The Power of Prayer

In the morning I’ll be participating in the Bashful Ostrich 5K for the second time in two consecutive years. The run benefits survivors of sexual abuse. I think sexual abuse is such a prevalent sin. Our society is very sex-centered— it seems that sex is used to advertise almost all merchandise and all we ever hear on TV is sex.

I don’t know what really causes people to sexually abuse others, but I know what the Bible says about humans: “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9).

I know there are many people who have suffered from this type of abuse. They are wounded souls who long to be free of the emotional pain that haunts them. I think it’s good that they talk to someone like a counselor, but I think the only way they can be truly free is to allow God to heal them.

I used to cry whenever I thought about the years of abuse I encountered as a child. I wanted so badly to be free of those memories. I prayed continually but it seemed like God didn’t hear me.

Then after about 30 years of emotional torment, I woke up one day and realized that God had released me from my miserable state. I no longer cried when I talked about the past—my memories were not daggers twisting in my heart anymore.

I remember when I encouraged a small group of women to build on their relationship with God. One woman tearfully asked how I could go on without feeling hurt from my past. All I could tell her was to keep praying and never lose hope that God will heal her.

James 5:13 says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray” (NASB). Luke 11:9-10 tells us, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened” (NASB).

God answers prayers. Your prayer may not be answered tomorrow or next week, but if you are persistent in your prayer then He will answer. It took almost 30 years for my prayer to be answered, but I am so thankful that I did not give up—that I kept praying to God for relief. God is so good.

I think God didn’t answer my prayer right away because praying brought me closer to Him. The process of praying strengthened my faith in Him, and it was a reassurance to me that I truly believed in Him.

The nearly 30 years of praying and waiting changed me. It was like I was in a washing machine for that whole time. I wasn’t placed in the “quick cycle,” but the “extra clean cycle.”

Satan can no longer use the pain of my past to keep me down. I now pray for the people who sexually abused me. I am hoping that God will change them and that they will repent and ask Him for forgiveness.  God can do anything because “with God all things are possible” (Matt 19:26). Thank you, God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Nearly 20 years ago…

I remember a time nearly 20 years ago when I became pregnant unexpectedly. I had lost a lot of weight prior and was happy with my life— I had my husband and three children and all was well. I was not thrilled when I found out I was pregnant; in fact, all I could think of was the weight I would gain and the horrible time I would have trying to lose the weight again. Terrible to say, I had wished I wasn’t pregnant.

Then one day I started to experience complications with the pregnancy. I started to bleed. The doctor was able to see the baby’s heartbeat so he prescribed strict bed rest, but that was nearly impossible with three children in the house. I eventually lost the baby.

I felt so guilty about my initial reaction when I found out that I was pregnant; I asked God to give me another baby. I promised Him that I would take care of the baby and love the baby with all my heart, and it wouldn’t matter how much weight I gained. I even promised God that I would dedicate that baby to Him. My earnest prayer to God reminded me of the prayer Hannah lifted up to God in 1 Samuel 1:9-11.

A month later I found out I was pregnant. Soon afterwards, I found out I was having a baby boy. I was so thrilled. I made sure I ate lots of fruits, vegetables, and drank plenty of milk. My son was a healthy baby, 21 inches long and weighing 7 pounds and 15 ounces. I had gained only 25 pounds!

Today is that baby’s birthday.  He is no longer a baby but a 19-year-old young man.

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I don’t know if I have done such a good job of instructing Him in the Lord or dedicating him to God, but he serves Him and I know he believes in Him.

My prayer is that my baby boy will feel the strong presence of God in his life. I know God has a plan for him, although none of us knows what that is at the moment. I hope that God guides his steps and gives him the courage to stand for what is right and true, and that he will never be afraid to call himself a Christian— a believer and follower of Christ.

Thank you, God, for giving me this baby boy.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

A “curse” can be a blessing

Sometimes we go through something in our lives and we think it’s a curse.

In Exodus 3:7 and 10, God tells Moses, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering…. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt” (NIV).

After God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they started to complain, “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death’” (Exo 16:2-3). They saw their situation as a “curse” rather than a blessing. They forgot what it was like to be a slave under the harsh rule of Pharaoh.

A couple of years ago I went to the doctor for a regular checkup. My blood pressure was high and my blood test showed that I was on the verge of having high cholesterol. I was also overweight. I remember praying to God to help me lose weight because I feared for my health. A few days later I contracted a stomach virus but after a while I thought I was better so I ate a pepperoni pizza. That night it felt like my stomach had erupted and lava was shooting upwards into my throat.

I saw the doctor in the morning and he told me that I had acid reflux\GERD and that I had to go on medication for an extended period of time to heal my esophagus. He also told me that I couldn’t eat all the foods that I was accustomed to eating—foods like fried chicken, pizza, hot dogs\sausage, chocolate bars, ice cream, and spaghetti with sauce. I was devastated and depressed.  It was a difficult year of adjusting—I complained constantly about not being able to eat.

It has been almost two years since I received that diagnosis and I see now that what I felt was a “curse” (not being able to eat these foods) was really a blessing. I lost almost 35 pounds, my blood pressure is normal, and I have no issues with my cholesterol.

After 40 years of being in the wilderness, I think the Israelites finally realized that God had blessed them—He saved them from a life of oppression, He guided them day and night on their journey, and provided food and water for them. What they thought was a “curse” was really a blessing.

What are your complaints? Can it be a “blessing in disguise”?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

John 16:21

Once upon a time there was a woman who wanted to have a little girl. The woman’s husband told her that it would be almost impossible to have a girl since his family had boys (he said this even though the husband had a sister). The woman prayed sincerely to God, “God, please give me a little girl.”

Soon afterwards, the woman found out that she was going to have a little girl and the woman thanked God repeatedly. When the baby was born, the woman was so overjoyed. The woman, however, became very sad in the hospital, but whenever she saw the baby girl she became happy again.

The baby girl grew and at the age of 6 it was discovered that she had a magical voice. When she sang, everyone would be filled with happiness. People would insist that she sing and so she sang, and happiness would radiate all around her.

The little girl is now a grown woman and has two little girls of her own. People are still amazed when she sings, and people are still filled with happiness when she does.

Today is her birthday. Happy Birthday to that magical little girl who grew up to be a wonderful woman. I am glad that God answered my prayer. I love you.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti

Star Wars

I didn’t get very good sleep last night. I went to bed at midnight and it seemed like I woke up every 2 or 3 hours. I finally got out of bed at about 7:30. I was a little dizzy and very tired, but I forced myself to workout. My time and distance was not very good (6.5 miles in 77.37 min—6.2 miles in 73.59 min), but considering I didn’t want to work out in the first place I guess it was decent. When I was on the treadmill, struggling to jog, I looked over at the Star Wars DVD release poster on the wall (I can’t afford the original movie poster).

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I thought about the first time I saw Star Wars during opening week at the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. It was so exciting, especially since there were two storm troopers there (they were rarely seen back then). What a great memory from my childhood. Then I thought about all the terrible memories I had. Notice that I used the word “had” rather than “have”—even though they are bad memories the emotions that used to be tied to them are no longer there. One day, after praying for several years, I realized that I no longer felt sad or angry when I thought about my past. I came across these Scripture verses today:

“The young women will dance for joy… I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing… This is what the LORD says: ‘A cry is heard in Ramah— deep anguish and bitter weeping… Do not weep any longer… There is hope for your future,” says the LORD” (Jeremiah 31:13, 15-17, NLT).

God is so good!