What does it mean to be free? What does it mean to simply be?
When I am asked to describe myself, I often reply that I am PWLawyerMom - I am a pastor's wife ("PW"), lawyer, and mom of three amazing kids. PWLawyerMom is an accurate description of my roles in society, but this is not who I am. I've been so consumed with "doing", that I have forgotten what it means to "be". This blog explores my journey as I find the freedom to simply be.
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Faith In The Storm
When my daughter was two years old, we took her to a concert to see a children’s group perform. While my husband was taking my son to the bathroom, I felt Maria go completely still in my lap. I looked at her, and she took a shallow breath. Then, to my horror, she stopped breathing. I began to shake her in an attempt to wake her. Her lips were turning blue, and I stood hysterically screaming, “Does anyone know CPR?” I ran into the hall and found paramedics. They were able to help her breath again, and I collapsed into a crumpled ball on the floor.
We later learned that my daughter had a febrile seizure. She had an infection, and her fever had spiked so quickly that her body shut down for a few seconds. In the months that followed, we had to take her to the emergency room for pneumonia. I was so traumatized and terrified that I could not sleep. I was afraid to close my eyes for a minute because I was afraid that she would stop breathing. I somehow believed that if I watched her closely, I would be able to prevent her from being sick or dying. So I would sit by her bed, watching her chest rise and fall.
It has been years since my daughter’s sickness, but when I read about Jesus calming the storm, I think about my attempts to control the uncontrollable.
That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let
us go over to the
other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took him
along, just as he was, in
the boat. There were also other boats with him. A
furious squall came up, and
the waves broke over the boat, so that it was
nearly swamped. Jesus was in the
stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples
woke him and said to him, “Teacher,
don’t you care if we drown?” He got up,
rebuked the wind and said to the
waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died
down and it was completely calm.
He said to his disciples, “Why are you so
afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
They were terrified and asked each
other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the
waves obey him!”
Like the disciples on the boat, I was in the middle of a terrifying storm. I cried out to Jesus, but I had no faith that he would take care of me or my daughter. Even though I prayed desperately for her to be healed, I continued to try to control the situation. I asked Jesus to protect her, but instead of trusting him, I watched as she breathed every breath.
I have lived enough life to know that sometimes we go through storms and people die or remain ill. I do not believe this story was meant to convince us that Jesus will always “fix” our situation by changing our circumstances. However, I do believe this story has a lot to say about who we believe is in control.
I don’t think Jesus was upset that the disciples were scared. Anyone would be afraid in a terrifying storm at sea. However, I think Jesus was upset because he was sleeping through the storm, and the disciples woke him. If Jesus wasn’t worried about the storm, why should the disciples have worried about something the disciples had no capacity to control?
In our lives, we will live through storms. We will also be afraid. However, we must realize that we are not in control of the storm. Only God has the power to calm the storm. We have the power to control where we place our faith and how we respond to the uncontrollable.
May 1, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”Mark 12:29-31 NIV A few days ago, I was having lunch with my friend. To save time, my friend agreed to pick me up in the patient drop off area at work (I work at a hospital) so that we could ride together to lunch. As usual, I was running late and the elevator was stopping on every floor. While I was on the elevator, a coworker stopped me to discuss an urgent matter. I needed to immediately send an email because the matter was time sensitive. Because I was already late, I had no choice but to walk and type out the email as I rushed to meet my friend. I hurried out the door and jumped into the car. I quickly started ap…
March 21, 2018by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: Devotion“After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.“The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.” Mark 1:14-18 NIV When I was a teenager, I read this passage in awe. I could not comprehend why the disciples would just walk away from everything they knew to follow Jesus. Of course I understood that Jesus was the Son of God, but when I read the passage literally, it sounded like Jesus just walked up to Simon and Andrew and said, “Hi. Nice to meet you. I am the Savior of the World. Follow me.” I couldn’t understand walking away from the life that I knew because I still thought that I was in …
For years, my oldest son has been obsessed with football. This summer, before he started ninth grade, he begged to play for his high school team. My husband and I discussed it, and we agreed that our son could play. However, we both knew that there was a good chance that the practices in the grueling heat, getting tackled, and the hard work would eventually lead our son to decide football was not for him.
Just after school started, we had a parent’s meeting. In the meeting, the coach told us about his philosophy. He told us that he didn’t allow players to play based on skill alone. He wanted his players to work to play. The more effort a player put in during the practice, the more likely it was that he would play.
He then told us a story. He said that he had this skinny freshman that would not stop. He said every time the player missed a pass, he asked the coaches how he could do better. He said that when other players were resting, this player was asking someone to throw passes so …