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
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The potter and the clay

I saw this news article today and it broke my heart: http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/01/health/diy-plastic-surgery/. This lady wanted to improve her appearance but it wound up costing her limbs.

Our society makes it difficult to “grow old gracefully.” The emphasis is on looking young— people see celebrities getting plastic surgery and then they want to do the same thing.

I have to admit that there were times when I looked in the mirror and wished I could change something about myself. I see the laugh lines getting deeper and the number of fine lines increasing on my face, then there’s the loose skin I have on my belly from giving birth to my four children…

I used to wish that I was taller, but over time I grew to love being only 5 feet tall—it’s funny but some strangers still treat me like a little girl.

I came across this Bible verse several times over the last few years: “…Will what is formed say to him who formed it, “Why did you make me this way?”…” (Romans 9:20). These Words made me realize that I should be satisfied with the way I look—wrinkles, loose skin, and all. God made me this way. If He didn’t want me to have loose skin then He wouldn’t have allowed me to get pregnant; and if He didn’t want me to have wrinkles then He could have ended my life while I was still young.

I realize now that my focus shouldn’t be on my external appearance; I needed to concentrate on changing my heart: “…beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God” (2 Peter 3:4, AMP).

I need to love how God has made me. I know God loves me, and He has blessed me with a loving husband who thinks I am the most beautiful woman in the world. What more do I need?

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Happy

Sometimes I think people take things too seriously. This seems to be especially true for things associated with the church. I think when some people hear the word, “Church,” they get a picture of boring activities and boring people. I don’t think Jesus was boring and I don’t think He did boring things. I think He tried to have fun as much as He could.

I think some churches feel that having fun might somehow be disrespectful to God or that it would diminish the gospel, but if we are made in the image of God then God created in us the ability to have fun and enjoy what we are doing.

A few days ago I began filming members of my church having fun. The idea was to show that our church can love God and still have fun. I wanted to illustrate that we are happy to be at our church and that being in our church made us happy.

The result was a series of video clips that were pieced together using Pharrell Williams’ song, “Happy”: http://youtu.be/dYtB4LN1xy4. My hope is to show that our church is different from the “stuffy” church that some people may envision.

Ecclesiastes 8:15 says, “So I recommend having fun because there is nothing better for people to do in this world than to eat, drink and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them” (NLT).

I think there should be joy in serving God. May the happy music in your heart draw people closer to Him!

Copyright © 2014 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

2014

The New Year is quickly approaching and many people will make resolutions that they may or may not keep. When I first entered 2013 my goal was to have a personal devotion time in addition to the daily Bible reading I had with my husband. It was great for the first couple of months, but slowly the days in between my personal readings grew longer until finally several months passed.

I don’t think I’m busier than anyone else, but I think I am more distracted. Other things grab my attention—Facebook, TV, shopping, etc. A quick look on Facebook can turn into two hours of nothing. I am so tired of wasting time, yet I continue to get drawn into it.

The other day I noticed that Christianbook.com had a clearance sale. Some of their Bible study materials were selling for 49 cents so I bought a few. My intention is to rekindle the passion I have for The Word because the fire that once burned in my heart has become a smoldering pile of ashes.

I felt that my trip to Nepal was a spiritual awakening for me. I didn’t realize that I had ventured so far away from God until He drew me back again. I think it’s our tendency to slowly move away from God and not even realize it.  We go to church, we participate in ministry, we do lots of good things, but our relationship with God is strained—it’s like being married and doing all the things married people do—buy groceries together, visit with friends, etc., but when they are alone they don’t even talk to each other in any meaningful way.

Today when my husband and I were reading through Revelations, we came across this passage:

“I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again…” (Rev. 3:1-3, NLT).

I had read these Bible verses many times before but this time it was like God was talking to me. I am like that wayward child—the prodigal daughter— but because He loves me, He is shaking me awake so I can realize how far I have strayed from Him.

I don’t know what kind of relationship you have with God—perhaps it is rich and full, and God doesn’t have to chastise you—this is a blessing. I am just thankful that God has not given up on me, and that He continues to draw me to Him even though I am a broken pot not worth keeping.

Buried in the ashes of my heart are bits of coal that can glow red when the proper material is introduced.  My deepest desire is to serve God and to know more about Him, and my goal is to read and study His Word more intentionally in the coming year—everything is possible with God.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

Being strategic

I had a crush on my husband (before we were married) when I was engaged to another guy– for me it was “love at first sight.” We had the same class at Ft. Sam Houston and we even shared the same lab table.

My future husband had no idea how I felt about him, and I don’t think he really knew “I existed.”  After I broke off my engagement with the other guy, I started to be more strategic about “accidentally” bumping into him at social situations.

One of those occasions was on Easter morning. My roommate woke me up and said that there was an egg hunt. I asked her who would be there and she named several people, including my husband. I immediately jumped out of bed and got ready.

I remember signing up for a flag football game just so I could be near him. To my delight, we were put on the same team, I really didn’t know how to play so  he had to tell me which side of the field we were on and in which direction I was supposed to run. Then after the game, we actually had a conversation!

I like to reminisce on these events because it makes me remember how much I wanted to be in my husband’s presence.

Then I thought about God and how I don’t always put the effort to be with Him. “…you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4: 29). “The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him” (Lamentations 3:25).

If I can put so much effort to being with my future husband, then I should put even more effort to being with God. Just as I was strategic to be close to my husband, I need to be strategic with my time to be with God.

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

The Christian life

There have been times that I told people we are supposed to live like a Christian, but I never considered that maybe they had no idea what I meant. What does “living a Christian life” supposed to look like? Is it going to church every Sunday and reading your Bible every day?  I have heard people say that we have to sacrifice our time and go to church and then do ministry—is that what “living a Christian life” is about?

I think about the passages in Psalm 51:16-17, “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (NLT).

I think God could care less about us sacrificing our time—what He really cares about is our motivation for going to church, doing ministry, reading our Bible, etc.  Does our heart truly desire to align with God’s? This is what living a Christian life is all about.  We do things not out of obligation, but because we love God, we want to please Him, and we want to be closer to Him. My personal prayer is that my heart will be broken every day so that God can reshape it.

What about you? What do you think it means to live a Christian life?

Copyright © 2013 Dr. M. Teresa Trascritti

What about him?

For some reason I thought about the conversation between Peter and Jesus in John 21—this is the chapter where Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him. In John 21:21, Peter looks over at John and asks Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” Jesus then replies, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me” (Jn 21:22).

How many times do we look at how other people are progressing in their Christian walk, but lose sight of how we are doing? It’s so easy to look at someone else and evaluate them, but it’s difficult to really examine our own heart.

When was the last time you really measured yourself with God’s standard? Stop comparing yourself with others and just follow Him!

Copyright © 2013 M. Teresa Trascritti