Tag Archives: Jesus

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Who’s In Charge Here?

Jesus, thank You for presidents who, while far from perfect, have served our country in more ways than we can imagine.

Washington image by OpenClipart Vectors from Pixabay. Lincoln image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay.

But, OMG, contemplating this year’s election, I’m glad You are King!

Image by Raca C. from Pixabay.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Brothers and Sisters

Jesus, on this Martin Luther King Day, I thank You especially for my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ. For the evangelists who stayed with us when I was a kid.   

Image by Sabrina Eikhoff From Pixabay

Okay, especially for the one who gave us children candy bars.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay.

But OMG, how their faith and songs and warmth impacted us!  

Classic Post: Miracle Morning Sickness

Image by Eukalyptus from Pixabay.

This post first appeared on December 22, 2021.

Unlike Mary, Jesus’s mother, and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s dad, my husband and I didn’t see angels when we learned we would be parents. Medical tests one December confirmed our first child was under construction. Our Christmas miracle.

Other confirmations seemed less wonderful. Entering Grandma’s kitchen Christmas morning, I nearly fainted. The fragrance of spareribs, usually mouth-watering, spun my stomach onto a Tilt-A-Whirl ride.

Soon my waistline and feet vanished. One guy, playing a game at my couples’ shower, guessed my belly diameter measured seven feet. He shouldn’t have lived to procreate. Because his wife was my friend, I allowed it.

Given pregnancy and delivery, how does the human race continue?

Yet, according to Dr. Luke’s biblical account, devout, elderly Zechariah and Elizabeth longed for that miracle. Marginalized because of infertility, they’d lost hope.

Then Gabriel, an angel, appeared to the freaked-out priest, proclaiming they’d have a son.

Even an angel couldn’t convince Zechariah. Still, as Elizabeth’s baby bump swelled, his faith grew.

Meanwhile, Gabriel visited teenaged Mary in Nazareth and greeted her as the soon-to-be mother of the Messiah.

Image by dodo71 from Pixabay.

Mary was engaged, not married. She hadn’t been with Joseph or anyone else. This intruder was delusional, maybe dangerous. If I’d been Mary, I would’ve called 911.

Instead, she believed he came from God. Mary offered herself to whatever He had in store.

Gabriel also said Elizabeth was pregnant too.

This, Mary had to see. Had Gabriel shared God’s truth? Or was that stranger crazier than she?

When big-bellied Elizabeth greeted Mary as the mother of her Lord, Mary’s festering doubts disappeared.

Elizabeth knew. Mary didn’t have to explain. Or hide.

Image by gamagapix from Pixabay.

The pregos could tell their stories without boring each other. They could gripe about swelling feet. They agreed that neither could stand spareribs.

Both, however, had developed cravings for pickled goat. If Zechariah balked at buying it, Mary would.

God gave those women each other. Elizabeth could face people asking if John was her grandson. Mary could go home to her parents. Face Joseph. Face rabbis who might throw rocks.

Our daughter’s first Christmas. She made the spareribs worth it.

Mary would need more miracles. Thankfully, God wasn’t finished yet.

Because Mary accepted stressing along with blessing, Jesus came and redeemed humankind.

Today, His miracles also may include not-so-spiritual complications, some nastier than morning sickness. Some, dreams come true.

He’s not finished yet.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How do you think He will work in 2024?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: My Goofs, His Grace

O Lord, I remembered my name today, but apparently forgot to add that final cup of flour to the cookies. Thank You that my eternal destiny does not depend on turning out a perfect recipe — of any kind. OMG, how I celebrate Your love and forgiveness through Jesus!

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Gratitude for the Itty-Bitty and the Ginormous

O Jesus, I could thank You for a million blessings, but that wouldn’t even cover today’s gifts. I’m grateful for tiny things like working in my favorite jammies.

For cosmic things like the fact that our sun hasn’t ditched this galaxy and run away to Andromeda.

Photo by Adam Krypel from Pixabay.

But OMG, most of all, I thank You for Your infinite love — big enough to embrace the universe. Small enough to fit perfectly inside my heart.

Dad Was Different

No one will ever forget his laugh.

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad. It’s Rachael.” Holding the phone, I’d picture his ornery grin.

“Rachael who?”

“Your daughter, Rachael. Your own flesh and blood,” I’d retort, and the fight was on.

If we’d been polite, each would have suspected the other was up to no good.

A pastor for nearly six decades, Dad radiated his own style. Even his conversion sprouted in atypical soil.

A Depression child, he scavenged Louisiana pinewoods to supplement his meager diet. Dad hid outside churches where African-American worshippers sang joyous music.

Dad as a child. During the Depression, his search for food to fill his stomach led him to spiritual food.

Their lives were even harder than his. How could they celebrate Jesus? Dad couldn’t stay away.

Eventually, he graduated from a Bible institute, where he’d met my mother. They married and worked at a Navajo mission in New Mexico. Throughout decades, they planted/pastored small, independent churches in Mexico, Indiana and Oregon. Sometimes they lived in for-real parsonages. Sometimes in churches’ back rooms, a grass hut, and a mountainside, snow-covered log shack.

Even if churches paid him — a rarity — Dad worked construction to support five children. We counted off in the station wagon to ensure nobody was left asleep on a pew. I was number two.

Ahead of trends, Dad shrugged off ties and other unnecessary protocol. Having taught himself to play guitar, he led singing with his three-blocks-away bass voice.

Dad loved to baptize new believers.

Dad ministered as much outside church walls as inside. He drank coffee with troubled diners at Denny’s and introduced them to Jesus. He made Cracker Barrel servers giggle and hugged lonely Hispanic and Chinese restaurant owners, far from home. When someone was in need, he opened his thin wallet.

Once, in Oregon, he picked up movie-mad English hitchhikers who asked if Indians were on the warpath. Dad promptly arranged with local ranchers to stage a cowboy-Indian fight, complete with flaming arrows.

Image by WikimediaImages from Pixabay.

Even more dangerous: Dad used a fishing pole to cast a jelly doughnut among his church members’ weight-loss group.

I said, “In Heaven, you’ll be perfect. What will you do then?”

He looked genuinely puzzled. “I don’t know.”

At 91, Dad did go to Heaven. His family — and his guardian angel — all stopped chewing our nails.

Dad and me on his 90th birthday.

But we miss him. So much.

Someday, I’ll stand at Heaven’s entrance, too. Jesus will know my name and give me a huge hug.

Dad? He’ll wiggle his mustache and say, “Rachael who?”

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: How was your father unique?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Lord, You’ve Always Enjoyed Variety

Jesus, You made some of us early bloomers.

Our brave pear tree.

And some of us blossom very late in the season.

Our reluctant Rose of Sharon bushes.

But OMG, thank You for loving us all!

Image by Congerdesign from Pixabay.

Less-than-Perfect Pilgrimage

Years ago, I attended a Christian writer’s conference at a California camp located in redwood country. Before Palm Sunday services, worshipers made an early morning pilgrimage to a cross atop a mountain.

I skipped it. The drippy morning didn’t inspire my jet-lagged body to rise.

Later, though, I set aside the hour I’d been told would suffice for pilgrimage. I spiraled up the mountain road, marveling at enormous redwoods and giant ferns. Homes perched on mountainsides. No sleepwalker, this Hoosier observed, should attempt slumber here without wearing a parachute.

Image by Simi Luft from Pixabay.

Higher elevations made my head throb, but I inhaled evergreen fragrances and a spring tang that still eluded Indiana’s leafless forests.

As GPSes were not yet common, I carried a map. When the road reversed, then reversed again, I searched the map in vain. What to do? I walked and walked, huffing and puffing like my asthmatic coffee maker back home. Finally, I admitted I was lost. The only directions I felt sure of? Up and down.

Perhaps I’d trusted a pantheistic mapmaker who believed all roads led to the same destination.

Image by Jörg Möller from Pixabay.
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay.

Supper aromas emanated from houses I passed. My stomach, unstuffed for the first time in days (“starving writer” doesn’t apply to writers’ conferences) demanded I return the way I came. But I’d climbed an hour and a half to view the cross.

No turning back.

I spotted a fellow writer jogging, hoping he descended from my destination. Smiling, he ran toward me.

I considered tripping him. But my mission drove me to civility.

“Did you find the cross?” I gasped.

“That way.” He pointed, still jogging. And smiling.

Eventually, I spotted the cross.

It seemed to dwarf the cerulean sky. Its thick, wooden beams looked like they could hold a Man in their deadly grasp. Jesus carried something like that through streets of jeering people and up a hill called the Place of the Skull to atone for the sins of humankind.

I carried a water bottle.

I rested on a bench, thanking Him for His sacrifice. For my salvation. I savored alternating lush and dry vistas in Scotts Valley and beyond to Mount Umunhum and Loma Prieta. Then, unlike Jesus, I left the cross.

But because of Him, I, despite energy drain and grouchy stomach, went back full.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you attempted a pilgrimage? How did that go?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: So People and Machines Are Different?

O Lord, sometimes I push others’ forgiveness quotas way beyond 70 times 7. Thank You for teaching me to say “I’m sorry.”

Sometimes, though, nagging computer error messages, car warnings and dinging appliances override people. OMG, did I just apologize to my microwave?

Image by ArtRose from Pixabay.