The Happy Past Restored

What has been and what can never be.
As I gazed at the picture of my precious babies, my heart ached. More than anything, I wanted to press the rewind button on my life. I wanted to go back to that time – to that moment in that photo – when life seemed simpler. As I gazed at my children’s happy faces, my chest tightened. Those sweet children were still so innocent. They did not know intense pain yet. They did not know the ugliness that exists in this world. They had no concept of the pain that would come. I wanted to rewind my children’s lives to a moment that was still pure, a moment that was just before knowledge and experience of the harsh realities of life. I wanted to rewind my life because I wanted to forget. I wanted to forget the pain and the anger. I wanted to be the woman that snapped the picture, the woman that did not yet fully understand the reality of a sometimes cruel world. I wanted to be the past version of myself, the version of me that could only see a future filled…

Decisions, Decisions!

May 16, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” Proverbs 28:26 NLT Decisions are hard. Life changing decisions that impact my future are stressful. But no decision is as heart-wrenching as a decision that may have life changing implications for my child. As a parent, I am responsible for the health, well-being, and guidance of my child. There are some decisions that we make for our children that seem incredibly stressful at the time but in hindsight are not. Do I bottle feed or breastfeed? When should I introduce solid foods? Should I work or stay home? As our children grow, we are faced with more and more decisions. Some of us face life circumstances that we would not wish on our worst enemy. Often, when we are in the midst of these challenging life events, there is very little guidance as to how to move forward. I am faced with a decision at this time that could have a huge impact on my chi…

Power Their Potential

Many of us say that we want to make a difference, but we simply do not know how. What if I told you that for as little as $1, you could help a child have hope? What if I told you that for the price of your Starbucks coffee, you could ensure that a child received an education? What if I told you that for the price you paid for lunch, you could give a child a future?
When I was in Uganda, I had the opportunity to observe a few classes. These amazing kids and their dedicated teacher captured my heart immediately. The first thing I noticed was how the students sat quietly while the teacher talked. However, when she engaged them, the students were so enthusiastic. Despite the large class size, it was obvious that the students were learning and treasured their time in the classroom. In Uganda, education is not free. Children even have to pay for elementary school. Many of the children in these pictures were at school because their caregiver has made great personal sacrifices to ensure that …

In The Light

May 1, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion "You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true—these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it." Ephesians 5:8-10 MSG A few years ago, my husband and I took our son on a mission trip to Mexico City. Our family had been through some very difficult times, and I hoped that a trip focused on loving and serving others would be healing for all of us. To learn about the culture and spend time with our local friends, we spent some time at the Teotihuacán. We visited this ancient city and marveled at the Pyramid of the Sun. As we walked around the amazing artifacts, we saw a number of long, dark tunnels. A few people in our group, including my son, decided that we would crawl through the tunnels. My son and I decide…

God Doesn't Waste Pain

As I stood in the bathroom stall and wept quietly, I wondered if I would die from the pain that filled my chest.  The heaviness that engulfed me threatened to smother me, and I gasped for air as my mind raced. “Is this my life now?  Is this the way it will always be?  Will the pain ever end? “ On the outside, I appeared to be stable.  I was working at a demanding job, parenting three kids, volunteering in the community, and I was serving alongside my husband at the church he pastors.  However, inside, I was crumbling.  I was suffering from a hopelessness that was so crippling that it left me weeping, curled in the fetal position on my closet floor.  The pain coursed through my veins, filling every cell of my body with fear and regret.  My pain overpowered me at times, and I wondered if I could die from the weight and sadness of it all. My body didn’t know which state to be in – I was constantly transitioning from “fight or flight” – when my heart raced, my hands shook, and I wanted n…

Finding A Way To Feel

April 7, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion
“Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding, a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.” Proverbs 14:29 MSG Even as I said the words, I knew that I should not say them. I was angry, and I could feel myself losing control. As my emotions took over, I yelled more and said more hurtful things. As the anger began to subside, I saw the hurt faces around me and knew that I had made a terrible mistake. At that point, the crushing guilt and regret took over. Anger can be a good emotion. Anger compels us to seek justice and to change situations that are unfair. However, anger that is not righteous and that is uncontrolled can be devastating. Why is anger so hard to control? We live in a society that teaches us that some emotions are acceptable and others are not. From our childhood we are instructed, “Don’t cry.” “Stop getting so angry!” “You need to be positive.” “Why can’t you just be happy?” While it is not healthy to languish in …

I Matter To Him

March 22, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “‘Is there anyone here who saw the Temple the way it used to be, all glorious? And what do you see now? Not much, right?
“‘So get to work, Zerubbabel!’—God is speaking.
“‘Get to work, Joshua son of Jehozadak—high priest!’
“‘Get to work, all you people!’—God is speaking.
“‘Yes, get to work! For I am with you.’ The God-of-the-Angel-Armies is speaking! ‘Put into action the word I covenanted with you when you left Egypt. I’m living and breathing among you right now. Don’t be timid. Don’t hold back.’” Haggai 2:1-5 (MSG) Years ago, I felt a deep desire to be involved in short term missions. Over the years, I have traveled on a number of mission trips, and I learn more about myself and God on every trip. However, not everyone understands my passion for short term missions. Friends have even asked me, “Do you really think that you are making a difference?” When I am asked that question, I start to doubt myself. I wonder, does the work that I …