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.
October 25, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionThen Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home. May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me. May the Lord grant that each of you will find rest in the home of another husband.”Then she kissed them goodbye and they wept aloud and said to her, “We will go back with you to your people.”But Naomi said, “Return home, my daughters. Why would you come with me? Am I going to have any more sons, who could become your husbands? Return home, my daughters; I am too old to have another husband. Even if I thought there was still hope for me—even if I had a husband tonight and then gave birth to sons— would you wait until they grew up? Would you remain unmarried for them? No, my daughters. It is more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord’s hand has turned against me!” Ruth 1:8-13 NIV Naomi is a woman that is filled with loss and grief. She has l…
October 26, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionSo the two women went on until they came to Bethlehem. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the whole town was stirred because of them, and the women exclaimed, “Can this be Naomi?”“Don’t call me Naomi,” she told them. “Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.” Ruth 1:19-21 NIV When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, people were surprised to see her because she had been away so long. When people greeted her by name, Naomi replied that they should not call her Naomi. Instead, she told them to call her Mara because God had made her life very bitter. She had once been full, but now she was empty. Naomi’s pain was raw and her emotions were deep. In that moment, Naomi no longer knew who she was. She knew that she had once been Naomi – a woman blessed with a family. Now, she…
October 24, 2017by Beth Mabe Gianopulos Category: DevotionIn the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband. Ruth 1:1-5 MSG When I was a child, I loved to read. One of my favorite activities was to visit the library and check out the maximum number of books allowed. I loved books because books could take me anywhere. Stories allowed me to escape the limits of my current life and travel to f…