…how do we heal?

As much as I do not want to get political on this blog much in me longs to speak my truth, my perspective on a few things.

I am in mourning. Grief is again a daily companion. Since COVID hit, the pitiful displays of all areas of leadership, the loss of lives, the riots, peaceful riots turned anything but and the hatred tangible in our streets I have mourned the loss of America. It has stirred within me, its jagged edges bringing forth blood. It has wrapped its tentacles around my heart and threatens to drown me in vileness. With the future in question, (Would we even live through it?) there seemed no safe place but the arms of God. And my belief in Him could cost me my life and the lives of my family. How do I walk away from the core of my existence?

In my artistic eye I have a vision of a neglected graveyard where the headstones mark the icons that bring America to mind. I hope to turn it into a multi-medium painting. Meanwhile, as I emerge from grief and shock my question is, “What now”?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

How do we salvage America? As our enemies foreign and domestic are circling like we are now the greatest feast ever in life?

Where are our leaders set aside by God already to lead us? Have people of good moral character, honesty and trustworthiness already passed from this planet? The lack of decent government at all levels is apparent. Even in our small town our mayor has been arrested for ethic violations and our city council does not have its populations needs on their radar.

People are believing what the all to powerful media “reports” even when lies and cover-ups are exposed in their own coverage. They are arrogant in their spread of false and misinformation. Journalism has become at the least a joke but truthfully a disgrace to their forefathers in the field. A thorn in America’s flesh. This group keeps doing what they do because the majority enjoys wading in the stench as it suits their agendas.

Hope is a bubble in my heart. Healing is a possibility but it will come at a personal cost for each of us. Our forgiving those who have hurt, threatened to harm, whose perspectives and beliefs are opposite of our own. We have to give up the idea of forcing people to behave in the way we want. Most of all we have to admit where we are drowning in a flood that we caused by dancing the rain dance recklessly. We can be a better America than what we are now. Who is with me?

“When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

—-Donna

4/9/21

…why are we hearing another sermon on that?

Photo by Rodrigo DelPer on Pexels.com

Once in a church our family were members of a congregation that had been without a pastor for several months. Finally we called an evangelism pastor as a interim until God showed us who to call longer term. He was a fine preacher/teacher. Knew the Bible well. Was also gifted in what we needed as far as administratively went. He was with us for over a year. After three months I realized he was bringing us the same sermon every week with different scripture to support his words.

My first thoughts were why? Every Sunday he was preaching about how to become a new Christian. Our number of attendees was dropping. As I looked around I thought, who here needs to hear this? This pastor’s gift was evangelism. He was an evangelist. Was that why? Did he know this so well he was not comfortable elsewhere in the Scripture?

We left that congregation. Not because of the pastor situation but because we felt we needed more to feed our spiritual lives. It’s been 13 years. The pastor of our church home now presented a moving sermon on Easter. It was theologically sound. It was challenging. The response from those of us in the congregation consisted of one person who went forward to pray. Like at our former church I found myself asking, “why”? Plus thinking how discouraging it must have been to invest all that time studying and preparing a sermon and no response.

Before you ask why I did not go forward it is because by the time I manage to roll myself and wheelchair to the altar every eye is upon me. Plus, the time has slipped away to respond. Maybe others, like myself, respond where they are.

Then part of my own Bible study this week lead me to Acts 8:1-40, specifically verses 4-25. Philip has contact in Samaria with a magician, a sorcerer. By the world’s standard he was very successful. He boasted about how great he was. Many people followed him. He was a believer in his own reputation. When Philip begins to preach in the area, cast out evil spirits and perform miracles many people began to follow him. Including Simon. He counted himself a true believer in Jesus Christ. I believe Simon was attracted to Philip’s “magic” which he saw as greater than his.

Then Peter and John arrived and when the new converts were prayed for and the duo lay their hands on them while praying they received the Holy Spirit. Simon saw this. Another two men whose “magic” was greater than Simons. He offered Peter and John money to teach him how to do what they did. Peter very bluntly let Simon know he had no part in the ministry they were doing because his heart was not right with God.

Simon became a true believer.

How many of us are Simon’s? We believe we believe in God. We do all of the right things. We attribute our earthly successes to God. But, when the point blank question is asked of us we suddenly see the truth. We are like Simon, not true Believer’s at all. Our hearts core is unchanged.

Witnessing this cancel culture, morally declining, hate and cruelty, lying movement attempt to wash Christianity from our world is crushing to me. I second guess my instinctive actions and often do not act for the risk exists anything can suddenly be considered the wrong thing to do. People I counted as my friends I am suddenly unsure of. Between COVID and an increase in crime I no longer feel safe in our little, rural county. Laugh if you are inclined but the day when we have to choose to die for Christ or live for evil is fast approaching. Not because of my feelings but because the signs are all there.

Why is the pastor’s sermon falling on deaf ears? Is it him or you? Do we not yet understand we are supposed to take Christ beyond the church walls and without action within the walls how can there be change outside of them?

“See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first. As has just been said: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.'” Hebrews 3:12-15 NIV

“Taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION 1973, 1978 by the International Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.”

Prayerfully,

—-Donna

…what is up?

Photo by J. Thomas

For the first time ever in 57 years I looked at a picture of myself and liked it. On top of that when those negative comments in my head mumbled the first word I shut them down. Yes, I can see this is not representative of beauty by the world’s standard but I decided to give myself a break.

This picture and my enjoying it takes back the shame of having to give up my front row seat to the doctor’s daughter because of their financial and social standings. It soothed the embarrassment of having to pretend I could not read because the teacher said my mother taught me wrong.

It replaces those feelings of “not good enough” when I was teased and even targeted to be shamed because of my weight. All the doctors who misdiagnosed me for over 40 years.

This picture closed the wounds of an abusive childhood that lead to my amputation.

For every Human Resources Director who told me they were sorry but they thought my skills were a perfect match to a job they could not hire me because they had to hire someone in another race category. While I added in my mind, “And fat.” This picture let that go.

My heart has carried so much for 57 years. I let God have it. Finally. I was not ashamed to give it to Him.

Yes, I looked at this woman pictured with her husband of twenty-four years, and gave her a break. I let her roll away from underneath all that baggage.

The woman in this picture deserves a real life for she has fought for it in ways very few know. Only she and God know and with one picture years were returned to her.

Not to say today will not have its own pain, struggles, victories. Jesus never promised life as a believer would be easy.

That is okay. More than okay. The me in this picture deserves to live the life that comes to her.

Grace restored,

Donna

4/6/2021

…why did God say “Wait” to my prayer?

“Prayer”, artwork & photo by dfav.

There is a famous country song, made a hit by Garth Brooks. The chorus goes, “….I thank God for unanswered prayers, remember when you’re talking to the man upstairs, just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care…”

I do not agree with this song’s assessment of prayer and God answering our prayers. Instead I subscribe to this belief, God always answers our prayers. Always. In one of three ways.

  • He says yes.
  • He says no.
  • He says wait.

Since the third option is the hardest one for us to handle, this is where this blog will pick up here. Harder than a no? Yes. No is definite. Usually an indication that what we are petitioning God for is not within His will for our lives and/or not within His standard of righteousness. Wait, on the other hand, is defined in this case as either, “no, not right now” or “yes, just not right now”? Wait can seem like a no.

Why would God say, wait? Because sometimes what we are asking for right now, though within His will, within His parameters of right and wrong, we are not yet equipped to handle.

Suppose, for example, as a child we fall in love with missions. Especially foreign missions. We pray then that God will send us to the mission field. We are earnest in our prayers. We are praying for something God would certainly find to be right. We are eager to begin.

Why would God say, “Wait”? Common sense tells us that God is not going to send a child into the mission field unprepared. A child has not yet learned enough skills to get through the maze of life yet. So to be placed in the middle of another way of life, without ability to earn a living, secure housing, connect with people they know they can trust is beyond their maturity and capabilities. While no one can discredit the ability of children to be a part of mission work with adults, it is not common practice to put them in the mission field alone.

However, when the request is not as cut and dry our ability to understand gets stretched. What if the prayer request is to marry the person God intends for you to marry? Or to go back to school? Get a job that will enable you to provide more for your family? What if the prayer request is for complete healing of a spouse’s difficult to diagnosis disease or illness?

We pray. We are within God’s will. Healing is possible. Yet, it does not happen right away. Days tickle into months, months become a year and you find yourself on the way to a second year. The long-term disability insurance dries up, returning to work is still impossible, health insurance is canceled, life is turned upside down and the worst part is your spouse is still sick. One way or the other your spouse’s healing is within God’s will, so why would He say, wait?

Is it to teach us to trust Him regardless of the circumstances? Is it to remind us to be thankful always, during the good times and the harder, bad times? Perhaps He says wait because He wants to use this time in your life to draw other people to Him? Or to put it another way, maybe God is waiting because when He shows up He wants to show out.

We all have a hard time with the wait answer. For myself, the hardest time ever has been during my husband’s illness. The example detailed previously. God has said, wait.

Yes, I have railed against the Heaven’s because God has not said yes. I question why. I cry. I have had days when all I can think of ways to protect my family and throw in the towel at the same time. If God is not going to say, yes and say it right away how can He love me, I ask? If He does not love me enough to say yes, why does He not love my husband enough? Or our daughter? What about the crippling loneliness that creeps into our bones, into the finest of crevices in our souls that is not only overwhelming but unspeakable?

Maybe knowing the why God says to wait is not the important thing yet. Maybe the answers I should be seeking are what is He teaching me (and my family) during this time? What are those who are seated ring side in our lives seeing in us as we go through it?

Why God is still saying wait to our request for my husband’s healing I do not know. But I do know He is affirming that answer, right now. None of the possible severe consequences are off the table. I am well aware of that too.

So far though, our lives are a testimony to what is required of us when God says, “Wait”. I pray we are not failing Him.

—-Donna

…what mystery stirs? Part 2

That Magic Hat, art & photo by dfav.

Items disappearing in our homes is not absolutely unheard of. At our home though, it is the type of items disappearing that dangle the possibility the missing items are a bit outside the norm. Socks lost in the laundry are one thing but here are items that are harder to explain in their sudden absence.

The first missing objects are multiples of the same thing. Brace yourself. Towels. Warned you it is a stunning theft. Yes, I wrote theft. At the end of the day when laundry is finished all the towels will not fit in the shelves and come sunrise gone. Poof. Like magic.

We use a lot of towels in our home. I can literally tell you how many of each color we have and especially the ones that were wedding presents. Even as I tap-tap the keyboard in a quiet house with no lights burning there is some thief with a towel fetish preparing to swipe some more. Our poor towels are innocently laying as bait for the Towel Thief.

Yes, yes it is true. Especially the wedding towels are old. Twenty-four years to be exact. Yes, they are showing their age. Even some that are five-years-old are showing wear and tear. Every dried load has me snipping loosed binding. Stray threads and lint haveto be picked off them with the tacky lint tape. (Do you think super glue would hold those threads together?)

The Ziploc filled with rubber bands. Not just ordinary rubber bands. BIG, wide-stretching, red rubber bands. There is one used to keep the trash bag from submitting to gravity and sliding into the bottom of each can in our home. My urge to always be prepared meant the package I bought had enough so when they break we can replace them at that moment.

These missing have not even put into duty yet and they are AWOL. Are the cats planning to weave them together and make a bungie cord? Is that what the latest construction like noises are from our daughter’s room?

Did perhaps my nephew and niece discovered the bands and decide to send their stuffed animals over the shelf cliff for their own bungie jump and it backfired? The animals went down and did not come back up?

My favorite sleep shirts. Always tossed into the delicate laundry basket after every shower one week they did not return in the clean clothes. Nor were they in one of the other separating hampers, behind the baskets, under the bed, mixed in with the dewindling towel supply or behind the washer or dryer.

Did they dissolve in the washer? Admittedly, they were in that comfortable stage of wear. But neither had holes (well one did but I sewed it up). None were fraying.

Which brings the road back to the washing machine again. There have been some loud bangs from it. When questioned about these noises she told us it was a little twisted indigestion because the towels were not distributed evenly in the tub. Again, socks, even underwear I could buy being “eaten” by the washing machine but entire nightshirts? Unless the washer hides the portal to the Land of Unfound Stuff I have to rule it out here.

Were is this stuff going? Simple, remember the magician I cleared earlier? I take it back. Yes, a magician unable to get work during this pandemic is keeping his skills sharp by levitating odd items out of our home. When we have finally turned out the lights Mr. Magician must pull up in the drive-way and with great concentration pull off his hiest for the night.

Probably using the towels as rags to wash and dry his coffinlike box he uses to saw his assistant in two in. The rubber bands Mr. Magic must be using to practice some magic trick involving the rabbit who is sick of being pulled out of that top hat. Maybe he needed some night shirts to replace the ones the rabbit used as bedding?

Again, it is quite the mystery, is it not? But, it is bedtime for me. Top of the list for when I wake? Investigate washer!

—-Donna

…Help! This isn’t who I brought home!

Art & quote by dfav.

Photo filters.

Posting pictures of our pets, flowers or quotes as profile pictures on social media all the time.

Posting pictures of people other than ourselves and claiming the one pictured is us. (You do know this is the first move of a catfisher, right?)

Weaves. Wigs. Toupees.

Artifical nails.

Shapewear. Shoe lifts. Knock-offs.

Cushioned “help” in the buttocks and chest area.

Colored contact lenses.

Fat injections. Botox. Liposuction. Cool sculpture.

(This is not an exhaustive list.)

These are all things that in my opinion alter our appearance, often drastically. Or leads other people to believe we are not who we actually are. Perhaps not singularly as much as multiples of them in/on the same person.

Picture with me two people, complete strangers, meeting somewhere sharing a meal, chatting and exchanging phone numbers. Or maybe sharing this special date via Skype or some similar program. Time passes and eventually they physically meet and are alone. Can you see the surprise when Person A begins taking off all the artifical? By the time Person B has a look at the real Person A they do not know whether to stay and get to know this “new” person or run for the nearest Uber driver.

Or maybe when Person A gets finished with their reveal Person B begins theirs?

As members of the human race we go to a lot of work and spend a lot of time and money covering up what we look like. Denying even who we really are. Technology, inventors, scientists and some doctors have spent a lot of time helping us. What other “good things” could have been discovered while all these intelligent minds were rushing products to the shelves to help us hide. What good could have come from that time and effort being invested into other areas?

I know, I know, you want to look your best. Who honestly can even think its an even playing field when some humans are “born beautiful.” All the well meant and best intended advice that “you are beautiful where it matters, on the inside” does not usually translate into a date any night of the week. Looks also matter in the employment field. That or the money to be connected and so you can name drop or smile your way into a great job.

Do not all these things we do to ourselves give us equal opportunity? No. That’s a 100% honest and unvarnished piece of truth. There are hundreds of things that can keep someone from having the “big success” in career, social life, marriage, social economic status. Looks is one of them. All these items to alter your appearance? To project a person you are not on the inside? Do they help? Maybe. Depends on the people you are trying to impress. Then I question who is this person so turned by a pretty face or a fat checking account or a well known surname?

Then you spend even more time keeping up the image, pretending everything is perfectly okay, you are on top of every square inch of your world. With each second that ticks and tocks away deep down you are constantly see-sawing between all you have created to be you (the lies) and who you are (the truth).

Regardless of how much “magic” one manages to purchase to give them opportunties that felt to be impossible one thing is status quo, inside you are who you are. Sure, you can change bad habits, diet, get more education, move up the financial and social status ladders but those aren’t “quick fixes”. These changes require hours and hours of determination, dedication, hard work, scarifice and money.

How long before the artifical changes are revealed as just one big lie? Come on, admit it. Do you know who looks back at you from that mirror? The one you do a mental checklist in before you go out into the world?

The illusion is even easier to pull off for a longer time with the internet and especially the pandemic going on across the world. We are becoming faces behind a computer screen instead of flesh and bone people.

Counting myself as an “ugly girl” my offense in the artifical “not me” would be when I had the funds I had gel nails and I’ve worn a wig a couple times. Once to hide damaged hair from medical issues and yes, once to gain more attention at a Navy Officer’s Club in my 20’s. (Yes, I know how that wig worked it’s magic. It had a life of its own. It became my identify.) I got tired of that wig though. Tired of keeping up the pretense the intensive curly long mane screamed I had become.

Then I got tired of the second wig because it was so hot in humidity ripened 100 degree weather. Even though this time it was a much more day-to-day, much shorter wig I put it in a box tucked away somewhere.

A lack of funds meant a choice between artifical nails or bills getting paid, so the nails went to the by-way.

Honestly, too I am thinking of again wearing a wig and with medication ruining nails I once could grow for myself, I long for them too. For what reason? Fifty-six or not, I still want to look in the mirror and see a woman with hair. Not splitting or breaking a nail picking up a paperclip would be wonderful too. Maybe that’s why everyone else does it too. Medical reasons. Keeping a spouse happy (dangerous reason). It just makes you happy.

Either way it saddens me to witness the great by-pass of true realness. We joke about it. The 6’2″, well built, ruggedly handsome man on the computer screen turning out to be a 5’6″, pudgy man living in his parent’s basement. Or the incredibly beautiful female with perfect skin, hair, nails, clothes and body shape who really looks like the average woman with fussy hair, not-so-perfect body and a chip in her nail polish now and then. For just a few seconds lets forget all our reasons for being artifically attractive. What does this drive communicate?

What does it say to our daughters? What lengths are we teaching them to go to in order to “have a partner/companion”? What are we showing our sons to measure a woman by? Are we showing our children that whatever it is we are trying to “overcome” in our lives it is something or someone elses fault?

What are we saying to society as a whole? Do whatever it takes to level that playing field? Better yet put yourself in a higher position to catch the prize and if you haul tons of grudges, hatred and anger with you so what? Does it matter if you crush anyone you came upon? Once you are on top you will be kind then? Life is never going to be all the same for everyone. Everyone’s mind, physical make-up, soul and hearts are not the same. Everyone’s motives are not the same. Are we human beings or have we been replaced by some yet unknown artifical intelligence?

It reminds me of faternity and sorority hazing. Whenever I would ask a full fledged member why the degredation, humilitation and pain were necessary to become a “brother or sister” I got bluntly honest answers. Bottom line always came down to, “I went through it so they have to do worse. I suffered so now they suffer even more.” Never have understood that. Not sure I ever will. If every pledge group is treated more harshly than the previous as some revenge or payback how long can it continue?

These events in a persons life I believe reveals their true self.

  • Being in a situation where your dying is the likely outcome.
  • Having the opportunity to make a change and doing it. Will you treat everyone you perceive as mistreating you the way you want them to treat you?
  • Marriage.
  • Becoming a parent.
  • Standing before God for judgment.

Why bring your attention to such a trivial matter? Who really cares if humans “fake” a bit, it is not hurting anyone right? I propose it is.

I can not feel satisifed with myself if I am constantly seeking something else I can add, raise, suck out or tuck away on my body. I only feel that okayness with who I am and what I look like if I have aligned my heart with God the Father. There are times when I question who I am, what I look like and how much more my medical issues will take from me. I learned the hardest way possible that when we let our careers define us, when they are who we are the time will come when that career will be stripped from you. Its a hard crash to come back from. But, God is always there. I am being me in this un-me world.

What if we deverted 10% of the time we spend in make-believe to spending time with God? To telling others about Jesus the Way of Life? To being a witness for all God has done for you?

Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:9-11:

"For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am who I am and his grace to me was not without effect.  No I worked harder than all of them--yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me."

The Holy Bible, New International Version.  1973, 1978 by International Bible Society.  The Zondervan Publishers

Let’s try being who we are in the grace of God. Maybe then we can make the changes in this world so needed if we can do a couple things. Be honest about who and what we are and taking care of our business instead of other peoples.

—-Donna

“…who is THAT woman?”

Husband and I at the 2019 Butterbean Festival with a Chick-fil-a cow.

Fifty-six is not a terribly high number. A lot closer to sixty than I want, but still, not bad. Right? My own mother passed away when she was fifty-four. Given my health issues and the number of times my husband and I have been told I probably would not make it through the night alive, fifty-six is a gift.

In December of “the year that shall not be spoken” our daughter got COVID-19 on her job as a health care worker. Then her father and I did too. Our daughter is 19, healthy and aside from feeling bad she recovered quickly. It hit my husband and I much harder. Between the two of us, I was the sicker one although none of us had to be in the hospital. (Sincerely, thank You Father!)

Finally “recovered” I looked in the mirror, down at my hands and my one foot left after the amputation and recoiled in disbelief. Who was this old woman staring at me with wide eyes and mouth agape?

Where had these gray hair come from? No kidding, they were not there three weeks ago. The flaky skin? The hands covered with hundreds of little wrinkles? After I inventoried every part of me I had to face the harsh truth, my body had a parade march across it and every thing left its mark.

I have never been a girly-girl but I enjoyed the times putting on the glitz and bling felt wonderful. Now, I am not kidding COVID-19 took ten years and added it to my face and hair.

Do I start wearing a wig again? Good option but they are hot in summer. Wigs provide “more hair”. My own thinned out in 2004 when I was incredibly sick (and the doctors kept promising it would grow back in) and COVID took more. So having more coverage is good.

Another option is hair color. It is an option that is going to require constant maintenance and it will not thicken my hair. Although I could go blue except for the bleaching of my hair which would damage it further.

This far I’ve been battling the flaky skin with exfoliating scrubs all over and tons of the best moisturizer and rehydration creams I can afford. Looks like a change in foundation (make-up) is also required. The one good thing about having to wear a mask when outside is that I do not have to line or use lip color on my lips surrounded by fine lines all of a sudden.

Yet, the saddest damage is to my heart. Just as quickly as COVID-19 invaded our household the feeling I am only a shell of the woman I was took residence in my mind and heart. This is going to sound even sillier than anything else I have shared but I am mourning things lost that have been gone for a decade or more. Like having a biological child. There is no need to imagine the look on the face of my face when the lab reports a positive pregnancy test anymore. Or the faces of my husband and daughter!

Passion seems to be a faded memory as well. Understanding those complicated relationships I always thought I would get later in life when I was “grown-up” does not seem to be happening either.

The good news is that aside from the health issues I knew about before today, my new doctor (my doctor of 20+ years retired when I had COVID) was pleased with how I am handling my health. Yes, I do have a few COVID “leftovers”. My left eye has a bit of black spot in the first half-hour/hour when I wake up. There is fluid build-up in my ears that causes me to hear things differently than they are said. (Or maybe my family needs to stop mumbling?)

My heart though still looks at myself and thinks, “Who is this woman with my mind, heart and soul but with all this gray hair, flaky and dry skin and fine wrinkles”?

Stick around and when I figure it out I will clue you in!

Suddenly old,

—-Donna

…lost Spaghetti?”

Yes, if you ask me, Spaghetti was lost.

The phone call came from a sobbing young woman, anxiety ridden because one of her beloved feline companions slipped off her leash and shot up onto a heavily wooded mountain side at a local park. Our daughter (the caller) was beyond upset and she and her boyfriend looked for Spaghetti for five hours. Five cold, damp hours. Spaghetti remained AWOL.

All of us posted social media notifications. We prayed Spaghetti would turn up. My Mama heart broke as I helplessly watched our daughter grieve. Spaghetti had been a stray whose tail had been cruely divorced from her body. She literally followed our daughter home after the maintenance man threatened to kill her. Given that our daughter’s other American Short Haired black cat (yes, two, they look like twins) was named Meatball, it was a natural thing to call Spaghetti, Spaghetti.

Spent considerable time praying Spaghetti would again find her way to our house or show up at the park. The park office had been alerted to the lost feline. Despite what naysayers will feel the need to interject, God had His perfect arrangements made in advance.

Early the next morning we learn the cat has been spotted, catching mice out by the pump house. Father and daughter go out to hopefully bring her home. Turned out it wasn’t too hard. Though Spaghetti hid a bit, Daddy called to her calmly and Daughter put a bit of food out and Spaghetti gave up on being a runaway.

Our daughter says she’s grounded forever. Ah…those parental over reactions get us all from time to time.

Meanwhile, I can’t resist this adaption of “On Top of Old Smokey”.

Topped by the Meatball, all covered with fur, I lost my poor Spaghetti who jumped to the floor. Right off the table and zoom out the door, there went Spaghetti streaking like nevermore…way before summer she returned for her mush*.

*Spaghetti couldn’t return expecting kittens, we had her “fixed”.

—Donna

…besides Jesus, what person from the Bible would you want to have coffee with?

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Confession, this question came from a post on my church’s Facebook page. It immediately made me consider my own answer. After all, a one time opportunity to speak over coffee with one person from the Bible besides Jesus should take some consideration. Don’t you think?

Immediately I put all the major people in the Scriptures at the bottom of my list. Why? We know already, what people like Noah, King David, Ruth, Esther, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, Paul, Timothy, Mary the mother of Jesus, Joseph (Jesus’ earthly father) think about their encounters with God, Jesus. There are several “minor” people we see in passing in the Bible that are ones I’d like to hear from myself.

My coffee invitation would go to Mary Magdalene. Mentioned twelve times in the four gospels of the New Testament, but with little background as to who she was. Lots of rumor, assumptions such as she was a prostitute. (There is no evidence of this accusation.) So, I’d like to know as much as I could about this woman of faith. Going to the source of the one who knows is usually the best place to start to understand the truth.

What questions would I ask her? Ordinarily I wouldn’t get terribly nosey about a person’s private life over a cup of coffee. I don’t want to bring up anything Mary Magdalene would be uncomfortable discussing. Yet, I also believe we’d both like to “set the record straight”.

Knowing already that the accusation she was a reformed prostitute has no evidence other than vaporous threads of people trying to explain her presence in Jesus’ life through a viewpoint of creating smoke to start a fire.

There is no evidence Mary Magdalene were married, that she was the Mary of Mary and Martha, Lazurus’ sisters either. Nor any evidence she and Jesus were married or lovers.

I would like to know, from a woman’s perspective, what Jesus was like as Himself in a day-to-day view. Despite the time in history when women had little legal standing in the community, were treated as property under the control of husbands, fathers, older male relatives or her male siblings Jesus did much to counter that culture.

Never before, in that Jewish culture, had a woman set at a man’s feet to be educated about God. Nor would a Jewish man speak to, much less ask help from, a Samaritian woman. Especially not who was obviously an outcast of her own community because of the time she came to draw water. Nor would a Jewish man tell a woman that her focus needed to be on God the Father, not on house keeping chores or even preparing for all the people gathering at their own home to see Him.

Yes, I’d like to know what Jesus was like interacting with the women in His life. not just in the precious few events recorded in the Bible. I believe I know. I believe I understand enough about Jesus, His character, His internal being that tells me I would not be disappointed in anything Mary Magdalene would tell me.

Jesus is the only person who has ever walked on this Earth who was perfect. He had to be flawless, pure, cleaner than clean inside in order to be the sacrifice to die upon the cross for our sins. The Old Testament speaks with no nonsense about how flawless an animal sacrifice for people’s sins had to be when they brought them as offerings to the temple. Imperfection would not do. So a flawed sacrifice is non-Biblical. Against God’s character.

Who was she? What is her testimony about how Jesus changed her life? Were her “demons” demonic spirits or mental illnesses? Jesus became the center of her life, why? I believe He still does and can do the same for us all today.

Mary Magdalene!  Welcome, won't you come in and have a cup of coffee?  Do you take cream or sugar?  I'm so excited to have some time with you.

Thanks for reading, I am also leaving some of my research on Mary Magdalene below.

—-Donna

Mary Magdalene,[a] sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, traveled with Jesus as one of his followers and was a witness to his crucifixion and its aftermath.[2] She is mentioned by name twelve times in the canonical gospels, more than most of the apostles and more than any other woman in the Gospels, other than Jesus’ family. Mary’s epithet Magdalene may mean that she came from the town of Magdala, a fishing town on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The Gospel of Luke 8:2–3 lists Mary Magdalene as one of the women who traveled with Jesus and helped support his ministry “out of their resources”, indicating that she was probably relatively wealthy. The same passage also states that seven demons had been driven out of her, a statement which is repeated in the longer ending of Mark. In all four canonical gospels, Mary Magdalene is a witness to the crucifixion of Jesus and, in the Synoptic Gospels, she is also present at his burial. All four gospels identify her, either alone or as a member of a larger group of women which includes Jesus’s mother, as the first to witness the empty tomb,[2] and the first to witness Jesus’s resurrection.[3]

For these reasons, Mary Magdalene is known in some Christian traditions as the “apostle to the apostles”. Mary Magdalene is a central figure in later Gnostic Christian writings, including the Dialogue of the Savior, the Pistis Sophia, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Philip, and the Gospel of Mary which many scholars attribute to Mary Magdalene. These texts portray Mary Magdalene as an apostle, as Jesus’s closest and most beloved disciple and the only one who truly understood his teachings. In the Gnostic texts, or Gnostic gospels, Mary Magdalene’s closeness to Jesus results in tension with another disciple, Peter, due to her gender and Peter’s jealousy of special teachings given to her. Scholars find claims Mary Magdalene was romantically involved with Jesus to be unsupported by evidence.

The portrayal of Mary Magdalene as a prostitute began after a series of Easter sermons delivered in 591, when Pope Gregory I conflated Mary Magdalene, who is introduced in Luke 8:2, with Mary of Bethany (Luke 10:39) and the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50. This resulted in a widespread belief that she was a repentant prostitute or promiscuous woman.[4][2] Elaborate medieval legends from western Europe tell exaggerated tales of Mary Magdalene’s wealth and beauty, as well as her alleged journey to southern France. The identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the unnamed “sinful woman” was a major controversy in the years leading up to the Reformation and some Protestant leaders rejected it. During the Counter-Reformation, the Catholic Church emphasized Mary Magdalene as a symbol of penance.

In 1969, the identification of Mary Magdalene with Mary of Bethany and the “sinful woman” was removed from the General Roman Calendar by Pope Paul VI, but the view of her as a former prostitute has persisted in popular culture. Mary Magdalene is considered to be a saint by the Catholic, and by the Eastern OrthodoxAnglican, and Lutheran churches. In 2016 Pope Francis raised the level of liturgical memory on July 22 from memorial to feast. Other Protestant churches honor her as a heroine of the faith. The Eastern Orthodox churches also commemorate her on the Sunday of the Myrrhbearers, the Orthodox equivalent of one of the Western Three Marys traditions.

Soon afterwards he (Jesus) went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Herod‘s steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.— Luke 8:1–3

Mary Magdalene has the reputation in Western Christianity as being a repentant prostitute or loose woman; however, these claims are not supported by the canonical gospels, which at no point imply that she had ever been a prostitute or in any way notable for a sinful way of life.[2][158][159] The misconception likely arose due to a conflation between Mary Magdalene, Mary of Bethany (who anoints Jesus’s feet in John 11:1–12), and the unnamed “sinful woman” who anoints Jesus’s feet in Luke 7:36–50.[2][158][160][160] As early as the third century, the Church Father Tertullian (c. 160 – 225) references the touch of “the woman which was a sinner” in effort to prove that Jesus “was not a phantom, but really a solid body.”[155] This may indicate that Mary Magdalene was already being conflated with the “sinful woman” in Luke 7:36–50, though Tertullian never clearly identifies the woman of whom he speaks as Mary Magdalene.[155]

Wikipedia, last updated 11/1/2020 @ 18:37 (UTC). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Magdalene Their research is noted in their complete article.

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