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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Sad but thankful

I remember the very first time I met my father-in-law. It was early in the morning. My husband had picked me up from Miami airport at around midnight and we drove all night to his parents’ home in Ormond Beach. I was so nervous because I didn’t know how I would be received.

My husband’s father emerged from the hallway with a huge smile and his arms were out to hug me. He was so happy to see me and I felt so welcomed.

Even though God is my Heavenly Father, I think He knew that I needed to have a father who could show me what a real father ought to be. Over the years my father-in-law did many of the things I imagined a father would— he showed me how to make spaghetti sauce and to roast red peppers, he shared stories from his past, and we would go to the local Farmer’s market and thrift stores.

My father-in-law was the father figure I never had as a child— he gave me encouragement and accepted me. I think God blessed me with him because my other earthly fathers fell short—my biological father had basically abandoned me after my parents divorced, and my stepfather was a pedophile.

I felt more like my father-in-law’s adopted daughter than his daughter-in-law, and I called him, “Dad,” because in my heart that’s what he was to me. I wanted him to be proud of me— for being a good wife and mother, and for my personal accomplishments. He died before I received my doctorate degree, but I know he would have been proud.

Today is his birthday and I mourn his death, but I am thankful that he was in my life—“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father…” (James 1:17, NLT), and I know one day I will see him again. God is good!

dadcake(Dad at my wedding on Nov. 24, 1984)

Copyright © 2015 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Affirmation

Sometimes God speaks through an email…

I have been teaching online classes for a few years now. Over the last few months I kept wondering if anything I did really mattered—maybe I should do something different, maybe I’m not as encouraging as I thought I was, maybe I’m just wasting my time, etc.

Today I received an email from one of my students from this past semester. She is graduating in May and she had to write a paper discussing the five classes that impacted her. My class was one of them— “I wanted you to have a copy you were such a big part of. I really enjoyed your online class.” I was so touched by the email and the paper because not only did I teach that class, but I also wrote it—picked out the books and created the assignments.

The student writes: “This was my one and only online class, and I was intimidated going into this type of learning environment. I found that I enjoyed the setting and learned more by doing more on my own. My instructor was Dr. Maria Trascritti (Dr. T.) I was challenged by her correction of my work.  It was constructive and helped me immensely…The seven step decision making process is important to my work now and the work I plan on doing in the future within the health care industry

I will be prompted to ask myself if the decisions I am making will impact others positively or negatively, who will benefit, and if what I decide will glorify God… One of the most memorable ethical situations that was brought to light while I was taking this course related to a scripture from Malachi 3:8 NLT, “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings.”

In the work place just as in church or charity if we are withholding, we are taking or stealing what rightfully belongs to the workplace.  When an employee is actively not doing what they know they should be doing it is the same as stealing if they are taking payment for the day’s work.”

I have always felt that if I could impact just one student, then all of this work is “worth it.” I am thankful to God that I was able to influence this student in such a positive way. God is good!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Hope and a future

A few days ago my son sent a sonogram picture of my unborn grandchild to me (this will be my fourth grandchild). 

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My son and daughter-in-law have come such a long way in their relationship. I thought about the first time I had seen my daughter-in-law. It was our first Sunday at the church.

As we waited for people to arrive for service, a small blonde-haired girl walked past us—she never looked up; her eyes were fixed on the ground as she went by. The first thought that came to my mind was, “She’d be perfect for my son… she’s his type.”

A little while after that they started to spend time together, but things didn’t work out between them—those things happen with teenagers.

A few years later, my son announced that he was going to ask a girl to marry him, but after buying the ring she ended the relationship. He was devastated so he came home to spend some time with us.

A couple of days after being home he told us that he was spending time with a friend. I found out later that he was seeing the small blonde-haired girl.

For the next year they maintained a long-distance relationship—she was at a college in her hometown, and he was at a school 100 miles away. Finally after his graduation, he gave up his apartment to move back home and they spent another year “hanging out” with one another.

After a fairy-tale engagement at Disney World, they were married on June 1, 2013. Now they are expecting their first baby.

When his first engagement fell through, I had sent a message to his ex-girlfriend: God has a plan and I know that He will give my son someone better.

Seeing the picture of my unborn grandchild gives me a new appreciation for Jeremiah 29:11, “”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” God is good!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What is forgiveness?

When I first became a Christian I was perplexed by the Scripture verses in Matthew 18:21-22, ““Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!”” (NLT).

I didn’t know for sure what was meant by “forgive someone”—does that mean we pretend that nothing ever happened? What if the person justified the actions and was not really sorry for what happened? Should I still forgive?

When I was 5-years-old, my older half-brother, age 15, started to molest me. He did this until I was about 7-years-old. My mother married my stepfather and he started to molest me when I was 9-years-old—this lasted until I was 13-years-old.

My half-brother and my stepfather never asked to be forgiven; in fact, my half-brother justified what he did—“brothers and sisters do these things.” How could I forgive that?

As I continued to read my Bible, I discovered another Scripture verse: “If another believer sins, rebuke that person; then if there is repentance, forgive. Even if that person wrongs you seven times a day and each time turns again and asks forgiveness, you must forgive” (Luke 17:3-4).

The words, “believer,” “repentance,” and “asks forgiveness” jumped out at me– these passages really didn’t apply to my situation.

Then I read Matthew 6:14-15, “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Does this mean that if I don’t forgive these two that God will not forgive me? But how could I forgive someone who didn’t even ask for forgiveness?

Ephesians 4:31 says, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.” Even though there was no remorse from these two, I had to forgive them. To me, this meant I had to release the anger and hurt that I felt. If I held on to the anger then it would slowly kill me, and I wouldn’t be able to fully worship God because I would have this ugly thing between Him and me.

It wasn’t easy to forgive. It took many years of anguished prayers, but one day I realized that I no longer had anger or hurt. I knew then that God had healed me, and in my heart I had forgiven them. Maybe one day they will turn their lives over to God and He will forgive them too. God is good!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Simply blessed

It started when our friends/in-laws (our son is married to their daughter) suggested we camp together at Brown County Indiana. They really love the state park there, but when we looked for a camping spot none was available. They really wanted us to see the place so they found another campground close by.

It seemed like a nice place. We got there when the sun was just starting to set.

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We stepped out of our vehicle and were surrounded by mosquitos and other insects. We backed into the wrong spot and had to move over to another one. After my husband was in the right spot, he thought he would adjust the camper so that it was more leveled but when he tried to put the car into gear, nothing happened. It was like the gear was loose and it wouldn’t go into a gear.

He contacted AAA, and after upgrading our policy, someone was out to tow the car the next morning.

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We realized that now we had a camper with no car to pull it. My husband contacted a friend and the friend contacted a friend who volunteered to drive the 2+ hours up and back (for a total of 4+ hours) to bring us back home. We found out, though, that AAA also has a policy for campers, so we upgraded our policy once more.

Our camper was towed this morning.

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We thought about the fiasco of the past couple of days. Some would call it “dumb luck,” or “bad luck,” but I think we were just simply “blessed.”

Why? The state park is huge– our camper may not have made it to a camping spot, but the other campground is smaller. The gear was stuck on “Park,” so we had no worries that it would roll down the hill. We had “plant-based” insect spray that actually worked!

Our car could have broken down on the highway as we were driving to Brown County, or it could have broken down in the middle of the campground as we were checking in. Instead, it broke down after we backed into our camping spot.

We could have broken down while it was just us—my husband, my son, and I—how would we have made it back home without a car? If we rented a car, it would have cost more for the rental since it would be “one way,” but our car broke down when our friends were with us. They were able to drop us off at our house.

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Even though our plans did not turn out the way we had expected, God knew everything that would happen and made an alternate plan for us— we were still able to spend time with our friends.

ImageImageEven though we had no idea how things would turn out, we knew that God would take care of everything, and He did.

“…I tell you not to worry about everyday life… if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you… So don’t worry… Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matt 6:25, 30-31, 33).

God is so good!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

It’s like a new day

Today I accidentally sneezed.  When I did this a few days ago, I was in agony. Out of fear, I would try to stop myself from sneezing. It was different this time. The sneeze seemed to push the back of my throat into place. Although my throat still feels a little raw, I was able to speak more clearly.

It had been a few days since I ventured outside of the house. The last time was to have breakfast with my son and husband, but the trip to the restaurant left me dizzy and nauseated.

I thought that since my throat was a little better today, I might be well enough to go for a drive so I went with my son to his eye appointment. He had his appointment, we picked out some glasses for him, had an early dinner, then I went to the movies with my husband afterwards.

I feel like I had been through a long bad storm but now the clouds are starting to clear. I think about the words in 1 Peter 5:10, “…after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you…” (NLT).

For a while I thought my pain would never end, but it did. I thought I wouldn’t be able to eat, but I have. I didn’t lose 15 pounds like others have done following the operation, but I had more than liquids to eat.

It has been ten days since I’ve had my tonsillectomy and I am down to taking only one pill a day of the medication. I know now that God had helped me through it all. Thank you, God!

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti