Always Making a Way

God—always forgiving; always making a way. Since the beginning of time, man was always sinning and God’s faithfulness always found a way for man to be reconciled to the Father, but it came with a price. After God parted the Red Sea and delivered his people from Egypt, the people forgot and began grumbling against their deliverer, despite His deity. It was then that God sent fiery serpents among them with deadly consequences. After many died, the Hebrews repented and asked Moses to pray to God for them.

The Almighty instructed Moses exactly what to do. “So, Moses made a bronze serpent and put it on a pole, and so it was if a serpent had bitten anyone when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.” Numbers 21:9. And it was thus, God made a way for them to live, but they must look upon God and His solution for their life.

I was eleven when my sins confronted me. I had gone to bed for the night and, with my head resting on my pillow, I stared out the window to the sky above. I had never seen one quite like it. The stars shone brighter, the moon beamed, and the sky glowed with, what I realize now was, the Glory of God. The majesty of His creation pierced my heart, and instantly, I knew I was a sinner. I desperately needed to repent and ask forgiveness. I felt His presence and called out to Him, and in a heartbeat, I was changed. The price for my wickedness had been paid two thousand years ago and I had just accepted the free gift of eternal life that Jesus paid for with a precious price.

John 3:14-15 tells us “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

It’s at Easter that we remember the road that Jesus walked and the cross He bore for our (my) sins. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (me) believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Some people don’t want to think about the price of sin, but His Word reminds us of the mission of Jesus. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17

What if I had ignored the sky, ignored my feelings of shame, and refused to call upon Jesus for forgiveness? The answer to that is in the next verse, John 3:18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

What if I thought that maybe I could do enough or be good enough to go to heaven? In case I had any doubt, Jesus explains in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

So, this Easter Sunday, I am thankful that God made a way for me by sending His Son to die in my place. I am thankful that on a starry night I could receive forgiveness and life when I looked up to Jesus and repented.

With all my love, may the blessed hope we have in Jesus be yours this Easter.

A Time To Die

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted

That scripture became a song, one of my favorites. Recorded by the Byrds, “Turn, Turn, Turn” became quite popular. Those verses and the ones following in Ecclesiastes are proof that God did not promise us life would always be rosy. Indeed, there will be difficult times.

Rick and I arrived at our home in Florida on January 3rd this year. The next day, I picked up the phone and called Audrey, my eighty-eight-year-old sister who has Parkinson’s. There were seven of us children. She’s the oldest girl and I am the youngest. Still, we have been close siblings since forever, and now, only she and I remain of all of Mom’s kids.

Audrey told me her husband, Mike, wasn’t feeling well, saying it was the same cold he gets every year about this time. My advice – you need to be tested for possible Covid. The next day, he tested positive, but she was negative. Both were doing okay. Since they only live a couple of miles from us, Rick and I visited them.

In the beginning, all was fine. Mike slept in another room since he was Covid positive and she was negative, but Audrey sometimes needs help through the night. I offered to stay, but with both of them being independent and proud, she declined at first. Later that evening, she called and said maybe she’d better take me up on my offer.

I packed a bag and thanked God we had already had this dreaded virus. Soon, Audrey came down with Covid, too. I’m not a nurse, but I had talked with their doctor’s office and they instructed me in what to do. I found myself charting temps, blood pressures, heart rates, and oxygen levels.

After 60 years of marriage, the two of them were very protective of each other. That next morning, Mike went into her room, took her hand, and asked her how she was doing. Then he sat down and they talked. I gave them their privacy and had visions of their 50th wedding anniversary when they danced together with eyes for only each other. Even though she wasn’t as agile as in her younger days, you could tell they both saw an earlier version of each other. 

The next morning, after a busy night with Audrey, I joined an ailing Mike at the dining room table as he completed a crossword puzzle, a usual practice of his. He didn’t look good. Even though he was wearing his oxygen machine, the pulse oximeter on his finger indicated a low oxygen reading, and his heart raced.

“Maybe I should go to the hospital,” he said.

“I think that’s not a bad idea,” I agreed. Rick arrived soon and Mike prepared to leave.

My sister didn’t say it, but I saw in her eyes that she knew how serious this could be. She cupped his face in her hands, “You do as they tell you,” she told him. He pulled her close and held her. They kissed and told each other goodbye, fearing they might not see one another again.

Audrey had a pretty good day, but that night when I checked on her, her temperature raged and her oxygen had fallen into the 80’s. I woke her, placed a cool rag on her forehead, gave her some Tylenol, and called 9-1-1. As the paramedics wheeled her out of the condo, our eyes were fixed on each other. I told her I loved her and burned the image of Audrey smiling at me while on the stretcher into my memory, also fearing I might not see her again.

When they admitted her to the hospital, they actually placed her in Mike’s room and all seemed to be only a matter of being treated and getting well. Of course, the hospital accepted no visitors, and I only got to talk to them if they answered their cell phones.

The hospital communicated with their oldest sons and soon, they notified us that both required more intensive treatment and oxygen, but that they wouldn’t be placed on a ventilator because of the DNR orders. The treatment required them to be in separate rooms. One day we thought all was okay, the next we were told to expect the worst. Ten days later, before the hospital released a weakened and weary Audrey to a rehab center, they took her to Mike’s room to once again say goodbye. It was the last time she saw him.

Although, he continued to deteriorate, everyday he asked about Audrey. She apparently wasn’t able to use her phone because for the longest time, we didn’t hear from her. Finally, the two of them were able to converse by phone. Then, the family was called in to say goodbye to Mike, but he fought hard to stay here for Audrey.

Several days later, when he could no longer fight, he requested for his sons to take him home. He had spent over a month in a windowless room, without visitors, struggling to breathe. He deserved to die in a familiar room with a window and sunlight. His sons sat by his side and they conversed some. Each told the other of their love and they talked about old times. Once he got to talk to Audrey briefly over the phone, but she had no idea how bad he was. The boys prayed and read scripture over him as he slipped from this earth into the arms of God.

This morning, I went with the boys to tell their mother that the love of her life had left for paradise. We had requested the rehab center allow us to give her this news in person, and miraculously, they arranged it. We had prayed for God to give her strength, prepare her, and encourage her for her future. She took the news just as we had asked, crying only a couple of times. She helped us with funeral arrangements and other decisions.

“I want to be at the funeral,” she said as her lower lip quivered. Barely able to sit in her wheelchair, she looked from one of us to the other. “Life is never going to be the same,” she declared.

Her sons made the decision at that point to bring her home and care for her there. The boys live in Illinois, but knew that she couldn’t make that trip in her condition and the cold. They plan to make changes gradually. Tomorrow, I will be there when she enters her condo to begin the first chapter of the rest of her life. 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 150:6

My Personal Christmas Romance

At the age of fourteen, my dad left, with me practically chasing him down the sidewalk. My heart shattered as Dad had chosen a life that didn’t include Mother and me. The first time I heard Wayne Newton sing “Daddy Don’t You Walk So Fast,” I cried because it reminded me of that day.

I watched mother struggle to work, earning only minimum wage, and knew I needed to help out. When I was seventeen and a junior in high school, I had already been a member of the workforce for three years. I loved to read anything historically accurate and especially romantic fiction, but my heart was broken. Mom and I worked together as a team, but jobs separated me from my classmates and life was often gloomy. I found myself anxiously waiting for my dreams to come true.     

Several hundred miles away, in places that would become significant later in my life, Disney World held its first candlelight procession, and in Columbia, Missouri, KMIZ channel 17 aired its first broadcast. At a time when “Play Misty for Me” ran in theaters and radios aired melodious songs like Melanie’s “Brand New Key” and Three Dog Night’s “Old Fashioned Love Song,” snow flurries graced the skies of Hurst, Texas, glistening on the trees and turning the ground white, drifting to unusual depths for the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It was a magical December. Little did I know that God was about to answer my prayers.

From the first moment I met him, it was as if we had always known each other. Rick had just returned from Viet Nam and looked so handsome in his army uniform. We became best friends, and I fell in love with my sweetheart. A true Christmas romance with me as the princess. We played in the snow and he made me laugh. He maneuvered his metallic blue Plymouth, turning exhilarating donuts in the deserted, snow-covered parking lots. I giggled and glowed. Just being together thrilled me.

We held hands, locked arms, kissed in the moonlight and our love kept me warm. He brushed my long, blonde hair behind my ear and held me close, making me feel safe and righting my world.

Rick had escaped the war unscathed, both physically and mentally. Although serving in a combat zone, he was fortunate enough to be assigned to a communications command under General Davidson. Once stateside, the Army sent him to Bell Helicopter, the plant right across the street from where Mom and I lived in a low-rent apartment complex. He had leased an apartment facing ours.

Mom and I shared one car, an old clunker, but Rick taught me to drag race and gave me the possession of his brand new, modified Plymouth Duster. When I pulled into the school parking lot, driving his souped-up hotrod, with a 318 under the hood, four on the floor, and a Holly 750 double-pumper carburetor, all the heads turned. The engine rumbled, the paint shone, the wheels sparkled, and I sat behind the wheel. I couldn’t have felt more elated or prouder, except for that day only four months later, when I stood beside him, hand in hand, and said, “I will” for the rest of my life.

God started us on our journey together which included love, three children, and later grandchildren. Things were not always perfect, but we grew closer to God through our trials and learned the importance of putting Him first.

You Are Chosen

Today is National Farmers’ Day. So, to farmers all around the globe, we are so thankful for your hard work as we enjoy the fruits of your labor. In cultivating your crops, you model for us an important lesson. You plant the seeds that sprout and burst forth from the ground. New stems require care, rain, sun, and nutrients in order to stretch and grow and bud, blossoming into life-giving food.   

Just like a seed, when you accept Jesus, He gives you a measure of faith and you burst into new life.  But more is required for you to stretch, grow, and blossom into a life-giving vessel. If you starve yourself of nutrients, your growth and ability to blossom is stunted.

Just as Moses was chosen to free the Hebrew slaves, Elijah was chosen to call down fire from heaven at Mount Carmel, and John the Baptist was chosen to cry out in the wilderness “make way for the Lord,” YOU TOO have been CHOSEN. Always remember, many are called, but few are chosen.  

Many have told me they are too shy to share Jesus, saying they can read the Bible and go to church, but beyond that, they don’t have what it takes. According to 2 Peter 1:5-8, if you are diligent to add to your faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love you will not be barren or unfruitful. So, the formula for being a life-giving vessel for Jesus Christ and His kingdom is: faith+virtue+knowledge+self-control+perseverance+godliness+brotherly kindness+love. But, what does that look like and how do you go about doing it?

First, add virtue, or moral behavior, to your new faith in Jesus. Examine how you behave. Is there any behavior that needs to change? Next is knowledge. How do you attain the kind of knowledge to which this verse refers? You must spend time in God’s word and meditate on it. You can do that on your own, but you also need to sit under the teaching of those more knowledgeable, such as in church or elders in your family.

Self-control might be one of the hardest things to add to the formula for fruitfulness, but it’s necessary. Webster says it is the restraint exercised over one’s own impulses, emotions, or desires. You’re probably getting the idea. The formula is not complete without perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will blossom into the beautiful vessel your Lord and Savior chose YOU to be.

GOD and Romance


I dedicate this blog post to my recently married daughter April and her new husband, Justin. My heart overflows with joy for them. May their future be bright and blessed by God.

Today in many countries, certain cultures arrange marriages. Sometimes romantic gestures and moments accompany those arrangements and sometimes not. As a Christian romance novelist, I questioned the real importance of romance to God. Is romance a man-created, frivolous, nonsensical, and unnecessary thing in the eyes of the Lord? I researched and gave this some thought.

“When [Rebekah] saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.” Genesis 24:64 KJV. It might indicate she felt an attraction to him from first sight. Also, in Genesis, Jacob’s love for Rachel was so strong that he was willing to work and wait for seven years in order to marry her. After he was tricked, he had to wait another seven years, but his love for Rachel burned strong within him. Sampson, Ruth, and Esther are all examples of passion, devotion, and attraction. Ruth and Esther have their own books named after them in the Old Testament, and God used an element of romance to bring about His will.

I found that romantic desire is included in God’s word. If you don’t agree, then take a little time and read Song of Solomon, passages that are often used by pastors and counselors alike to revive the embers of a once flaming love of couples requiring marital counseling. In chapter 1, verse 2, it says “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is better than wine,” and verse 10, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away,” or even verse 16, “My beloved is mine, and I am his…” verse 17, “Until the day breaks and the shadows flee away…”

Falling in love, walking down the aisle and saying “I do” is the easy part. Making a life together as a family is often hard and requires work. Two keys to being successful in obtaining a joy-filled marriage is making God the head of your home and remembering to romance your spouse. Whether it be date night or a normal day, esteem your spouse higher than yourself as you serve one another.  

I make no apologies for writing Christian romance and hope my novels bring honor to God by presenting a Christian worldview of putting Him first and others above yourself. This doesn’t mean we don’t make mistakes along the way. Everyone does, but it’s the way we handle them that matters.

In Melissa’s Fate, Phil and Beth begin with deception, but a miracle from the Almighty unites them in the trial of their lives that helps them find God and their love for one another. In Impossible Fate, David, a devout Christian, falls in love with Aliyah, an observant Jew. At first, all they understand is the love they feel for each other, but when they try to stay together, the difference in their beliefs almost make it impossible. For Aliyah, Christ is a symbol of Hitler, until she comes face-to-face with David’s faith.

My first two books are the true story of my mother. The theme for Pathways of the Heart is Psalm 119:9 “How can a young man keep his ways pure, by living according to your word.” God blessed Clella, my mother, and Kenneth with love, but as the Great Depression made primitive life even harder, Kenneth turns to drinking, gambling, and other women. Clella endeavors to be a Proverbs 31 woman, but her desire for romantic love and the temptation of a younger man eventually leads her into a better understanding of her God and All That Matters.

I’m Listening!

blog listening

Today, as usual, I opened God’s word and thoughtfully and prayerfully read. Many times, God gives me something specifically for me but not always. I suspect when He does not, it’s because I’m acting routinely. Today was not routine!

During this COVID-19 crisis, while people are sick, quarantined, and unemployed, as I read, I considered how blessed I am for I am none of those things. I prayed and thanked God for my many gifts and remembered every good gift is from above. I am not rich by any means and do not have all that I want, but I have a home, food, family, friends, and all that I need. I thought about countries where people live in shacks, starve, and lack proper clothing and medical attention. I asked God, why me? Why was I born here and not there? Should I only be THANKFUL that God put me here instead of there? Just count my lucky stars, as some would say?

That’s when I heard it—the word from Him that was meant for me. Luke 12:48b “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.” KJV That verse is talking about being a faithful and wise steward of what God has given you. He has blessed me abundantly and expects much from me. Please Lord, show me how I can use what you have given me according to your will. Several places in scripture, Jesus instructs people to sell all they have, give it to the poor, and follow Him. He tells us we are to lay up for ourselves heavenly treasures.

People in our world are hurting. I am not a young person, and the older I become, I realize my time for making a difference is limited. I have trusted Jesus as my Savior and have the promise of eternal life, but I want to share Him with everyone. While I’m instructed to do that, I’m also told to do even more. There is a song that my daughter use to sing: “Don’t tell them Jesus loves them till you’re ready to love them too, till your heart breaks from their sorrow and the pain they’re going through.” If I cannot look at the plight of my fellow man and be moved to compassion, what good am I? I often pray for God to break my heart for what breaks His, but am I really ready for that? Am I ready to share all that I have with those that need it? I should be.

Sometimes I think there are so many needs that my meager sustenance couldn’t possibly make a difference. Truth is—every little bit counts. I must show the love of God to those He places in my path. I must not miss opportunities to give. Thank you, God, for entrusting me with what I have. Help me to use it for your honor and glory. Amen.

Our Humble Home

Don’t miss the present at the end of the story.


The year was 1960 and I was only six-years-old. My family had left Fort Worth, Texas, destitute. Dad needed work and we moved to a small town in the Missouri Ozarks where my grandparents lived.  Dad, Mom, Larry, and I settled into a little house in town. They called it a Cracker Jack box. It was so small that Larry and I, didn’t have a bedroom, but we didn’t mind. We slept on pallets in the living room. Dad drove a truck and delivered car batteries all over southern Missouri.

I noticed Mom didn’t cook Dad’s favorite for dinner anymore. Now, she mostly served yummy beans and cornbread or delicious chicken and dumplings. Sometimes, the electricity wouldn’t work and she cooked on the gas stove by candlelight until Dad paid the bill.

I saw snow for the first time right before Christmas. It transformed the countryside from a gloomy, gray-brown into a bright, hopeful white as it covered the ground and frosted the trees and rooftops. With gloves and galoshes, Larry and I frolicked in the white powder, rolling and forming a snowman complete with buttons, which Mom gave us, and an old hat of Grandpa’s.

My older brother, Buck, visited for the holidays. We hadn’t seen Buck since before he got married. When he drove his two-tone ‘56 Pontiac into the driveway on Christmas Eve, the merriment started. He ran around the car to open the door for Virginia, his new wife. She was beautiful, tall and slender with green eyes and light brown hair. He grinned from ear to ear as he hugged Mother.

“Hi, Mommy,” he laughed teasingly with Buck’s usual mischievous twinkle in his eyes. He stood straight and proud as he introduced Virginia.

That evening as Daddy played the guitar, Buck and Larry joined him with their harmonicas. We all sang songs and carols and laughed. It felt good. Even though our house was small, we didn’t care. Mom and Dad pulled the mattress off their bed. Buck and Virginia slept on the mattress, Dad and Mom on the box springs. Larry and I fell asleep on Christmas Eve in front of the Christmas tree. Shiny glass ornaments, silver tinsel, and brightly-colored lights made it the most beautiful tree ever.

I loved Christmas; even if we didn’t get many presents, it was still my favorite time of all. Mom made Christmas fun, but I think Dad enjoyed it more than any of the other adults. Larry and I had hung our stockings above the fireplace, but when we awoke, they had multiplied. Stockings hung there for all of us, regardless of age, filled with our favorite things: fruit, candy, and other little trinkets.

Laughter filled our tiny home as we gathered around our kitchen table for Christmas dinner. Smiles lit up the faces around me and I realized the God-given joy of Christmas and family.

(A story from my childhood as told in All That Matters, published by W&B Publishers)

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:11-14 KJV


“Melissa’s Fate”



Putting things into perspective

Wishing each of you a Happy Thanksgiving! There is so much to be thankful for, yet much of it we take for granted. I am guilty of this even though I strive hard not to be. “I will go about Your altar, O Lord, that I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all Your wondrous works.” Psalms 26:6-7 NKJV

It has truly been a wondrous year. Rick and I received the gift of a trip to Israel, a strange and mysterious land; mysterious in that it looks desolate, yet it flows with abundance. We made many new friends within our tour group and were deeply touched by the love we all felt for each other. For the first part of our trip, our hotel was on the Sea of Galilee, and we reveled in the sights of Jesus’ ministry. We rejoiced in the beauty of the land where he fed the multitudes, delivered the sermon on the mount, cooked for His disciples, and performed many miracles. For the disciples, it was probably their happy place as it became that for us. We swam daily in the Sea of Galilee.

Then we went to Jerusalem and along the way, we began to feel fatigued. We arrived on Yom Kippur, a Jewish Holy Day, signifying the day of atonement. On that day, we had to walk because our driver wasn’t allowed to work. We walked eight miles, a lot for these senior bodies, uphill all the way! We walked to Old Jerusalem, saw where Stephen was stoned, the pools of Bethesda, and the Via Dolorosa, the narrow road believed to have been taken by Jesus through Jerusalem on his way to Calvary. My back cried out in pain, my feet hurt, my head ached, and Rick experienced pain shooting out from his knee. In my mind, I was complaining big time and had developed a strong dislike of my tour guide! And then the light-bulb moment in my brain – whatever I felt was nothing compare to what Jesus felt. We woke up each morning wondering how hard sightseeing would be that day. We visited the Tower of David, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane.

As awesome as seeing these sights were, Jerusalem had somehow become the city of dread. Then I realized the lamb of God, the perfect lamb, the one that was slain for me; the one of which the Bible says “This man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right of God”—it was the city of dread for Him, too. He had prayed and asked God to remove this cup, but added not my will but thine be done. He laid down His life that I might live. Jerusalem embodied the ugliness of man’s sin and the awful cost of redemption, the wailing wall and the atonement we desperately need.

I could see Jerusalem for its past, the crucifixion of Jesus and the persecution of Christians, yet it is the city of resurrection and will become a new and glorious city; Mount Zion, the city of thy Great King.



An Embarrassing Tale!

Melissa's Fate Final Cover

Melissa’s Fate, my new romantic fiction novel, is now available! I wanted to reveal a little known fact with you. The story Beth shares during the interview with Joan on page two is partially true. I wrote Melissa’s Fate twenty-five years ago. When I queried agents (by actual mail), I assumed they would all be thrilled to represent a book from a new “up and coming” author such as myself! You can imagine my chagrin as I received one rejection letter after another.

I belonged to a writer’s group, and one of our published authors was represented by an agent from the William Morris Agency in New York. This agent visited our group, affording me the chance of a lifetime; an opportunity to pitch Melissa’s Fate to him in person. I was so nervous I couldn’t complete a coherent sentence. Lucky for me, he had read the first ten pages and already knew he was going to ask for the full manuscript. I was elated and wasted no time sending the large envelope to his office along with an SASE; self-addressed, stamped, envelope.

I waited impatiently. One month turned into several without a word. Meanwhile, I continued to receive rejection letters from other agents I had queried and was becoming totally discouraged. As a last resort, I asked the published author if he knew anything about the status of my book. His response was, “Oh yeah, he can’t sell it. Children are taboo in romance.” My heart sank. I was devastated. And the agent didn’t even contact me! He should have rejected my work himself.

Fast forward twenty years – I’ve had one biography/memoir book published and a second one waiting so I’m looking for family pictures to include with it. My husband is searching boxes in our closet when he says, “Honey did you know this box has manuscripts in it?”

“Probably,” I answer. “I have manuscripts everywhere!”

“No. These are from New York and San Francisco and they’re not open.”

My ears perk up and a full-fledged mystery unfolds. I reach for the first large envelope. The return address is from the William Morris Agency in New York City and the postmark is from twenty years ago. I rip it open and, upon first glance, believe he must have hated it because there are notes all the way through it. Not so. This agent from the most prestigious literary agency in the country had line- edited my book, mailing it to me so I could make the changes and send it back. He’d attached notes like “good plot twist” and “really liked the ending.” One of his notes said, “probably not a blockbuster but a really good love story.” He even sent a list of what publishers he planned on querying.

Now, I don’t know why I never saw the envelopes before now. Both contained Melissa’s Fate and both agencies were interested. For some reason, God didn’t want it published then, and His timing is perfect.

Thanks to Cynthia Hickey and Forget Me Not Romances, an imprint of Winged Publications, and Stephanie Hansen of Metamorphosis Literary Agency, publication of Melissa’s Fate is finally a reality. I hope you will pick it up and read it, and I sincerely hope you’ll be blessed by having read it.

Struggles; Are They Troubles or Blessings?

I’ll admit sometimes my patience wanes, and it feels like God has forgotten me! Are you struggling? Do you feel like you’re missing God’s blessings? Today, while reading in Matthew chapter 5, I realized there are characteristics defining “The Blessed.” I will be blessed if I mourn and am meek; if I desire Godly principles and extend mercy; if my heart is pure and not deceitful and I don’t promote strife but am a peacemaker. So, I thought about how these things are reflected in my life.

Blessed am I if I mourn. It’s okay for my heart to break because it means I have loved. If I grieve over a death or if I mourn as a result of sin, either in my own life or the lives of those around me, then, I can receive God’s blessing.

It’s not always easy to be meek, but it is a fruit of the Spirit. The things I say and do have power to affect others. If someone cuts in front of me in line, I don’t want to do what my pre-k grandson did, which was stab him with his pencil! Instead, I should extend to them the grace of being first. Sometimes, I am so caught up in my own problems, I forget to consider others before myself. Everyone has problems. I’m not the only one.

What is it that motivates me? What do I hunger for? Is it my own selfish desires, like an eagerness to advance my finances? Or to have things that make me feel good? Is it me, me, I, I? “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” says the Word of Truth. I should hunger after righteousness in my own life and in the world around me. God and His will must be first above my other thoughts or desires.

I believe I am merciful when it really counts. But, am I? When someone does me wrong, am I willing to forgive and extend mercy? Maybe that person hasn’t admitted they’re wrong. Should I forgive anyway? Absolutely! I hope everyone that I have wronged has forgiven me anyway. All of humanity is fraught with frailties. We all make mistakes, sometimes while thinking we’re doing the right thing! Remember, Jesus prayed for those who crucified Him.

Matters of the heart are indeed complex. What exactly is meant by a pure heart? I believe it has to do with following Jesus, a daily walk of endeavoring to follow His teachings. But this is where it gets tricky, in walking that narrow path, I can become prideful, almost pharisaical. If I’m not careful, my heart becomes deceitful as I fool myself and those around me. May my heart always reflect truth.

I have known people who love to stir up strife. If I am a peacemaker, I will not be among them. I will be the one who infuses light, love, and mercy into such situations.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes. Some are easily recognizable and others are disguised. For example: Michelle Qureshi, the widow of the late Nabeel Qureshi author of Seeking Allah; Finding Jesus, shared a post about placing their house on the market and not having many showings. Instead of seeing that as discouraging, she refers to it as “a personal gift from an all-knowing God” even though she has already purchased a smaller home!

Last and not least, if I am mocked or suffer because I love the Savior, then I am blessed beyond measure. I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. I don’t believe I’ve been persecuted for His name sake, but if that time comes, I pray that I will stay the course for great will be my reward.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.