“Suffering For Lack Of Knowledge”

One of the most memorable and meaningful experiences of God’s Grace in my life happened many years ago.  At that time, my two-month-old baby was suffering from a  harsh cough which seemed to be getting worse by the minute.  After taking him to his pediatrician, who was very concerned but unsure of  the cause, I followed his advice and took Timmy to a pediatric heart specialist.  He, too, was very concerned and considered my baby to be seriously ill, but was also unable to make a confident diagnosis.  The pediatric heart specialist recommended we get Timmy immediately to Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital.  We lived in the northwest suburbs at that time, so were able to get him there fairly quickly


However my critically ill son was not examined until countless forms were completed while he was vigorously crying, even turning blue from time to time, but not yet receiving help with his respiratory problem.

Finally, Timmy was admitted but once again, his illness was not accurately diagnosed.  Several doctors sincerely tried to identify what was causing his breathing difficulties and harsh coughing.  For several days they observed him, but the truth is, he was not improving.  Praying helped me remain somewhat calm, but fear of what the final diagnosis would be was overwhelming.  Timmy was still struggling night and day, just to breathe and the continuous coughing was wearing him out, yet he rarely fell asleep.

I stayed with my child at the hospital as he would be in danger of choking if left alone.  There was a severe shortage of nurses at that time and most of the youngsters in the hospital had to be left alone much of the time.

My faithful prayer partners and I fervently prayed around the clock for his healing.  One lesson I had read in a book by Catherine Marshall was about The Prayer of Relinquishment.  Actually, I had tried to push it out of my mind as it seemed too difficult to even contemplate at this disturbing time in my life. But, it seemed the more I tried to avoid even thinking about it, the more it kept returning to my mind. I didn’t truly believe I had strong enough faith to pray it and honestly mean it.   So instead, I continued to pray the same plea: Please, Gracious, Loving Heavenly Father, just heal my baby and let this dreadful time be over.  I will thank and praise You always. In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen!          

Meanwhile, Timmy continued to gasp to get his breath, still turning blue.  It seemed to help when I picked him up and gently turned him upside down. But no improvement.

Finally, the power of God’s Holy Spirit came on me and gave me the courage I needed.  I knew it was time for me to pray The Prayer of Relinquishment.  After another short but seemingly fruitless visit by a new doctor, I fell to my knees in front of Timmy’s bed.  Struggling to be sincere, my prayer went something like this:  “Gracious Heavenly Father, Thank you for hearing this prayer. Thank You for this precious baby boy who is such a blessing.  Today I am intentionally surrendering him back to you.  He is Yours . . . Your will be done.  If it is Your Will to take him to be with You, I will still praise Your Holy name.  I relinquish Timothy Jon to You in the name of my Lord and Savior, your Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen!   

As I got back on my feet, I felt a bit of fear trying to overcome me, but at the same time  an even stronger sense of relief.  Nothing had changed with my son’s condition, but I did have a new feeling of peace in my spirit.

The next day, another new doctor stopped in the hospital room to examine Timmy. He was kind and gentle but did not offer a diagnosis.  Later that same day, one of the regular doctors came in with good news.  The head pediatrician had diagnosed my son with whooping-cough and had ordered gamma globulin.  Treatment would begin as soon as this medicine arrived. What a relief!

Once the treatment was started, Timmy began to improve rapidly.  Soon his health was restored and he was able to go home where his big sister happily welcomed him with hugs and kisses. He was no longer contagious and everyone was happy to see him well again.

We have never been able to solve the mystery of how Timmy caught whooping-cough. He had been given the first shot of the DTaP vaccine but doctors all seemed to agree it was doubtful it had affected his respiratory system.  I am not sure I agree with their conclusions about that, however.

And I may not know for sure until the day I meet Jesus in Heaven, face to face, if my finally giving up my son to God and asking Him for His will to be done, had anything to do with the accurate diagnosis finally bringing about Timmy’s recovery. Many very sincere believers pray similar prayers but have not experienced the recovery for which they believed.

It is my sincere opinion that the medical knowledge of the chief pediatrician who eventually made the accurate diagnosis and prescribed the right treatment brought about his recovery.

Praying sincerely for an accurate diagnoses and maintaining hope worked!


Lincoln Said It Right!

At the end of the devastating Civil War, Lincoln called for a spirit of reconciliation and an end to animosity.

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”                                   Second Inaugural Address (delivered March 4, 1865).

Hopefully, we as Americans can listen to his wise counsel and find ways to stop the violence.   Listening, learning and loving . . .may be good for starters.


Living the Wet Life

One of my favorite pastimes is swimming laps at our nearby community pool.  Early morning is my favorite and when possible bringing an inspirational book and a cup of coffee or water.

woman swimming

After swimming a few laps and treading water, as well as greeting other swimmers, relaxing in a comfortable lounge chair and reading is delightful.  Usually it is easy for me to shut out the activities and conversations of those around me. But not always.

Kids playing “Marco Polo” and other water games often get a bit rowdy until told by parents to “calm down”.  Conversations between youngsters and their siblings can be interesting, as are interactions between children and parents.  Most children especially enjoy playing in the water with their mom and dad.  Some children wistfully watch as parents of other kids join in the fun, while theirs do not.

After finding a set of 5 squirt guns on sale, I offered them to my granddaughters.  Three brothers arrived at the pool and noticed the squirt guns.  “Wow, first time I ever saw girls with so many squirt guns,” the oldest loudly said.  Soon all had one to use and they played well for a long time at the end of the pool.

kids at pool

One warm evening last summer, a large family including a mom, dad, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins played energetic games of volleyball.  All the other swimmers at the pool were invited to join in. It was very inter-generational, as well as inclusive. Surprisingly, not even the oldest people at the pool complained.  It was refreshing to see such fun among several ages. It doesn’t happen often enough.

pool volleyball
I live two blocks from the beach and one block from our pool, and have found being near the water soothes my soul.  It is a good place to pray and think.

Jesus often walked along the Sea of Galilee as he taught his disciples. He even prepared a breakfast of fish and bread for them.

Once when His disciples thought they were lost in a sudden, strong storm, Jesus walked across the sea to help them.

Jesus taught us how to live ‘the wet life.

woman by ocean

Whats Your Bottom Line?

One thing leads to another.  After I posted about hearing Maria Von Trapp speak, then I remembered hearing Corrie ten Boom speak.  Finally, I remembered briefly meeting Joni Eareckson Tada, so I decided to write about her on the 50th anniversary of her diving accident.

What came to my mind is how distinctly each of these wise women communicated a strong Biblical principle they chose as their personal bottom line.

Also amazing is how clearly I remember their bottom lines,  a lesson to me in my own communicating.  But, what is my bottom line, my take home message?  Several Biblical principles quickly come to mind, yet if I had to choose the most important, what would it be?

Then I remembered a poignant book I read as a young girl.  It was The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.  In fact, I read it several times.  Anne’s short but intense life was memorable because she wrote down her feelings as she described her difficult situation.   She had been given an autograph book with a small lock on her 15th birthday, shortly before her family went into hiding.  She used it as a diary which was discovered in the attic of the home where they had been hiding.  It was given to her father, Otto Frank.  His wife and two daughters died in Aushwitz concentration camp.

When Otto Frank read the diary his younger daughter kept and realized she wanted to be a journalist, he decided to get it published. Her writings have educated and inspired countless readers.  From Anne we learn it is good to put our thoughts and ideas in writing.  Anne kept her faith in God and believed most people were “good at heart.”

As I put in writing my strongest beliefs, I am centering on the love of God and the inner peace of trusting in His Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior.  To clearly define my own bottom line, since the name of my blog is “Heresyourhope,” it is essential to begin with “hope.”

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.  My hope comes from Him.”  Psalm 62:5



An Amazing Woman of Faith

My young sons and I stepped into an elevator and realized we were sharing space with Joni Eareckson, whom we had just heard speak.  Although I only had a minute, it was long enough to tell her what an inspiration she was to our family.  She smiled and said she was happy to hear that.  Then the door opened and away she rolled.

It was July 1976, and we were at a Successful Living convention in Snow Bird, Utah. Joni was a featured speaker.  Her biography, Joni, had just been published.  In July of 1967, at the age of 17,  Joni dove into a shallow spot in Chesapeake Bay, and broke her neck. When we met her, she had been in a wheelchair for nine years.  Her beautiful smile and attitude were delightful.  Her smile and attitude are still delightful today.

Joni has a daily 5 minute radio program which airs early each morning,  Her messages are so inspiring as she delivers them in an upbeat tone.  Sometimes she sings a few lines of a sweet song with her lovely voice. Listening to her always brightens my day.

joni quote

Whenever my life faces difficult challenges, thinking of the countless obstacles Joni bravely faces helps me get a better perspective.  She and her very dedicated husband, Ken, were married in 1982, so recently celebrated 35 years together.                                             joni and ken

If being a quadriplegic isn’t difficult enough, Joni was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2010.  It was a very difficult time, and her body limitations complicated her treatment.  But she was very determined to eat right and pray even more fervently.    Joni is an avid Bible scholar and has written many book discussing suffering and even Heaven.

We live in a time when we have access to many inspiring speakers and preachers.  As grateful as I am for their ministries, no person on earth has inspired me more.

At the end of her first book, written only eight years after her diving accident, Joni wrote, “I will be pleased if only one person is drawn to Christ. . .”  (as a result of hearing her testimony).  She said it would make being in a wheelchair worth it.

July 30. 2017 marks 50 years since her life changed when she dove into Chesapeake Bay.  During fifty years in a wheelchair, Joni has shared her inspiring story with people of all ages, all over the world.  She directs ministries to disabled children and their families.   And she is still going strong.


Maria’s Main Message

One day back in the late sixties, my friend, Lois, called to ask if I was free that evening.  I am so glad I was, as she invited me, and my 9 year old daughter, Pammy,  to attend a talk by Maria Von Trapp.  She was appearing at nearby Triton College.  Of course, I did have to explain to Pammy that we were not going to see and hear Julie Andrews and she did understand that.  Sound of Music had become her favorite movie, next to Mary Poppins.

Maria was entertaining and even more remarkably inspiring.  She had her audience laughing and singing.  Many were students of this community college but most were fans of Baroness Maria Von Trapp, coming from all around the western suburbs of Chicago.  Even back then, before it became “politically correct” not to mix religion with public events, Maria did not allow the fact she was not in a church to prevent her from giving a very inspiring faith message.

I can still see her now, dynamically and boldly proclaiming how important it is for every person to “know and to do the Will of God.”  She pointed out how, when she had been planning to be a nun and was sent on a temporary, short time assignment to teach children who had lost their mother, she was guided to seek what God’s Will was.

Maria discovered God’s Will was for her to become stepmother of these seven children, and not to be a nun. It is not always easy to know the Will of God, but it is worth seeking. Once we know what He wants us to do, it is important to do it. As Maria herself said ” to know and to do the will of God”.



The Decision

Six months after beginning my first job in the publishing business,  an unexpected difficult decision landed in my lap (actually on my desk).

As production editor of a magazine serving the booksellers’ industry, the annual convention issue was ready to go to press. Then a dock worker’s strike intruded, threatening our ability to get the magazine to the post office on time. The urgent problem was getting a very expensive insert to the printer immediately.  Unfortunately, the many boxes containing it were stranded on a semi truck on a dock where workers were striking.

Our printer was urging us to go to press without the insert, informing me that unless I approved getting it to press immediately it may miss getting to the booksellers before the convention.  Most publishers invested extra time and money in this most circulated issue, and this center insert was very valuable and expensive.  It was announcing and describing a new version of the Bible.

The pressure was on and the decision was all mine, especially since the owner/managing editor was in a hospital having serious surgery.  His doctor did not allow any calls.

My prayers were unceasing that the strike would end but when I called the shipping company they said there was no way of knowing and the strike probably would go on for days.

My coworkers were glad the decision was mine and not theirs.  Of course, most offered their opinion, but all said it was up to me.  The printer called several times a day urging us to go to press.  And I kept praying for the strike to end.

Then it did end … our boxes were unloaded with speed and delivered to the printer.  The magazines arrived before the convention and things were back on track.  My prayers were thanking God for getting all things resolved.  The pressure was off.

Or so I thought.  My boss asked his secretary to tell me he was well enough now to meet with me.  He was home from the hospital and wanted me to come to his home.  I was worried as I drove there. He told me others on his staff had felt I should not have held up the printing and he asked if I knew that.

”Yes,” I admitted.

“Why didn’t you take their advice?” he asked in a firm voice.  Even though he was in bed, recovering from surgery, he still had a way of intimidating me.  At that moment, I feared I had made a mistake and would lose my job.

“Very glad you didn’t. You made the right decision,” he continued before I could answer.  We could have lost a good, long-time customer and we would have been out a lot of money.  I wanted to thank you in person.”

As I returned to work, I again said a prayer of thanks.  Then tackled the next challenge with a bit more confidence.


confident woman