My Reflections

WHERE WILL YOU STAND? (Part 1): Faith


The ground moved under our feet, all too quickly.

As a teacher, this summer break has been very different. Before the summer of 2020, summer has often included times of fun with others, a possible vacation away, and moments to relax, refresh and rejuvenate after a school year of teaching. It meant more carefree times. Instead, at least for my family, we have been largely isolated to do our best to stay safe from COVID-19.

Our schools were only three days into Spring Break, before the nation was essentially locked down. Life, as we had known it, had changed and it felt like someone had kicked our collective knees out from under us. We knew the virus had impacted the eastern part of the world, but too many of us believed or hoped that it would never land here.

Suddenly, we all began to feel unsteady.

Within two weeks, we shifted from traditional learning within school buildings to teaching and learning remotely online from the youngest of students in elementary school through colleges and universities. Educators, students and families all had to shift accordingly.

Businesses, of all types, began closing down. Those who were fortunate enough were able to shift into working from home. Food and supplies became scarce in stores, as hysteria appeared to take over and people began buying in large quantities with the intentions of hoarding. Medical workers and grocery store workers became heroes, but they also were getting put at great risk, even with governments setting up mandatory face mask wearing protocols when out in public.

Without knowing what the future held, as a worldwide pandemic made it to our hemisphere, fear set in among our citizens, right here in America.

The virus changed our world, and we didn’t know what would shift next.

Prior to the official start of summer, I lost my mother and my grandmother in a matter of two weeks due to COVID-19, each having died in two different states while I was in a completely other state. There would be no time to gather with others to console one another. There would be no memorials or funerals, with hopes for the ability to do this in the future. This would follow about a month later with the loss of my father-in-law and us joining the memorial virtually.

Losses like this are HUGE under normal circumstances. This time though, we couldn’t count on the typical traditions we would typically count on during times like this, ones that often help to bring us comfort and support.

One thing I learned during those times, and as I continue to learn as we move forward, is that the virus has most definitely changed the world and how we are living. However, there are still constants that exist, in spite of the virus, ones I knew I could depend on strongly for the comfort and support I needed.

In my own home, my immediate family (both human and animal) were able to listen and help us process. They were able to provide hugs when we broke down in grief. When needed, they stayed near when all we could do was just sit quietly and allow ourselves to feel, think, and remember without any interference.

The virus changed our world, BUT FAMILY rallied together.

The gift of technology proved to play a huge part in helping us through the healing. We were able to spend time talking or texting on our phones, and more importantly video chatting with the rest of our family no matter where we each live in the country. In a time of isolation from most, this was a HUGE comfort and helped us to process further with those who also knew these important members of our lives. We felt like we could stand more steadily, after that.

As our entire life largely shifted to staying at homes and outside on our properties, many great and unexpected changes began to happen. This wasn’t just in our home, but also in the homes of many families’ living all over the country. Life began to slow down for most of us. We were having more time together, to engage more with one another, to make have actual home cooked meals more regularly and together, and our pets loved having us around more.

The need for using apps, like Zoom, caused many to catch up and stay more in touch with family and friends whether they lived a few houses down or across the country or globe. It appeared the gift of time had helped us remember that who is in our lives matter more than what is in our lives.

Life wasn’t entirely what we knew, and like most of you, I needed to find a firmer place to stand with so many unknowns ahead.

You see, way before COVID-19 ever emerged, my biggest comfort and support was one I was already very familiar with and one that had never let me down, even in the toughest of times . . . GOD.

I look up to the mountains—does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. The Lord  himself watches over you!The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever. PSALM 121:1-8

From the first time I ever knew troubled times existed in life, and every time since, God has been there. He was the One who has always held me close when I’ve cried out to Him. He was the One who has let me scream at Him when I have been frustrated or angry. He was the One who brought the perfect people to me, at just the right moments when I needed them. He was the One who reminded me of so many truths that not only have lasted the test of time through centuries, but have lasted the test of time in my own life from a very young age.

Getting my legs back didn’t change a lot of what was out of my control, but it helped me stand so much stronger.

I found myself using the time that was now freed up to talk with God a lot more. The ability to pray to the One who knows far more than any human ever could know, provided me with immense peace.

This peace was with me when my mother was in the hospital for over a week, without knowing what the outcome would be. It was with me on the morning of Mother’s Day when I learned of my grandmother’s death and soon followed by my father-in-law. It stayed with me as I did all I could to teach from my home, in a way that was not how any of us expected to finish the final quarter of the year that I was still reaching and supporting my students. That peace reminded me to trust my Lord and those He put in my life.

This peace was with me, anytime fear rose up over the unknowns of living life with the coronavirus now in it. Remembering Bible verses were a source of strength and peace. Having the luxury to read the Bible for longer periods of time provided me with peace like even my favorite novel cannot do. Talking and listening to God, in prayer, however and whenever I needed has kept me standing strong.

The virus changed our world, BUT GOD has never changed.

Little would any of us know that life would still have curveballs to throw at us. While my faith is usually strong, it doesn’t mean I don’t feel afraid. Every human does. With 24/7 news and social media providing continuous information and misinformation, along with photos and/or videos, faith has been the key to my mind, heart and soul remaining tethered through it all.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,”he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,”he said, “why did you doubt?”MATTHEW 14:28-31

There’s a part in the Bible, in Matthew 14, when Jesus sends His disciples to get into a boat while He dispersed the crowd of people they just finished miraculously providing for with food none of them had. Imagine the fear of hundreds of people not knowing when their next meal would be. Yet, Jesus provided for their needs and probably saved so many lives that day. He also increased the people’s faith that God saw them, God knew what they needed and God could provide.

Then, those disciples got into the boat knowing Jesus would catch up with them. After just seeing the miracle of food simply appearing in their baskets to give out until every mouth was fed, it was clear that had God seen them, God knew what they needed and God provided. Then, rather than waiting to catch up with the disciples on the other side or by following in another boat, Jesus was standing on the lake water itself and asking Peter to trust Him and walk to Him, on that lake.

What does this have to do with the coronavirus?

That moment has everything to do with the pandemic that we are still living with, in our nation and across the globe. Peter took initial steps of faith in Jesus Christ as he began to walk towards Him, but then suddenly, the human he was saw the wind blowing and his eyes went off Jesus and most likely looked at the water as he freaked out and cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Even then, the Lord saw what happened, saw the need and provided. Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. He knew Peter had faith, but like us, Peter also struggled during times of “rough waters”.

We have moments when we feel more at peace, as though God or even humans, have life more in control. We feel completely comforted and in full faith that life will work out and there’s no need to worry.

Then, we see the numbers rising again of those testing positive for the virus. We see that the new school year is right around the corner and worry as an educator, as a parent or loved one of a school age person or as all of the above. Masks are required to be worn again and some businesses have to close temporarily again, while others do so for good, not being able to handle the lack of money anymore. Events that were looked forward to get cancelled and sports are making major changes, as well.

We read, hear, or see all of that. Then, we have moments when even though we are still alive and may even have what we need, we feel our faith dropping. Like Peter, as changes continue to occur through these times, and we feel the wind moving and the water beneath our feet, we realize that while we may have faith, we also feel better feeling and touching the realities we are used to around us.

The virus is not greater than God.

This is why talking and listening to God, reading His Word for instruction, for guidance, for assurance, for wisdom, for how to handle whatever comes in life is so vastly important.

God is always with us, whether we acknowledge His existence or not. He sees us. He knows what we need. He provides.

His provision may not always make sense to us, like when Thomas the disciple saw Jesus alive again, after His resurrection, and needed further physical proof it was Him. Then after some time of rejoicing over His return, those who had seen Him after rising from the dead, soon came to realize that Jesus had to return to the Father. Imagine the immense confusion and hurt that brought on, not knowing when they would see Him again. Yet, their stories continue on with greater moments of faith that changed the lives of so many people in the world for His glory.

As it indicated in this Bible verse, we are truly blessed when we have faith, belief in God, when we cannot physically see His presence before us.

Why? Because, God knew that this pandemic would occur. He knew that we would be afraid at times, whether we have faith in Him or varying degrees of faith in Him, at times.

YET . . . GOD is far greater than anything life throws our way, even the coronavirus.

The virus doesn’t take away our faith.

For those of you who struggle to have any faith in God at all, the amazing fact is that we all have faith in something or someone at different points in life. While each of us continue to live our lives as best we can, He still sees us, knows what we need and provides for us.

When the dark news related to the coronavirus interferes with our lives, we continue to keep looking for the light. Most humans can’t seem to help it.

No matter what unknowns will come our way, pandemic or not, don’t give up. Have faith. It helps us to stand firmer, to keep going and to remember that better times will come.

The light exists and will always outshine the darkness.

Stay tune for the next part of this blog series. Keep the faith.

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My Reflections

TRUE LOVE – Proverbs 30:18-19, John 3:16, 1 John 3:16


It’s troubling how many marriages, both in and outside the Christian population, are failing. I know this is Valentine’s Day, but when I think about love, it makes me think of many things.  How so many people are settling for less than what love really is.

I understand that life is easier when you have the support of others, but we were made to be loved fully, unconditionally.  Yet, how often do we “fall in love” with those who only partially or under certain conditions, love us in return?  How many choose to love others selfishly, rather than selflessly, like we deserve.

How can I say we all deserve that type of love?  Because God gave up His only son, to love us as we were meant to be loved, fully, unconditionally (John 3:16).  He didn’t demonstrate His love to us, after we got all perfect and loved Him back as we should, as He is meant to be loved. He loved us with all of Himself, in spite of ourselves.

What better example do we have than that?  You may be thinking, “Yeah, that’s God. How can we be expected to love like that?”  We do it all the time.  It doesn’t matter what my kid does.  I will ALWAYS love her.  As often as I screw up, my husband still forgives and ALWAYS loves me, anyway.  We are even told that it is possible in 1 John 3:16, which says, “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Too often, we believe the fairy tales fed to us in movies and books, but we settle for whatever we can get, from others. It doesn’t have to be that way.  It shouldn’t be that way.

Proverbs 30:18-19 tell us:

“There are three things that amaze me—
no, four things that I don’t understand:
how an eagle glides through the sky,
how a snake slithers on a rock,
how a ship navigates the ocean,
how a man loves a woman.”

Do you know love that like that, love that just amazes you?  I’m blessed and so very thankful that I have a husband and others in my life who love me in a way that often amazes me.  That’s a gift, but it is a gift my Heavenly Father says I deserve, that He desires for us.  It’s a gift I know I deserve, because I’ve experienced it from knowing Him, and you deserve like that too, because He created you for it.

I may not always include a video like I did in my last blog or I am doing in this one, but this one is so perfect for this day, and for what I felt led to share with all of you. It’s by a young man named Jeff Bethke, who figured out what true love is all about.

As with all of my blog posts feel free to COMMENT, to FOLLOW my blog and to SHARE. I value you taking the time to read my posts.

My Reflections

You Know Me – Psalm 139


If people are honest, most want to be known, but are also afraid for too many to fully know them. Seems kind of odd, but really, it makes sense.  For some people, they are afraid of revealing too much and not being liked.  For others, they’re afraid of someone getting too close and then getting hurt by them, because it has happened before. Whatever the reason, every single one of us is known and loved.

Some of you may be reading this and thinking, “Yeah, right.” But, it’s true. Our Creator knows us better than we know ourselves. God loves us, even when we act or do things that others may find unlovable. Even when Christ was looking down upon those who despised Him, He looked up and cried to His Father, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24)  That is beyond our comprehension to look at others and feel such immense love, even when they feel none in return, but God feels that way about us.

In fact, even before you were born, you were seen by Him and loved dearly.  “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!” (Psalms 139:13-18 NLT)

There’s a story in the book of Genesis about a servant of Abram (later Abraham) and Sarai (later Sarah), named Hagar. God told Abram and Sarai that they were going to conceive, but when it took too long, Sarai decided to take matters into her own hands. She gave Sarai to Abram, so they could have a child. Then, what does she do? After Hagar became pregnant, Sarai became so bitter with her that she treated her cruelly, to the point that Hagar left.

At one point, in the midst of fleeing, God sent an angel to speak directly to Hagar. In Genesis, 16:11-14, we learn, “And the angel also said, ‘You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the Lord has heard your cry of distress. This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives. Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, ‘You are the God who sees me.’ She also said, ‘Have I truly seen the One who sees me?’ So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means ‘well of the Living One who sees me’). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered.”

A woman, who is never mentioned as knowing God, is not only shown that He saw her and He cared about her and even her unborn son.  Likewise, no matter where you find yourself in life, and no matter what you have ever done, God sees you.  He knows you.  He loves you.

If you don’t know Him and would like to, please feel free to leave me a message.  Having a relationship with God is one that will never fail you.  If you already know Him, but still struggle with the idea of others fully knowing you, ask God to help you.  You are His precious creation and worth being known.

Are there those who will desire to hurt you? Always, but there are also those who desire and will love you, for who you are, imperfections and all.  Those are the people who look at you, and see all the amazing things you have to offer others and to the world.

You are here for such a time as this (Esther 4:14), because God has a purpose, a plan for you and your life (Jeremiah 29:11).  This requires you to be known by others. Why? Because as they get to know, His desire is that they will see Him in you and want to know more about Him.

As my final word on this subject today, please check out this terriifc video that really shows the relationship God wants with us. It comes from the story of the woman at the well, in John 4:

As with all of my blog posts feel free to COMMENT, to FOLLOW my blog and to SHARE. I value you taking the time to read my posts.

My Reflections

TRUST ME – John 12:44-50


WHO CAN YOU TRUST?

Funny how we often want to have people in our lives we can trust, can count on, but then someone tells us, “Trust me,” and inside we hear, “Wait a minute? Trust you?  Why should I trust you?” Then your mind runs through every moment of mistrust ever done to you, by that person or any number of other people in your life.

We so desperately want to trust.  We even want to be worthy of trust ourselves. But, then we have those moments.  You know the ones. Those moments when we fail ourselves and let someone down. Those moments when even those who you should be able to trust with your very life let you down, and you wonder if trust is even obtainable.

It is.  John 12:46 says, “I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their TRUST in me will no longer remain in the dark.”  That’s a powerful truth. But maybe you’re still sitting there, doubting.

That’s a powerful image. Picture yourself in complete darkness. No light from anywhere, and you’re alone, without any clear indication of which way to get out, which way to go, to reach light. That’s a frightening thought, but we’ve all had those moments, those panic stricken moments.

So you begin doing everything you can think of to find your way.  You may try walking with your arms outstretched, possibly stumbling over things or smacking straight into a wall, feeling more and more pain with each attempt to get out. You may even begin to get down and crawl, something you haven’t done since you were quite young, but you simply don’t know what else to do. Even though you can feel your body being scraped and cut, as you try to make your way, you continue. You’ll resort to anything. You need to find a way, and there’s no one there to tell you what to do.  No one you can trust, to help you out of this dark place with no chance of escape.

Suddenly you remember. Wait a minute, there is someone to get you out of this dark place where you have nowhere to turn. Inside yourself, you mentally ask God, “Are you there? Do you see me? Can you really get me out of this?”

Then, as more time passes, and you keep trying on your own, with no results, you find yourself crying out, “Jesus! Help me. You tell us in Your Word that we can put our trust in You! Lord, get me out of this darkness.  I don’t know which way to go!”

Suddenly, the answer is clear.  You know exactly which way to go.  Jesus answered, and made the way out known to you.

God is always worthy of your trust.  Man may fail you. Friends and family will fail you, from time to time. But, your Heavenly Father, your very Creator, will never fail you.

When you’ve tried everything else, try God. Maybe next time, you will remember to trust Him first, and save yourself all of the bumps, cuts and bruises from stumbling around in the dark. He will never let you down.

As with all of my blog posts feel free to COMMENT, to FOLLOW my blog and to SHARE. I value you taking the time to read my posts.