I Hate Bats! Post 6 – From “The Getaway. . .”

I had looked at photos and articles in the brochures, pamphlets, and travel guides of the park, considering which sites Ron and I might want to see. Much to my distress, one article had a photo of a bat, which I immediately covered up by folding the corner of the paper over it. I hate bats! Repeat – I hate bats! Please don’t try to convince me of all the good things about bats. It won’t sway me. They remind me of demons. I hate bats. 

You see, the Porkies (Porcupine Mountains) have many old, abandoned mines – copper and iron ore. The article and photo I covered in a brochure, so as not to see, described a strategy conservationists of the Porkies are taking to keep bats from getting some white-nose disease. As you can imagine, I didn’t read the article. (I kept it covered – out of sight.)  So anyway, I said, “This is one site here in the Porkies I don’t care to visit.” End of story. 

It was not really the “end of story” because as we were driving up the mountain to the Lake of the Clouds (Click here to read my last Post 5), we stopped at a beautiful site where there was a small spot to park and to look out over the beautiful Lake Superior from quite a height. We walked to the lookout point. I took a pic of Ron and of the nearby sign.

It was lovely, BUT, on the opposite side of the narrow road, dug into the side of the mountain was an old abandoned copper mine, and – you guessed it – was the very site, placard and all, about the story of the bats. Evidently thousands come out of that mine shaft at night . . . you know the story. Another reason they remind me of demons – there are thousands, and they love to work at night.  – in the dark. Well, we “hightailed it” out of there!

Have you ever tried so hard to avoid something, like I tried to avoid the bat cave, but you run right into it? Sin is like that. Your intentions are good, but that devil just keeps chasing after you.

He’s dark – the prince of darkness.

His work is dark.

His intentions are dark.

His actions are dark.

My sin is dark.

Your sin is dark.

But Jesus came, and Jesus is light.

I just have to repeat it! Jesus came, and Jesus is light. He is the Light of the World. He brings light into our sinful lives – if we let Him.

The Bible tells us to submit ourselves to God and to resist the devil, and he will flee from us. Resist him, just like I “hightailed it” away from that bat cave. (Well, not really just the same – but you get the idea.) I’ve lived in the darkness of sin before – and you have too. I’ve come out of that darkness and into the Light: Jesus! Have you? If not, it’s time you do!

Learn more about how Jesus takes our sin away and makes us “children of light” at this link: www.kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer

And you can find more about submitting to God and resisting the devil if you do some further reading, starting with James 4:7 in the New Testament.

Mid Morning Favor – Post 5 – From “The Getaway …”

Contrary to the report on Ron’s weather app, the sun was shining today, so we drove up the mountain, 1000 feet above Lake Superior to the “Lake of the Clouds.”

With my Mama in 1955

It was a beautiful drive to the top of the mountain. And today, as we parked and walked the 100 yard embankment to the cliff above, years of imbedded memories surged in the form of droplets in my eyes, welling up and rolling down my cheeks. I’m sure that my daddy and mama would have never thought that the memories of this very place, which they had created within me and had kept alive through photos taken with Daddy’s new 35 mm Kodak in 1955 would stir up fresh within me all these years later. You’ll see me as the little blonde girl in the older pictures. See more pics below.

Until today, I had never been back to The Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains.

But I’ve wanted to.

I’ve hoped to.

And I’ve thought about it ever since.

This was a desire of my heart.

Today was the day.

Oftentimes God grants us the desires of our hearts. He loves to do so. He knows those things – even the little things – that will delight us. In fact, He surrounds us with His favor. His favor is like a shield around us. I had lived much of my adult life unaware or unknowing or not believing that I was favored by God, but about eight years ago, in the most difficult time of my life, I became cognizant of it. I believed the Word of God. And I embraced it, finally trusting that God loves me and wants to show me favor.

The Oxford dictionary defines favor as “act of kindness beyond what is due.” And that’s just what God did for me once again – at the Lake of the Clouds. He granted me an “act of kindness beyond what is due.” He allowed me to go back to a very peaceful time in my life, remembering all those years ago, on the edge of this same cliff but feeling absolutely no danger because I was protected by my Daddy and my Mama. And God allowed me to know the same serenity of this peaceful setting today, completely protected by Him, my Heavenly Father. 

My Mama 1955 (My Daddy stands in the same spot in the featured picture at top of post.
I’m standing in nearly the same spot as my mother – 65 years later. My heart is full!

Then He opened my eyes to see even more: the beauty of this place. He filled me with the joy of being there with my husband, Ron.

We hiked miles across the encampment and down to the base of the lake below. My heart was full-of God’s favor.

God loves to give you the desires of your heart. Ask Him. Then look for it. Sometimes it’s huge. Sometimes it’s in the little things. 

Undeserved. Unmerited. But it is mine. And it’s yours: the Favor of the Father. And it is all because of Jesus. Grasp it. Hold on.

Click here to learn to become a believer: https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

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Further reading: Psalm 37:4

With Grandpa and Grandma Locke, my mother, my brother Larry, Aunt Carolyn, and Uncle Dick. 1955

Early Morning Wisdom ~ Post 4 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

The Porcupine Mountains are unbelievably remote. Our campsite is at the Northeast tip of this huge state park; the mountains and thousands upon thousands of trees are in the middle; and Ironwood, the only big “town” in this part of the U.P., is near the Southwest end of the park, probably 30 miles “as the crow flies.” Click here if you’d like to see a map of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Porkies_Unit

Lake Superior covers all the north side of the park, and as I wrote in my Day 2 post, forests and small townships or four-corner villages border the south side of the park.  (Click here for a short video “Under the Radar – Porcupine Mountains”  to see the magnificence of this State Park – the largest in Michigan.) So in this park, I have no Internet connection. In fact, I rarely have cell service. Now, it’s easy to say, “So what? You don’t need Internet during this time,” but it’s quite another thing to actually be the person without it! That’s me. So without connection, I haven’t been able to work on my website or “post” my blogs as I had planned. Each day, Ron and I have gone to the “Welcome Center” here in the park, and I have lugged my laptop, connected to their WiFi, and worked on various writing projects for a while. We were headed there this morning when . . .

I’ll come back to this, but first I’ll touch upon the “Seeking . . . wisdom” part of the title of my writing series during this getaway.

Have you ever asked God for wisdom?  I know the Bible tells us to do so. And I’ve asked Him for it many times – generally regarding a specific issue, i.e. “God, grant me wisdom to know what decision to make . . .” We read that He liberally gives us wisdom when we ask. When I “titled” my series of pieces I’m writing during this getaway, I included “Seeking . . . wisdom.”

Anyway, that’s how I expected it during this getaway. I expected to gain wisdom from His Word. But this morning, the wisdom He gave was simply spoken directly to me – oh, not in a voice, as such, but . . . well, here’s how it happened:

We regularly discuss plans for our days here at the park. Ron always checks the weather forecast, so we know which day would be best to hike, which day would be best to drive to waterfalls and other points of interest in the park. You get the idea. Well, each day has also included a bit of time at a place near the entrance of the park where I can “connect” to the Internet and get good cell connection, as well.

Suddenly this morning, with maps on the table and the weather forecast in front of Ron, God spoke to me, you know, like I just mentioned above. It was like He was saying,

 “You should not be using this time to get ‘connected’ to the Internet. You should be using this time to get ‘connected’ to Me. And to get ‘connected’ to Ron. You’ll have plenty of Internet ‘connection’ time when you get home. Don’t use your getaway time, struggling for connection to anything else.”

I responded,

“Thank you, Father, for wisdom.”

You can ask God for wisdom, too. The Bible tells us He’s so very generous in extending wisdom to us. Wisdom speaks to us, gives us knowledge and understanding, blesses us, and so much more. It’s exciting to think of how He will give it to you. We know you’ll always find it in His Word!

Further reading: James 1:5; 

Proverbs Chapters 1, 2, 3, 4

You’ve just read Post 4 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

If you have not yet read Post 1, Post 2, or Post 3 from this series, you might want to click on each post to read them in sequence.

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If you’re a subscriber, look for Post 5 – “Mid-Morning Favor from God” withiin two days. Otherwise, find it on this site! Bless!

I think my plans are the best!? Post 3 in the series, “The Getaway: Seeking . . .”

Ron and I have a passion for waterfalls, so today we made plans to see five waterfalls in surrounding areas outside this huge park. We marked them on our map, set our gps for directions, and headed toward Ironwood on the Wisconsin border. Our goal: five waterfalls.

We saw one

It was just a mile out of the campground, the remaining four to be seen further on. This one was striking.

Now I know why the rocks are red here. It’s the iron. The water flows over red rocks. Iron ore was pulled out of these mountains for years. I suppose iron will always be detected on these shores.

So we were off to a good start. On to the next waterfall.

And we drove and drove and drove, seemingly following the directions in the brochure I had picked up on a rack, “Western Upper Peninsula Waterfall Guide.”

“Turn left on USSF222, which turns into 400.”

So we did. We turned left.

It was a beautiful drive down a gravel road through Ottawa National Forest. Miles and miles of beautiful. And of desolate. But it did not lead to a waterfall – or even to a river. Perhaps if we’d gone further?

We did not find that waterfall on the West Branch of the Ontonagon River.

On toward Ironwood we drove, enjoying the beautiful landscapes, slowly but steadily progressing to the next two waterfalls on the Black River, both of which I had marked in the brochure and set on our gps.

“North on Blackjack Road. Past the two gas line clearings. Park off the road.”

So we did. We passed the gas line clearings and parked in a low spot off the road.

No signs. Was it private property?

We did not find the upper and lower waterfalls on the Black River.

We drove on, stopping for lunch at a roadside park on the way. I placed a red-checkered tablecloth on the table , pulled lunch out of my vintage red picnic basket. It was a true picnic! As we ate, we enjoyed nature around us. A yellow butterfly drank nectar from an orange flower. We sat in the warm sunlight, at a picnic table, on the side of a small mountain, in a desolate area. Like the butterfly, we were drinking nectar – the nectar of the moment. We listened to the sounds of nature and ever so slowly started to unwind and leave behind some of the burdens we had carried with us to the north. Afterward, we drove on toward the waterfall on Planter Creek, but we never located . . .

“Wertanen Road on M-28 north after County 519,” so . . .

We did not find the waterfall on Planter Creek.

So we arrived back at campsite earlier than expected, and I stretched out on my new gravity chair, one I’d had for several weeks but had never taken the time to relax in. Now, in the warm, late afternoon sun on what had begun as a cool day, I was extremely tired. Soft waves lapped the red rocks. My body rested. Then my mind rested. It was the Sound of Silence I was seeking when I came to the north just a few days prior. The calm setting brought rest. Physical rest often precedes spiritual rest, the kind I’m seeking by dwelling in His Secret Place. I had made a day’s worth of plans of discovering and enjoying a number of waterfalls. My plans didn’t work out. Instead, I was beginning to find rest in an unexpected manner.

As I rested, reclined in a most comfortable gravity chair, in a most tranquil setting, I listened to His Whisper.

Jesus whispered,

“Kathi, you are good at making plans. But I’m better. Listen and I will give you the right answers. Dwell in my shelter and your plans will be great.”

Are you good at making plans like I am but realizing that most importantly you need to be listening to Jesus Whisper?

Further Reading: Proverbs 16:1,3; Psalm 91:1

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You have just read Post 3 – From “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

(If you have not yet read Post 1 and Post 2 from this series, click on each.)

And please look for Post 4: “Early Morning Wisdom” Click here to read, 

I Own This Property on the Great Lake (Post 2 in the series, “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

The dull but busy road we encountered yesterday in the Lower Peninsula changed to an unusually quiet stretch of lonesome highway as we crossed the large bridge and headed west, chasing the sun in its setting hours. It was like we had traveled back in time by some decades.

After an extremely anxious, sleepless night along the road near Escanaba, our northern trek continues. 

Upper Peninsula white birch differ from those in the Lower. The white is whiter. The blackened edges are blacker, and the trunks, although similarly straight, are heavy, bulky, bigger, as though they’ve withstood colder temps, stronger gales, and lengthier winters.

In this western corner – the stretch between the two “Greats,” Michigan and Superior, rests the remnants of a thousand emptied motels, a hundred abandoned trailer homes, and a dozen or more ghost farms, their barns fallen to the ground, their fences derailed. Bumpkin towns dot the way from one county seat to another. An occasional manicured lawn surrounds an attractive log or ranch home, reminding the traveler that some people choose this remote life, willing to trek a hefty distance to the “city” for necessities. Inwardly, I am a bit envious of their distanced life, wondering if they find a greater solitude and communion with God than I.

Finally the end is in sight, the end being the big lake, deeper than any of the five, and proven more dangerous and deadly. But today, it feigns innocence. It is calm and blue, enticing us to settle on its southern shore. We are drawn to its frigid waters, unlike the waters we know this time of year at the very opposite point of this beautiful state.

We have been placed on Site 22, between a small rise to the south and the lake itself to the north. Ron angles our little trailer east to west, causing our door and our largest window to open directly to the water.

It is the perfect view, and I am drawn to the water, so I step across flat-layered, red slate rock and reach to touch it, ignoring and forgetting for now the couple setting up their tent on the nearby site and the man across the way placing his American flag upon his teardrop trailer. Nothing else matters. At this moment, the site, the wild blackberry, the hard maple, which has pushed its way through the red rock, and the Lake itself are mine. I am the sole owner of this property on the Great Lake. And the joy of ownership fills my lungs as I breathe purified air thrust over miles and miles of cold, deep water. It is only mid summer, but I want to stay here until the waves freeze into small mountains of ice on this huge body of water, until the campground closes, and I know I have found a secret place of the Father. 

Our Father owns it all. I am His heir. Are you? He has asked you to be. Click here to learn more at https://kathiwaligora.com/become-a-believer/

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Further Reading: Romans 8:17, Galatians 3:29, Ephesians 3:6

Click here to read Post 1 in this series.

Look for Post 3 next in this series. 

Who is Traveling? (Post 1 in the series, “The Getaway – Seeking Sounds of Silence, the Secret Place of Rest, and Wisdom”

Today’s highway is paved, flat, barren, and ugly, but adequate and necessary, nonetheless, for our purpose of journey – to pull our little “home away from home,” headed north to our destination, yet 600 miles away. The eyes of my driver, the man I’ve journeyed with nearly 50 years must scan the road, follow the lanes, obeying the signage and lineage. I choose to observe the landscape  – instead of the road.

Tall, straight birch and poplar border the edge of the thick, dense woods, filled with pines and hardwoods with heavier foliage, but also tall and straight. As the bordering birch and poplar, each tree evidences its struggle to reach the sky, each in search of sunshine. The forest floor below them is plush with seedlings and saplings. Green life is unending in these groves of the north. Neither wind nor fire has squelched the growth. We see indication of past attacks of those enemies, as they have tried, time after time to destroy but have never fully succeeded, all because of the unending new growth, found deep in the womb of the soil – ever rooting and ever rising – toward the sun.

The sun is the sustenance of this green life, its reason, its purpose.

Today, as we drive north, the flora around us reflects the sun, revealing deeper and varying shades of emeralds and olives and limes and sages. Up and down the hills of the fallow path we travel, trees stretching upward.  Because of the hills, we sometimes view them at levels below their roots, sometimes above their tops, looking down at an unending pillow of forest jade.

Intermittently, a sandy trail weaves through its thickness. I wonder who, if anyone, has traveled that trail today, and if so, where was he going? And why?

I travel to reach a quiet spot where I hope to avoid daily routines and distractions. I seek a deeper communion with Jesus. I hope to find rest in the Lord and rid myself of the distress of unrest flaunted by the media. I hope to calm my heart. I hope to listen and to hear.

A billion people are on journeys today, and I know very few, yet God knows each one. He knows you – your needs – your desires – your hopes. And He wants you to rest in Him. In fact, He offers it.

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Further Reading: Psalm 91

Click here to read Post 2 in this series: “I Own This Property on the Great Lake.”

 

 

An Effort Toward Solitude

During this season of Lent, some of us are trying to get more time alone with God – or to make more time with God. As I’ve shared before, I don’t find it easy to do so. My excuse is probably a lifetime of multitasking. Reading and watching TV at the same time. Using my bluetooth to talk on the phone while doing dishes or completing household tasks. Writing while watching the children play. Always something – rather two or three somethings going on. Not sure how or why it came about – how I got this way. I observe others quietly reading for hours at  time, napping on the back porch in the summertime, leisurely humming while fixing dinner. I covet that contentedness.

So today, I’ve made the effort to be alone with my Father, to read His Word, and to listen as He speaks to me. The lesson I learned today was a bit about family love, a lot about compassion, and a reminder about the importance of occasional solitude. Here’s what His Holy Spirit taught me today:

I call him John the Baptist. I’m sure Jesus just called him John – His cousin, John. A cousin like none other, I assume, for while both babies were yet in their mother’s wombs, cousin John leaped noticeably when he heard the voice of Mary, his mother’s cousin, whom John’s mother Elizabeth referred to as “the mother of my Lord.” Mary responded to this honor by singing and glorifying the Lord God. Both baby boys heard their mothers’ voices magnifying God. Both baby boys were sent from God for specific purposes. John’s father was Zechariah. But Jesus’ father was Almighty God. A beautiful familial bond was set. The baby boys were born just months apart.

John the Baptist “prepared the way for the Lord,” baptizing people in the name of the Lord, whose “sandals I am not worthy to untie,” John said. Unlike those people John called to baptism,  Jesus went to John for baptism.

Shortly after Jesus was baptized, John was imprisoned for his message. Scholars believe it was about 15 months later that John was then beheaded. When the Lord Jesus heard this news, He was undoubtedly grief-stricken: “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.”

Have you ever done this? In grief or in sorrow or in exhaustion, you’ve withdrawn to a place of solitude. Jesus did. But the Bible tells us that when he had arrived at the place of solitude, he discovered that He wasn’t really alone at all. A large crowd of people had followed him, along the shore. They were desperate for Him. I understand. Do you? I’ve been desperate for Him in the past. And I am desperate for Him now, as I write.  a desperation I’ve had for over five years now.  I do understand. And so does Jesus. I know this because of His response to the people who interrupted His desired solitude.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus saw this large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. Then he fed them by multiplying five loaves of bread and two fish. That’s my Jesus,!. That’s your Jesus, beloved! Compassionate. Loving. Healer. Bread of Life.

After He met the needs of the people, He again sought solitude, this time succeeding. He went up on a mountainside. To pray, the Bible says.

To pray. I let those two words “sink in” to my desperate, multitasking mind today.

I don’t know how long He was alone in prayer, but I assume it was through the evening and most of the night. We read that along toward morning, He went out, on the lake, walking on the water during a storm, to meet, comfort, and teach His disciples who were in a water-drenched boat, tossing to and fro, thinking they were going to die. That’s my Jesus! That’s your Jesus. Teacher. Comforter. Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God!

And it didn’t end.  His ministry didn’t end when He was crucified. He’s still compassionate. He still comforts me. He’s still loving and healing. My teacher. My Savior. The Great I Am! The Son of God. The Bread of Life. That’s my  Jesus. That’s your Jesus.

He’s the one who becomes family.

He’s the one who is compassionate.

And He’s the one who teaches me that occasionally I need to get to a place of solitude ~ to pray.

Click here to contact me to speak to your group – or at your event. I would be honored!

Remember what He said . . .

The day was the worst ever. It was neither “Good” nor “Holy,” as we now refer to the Friday of Holy Week. In the midst of the curious, the angry, the Jewish officials, and the Roman soldiers, this handful of Christ followers – the women – stood near the cross, numbed in their sorrow and despair. Their Messiah, their Lord, their Savior,  had been brutally beaten – beyond recognition. Earlier, they had followed Him and the procession of onlookers as He carried His cross, sometimes falling to the ground, up the hill.

How can He possibly continue. Please God.

But He did continue.

They had stood – or knelt when their strength abated- and stared through wet blurry eyes as He was crucified. Hours of suffering. Surely, they had attempted to comfort His mother, Mary, who had followed her Son every step of the way, but their own grief, so immense, offered her nothing but hopelessness. Finally, they saw the soldiers pierce His side. The blood and water spilled. He called out. And He “gave up the ghost.” Their hope was gone.

Weakened, these women left the hill called Calvary, distressed, despondent, and depressed beyond measure. His broken body was now in the care of others, as it was soon the Sabbath. Futility set in, as they could not administer their last service to honor their Lord. They went home and prepared the spices, but the embalming would have to wait.

Until Sunday. 

On that first day of the week, these women who had followed Jesus took their prepared spices and went to the tomb, undoubtedly still deeply grieving, as grief does not end when the body dies. It only begins.

I can just imagine. If you’ve lost a loved one, you can too. Going to the grave. Facing the reality.  The finality of death. Again. The sting worsens. You all support each other. You want to turn back, but you cannot. You have a responsibility. And an honor to fulfill.

As they near the grave, they fret, wondering how they will possibly remove the stone in order to enter the tomb and treat the body.  The agony of death worsens the fretting. And the fretting worsens the agony. It’s a viscous circle. You know. I know. Every task is an obstacle, and every obstacle is heavy and overwhelming. If only they knew what lie ahead . . .

These women – our sisters in Christ –  are doing what women have done through the ages and still do today:  stumbling through our grief, continuing our work and responsibilities, tending to our families,  attempting to comfort others – all in the midst of our own anguish. It’s a stamina that God placed in our souls, one which persists within us until our physical bodies can endure no more. 

A line from the novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, illustrates the ongoing stamina we women exhibit: “Neighbors bring food with death and flowers with sickness and little things in between.” Oh yes. . .

With death; with sickness. In the mourning; in the pain. You are continually doing. Reaching out. Giving. Serving. Your life might look normal, but sometimes you don’t know if you are truly living. We women now are just as women were then.  If only we knew what lie ahead . . .

When they arrived at the tomb, they discovered that the stone was already rolled away. The Lord’s body was not in the tomb.  Only empty grave clothes. He was gone.

And like these women, these Christ followers, who had taken spices to the tomb to  embalm their Lord’s body, many of you have believed in Jesus and you’ve trusted Him, but the most devastating crisis (or two or three or . . . ) have occurred, and now you think He’s gone!

Disappeared.

You can’t feel Him.

You can’t hear Him.

And you certainly can’t see Him.

But the women’s fretfulness turned to frightfulness when two beings, like angels, stood beside them.  “He is not here. He has risen!” they said. “Remember what Jesus told you, when you knew He was with you . . . ” 
This is the same message for us today: “You must remember His words.” Why? Because remembering is faith strengthening!

We must remember what the Word – His Word –  tells us about . . .

Who He is

He is great and awesome, abundant in power; self-existing and without origin; immeasurably understanding; perfectly knowledgeable and full of wisdom; immutable, unchanging; self-sufficient; omnipotent; omniscient; omnipresent; faithful and true; infinitely kind and full of good will; just; infinitely unchangeably right and perfect in all he does; merciful, compassionate, and kind; gracious loving; holy; glorious, beautiful, and great.

What He has done

I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. You are the God who performs miracles; You display your power among the peoples . . . He has caused his wonders to be remembered . . . I remember the days of long ago. I meditate on your works. I consider what your hands have done. Jesus did many other things as well . . . even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

His faithfulness

He is faithful in all He does, faithful in all His promises, a faithful Creator, faithful and just to forgive, and is faithful and true. His faithfulness is my shield. His faithfulness is great. He remains faithful forever. His faithfulness reaches to the skies, meets with His love, is my shield, and is unending.

His promises

God promises to guide and help us; to be faithful; to save us; to rescue us; to deliver us; to give us wisdom; to give us peace, joy, and love; to prepare a place for us in heaven; to strengthen us; to give us power; to provide for us; to protect us; to deliver us from evil; to heal us; to be with us; to answer us; and to renew us. He will never leave us or forsake us. He has the power to do what He promises. He is faithful all His promises. He is not slow in keeping His promises.

On that Sunday morning, standing by the empty tomb, the women began to “remember,” as the angels had told them. They “remembered” that He said He would be crucified and on the third day be raised again. His words, His voice, refreshed their minds with its truth. In turn, . . .

Their grief was turned to joy!

Their strength was renewed!

They hurried away.

They told others.

Together, they shared the truths of His Word.

They were strengthened in their faith.

And so we must do the same. In our crises, our trials, our grief, our fears, we must remember the truths of His words. The Psalmist tells us that remembering God’s Word brings us comfort – just the very comfort we need. Remembering gives us strength – just the very strength we need for that very moment – for that very day – and for each day forward. Remembering strengthens our faith.  Let the truths of God’s Word refresh you. And in a miraculous way, your grief will turn to joy!

We will know what lies ahead, when we remember. 

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When you pray . . .

I was pleased that Kaylee was sound asleep. She had seen me cry enough this last year, each time, hugging me, “Are you missing Grandpa and Grandma Nutt?” she would ask.

“Yes, honey,” I’d answer, thankful to receive and return the hug, but forcing the smile. Her tenderness brought me back. Her smile always gave me focus. And strength.

But now, as I left her sleeping, I could feel the tears welling up. These tears –  tears from missing someone so desperately, knowing you’ll never see her again in your life time – don’t well up in the eyes. They build in a pressure beginning at both sides of the top of your neck, spreading behind your ears, instantly to the sides of the bridge of your nose, then flooding your eyes and overflowing down your face.

“Nana, will you sing to me?” Kaylee had asked, just a few minutes earlier.

It had become our nightly ritual. Kneeling beside her bed, rubbing her back or stroking her cheek, singing her to sleep. My repertoire usually consisted of “Go Tell Aunt Tabby,” “Bye-Baby Bunting,” and my made up song for Kaylee:

Sweet dreams, my Kaylee Joy; 

Sweet dreams to you.

Dream about butterflies,

Dream about baby dolls,

Dream about teddy bears too.

And each night, after several made up verses, my soft singing turned to quiet humming; and eventually diminished, as I left the room and walked down the hall. She was contented and asleep.

But this night, as I knelt by her bed and had sung several verses of Kaylee’s made up song, I quietly hummed two notes – the fifth and the third notes of a  chord – and those two tones immediately took me back  in  time.  . .1951 AD Newborn Kathy copy

. . .  to my mother’s arms.

She was holding me. I felt the warmth of her arms. I looked into her face. I could see my chubby little arm reaching up to her soft cheek. She was humming the song to me – the same two tones. I was tiny – perhaps a few months – perhaps a year. In all my memories, I’ve never felt so small. I remembered being a baby! It was so peaceful but oh so brief! Nearly as soon as the memory had come, it was gone! I was back in the present! Back in reality!

As I left Kaylee’s room that night, the other tones, the melody of the song, came to mind, and the words came a bit later. This time, I wasn’t taken back in time but I sat in the dimly lit living room, closed my eyes, and allowed myself to picture and hear my mother singing – the  little chorus I hadn’t heard in years:
Music Notes

When you pray, will you pray for me
For I need His love and His care
When you pray, will you pray for me
   Will you whisper my name in your prayer.

At the close of the day, when I kneel to pray
I will remember you
You need help every day, this is why I pray
And I will remember you.

When I pray, I will pray for you
For you need His love and His care
When I pray, I will pray for you
I will whisper your name in my prayer.

1954 B Christmas Margie and Kathy (6) copyTonight, Mama, when I pray, I will whisper your name in my prayer:

Thank you, Jesus, for my Mama, who held me and sang to me and prayed for me. And thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful memory .

Click here to listen to the Gaithers sing “When You Pray.” It’s not as sweet as my Mama’s voice, but you’ll get the idea! 🙂

While I was Sleeping

   It’s been over 25 years since the movie While You Were Sleeping came out. You might remember. An attractive, well-to-do young man falls in front of a subway train, and although rescued by a young woman, is nonetheless in a coma for quite some time. Meanwhile, his family mistakenly believes that the young woman, played by Sandra Bullock, is his fiancé, thus, for some time, they bestow upon her all the courtesies and endowments expected for their future daughter-in-law.  It’s a cute story of this mistaken identity, which occurs “while” the young man “is sleeping.” 

  Sometimes, for whatever reason, we’re “sleeping,” unaware of the turmoil occurring in our lives or in our families’ lives. Time goes by.  Circumstances worsen, and by the time we are fully aware, it appears we’ve lost control of the situation. This happened in my life. But it wasn’t “cute” like the movie. I recognized it, in fact, reading the gospels, in which Jesus told us exactly what happens if/when we are “sleeping.” I wrote about it in When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers. Here’s an excerpt:

   Even more life-changing, a spiritual battle was taking place. Ron and I were at war with the enemy, the thief. He was stealing and killing and destroying our family,[i] right in front of our eyes. The Word of God is truth, and it told me about the enemy:

“But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.”

“Where then did the weeds come from?”

“An enemy did this,” he replied. “The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil.”[ii]

     Our battle was against the enemy, the devil. I had the power to fight back. I was in the Lord’s army. So I put on the armor.

    Suddenly we were facing the enemy in our daughter’s defense. It had been Paul’s final instructions to the Ephesians:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”[iii]

     The instructions were given to the church members in Ephesus, and to me. The passage continued, “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.”[iv]

I know the truth. Jesus is the truth.  His Word is truth.

     Earlier in his letter, Paul had told the Ephesians to “speak the truth in love.”[v] These instructions confirmed the very path I had been taking to reach my daughter, the path to break through the evil force that was surrounding her. It was a path of love.

     I had carried her within me, and I had loved her from that time. Her backsliding didn’t change my love for her. Her anger or harsh words didn’t change my love for her. I flooded her with unending love.

     The instructions Paul gave to the Ephesians and to me are the inspired Word of God. The passage continued speaking of righteousness and readiness and faith: “With the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”[vi]

I want this faith. I need this faith. And with this faith, I can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.

     The final piece of armor? The sword! The sword of the Spirit! God’s Word! “Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”[vii] I delved into it; I searched it; it became more alive to me than it had ever been. “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”[viii]

My faith will increase through hearing the Word!

     I pictured myself with the armor – the belt, the breastplate, the footwear, the helmet – with a shield in one hand and my Bible in the other. Yes, I put on the armor, and I pictured the Lord God Almighty, the Most High leading me, surrounding me, filling me, protecting me, and delivering me and my beautiful daughter, Amber.

      Trusting Him didn’t come easy for me during that time. Fears came. Often. I had to keep reading the Word and speaking the Word. The Word, itself, became my prayer to Him: Lord, you have said that because you love me, you will rescue me; because you love Amber; you will rescue her. I will call upon you, and you will answer me. You will be with me in trouble; you will deliver me and will honor me! My, what a gracious and awesome God you are![ix]

And Jesus Whispered ~

Kathi, I made you and I know you. I give you understanding of my Word. Someday Amber will rejoice because you have put your hope in my Word.

Click here to order When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers and/or Kathi’s published Bible Study, Shh! Listen to His Whispers.

[i] John 10:10 NIV

[ii] From Matthew 13

[iii]  Ephesians 6:10-13 NIV

[iv]  Ephesians 6:14 NIV

[v]  Ephesians 4:15 NIV

[vi]  Ephesians 6:14b-16 NIV

[vii]  Ephesians 6:17 NIV

[viii]  Romans 10:17 NIV

[ix]  Psalm 91:14-15 NIV paraphrased