Two deaths

I thought my mother would be grieving my stepfather’s death—she had been married to him for almost 40 years, but instead of grief, there was relief.

My mother had been through so much— for a year, my stepfather was bedridden and my mother had to feed and change him. She had no peace— even when she wanted to go downstairs for a break, he would call for her and she would stay with him in the room.

When my mother discovered he had died, she called my brother and he wired money for her to cremate him. About four hours later, she was presented with a ceramic vase with his ashes in it. There was no funeral and no one cried for him.

I then thought about my father-in-law’s funeral. All of us were mourning his death—all of us were deeply saddened because we would miss him. The church was filled with people and they talked about all the wonderful things my father-in-law did.

There’s a stark difference between the way my stepfather and my father-in-law were remembered in death, and I think these differences reflected who they were and how they lived their lives.

My stepfather was a pedophile and a gambling addict. He molested not only my sister and me, but also my cousins and my brother’s niece on his wife’s side (these were the ones that I know about). He had also been arrested for picking up prostitutes.

My father-in-law was a godly man. He was married to my mother-in-law for almost 50 years prior to his death. He was ill for 20 years yet he continued to do ministry. He was like a father to me and he loved my children very much.

My stepfather did not know the LORD, but my father-in-law did. My stepfather did not worship God, but my father-in-law worshiped Him constantly. My stepfather denied Christ, but my father-in-law embraced Christ and told others about Him.

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says, “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make… You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life…” (NLT).

My stepfather did not choose life, but my father-in-law did, and now the memory of my father-in-law continues while my stepfather has been quickly forgotten.

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

God, the Great and Powerful

We are reading the one-year Chronological Bible and we just finished the part when all of Joseph’s family (his father and brothers and all their families) moved to Goshen– it said that their number, including Joseph and his family, totaled 70 (Genesis 46).

I am now sitting in the living room watching my two baby granddaughters interacting with one another, and I look up and see my family’s picture over the fireplace. God has blessed me. It started with just my husband and me, and now we number 12 in our family (it’s actually 11, but my son and future daughter-in-law will be getting married in June).

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These passages in Deuteronomy say, “If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all his commands… You will experience all these blessings… Your children and your crops will be blessed… Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed” (Deu 28:1-2, 4, 6, NLT).

I don’t deserve any of His blessings, but by His grace He has blessed me. God is so amazing and awesome! He truly is great and powerful!

The Valley

I’ve only been running/jogging for a few days now, but I’m starting to notice a pattern of when I am prone to getting tired during my run. At about 2.5 miles I start to struggle but after a couple more miles I have more energy. The up and down pattern of my workout reminded me of life in general. I think all of us have felt sadness or depression at some point in our lives. In fact, there are several accounts of sadness or even depression that is illustrated in the Bible: Hannah (1 Sam 1:10), Job (Job 7:11), and Jesus (John 11:33-35) are examples.

To me, being sad or depressed is like being in a valley—the beautiful mountains are all around and I just want to be in the midst of its beauty but I’m in the flat area—isolated and alone.

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When I am in the valley I try to think about Psalm 23: 4— “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (NLT).

Being in the valley can be a lonely place, but that’s where God works on me. I think God puts me in the valley sometimes to get my attention so that I will turn to Him. I find that I rely on Him more when I am in the valley, and when I get out of the valley I am stronger, spiritually. I don’t really like the valley, though, so I have to remember Him even when I am not in the valley—“… Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God…” (Deu 8:11), but if this is the way God wants to shape me, then I am willing to go through the valley because I know He has meant it for good and He will take me through it.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti