“Forks in the road”

I sat down today and thought about all the “forks in the road” that could have led to a much different life for me. 

Some of these “forks” were faced by my parents and others were the ones I faced, but each one resulted in where I am today. 

The major “fork” that my parents had was to stay married or get divorced. When I was a child, I imagined what it would have been like for them to stay together— my mother wouldn’t have married my step-father and my life might have been more stable. I used to spend a lot of time wondering what that might have looked like. Now I know that it was just a waste of time. 

One of the “forks” I faced was to get sterilized or not get sterilized. I chose to get sterilized after four children and two miscarriages. There are days when I regret that decision and I wonder what it would have been like to have more children. The days I spent mourning my decision was also a waste of time. 

Sometimes we make bad decisions and sometimes people make a choice that we just have to “live with.” Even though we replay these things in our heads and wish that we can go back in time and do things differently, we can’t do anything to change the past. 

I used to have a lot of guilt about the “forks” I had taken, but I realized that God had allowed me to take these various paths. If I wasn’t supposed to take them then He would have done something to prevent me from taking them. 

Sometimes the path is difficult and full of heartache, but even then I have to realize that it’s the path He wanted me to take. I can’t waste my time thinking about things that “could have been” because there’s a reason why I was on that path and not on the other. If my mind and heart are elsewhere then I won’t be alert to what I’m supposed to see and experience. 

I had a very difficult childhood because of the “fork” my parents took, but looking back I think that experience has made me more aware of the issues that some children and teenagers face when in a similar situation. I want to tell them to cling to God no matter how bleak their circumstances are at the moment; and I want to encourage them to never give up, to look up and to look ahead. 

Although I regret some of the “forks” I had taken, I need to stop feeling guilty and sad.  I think discouragement happens when we focus on our past and lose sight of everything else.  I need to “look up” and “look ahead”— to fix my attention on God and to concentrate on the future. 

“For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Then you will understand what is right and just
    and fair—every good path.
For wisdom will enter your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul.
Discretion will protect you,
    and understanding will guard you….

Thus you will walk in the ways of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.” 

(Proverbs 2:6-11, 20)

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What can I do when I am discouraged?

I’ve been very discouraged for the past few days. It has made me question many things about me and my abilities. I’ve been discouraged before, but it seems like it is worse now than it’s ever been before. I am almost discouraged from reading God’s Word, but that’s how the devil would like for me to react.

I thought about some of the ways I can combat discouragement:

  1. I need to run to God— “The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to him and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10)
  2. I need to read His Word even more— “…the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled” (Romans 15:4)
  3. I need to be strong— “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you…” (Isaiah 41:10)
  4. I need to stay focused—“…after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation” (1 Peter 5:10)
  5. I need to remember that everything that happens is part of God’s plan—“…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28)

Even though I am still very much discouraged, I feel hopeful after reading these Scripture verses. I need to keep pressing forward despite feeling discouraged. I know deep in my heart that God will take care of me, but my present circumstances seem to cloud everything.

I know that He wants what is best for me and I know that He will not lead me in the wrong direction (“I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you”—Psalm 32:8). I have to hold onto the promise in Deuteronomy 31:8, “Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

God, after reading these Scripture verses, I know that I just have to trust in You.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The schemes of the devil

Satan has a way of discouraging us. It seems to happen when we are in the process of drawing closer to God. Sometimes the devil discourages us by using other “Christians” to accuse us of not being a real Christian. I had this type of encounter recently and it bothered me. I had to think about what would make someone say such a thing when it is not true. I came across several Scripture verses that seemed to give me the answer.

In John 8:44 it says, “…He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (NIV).

Ephesians 6:11-12 reminds us that the devil schemes against us, “…For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (NIV).

So the bottom line is that Satan wants to destroy Christians (John 10:10), and he tells us lies to discourage us. I went to sleep thinking about this false accusation and my first thought this morning was about this accusation. I think it is time that I stop letting lies distract me from thinking about God.  It is Sunday morning and it’s time to “put on the full armor of God” and also to “take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Eph 6:10, 16).

Thank you, God, for your Words of encouragement!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Don’t quit!

I woke up with dread as I thought about my run today. Since I had pulled a muscle a few days ago, I was not very interested in running; in fact, my last run, two days ago, was so awful that I wondered why I was even running in the first place.

When I started my run, I kept stopping for one reason or another—I had a heart palpitation, my knee brace was too tight, my clothes felt binding, etc. I kept decreasing my speed, and after a while I just felt like giving up.

Then I thought about Satan’s schemes: “…Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes” (2 Cor 2:11, NLT). He wants to discourage us—he wants to make us quit because if we quit the small stuff then it would be easier for us to quit the big stuff.

I took off my knee brace, increased my speed and ran. I was able to go 10.02 miles because I didn’t give up.

What is Satan tempting you to quit? Don’t let him win!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti