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.
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 …
What does it mean to follow Jesus? If I am to “take up my cross”, what is my cross? What is your cross?
I have often heard people say that any hardship a person may encounter is that person’s cross to bear. Whether a person is battling illness, dealing with depression, or going through the end of a relationship, we view any of life’s difficulties as a cross to bear.
However, I believe that taking up my cross may entail much more than enduring life’s hardships and difficulties. In Mark 8:34, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Before Jesus died on the cross, he spent his time out in the world. He didn’t spend his days in church surrounded by people that looked like him, had the exact same religious beliefs as him, and acted like him. He didn’t choose to spend his time with people that were e…