Go Ahead; God’s Listening!

“Lord, if you will do so, you can cure me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand to touch him
and said, “Be cured.”

Luke 5:12-13

I learned very early on that it’s always appropriate to bring our troubles to God. Sometimes, my family did so en masse. We gathered in our living room to pray when illness struck a loved one or to pray for a happy death if a recovery wasn’t in the making. Through the years, I became so convinced that God is aware of my every need that I rarely prayed for myself (though I admit to adding a prayer for myself as of late!). Still, it’s when those around me are suffering that I blast the heavens mercilessly until I have some assurance that all will be well -at least in God’s eyes.

Over the past year, my often overly zealous demands have been offered on numerous occasions for those I’ve been given to love and, admittedly, for me. Sometimes, the results have been predictable. At other times, God has surprised me and all concerned. In every case, I found myself speaking with the Almighty as I would with my best friend. I never once wondered if God was listening. Why would I question the obvious?

Dear God, you attend to each one of us every moment of every day. Make us attentive and responsive to one another -just like you!

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Inspire Hope

Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!

Isaiah 35:4

The temperature had risen enough to coax me outdoors to our driveway. There were a few patches of ice there and on the sidewalk which needed to be broken up. If I tended to these nuisances right away, the sun would melt them out of existence.

As I worked at the task at hand, a group of children ran out of the school across the way for recess. I smiled as I imagined their teachers thanking God for weather warm enough to allow for this reprieve from managing their classrooms. This was no criticism as I thanked God often for the same over the years. The joyful bantering that filled the air turned my thoughts to Christmas Past in my own classroom…

Most of my students counted the days to Christmas with great relish. Every year, however, one or two of my students dreaded this departure from their daily routines. These children lived in dire poverty. School lunches were the best of their meals and our simple class parties were the best of their Christmases. Too often, the lack of material treasures in their lives paled in the shadow of their lack of love and security. The adults around them, burdened with their own troubles, missed the hurt and hopelessness growing in their children’s eyes.

As I chopped the ice in my driveway, I prayed for these special children who appreciated the little gifts I hid in their backpacks almost as much as they appreciated my attention throughout the day at school. Though I didn’t have the resources to alleviate all of their poverty, I did manage to ignite a bit of hope in these amazingly resilient children.

If a needy child is pulling at your heartstrings this Christmas, respond. I assure you that you won’t regret it. Neither will that little one!

God of hope, let this child share your love with my smile and your hope with what I’m able to share.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Always Listens

“Lord, if you will do so, you can cure me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand to touch him
and said, “I will do it. Be cured.”

Luke 5:12-13

I learned very early on that it is always appropriate to bring our troubles to God. Sometimes, my family did so in unison. We gathered in our living room to pray when illness struck a loved one or to pray for a happy death if a recovery was not in the making. Through the years, I have become so convinced that God is aware of my every need that I rarely pray for myself. It is when those around me are suffering that I blast the heavens mercilessly until I have some assurance that all will be well, at least in God’s eyes.

Over the past year, I’ve expressed my often overly zealous demands on behalf of those I have been given to love on numerous occasions. Sometimes, the results have been predictable. At other times, God has surprised me and all concerned. In every case, I found myself speaking with the Almighty as I would with my best friend. I never wondered if God was listening. Why would I question the obvious?

Dear God, you attend to each one of us every moment of every day. Make us attentive and responsive to one another just as you are!

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Hidden Blessings

Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary,
“This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many…”

Luke 2:34

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Mother… I have sons of my own, and I know that I could not bear seeing either one of them suffer as Jesus did. I would certainly offer myself to take either of their places. Jesus would certainly have shielded his mother from the suffering she endured on that wretched day, wouldn’t he? Yet, Jesus didn’t even shield himself. He proceeded with what was set in motion out of absolute love for you and me.

Over and over again throughout my life, I have prayed that the burdens borne by my loved ones be lifted away. When nothing seemed to change and all concerned had reached the limits of their endurance, I prayed further only to ask God, “Why haven’t you fixed this?” It is in the midst of my anger that my loved one whispers a word of thanks for my presence and for the bit of relief that seemed to come from nowhere. It is in the midst of my anger that the telephone rings and the caller shares good news about a revised diagnosis. It is in the midst of my anger that I realize that God had a plan after all and that God’s plan was far better and far more timely than my own.

Loving God, thank you for the many small miracles which make this life do-able, especially for the multitude of blessings which I haven’t noticed yet.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

God Hears Us

“Lord, if you will do so, you can cure me.”
Jesus stretched out his hand to touch him
and said, “I will do it. Be cured.”

Luke 5:12-13

I learned very early on that it is always appropriate to bring our troubles to God. Sometimes, my family did so en masse. We gathered in our living room to pray when illness struck a loved one or to pray for a happy death if a recovery was not in the making. Through the years, I have become so convinced that God is aware of my every need that I rarely pray for myself. It is when those around me are suffering that I blast the heavens mercilessly until I have some assurance that all will be well -at least in God’s eyes.

Over the past year, my often overly zealous demands have been offered on numerous occasions for those I have been given to love. Sometimes, the results have been predictable. At other times, God has surprised me and all concerned. In every case, I found myself speaking with the Almighty as I would with my best friend. I never wondered if God was listening. Why would I question the obvious?

Dear God, you attend to each one of us every moment of every day. Make us attentive and responsive to one another -just like you!

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Hope

“The moral is: keep your eyes open,
for you know not the day or hour.”

From Matthew 25:1-13

I expected to hear that her recovery might be lengthy, that her dementia might be increased by the anesthesia and that we needed to be prepared for a decline as our mom’s body was growing tired. I didn’t expect to hear about the cancer, her four-month life expectancy and the possibility of pain that might darken her perpetual smile. Then, we told our mother the news…

Mom shared our surprise at the diagnosis, but not at the outcome. “We all have to die from something. I’ve had a good long life. I wanted to leave an educated family that contributes, and I have. I hope I can do what I want for a while. I hope I can be comfortable. I hope I go without too much trouble. I hope…” I hoped, too.

Though the news was unexpected, the outcome was precisely what my mom had hoped for. God supplied the grace that sustained my mom throughout her final journey home. The pain never came. Mom did everything she hoped to until her last two days. On the day she left us, her eyes weren’t open, but her heart was.

Patient God, one would think that by now I would be prepared for life’s surprises. Thank You for surrounding these events and us with the grace we need to endure.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved