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From Owe To Awe

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September 19, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV A few weeks ago, I had one of those mornings.  From the moment my alarm clock buzzed, I knew that it was going to be a bad day.  I had tossed and turned all night because I was stressed about how to handle an issue at work.  When my alarm went off, I hit snooze a few too many times.   When I finally jumped out of bed, I realized that my three kids were also not ready.  Because we were already behind schedule, I started yelling for everyone to hurry.  I rushed into the kitchen to grab a coffee, but in my rush, I spilled coffee all over my shirt.  I had to run back to my room to change clothes. When we got into the car, I told the kids that we were going to be late.  As we drove to school, I looked down at my legs and realized that I had on a black skirt, navy blue tights and black shoes. I looked like a mismatched rainbow, and I had a presentation to give that mo…

Two Become One

September 6, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.”  Ephesians 5:25-28 MSG My husband and I will celebrate 20 years of marriage next year.  Because we dated a few years before we married, my husband and I have now been together more years of our lives than we were separate. Sometimes, that is hard to wrap my mind around.  For half of my life, I did not know my husband, and for the other half of my life, we have been together. You would think that after all these years, we would have this marriage thing figured out.  However, we are st…

Overflowing Grace

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August 30, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV Growing up in church, I memorized Ephesians 2:8-10 and similar scriptures.  I was a champion at sword drills, and I could recite multiple passages that discussed how salvation is a gift received through grace. Yet, in my heart, even today, I often live as if my works are required for my salvation.   I don’t mean to do it, but in my heart, I cannot comprehend a gift that is truly “free,” with no strings attached.  Because I can’t comprehend a gift that is freely given through grace, I treat my relationship with God like a transaction.  I subconsciously keep a running tally of all the good works that I have done. Then, when hard times strike I want to…

Remember

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Grief is stealthy.  Grief lies dormant, where it can go unnoticed, quiet and ignored.  Grief sleeps within me, deep in my bones, quietly waiting to overcome me when I least expect it.  There are times when a smell takes me back to a moment, before my grief.  Other times, there is a word, or a book, that causes emotion to swell up within me.  On days like today, I wonder if my cells remember – does my body have a memory apart from my conscious thoughts?
On this day, in 2014, I visited Father Bob in the hospital.  Somehow, I had convinced myself that despite the cancer that he had battled, he would continue to overcome – to heal.  But August 28, 2014, was different.  Father Bob told me that he did not have much time left.

When faced with news that I cannot process, comprehend, or control, my response is to act.  I immediately went to my office and started a Facebook group to update friends, family, and students about Father Bob’s condition.  I also decided that I absolutely had to get a…

Living In Color

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August 22, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV) A few months ago, we received a dreaded phone call from school – one of my children had lice.  As soon as we picked up the kids, we began to treat their hair with a special medication.  We also methodically combed their hair with a special comb.  We had to wash and dry everything – sheets, pillows, and stuffed animals.   We had to vacuum our couch, the carpet, and any other surface that could have lice.  The work was tedious and detailed.  However, we were thorough because we had learned how quick…

Not Just A Moment

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Lately, I have struggled.  I am not sure why my soul is so unsettled.  I wonder if I am having a mid-life crisis or if I am simply spending too much time pondering things that would be better left alone. A few days ago, a friend told me that she was contemplating returning to school to be a physician’s assistant.  As we discussed her options, she said, “You should come to PA school too!  You would be a great PA.”  For a moment, I paused. I thought about the possibility – I could leave my job, return to school, and completely change my life.  However, those thoughts were fleeting and within minutes reality hit me.  I looked at my friend and said, “It is too late for me.  I would never be able to work enough years to have a return on my investment.  It would be very difficult for me, at my age, to make enough money to pay my debts and to justify leaving my profession to pursue a new career at this stage of my life.” In that moment, I felt the world shift under my feet.  I was no longer …

An Offering Of Pain

August 15, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion “I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow;  they fail because of all my foes.”  Psalm 6:6-7 NIV Despite the beautiful sunshine around me, I sat in my car and wept.  The relaxing beach trip that I had planned would never be.   My youngest child had been throwing up off and on for weeks, and we did not know what was wrong with him. I had just spent the past few months completely overwhelmed at work and at home, and all I wanted was to have a few days of relaxation in the sun.  However, before our feet could even touch the sand, my son was sick again.   As I sat in the grocery store parking lot, I knew that I had to pull myself together to go into the store and buy some medicine.  Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I could not stop the tears.   I told myself to pull it together, but the aching wound that had opened in my chest refused to close.…