Thursday, October 31, 2013


God said to Satan, "Consider my servant, Job."  Those four words marked Job for catastrophic loss.  Why would God, who promises to hide us in the palm of his hand, point out a good and faithful servant to Satan?  God was not boasting, and unlike some of Job's friends, I don't believe that God meant to punish him.  So why would God 'mark' Job by pointing him out to an enemy who rules the place (the world) Job inhabits?  Is it betrayal?

These were the questions I had about Job, that is, until the past few weeks.  You see, I have been incrementally losing everything.  Two years ago my mother passed away from a head injury, but I was so happy to still have my father. Weeks later he died from a heart attack, but I still had my brothers and sisters.  I was the co-executor on their sizable estate and over the next year, I lost many of my brothers and sisters to disputes and control.  Depressed and stressed, I confided to my Christian friends.  Eventually they avoided me.  I stopped writing and my writers' group stopped including me.  I thought, OK, I still have my children, but political differences between my daughter and I separated us- for now.

Yes, I do believe the loss is 'for now'.  I do have enough faith in God to know he will restore the things that are my heart's desire.  But, I asked myself, "Why is God doing or allowing this?" 

I have observed that God's acts are like a finely cut diamond.  He never uses a good work to prosper just one person, his works are so multi-faceted, we may never know whom or how many people have been served by our answered prayer.  Still, a spiritual child in many ways, I wanted to know why he was doing this to ME.

I began an inventory.  Yes, I am not a perfect servant - at times I am not even a good servant.  Still I am God's child by my own decision to believe and accept his plan of salvation, and as his child I inherit a level of rights as he outlined in his Word.  One of those rights is to be sheltered from the enemy and another is to expect not to be punished - disciplined yes - but not punished.

"So, Lord - what are you doing to me?  I want to know!"  The answer came, and came and came again.  I hate criticism - well my son said it with a little more finesse - I am too sensitive.  Of course I countered, "You should be glad I am so sensitive because that is where my love lies."; a spurious argument. Being sensitive was about me; my ego.  Love is about the other person, and then I remembered my prayer journal from last year.  "Please God make me a loving person."  My sensitivity was limiting me for the next level God wanted me to take.

"I submit, Lord.  Do your wonderful thing with me - change me to your Will - not mine.  I know you will restore all that has been lost when I am ready to receive any criticism from those I love. In Jesus' name."


Thursday, July 25, 2013


My parents passed from our family separated by just a few weeks.  They were the bookends to eight children – the strength that held us together.  The loss was sudden, unexpected and painful. Though I was well past middle age, I felt like an acrobat without a safety net – an orphan, and I drifted through the funeral like a ground mist that’s forgotten once the sun shines again.

My father had appointed my youngest brother and I as co-executors, and I found no personal financial or legal experience can prepare you for dealing with some else’s estate.  Doubts and questions plagued me even with my father’s detailed Last Will and Testament.  One area not addressed specifically was the household contents.  With room for eight children, my parents’ home was a sprawling three floors filled to the brim with sixty years of marital accumulation.  The Will placed a limit of sixty days for the beneficiaries to outline a plan of dispersal or the household contents would be sold and the proceeds divided equally.

So, my siblings and I held a meeting, and we did come to an amicable consensus.  Cars, jewelry, furniture and objects d’art left my parents home first.  My brothers and sisters returned the next weekend for selections from my father’s expansive library of books, music and movies.  There was even interest in some of my mother’s clothing.  Yet, when everyone had exhausted their choices, every room was still filled with stuff.  An estate sale and a large dumpster helped, and soon the contents of the house dwindled.  When we were done the house was empty save one bedroom of memorabilia that no one wanted.  Yet, discarding the items seemed like an act of disloyalty. 

Alone, I packed those last items in boxes.  My father’s hunting trophies, plaques and commendations from years of employment, framed thank you letters from clubs and charitable organizations were all packed in boxes that overflowed with my father’s life.  There was nothing of my mother here in this room.

Her life had been the recipe box that I had claimed as my own, the turkey platter claimed by sister #4 and the casserole dish claimed by sister #7.  Still, I was sad there was nothing of my mother’s life in that last room; no trophy, not one citation.

When I arrived home, I carried the boxes to the basement for storage, pending a future decision on their fate.  A curious wooden box caught my eye.  The word Memories was carved across the top.  I set the box on my dresser where it remained silent for the next few months.  I dusted it when I cleaned, dressed around it before going to work and slept in the same room with it each night. My curiosity never overcame my grief, so the box remained closed.

Months later, it was done.  My parents’ house was sold to a young couple, and I pictured their children rolling down the hill in the backyard or having Christmas dinner in the dining room as we had done.  Life does go on.  The probate taxes were paid, the estate was closed and my grief was soon replaced by happy memories.

I opened the Memory box.  At first, I wished I hadn’t.  Inside were letters written by a plaintive seventeen year old girl to her boyfriend who was vacationing in Michigan.  Postmarked through August of 1949, she had written everyday to my father. It was strange reading my mother’s longing words.  Her immature passion filled each page, and it was difficult to reconcile my competent mother with this childish banter.  After reading, I replaced each letter in the Memories box and I wondered.  Her letters evidenced that my father had written to her, but his letters were not saved.  Yet, he had saved every one of her letters in a special box marked, Memories, as a keepsake.  Then I thought, this was my mother’s trophy – sixty years of my father’s love and devotion saved in a box marked – Memories.




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

History Repeats

 As an effort “to temper public concern” regarding the NSA overreach, our President established a five member ‘Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board’.  They held their first meeting on June 21st behind closed doors. The discussion centered on ways to enlighten the American people on the need of our government to violate our privacy and civil liberties.


On 10/27/1775, King George had a similar meeting with his Parliament.  He discussed the Colonists’ discontent and how to quell what may be a rising rebellion. The American’s complaints included: confiscation of private property, deprivation of a trial by jury, judges dependent on the will of the King, the covert transporting of arms and armies, jurisdiction of foreign laws on Americans, imposing taxes without the peoples’ consent, mandatory quartering of troops to effect spying on the residents in their own homes, enlarging an arbitrary government, the erection of unelected offices and officers to harass the people, restrictions on trade and business and the government’s silencing of dissent and assembly.


On 7/4/1776 a group of leaders: preachers, doctors, lawyers, merchants and educators, declared independence from an overreaching government.  They pledged their lives, reputations and fortunes in exchange for freedom from a government that dictated their lives.  They did this for their children and their children’s children. They determined that it was self-evident that all men are created equal.  They knew that we are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights – Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. They envisioned a government “of the People, by the People, and for the People”.  Two hundred and thirty seven years later – have we lost the vision?

Monday, June 17, 2013


Established religions are man's pathway to God.  Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism and all the other religions of the world were all created by man in an effort to stand righteous before God.  Each of the world's religions require that man do something or accomplish something to prove his worthiness; attending mass, pilgrimages, taking sacraments, prescribed prayer times, self- sacrifice and even suicide may be required to stand righteous before God.

Christianity is not a religion.  Christianity teaches that man cannot make himself righteous, only God can make man righteous.  I can't remember my first sin, but I know that it exists by the myriad of sins that have followed.  God stated that the penalty for just one sin is death - permanent death.  Once I committed that first sin, I became corrupted - I could no longer participate in my own salvation.

God knew this and still wanted to give us everlasting life.  So, he came himself to earth - a sinless sacrifice - to die for all our sins.  All he asked is that you believe.  It is a choice to believe - not a feeling - not an emotion.  Make the choice to participate in everlasting life.