Archive for January, 2010

REFLECTION: What was she thinking all this time?

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

As I listened to the news on Haiti a few nights ago, the excavation and rescue of an elderly woman who miraculously survived being buried in the earthquake rubble for 8 days touched me deeply.  If I am not mistaken, she was singing and thanking God as they gently lowered her down on solid ground!

Was she actually singing and thanking God?  I wondered if I heard that correctly.  (My daughter confirmed that that was exactly what was reported!!!)  As I reflected deeply, the voices and other sounds glaring from the TV quickly faded as I asked the Father what she was thinking all this time while she was under there?  I wouldn’t doubt that her first few days were spent fervently praying to be rescued, but what happened after that?  Did she curse God for not rescuing her and for appearing to abandon her?  Or was there a possibility that through those agonizing and life threatening conditions as she thirsted for a drop of water and a morsel of food, she was visited by an angel or Jesus himself?  I wonder and I continue to ask the Father…

This morning, I continued to press forward into Fr. Jacques Philippe’s book, “Searching for and Maintaining Peace”.   I didn’t get very far.  This time I only managed to get through 6 paragraphs! Imagine being brought to a halt by words inscribed before 2002! (the book has a 2002 copyright)

With your permission, let me quote what I have underlined…

“The essential truth that we wish to present and develop is the following:  To permit the grace of God to act in us and to produce in us (with the cooperation, of course, of our will, our intelligence and our capabilities) all those ‘good works for which God prepared us beforehand, so that we might lead our lives in the performance of good works’ (Eph 2:10), it is of the greatest importance that we strive to acquire and maintain an interior peace, the peace of our hearts.”

“In order to understand this, we can use an image (without exaggerating, as we should always avoid doing in making comparisons); but one that can be illuminating.  Consider the surface of a lake, above which the sun is shining.  If the surface of the lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in this lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly will it be reflected.  If, on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun can not be reflected in it.”

“It is a little bit like this with regard to our soul in relationship to God.  The more our souls is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it, the more His image expresses itself in us, the More His grace acts through us.  (my highlight)  On the other hand, if our soul is agitated and troubled, the grace of God is able to act only with much greater difficulty.  (I stopped underlining here, but I will continue typing to finish the paragraph)  All the good that we can do is a reflection of the Essential Good, which is God.  The more our soul is peaceful, balanced and surrendered, the more this Good communicates itself to us and to others through us.  ‘The Lord gives strength to His people, the Lord blesses His people with peace’ Scripture says (Psalm 29:11).”

Was that the answer to my question?  I imagine the lady was frantic during the first few days, yelling and calling out for help while she clawed at the rubble around her, searching for a way out?  I then imagine that as her energy levels dwindled and exhaustion and her faith in her ability to save herself wore thin, she finally gave in and called out to God to be with her…perhaps to bring tranquility to her soul so she could die in peace?

I would be overjoyed to learn what the lady went through during those 8 days.  Perhaps the Father will move a reporter to do just that.  Nevertheless, it becomes very clear to me that the Father has brought something good out of the destruction the enemy had planned for her life.  Her faith, exemplified in her song of praise at the time of her rescue, encourages and strengthens mine.  That is a true living testimony.

My thoughts now move to Joseph (the one who wore the coat of many colors) who was thrown into the empty well by his jealous brothers.  If this “bad” didn’t happen, Joseph would not have been rescued and brought to Egypt where God would later use him to save many from the great famine in Egypt and its surroundings.  Perhaps, similarly, this may be the reason why this lady was buried for 8 days?  We may never know, but Scripture says…“God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

God bless,

Melissa – January 21, 2010

REFLECTION: Impossible dream?

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

Years ago, I attended a seminar by the author of “Ragamuffin Gospel”.  I don’t recall his name at the moment, but through the years, memories of who he was continues to resurface to entertain and to trigger my thoughts and reflections.  If I am not mistaken, he was a Pastor who was an alcoholic.

At that time I believe he had not touched alcohol for an extended period of time, but he still referred to himself as an alcoholic.  He described how devastating and incapacitating the physical, mental and emotional withdrawal was like.  In my mind’s eye, I can still see his arm extended, supported by his other hand, while his whole body shivered and then shriveled into a fetal position.  His words, his tone, and his actions allowed me to visualize the anguish of an alcoholic in withdrawal.

He referred to alcoholism as a wicked disease which would shackle him for a life time. Regardless of his extended victorious years over alcohol, a glimpse towards a bar could lead to his destruction.  The wisdom he had learned through repeated failures would not permit him to have another taste of liquor because he knew all too well that one sip could lead to another devastation.

His story then shifted to Aldonza, the prostitute in Man of la Mancha, whom Don Quixote preferred to call Dulcinea.  She repeatedly questioned Don Quixote as to why he called her “My Lady”.  Deep within her soul, she saw herself as a tramp, a forsaken prostitute, while Don Quixote treated her with such respect and called her his lady. 

What did Don Quixote see?  Although many considered him insane because he attacked windmills with his lance, the man was able to look beyond his lady’s brokenness and see the beauty that God had originally planted when He created her.

Once again I wonder what today’s reflection will conclude with.  I have only read one and a half pages of the first chapter of Fr. Jacques Philippe’s “Searching for and Maintaining Peace” and as the day before, my reading comes to a halt.   I realize that whenever I come across a deep, profound concept,  like a cow, I need to regurgitate on what I just read until I can totally digest the concept so that the “nourishment” can easily penetrate my mind and my soul.

With your permission I quote what I have underlined…

“…apart from Me, you can do nothing, Jesus said (John 15:5).  He didn’t say “you can’t do much”, but, “you can do nothing.”  It is essential that we be persuaded of this truth.  We often have to experience failures, trials and humiliations, permitted by God, before this truth imposes itself on us, not only on an intellectual level, but as an experience of our entire being.  God would spare us, if He could, all these trials, but they are necessary in order that we should be convinced of ever complete powerlessness to do good by ourselves… It is, in effect, a necessary prelude to all the great things that God will do in us by the power of His grace.  This is why St. Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower, would say that the best thing that God could have done in her soul was “to have shown her her smallness, her powerlessness”.

“…How can I let Jesus act in me?  How can I permit the grace of God to freely operate in my life.  We should aim, not principally to impose a lot of things on ourselves…  Rather, we must try to discover the disposition of our soul, the profound attitude of our heart and the spiritual conditions that permit God to act in us.  It is only then that we could bear fruit – fruit that will last (John 15:16).”

I would like to think that Don Quixote remained with God.  I assume that his struggle through the difficulties and trials in life “polished” him so that he developed the supernatural ability to see beyond the surface and to recognize the beauty within Dulcenea’s heart.

I would also like to think that the author of Ragamuffin Gospel (Brennan Manning… I googled it) remained with God and through his own trials, he developed the supernatural ability to recognize and to point out the beauty in another so that we, in turn, could experience the same.

Manning ended his talk by playing the beautiful song “Impossible Dream” sang by Don Quixote in the musical Man of la Mancha.  I quote the lyrics…

“Impossible Dream
Lyrics by Joe Darion <- In this song, Quixote explains his quest and the reasons behind it … in doing so, he captures the essence of the play and its philosophical underpinnings. (For me, it is absolutely magical.)

To dream … the impossible dream …
To fight … the unbeatable foe …
To bear … with unbearable sorrow …
To run … where the brave dare not go …
To right … the unrightable wrong …
To love … pure and chaste from afar …
To try … when your arms are too weary …
To reach … the unreachable star …

This is my quest, to follow that star …
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far …
To fight for the right, without question or pause …
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause …

And I know if I’ll only be true, to this glorious quest,
That my heart will lie will lie peaceful and calm,
when I’m laid to my rest …
And the world will be better for this:
That one man, scorned and covered with scars,
Still strove, with his last ounce of courage,
To reach … the unreachable star …”

Whenever I listen to this song, memories of Brennan Manning and Don Quixote come to mind.  In my mind’s eye, through God’s grace, these two worked beyond their brokenness and their lifetime dreams, which were once upon a time impossible, have become POSSIBLE and they have made a difference in this world.  The reason?  Because…we ” CAN do ALL things through Christ who strengthens (Phil 4:13)” us.

God bless,

Melissa – January 20, 2010

REFLECTION: Reviving withered plants and ourselves…

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

I enjoy indoor gardening.  Unfortunately for those plants that depend on me for their sustenance, I am definitely NOT an avid gardener.  Every so often…every two weeks perhaps…I finally realize that I had forgotten to water them when I notice that some of the plants have began to wither.

I have actually just completed my “plant revival ceremony” and now I sit wondering if I was too late for some…  Poor plants…

As I tended to the last plant…the ornamental pepper whose red peppers have shriveled and whose stems have sort of mummified…I noticed that some of the “peppers” rattled.  Excitedly I tore one open and lo and behold I found seeds!  The plant tag said that I should discard the plant after its time had ended, but since I had one empty pot (everything in it had died), I decided to plant the seeds and see if they will grow.

Over the three months I have tended the ornamental pepper plant, I plucked away the leaves that had shriveled up.  Having cut off all the ornamental peppers except for the last 3, I debated on whether it was time to part ways with the plant.  As I examined its bare branches, I noticed that tiny new leaves were growing! As I decided to keep the plant for a few more weeks, I sensed the Father prompting me to write.

with·ered (wrd)adj. Shriveled, shrunken, or faded from or as if from loss of moisture or sustenance… Yup, that described my indoor plants all right.  Like my unattended plants, I believe the Father wants us to realize that we human beings wither too.

As we race through our every day lives, we run here and there, tending to what appears to be the highest priorities for the day.  Without realizing it, week after another passes, and our inner spirit begins to wither for lack of nourishment.  If we are “lucky”, we may have made time to see the dentist, the doctor or attend some therapy…and while there, we are forced to slow down for a moment and perhaps even have enough time to peek at what is really going on deep within us.  Unfortunately, the time “off” lasts only for a moment  and we find ourselves running around again…often times, not getting any further than where we first started.

I’m sure this sounds familiar to many, if not all.  Our lives have become so busy that, often times, we don’t even realize that “our leaves have begun to turn yellow”.  It is only when the “leaves begin to wither and fall” that we finally notice that something is wrong.  And unfortunately for some, by that time it may be too late.

I have cut and pasted an article below which I had found by googling “examination of conscience”.  I have not read it in full, but perhaps it may help a few.

I pray that each of us will make time for ourselves, to reflect and examine who we are and why we are.  Living Water and the Bread of Life are always available…if only we make time to receive.

God bless,

Melissa – January 2010




=========================================================

Examination of Conscience    by Fr. John Hardon, S.J.
- http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/EXAMCONS.TXT

"If there is one part of the spiritual life that St. Ignatius stressed, it was the daily--and 
even twice daily--examination of conscience. 

As we read the <Spiritual Exercises>, we may be overwhelmed by the minute detail of 
St. Ignatius' treatment of what he calls the particular examination of conscience. At the 
same time, he is careful to provide, "Some Notes on Scruples." 

It is very important, therefore, that we form a clear and correct conscience. This means 
that we cultivate a sensitive judgment which is alert to the least offense against the 
Divine will and, at the same time, protect ourselves against the wiles of the evil spirit. 
"The enemy," says St. Ignatius, "considers carefully whether one has a lax or a delicate 
conscience. If one has a delicate conscience, the evil one seeks to make it excessively 
sensitive in order to disturb and upset it more easily. Thus, if he sees that one will not 
consent to mortal sin or venial sin, or even to the appearance of deliberate sin, since he 
cannot cause him to fall in a matter that appears sinful, he strives to make the soul 
judge that there is a sin, for example in a word or passing thought, where there is no 
sin" (<Spiritual Exercises>, 349). 

It is valuable to reflect on this tactic of the evil spirit before we offer some practical 
norms for making our daily examination of conscience. Why? Because otherwise, we 
are liable to overlook the importance of a daily inventory of our moral conduct for fear 
of becoming scrupulous. 

There is such a thing as growing in prudent sensitivity of conscience, without becoming 
a victim of the "enemy" as St. Ignatius calls him. 

We may set this down as a general principle, for those who are sincerely striving to do 
the will of God: 

It is characteristic of God and His angels, when they act upon the soul, to give true  
happiness and spiritual joy and to banish all the sadness and disturbances which are 
caused  by the enemy. 

It is characteristic of the evil one to fight against such happiness and consolation by 
proposing fallacious reasonings, subtleties, and continual deceptions (Rules for 
Discernment of Spirits, II, 1). 

What are we to conclude from this? That the more zealous we are in trying to please 
God, the more He will give us a deep interior peace of soul. We should suspect as a 
temptation from the evil one, when we find ourselves worried or anxious or disturbed, 
no matter how pious the source of the worry or anxiety may be. 

The key to applying this principle is that, before God, I honestly want to do His will 
even though through weakness, I may fail to live up to my resolutions. 

One basic virtue on which we should daily examine ourselves is peace of soul. We 
should ask ourselves, "Have I given in to worry or anxiety?" "Have I allowed myself to 
get discouraged?" A good practice is to pronounce the name, "Jesus," when we find 
ourselves getting despondent, or say some short aspiration like, "My Jesus, I trust in 
you," whenever we become dejected over something. 

PARTICULAR EXAMEN ON THE THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES

Before applying the particular examen to my own spiritual life, it is well to first ask 
myself, "What are the virtues that I know from experience I most need to develop?" 

The reason why this question should first be answered is that no two of us are equally 
prone to commit the same kind of sins. Nor are we personally always tempted in the 
same direction. There is wisdom in first knowing enough about myself, to be able to get 
to the root of my own moral weakness. Otherwise, I may be ignoring what really needs 
attention in my spiritual life and concentrating on what is not so necessary for me at 
this time in my service of God. 

Moreover, it would be a mistake to suppose that by attending to my moral failings, I 
am being "negative" in my pursuit of holiness. 

On the contrary. In God's providence, He allows us to fail in those areas in which He 
especially wants us to grow in virtue. 

We can fail in the practice of these virtues either by commission, omission, or by 
tepidity, in not acting as generously as we might in responding to the grace we have 
received from God. 

FAITH

1 Do I make an honest effort to grow in the virtue of faith by daily mental prayer on the 
  mysteries of the faith as revealed in the life of Jesus Christ? 

2. Do I make at least a short act of faith every day? 

3 Do I pray daily for an increase of faith? 

4 Do I ever tempt God by relying on my own strength to cope with the trials in my life? 

5 Do I unnecessarily read or listen to those who oppose or belittle what I know are 
   truths of my Catholic faith? 

6 What have I done today to externally profess my faith? 

7 Have I allowed human respect to keep me from giving expression to my faith? 

8. Do I make a serious effort to resolve difficulties that may arise about my faith? 

9 Do I ever defend my faith, prudently and charitably, when someone says something 
   contrary to what I know is to be believed? 

10. Have I helped someone overcome a difficulty against the faith? 

HOPE

1 Do I immediately say a short prayer when I find myself getting discouraged?

2 Do I daily say a short act of hope? 

3 Do I dwell on my worries instead of dismissing them from my mind? 

4 Do I fail in the virtue of hope by my attachment to the things of this world? 

5 Do I try to see God's providence in everything that "happens" in my life? 

6 Do I try to see everything from the viewpoint of eternity? 

7 Am I confident that, with God's grace, I will be saved? 

8 Do I allow myself to worry about my past life and thus weaken my hope in God's 
   mercy? 

9. Do I try to combine every fully deliberate action with at least a momentary prayer for 
    divine help? 

10. How often today have I complained, even internally? 

CHARITY

1 Have I told God today that I love Him? 

2 Do I tell Jesus that I love Him with my whole heart? 

3 Do I take the occasion to tell God that I love Him whenever I experience something I 
   naturally dislike? 

4 Have I capitalized on the difficulties today to tell God that I love Him just because He 
   sent me the trial or misunderstanding? 

5 Do I see God's love for me in allowing me to prove my love for Him in the crosses He 
   sent me today? 

6 Have I seen God's grace to prove my love for Him in every person whom I met 
   today? 

7. Have I failed in charity by speaking unkindly about others? 

8 Have I dwelt on what I considered someone's unkindness toward me today? 

9. Is there someone that I consciously avoid because I dislike the person? 

10. Did I try to carry on a conversation today with someone who is difficult to talk to? 

11. Have I been stubborn in asserting my own will? 

12. How thoughtful have I been today in doing some small favor for someone? 

13. Have I allowed my mood to prevent me from being thoughtful of others today? 

14. Am I given to dwelling on other people's weaknesses or faults? 

15. Have I been cheerful today in my dealings with others? 

16. Do I control my uncharitable thoughts as soon as they arise in my mind? 

17. Did I pray for others today? 

18. Have I written any letters today? 

19. Have I controlled my emotions when someone irritated me? 

20. Have I performed any sacrifice today for someone? 

Copyright (c) 1996 EWTN

-------------------------------------------------------------------

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        Eternal Word Television Network
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        Manassas, VA 22110
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REFLECTION: “Laugh your way to a better marriage…”

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Last week, I attended a very entertaining 2 day seminar called “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”. Its author and presenter, Mark Gungor, was hilarious as he tackled the trials of marriage.  Having purchased a copy of the DVD, I hesitated picking up a copy of his book.  Nevertheless, dipping into his 5 paged introduction and his first 23 pages has left me thanking the Father repeatedly for the book.  Although I filled several pages of notes from his seminar, his book contains heavy duty thought provoking “meat” to chew on!!!

Both my best buddy, Nancy, and I repeatedly commented “This is good!” as I read my high-lighted portions to her.  And so I share my highlights with you…

“I agree with David Viscott, who writes, ‘Relationships seldom die because they suddenly have no life left in them.  They wither slowly, either because people do not understand how much or what kind of upkeep, time, work, love and caring they require or because people are too lazy or afraid to try.'”

“Romance is a great ‘salt’ to sprinkle on the hard work of sharing a life with another human being, but the main ingredient of a happy marriage can never be romance…The thing that makes marriage wonderful is work.  But we need more than work; we need skill…Those skills take time and knowledge.  The longer we wait to learn these skills, the more apt we are to tumble from one painful relationship to another – each one building a case on the past one,convincing us we will never be able to be happy with the spouse we are with. We then become the walking wounded; ever more cautious, less vulnerable, and fearful about trusting the one we are supposed to be with for life.”

“…marriage problems are fairly easy to resolve.  Whenever a husband and a wife are willing to study the dynamics of marriage and willing to take the time to undersand each other, they will come together in love.”

“…to survive unexpected circumstances and disappointments, you are going to have to be willing to change, to adjust, to work with what you have, and to commit to doing things you normally wouldn’t have chosen to do… Love can be deceitful.  It starts out so easily… it is the ease of the relationship that convinces us that the other person is ‘the one’.  We are so comfortable with them.  They are incredibly easy to talk to.  We can just be ourselves around them.  With seemingly no effort at all, we experience a sense of joy just by being around them.”

“‘Yes’, your romance-starved heart answers.  ‘this is it = true love is always easy! …we know it’s right because it’s easy… But after the ‘I do’s’ have been exchanged, life kicks in.  And guess what?  It ain’t easy…  Due to the intoxicating nature of the dating process, people don’t know each other nearly as well as they think…  Shock (sets in) because the differences that attracted them to each other now repel them… dissatisfaction rules the day.  You were smoking marital ganga if you expected marriage to be a life filled with constant waves of joy, where every morning birds sing you awake and little bunnies help you sweep the floors as the chipmunks wash the dishes…”

“The view that there is a predestined one-and-only out there for each of us has permeated even the Christian view of courtship and marriage.  We have spiritualized it.  We teach, ‘God has made one special person just for you.’ Really?  If that is not the epitome of self-centred, narcissistic thinking, I don’t know what is.  God did NOT create another human being just to satisfy your needs or make you feel complete…  Surprising to many, there is absolutely no biblical evidence to substantiate such behavior.  The Bible never tells us to find the one God has chosen.  It teaches us how to live well with the person WE have chosen.  …successful life,love, romance and marriage are the result of a couple living by God’s principles – principles that never fail.  But this version, which places true love and marriage on the footing of human choice and responsibility, just isn’t nearly as romantic or seductive.”

“The truth is, a successful marriage is NOT the result of marrying the ‘right’ person, feeling the ‘right’ emotions, thinking the ‘right’ thoughts or even praying the ‘right’ prayers.  It’s about doing the ‘right’ things – period.”

“Why doesn’t God have a special person just for you?  Because He knows that His principles of love, acceptance, patience, and forgiveness work, and they work all the time, every time – no matter whom you are married.  That is why the apostle Paul never told us to find that ‘special someone’, but rather to make sure we find someone who truly believes and lives by the principles of love, acceptance, patience, and forgiveness.  He referred to such a person as a ‘believer’…  If being a believer is the key, then why do so many marriage fail, even with people of the faith?  Simply because many people of faith fail to live out these principles.  The apostle James touched this problem when he said, ‘Faith without works is dead.’  In other words, if yon don’t actually DO the right thing, believing the right thing won’t do you any good.  In fact, he teaches that our lack of action can nullify the very faith we claim to have.  It doesn’t matter how spiritual or holy you THINK you are, if you are an impatient, demanding, whining, unforgiving person, your marriage will suffer.”

“Just as there are laws of physics that affect everyone regardless of who they are or what they believe, there are also laws of MARRIAGE PHYSICS.  Sadly, people keep breaking all of the laws and then are stunned by the fact that their marriage stinks.  ‘Why is my marriage so bad?’ they ponder.  Then the unwise voices of modern convention scream in their minds, wake up and be honest with your feelings.  If things are bad, you married the wrong person. It isn’t supposed to be this hard.  You’ve made a mistake.  God doesn’t want you to feel unloved.  Be courageous and bail.

AND BAIL THEY DO – BY THE MILLIONS.

But the problem isn’t that people marry the WRONG person; it’s that people act in ways that are WRONG – ways that destroy.  If your marriage stinks, someone is breaking the rules of marriage physics.  Unfortunately, most are unaware that rules even exist, much less know what they are.  ..A great marriage is mostly about two people committing to each other and then employing principles such as love, acceptance, patience, forgiveness, sacrifice, and unselfishness, to enrich that committed relationship.  Marriage is more about WORK than about divine LUCK, more about finding someone to LOVE than about finding someone to meet your own laundry list of personal needs.”

Wow! What do you think of that?  And that was only portions of the introduction and Chapter 1!

May the Father guide each of us to be the very best partner we can be to our spouse.  May the Father bless married couples with the grace to embrace the skills so that each one can enjoy the true joy He intended for Adam and Eve and may we be the very best loving examples to our children.

God bless,

Melissa – November 7, 2009

p.s. –
http://www.laughyourway.com/ <- Mark Gungor’s website

REFLECTION: What about the others?

Friday, January 15th, 2010


On Monday evening, I had an opportunity to attend the Alpha Program at Coastal Church.  Although many of us are already Christians, we decided to attend the course in hopes of learning more.

During our discussion on “Who is Jesus?”, one of the guests asked…  “What about the others?  There were many other great teachers, like Gandhi, who had taught good.  I am sure they are in Heaven.  So why don’t we talk about them?”

That is an excellent question and I continue to reflect on it.  As I pondered over it with the Father, I began to realize that we do talk about the other great teachers such as Gandhi and Tao, but the conversations become exhausted after a period of time.  Could it be that it is because we don’t have an ongoing living relationship with them?

Perhaps many of you don’t realize it, but the Father and I have a running conversation throughout the day.  Knowing that I talk a lot, you can imagine who does most of the talking.  Nevertheless, I find it so comforting to know that I have a constant companion.  As always, I look out for the blessings and the special graces He gives, but most of all, I look out for how He decides to use me for that day.

As I invite the Father into my daily activities, be it in my happy moments or the devastating ones, I begin to become sensitive to the little surprises He gives me moment by moment.  Every so often I cannot wait to give my best buddy, Nancy, a call so that we can talk about what the Father has done.  Nancy often says… “We know where that came from!” and we both know without a shadow of a doubt that that event or word came directly from the Father.

Perhaps as you gather with a few friends the next time around, it would be interesting to see who you talk about…

God bless,

Melissa – Thu, Apr 30, 2009

REFLECTION: Masks and black weed tarp

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Over a month ago, I managed to put several layers of black weed tarp over a large patch of weeds.  At that time, I weighted most of the tarp down with rocks since I didn’t have the anchors.

I would have imagined that with the passing of time, the black tarp would have killed most of the growth underneath it. To my surprise, as I took a peek below, the weeds were only a tad yellowish from lack of sunshine, but they were still as healthy as ever.  I pondered about that for a while and I then questioned the Father how that was possible.  He prompted me to examine the tarp.  As I put a piece up against the hot sun, I noticed multiple dots of light coming through!  Although the material had to be porous to allow water through, the tarps’ inferior quality allowed more light through than desired.

I then sensed the Father saying that this is what we do with our mistakes and unresolved pain of the past.  We try to cover them with “masks”.  Although we try to block them from our present, our unresolved past manages to peek through every so often.

Now that I had them, I began to pound the plastic anchors over the tarp and into the hardened soil.  Every so often, the anchor’s plastic head would break. Once again I asked the Father what that meant.  I sensed Him saying that the plastic anchors represented the lies we told to keep our past hidden. Like the plastic anchors, our lies are brittle and they fail to hold down the masks we wear.

When I shared this revelation with my best buddy, Nancy, several weeks ago, she said “wow” and she hurried me back into the garden for more.

May the Father’s grace give us the strength to face our past and may He bring healing so we can be free to live our lives to the fullest…

God bless,

Melissa – Sun, 21 Jun 2009

REFLECTION: Babbling a mile-a-minute

Friday, January 15th, 2010

Last night I had an opportunity to drop by Shawna’s and Ed’s place for a quick visit.  The moment Shawna opened the door, my mouth started gabbing away.  I’m not sure how long he was waiting, but suddenly, I heard Ed say “Hi Melissa.  Shawna wanted me to make sure I said hello, but I didn’t know when to interrupt you.” I was completely startled for a moment because I had not noticed Ed and Josh sitting quietly in their living room.  So much for my having peripheral vision…as most women have.  I was so focused on Shawna and the two little ones that I didn’t even notice the other two who were only a stone’s throw away.

I laughed so hard after that and I couldn’t resist rubbing Ed’s arm as I apologized.  I wonder what the poor man was thinking.  It must have been similar to entering a busy freeway or trying to cut across the track of a speeding train!  You see…when I talk, I normally talk fast, but when I talk while I am excited, I talk super fast!  I wonder how the others perceive what I am saying.

During one of our prayer sessions with my former prayer partner, Nicole, I thanked the Father for the anti-histamine I had taken earlier so that I wouldn’t be praying a mile-a-minute.  Nicole just laughed, but I’m sure she agreed.  Although she didn’t say anything, I knew she was grateful that I was praying calmly and slowly for the community.

At the moment, I am not sure where I’m getting at, but I continue to write, hoping that the Father will disclose why I am sharing.  I hear him say…”Be still and know that I am God.” and so I will be still.

As I sat quietly (normally a difficult task for me to do) the Father reminded me of the man who sat across me at McDonald’s this morning.  We were separated by a glass window, but I was able to hear and see a lot of what he was doing as I tried to read.  I believe the man has Tourette’s.  Wikepedia’s description is…“Tourette’s was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate
and derogatory remarks (
coprolalia).”

I tried not to watch and I tried not to listen, but I did catch his right arm gesture… jerking away uncontrollably while he mumbled away.  I continuously asked the Father to help me block my ears and to help me concentrate on my book because I didn’t want to hear any profanity during my quiet time.  I was successful to a degree, but I couldn’t stop my brain from trying to analyze what he was saying.  I believe I heard “f….” this and “f…” that.  That was more than I wanted to hear and I’m glad the Father helped me through that.

As I stood up to leave, I took another glance his way and I noticed the large magnifying glass in his hand as he looked through the employment ads.  As I drove home and even at this moment, my heart breaks for him. I wonder if he has difficulty finding and holding a job because of his speech impediment.

I thank the Father for giving me the grace and the ability to control the speed of my speech.  At the same time, I ask the Father to turn His eyes on that man and I plead for His mercy over him.  I have been given the ability to control my tongue while this man can’t.  May the Father bring healing into his life and may the Father give him the ability to get and hold a decent job.  I also ask the Father to give each of us the grace to speak words of praise and edification as we relate to our families and to the world around us.

God bless,

Melissa – November 8, 2009