What Would You Do?

I came across this article while opening a browser, “Why are we living in an age of anger – is it because of the 50-year rage cycle?” It is true—there seems to be a lot of angry people. A year ago while in Atlanta during “rush hour,” my husband tried to merge onto oncoming traffic. He basically had to force his way because no one would stop. One woman because so enraged that she lowered her window to shout profanity and other vulgarity at him. We were shocked, all I could say was, “Wow!” Her reaction was an “over-reaction.” We could have yelled back in return, but what good would that have done?  Maybe, several years ago, I might have leaned over my husband’s shoulder and respond negatively—honking the horn, shouting, etc., but I realized at that moment that I had changed.

I have heard the term, “being teachable”; to me this means that we are willing to change and improve–we don’t have to respond or behave a certain way, we can change. A Christian’s goal is to become more like Jesus. As we change our behavior, little by little, our personality (the essence of who we are) starts to change too. For instance, we start to love others rather than just loving ourselves, and we are more willing to forgive others.

If you are a Christian, how do you react in a stressful situation? What do you do when people yell profanities at you for no reason? 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing…” (NIV).  How do you fare?

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
Advertisements

Big Ship

On a recent cruise that my husband and I took, we visited San Juan, Puerto Rico. We didn’t stay very long, we docked at about 6:30 am or so, but we had to be back at the ship by 1:30pm. We returned to the ship at 1pm just to be safe.  Our ship was scheduled to leave the port at 2:00 pm.

Right at 2:00 pm, I heard the ship’s horn. Slowly (so slow that we couldn’t even tell that we were moving) we backed away from the pier, then we stopped. It must have felt like an eternity because I heard the woman in the other stateroom ask her husband, “Is there something wrong with the ship? We’re not moving!” It took nearly 15 minutes to turn the ship in the right direction but we finally were on our way, going ever so slowly out of the bay.  About 25 minutes later, we were out to sea and on our way to the next port.

The incident reminded me of our lives. Sometimes our progress seems so slow that it doesn’t even look like we are making any progress, or our progress just stops. Other times we go backwards when we should be going forward; and when we try to readjust and correct our situation then our progress seems so slow and we get frustrated.

The thing is, positive change takes time. If we’ve been doing something for most of our lives, we can’t expect to change “overnight.”  If we “backslide” then we need to make a correction and continue going forward. Don’t give up and don’t get frustrated.  Be patient with yourself.

If it takes a “long time” to turn a big ship in the right direction, then it will take a long time for us to turn our lives in the right direction.  Just remember that all things are possible with God!

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

 

Unexpected Change

This morning I woke up thinking about how we often get frustrated when things do not happen the way we had planned.  Many years ago I was in Army basic training at Fort Jackson. Our “class” (battalion) consisted of five groups (companies). Four of the five groups were ready to graduate on time, but one of the groups (Charlie company) was behind and had to catch up. The rest of us did nothing for a week as we waited.

This delay caused me to miss my other class (advanced individual training) at Fort Sam Houston, so I had to wait for nearly a month for the next class to form. I was upset and annoyed by this but there was nothing I could do to get into the class I missed.  The three of us from basic training that arrived early were given the job of checking in new people and assigning them to rooms. There were three shifts. I chose the “midnight shift” because I didn’t have to wear a uniform and I could sleep on the couch in the office.  

One night I decided to go to work early because I had nothing else to do. About 20 minutes later, this guy walks in. He complained about how one of his buttons had fallen off and he seemed tired and a little grouchy.  He was the cutest guy I had ever seen and his eyes were a beautiful shade of olive green. 

FranArmy

Long story short, that guy became my husband. I would never have met him if I was not delayed and my plans were changed unexpectedly.  Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we expect and we feel angry or disappointed at the time, but if we believe that God is in control of everything then He is allowing these changes to take place for a reason. I am just reminding you to wait and see why it changed—you might be very pleased that it did.  

Copyright © 2018 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Time Is Now

None of us can ever “get right” with God on our own. Sometimes people will hear the gospel and say, “I’m not ready to accept Jesus right now because I need to clean myself up first,” but that day never comes.

It reminds me of what Jesus said to the Pharisees: “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matt 23:26, NIV). The Pharisees were busy trying to look or act a certain way, but their hearts had not been changed by God– “Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness” (Luke 11:35, NLT).

God wants a willing spirit– we come to Him and ask Him to change us– that’s how we become “right” with Him. The time is now. “For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2, NLT).

Copyright © 2017 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Change

I love to make things look better than what it did originally. When we moved into our house almost seven years go, we changed or updated so many rooms. Several months ago we bought a camper. It was a slightly older model, but I liked the layout of it (lots of counter space, with a twin/full bunk bed); most importantly, I loved the price.

On one of the nights we camped, we had two of our granddaughters with us. My two-year-old granddaughter wanted me to rock her to sleep on the bottom bunk closest to the window. When she had fallen asleep, I realized I was stuck—I couldn’t sit up enough to get out of the bed. I would have rolled over to get out but my other granddaughter was asleep on the other side of me. It was then that I realized that we needed to get rid of the upper bunk bed. At first I thought it would be good to have an upper bunk— we could fit one more person in the camper, but who’d want to sleep in such a tight space?

Yesterday we decided to tear out the upper bunk. I thought it would be a quick job, but there were so many screws of varying lengths to take out. We tried to save the frame because it was the perfect size for a sliding door for the front bedroom, but the bunk space was too tight so we had to dismantle the bunk. Piece by piece we slowly tore apart the bed, when finally we were left with this huge space (it felt a little too big). I started to wonder if we had made a mistake in getting rid of the upper bunk.

Today, I added a wall border to cover the screw holes, and bought a verticle blind that would cover both upper and lower windows, giving it the illusion that there is only one window. After putting the sheets and pillows on the bed, I realized we did the right thing. The area was now inviting and airy— even I wouldn’t mind sleeping on that bed!

The whole experience made me think about how God wants to improve on us— He doesn’t want us to stay the same. Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…”

Our house and camper are still in the process of change, but many changes have already taken place. I think it’s the same for people—change is a continual process; even after God changes our heart, it is only the beginning of change. I remind myself that if I am not changing then I am stagnant. I don’t want to be stagnant.

BunkBeds B4After

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The phone call

This evening I received a voice message from my brother who I haven’t heard from in over three years. I didn’t answer the call because I didn’t recognize the number and I thought it was a marketing company.

His voice was shaky. He mentioned, “Mom,” and that’s when I called him. I didn’t even bother listening to the rest of his message.

He told me that my mother was in the hospital with pneumonia and that she had asked for him to see her. Apparently my stepfather died about four or five days ago. I’m not sure if her illness has anything to do with her grief.

My emotions are mixed.

My mother married my stepfather when I was 9 years old. Soon after, my stepfather started to molest us. I remember only bits and pieces. One of the strongest memories I had was when my mother said I couldn’t lock the door to my bedroom at night anymore because it “wasn’t safe.” I had a deep feeling of dread, fear, and panic.

For the longest time, I waited for my stepfather to die (he was about 20 years older than my mother). He never did, but then I moved on with my life. I got married and had a family of my own.

I had a literal distant relationship with my mother and stepfather—they lived in California and I lived in Florida. After a few years, they moved to the Philippines. Throughout my nearly 30 years of marriage I only saw my mother three times.

After I had become a Christian, I wanted my mother and even my stepfather to know Christ. I didn’t want revenge and I wasn’t waiting for him to die. In fact, I had hoped that I would hear him say that he had asked God for forgiveness and that he was a believer and a follower of Christ.

With Christmas cards and other mail, we would send them gospel tracts. About a year ago we sent them the “Jesus movie” and my mother said that my stepfather constantly watched it. I am hoping that it changed him.

My mother had always been resistant in hearing about Jesus. She told me several years ago on her last visit to Florida, that she didn’t need Jesus. I’m not sure if she still felt that way. As much as I could, I tried to tell her about Jesus’ love and how my life has changed because of Him.

I am not sure if my mother will recover from her illness. My father said that he will check on her today after the funeral of my stepmother’s mother. I am hoping that I will have one more opportunity to talk to her about God.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Opposites

For many years now, I’ve noticed that my husband and I are “opposites.” For example, he’s an “extravert” and I’m an “introvert.”

This morning, while in the bathroom, I noticed the towels we hung after we used them—his was neatly folded, while mine was just thrown over the holder.

Image

He’s also very meticulous when he puts away the dishes or groceries, while I put them away wherever they will fit. I used to notice how other married couples tended to be opposites of one another too—some were only slightly opposite while others were “polar” opposites (one was really loud and the other was very quiet).

My theory for why “opposites” attracted was that the other person had characteristics we lacked— like two puzzle pieces, when two opposites married, then they became one, complete, person.

The idea of opposites made me think about how opposite we are to God—He is righteous, and we are not; He is loving, and we are unloving; He is sinless, and we are sinful.

I thought about how the Bible describes our relationship with God as a marriage— “For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name…” (Isaiah 54:5), “When that day comes,” says the Lord, “you will call me ‘my husband…’” (Hosea 2:16).

We are extreme “polar opposites” of God, yet He loves us and wants to have a relationship with us—there is nothing we can give to God but He can give us so much. Those that believe and follow Him become a “new person.”

My husband’s extroversion and neatness has influenced me to be a little more vocal and to be a little neater. My relationship with God has influenced me to stand up for what is right, to be more loving, and to be more conscious of temptations and to ask Him for forgiveness when I commit sins.  

Our marriage should help us to be a better person. I may never be a “perfect” wife, but I am a better person than before I got married (before my marriage, the towel would have been thrown on the floor and the dishes would have remained in the dishwasher).

I am definitely a much better person now than I was before I became a believer and follower of Jesus Christ. I am thankful that God has given me these opportunities to become the person that He wants me to be.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti