Thunderstorms- One Person’s Excitement Is Another Person’s ….

Thunderstorms rolled in last night where I live. It was one long train of thunderstorms as they kept coming for several hours. Thunderstorms elicit various emotions from people, but one group of people were on my mind last night.

Thunderstorms are exciting for me. I love to watch lightning and hearing the thunder makes me think of the power of God. I have even been known to go out driving around in them to experience them better. Exciting is the last word my refugee friends would use.

Photo by Greg on

Words like triggering fear would be better descriptors for my refugee friends. Last night as the thunderstorms roared in, I thought of my Ukrainian friends and prayed for them. The thunder reminds them of the sounds of war and triggers fear for them.

Knowing this, a few weeks ago as I was teaching them about the difference between watch and warning regarding thunderstorms and tornadoes and when to be concerned, we also talked about grounding techniques if panic hits. This morning hopefully they will come to class. It will be a chance for me to check on them to see if memories of war hit them and how they are doing.

After class, it will be off to a renewed venture for me. It will be a return to the aqua track. It is the one exercise I can do that actually helps with psoriatic arthritis. I know that others might like water aerobics, but being clumsy, dancing in water is not for me.

Who knows where I will end up after the aqua track. Perhaps it is a mystery. 🙂

Oh and shout out and Happy Birthday to David of He turns thirty and counting today. 🙂 To celebrate he shared blogging tips today.

What are your plans for Saturday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Partners With Us-Update On My Upcoming Book

My spring break week has been a blessing. Yesterday most of the afternoon was spent on finalizing my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma. My hope is to self publish on Amazon shortly before Easter. I feel like what my book covers would fit well with an Easter launch. Prayers would be appreciated.

Photo by Oziel Gu00f3mez on

One aspect that is so powerful for me to remember is that Jesus joins us on our journey of healing for our souls., spirits, and minds. An excerpt from my book puts it this way:

“Jesus invites us to partner with him and learn from him. He wants to come alongside as we journey on the path of healing. Since he is all knowing and has all power, he is a great person to have join us on the path of healing for our souls. He loves us more than anyone else ever could.”

Think about the journey you are on. Now think about how Jesus wants to walk beside you on that journey. He wants to partner with us. How awesome is that?

Back to writing for me. I was just sticking my head up to write this short blog post and eat a little gluten free pizza. A boy needs brain energy afterall.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Be Prepared- Might Still Need My Gloves

Waking up to see we had a dusting of snow caused me to wonder if I might still need my gloves today. I have to admit that by sharing such a confession, it will cause a few bloggers to laugh to themselves such as Pure Glory who lives in the far north and has polar bear friends and Gary who thrives in an ice fishing shack for several months.

At least I have not lost my gloves which is a normal occurrence for me by this time of year. In March where I live in Nebraska, it is a good idea to be prepared for anything with the weather.

One thing I hope to always be prepared for is to share the love of Jesus as 1 Peter 3:15 says:

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

The hope that I have even living with chronic illness and being a trauma survivor is Jesus. Jesus gives me strength, is always with me, and has made things possible for me in life that would amaze people who knew me many years ago.

The caveat catches my attention-do this with gentleness and respect. I am not called to bash people with bible verses. I am called to reflect Jesus to people. I interact with diverse people each day and I do not want me to be the reason they do not come to know Jesus.

Seeking to be prepared to share the hope there is in Jesus is part of another be prepared the bible talks about. Matthew 24:44 talks about the return of Jesus:

So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

If I live and share in a way that reflects Jesus to others, I will be prepared for Jesus to return. I also want others to be ready for that day.

Now about those gloves, I will have them ready but will try to not use them. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Does God Care When I Suffer? + Excerpt From My Upcoming Book

Questions can arise when we suffer whether it be from illness, family troubles, loss of a loved one, or any other suffering. The questions can be along the lines of, “Does God even care?” or :Does God see my suffering?” or :”Why me?”

Photo by cottonbro studio on

I have to admit I have struggled with those questions at times especially when I was so sick I almost died and the recovery period piecing my life back together in 1993 to 1997. What I kept coming back to was the cross of Jesus. In my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma, I shared:

“So though I struggled with the why questions, realizing the sacrifice God, the sacrifice Jesus made, the suffering, the cost, changed my inner dialogue. The pain Jesus endured, the suffering, the trauma, was and is God’s answer to the suffering we experience in life.”

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God cares so deeply that he sent Jesus. Jesus cares so deeply that he left heaven to become a human baby so he could become our Savior through his suffering as an adult.

As Paul wrote in Romans 8:32:

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”

God did not spare Jesus. Jesus did not spare himself. So God will give us all things, healing for our souls and spirits, relationship with God, and eternity in heaven.

We do not need to deny our suffering or ignore what we are experiencing. But when we are going through it, keeping our focus on Jesus can make all of the difference.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Conversation Shows My Motivation to Write

After reading the timeline I wrote regarding the years after my first health struggles and remembering the timeline I wrote from childhood to my first health struggle, my therapist said, “You have overcome so much in your life. What’s next for you now that you have overcome so much?”

Me-“I don’t know. Maybe Jesus will take me home to heaven.”

Therapist-“What would you like to see happen?”

Me-“I would like to finish and publish my book about Jesus Understands Trauma. I think I can get it translated into Spanish and Portuguese. I would love to share about it in Ensenada Mexico and in Brazil and maybe here in the USA. I would like to continue teaching and helping refugees/immigrants.”

Therapist- “Those are great goals.”

Me-“But at my age I am not sure how much time I have to do them.”

Therapist-“You could have many more years.”

Not verbalized to her my thought-“I don’t want many more years of pain, Maranantha Lord Jesus. Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

Even this morning was another morning of waking up in pain and wishing I could stay home all day. But I will go teach three classes today. Each day is like that for me living with chronic illness. But there are more people to reach with the love of Jesus and I do hope to follow what 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God

That is my motivation behind the book and my desire for future ministry.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Startled At The Coffee Shop

Yesterday afternoon I was enjoying time at a coffee shop with Ukrainian friends when it happened. We went to a coffee shop with a nice outdoor seating area and enjoyed our last afternoon of warm weather before the sudden cool down arrives tomorrow. We were having a wonderful time of fellowship and coffee to celebrate the birthday of the husband when a car sped by on the street, gunning it, that had no muffler.

Photo by Erik Mclean on

The noise was loud and came suddenly. It startled the wife. She jumped a little from her seat. Then she laughed but perhaps not because it was funny as much as to release the emotion of it all. It was more of a nervous laugh.

She had just left the war of Ukraine in March making her way with her family through sounds of war to safety. Sudden loud noises are a trigger for many refugees.

Without letting her know what I was doing, I did a few things to help bring her back into the present. I held up my hand and asked her jokingly, “how many fingers do you see?” Then I touched my nose and asked if she could do that and she did. Then I waved my hand and asked if she could do that and she did. She did not know why I was doing comical little things like that, but they brought her back into the present moment.

We continued on with our fellowship over coffee and I learned more about Ester the girl who received a violin. She told me that she plays music by ear as well as with written music. She told me she learns better by ear. I used YouTube to show her the song You Raise Me Up because it has beautiful violin music. I explained that the war and fleeing the war was a trauma but Jesus is raising her up. My friend Clark, Director of the Youth Symphony in my city and a viola/violin player, suggested that after she has practiced and feels ready that she could play with the symphony. We also talked about the two of them playing a duet.

Her mother was blessed to hear all of this. She recovered from being startled shortly before that. Such moments can bring healing to the souls and spirit of refugees. We will go out for coffee again this evening after our afternoon class. Hopefully no more loud noises.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Can Help Us Overcome Trauma

In a conversation about trauma the other day, I was shown an illustration of balls in jars. The first set showed the balls getting smaller with the caption, “some think grief/trauma shrinks in size.” The second set showed the balls staying the same size and the jars getting bigger with the caption, “but we actually grow beyond and around the grief/trauma..”

I thought about the illustration and want to modify it.

After his resurrection the scars were still there on Jesus’s side, wrists, and feet. There was still evidence of the trauma he endured on our behalf when he died on the cross for us, but through his resurrection he had overcome the trauma of the cross. He overcame on our behalf too.

My modification to that illustration would come from a principle from Philippians chapter 3.

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord

While Paul was directly addressing how his past earthly successes he considered to be nothing compared to having Jesus, there is a principle here- knowing Jesus surpasses everything.

In my life trauma has come in three forms, which my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma goes into. Those three areas of trauma did not disappear. What has happened though is that the more I grow in my relationship with Jesus, the less hold those three areas have over me and on me.

Yes the scars are there, but knowing Jesus, having a relationship with Jesus, has diminished the role those three areas of trauma have in my life like the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus says- the things of earth will grow dim.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Look On Her Face Priceless in Photos

Yesterday evening after my Friday late afternoon group at the Ukrainian church in my city, I met the father, mother, and daughter of the family I have written about. We went for coffee and sat outside to get to know each other better. It was a wonderful evening of fellowship.

During the class, I asked Ester if it would be okay to share the photos from when she received the violin. I asked her to think about it, but she told me yes. I asked to to think about it a few times and suggested she tell me the next time she sees me, but she used Google translate to look up how to tell me I could share the photos. So today I am sharing them.

Yesterday evening we talked about how trauma like fleeing a war can cause creative people to have a block in their creativity. Ester being a singer and able to play both violin and piano is a creative person with a gentle spirit. When she received the violin, it broke through that block.

She is practicing her violin and after class she stopped at the piano to play a little. I suggested I could get some sheet music from my friend Clark who gave her the violin. My idea is that they can play during worship at my church together one Sunday morning in the future.

This is Ester receiving her violin. Look at her beaming smile.

This is Ester with her parents.

I wanted a picture too. 🙂

It is amazing how Jesus can do wonderful things to bring healing to our souls. Please pray for Ester as she welcomes the joy of music back into her life and also for her family. They have only been here seven weeks.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Update On My Book

My pastor asked me three questions after reading my draft of my book Jesus Understands Trauma. They are not easy ones to answer, but I realized they need to be addressed. I had a bit of writers block until Sunday. A new friend I met at the coffee shop asked me how my book was coming Sunday afternoon. When she asked, it sparked my writing.

Photo by Judit Peter on

Yesterday in my session with my therapist Dezirae I shared about the questions my pastor asked. When I read the questions to her, she said, “I like your pastor.” We had a good discussion about the questions.

So my book that I hoped to publish in September will be published hopefully later this month. You might be wondering what those questions were, so here they are:

“why doesn’t God take trauma away and heal me right away? Why linger? – why does God allow trauma, pain, abuse to happen? – how should I think, relate to, forgive my abusers?”

I know my answers to the questions but it is writing them that takes time to process. Side note- I am so glad I can do it on a computer because it is so much easier. 🙂

So the process continues. Prayers appreciated.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

September Is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

My young friend Ty’s grandmother texted me yesterday to let me know he showed up at school yesterday and came home after school. It was a sigh of relief for me. He has a lot to deal with in life and has been seeing a therapist since his parents died when he was in Kindergarten.

I have taken mental health issues for teens and for everyone seriously for quite sometime. That increased in September 2011 when a young woman from Vietnam, who had been part of my weekend group, completed suicide. I will never forget how deeply it affected her family and the other young people who were part of my group at the time. The following weeks, I spent a lot of time checking on them. That experience prompted me to go through suicide prevention training, which has been put to use twice.

Darkness seeks to envelope people with feelings of hopelessness and despair, Darkness whispers thoughts of suicide into the thoughts of people who are struggling. But Jesus brings hope and life. Jesus said in John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jesus wants to help all people to have life to the full. He brings healing for our minds, souls, and spirits. We can cry out to Jesus in our darkest moments. We can also ask for help. It is okay to ask for help.

In the USA, it is a simple number to call or text for help- 988.

In Canada- If you’re in crisis — Call 1-866-585-0445 or text WELLNESS to: 686868 for youth; 741741 for adults

In the UK- 116 123 – 24 hours a day or text SHOUT to 85258

In Australia- 13 11 14

I would like to share two videos that speak to this. One says to stay another day. The other reminds us that our story isn’t over yet. Remember with Jesus we can always have a new start to our story.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.