Blame

“Let the one among you who is without sin
be the first to throw a stone at her.”

John 8:1-11 tells the story of the prostitute that the Pharisees brought before Jesus to trick Him. They were eager to see how he would handle someone who had been caught in the act of adultery. Would Jesus forgive her? Would he condemn her?

Jesus throws it back at the Pharisees by recognizing that in fact – we all are sinful. So instead of condemning her, why don’t we take a look at ourselves first. It was a powerful message to everyone, even the Pharisees.

Sitting on my high horse and pointing the finger at all around me doesn’t do me any good. In fact, it does the very opposite. It takes away my chance at erasing the sin that is blocking God from entering my own heart.

As a teacher, I cannot tell you how many times a day I say to kids, “You cannot change him or her, but you can change your own actions.” I also find myself saying, “It is easy to point the blame at him or her, but what was your involvement?” I had thought it was really just today’s world, but now that I look back at this scripture, I realize it has been going on throughout all of mankind for thousands of years.

Blaming each other for situations without recognizing our own fault is a problem for everyone. I wish I could say only a few of us suffer from this syndrome, but that would be completely inaccurate. Pointing the finger at who is to blame creates a position of power. We feel we are better than others. We feel vindicated or our own sinfulness.

Jesus is telling us in this story that we need to set our own hearts right with God. Blaming others is never the solution. Finding what we could have done to make changes in our own life is always the solution.

Today, I begin my second week of online teaching. It is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I have to be on my game; creating new and innovative ways to teach kids that have been thrown into a stressful situation. After texting back and forth with many teacher friends in all areas of the country, I have come to realize just what Jesus taught me in this scripture. I cannot control others. I can control my actions. I cannot stress over my mistakes and try to find someone to blame. I need to use those mistakes to make my teaching methods better the next day. I cannot please everyone, and I certainly cannot stress over trying to do so. I have to find a balance between loving myself enough to realize I am human. I will falter. Jesus will be there to help me up. Most of all, I have to love myself enough to realize that blaming others will not give me hope and determination to continue. What will give me hope is recognizing my faults, allowing God’s wisdom to guide me, and praying for strength to persevere each day.

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Sitting on the Sideline

John 7:40-53 We find Nicodemus in the scripture today. He subtly stands up for Christ in this story. His question, “Does our law condemn a man before it first hears him
and finds out what he is doing?”

Nicodemus is using the law to try to save Christ, yet he seems a little hesitant to do this. Nicodemus appears three times in the Gospel of John. He first appears asking Jesus what it means to be born again in Jesus. Jesus gives Nicodemus something to think about when he tells him we must be born of water and Spirit. We next hear from him in the story above where he seems to be working through what Jesus had told him previously in John. He tries to buy Jesus some time by using the law to question the other Pharisees and chief priests. Lastly, Nicodemus appeared at the foot of the cross. Joseph of Arimathea (another secret believer in Christ) and Nicodemus take Jesus’ body down from the cross and prepare the body according to Jewish tradition.

Nicodemus practices what I like to call a “sitting on the sideline” kind of faith. He sits on the bench watching and waiting for his moment. Sitting on the bench isn’t a bad thing unless you find yourself stuck there for life. As far as I know, we don’t hear much about Nicodemus after these three times in John. I am not sure what he ended up doing with this new found faith in Christ. Did he become a disciple? Did he continue to stay quiet about his belief?

I have been Nicodemus many times in my life. I have found myself quietly witnessing amazing disciples do Christ’s work. I have taken the time to learn from each of them, making mistakes, and practicing hard to be more like those disciples. Sitting on the sideline taught me the techniques of sharing Christ’s light. It was a time of listening and learning – not necessarily a time of action.

I have also been stuck on the sidelines. Instead of watching and learning, I became angry and filled with self-pity that I wasn’t the one playing the game. I have found my heart hardened to what was going on around me. My bitterness caused large amounts of sin to build up in my soul, and inaction became my middle name. Inaction became my life.

When we allow inaction to take over our life as a disciple – what we are all called to be – then we become afraid to make a move. This fear paralyzes us. It is not what God wants for any of us – ever.

We are called when we are baptized to be followers of Christ, but at the same time, leaders of faith. We are called to action.

Sitting on the sidelines is okay for a time, but at some point we have to stand up and shout out God’s message. We can no longer be afraid about life. We must prepare for that moment that our coach calls us into the game.

Yesterday, I watched Pope Francis give a powerful message on sitting back in fear. He read the scripture from Matthew about Jesus and the disciples on the boat when a large storm arose. The disciples were scared and anxious. They came to Christ in fear – asking Him – do you not love us? Aren’t you going to do something? Christ was heartbroken that they had so little faith. They still allowed fear to overcome them even when He was right there in there presence.

When we sit on the sidelines, we need to be aware, alert, and ready for anything. At any moment we may be called in to play the game. We have to know everything that is going on, and how to handle in-the-moment decisions. Fear cannot block us from doing this. After all, our coach is Christ. He will direct us, especially in the heat of the moment. He will be by our side even in the roughest storms. He will calm the storm in our heart if we just allow Him into our soul.

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Defend Us in Battle

Over the last few days, this has been my go-to prayer after my prayers.


St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.


Last night, I was kept awake after hearing about a dear friend who is in ICU battling this Coronavirus. This was the first time I had been personally touched by this horrible virus. I was angry and devastated all at the same time. So I started praying my go-to prayer immediately. I did it continuously for about 30 minutes.


When I awoke this morning, I decided to do a little research on just who is this St. Michael the Archangel, and why do I feel such protection when I pray his prayer?
St Michael the Archangel appears in Daniel 10, Daniel 12, Jude 1:9, and Revelation 12:7.

What I uncovered about St. Michael the Archangel is pretty darn scary. Scary, because there is a good reason that this prayer has come into my mind the last couple of weeks…


In Daniel, we find Daniel fasting and praying for an answer to his prayers. God sends a messenger to answer Daniel, but the messenger is detained for three weeks by some spiritual being. The messenger finally comes before Daniel saying that Michael, the archangel, assisted his arrival. It is here that we find persistent prayer can help us to remove obstacles that are blocking our way to God’s word. Michael, in Daniel’s case, was able to conquer the evil forces that were against Daniel’s message arriving safely.

Also in Daniel, we find the messenger sharing the future with Daniel. The future seems rather bleak. Michael, the archangel, will stand guard over the nation. The nation will suffer greatly, but there will be a time of hope for all true believers.

In Jude, whose one chapter in the bible is written to motivate Christians and help them recognize false teachings. Jude especially warns Christians of those teachers saying that it was okay to do whatever you please, just do what feels right for you, and forget about God’s punishment for the sinful. Michael appears… rebuking the devil in God’s name.

In Revelation, Michael is found at war with dragons. The dragon is a symbol of the devil. Michael defeats the devil, the one deceiving the whole world, and casts him down to the earth.

This prayer is a powerful prayer for all us to ward off evil, to cast out sin, and to set us right again with God. St. Michael the Archangel is the key to answering our unrelenting prayers, to protecting us from evil, and to conquering great suffering as he stands guard over our nation.

Today and in the days ahead, as we all begin to hear stories of friends, family, and strangers falling ill with this horrible virus, take a moment to pray this simple prayer. Call on this powerful angel to intercede for you, to protect you, and to conquer the great suffering of this world.

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When the World Wept

When the world wept,
Its tears filled the earth.
The oceans overflowed
And the lakes turned into rivers.
When the world wept,
Some people cried out for help
Others prayed
A few ignored it all
While some rejoiced in the life they had lived.
When the world wept,
Some people found sorrow in their own lives
Others saw money to made
A few united to help others
While some found despair.
When the world wept,
Once all the people looked around, they saw for the first time…a community.
Some shared their own stories to help others.
Others shared their gifts and talents to provide care
A few collected and gathered many, many more people who united in prayer
While others jumped in to console those in despair.
When the world wept,
It did not seem so big.
It no longer seemed lonely.
It became a family.
When the world wept,
The people found beauty within each other.
When the world wept,
It finally realized that it held great power.
Power it always had to defeat anything.
Power to change as long as its people united as one.

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Take up Your Cross and Follow Him

Matthew 16:24 “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’

I can honestly say I never recognized the meaning of this statement until the last few days.  God’s vision of what it means to take up the my cross and follow Him was not the same as my vision. My vision had more of a flippant view. It was more… “Hey, I have some extra time on my hands, why don’t I help out someone.” Or ” Maybe today I will go help out at the food bank.”

I wasn’t sacrificing anything to do the things I thought were good. I wasn’t going out of my comfort zone to volunteer to do God’s work. It was easy. Actually, it was too easy.

When Jesus called us to do take up our cross (which by the way you can always say no to- and many did), He called us to an eternal life with Him knowing that it would be hard work. It was going to take sacrifice and sweat. It wasn’t just a workout. The intensity of taking up a cross is one that most people would say, “No thanks, no way, and now how.” Denying who I am, means walking away from it all – for Christ. Giving up all those things that seem to mean so much to me – for Christ. Giving up my opinion of how things should be, and accepting God’s vision; in other words, taking up my cross and following Him.

Being a disciple who denies himself:

  • Letting go of your money bags – no more holding on to the “things” of this world that you think mean a lot but really are holding you back from God. This can be a lot of different things – money, family, friends, career, beautiful home, etc.
  • Pride has to go out the window – the opposite of pride, humility, is a good thing.  It brings us back to reality, and reminds us we are vulnerable.  We need to realize we are vulnerable in order for God to mold us into a new person.
  • Crush the control – everyone likes to be in control.  Come on, we all want our world to be “normal” and “scheduled.”  Surprises can throw a wrench in our plans, right?  Some of us dwell on this more than others, but you cannot deny yourself if you keep trying to control every little thing in your life.  Plus it will make you miserable if you try.
  • Relinquish reactions to the Spirit of Love.  This is my favorite – because I am a work-in-progress at this one.  Basically to deny yourself is to allow God to take over in your heart.  When we respond with love and compassion, we allow God to help us forgive, talk kindly to others, make decisions that are right, and that is exactly what He wants us to do.  It’s called Grace.

Take up your cross and follow me:

  • Accept struggles as blessings.  This is one of the hardest for me.  Struggles cause anxiety for me.  They throw me out of sync with life.  I get stressed out and angry (usually because I haven’t done one of those bullet points above).  Yet struggles are ways for God to transform me into a better version of me.  They are ways for me to allow God to take over in my heart and show me that there is an end to this.  I know when I allow God to take over, I have great peace and joy – even during the suffering.  But when I don’t, my suffering tends to get worse and worse – because I am controlling it – not God.
  • Take time by yourself.  When we take up a big, old, heavy cross, remember that God is doing it to transform us.  So take time and pray about it.  Take time away in a quiet place to think about what God needs you to do.  Take time to recognize that He wants to help you, but you have to deny yourself first.  And by the way, this is essential.  You cannot possibly understand God if you don’t spend time talking to Him.  Multi-tasking this is not an option.  It needs to be done with complete attention to God.
  • God did not call us to be comfortable.  He says that very clearly in Matthew 16:24 that I wrote above!  Unfortunately, a comfortable life means you are not being transformed.  When you aren’t being transformed, then you aren’t going through the process that you need for eternal life with God.  That is not something that people like to hear, but it is absolutely true.  We are humans and sinners.  We are a work in progress.  There is not one of us that doesn’t need to change.

Going through the process of struggle can seem like torture to so many.  I know it did (and still does) for me.  The constant feeling of going one step forward and three steps back can be exhausting.  Yet when I take time for myself, I realize that going through this process with the spirit of love in my heart (which is called Grace) changes the whole ballgame.  Remember responding with love can make a horrendous struggle into a transformative blessing.

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Plans, Plans, and more Plans

Planning out my future has been a true delight to me. I love to make great plans about what will happen to my family, where my job is going, and most of all what I can do with my money. I love to plan out details of things and dream about how my plans will unfold.

In the last couple of years, I have seen many of my plans change drastically. Obstacles have been thrown in the way of my plans, health has changed my plans, and death has changed my plans. Recently though, I was finally back to my planning ways and felt like I was on a great track to my future. I know, dangerous waters here.

Then walks in March 2020….

Plans shattered…

Reworked…

Back-up plans….

I have now realized what it really means to live day to day. Does that change my planning skills? No way! I still plan, but now I have Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. Sometimes I even throw in a Plan D for fun! Everyday there is some new twist or turn which usually will create complete chaos and mourning of my plan. A roadblock in my plan in the past would have thrown me into a toddler-like tantrum in my heart. I didn’t express it outwardly, but the turmoil I felt throughout my body was just like a screaming, kicking, and pounding-of-my-hands fit that a 2 year old would throw over not getting a cookie.

The last couple of days I have found that tantrum throwing does not do me any good. Let’s face it, this change-of-plans life is going to be a daily occurrence for a while. I need to shift into what I do well – plan. But there is an added twist.

I need to plan and realize I am not in charge….God is. And His plan is always better than my plan. It doesn’t mean I stop planning, but it does mean I am more open to Plan Z which most likely will be His plan. God doesn’t want us to take a back seat in this mess. He wants us to use the wisdom He has given us to solve problems and plan for the future. He also wants us to listen to Him at the same time.

We need to allow Him to mold us, but that doesn’t mean we take a back seat to the process. We still need to participate in the plan. If we have learned anything from the last couple of weeks, it is that God is nudging us to do something, to change something, maybe even to realize something.

The tricky part is our sinfulness can get in the way of using God’s wisdom to plan how to prepare. Our pride, our jealousy, our stubbornness, our materialism, our glutiny, and our laziness will get in the way. Staying connected with God is so important at this moment and time.

Recharging my soul with God’s word over the last few weeks has brought me tremendous peace. It has allowed me to be open to His plan which a couple times matched up with my plan. It has brought me strength when I just wanted to give up. It has brought me hope when all I could see was despair in the world. God is the key to cleaning up this mess. Taking time to be with Him, listen to Him, and plan WITH God will change your life.

God gave me the gift of planning. He wants me to use it, but He wants me to do it with Him. Living day to day means praying with God daily, being in the moment of the day, and accepting the beauty that He gives us each day. It doesn’t mean to stop preparing. It means to prepare with Him leading the way.

After all, isn’t the Lenten journey all about…. Prepare the Way for the Lord…

How can you prepare, if you don’t plan?

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Foundation of Faith

John 4:43-54

Today’s message is the story of the royal official whose son had become ill. The man went to Jesus to beg him to heal his son. Jesus said to him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” Jesus then told the official that his son was healed. Sure enough as the official returns home, his servant meets him to give him the good news – his son would live.

Usually when I read this story, I see such miraculous healing and faith. Today though something else struck me profoundly. It was Jesus’ initial response to the official. It almost seemed like something Jesus would mumble under his breath.

Jesus said to him,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

How many times have I asked Jesus for a sign so I know I am following His path? How many times have I asked God for a sign to help me make a choice? How else would I know if I am following God’s Will without a sign?

Faith. Trust.

But where do I find my foundation of faith? Where does my faith begin? How can I find Christ when I feel like I have lost my path?

Foundation can come from our family, but it can have road blocks along the way. The official in the story did not have a foundation of Christian upbringing. Jesus had begun his ministry and was trying desperately to show people that God had a great plan for them. This can be a daunting task when people don’t just believe immediately. Foundation of faith had to begin from somewhere, and for many it was miracles, signs, and wonders.

Today, still many of us do not have faith. We still are asking for signs and wonders. We have so many things blocking us from God – one of those blockages for me is control.

Control is always something I have enjoyed. I like to be in control of my life, of my kids, and of my choices. I don’t like it when someone else has control. Some might call me stubborn or a control freak, and they would be correct. When I ask God for a sign, I am actually trying to keep a little of that control for myself. I am the one who went for help, so I am still in control.

Control is a crazy thing. It gives you a false sense of reality. It allows you to think you have performed the miracle, or that somehow without your participation the miracle would not have happened. I think Jesus may have been mumbling under his breath for me…

Jesus said to Anne,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

When I lead my life by faith, then I relinquish control to God. I allow His plan to unfold without my control involved. I allow God to work miracles without asking for them. I am open to whatever God throws my way. Even if I don’t like it. Even if it isn’t how I would do it.

Jesus said to Anne,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

Believing that God is still around even when you don’t have signs and wonders is faith. Living faithfully through the ordinary life, allowing God to work through me…that’s faith. Praying each day when things are good and when things are bad… that’s faith. Celebrating and worshiping God regularly throughout my life…that’s faith. Proclaiming God’s word even when I know people won’t agree…that’s faith. Pushing myself beyond my comfort zone…that’s faith. Going against what society is the right thing to do….that’s faith. Humbling myself for the good of God…that’s faith.

Jesus said to Anne,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

Faith shouldn’t happen just because I witness a miracle. Faith should be a daily occurrence where I stretch myself and allow God to mold me even when things are tough.

Jesus said to Anne,
“Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”

Jesus did not heal the official’s son because the official asked for it. Jesus does not perform miracles on demand. He healed his son to help the official with his faith. I think Jesus’ mumbling words were for us to hear. He wants us to understand that this is our chance. Be open to His Will. Have faith in Him. Trust that He will provide exactly what we need. Jesus provides miracles so we can finally believe. The miracle isn’t the end of the story. It is the beginning. How we use the miracle to relinquish control and grow our faith is the real story. How we share that faith with others and shine the Light of Christ, humbly and honestly, is truly what faith is all about.

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Seeing the Miracle

Yesterday I had a hard time shaking the feeling of despair. When I glanced at the headlines, I found nothing positive. It was such a skeptical view of the world using numbers and statistics to fuel the fire. Even a few good games of dominoes and a family movie night did not shake my deep down feeling of doom.

The scripture today is John 9:1-41. It is the healing of the blind man. As Jesus heals a man with a mud paste that he makes out of His own spit, the Pharisees find ways to explain away this miracle. The blind man doesn’t care what the Pharisees believe because he is healed! He witnessed the miracle first hand. The Pharisees don’t like what they have heard, so they feel the need to explain the sinfulness of Jesus in their eyes. The miracle is too scary to them. It would mean changing the way they think. It would mean discomfort to their life. It would mean humbling themselves and admitting… maybe they were wrong.

What if God is calling all of us to change something in our life? What if we are so busy pointing our fingers at who to blame that we miss the miracle? What if we just want everything to stay the same so badly that we harden our hearts to what is the Light of the World?

I realized that changing how I think is going to be hard. I need to break out of my comfort zone and see how I can help share God’s Light with others. I am trapped in my house, but I am not trapped in my heart. I can certainly try to help in any way I can.

We live on a small circle court. There are about ten homes. We haven’t all met each other because over the last couple of years all of our homes have been built. I realized how sad it is that I have been so busy with my life, I haven’t found the time to introduce myself to everyone. My plan is to tape notes to the doors of my neighbors, introducing myself and my cell phone number. This way we can call on each other when we go to the grocery, need help with kid’s homework, or just need someone to talk to in a moment of need. Why not use this time as a new way to communicate? We can celebrate in person once this is all over!

If God is truly giving us all a message to change our lives now, do you want to miss the chance to do something? I don’t.

There are so many ways we can make a change. I would love to hear people’s ideas. You can post on your own social media, below in the comment section, on my twitter account “Making Room for God”, on my facebook account Anne Slamkowski, or even my facebook page “Making Room For God.” Let’s help each other be God’s light! Don’t be afraid to share because you just might inspire someone to see the miracle God is nudging us to view!

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Opening my Heart to Easter

Hosea 6:1-3

Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”

This beautiful writing by Hosea is a vision of Christ’s death and resurrection. His articulate message is powerful. As I read those words, I found overwhelming peace within my soul.

Hosea unfolds the feelings of us all upon Christ’s death. The horror of it all, the violent suffering that was inflicted, and most of all, the unfair torturing of this peaceful Jew.

Hosea ends with the “sun rises” and Jesus’ appearance; comparing it with the rains that water the earth.

Yesterday, throughout my day it rained. Not just sprinkled, but poured rain. Flood warnings were abound all around me. I kept thinking, really?? We need this on top of everything else. I couldn’t find gratitude for the coming spring. It just seemed like dooms day… I was searching for Noah and his ark to appear at any minute.

My daughter made a trek to the grocery store, and found the shelves were bare. No toilet paper, limited meat, and canned goods were almost depleted. In addition, I went to order my dogs crazy, expensive allergen free dog food – none available. What was going on? How can this be happening? It seems like some sort of bizarre movie. The intensity of my long day of teaching combined with the exhaustion of hearing that not even one roll of toilet paper could be found was taking its toll on me. Enough is enough. Or is it?

I just need some hope.

Hosea, from a writing far in the past, gave me that hope. Do you think he knew that his writings would inspire Anne Slamkowski in 2020? It all made me realize – Christ is coming; hope is coming. The hope of the Resurrection will be here on Easter. Just like it has been for over 2000 years. Hope is coming.

We all have something to look forward to. It may not be the same kind of Easter that we are used to experiencing, but do you think the very first Easter, the actual Resurrection, was all about eggs, hunts, candy, and big dinners? I am pretty sure you know that answer to that. I know I do.

Easter is about hope – it always has been. The question is – am I ready to accept that message of hope or will my hardened heart miss the chance for some much needed peace?

At some point during this struggle, I am going to open my heart to God’s message. I have often heard God say to me, “This life I gave you isn’t about comfort. It is about experiencing joy through struggle. It is about seeing love, through sacrifice. It is about enjoying peace, through humility.” Someday… I am finally going to accept His words. Right now, everyday, I struggle with that – even though in my heart – I know it would be so much easier if I just relinquish to God’s plan. So, I keep battling myself for hope instead of accepting God’s words.

Somewhere in Hosea’s words I realized Easter has become exactly what Jesus was preaching against. Stripping me of (what I thought) was “my right” to a great Easter dinner has opened my eyes to my mistake. Easter is not the hope of family gathering together. Easter is about Jesus, and what he endured to conquer all the sins of the world. Easter is about the hope that one God/man bore all of our sins, took on all of our struggles, killed it all, then rose above it. WOW.

So where is the hope in all this?

Easter Sunday is the day I plan to watch church from my couch, pray to God to take away all of these fears, anxieties, and unrealistic expectations of what life is about. It isn’t about me being comfortable. It certainly isn’t about me having my perfect Easter. It is about Christ and the amazing gifts he gave me – Grace and Mercy.

Easter Sunday is the day to pray for healing, hope, and patience during this time of turmoil. Easter Sunday is about bringing peace into my life with the help of Jesus who died for me, on a cross, bore my sin, felt my pain, and then rose above it all. That’s hope beyond any hope I could ever imagine.

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Taking Back Hope, Joy, and Gratitude

Genesis 3:19 “By the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Humbling statement.  God’s staunch reminder to Adam that He created Adam with His own hands from the dust of the ground, and he will return the same way wasn’t just aimed at Adam, but at all of us now. When Adam and Eve chose their will over God’s Will, God rebuked them and handed down their punishment.  He didn’t pat them on the back and tell them that it was okay.  He didn’t send them to time-out to think about what they had just done.  He didn’t offer a way out.  He dished out severe punishment for what they did.  Punishment that would haunt their ancestors.  After all, if God would have handled this any other way, it would have set the precedent for all of us.

We all could sin and safely feel that God would forgive us with no repercussion whatsoever.  Some people do feel this way, but Genesis tells us a different story.

When we begin to think that God is all kind and cuddly, we have lost the story of the Fall of Man in our hearts.  The Lenten season should be a reminder to all of us, that we live in a fallen world and we must fight our way through societal demands in order to do God’s Will.  Lent is the time to remember that we need God first in our hearts, not our own selfish desires.  Let’s face it in this day and age that is an uphill battle.  In Lent we are preparing for a battle.  The battle that Jesus fought off in the Garden of Gethsemane.  The battle that prepares us for the Crucifixion.  The battle that will arm us for the world.

This lent is different than any other lent in my past.  The battle is on.  I have a daily battle within my soul to either do my will or relinquish to God’s Will.  This creates an uncertainty in my heart.  I am trying to conquer my selfish desire to live in this materialistic and egotistical world.  I really want to see God’s beauty in the horrific struggle, but yet all I can see is my own battles. I am struggling to see that we are all in the same boat. I can’t seem to get past what I am facing.

Battling something without a face has proven to be one of the most difficult tasks of my life.  Watching the stock market crash is beyond scary.  The uncertainty of my job and my husband’s business is, well let’s just say, heart attack material.  Each day is a torturous journey.  I step out of bed into the unknown.  The media steals every inkling of hope I had the minute I turn on the tv or read the news. I feel robbed of my hope, joy, and gratitude.  It all seems so unfair. How can I take back my hope, joy, and gratitude? How can I stop wallowing in my own self-pity?

This reminder of Genesis 3:19 gives me a deep understanding of who I am and where I came from.  I am dust.  I was created by God, and I will return to Him.  God has given me great instructions on how to live in this world, not of this world.  When I choose my own selfish desires, the punishment will be difficult.  God will not sugar coat it for me.  I think this is something we are all coming to realize – #March2020sucks.

When we choose ourselves over God, our life becomes more and more difficult.  We cannot understand why we are faced with challenges and struggles all the time.  We cannot understand how life is so unfair.  We cannot comprehend that we chose the wrong path, or maybe the wrong path chose us?

This coronavirus is not a punishment from God, it is an opportunity.

It is an opportunity to look inwardly.  God is granting me with a gift today.  I can step out of bed in fear, or I can jump out of bed with hope.  I can find the unfairness in this whole ordeal, or I can find the joy in an ordinary day.  I can dread the day’s events, or I can find hope in the simplicity of things.

It is not a coincidence that his all unfolded during Lent.  Jesus spent 40 days in the desert in order to comprehend our human agony of sin.  We are spending at least 40 days in the desert of quarantine and facing the uncertainty of the unknown.  This is what Lent is all about – taking a look at our lives and making necessary changes to become better people, better neighbors, better co-workers, better parents, and most of all better Christians.

Does this mean that Lent is all fire and brimstone?  Absolutely not. Lent is hope.  We have hope that we can do better.  We have hope that God will help us out of this dark hole of uncertainty, and HE WILL HELP US.  The ladder is on its way to save His people. 

I have no doubt that He is coming, but while we are waiting, let’s figure out how to imprison that robber that stole our hope, joy, and gratitude.  Let’s remember that we are in this together. Look around. We are a community that can ban together and do great things, amazing things. Let’s take back our hope, joy, and gratitude together. We need to change the headline of this story. Let’s change #March2020sucks into #March2020offershope

Phillipians 2:14-16  Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

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