Monday, March 30, 2015

Every Good Gift is from Above

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1: 17

“I’m a bad person,” my son Dylan is in the habit of saying when he gets reprimanded and disciplined for misbehaving. Our reply usually is something like: “well, you are not a bad person. You just need to be better at listening and obeying,” but then we would add: “besides, no one is good…we are all bad, really. That’s why we need Jesus!”

Sometimes we think we get disciplined by God because we are bad people. It is far from the truth, however, for we know very well that disciplining is a sign of belonging and ultimately, a sign of love. As a parent, I care to discipline my sons because I want them to grow up knowing right from wrong, and to practice the golden rule. I really don’t care enough to invest the time it takes to discipline children who are not my own. Only a loving parent goes through the painstaking effort of disciplining his offspring. Though unpleasant, likewise our Heavenly Father shows us that we belong to Him and that He loves us by keeping a tight rein on us.

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. 
Hebrews 12: 11

On the other hand, we may also be under the impression that we might have gotten good things because we were good. The truth is that when it comes to our walk with God, this is another misconception.

Our Heavenly Father is the Giver of all good things and it has nothing to do with the receivers. No one is good, not even one…(Psalm 53: 3) so no one deserves anything good. Again, it is not about the receiver. It is all about the Giver. He is Good (Psalm 100: 5). Therefore, He cannot help but giving us the abundant life according to His plan, His timing and His design.

This Holy Monday I want to celebrate the fact that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He takes the time to care for us in a way that would refine our soul…even if by fire. He knows exactly what each of us needs to learn in the area of character development, and He teaches us customized lessons to help us attain such knowledge. I also celebrate the fact that regardless of whom I am and what I do, as a child of the Most High, I am not to be surprised to receive generously from the bounty of His goodness because it does not depend on me… I don’t receive good things because I am good. I receive them because He is Good!

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 
 Matthew 7: 11

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Celebrating His Triumph

I cannot believe Lent is over and today is Palm Sunday! The time of preparation that began with ashes on our foreheads and in our soul has come and gone. Today we rejoice! We rejoice in the fact that Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the most important week in human history. Whether people want to recognize it or not, the events that took place during Holy Week a couple of thousands of years ago changed the course of humankind.

Today I celebrate! I celebrate Hope riding on a lowly donkey…Truth walking on human feet…Life dressed as a man…The Way opening the gate and tearing up the veil.

Today I celebrate the completion of Jesus’ years of ministry on Earth. Today I celebrate His willingness to submit Himself. Today I celebrate His sacrifice. Today I celebrate His Faithfulness. Today I celebrate his seemingly ironic Triumphal entry.

Palm Sunday is the day we remember Jesus’ entering Jerusalem to be crucified. We call it His Triumphal entry because the way He entered was very symbolic. It fulfilled Zacharias 9: 9

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!

Behold, your king is coming to you;

righteous and having salvation is he,

humble and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

The people along Jesus’ path did not miss the symbolism and they rejoiced with His appearance by waving palm branches and laying their coats and blankets on the road. They celebrated Him as their Messiah who would come to deliver them from the Roman Empire which oppressed them. They exalted Him as a new leader who would charge the rebellion that would liberate the people of Israel from the years of occupation and abuse. They saw Him as the earthly King to their earthly kingdom of their present. They saw Him as a political figure. I guess they missed the part where it said He was “righteous and humble.” Don’t they realize you cannot mix the concepts of politics, righteousness and humbleness together in one sentence?

So how can we say that this entry was triumphal if it ended with Jesus nailed to the cross?

It was triumphal because it foreshadowed Jesus’ entry into the Kingdom of Heaven. This event, though paling in comparison, paints a picture of the victory that Jesus accomplished on the cross and of the day He is crowned King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Jesus humble entry into Jerusalem is nothing but a poor reflection of His glorious entry into the New Jerusalem.

In His humble estate as a man, Jesus entered the Holy City to be slaughtered. He self-restricted the Word that speaks the universe into existence, and the power that sustains life so He could embrace His humanity and fulfill the Father’s plan. This is the triumph of this event. The Divine walking on Earth’s ground to save us, undeserving breed.

To add to the depth of such statement, He did not do it just for the nice, the good or the lovable. He did it also for the angry, the bitter, the unlovable…the sinner.

Therefore, the triumph of His accomplishment transfers also to us who receive Him. He overcomes the world so we can too.

That is why we rejoice today, we celebrate the coming of our King!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Stop the Madness!

Why is it that we are the least patient, kind, sensitive, gentle, loving, etc. with those we love the most? Perhaps I should not say “we” but just “I”…sigh…

I tell you something…I may not look it since I am able to fake it pretty well in public, but when it comes to temper…I have a pretty short one. Self-control is a constant battle in my soul. Anger wages a rough war in my heart and it doesn’t take much for me to explode at the slightest provocation. My rantings, fits and yelling are infamous at home. Even Link, our new pup knows all about it. He quickly runs to his little crate as soon as the decibels hit red.

I am not proud of it…but I can’t lie.

It has to stop!

And I can’t…


Only the power of the Holy Spirit can turn things around. He has already done it in most areas of my life. For example, He has given me much patience to deal with the droves of immature, spoiled, overly-indulged, self-centered, millennials that populate my classrooms…(yeah…I am so much more patient with my students now. If you don’t believe me, let me tell you that I walked out of my first teaching job back in 1998 because I couldn’t stand the kids!).

My point is, if the Holy Spirit has and continues to work and make progress in the arena of patience in some areas of my life, He will do the same in all areas of it. I just need to do my part as well. I need to be aware of the triggers. I need to be intentional about maneuvering as soon as I catch myself starting to spin. I need to consciously turn the volume down the second my pitch sounds too high. But before all that, I need to surrender it all to Him who can make it stop. I have to make it my constant prayer that He, the giver of all Goodness may make me good, the Author of all Kindness may make me kind.

I pray that He will help me turn my home into a filling station of hope, love, life, encouragement and compassion, not a dumping ground for frustration, dissatisfaction and despair.

Like I read at a Church sign a few weeks ago: I want to be a fountain, not a drain!

Today I cling tightly to Scripture that reminds me to manage my anger so it doesn’t cause me to sin and control my emotions so I’m not ruled by their whims:

"In your anger do not sin": Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. 
 Ephesians 4:26-27

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 
James 1: 19-20

A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29: 11

But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Colossians 3: 8

May the Lord give us the wisdom of patience, the joy of self-control and the humility to surrender our emotions to Him so that we may honor His Name even as we get trampled upon, feel hurt or detect offense.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


When the compassion train went by, I didn’t get on it. It’s that simple. I’m not proud of it, but I have to be honest. My first tendency is not toward compassion but toward judgement.

I’m thinking about this today since I am facing situations with several students in a few of my classes that are going to require me to act in either of two ways: the tough teacher way or the compassionate teacher way. In each instance the issue of second chances is at play. Do I give them a second chance even though they do not deserve it? Or do I just say NO, you messed up and you don’t get to take a makeup test!

I usually don’t struggle with giving makeup tests this much. At this time, I believe my struggle comes from the fact that in all cases it feels as if the students are taking advantage of me. So what does that mean in the case against compassion? It means that I am struggling with my own pride.

If there is something I detest is to be taken for a fool. I may not show it much, but I don’t want people thinking I am an idiot, plain and simple. I am very defensive in that area. As soon as there is a situation when I perceive that there may be someone thinking I am stupid or something I feel my blood boiling really fast.


I can’t tolerate it…to the point of sacrificing being fair…to the point of sacrificing being compassionate…to the point of sacrificing being humble…

Today, I want to cling to Scripture that speaks to me about how I am commanded to act…even if I don’t feel like it…sigh…

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4: 32

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

That is why Scripture says: "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." James 4:6

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. 
James 4:10

Today I praise the Lord for giving me another chance to exercise compassion and humility. I praise Him for not letting me surrender to pride and reconsider my actions thanks to the red flags He raised on my behalf.

I’m not sure what I am going to do about my students yet, but I am sure whatever I decide will be done after a consultation with my Holy Counselor, and whatever it is, I pray it is a compassionate action.

Monday, March 23, 2015


Contentment…the state of being satisfied in whatever season we find ourselves…is, from my personal point of view and experience, one of the hardest biblical concepts to grasp and to live by.

It is hard to achieve contentment because it is a quality, a state, that seems to go against human nature. Discontentment, its evil twin, however, runs rampart throughout the world, capturing the soul of humanity, pushing it into a chaotic spin in search of the elusive satisfaction which would terminate it.

I am well acquainted with discontentment. I’ve experienced it since I was a little girl. And let me tell you something, though it is true that there are different levels of discontent, every person in every region of the world feels its poisonous sting at one time or another. It is true that the materialistic societies of the developed countries cast a stronger spell that blurs the path to true contentment, leaving its citizens endlessly wandering and thoroughly dissatisfied. But lack of contentment is a plague that spreads everywhere.

I remember growing up in Panama, one of the tiny countries of Central America, in a period of its history when economic development was a foreign concept and the majority of the people functioned on survival mode. I had everything I needed to be content. I should not have had any wants. Compared to most around me, I was in no position to complain. But of course, complain I did. My teen years were a nightmare. The raging hormones combined with unfulfilled desires and unmet dreams turned me into a gangling mess. “If only I could have a boyfriend…” “If only I could get my Mother to buy me nicer clothes…” “If only my Dad would let me go to that party…” “If only I could get a new book bag…” “If only I had nice hair…” “If only I had a smaller nose…” “If only my feet were not so big…”

As I grew up…the “if only’s” continued. Perhaps, the content was not exactly the same, but the attitude definitively was. I might have not wanted a new book bag, but I certainly wished I could have a designer bag. I didn’t think getting a nose job was necessary to attain total bliss, but I did believe that if I could only have enough money to buy more fashionable clothes I could ascend in the fractured social ladder of urban, young adulthood. If I could only be more outgoing and self-confident I could have gotten what I wanted…but nooooo…I was just a shy, poor, lonely “wanna be.”

Contentment escaped me. I didn’t know the meaning of it. I didn’t know it was possible. It took a rather ironic change in my circumstances to discover the concept. It wasn’t until I had moved into the “land of plenty” that I realized that with Jesus all things all possible, even finding a path to such elusive state of satisfaction.

It has not been easy and I am in no manner there yet at all, but I am closer than I was before. Through the trials of disappointed falsehoods and the disillusion of broken, empty dreams, Christ has taken me by the hand for the last twenty years along the “yellow brick road” of true hope.

Today I cling to that hope that only He can bring, and to the Word that reveals the secret of being content:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. 
 Philippians 4: 11-13

Like Paul, I now understand that every circumstance brings us an opportunity to be content in the Lord. And even though I often fail, I try to remember that when in plenty I ought to rejoice in the fact that I can gratefully accept the abundance and share the bounty with those in need, while when in want I must also rejoice in the truth that I can rely in Him because He will always provide.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A Time...

Most people are familiar with chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Even if they don’t know it comes from the Bible, many people would nod in knowing agreement when hearing someone quote any of the familiar “time” expressions. A bunch of us would actually sing parts of this litany to the Blue Oyster Cult’s haunting tune “The Reaper.” This is a passage that has brought me comfort during the harshest seasons of my life. It comes easily to my mind whenever pondering a hard situation at hand. Once again, today, after much discussion in Sunday school around the topic of the undecipherability of God’s timing, plan, and our lack of patience to wait for it to unfold, this passage came to me one more time.

It is so hard to see, to discern, to distinguish the goodness of God’s plan for our life while in the midst of hardship, that if left to our own devices, we soon could be consumed by despair, fear and hopelessness. Our Heavenly Father knows this about us. He knows perfectly well that many of us are lacking in the area of trust and that some of us easily default into a state of panic when confronted with one of those hard seasons we all encounter in life. It is for those moments, when it all appears dark and our perspective is clouded by doubt, that He provides passages such as this. Not only has He provided such wisdom, but He also directs people into our paths who can point them out when we have forgotten them.

I am most grateful to those who bring up Scripture to my attention which helps me change directions, adjust attitude and regain eyesight while immersed in my personal pit of temporary desolation. In turn, I also pray that I could do the same when time comes for me to do so as well.

Today I cling to Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11 – I read it slowly. I savor every word. I recall every situation as I praise Him for delivering me every time, even now.

For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

Therefore, let us rejoice in Him in any and every situation. Rejoice! (Philippians 4: 4)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Long Awaited Yes!

Two years ago we found a house in the town we wanted to move into. At that time we were not sure what we wanted to do with our old house. We thought we would like to keep it as a rental property. However, shortly after our offer for the new house was accepted, we changed our minds and decided to list our old house. Right away we contacted the best Real Estate Agent in the world! And got busy showing the house.

For months, lots and lots of prospective buyers came and went through the house without showing any signs of real interest…no offers were received and I began to feel weary. That’s when our wonderful and very wise Realtor told me that every no we get means we are getting closer to the final yes! I carried that thought with me and hung on to it as the line of no’s continued to get longer and longer.

Life brought many challenges to us that season. Cancer diagnosis, 2 surgeries, treatment, loss of my husband’s job, lack of contentment in my older son’s experience at his new school, coping with my own Dad’s passing and all the fallout that happened after that in my family were enough issues for me to become intensely anxious. By then, our wonderful Agent had found a better career opportunity right about the same time a dear couple needed to find a rental in the area. Therefore, we went ahead and rented the house while we waited to see where the Lord may lead us. However, not having sold the house was just another thing hanging over our heads. We did not feel free. The thought of being enslaved to a mortgage that was too high for one of us to carry individually scared us.

We began to save every extra dollar we could find on our end and then started to think we really needed to sell our old house to help us take care of the pressing mortgage…The Good Lord allowed circumstances to align in such a way that right by the time we decided to put the house in the market again, the situation in our dear friends’ lives, who were renting the house, had changed and they actually needed to move as well.

The house went on the market one more time, and I started feeling hopeful again. We staged it and it looked really REALLY cute. Who would not want to live in that house? It will sell in no time, I was sure! But our new Real Estate Agent fell into some terribly unfortunate personal circumstances and that kept her from being “in the game.” My natural impatient/pessimistic outlook on life kicked in and I began to grumble and complaint once again…I tried to counter my frustration and disappointment with the way things were…not going…by sending our Agent e-mails showing her support and telling her that I was praying for her and her situation…which was absolutely true, by the way! But I have to tell you, I was going against the grain of my very fiber…all I wanted to do was yell and scream at her for not taking care of business!

The funny thing was that people kept coming in to visit the house. We had a really good parade of showings all along…but nothing to show for at the end. No offers…no hope…

By December, the personal situation in our Agent’s life had resolved not in the best of ways, but resolved none the less. She was broken hearted, but ready to move on with life. And in January, we began to see a turn in the way things were going. Of course we had to drop the price considerably which frustrated me to no end, but the strategy was working since one cold, snowy afternoon we got a phone call that there was going to be a second showing that day…a second showing? We thought…when was the first one?? It was so out of the blue. We were thrilled with the possibilities and couldn’t help but speculate if this would be it.

The events that followed went so fast and incredibly well timed that now we just laugh at the whole thing because, without a doubt, it was absolutely a God thing.

Today, about two years after the decision to sell our old house, we look back with melancholic hearts and praise the Lord for showing us His hand throughout the whole event. I remember the anxiety-filled days, the unknowns and the “what ifs.” I remember my lack of trust and impatience. I remember my anger and frustration. And I praise God for His Faithfulness through it all. I praise Him for once again, showing me that if I only sit still and let Him do His job, everything always works out the way it is supposed to be. He showed me, one more time, in His own loving and intricate way that He knows what He is doing and that I need to relax and not doubt.

House is sold…after the long line of “no’s” God granted us His final “yes.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

Our God Delivers!

Do we ever take time to stop and meditate on the delivering power of our Lord? How often do we pause to breathe in His goodness and acknowledge His Hand upon us? Have we lately considered the things He has delivered us from or through? Well, if we haven’t done it in a while, let us do it right now! Let us grab this moment and realize that from the very beginning He promised that He’d watch over us and keep us as His treasured possession.

I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." 
Genesis 28: 15

The LORD watches over you-- the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
Psalm 121: 5

Let us thank Him for His promise to be Faithful to us as we abide in Him,

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 
John 15: 7

Today, let us cling to His promise of deliverance found in the words of Isaiah 43. As spiritual heirs of Jacob, we claim these words as our own. We claim them and we hang on to them for we too are Israel

But now, this is what the Lord says—

he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When 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.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43 1: 3

I stand today as a witness to these words because He has delivered me from more than I can declare…

He has delivered me through it all…

And one day, He will deliver me by that, which will be my gain.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Let Us Encourage One Another

The words and stories in the song Save My Life by Sidewalk Prophets have been playing in my mind quite a bit lately. The song is all about having the courage to encourage those around us who might need it desperately without anyone knowing. A waiter, our Pastor, ourselves…we all are in great need to hear a word of hope that will help us cope with the loneliness, anxiety, fear, depression, anguish and wide array of emotions that we carry inside. We all need to know we matter. We all need to know we are not invisible. We all need to know we are precious. We all need to know we are loved.

Some of us have not experienced love in a healthy way. Some of us have not felt love even from those who are supposedly required to love us. Some of us only know what it feels like to be abandoned, rejected, forgotten, diminished, demeaned, belittled… a kind word that injects a little light into someone’s life may, indeed, be the way God will save that life…and that word may be spoken by me…by you…if we dare, if we don’t waste the chance.

Today I cling to 1 Thessalonians 5: 11

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

And pray that I may be the kind of person who remembers to offer that word of encouragement which may make a difference in someone’s life, in the Name of Christ.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 
Ephesians 4: 29

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

That We May Represent Him Well...

I will extol the Lord at all times;

his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears. 

 Psalm 34: 1-4

Ever since my cancer diagnosis I’ve been a bit of a wreck. Fear, anxiety, doubt and more have often clouded my days. However, God has also taken me by the hand, and walked me to an amazing place of communion, awareness and intimacy with Him which, till now, I didn’t know existed.

All along this walk…all along this journey, a prayer has been forming within me, - which I have not been able to articulate. Up until today, this prayer has come out or lingered inside my mind in undecipherable groans and inaudible noises that only the Holy Spirit has been able to interpret. Today, however, after reading and hearing about Mark Hall, the lead singer of my all-time favorite Christian band, Casting Crowns, and his current battle with possible kidney cancer, I have finally found the words. Mark’s wife wrote four areas of prayer that the family would like people to pray for…one hit me quite strikingly…

She said: “pray that we will have strength and courage to represent Him well on this journey.”

That’s it! That’s exactly it!

That’s what I’ve been trying to pray for in my own journey too! That’s what I’ve been trying to say, but had not been able to articulate…

I want to have the strength and the courage to represent Him well in my journey.

Whatever the journey may look like…wherever it may take me/us, be it the journey of illness or of motherhood, of single life, of marriage, of unemployment, of being stuck in a job we dislike with a boss who is unfair and disrespectful, of infertility, of depression, of oppression, of loneliness, of loss…whatever the journey is for me/us, I pray we may represent Christ in a way that brings honor to Him and that points to His goodness and saving grace.

I pray that from our own darkness we can show His Light! I pray that from our own sickness, we can show others His healing power. I pray that from our own pit, we can show His children that He is the way out. I pray that from our own brokenness we can show the world He has the power to mend us, to pick up all our pieces and put us back together again for His glory. I pray that from our own death, we can communicate the message of Life.

Today I cling to the fact that to live is Christ and to die is gain…(Philippians 1: 21)

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 
 Philippians 1: 20

These are the four specific prayers the family of Mark Hall is asking brothers and sisters in Christ to pray for as he undergoes kidney surgery today:

1. Please pray that God will watch over everything related to the surgery and that it goes well. Pray that we have favor with the hospital staff and doctors. (NOTE: surgery is over and it did go very well, “textbook,” the doctor said)

2. Please pray for complete healing and a quick recovery for Mark.

3. Please pray that God will give us opportunities and discernment to share Christ's Love. And pray that we will have strength and courage to represent Him well on this journey.

4. Please also pray that God will give YOU an opportunity to share His love through this. Many of you have said that friends, family members and co-workers are asking you questions about God because of what is happening to Mark.

Please please use these opportunities to point people to Jesus. It may even be one of the reasons God has allowed this.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Joy of Being Here

Fifty degrees! WOW!!! Yesterday the mercury finally hit 50 degrees! It actually didn’t feel like torture to take our little Link out for his morning walk (boy, do we need a fence or what?). And I even heard birds chirping when I ventured out to our small downtown. It feels as if spring may really come…

I know, I complain a lot about the weather. I was born and raised in a tropical country, so I guess that gives me a certain right to be a bit bitter when the bitter cold lingers for too long…no pun intended…well, maybe a little…but, yes, I’ve been known to feel dissatisfied to be where I am.


Actually, there was a time when the word dissatisfied did not fully describe the way I felt. More accurately, I felt…forsaken.

When I first moved into this beautiful region of Western Pennsylvania, with its gorgeous scenery that changes like a teenage girl going through her seasonal wardrobe, I did not appreciate any of it. All my energy was concentrated on finding a way out of here. I didn’t stop to see and breathe in the beauty that surrounded me, a beauty that was not only material, but spiritual. I did not realize, in my frantic pursuit for leaving, that right here I would eventually meet the most amazing people in the world, people who would hold me together in my many hours of trials still yet to come.

All I wanted to do was leave. And the fact that things were not aligning that way at all, made my heart ache and my mind wonder why? Why would God not want me to be happy? Why would God not want to answer my prayers? Why would He refuse to rescue me? I was so consumed by my desire to get what I wanted…what I thought would make me happy…that I was unable to discover the joy of being here.

It took many years, many years of preparation, until God got me ready to open my eyes to see. He finally got me to a place in my life where I was able to see that I was right where He wanted me to be. I saw that this is where He had been leading me to all my life. I saw that this is where He wanted me to blossom.

I don’t know what God’s plan has in store for me in the future, but one thing I do know now is that today I am right where I am supposed to be. That is why today I cling to the truth that says,

You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance-- the place, LORD, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. 
Exodus 15: 17

In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. 
Exodus 15: 13

"See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. 
Exodus 23: 20

Friday, March 6, 2015


I read (well, I still have a few pages left to finish…but I’m almost done!) a wonderful book by Paul E. Miller called A Praying Life. It is an easy read, but it sure makes you think and deeply consider your own situation when it comes to your own prayer life. After reading this book, I have come to admit aloud that I do not have a well-established praying routine. I wish I were more organized about it, but just like pretty much every other aspect of my life, my praying “routine” is in terrible disarray.

That is why I blog. Blogging is the only way I have found, the way the Lord has led me to, which keeps me focused and prevents me from either rote babbling or aimless wandering.

In the book, Miller does talk about writing or journaling, so I guess that’s kind of what I do…only I do it on electronic pages…but still…I have a long way to go to turn my life into a “praying life.” My desire would be to one day be able to say:

“Prayer is where I do my best work as a husband (well, in my case it would be as a wife J ), dad/mom, worker and friend. I’m aware of the weeds of unbelief in me and the struggles in others’ lives. The Holy Spirit puts His finger on issues that only He can solve. I’m actually managing my life through my daily prayer time. I’m shaping my heart, my work, my family – in fact, everything that is dear to me – through prayer in fellowship with my heavenly Father. I’m doing that because I don’t have control over my heart and life or the hearts and lives of those around me. But God does.” (Miller, 257)

I love everything about this paragraph, and I pray the Lord helps me to be able to say all these about myself one day. I want prayer to be the channel through which I am able to do my best work. I want to be aware of my own unbelief and I want to be tuned into the struggles of those around me. I want to rest in the power of the Holy Spirit to solve the issues I have no power over. I want to manage my life through prayer…every decision, every step, every thought…I want them all to be guided by prayer. And I want to surrender myself and my loved ones to God’s will as I wait and trust in prayer.

After all, we are commanded to:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

We are to live our lives in constant prayer. We are to be confident that He listens when we call. Therefore, today I cling to the truth that says:

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. 
 Hebrews 4: 16

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 
Romans 12: 12

I will continue to strive for a life in which prayer does not cease…and I pray that this electronic journaling and the sharing of my meditations may be a conduit to such goal not just for me, but for all who read it.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

His Angels...

I believe we are not supposed to walk alone. On the rocky roads (wouldn’t you wish I were talking about ice-cream here…sigh…) of life we walk with Jesus and we also walk with those He sends to us as our companions. We walk with His angels.

This year, even though it’s only barely 3 months old, the Almighty has already given me the gift to spend time with my dearest friend in the world, who took time off her extremely busy life to fly to my neck of the woods and spend the very first few days of 2015 with me, offering me God’s comforting embrace in the warmth of her presence.

Then, Rosa, the woman who is like my Mother, also took a whole month out of her very demanding life as a care-giver in Panama, to give to me during the harshest, coldest, snowiest February in the couple of decades I’ve been in this Western Pennsylvania region. Rosa’s servant heart offered me and my family her all and through her, God gave me an entire month of worry-free days and much needed respite. While Rosa was here, my beloved niece Nicole also took time out of her unbelievably complicated schedule to be here, delighting us with her presence which always brings us much joy and happiness.

They are some of my angels…placed in my life to fulfill the Lord’s promise. I believe that He uses His children as His ambassadors. I believe the Lord gives us not only Himself in the indwelling of His Holy Spirit in us, but He uses His children to bring His comfort and His love to His beloved who are hurting, alone, afraid. Today, I cling to God’s promise to send His angels.

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91: 11

Today I rest in the comfort of their company.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

I Cling to His Plan!

Worry is my name…yep…one thing I do know how to do well is worry. Nobody had to teach me the art of sleepless nights, sweaty palms, accelerated heart beat and obsession…I arrived fully proficient in the subject. I worry about…pretty much everything. I guess I’ve always had a degree of nervousness and anxiety, but, O boy, did I go to graduate school the day I became a mother… yikes! Those two boys are my ever increasing source of worry…but it does not end there. I worry about it all. I don’t discriminate…I actually run an equal opportunity worry shop in my heart and mind.

It is exhausting…

That is why today I cling to His plan. He does have one and it is perfect! I don’t presume to understand it, but I choose to trust it. I have no other alternative since doubt only leads to despair. No matter how much in control we think we are, we are not. This life is not our own. Therefore, obsessing about our wants, desires, plans and designs only brings frustration, disillusion and more stress. It is best, then to rest on the foundation built for us, custom-made for us by the Master Designer and Builder! It is best then to declare,

LORD, I know that people's lives are not their own; it is not for them to direct their steps. Jeremiah 10: 23

And accept that,

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16: 9

A person's steps are directed by the LORD. Proverbs 20: 24a

And once and for all just trust His plan…

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29: 11

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

There is Power...

Sometimes I feel exhausted, drained…powerless…I look at the news and I shudder. I look at our society and I tremble. For those who want to live their lives as followers of the Way, the Truth and the Life…it seems like there are bad news everywhere. Things seem to be taking a turn for the worse in the world. Life as we have known it seems to be spinning out of control.

But…hasn’t it always seemed the same? Hasn’t every generation felt this way? Evil has roamed around in the world during the ages, so why am I surprised that there is evil now? The question should be, rather, where do I find the strength to face it? Where do I find the hope?

Where do we find the power to stand on the side of Christ?

And the age-old answer is that we find it in His Name!

That’s why today I cling to the Power of the Name of Jesus!

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. 
 Colossians 1: 15-17

The power of the Word is contained in His Name. And His Name will be glorified even if the world refuses. Even if there is no one left to worship, He will be worshiped. For the world will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of God regardless of the disdain of the inhabitants of the Earth. (Habakkuk 2: 14)

All will fear the Lord…

Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." Revelations 15: 4

The unfathomable power of the Name of Jesus sustains me and goes with me as I walk along the weary roads of this life.