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.

Little Women – The Dream

I usually rode the school bus home, but when I needed to stay for 7th grade cheerleading practice, Mom picked me up after she got out of work at 3:30. The inside of the  car was toasty from having been in the sun on the warm fall day. Mom greeted me with a hug and a smile, but she was tired from working in the shop, so we did little talking. Instead, the car became a cozy setting for reading. I pulled out Little Women and read all the way home – and continued reading after she pulled in the drive and went into the house to start supper. 

I read – and I dreamed – about Jo. When Mom called me in for supper, my mind was still spinning, trying to concoct a plan for a writing area for myself – like the attic in which Jo wrote – the one on the cover of my book. During those days, I began to clear out a small loft in our “woodshed,”  packed with broken fishing poles and worn window screens and coated with 60 years of grime. But cold weather soon arrived, and my plans were thwarted. 

Dreams of writing and publishing were pushed to the back of my mind, and replaced with high school years and marriage and children and summer vacations and golden retrievers and music and home décor and .  . . many beautiful and wonderful experiences, until one day, the laptop making it so much easier to get those ideas in print, the dream materialized. And now it’s a reality! Instead of an attic, my private writing space is a Michigan porch or a Florida Lanai. It’s a “Kathi” space instead of a “Jo” space!

So, I invite you – to read my writing – to browse my website and social media pages – to step into the shelter of my scripts and to discover commonalities between us. I invite you to purchase my published books and look for upcoming publications this year!

May God bless and speak to our hearts!

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

When Kathi Waligora faced the worst day of her life, she didn’t know that many more days would crash down on her in the weeks that followed. She cried out to God as her life roared; in reply, the gentle whisper of Jesus gave her peace, comfort, and hope to continue forward.

You’ll connect  to Kathi within each chapter of When Life Roars Jesus Whispers, finding God’s Whispers of Truth, Grace, Faith, Mercy, Comfort, Hope, and Promise.  Then you’ll apply these whispers to your own life through personal introspection at the end of each chapter. 

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

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$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

We stepped through the steel doors of the jail. I couldn’t imagine my daughter in this place . . . No façade remained of the candy-coated lives we had lived for so many years, and I doubted that any façade would ever cover us again.  We, too, were a ‘rough group of broken people’ ~ just the kind of people Jesus loves . . . and through the toughest times, we discovered favor of God as if we had always fully recognized it.

(An excerpt from:  When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers)

Recent Reviews:

“A powerful story that encourages our confidence in Christ when our own stories go off the rails.” 

Bill Crowder, Bible Teacher and Author

“This book was hard to put down. It is a book of loss, despair, HOPE and whispers. It gave me strength. It gave me chills and even tears. In the end, it left me with HOPE.”

“I read the book in one day! When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers is a wonderfully written book filled with heart-wrenching events, heart-warming love and heart-lifting promises of hope!”

” . . . powerful, poignant . . .”

“This is an amazing book that I could not put down! Kathi, thank you for your courage and candor as you shared your heartbreak, struggles, and victory in the light of God’s Word!”

“Very touching story! I cried and I rejoiced! This is a story that can encourage and give hope!”

“I have to say that When Life Roars Jesus Whispers by Kathi Waligora is the best I have read . . . easy to read and love the devotions at the end of each chapter. Each chapter brought [me] back to the promises of God . . . very helpful , encouraging,  and God centered. Thank you Kathi for opening your heart to the world and pointing us back to what matters – that Jesus understands and is with us throughout everything.”

When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers

Revised Edition

5.5″ x 8.5″ 258 pp.

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts of 10+ books

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$15.99 plus shipping cost $3.75

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

Shh! Listen to His Whispers! is the new Bible Study that complements When Life Roars, Jesus Whispers but stands alone as an individual or group six-week study. In this Bible Study, you’ll learn how Kathi began to listen to the whispers in God’s Word, and how you can hear those whispers, as well. Learn where the storms of life come from and where  you can seek shelter. In your individual study – or together with others – you’ll learn to recognize storm warnings  and discover how to speak life for yourself, your friends, your families who stand in the paths of these storms.

You’ll love this sturdy, beautifully-covered book with heavy pages – perfect to write upon.

Shh! Listen to His Whispers!

8.5″ X 11″

71 pages

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Recent Reviews:

“This Bible Study enriched my life!” 

~ Mary Jo

~~ ~~

“Kathi, You have an amazing gift . . . helping people to listen for God’s whispers.” 

 ~ Evelyn

~~ ~~

“This study made me realize my hope in all circumstances.”

 ~ Eileen

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~

Click here to inquire about quantity discounts 10+ books

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$10.99 plus shipping cost $3.00




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.

While you are on this website, please “subscribe” to future posts!

Further Reading: Psalm 91

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

 

 

Hem me in; hold me fast.

“. . . even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will  hold me fast.”

Psalm 139: 10

Privacy – It’s a “big deal” today and it always has been in this country –  America.

Give me my privacy.

I have a constitutional right to privacy.

It’s a private matter.

None of your business.

privacyisawesome.com puts it this way: “Privacy means you can be yourself.  You can express ideas without fear of being discriminated against or unjustly punished. It’s your life without pausing to think who’s watching: party hard, open up to a friend, organize a revolution, hang out with whoever you want–privacy keeps you safe.  It’s a core principle in any free society.”

I think we all like our privacy.

But nothing is hidden from my God. He knows it all. I read about it in Psalm 139. How He knit me in my mother’s womb–how He has searched me and knows me–how He knows when I sit and when I rise. He knows my thoughts. He even knows what I’m going to say before I say it! And I must say, I agree with the Psalmist that “Such knowledge is too wonderful me, too lofty for me to attain.”  It’s difficult to understand how and why a God would care so much.

No matter where I go, He is there. Up to the heavens–down into the depths–to the far side of the sea. The darkness doesn’t hide me from Him.

Do I feel threatened? Do I feel invaded?

Not by my God.

Because in His ever presence, He does something amazing. He hems me in. He is behind me and He is before me. And while He’s ever present, He lays His hand upon me. His hand guides me and holds me. I feel so safe in His ever presence.

~ ~ Hem me in, O Lord; hold me fast. ~~

Psalm 139: 5 “You hem me in –behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.”

You Don’t Need to Wait Until Sunday

I observed in awe as my mother delicately washed each tiny glass cup and placed it to dry on the clean towel beside the kitchen sink.  In my little eyes, the washing of the communion glasses seemed as sacred as the partaking. I could hardly wait until I was old enough to partake – “old enough to understand,” my mother and daddy said. So in reverence, I watched the washing of the tiny glass cups and the silver servers in which they were later placed. I observed her carefully pour the grape juice into each cup, break the unsalted crackers to a smaller silver plate, and place spotless white starched linen cloths over each. It was the first Sunday of the month: Communion Sunday at our small country church.

“This do in remembrance of me” the Pastor said, quoting from the King James Version.

In my early years, I learned more about this sacrament, in which I partook, and later, I became more discerning of His body, realizing more about honoring and recognizing His body, as well as His blood.

“For whenever you eat this break and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes,” He said.

Proclaiming means “openly declaring.”

I partake not to be forgiven but to “declare” that I am forgiven!

I partake, not to be healed but to “declare” that I am healed!

There is power in declaration! I am proclaiming to the powers of darkness that the Lord’s death has shaken loose everything they are trying to put on me. Jesus died for me (the past); I am proclaiming His death (the present) “until he comes” (the future). We learn in 1 Samuel 7:9 that the burnt offering of the lamb was like a sweet aroma to God. I suspect that communion, too, is a sweet aroma to God, as we remember the burnt offering of the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus.

My husband Ron and I often take communion at home, sometimes sitting in the midst of God’s peaceful natural creation of trees and birds and breeze on our back porch or sometimes facing the powerful surroundings of God’s creation at the beach. I select special small vintage glasses for our tiny portions of wine, and I place matza unleavened flatbread on a small plate or platter, one that is memorable or has special significance to us. The matza bread, like the crackers used in the church of my childhood, are pierced and striped as Jesus’ body was. The burn marks on the bread (or crackers) represent the full fire of God’s wrath which fell upon Jesus and are a reminder of the burnt offering – the Lamb, the Lord Jesus. Of course, the wine, which He tells us to drink in remembrance of Him, is the new covenant in His blood. This reminds us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness. Ron and I always read from Isaiah 53, from the Psalms, from Luke 22, or from 1 Corinthians 11. We praise the Father and we thank Him. We partake.

The Holy Communion (the Lord’s Supper)

is not about you or me;

it is about Jesus.

Although it is blessed to partake in Communion with the body of believers, you can partake outside the church, as well – with your spouse, with your friend, or by yourself. It is your time of remembrance – of Him. 

May God bless you as you partake in Holy Communion. You don’t need to wait until Sunday!

Further Reading: 1 Cor. 11:23-29; Samuel 7:9; Isaiah 53:4-6; Hebrews 9:22

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. 

Please contact me to speak to your group – or event.. Click here.

 

Wait! First I Need My Helmet.

I post on my Facebook Author’s page every day, most often using photos or Bible verses, or “sayings” that have spoken to me. Sometimes I select the postings days in advance, scheduling them for a later time. After the post is published,  I review it, as though I haven’t seen it before.

And always – it speaks anew to me. 

God’s Word is like that. Always fresh and new. It’s alive, and it speaks. I try to listen because I know He’s speaking.

May be an illustration of text

This illustration, one of my recent posts, displayed and briefly commented upon the armor of God. (Perhaps you saw it. Click here to discover my Facebook Author’s page.) Reviewing it, trying to let it “all sink in,” I turned in my Bible to Ephesians, chapter 6 to spend some time reflecting upon the armor. I started with the “Helmet of Salvation” at the top of the illustration. I’ve often studied the pieces of the armor and have written about them in the past, but today, I just couldn’t get past the “helmet” without pause and reflection.

In the Roman army, the helmet was the last piece of the armor to put on, but in our lives, it must initially be the first. That “Helmet of Salvation” is also called “The Hope of Salvation.” (1Thess. 5:8) In the Bible, hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and hope’s strength is in God’s faithfulness. “The Hope of Salvation” is the confident expectation of our salvation. When we truly accept Christ’ finished work on Calvary, God puts that salvation on us! As a result, we know that hope. We can fully depend upon His promises. It’s the “hope [that] does not disappoint.” (Romans 5:5) The assurance of salvation is our impenetrable defense against the enemy. 

We must continue to “put on the helmet of salvation,” (Eph. 6:17)  after we are saved – not to save us but to protect us. Putting it on shows that we are living by what we first believed when we trusted in Jesus and received His grace. Therefore, when we put on the Helmet of Salvation, we are putting on Jesus. In essence, we are putting on Hope.

The Helmet of Salvation is vital. Its protection . . .

Renews our minds

Our minds are the battlefields of our souls. I don’t know about you, but a battle is often going on in my mind, whether it is the initial engagement by the enemy, a skirmish, or an all-out war. Only one thing fights that battle: the Word of God. Romans 12:1-2 tells us to renew our minds. How? We need to let the Word of God wash away the filth and lies of the enemy and put on the new life of righteousness and holiness Jesus came to give. The truth of God’s Word wipes out anything contrary. Our minds are renewed.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Removes doubts and fears

Placing doubts in your mind is a favorite pastime of the enemy, Satan, and his workers. I can just picture him laughing as he places another doubt in our mind.  If we believe a doubt – something contrary to the Word of God – we are believing a lie. The best weapon against the attack of doubt is the Word of God. Speak it aloud – over and over if necessary – to combat this assault. 

Fear is very real. It comes directly from the enemy, most often when we are mentally or physically depleted. That’s when the enemy especially wants to hit us. I’ve experienced it. Often. The enemy has stuck his knife of fear into my gut and twisted it – time after time – often to the point of nausea. Yes, fear is from the enemy, and as with doubt, we need to fight it with the Word of God.

Even the smallest doubts  can turn into the biggest fears! When we doubt or become fearful, we need to speak the Word. The Word is the protector of our minds.

The helmet’s protection also . . .

Restores our vision

Jesus delegated us to go into all the world, make disciples, baptize, and teach. This is it. Period. And in order to follow that commission, we believers are instructed to “fix our eyes on Jesus.”  We can keep our eyes fixed when we put on the Helmet of Salvation. 

The writer of Proverbs says, “pay attention . . . listen closely . . . keep these words  . . . Let your yes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you . . not to the right or the left . . .”

Our helmet protects our vision, allowing us to look straight ahead – toward Jesus. It keep us from gazing to the left or to the right. The helmet keeps us focused. It keeps us looking ahead. It restores our vision, thus restoring our hope. It protects us from the corruption and perversity of the world that distracts us from our commission. We are protected only by the Helmet of Salvation. But we must put it on.

In her article in Crosswalk.com, Hope Bolinger aptly illustrates the importance of the helmet. She writes,

“For any of us who have seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, there’s a scene where a soldier takes off his helmet to analyze a bullet that just hit it. The moment he does so, a soldier takes advantage and shoots his exposed head, killing him instantly. . . In the same way, the helmet of salvation protects us spiritually from a powerful blow . . . from the devil. Without the helmet, we leave ourselves exposed on the spiritual battlefield.”

The Helmet of Salvation is our Hope of Salvation. It offers the greatest protection to renew our minds, remove our doubts and fears, and restore our vision. Let’s keep it on!

I would be honored to speak to your group. Contact me here.

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

Their Wedding Rings

Their wedding rings remain a symbol and a promise of their commitment to each other and of the fidelity they exhibited for 66 years.

I had observed those rings on their fingers, year after year. The fingers, once young and taut, became aged and thin, as did the gold bands around them. Both wedding bands and the diamond engagement ring are worn through from years of hard work, in the factory, the dirt, the water.  From years of play and of cooking and baking and of praying together. And why wouldn’t they be worn? Sixty-six years as symbols and promises  of commitment and fidelity.

Mom's bandsDaddy and Mama have been gone now for some years. And I miss them. So, on occasion, I hold those rings in the palm of my hand and visualize their aged hands, wishing I could hold those beautiful old hands in mine once again.  I occasionally slide the rings on my fingers, especially when I want to feel their presence. Having the rings near reminds me of how they prayed for me and my family.

They passed one spring, just one month apart. Early that fall, I slid the rings on my omega necklace chain, and wore them throughout a most difficult day, the day of our daughter, Amber’s, sentencing. The rings hung close to my heart, touching my skin. I sensed their presence with me in that courtroom, reminding me that their God was my God. – always faithful. On that taxing day, the rings, once a symbol and a promise in the marriage, became their symbol and promise of commitment and fidelity to us, the family resulting from the marriage. Our family continued to be one – in the Lord.

On the omegaOne morning, shortly thereafter, I placed the rings, along with my birthstone, on the necklace. and headed out the door for Mott’s Children’s Hospital at U of M in Ann Arbor, where our baby grandson, Luke, was to undergo open-heart surgery. Throughout the long day and the trying days ahead, I often touched the rings, fidgeting with them, remembering Daddy and Mama’s  faithful prayers for me and my family – prayers that are still held in a bowl, each prayer like incense going up before the Lord God (1). At times, I raised my hand to my breast and clutched the rings ever so snugly within my grasp for quite some time, picturing the Father holding my little Luke in His hand, never letting him go. As I did so, I prayed. And prayed. And prayed.

On the trying days of Baby Luke’s surgery and recovery, the rings symbolized even more. Suddenly, they were reminders of Daddy and Mama’s commitment and fidelity to the Lord Jesus, which is the heritage they have passed on to us, their children, and to our children, and to our children’s children.

That heritage, in turn, reveals the greatest promise of commitment and fidelity – that of the Lord Jesus to me, and to my children, and to their children . . . “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” He says (*2). And I have found that promise to be true.

Just days later, I again wore the rings on the necklace to await and then to celebrate the birth of our grandson, Jack, the newest life born into our family. Memories flooded my mind of Baby Jack’s Daddy, our firstborn, Matt. Matt was Daddy and Mom’s first grandson, Matt. On that day years ago, the rings were on their own fingers – now I wore them near my heart. The rings connected us from the past to the present and in some way, to the eternal future we will all have together. And as we all praised and thanked God for this new gift of life in our family, I wrapped my fingers around those rings and whispered, “Thank you, Daddy and Mama, for your example of commitment and fidelity – to each other – to us, your family – and to the Lord Jesus.”

(1) Revelation 5:8

(2) Hebrews 13:5b

Your Faith Has Healed You!

Run boldly to Him, in faith, both conscious of and confident in His finished work.

I yearn to hear those words, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed of your suffering.”

Being raised with teaching that certainly God can heal but He doesn’t always heal,  I most often observed a limited faith – with “markers” on it, indicating that because God doesn’t always heal,  it just seemed simpler to not truly trust – not truly believe He desires to heal. It was unsteady ground for me – for many years.

After seeing our daughter and her husband redeemed and healed from their drug addiction, trusting in God’s healing became easier to me. I started to realize that God truly desires healing for us, His children. So when our precious grandson needed great healing, I delved into the Gospels, studying and recording every report of Jesus healing. The Gospels confirmed Isaiah 53. By His wounds we are healed. Our Jesus is the healer. He healed everyone who came to him, never turning anyone away. He healed those people He came upon who never even asked for healing.

What love!

What power!

What compassion our Savior has!

Now, I can pray in faith that it is God’s will for healing. If I don’t see that healing, I can trust in a Father whose ways are higher than mine and whose thoughts are higher than mine. I can trust Him. And so, I continue to pray for complete healing for my grandson. I will never cease to pray in that manner because I know I have a compassionate Father who desires the best for my grandson – and for me.

I ask you – Why do you put limits on God’s desire to heal?

I encourage you to run boldly to Him, in faith, both conscious of and confident in His finished work on Calvary. Listen for those words, “Son / Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed of your suffering.”

Read more at Mark 5:24-34, Romans 8:1, and Isaiah 53:4,5.