Let the Cramping Begin

“We’re back!” they said with evil glee.

“Oh no!” she said. “Not now! The kids are here and there’s no one to cover for me! Can’t you just skip me this month?”

“Um, nope. We’re here.”

“Then come back later, after the kids have gone home.”

“Aw… one would think you didn’t like us,” they said, pretending to be hurt.

“I don’t. You’re timing is terrible.”

“Nah, we think now is a good time.”

All that Friday morning, as she took care of the kids she babysat in her home, she could feel her abdomen tightening in anticipation of the intense pain that usually accompanied these visitors each month. And she could hear them taunting her.


“It’s going to be bad this time.”

“You’re going to scare the kids when you get sick right in front of them.”

“Feel that? It’s only going to get worse!”

“You may as well as give up. We’re going to be here a long time.”

At noon, she took some pain reliever and prayed, “Jesus, please bless these pills and make them work for me.”

“No! Not the pills!” they cried in mock horror. Then they scornfully laughed at her. “Those pills can’t even begin to touch what we have in store for you today.”

After settling the kids down for their naps, she sat down and held her abdomen. I don’t know what to do, she thought. What will happen if I can’t take care of the kids when they wake? And what about the after-school kids coming later this afternoon?

A small thought made its way into her brain. “You don’t know what to do, but you know Someone who does.”

Of course! Why didn’t she think of that sooner? She placed one hand flat on her abdomen and raised the other hand towards her Healer.

“Wait! What are you doing?” they asked nervously. She had not done that before and it looked a lot like a prayer position to them.

“Just watch,” she responded.

Then she closed her eyes and began speaking. “Jesus, Lord of all creation, You made me and You know how my body works. Please hold back these cramps from me while the kids are here. And while I attend the football game tonight. After that, it doesn’t matter. If the cramps have to happen, I’ll be able to spend the day in bed tomorrow with them.”

Then after a moment, she added, “But I can’t promise not to complain or ask You to take them again if You allow them back.”

“That won’t work. He doesn’t care about a little bit of cramping,” they jeered.

“He cares about everything I care about.”

“Your prayers don’t always work. They’re not going to work this time either.”

“That’s up to God. I trust Him to take care of me.”

“Not if we have anything to say about it,” they said as they became more active – pulling and pushing and twisting inside her.

Finally, she couldn’t stand it any longer and decided to lay down to see if that would help.

“That’s right,” they said. “Get ready for some fireworks! We’re just getting warmed up!”

Their taunts grew louder as her cramps intensified.

“You’re going to get so sick, you won’t be able to take care of the kids.”

“Yeah, they’re going to get up and destroy your house.”

“And maybe ever get hurt.”

“And then their parents are going to be so angry you took a nap and neglected their precious children that they will never bring their kids to you again. You will lose everything!”

And they laughed their evil laughs, enjoying their own imaginations.

“Jesus,” she began.

“Oh no! She’s praying again. Let’s see if He hears her this time.”

“I don’t know why these cramps are still here. I place them in Your hands. Please don’t let me fall asleep as I lay here.”

“No problem,” they laughed at her as if she was speaking to them. “You’re going to be hurting too much to fall asleep.”

“Thank You, Lord,” she continued. “Thank You for these cramps, for they show me that my body is working.”

“That’s a new one,” they said as they looked at each other. “This can’t be good.”

As she prayed, she kept her thoughts on Jesus, on what He’s done for her in the past and what He will do for her in the future. She began to doze.

They looked with bewilderment at each other. Something was happening. Something they hadn’t experienced with her before. They were shrinking right before their own eyes!

A little while later, she roused.  After making sure the kids were still sleeping, she checked on the cramps.  She couldn’t feel them. Were they gone? How could that be? Every month in the past, they would hang around for a day or two. How could they be gone in just thirty minutes?

“We’re not gone!” they yelled. “We’re still here!”

“Oh. Right. But I can barely feel you. You’re too little to do much. Jesus sure took care of you!”

“Just wait until next month. We’ll be back!”

“Bring it on. Jesus will still be here next month!”

And she spent the rest of the day singing praises to her amazing Healer-God!

Slime Monster

Where did this feeling come from, she wondered. This warm, want-to-hug-people feeling?

She had never wanted to hug anyone before. As a child, she had been forced to hug every relative hello, regardless of who they were and how she felt. That was not OK with her. In fact, she hated it. But she did it dutifully. She learned to see hugging people as a chore and to bury any feelings involved in it.

But now…she WANTED to hug people.

People in her family.

People in her church.

People at her prayer meeting.

People who befriended her.

People she knew.

People she didn’t know.

Even her pesky little sisters.

Where had this huggy part of her come from?

Then one day she read Romans 5:5. “…for we know how dearly God loves us and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.”

Ahh! So that’s where it comes from, she thought! I’m so full of God’s amazing love that it oozes out of me every time I get near someone. I’m like some kind of slime monster!

And that was just fine with her.



Not This Time


She looked at the time again and frowned.  3:30  Finally on the road, she did the calculation. Two and a half hours would get them to the main beach at 6:00. Then 15 more minutes to get to the wedding sight.  The wedding starts at 6:15.

It will be tight, but we’ll get there before it starts, she thought.

Then the delays started.

Stop for gas. OK, so this delay was necessary, but it added 5 minutes to her time table. They might miss the beginning of the wedding.

Relax. God is in control.

She thought back on all the times she thought she’d be late somewhere. She had learned to trust in His timing – that He could handle circumstances and traveling times and make everything work out just fine.

Not this time, she thought as  they raced towards the beach. We have too far to go and there just isn’t enough minutes.


Besides, she didn’t know the exact spot the wedding would be held and was hoping to be able to follow someone who did. Now, they would be late and everyone would be at the wedding site. There would be no one to follow and they’d have to trial and error their way to the site. That would add even more minutes to the time table.

A while later, frustrated at having to slow down for traffic, she looked at the time again. 4:25. Her GPS told her it would take an hour and 40 minutes to arrive at the main beach. Adding the 15 minute drive to the wedding site, they would arrive at … 6:20. They would definitely miss the beginning of the wedding.

Relax. God’s timing is perfect.

Not this time, she thought, tears squeezing past her stressed-tight eyelids.

The wrong turn was totally her fault. She had pointed out the turn to her husband only after they passed it. Then, after making a u-turn and getting on the road she had indicated, it turned out to be the wrong one. Having to turn around again, she fretted over this avoidable delay. If only she had paid closer attention to the street signs instead of relying on her memory.

It’s OK. Trust God’s timing.

Not this time, she thought as she mentally kicked herself. It was now 5:25 with about an hour still to go.

A phone call from her sister, checking on their progress and informing her that the wedding was running late, helped calm her a little. But just a little. They were still many miles from the beach. They kept driving.

Trust God to get you there at the right time.

Not this time, she thought. Even if they reached the main beach on time, everyone else will already be at the site and there still won’t be anyone to follow.

Staring out the window, she watched as they drove through unfamiliar streets. She and her husband had thought they should go a different way, but the GPS said to go this way. They decided to trust the GPS.

Relax. Trust in God’s timing.

Not this time, she sighed with frustration. Even though the GPS had taken them a side way to avoid heavy city traffic and probably saved them 10 minutes, it was 5:45 and they were still 20 minutes away from the main beach.

You are in God’s hands. Trust in His timing.

Not this time, she thought. They’d probably get lost trying to find the actual site and end up missing the vows.

Another phone call a little while later, this time from her sister-in-law. They were just now leaving for the main beach and were willing to wait for her there so she could follow them to the wedding site.

See? It’s OK. Trust in God’s timing.

Maybe, but we’re not there yet, she thought begrudgingly. It’s 5:10 and we still have to get to the wedding site.

After following her sister-in-laws car for several miles, they came to the parking lot closest to the wedding site. She was amazed to see everyone still milling around in the parking lot. The wedding hadn’t even started!

I told you – God’s timing is perfect.

As she got out to join the rest of the wedding guests, she said, “I’m sorry, Lord. You were right. I CAN trust Your timing.

Even this time.”

Valentines Day Years Ago

I know it’s almost two months too late… or 10 months too early… but I just ran into this entry in my journal from years ago. There’s a very good chance if I wait until next February, I will have lost it long before. So I’m posting it now.

There is no text to this story. It’s all in the picture. Enjoy! I sure did. Our God is amazing, isn’t He!IMG_20180403_024531919.jpg



Cast of Characters:

Voice One: a young girl, relatively new in the faith

Voice Two: the girl’s inner voice, whether her own or the Holy Spirit

Voice Three: the enemy (we all know who that is), sneaky quiet voice

Background: the young girl has been on a quest to learn about prayer in order to deepen her own prayer life




Voice One: Prayer often seems so empty and unanswered. What am I doing wrong? God, why are You so quiet?

Voice Three:  Where is your Jesus now?

Voice Two: He’s giving you a chance to grow in your faith. But He’s smiling down on you. He knows how this will end, and He is so proud of you.

Voice Three: You should have this by now. You’re not good enough to pray.

Voice One: I’m so sorry, Father. I wish I was better at this. Would You teach me? I’ve tried all week to have a quiet time, but I just don’t know how to.

Voice Three: See? Nothing. He won’t answer you.

Voice Two: That’s just the enemy. Don’t listen to him.

Voice One: Really? Satan is involved in this? Why? I’m nobody.

Voice Three: You’re so right.

Voice Two: You are the daughter of the King. That makes you a target.

Voice Three: Nah. you’re no threat. Not worth Satan’s time. You can’t even pray.

Voice One: So if Satan can’t steal my soul because I belong to the Father, why is he after me?

Voice Three: I’m not.

Voice Two: He wants to keep you so busy worrying about your spiritual growth that you can’t enjoy life. He can’t steal your soul, so he’s trying to steal your joy.

Voice One: Hmmm… that makes sense.

Voice Three: NO! It doesn’t! Who cares whether you are happy or not? That’s just selfish.

Voice Two: If you have no joy, it’s hard to spread God’s love to others.

Voice One: So I should just enjoy who I am.

Voice Two: Right.

Voice Three: That’s just hiding your head in sand. You think if you ignore your problems, they will go away.

Voice One: So if I just focus on who I am, how do I grow?

Voice Two: Your Father is in charge of that.

Voice Three: That’s what they want you to think. It’s the easy way out. Growth takes work and discipline and plans.

Voice One: But don’t I need to work at it, make plans and discipline myself to follow through on them?

Voice Two: That’s just the enemy again. Don’t listen.

Voice One: Then how do I grow?

Voice Three: You won’t.

Voice Two:  Does a baby concern himself with how make himself grow? Or does he relax and allow his parents to be in charge? To lead him to what he needs – school, exercise, food – at the right times?

Voice One: I think I understand. I just have to enjoy being with My Father, and He will lead me at the right time into doing what I need to do to grow.

Voice Three: Mayday! Mayday! I think I’m losing her! All demons respond!

Voice Two: Uh, no. Cancel that request. You will leave her alone for now. Go!

Voice One: Thank You, Father, that You’re in charge and I don’t have to be. I can just relax and enjoy the life You’ve given me. You are amazing, God. There is none like You!

Welcome Home Party

“Will you go?” her boyfriend asked her. “You really should. You’ll love it and it’ll be good for you.”

“I don’t know,” she responded hesitantly. “There’s going to be a lot of people there.”

“So? It’ll be fine. You’ll see.”

She didn’t know why she found it so hard to be around groups of people. Even going to the same prayer group week after week still caused her to get sweaty-hands-and-stomach-cramps nervous.

“But I don’t know anyone there.”

“You’ll make some new friends. Everyone is really nice.”

“I won’t know what to do.”

“They’ll tell you. The leaders are great. They will take care of you.”

“What if I can’t sleep in that room filled with women?”

“I’ll be praying for you.”

Finally she agreed, and within a week she was signed up and on her way.

The first night was filled with introductions, expectations, and a short teaching. Not too bad, she thought. Even sleeping on her little cot went better than she expected.

The next day was so full of activities and teachings that she barely had time to think about being nervous. Everyone was so friendly and helpful, looking out for her and making sure she was OK. By that night she had begun relaxing and went to sleep full of the presence of God.

The next day brought a time of worship, a last message, and some group discussions. Then it was time for lunch.

While she ate, she marveled at the acceptance she felt from these ladies. No one was judging or criticizing her. No one was expecting her to be any different than what she was. It was even OK for her to be quiet and silent most of the weekend. She was so completely accepted just as she was. She knew after lunch would be the closing session and then it would be time to leave. She didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to lose the warmth she had experienced all weekend.

A sound brought her out of her thoughts. Music? Where was it coming from? She noticed all the other women had also noticed and were looking around for the source. The music got louder and louder, and now voices could be heard accompanying the melody. Suddenly the door opened and in came a line of men holding lit candles while singing along with the music. And in amongst the men was her boyfriend! They made a ring around the women and sang to them.  Most women were crying by then, and she was no exception. Only her tears were on the inside. The men were singing to them! The men were singing to her! She was loved and cherished and valued! She was overwhelmed!

On her way home, she struggled to put her feelings into words, to form a picture of what the weekend had been for her. And then she knew! It was her welcome home party!

That’s exactly what it was, she thought. I left God when I was young, just like the prodigal son in the Bible. Only I wasn’t smart enough to go back home like the son was. The Father had to come find me. We spent the last year walking together  along the road back towards His home as He taught me about His love. And now, I’m surrounded by my brothers and sisters – all who love and accept me because He does! This weekend, like the party the father in the Bible threw for his son, was the party my amazing Father threw for me!

And she was grateful that her boyfriend had been right.


Jesus Changes Things

She had always been nervous around people. From as far back as she could remember, her fear of people had kept her from enjoying family gatherings, public places, and even school. Sure, she could act like everything was OK. And sometimes she actually did find herself enjoying something that involved people. But even so, her nerves would cause her sweat glands to work overtime. Not just the simple underarm wetness that most people have to deal with. For her, it meant sweat dripping off her hands and running down her arms and sides. Enough sweat to actually form a puddle on the floor or on her chair. And she hated herself for it.

So she asked for prayer.

Her boyfriend prayed for her. Her friends prayed for her. Even the whole prayer group, including the inner healing team, prayed for her.

And things got worse.

She wondered, “Why? Could Satan have anything to do with this? Is it my will I’m fighting for against God’s will – does He want my total submission and this is bringing me to it? Is it premenstrual strain building up for the last couple of weeks? Am I not getting some kind of nutrient I need?”

She said, “God, I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t want to be with people anymore. I just want to be alone. And I’m sorry for hiding out in the bathroom last night instead of joining the group in prayer. They were going to hold hands and I just couldn’t deal with the nerves and the sweat.  Nevertheless, I love You and I’m going to trust that you know what’s going on.”

Many times when she was feeling bad about herself, she would receive an unexpected gift – a rose, a picture drawn by a child, or a card in the mail – that she attributed to God. The time was no different. Actually, it was. She didn’t receive a gift – she received several gifts!  Some chicken from one friend, and some rolls and a desert from another friend. But best of all was a t-shirt that arrived weeks earlier than she expected. Across the front of the t-shirt were the words, “Jesus changes things.” Amazing coincidence? Absolutely not!


“Thank You, Lord! I love it!” she responded as she clutched the shirt to her heart. He had heard her, and His reassurance that He would change her was exactly what she needed.

It would be years before she would see the evidence of the changes He was doing inside her. But while waiting, every time she started to give up, she’d see the message on the shirt and her faith would be renewed. Once again, God showed His amazing love for her by providing her with the perfect gift at just the right time.

Little Red Throne Chair

Everything was quiet. Everyone’s eyes were closed. It was time to be with God.

She sat very still, eyes closed like everyone else, and waited for what God would tell her. While waiting, she sometimes imagined herself standing in His throne room. She would picture herself kneeling at His feet, standing before Him with her head bowed, or even curled up on His lap. But this night, it was different. As she stood there, before she could decide what she wanted to do, He pointed to a small red throne-type chair and said, “Sit here, My daughter.”


She opened her eyes and thought surely that was just her imagination. A throne chair? For her? Was that even biblical?

“What did you see?” Patti asked her.

“How do you know I saw something?” she responded cautiously, not wanting to share something as questionable as the chair.

“I just know. Something in my spirit. You saw something. What was it?”

So she told Patti along with the others who were listening. Their excitement for her got her to thinking…  what if it’s not just my imagination? What if I really am in His throne room and that I can actually go into it whenever I want? Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Just to be sure, she looked in the Bible and found…

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence…” Hebrews 4:16 

Yes, she thought, it is biblical that we can go in the throne room, even now, while we are still alive.

“… so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones…” Luke 22:30

Well, He was actually talking to His disciples. But if all His followers are invited to eat at His table, maybe all of His followers will also get to sit on thrones! So maybe her vision of the little red throne chair wasn’t so crazy after all!

Even When You Complain

She ran away. Like she always tried to do when confronted with too much stress. This time it was a decision she was having a hard time making. Go to the church service Ruth wanted her to go to? Or go to the prayer meeting at Louis’s house that she had been invited to, again. She didn’t want to do either but didn’t know how to say no. So she ran away to her favorite place – the beach.

Once on the beach, she sat down and began complaining and answering herself, not waiting for God to speak. Almost immediately, like a cool breeze and just as quick, she got the impression that Jesus sat down next to her. Even so, she continued to complain. “Why is hearing from God so hard? Why doesn’t He ever speak audibly to me? It’s not like it would make a difference in my faith or love for Him.  Why do I have to stay here in this small town? There’s nothing here for me. What would I do if I knew I was going to be here for a couple more years? Probably nothing more than what I’m already doing. Why do I have to go to Louis’s prayer meetings? That makes three meetings a week. That’s too much! How can I get out of it?  Maybe I could tell him that, although I won’t be attending the meetings, I would still like to be invited to any other gatherings they have. Like maybe if they have a picnic.”

That gave her a great idea – a beach party! She could invite all the believers she had come to know in this town – which weren’t that many actually. They could roast marshmallows and sing worship songs around the campfire!  That would be awesome! She got so excited, she forgot about complaining.

She looked up into the darkening sky and saw the moon. It looked to her like the eye of God was looking directly at her. She smiled up at it and asked God to help her with her new plans. Then as she left, still smiling, she thanked Jesus for the quiet time on the beach. And she was once again amazed at the unconditional love He had for her even when she was upset and full of complaints!


The Attack… and Some Brown Leaves

Already feeling low from struggling with a decision she was finding hard to make, she was not prepared for her dad’s attack.

“Christians are all ignorant fools,” he told her. “Too stupid to use their own minds, they just follow whatever the church says. Blind faith. Stupid faith.”

“It’s not like that,” she tried to explain. But he wouldn’t listen.

“You’re no better than them. You have been brainwashed into believing God can actually love you. That He’s actually interested in your life. He is God! Creator of the universe! He doesn’t care about each tiny individual. He made the world and now it’s up to us.”

“But that’s not what Jesus said…”

“Jesus!” he interrupted her. “He may have been a good man, but he was not God. He didn’t know any more than anyone else. People just made him into something he wasn’t because they needed something to hold on to when life got tough. Jesus is nothing more than a crutch.”

“He’s more than that, dad. He is God and He is with us. I know! I met Him!”

“If you believe that, you’re no better than any of those other delusional people. If you were smart, you’d drop this fantasy and look at life as it really is.”

“What about the Bible? The Bible says that Jesus is God and..” She was cut off again.

“It was written by ignorant people trying to explain a world they didn’t understand. We know better now. Science has proven most of the bible inaccurate. It’s just a book of fairy tales…”

And on and on he went, his voice rising as his anger against Christianity grew. Eventually, he got tired of ranting and left the room. She sat there, feeling as sore and bruised as if he had actually beat her. She slowly got up and got ready for bed. She started to pray but stopped. How could she? She didn’t deserve to be with Jesus. She had not been able to defend Him, to speak up for Him, to make her dad understand. She had let Jesus down. She felt like she couldn’t have Jesus anymore – not because He didn’t want her, but because they just couldn’t be together anymore. And she wanted Him. Not just because she needed Him and without Him, she wouldn’t have life, but because she loved Him. And so she wept.

The next day was spent in misery. She felt like God was on her side concerning her belief VS her dad’s belief, but that didn’t help much. She still felt like she had let Jesus down.

That night, before entering the church hall for the weekly prayer meeting she attended, she decided to take a walk down the church yard. It was dark, and the ground was covered with brown leaves from the many trees in the yard. As she walked with her eyes down, she began talking to God, telling Him how she felt. She really didn’t feel like attending the meeting. She was in no mood to go in there and greet everyone with hugs and smiles and pretend everything was OK. So she asked God what she needed to do.

“Rejoice, and praise Me in song and with your words.”

She sighed. “OK. Fine. But it won’t be emotional.” Then she added, “Please keep me from being a wet blanket on everyone else.”

As she walked, she pictured Jesus walking next to her. As often was the case, her image seemed to take on a life of its own, and she saw Jesus act like He was feeling as down as she was and kick at the leaves.


This made her smile. Jesus feeling down? And kicking at the leaves? She looked up at Him as she joined Him in kicking leaves, and she saw that He was smiling.

“Jesus, You are amazing! You always know just the right thing to do for me!”

And she went into the hall to greet everyone with hugs and smiles and act like everything was OK. Because it was.