shop-aholic spied a must-have accessory. It was the ten percent difference she was saving on the dress. The dress ripped and the accessory was lost somewhere between the car and the party.

Scenario 3 comes in as the biggest loser. Selfish motives produce no blessings.

What’s in your wallet? God only asks for ten percent and he promises a great return on your investment.


Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. (Deuteronomy 15:10 NIV)

Dream Wedding


John 2:1-11 (NIV)

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman,why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

No doubt about it, weddings are expensive.  The bride and groom hope to have enough food and drink for their guests to enjoy themselves.  At the wedding at Cana in Galilee, the wine ran out.  With Jesus’ help, water was turned into wine and it was better than the best wine they had already served.

Our local television news station, eightWest, is hosting a Dream Wedding contest.  The winning couple will be awarded $25,000 in gift certificates to be used toward everything they need for a Dream Wedding to be performed on 12-12-12.  The top three couples were revealed on the show today and my friends, Megan and Erik, have been selected!

The viewers have until October 8, 2012 to place their vote online for the winning couple to be revealed on October 10, 2012.  After the couple is selected, the viewers will vote on the dress, the menu and the honeymoon destination as well as a few other wedding details.

Would you please take a moment to look at this website, read the submission that Erik wrote, register your email address and place a vote for Megan and Erik?  I know that Jesus is going to be on their guest list and he is going to be in their lives forever.

Vote for Megan and Erik!!

Exiting the Closet


On November 9, 2010 I came out of the closet on this blog. Not the typical closet that most are accustomed to hearing about; I came out of an even more secret closet…the childless closet. This is the blog Blessing in Disguise, if you have not read it before.

It was a very vulnerable move on my part as only select people were privy to this information in the past. So why did I do it? I did it because I made peace with this part of my life.

I am a charter member of ChildlessNotByChoice, a childless website begun in 2002. I owe so much to Diane and Kimberly who founded the site out of their own need for a childless community. I thank the members there for their virtual hand-holding and understanding of the pain, fears, and frustrations of being childless not by choice. With all of their support, I have been able to make peace with my surgically removed dreams of motherhood.

For years I focused on the fact that children are a gift from God, and I wasn’t given this gift. I felt left out and I allowed this to block my view of all of the other blessings that God has given me. I realized this week that even though I am a parent to none, God’s children are everywhere and every age. I am able to share His word and love with God’s children I never bore.

I made my exit from the childless closet to let you know that while I was in there, I struggled with what I thought should have been my blessing. In my humanness, I was angry and confused with God.

Today, I am walking in faith, by the grace of God, knowing that I am right where I should be. I extend to you my virtual hand to hold, along with my virtual shoulder to lean on, from this day forward. I am willing to listen to you without judging, walk along side you without running away, and pray for you unceasingly. Whatever burden you carry, I want you to know the love of God.

This is a confidential invitation. I will only share your burdens in prayer with God.

Ephesians 3:14-19(NIV)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Release the Beauty


A couple of weeks ago, I got a quick glimpse of my 6-year-old nephew’s bug-catcher box. He made roommates out of a beautiful butterfly and a dragonfly. Created to fly free, these two little creatures flitted around their cramped quarters looking for a way out.

I have been a member of several Bible studies over the years. My radio is tuned to a Christian station so I can be fed the Word through preaching and songs by my favorite preachers and musical artists, respectively. I have housed the Word of God in my heart. Created to be shared with the world, the Word of God is moving in me looking for a way out.

I think the bug-catcher box became a coffin as it was left in a hot, dark garage for well over 24 hours. I didn’t see my nephew catch these two creatures of God, but I can bet he had fun in the process. He should have let them free. He may have forgotten about them while tending to his busy 6-year-old schedule.

I feel like a Word-of-God hoarder. God is not dying in my heart, but instead, He is over-flowing my heart and desiring to reach my family, relatives, friends and strangers. Sometimes I think I am not properly prepared to share, but then quickly realize it is not about me.

Catch a butterfly and a dragonfly and admire them for their beauty. Let them go to share with the world around you.

Learn about God and hold his Word in your heart. Share God with the world around you.

Luke 8:16(NIV)

16 “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

In Memory of My Dad


Your sparkling blue eyes and friendly smile always lit up a room.

Your strong hands built bikes, fixed everything broken, threw an awesome knuckle ball, and changed into the best back-scratcher ever.

Your character, integrity, and wit cannot be duplicated.

Your time, talents, and treasures you shared gave every indication that Jesus lived in your heart.

I love you and miss you Dad.

My Dad, 1927-2009

1 Timothy 5:4(NIV)
But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.

Surrender


I can’t.

                You can.

                                        I will follow.

I must decrease so Christ can increase.

Matthew 16:24 (NIV)

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

 

Silence is the Retreat


My drive from Michigan to Ohio was absolutely beautiful.  Michigan had experienced an ice-storm and every branch of the crystalized trees glittered for miles, superior to any display of Christmas lights I have ever seen, as the sunshine brought them to life.  My simple little camera would not have captured the beauty that was before me; therefore, the photo album is etched in my memory. 

To silence oneself for a few days is not as hard as imagined; I accomplished this during the last weekend in March in a most serene setting in Ohio at a silent directed retreat.  About 25 others attended this quiet-time to contemplate and discern God in our lives.  We were blessed with trained Spiritual Directors to guide us in this journey.   

The first evening, we were able to speak with others while sharing a meal.  I was one of three participants from Michigan, and I met some awesome Ohioans.  We may have talked for 45 minutes or so, but much was shared within those precious minutes.  After the meal, we met in a room together to share what was on our hearts this weekend.  When it was my turn to speak, I explained that about a month ago, I had a very vivid dream of someone telling me to “minister to the church”.  My personal task then was to spend time with God to see just what that meant.

We were assigned one of four Spiritual Directors and we broke into smaller groups to meet with them for further instruction about the weekend and to set up our personal meeting times.  After this short meeting, we were excused to begin our journey into silence.

Back in my room, I had a hard time settling in.  Earlier that morning, my mother was rushed to emergency and diagnosed with a treatable form of congestive heart failure.  It was on my mother’s urging that I go ahead and make my journey to Ohio as I had planned for months.  I silently kept in contact with my siblings by receiving updates about my mother’s condition via text messaging. 

One awesome cook made all of our meals.  Eating in silence was an experience I had never encountered.  We acknowledged each other with smiles, but then focused on our food before us and the beauty of the landscape that surrounded us through all the windows in the dining area.  We took turns cleaning up the kitchen after each meal.  I signed up for clean up duty after breakfast on Saturday morning.  I broke the silence in the dining area when I accidently dropped a drinking glass onto the ceramic tiled floor.

Spring was not in the air; however, God gave us sunshine every day.  I bundled up and took a walk along the paths in the woods and I walked around the pond and next to a stream.  I spotted beautiful birds that I never see in Michigan, I heard the jack-hammer pounding of the Woodpeckers high up in the trees, and two sets of geese were making their homes near the pond.  It was so beautiful.

Sitting in silence and letting the Holy Spirit speak to my heart was quite an amazing experience.  Spending time in prayer, God’s word, in His creation, and simply resting in Him, made me realize that He is not quiet at all. 

During our closing session, we went around the room, as we had at the beginning, and shared what the Holy Spirit spoke to us in our silent journey.  This is what I said:

On Thursday, I announced that I wanted to know what my dream meant to “minister to the church”.  I found out that answer this weekend.

To minister means to care for others.  The church are people everywhere.

The Holy Spirit allowed me to search deep inside of me to remind myself that I love to help people.  I have sewing skills, listening skills, writing skills and support skills that I can creatively use to serve God’s people.  Although I have ideas on how to utilize my passions and skills, it will be the Holy Spirit that will lead me.  I will spend more time in prayer and in God’s word as they will strengthen me.

Philippians 4:13 is my take-away verse:

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

I did not want to leave the serenity of the weekend.  My Spiritual Director explained that this is an experience.  I can take this experience with me, lean on it, remember it and be thankful for it.  I can create new experiences to spend quality, quiet-time with the Holy Spirit.  When she said this to me, it didn’t make sense.  Only after being immersed into the world once again, do I understand.  It is important for all of us to sneak away, quiet ourselves and let the Holy Spirit speak to our hearts as it is true nourishment for the soul.  Now I understand why Jesus took time alone to pray to his Father.  He was being strengthened for His journey to the cross.

A special Thank You to Sister Virginia, my Spiritual Director.  May God continue to use you for His good works.   

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