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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Dare to be Joseph

Matthew 1:16, 18-21 and Luke 2:41-51

God’s humble servant, Joseph, is a model for all of us. Joseph did as God asked even when it was hard. His acceptance of Mary’s pregnancy was the first time we see Joseph push aside any plans that he had and accept God’s new plan. As Mary and Joseph flee to an unknown place in order to save their child at God’s command, we begin to understand this seems to be a pattern for Joseph. Lastly, when Jesus, a young boy at the time, decides to stay back in Jerusalem without informing his parents; we see Joseph’s patience. After searching for many days, they find Jesus in “His father’s house.”

As the mother of three children, I can tell you my humble service and patience is certainly trailing behind Joseph. Accepting that God has a new plan for my family and me would be tremendously hard. I am pretty darn positive that I would not have handled the twists and turns that Mary and Joseph had in their life quite as Godly.

As I look around today, in the quiet solitude of my house at 5am, I realize that my plans for my life have been drastically changed. I have about 50 emails in my inbox of stores closing for the next two weeks. I am avoiding the newspaper because it reminds me daily how much my plans have changed. My heart pounds throughout the day as I try to figure out how to navigate my new life, my stressful job, and at the same time, be a loving mother and wife. I don’t think its possible.

Reading these scriptures today gave me hope. I realized that God’s plans are way better than my plans. He does sometimes lead me through the troubled waters, but guess what? My plans would have led me through a hurricane.

I think my problem is I believe I know a way better path than God. God can see the whole picture – the past, the present, and the future. He sees everything in the right perspective. He is not blinded by any storm that hits. He knows its coming.

It’s kind of like an air traffic controller leading a pilot through rough weather – only better!

When I lead through the storm, I cannot see the big picture. I have no idea what lies ahead in the future. I have no clue what is going on for everyone in the present, and I can only see my own past.

It’s like me sitting in my house and leading a pilot through rough weather. I am thinking the pilot would not enjoy that experience so much.

So, why do I keep doing it? Why can’t I just dare to be Joseph – a humble, patient, God-trusting soul?

It’s scary to let go. It causes me anxiety to allow God to help me through the storm.

Yet, look at it logically. He sees it all. I see nothing but me.

Joseph was amazingly loyal to God. His trust saved him from a life of misery. His trust kept him on God’s path. His trust navigated him through a storm and away from a hurricane.

I pray I will dare to be Joseph today, tomorrow, and everyday that lies ahead.

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Let There Be The Light

And the darkness came.
It came with what seemed like no warning
Yet the people didn’t see
Along the way there were signs
Small ones.
Large ones.
Like all signs they were too ordinary to notice.
The people were
The darkness chased them into their homes.
Inside though, something odd happened
….they found The Light.
It wasn’t lonely or sad, but comforting, almost hopeful.
Light filled their homes.
The light shined so bright it was contagious
The neighborhoods shined with The Light too, everyone shined with The Light
People smiled
And found hope.
Hope spread all around
Darkness slowly slipped away
House by house
Neighborhood by neighborhood
City by city.
The Light shined so bright, pushing them out of their homes, forcing them outside so they all gathered together once again.
Hand in hand they conquered the darkness.
Not by themselves, but with The Light.

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77 Times

Matthew 18:21-15

Today’s scripture was on forgiveness. Peter questions Jesus on how many times must he forgive someone. “As many as 7 times?” Peter questions. Jesus’s answer, “I say to you not seven times, but 77 times.” Jesus continues on with a parable of how a master forgave the debt of a servant. When the servant went on with his day, he found one of his own servants who owed him money. He choked and scolded the servant. His attitude was one of stubbornness instead of “paying forward” the forgiveness that he was given. The inflexibility he showed a fellow servant was hard to swallow especially after he was just offered forgiveness from his master.

God gives us forgiveness all the time. He grants us complete access to Him even through our sinfulness. All we have to do is ask for forgiveness.

Yet, we find it so hard to forgive one another? Why is that?

As anxieties run high during the next few months of quarantine, we have to remember that everyone handles stress in very different ways. While some may be kind and patient, others may be on edge and make cutting remarks. We still need to forgive and be patient with one another. For the first time, we are all in the same boat. We are all suffering and worried. We are all fearful and anxious. We are all tired and facing the unknown. This stress may show outwardly with tears, with shouts of anger, or even with impatience of others.

77 times…

Yesterday, my sister told me of a grocery store dilemma she had. She was waiting in a long line with her cart of stuff, when she realized she forgot orange juice. The line was pretty deep, and the orange juice was just down the aisle. She ran and got a carton, and came back to her cart which had been pushed aside by another customer. The customer scolded my sister for shopping while saving her place in line.

77 times…

Teaching has been rough lately. Finding time to be with my family who are now all home and balancing online school life is stressful. Some mornings I wake up and just wish I could crawl under my bed and go back to sleep. Some mornings I just wish the governor would cancel school for the rest of year, so at least I would know what to plan for each day. My spring break will be working to come up with creative ways for my students to learn at home. My email is blowing up with messages all day long with questions and concerns. Sometimes these questions are nice and understanding, and sometimes not so nice.

77 times…

I tend to get frustrated with the President and his lack of communication. I get so angry that Congress cannot figure out how to handle this financial crisis. It makes me infuriated that we cannot all work together to solve this huge problem. My first thought always goes to… it is all about politics, not the people.

77 times…

Yesterday, our church closed down completely – no Mass at all. The fact that this virus is now taking away my one peaceful day of the week made me want to explode. Are we caving in to this thing or are we being safe?

77 times….

This scripture today opens my eyes to the beauty of forgiveness. When we don’t forgive, our hearts are not completely available to God’s grace. Our stubbornness hardens our hearts, and we cannot see the beauty that God is offering us. Some days God makes it easy for us to see his beauty. During the next few months, as days become weeks, and weeks become months, it is going to become increasingly difficult to see the beauty that God is offering us. All of us need to do a little housekeeping in our hearts, so we are open to some rainbows along this long journey. Forgiveness is one way to open our hearts. Confessing our sins is another. Praying for God’s mercy and constant care is invaluable.

People will struggle to see good. I do. If we all want to be witnesses to God’s beauty during this trying time, we have to begin to forgive each other. Not just 7 times, but 77 times. Maybe even 777 times….

Watch for some sign of God’s grace today – through another person, through a problem you solve at work, or maybe just through forgiveness.

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Healing the Sick

In today’s reading of 2 Kings 5:1-15, we find Naaman, a commander of the Aramean Army, suffering from leprosy. The disease that for so many was a sign that you had done something horribly wrong to offend God. Naaman discovers (from a servant of his wife) that he could be cured, if he just went to see the prophet in Samaria. What does Naaman have to lose? He travels with his master’s (the King of Aram) permission to see the King of Israel. As the King laughs in Naaman’s face, the prophet in Samaria hears of this. Elisha (the prophet) calls Naaman to come see him. When Naaman arrives Elisha tells him to wash himself in the Jordan River 7 times until he is healed. Naaman was infuriated that Elisha had not called on the name of the Lord and made a big scene to heal him from his leprosy. His pride was clearly hurt. Naaman’s servants see this and come to reason with him, so Naaman relinquishes his pride and does as Elisha says. As he does the simple task that Elisha gave him – washes 7 times in the Jordan – Naaman’s leprosy is healed.

What does this have to with us? What does this have to do with our circumstances today?

It’s pretty clear that God does not send a big firework show and shout from the roof top when he is rescuing us from our sickness, our fear, and our struggles. He slides into our life, disguised as someone we may not know, to send help. Little things matter.

Our life right now is turned upside down. Many of us are facing circumstances that feel a lot like Naaman’s life. Naaman was well known as a great commander. His problem was he had this stigma that no one would get passed. Many of us are in the same boat. We are good at what we do, but no one notices because we are so sick from something that is causing people to stay away. Naaman’s sickness was leprosy. Our sickness is so much more – fear, distrust, and loss of control. If we just put our pride aside, and let God intervene, then life could be so much better.

What healing from God are you missing out on because of your sickness? What people are trying to help you that you have ignored or pushed away?

Have you allowed your fear to block you from receiving the joy of healing?

Even something simple like washing in the Jordan 7 times could change our life forever. Don’t push away the simple changes. Don’t push away those who can help you get through this time. Don’t brush off people who seem to have simple solutions. Those ideas, those changes, those people may be God calling you.

Be awake and alert to what God needs you to do. Take your focus off yourself and listen to God. In times of stress and fear, it is easy to concentrate on all the wrong things. Concentrate on God, so you don’t miss something simple that might just change everything.

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Finding Trust

I love a good Christian film.  Some weekends I will snuggle up in my bed with my family and we will watch a good movie.  One day we came across a movie called “The Encounter.”  It is based upon five strangers meeting at a road block.  Jesus leads them into a silver bullet diner where he is the cook and waiter.  Each of these people has a story when they walk through that diner door.  They bring in their baggage, their anger, their fear and their knowledge of the bible.  Jesus confronts them with all of their pasts.  He confronts the truth.  He makes them look inward at their true faith.  He unwraps the good, the bad and the ugly.

In order for God to be my vine, I have to give it all to Him.  I have to uncover the truth of my life, my selfishness, and my faith.  If I don’t do this, then aren’t I being the vine? 

John 15:4 (NLV Version)  Get your life from Me and I will live in you. No branch can give fruit by itself. It has to get life from the vine. You are able to give fruit only when you have life from Me.

Interestingly enough, I have been struggling with trusting God lately. I am fearful, worried, and fretting about my future. The coronavirus is slowly infecting my faith life. My trust is slipping away, and I am allowing this viral infection to take it down. I realized today that I need to let God do His work. He is molding and working on all of us right now. This virus can speak volumes about how we handle situations when things get tough. Do we count on God for help and guidance? Do we try to eradicate it all on our own? Or maybe do we try to ignore it and hope it just all goes away?

If we were to be judged at heaven’s gates by how we handled this enormous struggle right now, what would that judgment look like? Would God be patting you on the back for a job well done? Would he be beaming with pride for how calm you stayed while He did his work? Would he point out all the people you inspired with your encouraging words?

There is so much good to be done during this enormous struggle. We should be spreading love and trust instead of instilling fear and anger. I have been talking to all my family, and I realized that my words have not been encouraging. In fact, my words have not shown my faith or my trust in God. I came to the conclusion that my trust had been lost, and it was all because God was no longer my vine. My vine was the media, the government, the newspaper, and most of all….my fear. I haven’t been inspiring anyone with my words. I have been instilling fear. I have been taking people down my road of distrust that is filled with burdens and heavy loads.

I fear the unknown. I fear death. I fear sickness. I fear for my children’s health. I fear for my husband. I fear that my kids won’t get home from college. I fear that Katie will have horrible seizures if she gets sick. I fear so much…so much that I have lost my trust in God.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.[a]

I have been far from submitting to him. In fact, I have been pretty much submitting to fear. I certainly have been leaning on my own wisdom – which really hasn’t done me much good. Honestly, it has created even more fear in my heart. Returning to God and trusting in Him is not going to be easy. It is going to take tremendous time in prayer, reflecting on scripture, and a whole lot of conversation with God. Life is difficult when I let fear take over. It stops having purpose. It becomes a burden. With God though, life becomes filled with joy even in the midst of struggle. I need that. We all need that. God is the ticket out of this scary coronavirus. Just remember John said it perfectly in his scripture….

John 3:30 He must become greater. I must be come less.

As I begin to head backstage and allow God to work within me once again, I know just like those customers in the diner that I can unload my burdens at Jesus’ feet. You can too. Don’t wait. Find time for Him. Share your fears. Share your anger. Trust in Him. He will straighten that path for all of us. We can beat this together, but God must be the vine that saves us all from this heavy burden we are all facing.

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Brick Walls

“The end is never the end; it is only the beginning.”Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver.

I have read this book over and over.  As I sat this morning, reflecting on this passage, I couldn’t help think about my own brick walls.

Brick walls cause an abrupt stop, a confusion of the mind, the immediate need for a decision or new plan, and sometimes a scream for help.

Yesterday, we spent quite a bit of time with our daughter, Katie’s, doctors.  Katie was diagnosed with a seizure disorder at the age of 1.  For 13 years she has found inventive ways to deal with these seizures.  Brick walls are part of her life and she has a knack for finding ways around them that has always inspired me.

I honestly do not handle brick walls quite as well as Katie. In fact, yesterday was a rough day for me because it was a devastating brick wall. Or maybe I should say it seemed like a brick wall we had already journeyed around. Repeat brick walls really frustrate me. Having the doctors tell us that they could not see the seizure activity was rough. Hearing Katie doubt herself about whether or not she really had even felt a seizure was heart breaking. Acknowledging that we may have to try another medication on top of the almost dozens of meds we had already tried was defeating.

Brick wall.

New plan needed.

Katie’s only options were trying new meds and more testing. More testing that will involve at least 5 days in the hospital – and could lead to a possible craniotomy. Well, let’s just say it was a brick wall, I wasn’t ready to hit.

So, this morning as I read those words…

“The end is never the end; it is only the beginning.”

I realized that this brick wall is not an ending, but a new beginning. Stay with me here, because this was a hard one for me to wrap my head around.

God has given us an opportunity for a breather. We don’t need to rush with the testing. We can sit back and allow the new plan to settle a bit. Even if we wait a year to move forward, Katie will be fine. In a year, things in the medical world may change. New procedures are always happening in the Epilepsy world. Changes abound all the time. Just in Katie’s lifetime there have been amazing advances in creating seizure free opportunities.

This brick wall could be a game changer for Katie. In fact, it may open new doors of opportunity that we never realized.

I am not going to lie. I am still mourning the pathway that was blocked. I still wish there was an easy way for Katie. I am constantly saddened that life is so hard for her. I wish – just for once – that things would work out for her the way I had planned (this would be my wish to control everything).

I have to have faith that God has control of this, and He loves her more than I could ever imagine.

Katie told us in the hospital that maybe all of the things that she has gone through will somehow help someone else (down the road) that has these same issues. Maybe, just maybe her brick walls were created to open doors for someone else.

Now that is powerful.

If only I could see a brick wall as a new beginning as clearly as Katie.

The end is never the end; it is only the beginning.”

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