Put on the Shoes, Tie up the Faith Laces

I get up in the morning, get dressed, and put on my shoes. You and I often begin our days with an agenda. Goals set. To-do’s listed. But the path we’ve chosen may change. Unexpected interruptions make us take different footsteps, filling a different set of shoes. This is when often I pray, “God, what do You want me to do with today?”

shoes blue

But sometimes, in a hurry, I throw my shoes on and head out the door.

Then the phone rings interrupting my ambition. Is this an unexpected call or a solicitor? No time for this now.

You and I have both answered the phone countless times before on our way out the door. Other times we’ve ignored the “ring ring ring” attention getter. We’re too busy to answer it. The shoes we fill often make us feel like we’re running. Life gets busy, right?

But this time, we feel moved to take the call. The voice behind the message heard on the other end makes our jaw drop.

_____ is gone. He or she died. He or she was in an accident. He or she just lost her job. He or she is missing. He or she just received a scary diagnosis. He or she just had their home broken in. He or she just filed for divorce. He or she….

And sometimes, the “he or she” situations we listen to are simply too painful, too much, or too consuming to take in. We do our best to understand. But we haven’t walked in their shoes. We attempt to put them on our own feet for just a moment — figuratively. But we have no idea how to lace them up or walk in them. Our feet don’t fit. We can’t come close to walking the same journey. Why? Because we all walk unique steps. Sometimes similar — but always different. No two paths are identical. We still want to help someone else, walking in challenging shoes to wear, but we’re not sure how.

Have you ever felt this way? I have.

Now what?

There are certain situations when the most powerful action taken is found in commanding silence. No lecture. No advice. No, “I understand because I’ve been there myself. I’ve walked the same shoes.” You see, often, if we try that approach, we’ll get a “Yeah, right” followed by flowing tears, followed by silence, anger, or hurt.

Understandably so.

In contrast, in silence we can pull God’s formidable presence into difficult or heart-wrenching situations, allowing our Heavenly Father to pull out His toolkit. In silence, we can listen to His voice. In silence, we can follow God’s direction. In uninterrupted silence with God, we can not yield to worldly distractions, our agenda, or our solutions. Instead, in the stillness of God’s presence, we can look up for His perfect plan. Trusting Him with our all is God-filled faith.

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Soundlessness is not always sullen, although it can make us feel alone. Often quietude is a gift because it can direct us without distraction or interruption to the One who always loves us. Always listens. And that is good because He makes peace and comfort rise.

And although silence can make us feel alone, it’s also in those vulnerable moments that God captivates us and holds onto our inner soul, commanding our full attention. In Him, we can find peace and tranquility. Now we’re in a place where we can listen to God’s direction without interruption. Unfathomable wisdom and comfort are found in His silent yet strong presence. Time to pray. Time to talk with God. Just Him and you. And if He asks you to take off your shoes and walk with Him. Do.

Believe now

Prayer is talking with God. He is the only One who completely grasps the difficulties we face and understands the complexity of the unique shoes we fill. So when someone goes through something difficult, heart-wrenching, or soul consuming, remember that hope begins with a prayer. And a good friend recognizes this, doesn’t attempt to put on the other person’s shoes by themselves, but rather gives God control.

Other times we simply need to focus on God alone. By ourselves — yet with Him, privately, before bringing anyone else into a given circumstance or challenge that has us wanting to rip our shoes off. And hide. Or crawl under a rock. Or quit. Wondering why God has us walking a particular path in the first place.

The other day, I was overwhelmed with the death of a dear friend, financial issues, health concerns, family issues, and more. So I picked up the phone to call a close friend because I needed to vent. I needed someone to listen, lift me up, and attempt to understand the shoes I was walking in.

First call. My husband. Busy at work. Second call. The phone rings without an answer. My confidant and cherished friend not home. Third call. Another dear friend. No answer. Fourth call. A close family member. Not there. No one available? Really? This hasn’t happened to me before. Now what, Helo?

I went up to my room, closed the door, and let the tears flow. My face was now soaking wet. I whispered, “God, how much more of this do you think I can handle? I’m overwhelmed. I feel like life is storming all over me. Please reign down on me.”

Time to keep my shoes on and stand upon my faith-rock. Not my better half, not my beloved friends or family could or can completely understand the complexity or depths of my heart with clarity like Jesus can. No one.

FAITH TACKLES DOUBT tiptoes

I love the hymn by Edward Mote (1797 – 1874), “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less.”

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

Now, I was in a quiet place without interruption. I finally took it straight to God. And it was just Him and me. He had my full attention.

“God, I feel alone.”

I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE, MY PRECIOUS CHILD.

“This is too much.”

I WILL NOT GIVE YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN HANDLE.

“Really?”

TRUST ME.

“God, why this, why now?”

PRECIOUS CHILD, TRUST ME.

“How?”

LET GO, LET ME TAKE IT.

“Finally! Does that mean You will remove the burdens that I and those I love are facing?”

NO, BUT I PROMISE NEVER TO LEAVE NOR FORSAKE YOU.

“When will You answer me, God?”

IN MY PERFECT TIMING.

“But I want an answer now. I want You to heal my friend. I want You to remove the looming debt over a loved one. I want my husband’s job to be secure. I wish I didn’t have to watch a beloved one on hospice care. I want my brain to work as it should. I want my frustration to go away. I want, I want, I want….. I’m tired; I’m worn.”

CHILD, ARE YOU TRUSTING ME RIGHT NOW?

Gasp.

Pin drop silence. Mouth shut.

Silence interrupted.

“No. I see I’m not. I’m not trusting You with my all. Help me trust You.”

I WILL.

“Thanks, God. I love You.”

I LOVE YOU, TOO.

This conversation was over for now. Lesson learned. Insight gained.

My soul was focusing on troubles surrounding me and those I love. I was falsely thinking and hoping that I could gather people close to me with a phone call to acquire peace. But no one answered the phone. Therefore, no one could listen. But God could and always can. Always.

This quiet moment hit me like a truth and assurance boulder.

God was reminding me to give and lift up my cares to Him first.

Not one of my close friends were able to pick up the phone that day. I now know there was a purpose behind those calls going unanswered. I learned, once again, to give it to my Father first.

I learned that there is nothing. Nothing more calming, beautiful, and soul-gripping than just God and me alone, together, quietly in a room with no interruptions. These moments are a treasure, needed and necessary. I crave them now. And He helps me walk in the shoes He gives to me.

My prayer for you is that you will see and understand that no matter what shoes God has asked you to fill today or will ask you to fill tomorrow, He will walk with you when you call Him near. You don’t need to walk alone.

So put your shoes on. Tie up the laces. Walk with God. Keep walking. Keep hoping. Keep trusting. And keep believing. Challenges make us stronger. Adversity makes us rise. With God, we are always equipped to handle whatever path He calls us to walk. Or run.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7).

Hope in Him,
Helo

Tripped For God’s Purpose

There they sat. A concerned daughter was sitting next to her wheelchair-bound mother in a crowded waiting room, waiting to see the doctor. But I didn’t focus on them. Not right away, anyhow. I was on my way to see my doctor. And then I tripped over the mother’s purse lying on the floor. Out popped the contents of my purse. Everywhere.

“I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have left my purse in the middle of the floor,” the mother embarrassingly mumbled.

“No worries,” I responded, smiling as I began gathering the mess. I thought to myself, this is an effective way to clean up one’s purse, right? Mine needed it.

“Hey, what’s that book about?”

They were pointing at a copy of Halo Found Hope that popped out of my purse, intended for my physician.

“I’m too tired to explain it. Here would you like to read the back?”

back cover of Halo Found Hope

The daughter eagerly took the copy from my hand, read the back and exclaimed, “Wow, is this about you?”

“Yep.”

“You’re a miracle, you know.”

“I’ve heard that before. You’re a miracle too, you know.” I commented. “Everyone that God made is.”

“Can, I look inside?” the daughter asked.

“Sure.”

“Nice cover!”

front cover with award

“Yep, I like it.” Halo Found Hope along this challenging journey. I admit I filled in that blank with thoughts other than hope when feelings of discouragement, fear, and doubt consumed me, but eventually, God showed me where you and I can always find hope.”

The daughter became pensive. She was staring at the Table of Contents. She looked her mom straight in the eye. “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you.”

The mom grumbled, “Yeah right.”

“Yes, Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you.”

She grumbled once again. “I am so tired of being in a wheelchair. I am so tired of seeing doctors. I love you, but I am so tired of having you take care of me. I’d rather do something fun, and I am grumpy.”

They went back and forth a bit, and I thought, I don’t want to get in the middle of their discourse, Time to pray. So I closed my eyes for just a moment. “Dear God, Please stay with and comfort this mother and daughter. I think they need you right now. Show them how much You love them.”

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“Hey Helo, are you okay?”

I quickly opened my eyes, “Oh, yes I am,” and began smiling once again.

The daughter reiterated, “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you! It’s titled RESILIENCE.”

Her mother wasn’t and didn’t want to listen.

So the daughter repeated, louder. “Mom, Helo wrote chapter eight for you! It’s titled RESILIENCE.”

This Halo Found Hope copy was not going to make it into my doctor’s hands.

“What are your names?” I asked.

I signed the copy and inscribed a personal note. Little did I know then, as much as I would later the divine purpose behind tripping over the mother’s purse.

The daughter contacted me shortly after our encounter.

“This was the first time in several months, which my Mom and I stayed up late, laughed, cried, and ate popcorn together. We read past Chapter eight and couldn’t put it down. My mom wants to know who God is now.”

Now I am stunned.

His purpose revealed.

God has an unfathomable way of directing our paths.

He did this. Not me, I thought.

I now understood that His blessings come down upon us, sometimes when we least expect them. This mother and daughter were encouraged. And so was I. He revealed a purpose behind my journey with a mean brain tumor, that I admittedly question at times.

God is not finished with me yet. And neither is He finished with you. We all have a story to tell. And the battles, challenges, and frustrations we face — once endured or conquered, may be the exact chapter that someone else needs to hear or read, in God’s perfect timing. Having our downtrodden souls lifted up by Him in inexplicable ways is remarkable.

I was reminded this day, once again, that we all need God. We all need hope. In Him, we can stay strong. And “The difference between a strong man and a weak one is that the former does not give up after a defeat.” — Woodrow Wilson.
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“We need to understand that drawing near to Him, and asking Him to equip us with strength and determination, results in resiliency. God imparts hope to the hopeless, rest to the restless, and courage to the discouraged.” Excerpt from Halo Found Hope’s Chapter Eight, RESILIENCE.

I invite you to visit amazon.com to purchase a copy of award-winning Halo Found Hope for yourself or for someone you know who needs to find hope. https://www.amazon.com/Halo-Found-Hope-Helo-Matzelle/dp/145753133X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495211039&sr=8-1&keywords=halo+found+hope

Clasp hope

God bless you!

Hope in Him,
Helo

What Does It Take to Be a Safe Friend?

I answered the phone and the call made me shake and drop to my knees. She is one of my closest friends. She loves me and I love her. We have laughed together countless times. Giggling is fun! We’ve never forced a conversation. I’ve never had to hide behind a smile. She loves me even when I frown. If I let my guard down around her she is a safe friend. I never have to pretend I am someone I’m not. And if I am someone I’m not for a little while, she never holds it against me or brings it up. No “remember when you were grumpy, sad, stubborn, and / or doubtful?” No more remember whens. No more bad yesterdays. Just precious todays. Just anticipation and believing in beautiful tomorrows. No more sorrow. No more pain. No grudges. No judgment. Just wisdom and forgiveness.

friends

Back to the phone call. Back to the trembling voice on the other end to the phone.

“Helo, I’m scared.”

“Why? What’s going on?”

Nothing but tears intertwined with silence on the other end of the phone.

“Are you okay? I can come over right now.”

“No, I know you’re busy.”

“Not too busy for you.”

More silence between tears.

“Helo, I have stage four cancer. I’m so scared.”

“Would you like me to come over? I can sit and just listen.”

“No, I don’t want you to get off the phone. I just want you to listen to me some more, right now. Besides, my husband will be home soon.”

“What can I do for you, precious one?”

“I just need you to be a safe friend.”

“Beloved, you know everything between us stays between you, me, and God.”

“I know. I just don’t want to go to Heaven. Not yet anyway.”

“I don’t want you to go either. What did the doctor say?”

“It’s spread. Stage four is mean. Part of my colon, liver, and kidney needs to be removed. Then chemotherapy and radiation. Why me, God?”

“I don’t know, beloved. You asked me to be a ‘safe’ friend. I promise you I will be. I won’t bring this up when we talk again, not because I don’t care, but rather because I do. You bring it up with me when you want to. I won’t stop praying about it, but I will stop asking about it.”

“When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.”

(Proverbs 31:26)

In every conversation since the day my precious friend told me that she has stage four cancer, we only talk about it when she brings it up. And when she doesn’t, we still have quiet, tender, laugh-filled moments. We both need normal ones, as normal as they can be given what we both know. We love each other deeply, even when we hide behind our smiles.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

(Colossians 3:12-13)

Why is being a ‘safe’ friend important?

There are times we need to be a loving friend. “A friend loves at all times.” (Proverbs 17:17). There are also times when being a “loving” friend means being a “safe” one too. When we face something difficult we all need moments of normalcy. It’s not denial. Instead, it’s renewal. You have, are, or will face something that frightens you. Often that’s when you’ll want a “safe” friend. Someone who tells you, “I will keep this between you, me, and God.”

When I faced four miscarriages, attempting to conceive again, I needed a safe friend. I didn’t want to talk about my hope of getting pregnant. I didn’t want to talk about other friends having babies. I was hurting like crazy and just wanted a few safe friends. God surrounded me with them. He is so good at comforting.

When I dealt with that brain tumor diagnosis, I had only six days before I’d lie on a gurney. I needed normal moments. I needed time with my husband and kids. I didn’t want to field questions. Couldn’t handle that. I needed safe friends. God brought them to me, again. Time and time again through every heart-wrenching challenge, God showed me what a safe friend was, and one day He took the lesson He taught me to be a safe friend for someone else.

But sometimes, our safety can only go so far. I will do the best I can to be a safe friend for my friend, but I can’t be everything she needs. Only God can do that. Part of being a safe friend is knowing when to step back and let God sort it out.

Feeling alone? seek Jesus

I now know that my best and safest friend is Jesus. He showed me His love through my safe friends. He is so good at surrounding us with people who can comfort. And when comfort from my friends isn’t enough, I know that God is just a prayer away.

alone - prayer away

If Jesus is your best friend, share Him with others. And if He isn’t your best friend yet, ask Him to be. He’s the best and safest friend you’ll ever have. Listen to Him.

I will refresh the weary and satisy

Oh, how Jesus loves you. Remember that.

Hope in Him,

Helo

GET READY FOR CHRISTmas.

I opened the attic door, peeking into the dark. I got down on my knees, held onto a lantern, crawled into the attic, searching for Christmas wrapping paper. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this and hopefully won’t be the last. How many rolls of wrapping paper can you carry at once, Helo? How much ribbon do you need for Christmas? How much time will it take you to wrap the gifts? Is this what Christmas is all about? I don’t think so. I know it’s not. So I sat down, prayed, and wrote this poem titled, The Gift. I wrote it for you.

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THE GIFT

The hurry,
The scurry.
The gifts,
The rifts.
The crowds, the lines,
Do we know the Divine?
The decorations, the celebrations, the cheer,
But do we all realize that Christ is always near?
Yes, He was born in a manger,
He is no stranger.
Three wise men stood by,
As a star lit up the sky.
God brought into this world our beloved child-King,
Time to celebrate, shout-out, and let our praises ring.
A sinless Savior was born,
A King adored and soon to be scorned.
One day He shed His blood while nailed to a cross,
His children now forgiven, He paid the cost.
He entered this world as a vulnerable child,
But He will return with power and authority reconciled.
He came and left in a forgiveness-blanket,
In Him we are new. His gift is no trinket.
Accepting God’s gift makes us flawless in His eyes,
Time to lift up thankfulness with joy-filled cries.
As we prepare for Christmas, let us not forget,
To focus upon God’s perfect Love-gift.
Jesus Christ. Emmanuel. His Son.
Our love benefit. The battle is won.
Yes, Christmas can be merry,
But gifts under that tree are temporary.
Time to get on bended knee to Honor our King,
Celebrating the gift that only Jesus Christ can bring.
He came to give,
That we might live.
In Him our souls are eternally refined,
Because His love is the best gift, ever designed.
Our hearts in Him are always aligned,
Sin inside no longer confined.
His unmerited grace and sacrificial love,
Come only from the Heavens above.
Don’t look for love and truth under that tree,
Because only in Jesus are we authentically free.
So jump into His love-grip and stay right there,
His present of love is the best gift you’ll ever share.

– Helo 

Happy Birthday Jesus. Oh how we love you!

“For unto you is born this day in the City of David a SAVIOR who is Christ the Lord.”    (Luke 2:11).

Now close your eyes and make this moment all about the gift your Heavenly Father gave and gives — His precious Son. Beloved, In Him you are new.

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Prepare your heart to celebrate Christmas every day. Always remember, the greatest gift you’ll ever open is not under that tree. Look up.

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O Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices
O night divine!
O night when Christ was born
O night divine!
O night, O night divine!
– Placide Cappeau – 1847

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Merry Christmas! Time to praise and shout-out “O HOLY SAVIOR!”

Hope in Him,

Helo

NOT SURE WHEN YOU SHOULD SAY YES? GOD DOES.

Ever wanted to plug your ears and close your eyes for just a minute? Just an hour? Maybe all day long? I admit sometimes I have. You know, the kind of moments when it feels like everyone around you wants something from you. And you feel like you’re facing a need-to-say-YES tsunami! Some people know how to say, “No.” I admit I’m not always good at that.blue-question-mark

Child summons: “Mom, where are my shoes? I can’t find them. Can you help me?”

YES.

Child summons again: “Can you take me to the bagel store after you pick me up from track practice? I love bagels. And then can we go to the grocery store for cream cheese? Bagels aren’t good without them. And besides, I like spending time with you.”

YES.

Email summons: “Hi Helo, this is so-and-so. Could you please send me content for your upcoming talk?”

YES.

Text summons: “Hi Mom, this is your favorite son. Can you bring me my black shoes? I need them for a meeting today and school is keeping me too busy to come home.”

YES.

Phone summons: “Hi friend, can you pray with me right now, I’m struggling.”

YES.

Phone summons again: “Mom, it’s me again… can you?”

YES.

Facebook summons: “Hi Helo, Miss you. Can we talk today?”

YES.

Phone summons again: “Hi beautiful, Could you please look for my wallet, I think I left it at home. If so, can you meet me at work with it?”

YES.

Text summons again: “Hi daughter, haven’t seen you in a while. Can we get together for lunch?”

YES.

Dog summons: Woof woof, wiggle wiggle summons with leash in mouth. “Hi master, it’s your puppy, Buttons. You know the one you haven’t paid much attention to yet today because you’ve been too busy saying ‘yes’ to everyone else. Can you take me for a walk? NOW?” Bark bark. Wiggle wiggle. Jump jump. “Master, I love it outside and I know you do too. Let’s go!”

YES.

Phone summons: “Hi friend, my son is sick and I have a doctor’s appointment today. I can’t bring him with me. I know this is a lot to ask but could you please watch him for a little while today at 2 o’clock?”

YES.

Phone summons: “It’s me, your plumber, can we reschedule fixing your toilet. I know you need it done, but we have an emergency situation here at work…”

Sigh…. Mumbling under breath. Answer — YES.

Phone summons again: “Mom, I left my lunch at home, can you bring it to me? Maybe you could leave a little earlier than usual to pick me up?”

YES.

Phone summons again. Should I pick it up?

YES.

“Hi beautiful. It’s me again. Say, we’ve both been so busy lately. I really miss spending one on one time with you. Wanna get all dolled up and go out to dinner with me tonight? I just want you to know how much I love you.”

Breathe in breathe out Helo. You can make time to get all dolled up. Answer your beloved husband, right now. “I love you too, handsome. YES, dinner sounds delightful.”

Now the YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. tsunami is making me want to put tape over my mouth. I need an implosion guard. God are you listening?

Helo, listen to me, it is now 11 o’clock in the morning. Thank you for walking the treadmill. Thank you for saying YES to those around you. Now you need to take a shower, eat breakfast, and take care of you. Don’t you agree?

I DON’T KNOW. Because that was me talking to myself and sometimes I don’t know how to answer yes to me.

And the YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. summons doesn’t feel like it’s going to stop. It’s got a grip on me.

Time to start thinking now. The pensive kind. Pensively thinking. Yeah, but Helo, isn’t it a blessing to get to say yes all the time?

NO!

Wow I finally shouted-out, “NO!” Hallelujah! And it’s not even lunch time. But I will say “no” to that ice-cream in the freezer. Hmmmmm… maybe not. WAIT. Focus Helo.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m thankful to get to say YES. Getting to love, help others, and meet deadlines is a blessing. Getting to be busy is joyful. Most of the time. But sometimes you and I need to interrupt the YES downpour with God’s umbrella. Time out. Time out with God. Time to talk with God and ask Him, “God, What do You want me to do with today?”

All those YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. rain responses can cloud your Director’s wisdom and keep it from showering over you.

Pray over what you need to say YES to and let God answer.

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It is okay to say NO to others. Sometimes NO means not yet or not ever. Or it might mean that that someone who asked you for your “yes” may need find someone else to fill in their “yes” gap. You cannot be everything to everyone. Only God can do that.

But it is not okay to say NO to God. Refusal is a choice that you and I can freely make. We can freely refuse His wisdom and direction. But our wisdom is never better than His. Saying YES to God all the time infuses us with direction, strength, discernment, and peace. Now this is authentic wisdom.

Our Father knows how to enable us to accomplish what He wants us to even if we are afraid of the pending result. Always. Trusting Him with our all isn’t always easy. Faith requires letting go and letting God. But who better is there to lift our troubles up to? Answer: No one but God.

Time to trust Him.

Trust His answer.

Trust Him with everything, because God is all you need.

Now how do you do that?

RECOGNIZE THAT GOD RULES. He is sovereign, because He already knows what will happen in advance before it even occurs. It is safe to say that He is the One you should go to first. God reigns above all. “Even from eternity, I am He, And there is no one who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?” (Isaiah 43:13). Answer: No one, because there is only one God.

KEEP TRUSTING. Trusting God to direct us means sometimes putting a halt to our own agenda or agendas imposed upon us. God’s purpose for us is defined by the One who is wise. His wisdom can not be foiled or derailed unless we let the enemy take the wheel. You know what, friend? That rascal doesn’t know how to drive anyhow, so don’t let him take the wheel. Ask God to take it.

“I know that You can do all things, and no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.”          (Job 42:2).

KEEP BELIEVING. Keep your focus on God and keep believing. Do not let the enemy distract you, even though he wants to. Don’t pay any attention to that rascal. Instead, seek God. Beloved, reflect upon Hebrews 11:6, where it is written, “For he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” He knows how to embrace you. He knows how to comfort you. He knows how to direct you. LET HIM!

STAY COURAGEOUS. Recognize the one who knows how to lead your battles.”Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6). Let your faith roar like a lion and don’t let your fears trample God’s promises. Always remember He will never leave nor forsake you.

WAIT PATIENTLY. This isn’t always easy because much like people around you want YES right away, you often want a YES right away answer from God. I admit, at times, I do. Beloved, focus and find comfort in knowing that “God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4).

PRAY. Enough said.

SPEND TIME IN HIS DIRECTION MANUAL. Crave it and you’ll see how much you need it. Why? Because the Bible is the best life instruction manual ever written. Meditate upon His words. “You must think about them night and day so that you will faithfully do everything written in them. Only then will you prosper and succeed.” (Joshua 1:8).

And if you are thinking, Helo, I want to say NO to some of the bold directives above; think again. Say NO to the chatter around you. Say YES to God right now. And if you think you are too busy, stop what you’re doing and you won’t be too busy after all.

Putting God first is the best YES decision you’ll ever make.

I need to do the same and listen to Him tell me right now, HELO, IT IS TIME TO GO NOW, STOP CLICKING THE KEYBOARD AND NO, THIS BLOG DOESN’T NEED MORE WORDS ANY LONGER. IT IS FINISHED. YOU’VE GIVEN THE READER ENOUGH TO THINK ABOUT — FOR NOW.

YES Father.

Hope in Him,
Helo

Disabled Yet Capable

disabled-yet-capable

I pulled my car into its usual spot. Hasn’t always been my spot, and I have to admit, I don’t like parking here. But sometimes we have to deal with the cards dealt to us. My “new normal” dictates I get out of my car. Sometimes slowly. Other times normally. I have to pace myself like never before. But God is so good. All the time. He knows how to sustain us. Through anything. Any trial. Any challenge.

The parking lot is crowded. The rain is pouring and I’m going on with errands I’ve got to run. No one can see what it feels like to be me. I imagine, no one always understands what it is like to be you. Beloved, God does.

A car pulls up behind me and the occupant inside yells, “Hey you have no right to park there!”

I’m thinking, Here we go again. This isn’t the first time someone’s gotten mad at me for parking in a disabled parking slot. Reserved for those who struggle.

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“Actually I do have a ‘right to park here’ although I wish I didn’t have that right.”

She is obviously irritated and shouts, “Miss, you look just fine and obviously have no right to park there!”

A bystander quips at the grumpy car occupant who had just yelled at me, “You’re mean!”

I wanted to shout back at the lady like the bystander did on my behalf, but instead I contained myself and walked over to this angry lady. I gently looked at her disparaging eyes. “I had close to one million dollars worth of medical care to remove a wicked brain tumor. I was in the hospital for eight weeks. My family was called to my side three times.

#14 Helo in the ICU

Defying medical odds, I returned home to a twenty week rehabilitative challenge learning how to walk, talk, eat, think, and function again. I sustained brain trauma, yet miracles still happen. You cannot see it, but I am disabled and now I am going to be transparent with you. Please don’t yell at people parking in a disabled spot. If they have a valid disabled tag in their window, they have a right to park there. Believe me, I bet they wish they didn’t have to.”

Tender responses can diffuse someone beginning to boil with anger. Rage is ugly. Tenderness is beautiful.

“Well, I still don’t think you should park there.”

“Have a good day,” I whispered.

She got quiet. Really quiet. Said nothing to me. Turned her head away from me. Rolled up her window and drove off.

An older couple, also parked in the disabled section, stopped and came up to me, “Don’t listen to people like that, honey.”

“Thanks.” I did my best to smile.

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As I walked away, tears began to fill my eyes. Why are some people so mean and others so kind? God, why did You allow that ugly brain tumor to occupy my head? I wish I was more like all of the abled people around me. There has to be something more to be gained from suffering than a grumpy woman yelling at me because I parked in that handicapped spot.

I went on with my shopping. Our home needed food and supplies. I was thankful — God provides.

Help was at home. My sons unpacked the car. I was exhausted.

Transparently disabled.

Yet, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

You know, all of us have some sort of disability, incapacity, impairment, abnormality, or affliction. Please don’t misunderstand me. Some of us are wheelchair-bound, use walkers, and have profound and noticeable disabilities. My heart goes out to the disabled, physically and mentally.

But behind our smile curtains, I think we all have some sort or a certain degree of disability. Stay with me for a moment. Some of us are shy. Some of us deal with addictions. Some of us have temperament issues. Some of us envy to much. Some of us doubt too much. Some of us lack determination. Some of us are self-centered.

All of us sin. None of us are immune to it —and sin is kind of like a disability. A spiritual one. It can chain us down. Bring us to our knees, thinking we’re not capable.

But Beloved, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. It doesn’t mean He will always remove our physical or emotional disabilities permanently. Through challenges, we can become stronger. Through challenges, God can take moments that we want pity and make us rise to help someone else. Or maybe He uses our brokenness to get our attention and to redirect our focus onto Him. Shattered moments can become blessed moments when we let God handle the restoration. But one disability God can remove eternally is sin. We simply need to call Him near and love Him back. Accepting Him into our broken hearts makes us new.

Hope in Him,
Helo

Knock Knock, Who’s There?

Remember the “Knock, knock” game? Let’s play. Right now. Never know who’s going to answer. I hope this puts a smile on your face and love in your heart. At times we all need this, right? When I showed this article to my husband, he said with a smile on his face, “This is a little bit silly, Helo, and aren’t you a bit too old to play this?” I retorted, “God made giggles and smiles. It’s okay for Him to watch us lighten up. And besides we all need to hear how much He loves us every day. Not just on Sunday when we sit in a pew.”

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Okay, Here we go…

KNOCK, KNOCK.

“Who’s there?”

GOD.

“Really?”

YES, REALLY.

“Why did You come to my door?”

BECAUSE I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU.

“What? I’m kind of busy right now, but I guess I’m the one who started this.”

I LOVE YOU.

“Like I just said, I’m kind of busy right now.”

I STILL LOVE YOU.

“Why?”

BECAUSE I MADE YOU AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT YOU ARE MY BELOVED CHILD.

“Well, sometimes I think You made a mess.”

I FORGAVE AND FORGIVE YOU.

“How?”

I SACRIFICED MY ONE AND ONLY SON TO TAKE UPON HIS SHOULDERS THE SINS OF THE WORLD, AND YOURS. BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. ACCEPT MY SON’S GRACE AND BECOME WHOLE AND COMPLETE.

“Wow.’’

Silence. Striking unfathomable silence. Because I am having a God-conversation. That’s what knocking on the door does. We knock. He answers. We open. We talk. He listens. We listen back. This is prayer time at its finest.

“That’s nice of You, God. But I have to admit, there are times when I think I’ve got it going on just fine and I don’t need You. Okay, maybe not. If I’m honest with You, other times, I don’t have it so good. Perhaps, I might need you then.”

I STILL LOVE YOU.

“Wow, You really are persistent with this love-thing. Maybe I do need You all the time. Through the good and through the bad…. Are You still there?”

STILL HERE. ALWAYS HERE BECAUSE I AM LOVE. I AM GOD.

“Okay, now You have my attention. Thanks for playing this imaginary ‘knock-knock’ game with me. But are You real?”

I WAS REAL YESTERDAY. I AM REAL TODAY, AND I WILL BE REAL TOMORROW.

“Okay, I’m listening now, but I’ve got lots of questions to ask You.”

I’M LISTENING.

Question.

“Why don’t You always give me what I want?”

I AM WISE. I AM WISDOM. I AM GOD.

“Beyond wise. Got me there.”

Next question.

“So, I can keep asking you for things like wisdom, provision, health, safety, and more… and You may not give it me right away?”

I ANSWER IN MY PERFECT TIMING.

Next question.

“Okay, how come it doesn’t always feel like You’re near? And if You’re who You say You are, How come it doesn’t feel like it is always easy to find You? I don’t have time for hide-and-go-seek.”

KEEP KNOCKING. I DON’T PLAY HIDE-AND-GO-SEEK, PRECIOUS CHILD, I AM ALWAYS NEAR. ALWAYS PRESENT.

Next question.

“What if I have moments of doubting that You are near?”

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. (Psalm 46:10).

SEEK ME WITH YOUR ALL.

FOCUS.

I AM ALWAYS PRESENT. I LISTEN TO YOUR EVERY PRAYER.

I AM YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER.

I LOVE YOU.

Next question.

“ Do I need to be perfect for You?”

NO, YOU ARE REDEEMED ONCE YOU ACCEPT THE GIFT OF MY SON.

Next question.

“So into my heart He goes, and You love me, I love You, and we know each other?”

THAT’S HOW IT STARTS.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you. (Luke 17:5-6).

Next question.

“You sure don’t get tired of questions, do You?’

I AM PATIENT. I AM PATIENCE. I AM GOD.

“Is there a limit to the number of questions I can ask You?”

NO.

“Is there a limit to HOPE found in You?”

NO.

“Is there a limit to Your LOVE?”

NO. ALWAYS REMEMBER I AM LOVE. ETERNAL LOVE. EVERLASTING LOVE.

“Then why is there so much pain in this world?”

REMEMBER THAT MY SON SAID, “IN THIS WORLD YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE BUT TAKE HEART, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.”

“God, when can we talk again?”

ANY TIME.

“Anywhere?”

ANYWHERE.

“Really?”

REALLY.

“Thanks God.”

YOU ARE WELCOME.

“I love you, God.”

I LOVE YOU TOO.

This God conversation is over for now. I’m taking a pause-moment. Now I’m talking with you. One on one. But conversations with God don’t ever really stop; they simply take pause, or give us a moment to reflect. Then we simply need to “knock on the door” and start conversing with our Maker again.

“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” (Psalm 27:8).

It’s taken me a while to learn that I need to keep on asking, keep on knocking, because He keeps on listening. Doesn’t mean that God will grant every request exactly as I request it. He doesn’t work like that. Because HE IS GOD. I’ve discovered, time and time again, that His ways are not always our ways, they are simply better. Sometimes He answers prayers in unimaginable ways, making me fall to my knees. Amazed again. Other times, He seemingly doesn’t answer at all. And that can be His answer in and of itself. I think when this happens, He is asking me to be patient, be still, trust Him, and seek His will. He may even be redirecting my course.

And I simply need to keep on searching, because I will find Him. And so will you.

And I need to keep on knocking because He will open the door to His presence. Right before me, I will find Him, and so can you.

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And before we finish with “AMEN” let us all give our Father a shout-out, “We love you, God!”

Keep on knocking.

Hope in Him,
Helo