Tag Archives: hope

Are You Still Dreaming… Or Are You Ready If Jesus Comes Today?

Last night I dreamed The Rapture came… and it happened just like that… just like the Bible says it will. In the middle of eating and drinking, I’d gotten up from the table, and suddenly screamed, “What was that?!” I felt as if a cat had scratched the bottom of my feet. As I looked down, expecting to see a black furry cat under the table, the sensation in my feet caused me to rise. But I wasn’t the only one. My precious little daughter, and my dear, sweet friend, Kim were rising too…

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all—so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Luke 17: 26-30 English Standard Version).


I’ve always had very vivid, detailed dreams. And though I often get frustrated at feeling I can’t hear from God, He often speaks to me through dreams. In this dream, my family was upset, because we had moved to a huge, beautiful new mansion; and someone had broken in and stolen, of all things… our giant Christmas tree! Also gone, was our alarm unit. It had been torn from the wall, and the thief had escaped with that also. In the dream, we just so happened to be having an open house for all the neighbors, and we were leery of a few strange characters who seemed all too suspicious and creepy. They were showing up looking like cartoon characters, and they were offering odd tokens and weird foods.

In the dream, my husband and adult sons had decided to go outside, and take a look around at the grounds, checking for signs of foul play. Meanwhile, I lamented the new house to my friend Kim, who was sitting at the table next to me. I told her we shouldn’t have moved there. Her comment in the dream both shocked and convicted me: “Well you did say you didn’t like your house…” Immediately the words from our friend Rick’s sermon came back to me: “Your life will move in the direction of your strongest thoughts!”


Rick was the wonderful guest pastor at our church last weekend. He had discussed how powerful negative self-talk could be, because it comes from the enemy. He had given us the tools to capture negative, destructive thoughts: “Identify the thoughts, take them to Jesus, find out if the thoughts are true or false!” Are your negative thought true? Are they backed by scripture? If not, change the negative talk to a biblical truth. Rick had expressed how important it was to get rid of the devil’s thoughts, which are lies; and to instead focus on the truth of God’s promises. 

My dream echoed my real-life experience, as I realized how negative I’d been when things had gone wrong in the house. In my dream, I asked God to forgive me for my bad attitude, and to help us figure out what to do in our hopeless situation. Most people can relate to how violating it feels to have something stolen. You wonder who it was, why they did it, and will they come back? It’s all the more reason to have a Savior who promises to watch over you and care for you. In real life, things had been going wrong continuously and quickly with our real-life house. A lot of things had needed fixing; including our real-life alarm system! I’d become filled with regret at the decision we’d made to move, to the point of wishing we were back in the house we now rent out; which is beautiful, but too small for our family. It felt like it took forever to accomplish any project in our new home. When I awoke this morning, I realized I’d have to repent in real life as well!

In my dream, we’d been eating, drinking, visiting with friends and (albeit strange) new neighbors, along with taking care of business, when suddenly I began to rise up into the air. Kim was rising up too! Where’s my daughter? She was there beside me! She was rising right beside me! I pulled her close to me. “It’s happening, Baby Girl! It’s really happening! We are going to be together forever. Stay with me. Don’t go looking for anything!” “Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house” (Matt. 24:17 New International Version).


We went higher and higher into the air, still in the giant house. We were safely away from anyone evil, as we hovered near the ceiling. I scanned the dark floor below for others, getting a sense that many of the new neighbors were not rising with us. In a moment of panic, I wondered where my husband and sons were; but then I was filled with immediate peace. They had gone outside, which is why I didn’t see them. They were not to come back in. “A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat” (Matt. 24:18). We’d meet the rest of our family soon. I knew their hearts, and I knew they were saved. As we hovered, I yelled out to anyone listening: “Don’t go back for anything, don’t go looking for anyone!” 

For the Bible tells us Jesus will come and get us: “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt: 24: 23:24).

I woke up from that dream before Jesus came to get me. But the amazing thing is I knew he was coming: for me, my family, and my friend. And I knew Jesus was coming to get everyone else who had recognized their sinful nature and asked Jesus to come into their hearts. I was also ready with a clean heart. In my dream, I had humbly asked God to forgive me for being ungrateful, when my friend had pointed it out to me. I wasn’t afraid. I knew my loved ones were going where I was going… because my loved ones know Jesus. And in real life, I know I need to always repent for my ungrateful attitude… even if things are going all wrong. And in real life, I know my loved ones are going to Heaven when it’s time… just like me. 

Are you ready if Jesus comes today? Yes? Then  no matter what problem you are encountering today, the silver lining shines bright for you. Your problems will disappear when you get to Heaven. If Jesus comes before you die, he will take you there! Matthew, Chapter 24 contains a detailed account of the return of Jesus, with clear, concise directions to follow. If you don’t know Jesus, the silver lining lies in your inviting Jesus to live in your heart today, so you can begin a relationship with God’s Son! Here’s how to make that happen now: HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

Dreams can be crazy, but they are also the way we sort through problems, questions, anxieties, hopes, memories, and yes… our dreams!  Most dreams come from our own mind, evil dreams come from the devil; and prophecies and messages and joyful dreams come from God! Today I’ve shared with you a dream God gave me to share; so you can know His Son in real life, and have eternal life with Jesus in Heaven. “See, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt. 24:25).


Related Posts:

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR SEEKING JESUS

AVOID BEING DECEIVED IN END TIMES

Give God Your Failed Plans…God Prospers and  Encourages Us with Silver Linings, Smiles, and Truth

Sometimes you’re feeling down, maybe really down… and your eyes light on something out of the blue… something that makes you smile. Today it’s one of my daughter’s simple deer drawings. The notepad is lying open, because she’s working on her book, in my room, on the floor… because she never likes to be alone. They are all over the house, the books she creates… millions of them! She’s already the author and illustrator of many animal books about puppy dogs, deer, and lions!  If you’re struggling today, I hope this brightens your day; I find that children’s art always makes me smile. I love the innocence and cute charm of their simple pictures, don’t you? 

Today I can choose to look for the silver lining… the many gifts God gives me in spite of my struggles. There’s a mockingbird chirping outside of my window. Her mate has been feeding her yellow flowers all week long. It’s been so much fun to discover the male sitting atop our shed, being the lookout, then sailing into the woods, only to return and dash in to please her feeding her the delicious food he has found just for her. She’s chirped for him to come when she’s hungry. We’ve watched in awe at how he’s taken care of her. We laughed as I tried to capture the beautiful moment, only to see her “poop” on the deck. My daughter and I laughed until we almost cried! It was the silver lining in a moment that was not perfect.

I had perfection in mind for this weekend, with everything laid out exactly how it should go. But I forgot, as I still sometimes do, that my God doesn’t work like that. Everybody has free will, and because of that free will, there will be interruptions and problems which may interfere with my plans coming to fruition. But God’s plans always come to fruition, and His plans are the best, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I know this is how God works, but I forgot this weekend. I became extremely discouraged when a family argument prevented us from getting something completed that I felt was extremely important. 

And now as I write, God is at this moment revealing to me that He allowed it; not only because our family needed prayer time more than project time, but that He wanted me to see that this is often the struggle my husband has. My husband wants to “check things off the list.” He is learning that his list often does not coincide with what God wants him to do first. Well… in experiencing this frustration for myself this weekend, I realize now that God allowed it, so I could experience all the emotions my husband experiences when he doesn’t get to “check off that important item.” This helps me to better understand my husband, so I can keep praying for him. It also provides my husband an opportunity to empathize with me, because he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t get done.

God has a different checklist in mind than ours. His checklist is less about things getting done, and more about people’s hearts being changed to be more like Jesus. It’s a guarantee that if it comes down to a project getting done, or prayer time for hearts to be changed, God is going with the heart. Maybe we need to be less about getting things done, and more about spending time with God so he can change us. Yes, God cares about our projects too; but He cares more about our individual walk with Jesus. He cares so much, that when He knows a stormy argument is going to cause an upset, He provides the silver linings along the way; to give us hope, and to encourage us so we won’t give up! 

During the weekend which did not go as planned, God planned His gifts ahead of time, because He knew I’d need them to keep my spirit afloat when I felt myself sinking. Because of my abusive childhood, I tend to get extremely discouraged when there’s a family argument. I begin to listen to lies that tell me no one cares and that I’m not loved. As a child scapegoat living in a completely dysfunctional home, I was blamed for everything; neglected and ignored, told I should feel guilty, and that I ruined everything. The problems were not even about me. But when circumstances come along that feel familiar, so comes a spiritual attack, and I will feel myself drowning in discouragement. Though I’ve learned to battle the lies with the truth, sometimes I forget to use my power and authority in Jesus Christ and tell the devil to sit on a tack! 

The only way to chase away those lies is through prayer. Why? Because we can’t count on our emotions. Evil spirits lie to us, and strive to cause strife, division, and isolation in our families. But as my husband reminded my whole family last night; because our kids are fed and clothed and live in a nice clean house, some people may think from the outside that our family has it all together; just as people might have thought my family had it all together when I was a child. However, the truth is that all families struggle, but there is a vast difference when Jesus is in the middle of a family, as opposed to when he is not. My husband remarked that though Jesus was not at the center of my family when I was growing up, Jesus is at the center of OUR family now! All five of us have received Jesus into our hearts, and we all desire to have a relationship with him. 

Therefore, Jesus has always been with our family, even when we’ve been on different walks in our pursuit of him, and even when we haven’t understood how a healthy family functions. For, neither of us experienced God’s truths taught in our families; the truth that we are completely forgiven for all of our sins, the truth that we can battle lies with prayer, the truth that we are loved and cherished by God unconditionally, and so much more! We are creating a whole new generation for our children and children’s children; as we all pursue God and learn together, and find that we are loved beyond measure! Because our family pursues Jesus, and because our family prays together, we can have hope, and be encouraged that God is taking care of us through it all! 

And God knows we need tangible proof of His love for us. After all, we are only human. A huge silver lining that carried us through this weekend was an on-the-spot invitation from our dear family friends, as we left church. It came when George said, ” Hey! Do you guys wanna come over later for a barbecue?” My daughter couldn’t wait. She was watching the time, and asked if our friends still had their cats. They did.

It was the most delightful evening we’ve had in a long time: laughter with friends, delicious grilled chicken, and another unexpected guest to add to the fun. My precious friend, Kim, even served homemade strawberry shortcake in honor of my boys’ belated birthday. She also served my husband’s favorite; rhubarb sauce. We even had the heavy whipping cream at home, which we were gratefully able to contribute, because my husband had bought some the day just the day before. We don’t normally have this item in hand, but we bought some to use with our new ice cream maker. God even cares about the tiny details! The night ended with everyone hanging out near the chicken coop. The chickens’ silly antics made us laugh. Their individual personalities came out, and many of them enjoyed being carried or sitting on laps! It was just a really special night, when another family made our family feel important and loved. God orchestrated that! 

I know that it’s these silver linings on which God wants me to focus; not the hardships, even though it’s difficult when you  feel those strong emotions, and the lies feel so true. Though yesterday was tough, there was an absolutely glorious sunset last night, reminding me that God is Lord above us all; watching over everything and everyone. And right before I went to bed, a text message came from my pretty, cheerful friend, asking if she could take my daughter today for a play date. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and with a girlfriend my daughter absolutely adores! Now I will have some time to write, clean, and be creative; which I’ve been trying to do, but just have not been able to find a slice of time that works for me. Even though things are far from perfect, the silver lining which shines brightest, is knowing my family is pursuing Jesus through it all… every single day… together. 

I pray for you to find the sweet silver linings today, which God has already gifted to you in advance, because he wants to bring a smile to your face. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be dismayed. Remember this: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:11-12 New International Version).


I’m going to meet with God today, and ask Him to brighten my day, and the day of anyone who reads this message of hope, truth, and encouragement. Today, I pray God reveals many of the silver linings He has prepared just for you, in Jesus’ name. May God continue to brighten my day… and yours!  

Jesus Is INSTRUMENTAL to your Healing!

No one can tell me there isn’t a GOD! God gave my son a MIRACLE! He gave my dad a MIRACLE at the same time! They are no longer sick. They have been healed! JESUS IS THE MIRACLE! Repent, and ask him to come into your life!

I posted this good news to social media, on March 27, 2014; three years ago, and as a ‘butterfly blip’ on my blog. How timely, to discover it again during this Easter month, when I’ve chosen the theme of HEALING. 

There is more to share about our family’s trial of suffering through the terrible diseases of eosinophilic esophagitis, cancer, and a pulmonary embolism resulting in three brushes with death. There is much to say, in order to offer hope to those who’ve given up because they’re so sick; and to tell them how Jesus heals generational illnesses through the simple act of forgiving through Jesus Christ. Those stories, and more, will come. 

But today, it’s the day before Easter! And I want to tell you that Jesus is The Great Physician! He is a Miracle Maker! He can do what no earthly doctor can; simply by choosing to answer our prayers! Doctors, nurses, and medicine are wonderful things. Of course they are, for they only came about, because God created them. God guides doctors’ hands and gives them wisdom. God fills nurses’ hearts with compassion and knowledge. God creates men and women with intricate brains, so they can research and invent medines to help cure what ails us. 

But none of it works without God’s healing touch, and God needs none of it at all to heal us; when He can simply reach down… and perform a miracle! The power of prayer and anointing makes modern medicine go farther… and it can also stand alone, leaving us in awe at what God can do without human intervention. Prayer and anointing bring us closer to God, and they point us to the Great I AM; proving He is solely in charge of our health. God can heal in an instant… but He wants a relationship with us. He wants to show us how much He loves us!

This is why, three years ago, I was able to write this post on social media!  And GOD gets ALL the glory! For both my son, and my father, had over 500 people praying for them to be healed. Both were anointed in the name of The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. And both… were mightily, and miraculously healed!

My Easter praise from 2014:

“Praise the Lord!

My son is in remission from his Eosinophilic Esophagitis!

There are no eosinophils (white blood cells) in his esophagus. Zero!

No signs of damage. Complete remission!
God is so good!


How interesting it is that God’s timing for healing my son is at the same time that God’s saved my father’s life!

It is true that God does things in a big way (abundantly).

Both my father and my son each have more hurdles, and they both each have a big one, but God is good, and I’m excited about the plans he has for us!

“The LORD sustains them on their sickbed and restores them from their bed of illness” (Psalm 41:3 New International Version).

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 ).

Thank you everyone for your prayers!”

That was my message in 2014, and I believe in it three years later, more than ever! So, go ahead; make your appointments, and go to the doctor. Do not neglect your health, which should be high priority; as we care for our children, parents, and ourselves. But in doing so, do not spiritually neglect your health. I’m not talking about “meditative states,” “colorful energy,” or “sending positive vibes.” These actions do nothing; and in fact, can cause both believers, and unbelievers, to stray from The Truth. I’m talking about reading healing scriptures from the Bible, praying to God,  and pursuing The Great Physician; Jesus Christ! NOW we are talking about HOPE for HEALING!

Take your suffering, pain, illness, infirmary, sickness, emotional distress, depression, incurable disease, hopeless dire situation… and LAY IT BEFORE THE FEET OF JESUS, AT THE CROSS, FIRST! Then go where God tells you to go, and take it one step at a time. Let Jesus carry your burden. He has already promised to do it for you!

” ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light’ ” (Matt. 11:29-30).

Now I must get some sleep. For it is almost time to enjoy “Easter in the Park,” where my now healthy son, will be playing music under the gazebo with his twin brother… ALL to serve GOD; so children can enjoy the day hunting for colored eggs, and most importantly, learn about Jesus Christ… The Miracle Maker!

Trust in Jesus to heal you… and give you VICTORY! 

GOT JESUS? He’s got enough love for YOU too! Here how to get to know him! HOW TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART, AND RECEIVE ETERNAL LIFE!

Visit The Silver Lining Facebook page for even more encouragement on: HEALING, by other Christian authors, poets, and bloggers as well as myself.  I invite you to join my page, and invite others, so they can be lifted up by godly truths founded in scripture; which when applied, can change, heal, and save lives!  

Read more blog posts on HEALING!

Original link:  Looking Back on Easter Miracles

Guest Post by Brandon Adams: It Can Come Out Of Nowhere

God’s miracle can come after decades of nothin’. “I haven’t given up hope, but…”

I was catching up with a friend. She and her daughter have seen a rough stretch. Death in the family, countless unanswered prayers. Though my battles were different, we reached the same conclusion: the last fifteen years had not gone as we’d hoped.

When you go that long with something wrong, your mind finds ways to deal with it. The most common is to assume that this is how things will always be. This is how God operates; this is his modus operandi for you. Every year offers hope. But it always ends with disappointment. The last go-around didn’t bring any breakthrough, you reason; why would this one?

“I haven’t given up hope, but…”

We know in our hearts that we shouldn’t throw in the towel. Still, our hope features a “But”. We’re not sure we want to put our hearts out there. Not again. It might just be easier to Gethsemane this one and move on.
And yet…

“…a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, ‘If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.’ Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering” (Mark 5:25-29 NIV).

We read this story and go, “Wow, all she had to do was ask Jesus and he helped right away. One ask, one touch. If only.”

But that’s not the lesson at all.

Think about it – this woman went through twelve years of the hope-and-disappointment roller coaster. Every doctor she’d visited had promised a cure, along with fervent prayers that at last God would move on her behalf. Every time, the hope crashed. No explanation.

This woman, right up until the moment she touched Jesus’ cloak, was me and my friend. Years of desolation. Not only was she stricken, but the search for a cure had left her destitute – and ceremonially unclean on a daily basis. Trial spawning other trials. She was alone and shunned. Thousands of prayers fallen on seemingly deaf ears.

And then…one brush of Jesus’ robe and all was well.

After twelve years of heartache, none of which seemed to point to anything ever being right again…the rules changed in a touch. A new life in every way.

Because of her uncleanliness, she risked everything by entering a crowd. Had she considered that this prophet, this healer from the very God who had implemented the Mosaic law, might not appreciate being seized by an unclean woman?

Well, she went anyway. There was no “but” affixed to this woman’s hope. Only audacity could have pushed her through the disappointment and the crowd, an unbowed “maybe this time,” made stronger, not weaker, by the years.

The crippled woman from Luke 13 suffered at Satan’s hands for eighteen years. The man who washed in the Pool of Siloam had been blind from birth. Veterans of disappointment.

For the man at the Bethesda pool…thirty-eight years. In that society, thirty-eight years brought a man right to the twilight of one’s life expectancy. Yet there he was, beside the pool, when Jesus showed up. His years hadn’t keep him home.

I want that faith.

I cannot predict what God will do in your life. Gethsemane is indeed the end of some prayer roads.

But I can tell you what kind of hope Jesus wants in us: no “buts.” These stories of double-digit-year waits weren’t canonized by accident. Whatever breakthrough you’re praying for, it can come out of nowhere, unexpected, even on the heels of years of wearying, mystifying frustration. Indeed, I might even dare to say that it’s really more about the faith then the breakthrough.

I want my dear friends to see that, to jettison the “but” and look to each day with hope. It may be tiring; it may require courage to hope again.

But if this is how Jesus wants us to live…

                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~

By Brandon Adams, blogger for millennials seeking the abundant life of Jesus!

Brandon Adams is a millennial who’s passionate about finding the Jesus of the Bible, without manmade filters, the blessings and the burdens both, and sharing him with a thirsty generation. He especially has a heart for Christian singles, as the church’s last twenty years of singleness teachings have not done them justice. You can find his hopefully coherent blurbs over at http://brandonjadams.com.

To find out more about Brandon and his Christian singles’ ministry, and to contact him, or subscribe to his blog;  click here:

About Brandon J. Adams

For the link to Brandon’s original blog post, click here: 

It Can Come Come Out of Nowhere

Thank you, Brandon Adams, for giving The Silver Lining the privilege of guest posting your beautiful work! I find your blog to be: powerful, inspiring, and encouraging to both single, and married Christians!  Readers can look for more of your posts to be shared in the future, on The Silver Lining Facebook page.  May God continue to bless you, Brandon, with wisdom and knowledge, in the name of Jesus Christ! 

Blessings, 

Angela Royse Pelleman 


Healing is a Journey…

Your healing may not come all at once. God first has many important things to teach you. These lessons are necessary for your growth as a Christian, and will prepare you for the greater spiritual battles you will face on earth. While you wait to be healed, ask God what He wants you to learn along the way. He will not disappoint you.

God does not want you to be sick, depressed, or injured. But what God does want to do; is take your time of pain and suffering, and show you how to turn it into joy and freedom in Christ! This is because He loves you! If you ask God for wisdom during your trial of illness or long-suffering, He will give it to you freely. It will all be used to: benefit your life, draw other people into a closer relationship with Jesus, and glorify God’s name! 

Be patient. Trust God; and take Him with you as you travel through the thick, stormy clouds, in order to reach your bright destination. For only Jesus can show us the silver lining; which lies just up ahead, at the very next stop!

“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt.9:35-36 New Living Translation).

The Unexpected Joy of REST

I never expected God would fill me up with so much joy, at the exact same time I’d be recovering from major back surgery! I’m two weeks into recovery, and God has been lighting up my life! Now don’t get me wrong… it hurts! The pain is intense. Just when I think the pain is beginning to diminish, it either comes back, or starts up again somewhere else!

But God has a sense of humor, and He knows what He’s doing ALL the time! I wasn’t listening as God tried to convince me to slow down. I needed rest, and it just wasn’t happening. As my body kept breaking down, God continued to urge me to rest in Him, but I believed rest was a waste of time. I did NOT believe God was a waste of time, and I’m so in love with Him for being patient with me. I just could not sit still and allow myself to soak up His Holy Presence; but I needed it… His rest… more than sunshine. I know that now.

I wrote about God, I looked up His verses and studied them, I listened to the words He said to me and wrote them down to encourage others, I sought counsel for things I didn’t understand, and thanked God for my elders wiser than me. I humbled myself and admitted my shortcomings, forgave others even when it hurt, and continued faithfully trusting God, even when it didn’t make sense… but I refused to… rest

I told myself there wasn’t time; there was too much to do, and moments of rest were moments I could be accomplishing something. But the accomplishments were never enough, and every night I was still filled with self-condemnation, even when I had worked my fingers, or my back, to the bone.  The voices from my past always left me feeling guilty and unworthy, like I must keep going to prove myself. But I was now at the breaking point. I was exhausted, and truly tired of suffering, and I just couldn’t break the cycle. No one in my precious, immediate family pressured me to keep going; in fact they all insisted I take a break and… rest. So did my dear friends. And I knew they really meant it. And I knew they were right. But the green light always said, “GO.”

And finally I began to get the message. I wasn’t taking care of myself, because I had never really learned how. During childhood, I’d been made to feel ashamed for doing well and for doing nice things for myself. So somewhere along the line; a long, long time ago, I had given up. I hadn’t given up on caring for my family, but I realized I had stopped caring for myself. I didn’t take the time to enjoy a book, write poetry, eat healthy, paint my nails, and just “stop and smell the flowers.” 

I was doing everything for others, and nothing for myself. When I had time to myself, I didn’t use it wisely, because I felt it was useless. As a child, I’d taught myself not to get my hopes up, because I was constantly let down, and penalized for doing things that made me happy. Of course my children gave me great joy, so my focus was there. I just found our family seemed to be always doing something on everyone else’s agenda, and never anything on our own; or mine. If I didn’t start taking care of myself soon, I wouldn’t be able to take care of those I love the most…my family members. And I wanted to be there for my friends and sisters and brothers in Christ, the way God has helped me to be there for them before. 

I began to make the necessary decision to take things off of my plate, and get serious about my surgery, and get serious about dividing my time equally in caring for both my family, and myself. This meant saying no to lots of things. I wasn’t concerned about not being liked, for I had discovered boundaries a long time ago, and am no longer into people-pleasing. I’m into pleasing God!

The hard part was giving up the couple things I had chosen to keep, like my Sunday School class and freelancing for Child Guide magazine, where I’m both a columnist, and a regular contributor. But God met me here too! I saw my daughter light up when she went to my friend’s Sunday School class and was welcomed by name with a cheerful smile. Yes, she wanted to go back! And my friend and editor of the magazine, kindly worked with me, as she always has, so I could have this season of rest and recovery, without any pressing deadlines.

Even though I was getting the message, the week before my surgery, I was frantically cleaning the house and calling in the troops to help me. Though I knew I should probably be relaxing, because my body would be enduring a lot of stress from the surgery, I stayed up late into the night two days prior to my surgery, instead of… resting.  Though my family promised to take care of me and did indeed do everything  I requested, I was determined to make sure my bedroom would be a sanctuary of peace for my recovery. When I got home, I wanted to make sure I would be able to… rest

Besides,  Pshaw! I could rest in the hospital after my surgery! Um… no. I didn’t realize then, that the post-operative pain would be so unbearable, I wouldn’t sleep a wink! Yet, I found myself joyfully writing a blog in the hospital that night instead. But this time, in spite of the excruciating pain, I could feel my body… resting. Even though I couldn’t sleep, I felt relaxed in my mind, because I knew that I was finally going to get a chance to… rest… and I was desperate to do so. 
 
If I could easily kneel down; all the love, support, and encouragement (which is still coming my way) would have already humbly brought me to my knees. Instead, our family has appreciatively gathered, and bowed our heads each evening, thanking God for warm home-cooked meals;  made by loving hands, and serving hearts. We’ve asked God to bless these beautiful women and their families, from my church and town. We’ve told God how very grateful we are for His provisions of delicious food, enjoyable visits, and playdates for my young daughter who is homeschooled; so she can remain happy, busy, and active with friends while I recuperate.

I’ve been able to bask in the warmth of the sun, while enjoying God’s beautiful flowers as they spring forth during my favorite season;  in anticipation of my favorite holiday… Easter!  What could be a more perfect time for rest and rejuvenation?  I’m so thankful that Jesus died for me, so that no matter what lies ahead; my future, my family’s future, and the future of my Christian brothers and sisters; lies secure in our salvation through Jesus Christ!

Why am I so surprised about the immense joy which has come my way in the midst of pain? This isn’t some crazy coincidence; for God’s timing really is the best; and He knows when we most need the presence of joy. He prepared me for it, and without a doubt He gets the glory for the healing he is bestowing upon me, both inside and out. Because, the fact is, hundreds of brothers and sisters in Christ have been praying for me for a long time, and I’ve been anointed by both my pastor and my husband. Anointing is powerful, and we should expect good things when we receive the gift of it. After all, it’s a holy blessing from The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit!  

In the pain and suffering, God has provided the silver lining: family, friends, fellowship, food, and… rest. I hoped for it… and it came… just when I needed it most! So as I heal, I continue to TRUST HIM, because hope in Jesus does NOT disappoint! “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:1-5 New International Version).

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).


Spring is a time of joyful, new beginnings! I pray you know the truth; that our hope lies only in Jesus, so you can find healing, joy, and freedom in Christ! May you enjoy the warmth of the sun, the beauty of colorful flowers, the hugs from friends, and the joy of holding a soft, downy baby chick! May you receive Jesus, and have peace in knowing you have eternal life! AMEN!


Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Family that Prays Together…

The Family that Prays Together…

Yesterday marked one week into my recovery from back surgery. God announced His goodness by giving me a beautiful, sunny spring day to enjoy! I was so happy and excited! My twin young men cleaned off the umbrella table, and untied the chairs which had been stored for the winter, hoisting them effortlessly onto the back deck, so I could sit and breathe in the fresh, clean air. My daughter was suddenly more interested in her school books, which were filled with clocks, verbs, and Venn diagrams. She cheerfully grabbed her pencil, because we were going to have school outside for the day. I gazed at the breathtaking view of our backyard, thanking God as I soaked in the blooms on the pear and cherry trees. My favorite was the brilliant cobalt of the Blue Ridge Mountains, which will be barely visible when the trees become dressed in their shiny, green summer leaves. 

What a lovely day for my daughter to play on her swing set, and jump on the trampoline. It was ideal for my husband and me, as we walked down the driveway, for my first outdoor excursion since the surgery. Perfection! NOT! … Because Christian families who pretend that everything is perfect and merry all the time are… well, quite frankly… lying. For suddenly there was strife and squabbling, unexpectedly, out of the beautiful deep blue. There was anger, pride, rudeness, and a black cloud where the sun had been shining only moments before. And then from Mom (yeah, that would be me) there were some not-very-nice-words,  and no… not the tears! There can not be tears from Mom; she never cries in front of anybody! She learned it years ago… people don’t care about you… so do not let them see your tears! For if you do, ferocious wolves will rip you to pieces! But suddenly I didn’t care that they saw the tears. I knew I was hurting inside and out; and I needed to cry, even though the tears made me vulnerable to… (oh no!)… REJECTION!  Brave, courageous, strong Mom, had succumbed to a sobbing, inconsolable mess of… tears

But this time, I recognized the attack for what it was… a spirit of strife. I also recognized the lies: The day was NOT ruined, my family was NOT going to let me deal with this alone, this was NOT my family from childhood; so my precious family here at home was NOT going to make fun of me or be mean to me for crying, and the devil was NOT going to ruin this day for my family or me! I pondered the truths: This is my family who supports, encourages, prays for; and loves me unconditionally. This is my family who helps me run my blog: proofs and edits my drafts, rescues my computer crashes, updates my computer, gives me ideas, creates special images, poses for my photos, and patiently gives me tons of time… while I write my blog! This is my family, and they support my ministry, as I do what I love! They are on board with me, and I am on board with them! We are in it together

We gathered for an amazing dinner; one of my all-time favorites; chicken tacos and chocolate chip cookies, which had thoughtfully been prepared for us by my sweet friend, Rita. We told the devil to “Get out of our home, and off of our property, in the name of Jesus.” You see,  even my little girl has the power and authority to tell the devil to get lost. Why? Because we are God’s children and we have… privileges

Because we recognized the evil spirits, which had come to do battle on the land God gave us, we were prepared to fight. We repented of our sinful nature, asked God and family members to forgive us, and repaired some issues which needed to be dealt with, so that our bond will remain unbroken, and more closely knit than ever. We are a family unit, which God has put together for a reason, a purpose, and His calling. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that there is a spiritual battle each and every day, with the intention of destroying each one of us, and ripping our precious family apart. That old saying; “The family that prays together, stays together,” is true! It’s our family… and it can be your family too! We are a force to be reckoned with, a bond which is to remain unbroken, because God is our Father, and we are His children. 

“Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate” (Mark 10:9 New International Version). This verse applies to marriage, but it applies to our children too. Because, when it comes time for them to leave us and create their own families, we will also be grateful for the ones God has chosen to be a part of our lives, and we will fight for them too. Hence, our strength in numbers will be even greater, and there will be even more love to go around! 

Pretending everything is perfect isn’t doing anybody any favors. But knowing who is at the center of your family, and keeping Him there… IS! The rest of the day was filled with the sweetness of apologies, forgiveness, relief, comfort, laughter, laughs, cuddles, and hugs! We also repaired something that had broken down in our family… a way of communication which was, in actuality, hurting everyone. But it wasn’t something that could just simply repair itself. It is something that requires the never-ending mercy, grace, forgiveness; and unconditional love of Jesus Christ; who is alway invited to our table, and welcome in our home. For we are children of God! 

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God” (John 1:12-13).


#knowyourrights  #eliminatestrife #childrenofGod #Jesusbemycenter

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Follow or subscribe to The Silver Liningso you don’t miss the posts on the topic: healing; including an article on how to help your family heal and keep a close knit bond with one another. One or two encouraging posts will be delivered to your inbox each week.  God gives me wisdom and truth to share with you as a gift. The only way to receive it, is to open it; just like receiving Jesus’ free offer of salavation ( except that’s waaayyy better!). So please open your email from me, while you enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, and think about how it relates to your own life. If you feel it will benefit a friend, feel free to forward the link. Leave me a comment or send me a message to let me know your questions, thoughts, or prayer requests. I care about you; yes, even you whom I do not yet know; and I want to use my life experiences and the words God whispers in my ear, to give you hope for healing too!  Your heart needs to heal in order to have the life of freedom, peace, and joy God intended for you to live! Also join my Facebook page,and please invite your friends to receive daily inspiration and encouragement through Jesus Christ! 

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When You’re Sick, God Shows Up… Because He’s Already There!  

Exactly one week ago, was the big surgery day. For a while, I’ve thought the surgery was long overdue, but now I can see that God planned it to be this way all along. I want my family, friends, readers, writers, church, and even very kind strangers; to know that last week God showed up… He heard all your prayers, answered many of them, and more answers are on the way! 

I already know Jesus is the Great Physician, and I know He is a Miracle Maker. I’ve witnessed miraculous recoveries among my own family members. So I know God is good… and I know He shows up. But I needed your prayers, and I want you to know that prayer is powerful! I want the people in my life to know that there is great power in being anointed by your pastor, and your spouse, and any Christian who comes faithfully asking for your healing in the name of The Father, The Son, and the Holy Spirit. This is because we do the serving, but God is The One showing up. “Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord” (Jas. 5:14 New International Version).


I first hurt my back in 8th grade. My best friend and I were choreographing a dance, and as I moved to bend over at the waist, I was shocked to find myself stuck. I couldn’t straighten up into a standing position, so I lay frozen, awkwardly flat on my back, on her bed for a half an hour. I was terrified. She was worried about me, so she said she was getting her dad. I was afraid of her dad, so I managed to stand, while wobbling and leaning against her, and she walked me home. There was no attention given to my injury, and no doctor appointment. I just remember gradually getting better over the next several days, and hoping that this scary event would not happen to me again. 

God must have had mercy on me, because it didn’t seem to be big deal to anyone but me and my best friend, and she couldn’t help me. God gracefully healed me, so that I remained active in gymnastics, volleyball, and cheerleading. I had more problems with asthma, and my bad knees, than with my back. But over the years, my back would give out, and I’d be out of commission for about three days. I got used to it. It was just a familiar part of my life. I finished college, got a job teaching, got married to my husband, and finally became pregnant with twin boys. 

The double pregnancy was in itself, its own trial, forcing me to continuously keep my eyes focused on the silver lining that lay up ahead. It felt like death was at my door; I vomited for five months straight, 30 times a day, losing weight fast. Though my precious boys were very tiny at 2 lbs. 15 oz. and 3 lbs. 5 oz., my back was never the same after that difficult pregnancy, which at 29 weeks, brought forth immense joy… I was blessed with the most beautiful premature baby boys I’d ever seen! 

I began to exercise in order to get back my trim figure. I’d always been skinny, but I was just looking to get back to the size I’d been before my pregnancy. When I threw out my back again, the doctor told me to stop doing the exercises where I had to lie on my back. Unfortunately, this meant most of the ones from my routine, which was actually beginning to flatten my belly. I became discouraged and stopped exercising altogether. I couldn’t go walking either, not until my husband got home from work, and by then we were both exhausted from caring for two babies who continued to fight for their lives. To go anywhere, we had to lug a heart and lung machine monitor for each one, and an oxygen tank for one of them. It was just too much. Even with staggered help and support, our new, little family was so very tired. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt.11:28).


When my boys were two years old, I threw my back out and ended up stooped over, unable to stand straight. People around my small town knew me by my young, stooped figure. Physical therapy got me standing agaian, but it also began years of constant MRI’s and X-rays, physical therapy, chiropractors, pain management, steroids and epidural injections. One office told me they weren’t giving up on me, but they just didn’t know how to help me find pain relief from my herniated disk. A trial run of burning the nerves in my back, showed the right spot had been found, but since the practice run gave only short-term relief, the official procedure wasn’t considered long-term treatment for me. I was so discouraged, because as the lidocaine ran through my body, I was exhilarated to be able to bend over and touch my toes with no pain whatsoever for an entire hour. It was short-lived. 

I headed “over the mountain,” towards the city, where most people from my small town tended to find higher quality care, when facing more serious medical issues. I found a great doctor; one I really liked, who was compassionate, honest, and thorough. He was also truly dedicated, and determined to find alternate procedures in an effort to prevent the inevitable… surgery. I was diagnosed with lumbosacrial and cervical spondylitis; a painful condition resulting from degeneration of intervertebral disks in the neck and lumbar areas, myofascial pain, degenerative disk disease, osteoarthritis, and more. There were steroid and epidermal injections, trigger point injections for muscle spasms, and lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy to treat facet joint pain or sacroiliac joint pain caused by my degenerative disk disease. My doctor performed a discogram, and the extreme pain confirmed that my damaged L-5 disk was indeed the culprit, along with the S-I joint. He even injected methylene blue, which surprisingly brought about 30 percent relief, for just a couple months, but overflowed and spilled out, because there was so little room in the shrunken disk. 

After the procedure, my body got chilled, and I had to lie under warm blankets for an hour. I shook, and my teeth chattered. I don’t know if it was shock, or the effects of the procedure, but I knew I didn’t want to ever have a discogram again, or go through anything like it.  There were other possible procedures which we decided against. My doctor didn’t feel confident enough that they would work, and didn’t want to waste my money. I was sent to one of his colleagues for Platelet-Rich Plasma treatments, where so many vials of blood were taken to use my platelets, I lost count. Neither procedure took; in fact one damaged the ligaments in my coccyx area, and three doctors verified it was because mistakes had been made. I had another extremely painful procedure to try and repair the damage. I was basically bedridden for three weeks afterward. I was tired of hurting. All. The. Time.

Right after my precious daughter was born (thankfully I had survived another bout of unrelenting nausea, which left me bed-ridden for four months) my son became extremely, chronically ill with Eosinophilic Esophagitis; a debilitatating disease with no cure. He was my main focus, and I put my own health on hold, as any mother does who earnestly prays and diligently searches for relief for her beloved children. Our new baby girl brought us joy in the storm, a beautiful distraction from the sadness and pain of the sickness. Three years later, God chose to miraculously heal my son, when I was out of state caring for my father who had cancer. It was emotionally and financially draining to be away from my family for three flights out of state that summer. My surgery and our addition would have to wait; for God had something else in mind.

I was away for a sum total of two months, but God is faithful. He healed not only my son, while I was away, but my father too. Both had been anointed and both had approximately 500 people praying for them. God showed me the healing power of forgiveness that summer, and He showed me that my children are in the best hands always… His hands! I went home exhausted, and in chronic pain, but with love in my heart, and no regret. I went back to teaching Sunday School, but finally had to take a break. I’d become very, very sick; unable to do anything at all. I knew I had picked up something serious from being at the ICU at the hospital, and from being sole caretaker for weeks at a time, around so much sickness and suffering. I was right; the diagnosis finally came: a staph infection in my sinuses. I was truly running only on Holy Spirit fumes. 

My back surgery had already been put on hold several times. I was still dealing with plantar fasciitis, which caused severe pain in my feet when I walked. I also continued to battle pain from the degeneration of the two disks in my neck. I also had emergency shoulder surgery, because of rotater cuff syndrome, along with a bone spur and arthritis in my shoulder, which prevented me from lifting my arm above shoulder level. The shoulder surgery was successful, though it required prolotherapy treatment to fully heal. During all this time, I continued to homeschool my children, run to even more doctors appointments for all of us, and teach Sunday School. It seemed there was no relief in sight. I began to wonder if I was supposed to sacrifice my life until I dropped. If Jesus did it, maybe I was supposed to just keep going, even though I felt like my body was breaking to pieces. But how would that be good for my family who needed me?

God told me it was time to rest. He let me know that Jesus already sacrificed his life for me, and I was not meant to run on empty. My husband supported me, and said it was time to take care of myself.  I realized I’d put things off, because I’d been taught to feel guilty for doing nice things for myself. It was so ingrained, I even felt guilty doing the very things I needed to do to save my own life. There’s never a perfect time, yet the time was perfect. I’d already met with several surgeons over the past few years. I met with two more, and chose the surgeon my doctor had highly recommended I talk to, before making my final decision about going through with the surgery. He correctly insisted I needed an expert, someone highly proficient and skilled, experienced and specialized in complicated back surgeries. I was grateful to both of those last two surgeons on my list, who had confirmed a completely collapsed disk, validation that there was nothing there to support the bones which rubbed against each other every time I moved. The rubbing irritating nerves, and my spine’s instability was indeed causing excruciating pain. 

So here I lie, writing while recovering, grateful for the love and care being shown to me in the midst of this trial. I want those who have been praying for me to know God has heard your prayers, and is already giving answers (good ones, because it is the only kind He gives!). My surgeon said the surgery went “perfectly!” Well, Jesus was there, after all, so perfect is a great word choice! My surgeon said I will now be taller, because I was missing a disk before; and adding space has given me more height. How cool is that? My daughter is tall, and I love that I can tell her that I’m now taller too!  

I’m doing well, in spite of being tired and dealing with pain. I’ve had a cage inserted into my spine with screws to hold it together. The cage is made of bone grafting material, which will grow into my own bone.  I’m very, very sore! The site of the injection hurts like crazy, and I can’t twist, bend, or lift more than five pounds. It’s going to take a while to feel like myself again, but… Praise The Lord! He brought me through it all! He even took away my anxiety, which is HUGE considering my past major struggle with the spirit of Fear! “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jer. 17:14).


I’m appreciating all the prayers, along with both the big things and the little things; because little things to me, are big treasures! May God bless everyone who has been here for me; near and far, who has taken time to offer up a prayer for me, and my family, in the name of Jesus. I’m taking you on this journey, not for attention or pity or popularity; or whatever other silly reasons are out there, but because I want God to be glorified in all of this! I don’t even know the end of the story, but I’ve chosen to JUST TRUST HIM! 

I originally wrote this the day after my surgery but did not complete and edit it until one week afterward. I now realize that God has wanted me to rest, while enjoying the love, support, and encouragement from family and friends. He has given me this time to prepare to write words centered around a theme of “healing” during the rest of Lent, and to provide others with hope in the midst of trial and storm. God has even led me to explore and share some wonderful writings from other gifted and talented writers, and I’m excited to see what He is putting together! He continues to provide confirmation via wonderful feedback from brothers and sisters in Christ. What joy it gives me, to be reminded that God is always in control; using every seed we plant to bless and minister to others, and grow His Mighty Kingdom. During this time of trial, God has been showing me the silver lining; connecting me to special people, giving me more ideas for the future of The Silver Lining, and letting me peacefully soak up the joy of how much He has already healed me, how He is healing me now, and the healing He is going to do in my future! It’s been a long time coming, but in God’s timing, everything is, well… just perfect! “He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering’ ” (Mark 5:34).

Pursue Jesus! Trust him to heal you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually according to his good and perfect will. Give God your body, heart, mind, and soul. Don’t miss your divine appointment; The Great Physician always shows up on time! 

Your healing can only begin through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Anything else is temporary, and short-lived. That’s because a good physician finds the root of the problem, and starts there. Jesus knows the answer to all our illnesses and ailments. In addition, he is a Miracle-Maker; someone no doctor on earth can truthfully claim to be.  For more, join The Silver Lining Facebook page, where encourage them, truth, and wisdom are posted every day! Also, visit my website. It is there as a gift to you! When you visit The Silver Lining homepage, click on the topic: Healing. Subscribe or follow, so you don’t miss truth-related blog posts that could lead you in God’s direction, which could actually help to save your life; both eternally, and here on earth! 

Blog posts directly related to this series on surgery and healing:

The Family that Prays Together…

The Unexpected Joy of Rest

Healing is a Journey

It’s Palm Sunday! Rejoice! 

The Healing Love of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

The Heart of a Child Seeks Wisdom

Last night, while praying with my family, and discussing the Proverbs, my seven-year old daughter reminded me that she wanted to read the Proverbs too! Convicted, I realized this was the second night in a row that she had mentioned it to me, and that I had not included her when I had invited my family, friends, and readers; to read a Proverb a day during Lent. Though we were reading her bible stories, I had not thought about taking her on this journey of gaining wisdom through my favorite book of The Holy Bible: Proverbs.  

My heart was touched by my child’s yearning to grow even more in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. She wanted to learn more about God’s promises,and His commands which protect us, and keep us from going down the wrong path. I read a few to her and explained them, while promising to find her a children’s book of Proverbs, because she also likes to read by herself. My young artist’s eyes lit up, as her little fingers reached for the thin pages of my coloring bible, as she realized she could also draw and color, while reading her way through the scriptures. I realized I needed to get her a coloring bible too!

I was filled with joy, as I took in the truth: Even with all my imperfections, my child is watching me walk with Jesus, and making the choice to walk with him too. Our family found out she knew Jesus, and already had a relationship with him, while she was yet only the tender age of three years old. My daughter showed a gift for discerning and understanding scriptures, forgiving easily, and  comforting others by perceiving their pain, along with ability to melt it away; even before her preschool years. She has wisdom beyond her years, and it is not credited to me; it is because God has given her these beautiful gifts. I marvel at them, just as I do at the gifts he has given to my twin boys, who are now young adults, and just as I see gifts within the children of my friends, and the children who have attended my Sunday school classes. 

The Proverb I read to my daughter last night happened to be: “These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise” (Prov. 1:4-6 New International Version). Never assume someone is too young to follow Jesus, for the innocence of children is clean and pure. They don’t have the dirt and lies of the world to spoil their view, so they can see truth and love more clearly. Share God’s wisdom, truth, and love with a precious child today! 


“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5 New Living Translation).

*Bible page pictured from Inspire ~ The Bible for Creative Journaling ~ NLT



Wisdom says Do Not Mock the Poor

When I was a child I was often made fun of for being too sensitive. When I was eight, I lived in Brindisi, Italy. There were breads and cheeses and fruits at the marketplace. There were beggars too, in extremely great need. I wanted money to give to the beggars, and was told we couldn’t help them all. Couldn’t we help just one? I wanted to put some lire in the cup held by the dirty woman propped up against the stone wall. I knew her life couldn’t be easy; for she had only one leg. She was a mama with a baby on her lap, and a toddler hovering nearby. From what I understood, we were not to look at them, or engage with them; we were to pretend that they were not there.

But I stole a look behind me anyway, wondering how her family would eat and drink, and how she would take care of her children if she couldn’t even walk! All I could offer to the beggars as a child, was a smile to their toothless smiles, and it was hard to do that when my heart felt like a damn about to burst from holding back all my tears.

The mocking of my sensitive soul continued as I got older. Even as an adult, I was again made fun of, for my concern over whether someone who had entered a restaurant in Washington DC, was hungry and in need of a meal. I was gauging the situation by watching a disheveled woman’s behavior, trying to discern whether my asking if she wanted a meal would be offensive to her, or accepted with relief. People who should have been guiding me all my life, laughed at me instead, joking by claiming that the woman actually worked in the restaurant; all while stuffing their faces with the overly expensive food. I was no longer hungry.

Another time, I was greatly distressed to find that the homeless, in a city in North Carolina, were being forced to wear orange vests if they wanted to ask for money or work, while standing at medians in busy intersections. While understanding that the fluorescent orange color could protect them from getting hit by cars, I remarked on the cruelty of these people having to make themselves even more visible, as if was not already humiliating enough to beg for work, money, and food. I didn’t care if they had their own camp over yonder and had “chosen” this way of life. I was angry about their plight, and disgusted with the city of Durham for being willing to pay for orange vests, when that cash could instead be used towards sheltering cold homeless people, putting warm coats on cold bodies, or filling hungry bellies with delicious comfort food.

I was mocked and laughed at for speaking my caring thoughts aloud. Unkind words were said about the homeless. It hurt my ears. When, I objected, I was told it was all “just joking.” Then why wasn’t I laughing too? I sat sullenly in the back seat, not caring two cents about being the party pooper. Didn’t anyone else care about the poor? This wasn’t funny. At. All. And I knew by then how to think for myself. I had already been helping those less fortunate than me. I had a heart for helping the poor; it was a part of me, and I was glad. “Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who rejoice at the misfortune of others will be punished” (Proverbs 17:5 New International Version).

Several years later, I found myself joyfully fixing food and serving a community meal at a local church. The poor came, and the homeless. They were hungry; in need of clothing, toys, supplies, and most of all… Jesus. My favorite part was after the meal had been served, when I could take a seat across from, or next to these broken people and listen to their heartbreaking stories. I got to know their names, pray for them, and hug them. It got to the point where I would recognize them on the street if I passed through town. One even came to the library to read books one day while I was there with my children. I was able to introduce my daughter to Miss Carol, who seemed to find great comfort in reading children’s books, so we talked about our favorites.

If these kinds of people and situations were supposed to be ignored, dismissed, mocked, and joked about; why did my heart swell with such tenderness when I had the opportunity to meet these people’s needs? Why did I feel such joy at being allowed the privilege of giving a little part of myself to hopeless, hurting people? It wasn’t the kind of happiness that comes from a perfect day, like your birthday when you eat your favorite foods, with your favorite people, and go to your favorite places. It was Holy Spirit Love for others, which fills your heart with joy and peace, because you’re fulfilling God’s beautiful, divine purpose. For Jesus came to bring life to the lost, and hope to those in despair. He lives within me, and nothing compares to being the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, and loving others the way he does!

And who is to say that my life couldn’t have been like their lives? What if I was the one in their circumstances? How would my life turn out? Yet, I realize now that though I never lacked for food or clothing or shelter, I was truly poor in spirit, for I lacked the nurturing, care, encouragement, support, and unconditional love; that a child needs to become a whole, happy, healthy adult. The silver lining is God knows exactly what we need. He will provide it through other people, resources, the Holy Bible, churches, or if needed… a miracle. And best of all, is God’s promise, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:13).


God commands us to take care of the poor, minister to orphans and widows, and to uplift and encourage the broken-hearted. It’s because God values everyone as part of His Miraculous Creation. You can’t be a Christian without caring for those less fortunate, for the Bible says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (Jas. 1:27)

When we become part of the family of God, we become part of God’s greater plan. I can’t help but think that if everyone obeyed God and gave a part of themselves to those in need, that no one would be poor at all, and then we wouldn’t have all these problems in the first place! But we are dealing with the fall, and sin, and broken people. Nothing will be perfect ever until we reach Heaven. But in the meantime, can’t we give a little, or a lot, of our resources to help our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to help those who need to know Jesus to find him?

Someone’s greatest need may financial, physical, educational, or spiritual. A person may need food, shelter, Christian counsel, friendship, a bible to read, or a ride to church. We can use our gifts from God to minister to the poor. And if we don’t have much; we surely have our prayers to offer, which bring great results and rewards. Surely, we would not want others to make fun of us during our greatest time of need. We all want our basic and greater needs met. Isn’t God a good God to notice when we aren’t being treated right, when we are made fun of for being poor, or mocked for caring about poor people? It’s insulting and unacceptable to God!

So, do not heed the lies, all you compassionate and brothers and sisters in Christ; keep on caring, giving, sharing, encouraging, and loving others! Be beautifully sensitive! These are gifts from God to share with others! For we are ALL made in His image! God will bless both the giver and receiver, and everything will be used for His glory!

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased” (Hebrews 13:16).