God is good, even when things are not good

This morning I woke up thinking about my childhood and feeling sad and angry.  In the past, I had wondered why God would allow evil things to happen, and now I can remind myself that this world is corrupt and people are sinful so that’s why bad things happen. Even though I know this, I still wonder why people would do horrible things to children.

My past isn’t very unique. Unfortunately, there are many people who have encountered similar things. I was fortunate to have forgotten most of it. I remember hearing one of my teachers, Dr. Bill Cutrer, say that if we can’t remember a traumatic experience, like our minds just blocked the memory of it, then we should consider it a blessing. I never thought about it like that. I kept thinking that I had to deal with memories, even those that were deeply buried in my mind, in order to be “healthy.”

I have to admit that even though I don’t remember everything, I remember enough. My memories are like puzzle pieces— even though I don’t have all the pieces, I can still see most of the picture and fill in the blanks. The picture is very ugly and disturbing.

Why didn’t anyone protect me? Didn’t anyone care?

I suffered for several years. There were times that I wished that someone would have called child services and place me in a foster home but no one ever did. Instead, I endured it. This is what makes me sad— that no one cared enough to help me, and that those who I was supposed to trust were the ones that were abusing me.

This week, I saw two news stories about children being raped— one was killed and the other was basically left for dead. This is what angers me. I want to vindicate these children—I want to physically punish the people who did this to them, but I can’t.  All I can do is pray to God that the child that is still alive will recover completely, and that justice will prevail.

I am a grandmother now. When I was a mother I was able to protect my children, but as a grandmother, my powers of protection are very limited. All I can do is pray for my grandchildren.

So what was the point of bringing this up? Just that sometimes we remember our past and we cry about it, we see things in the news and we get angry about it, and many times we have no control over circumstances, but we have to give it all to God. We have to believe that He will take the bad stuff and have something good come from it.

I didn’t have a great family growing up, but I have one now. God gave me a loving and supportive husband, and together we have our own family. I wasn’t a perfect mother, but I loved my children, and I cared and protected them.  If any good could come from a terrible past, it is that I learned how to be a real parent, and I hope that the faith I have in God has been instilled into my children. God is good, even when things around us are not good, and only God can make something good come from something bad: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good…” (Gen 50:20, NLT).

Copyright © 2017 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti
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What Are Dreams?

I remember when my children were babies and I would watch them sleep. Sometimes their eyes would twitch then they might let out a quick cry, like they were frightened; and other times I would see them smile. I often wondered what babies dreamed— they hadn’t been in the world for too long so why would they frown, whimper, or smile when they slept? Could they be dreaming about future events? Could that be why we sometimes have that feeling of “déjà vu”?

Is it possible to see a glimpse of the future through dreams? I’m not sure. Many years ago I had a dream where I saw myself walking on a hill surrounded by children in tattered clothing. They were smiling and welcoming me— some were reaching up to hold my hand. I appeared to be 70 or more years old— my hair was all white and in a bun. The dream was brief; it ended when I saw what I looked like.

I have had dreams that made me wonder why I dreamed such a dream. I’ve had a couple of dreams like that—  once, where an imp tried to convince me that the Bible wasn’t true but I told him that Jesus would come back as He said He would, then another time when I saw the sun split in half and everyone was terrified because we were all “doomed” and God saved us.  I came to realize that dreams like that assure me that I have a real faith in God.

There are yet other dreams where I actually talked to people I have never seen before, and I wondered if that person was having the same dream about talking to me— I guess a lot of people have experienced this because I’ve seen movies and TV shows about that.

Then there are dreams when I feel like I’m watching a movie, where I’m not even in the dream— I think that’s when my mind just wants to rest and not solve an issue in my life.

So what’s the point of writing this? I guess it’s to say that sometimes dreams can be important (like when you are struggling with something and you want to figure out what to do), and sometimes dreams can help solidify your personal beliefs. The only one who can sort that out is you, so stop turning to books or articles that tell you what your dream means because dreams are personal and can’t be generalized. If you really need help understanding your dreams then ask the One who is the maker of dreams— God.

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

$1.5 Billion Dollar Lottery!

Temptation is different for everyone, but everyone is tempted. These past few days I have been tempted by the lottery that climbed to $1.5 billion dollars. I was so tempted that I tried to figure out when and where I would buy just one ticket without my husband or children knowing. I thought about what I would do with the money if I was the sole winner—would I move? Would I upgrade my camper? Would I travel in First Class to Europe? I wouldn’t have to work anymore—I can just enjoy life.

Then I thought about how my husband would react if I won—he would be very disappointed with me, and the church would think I was a hypocrite. I know they wouldn’t accept any lottery money from me, but I would feel compelled to give money to some kind of charity so I’d try to find a few just to ease my guilt.

As I put more thought into what the $1 ticket might bring (I don’t play the lottery so I’m assuming the tickets are a dollar), I thought about the life I already have. I wouldn’t want to move—I like where I am, I love my old camper—I personalized it and it feels like it’s a part of me, and I like to find bargain travels.

If I gave money to my children so that they can buy better cars and better homes then what have I taught them? I wouldn’t have taught them that hard work brings self-satisfaction, and that paying off student debt, a car loan, or the mortgage brings a sense of accomplishment.

I then thought about the other things that would result from a lottery win—people trying to kidnap my children and grandchildren for ransom, people trying to kidnap me to extort money, etc.

I recalled the words I had read on a friend’s Facebook page recently—“Am I not enough?” Is God really enough for me? Wouldn’t He give me the desires of my heart and meet my needs? He has never left me hungry, and we’ve always had enough money to pay our bills. Do I really want to forsake God for the lottery? Some might say that God could use the lottery to bless someone, but that’s just a way to justify it.

So I’ve come full circle. I was tempted to buy one lottery ticket, but after much thought I’ve decided to be content with what I have and to trust God for all my needs. Plus, I enjoy my job of interacting with students and trying to bring them closer to God (also, I think I would be really bored after a while of doing nothing).

I am now honestly afraid of winning the lottery because of the unknown road that it would take me. If you’re tempted to buy a lottery ticket—don’t. Pray harder and trust God more!

Copyright © 2016 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

GOD IS GREATER

I’ve read James 1:2-3 several times before, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow,” but I never really understood what it meant until now.

Our family is under major attack—it feels like the gates of hell have opened and Satan’s minions are in full force, but even though we are going through these trying times we know that God is greater. In fact, we are now even closer to God than we were several days ago.

I believe that there is a spiritual battle taking place in our churches, and some of our loved ones have been taken captive by the enemy, “We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

With the strongest conviction I have ever had, I keep shouting within my being, “GOD IS GREATER!” Those who are spiritually dead in Him can be raised from the dead— dry bones can live again. Those who have shut their eyes, ears, and heart to God can again see, hear, and know Him. No one is too far lost that he/she cannot be found by Him.

We need to pray, “It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons… to knock down the devil’s strongholds… Pray in the Spirit at all times… Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers…” (2 Cor 10:3-4, Eph 6:18).

I don’t know what you are encountering today, but know that you are not alone: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life… Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you… Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Matt 6:25, Isa 41:10, Joshua 1:9).

GOD IS GREATER!!!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Faith and assurance

Last night I dreamed that our little dog, Pongo, who is almost 18-years-old, collapsed and died as I was letting him out of the front door. I woke up and looked over at him to see if he was still alive and he was!

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We had a another dog that died after he was hit by a car– he was 5 years old. I remember my kids asking if he had gone to heaven. I didn’t know the answer.

Many years later I took a class taught by Dr. Peter Gentry and he said he believed that when Christ returns that He would redeem all of creation—this included our cats, dogs, and other pets. I remember telling my children what he said. They were so happy to know that they would see Poochie again.

Sometimes when I think about Heaven, I wonder in my mind if it’s really true. I know what it says in the Bible:

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me [Jesus]. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going” (John 14:1-4, NLT).

My mind can’t really comprehend it. I admit, I try to fathom the “New Heaven” and the “New Earth” mentioned in Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1, but I can’t even picture such an incredible thing.

I think this is why it’s so important for me to have faith in God’s Word— to believe in my heart that what He is telling me is really the truth. In Hebrews 11:1 it says, “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (NLT). I need to hold onto that.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Have Faith

Today I thought about Matthew 8:24-26, “Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm” (NLT).

Sometimes when I have a lot on my “plate,” I get very overwhelmed. At first I don’t show it—I try to act as if everything is fine; but after a few weeks of juggling a lot of things I start to feel like I am drowning. I can almost feel the water rising up to my chin and every once in a while a big wave hits me on the side of my head and I have to gasp for air. I keep telling myself that God wouldn’t put more on me than I can handle, but that doesn’t really help.

After reading the Scripture verses I wondered if maybe I wasn’t really giving this situation to God. I have prayed for Him to help me, but I still felt overwhelmed. Why? Could it be a test? It is true that I am more drawn to God when stressful things happen (and continue to happen)? How would someone else react—would they “give up” on God and think that He’s abandoned them? Maybe having faith means I should continue to “weather the storm” because God will make everything calm in His timing. I just need to trust Him. I need to show and believe in my heart that I have faith.

I’m not sure what kind of storms you are going through right now, but remember—do not be afraid. Have faith. God will not let you drown.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Faith

We are reading through Exodus now and this morning we read about Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea (Exo 14). This was not a simple feat. The Red Sea is a body of water about 220 miles wide.  To put this into perspective—the state of Ohio is said to be “220 miles long and 220 miles wide at its most distant points” (http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/qf-geography.php).

One would think that the Israelites would be in an everlasting state of awe after witnessing such an incredible act of God, but in the next chapter of Exodus it mentions that the Israelites traveled three days “without finding any water” when they started to complain (Exo 15:22, 24). They started complaining only three days after witnessing the parting of the Red Sea!

It made me think about how easily we forget when God has worked in our lives—prayers He had answered, situations He had worked out, etc. We can’t expect a miracle everyday (Matt 12:39) otherwise there would be no need for faith (Luke 8:25).

When was the last time God worked in your life? Cling to that memory and have faith that God is still with you.

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti