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Numbers 13: 1 – 33

Notes about Numbers 13: 1 – 33:

  • Deuteronomy 1:19 -25 provides the procedural details about the mission.
  • Fear and discouragement was sounded throughout this account.
  • The tribal representation did not include the tribe of Levi’s. (Le-Vee)
  • The Levi’s were the priests.
  • Instead it included Joseph’s tribe being divided into 2 for his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
  • In Numbers 13:16 – Jesus is Greek for Joshua.
  • They had set up camp in the wilderness of Paran in Kadesh Barnea – 50 miles south of the Promised Land.
  • 12 men sent into the Promised land – spent 40 days gathering samples of local crops.
  • Both good and bad news reported which divides the people
  • Spying was a popular military tactic of the day.
  • The spies traveled 275 miles north to the territory west of the Jordan River.
  • The first area they explored was Negev – Very dry
  • Further north was Canaan – Much more fertile – Ideal for milk producing sheep and goats. The flowers and plants produced pollen for the bees to turn into honey.
  • This was 2 years after leaving Egypt. They had found the Promised Land but continued to be fearful. Lack of faith.
  • For their lack of faith, they had to wander one year for each day they had gone on the mission. 40 years.
  • They didn’t believe they could go against the giants.
  • The Nephilim were mentioned one other time in the Bible. Genesis 6:4 – Those Nephilim died during the Great Flood.
  • We need to have Caleb’s faith. (Numbers 13:30)

30 But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Numbers 13:30
Isaacology | Wilderness of Paran
NOVA | The Bible's Buried Secrets | Teacher's Guide image 1 | PBS

Be blessed with this reading.

Traci

Posted in faith

Our Sacrificial Lamb

“The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna! ” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, as it is written: “Do not be afraid, Daughter Zion; see, your king is coming, seated on a donkey’s colt.” At first his disciples did not understand all this. Only after Jesus was glorified did they realize that these things had been written about him and that these things had been done to him. Now the crowd that was with him when he called Lazarus from the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to spread the word. Many people, because they had heard that he had performed this sign, went out to meet him. So the Pharisees said to one another, “See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after him!””
‭‭John‬ ‭12:12-19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.12.12-19.niv

Everyone was cheering for Jesus as he rode on that donkey through Israel. It was almost Passover, a time to remember God saving his people in Egypt. The people of Israel spread lamb’s blood over their doorways to let the angel of death know he should move on.

Five days later, our beloved Jesus would be sacrificed just like those lambs in Egypt. He sacrificed himself not only to protect us from death but also to give us eternal life.

Right now in the Holy Week narrative, people are cheering for him. He’s a “rock star” in their eyes. Soon it’s all about to change. . .

Dear Lord,

Thank you for sending us your one and only son. He sacrificed his life for us, so we can have eternal life. Remind us to not only praise him at church, but always.

In Jesus name, Amen

Posted in book, faith

Out of the River, Onto the Raft – My Two Dads – Part 2

My Two Dads Part 1

I’ve divided the rest of the book into 5 parts: An All About Me, Meet my Mom of the Last 3 Years, Unveiling the Mirror of My Life, My Relationship with my Mom before August 2016, and Lessons I Learned Along the Way.

Mr. Duke

About 30 years ago, I started attending Clayton UMC. The Dukes had begun attending the church. I didn’t know that Paul and Shelly would become an essential part of my life.

Shelly became the pastor of the church in 1990 or 1991. Paul was my youth leader. Can I tell you how appreciative that he continues to be in my life after dealing with my teenage hormonal self? I know I wasn’t the easiest to deal with while I was in my teens. I was extremely talkative and annoying. I let people know that I was around. He never stopped loving me even when I know I was not lovable.

He taught me about my faith. Because of him, my faith has been strengthened. I also observed how he was with his two sons, Doug and Chris, and learned how a real dad should act.

Whenever I hear Opposites Attract and Promise of a New Day by Paula Abdul, I think of my years in the youth group. I introduced him to her music, and he fell in love with her for the next 15ish years.

When I was installed as Worthy Advisor of Rainbow, he was there to support me as though he was my dad. I am forever grateful for his support.

After the Goofy One and I had dated for a year, I took him to meet the Dukes. I wanted their seal of approval even though I didn’t really need it. Both Paul and Shelly approved of him.

I visit with Paul and Shelly once or twice a year. They treat me like a daughter when I come to their house. So, the feeling of a father – daughter relationship is evident to me. They welcome the boys and The Goofy One with open arms to assure we feel as though we are loved and wanted. I love visiting with them.

Paul and Shelly made sure to come to Tatiana’s celebration of life, and if Paul wasn’t getting over shingles, he would have been at my mom’s funeral.

I could babble on and on about how valuable Paul is to me. I am fortunate that God saw that I needed not only a hero, my grandpa but also a dad, Paul.

Thank you, God, for bringing these two men to my life during times that I needed someone to step up to teach me how a man should treat a woman.

Thank you for sending these men to teach me about how to have faith as small as a mustard seed.

“Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in training and instruction of the Lord.”
Ephesians 6:4

Thank you for sending me these men to show me the value of hard work.

Thank you, God, for their unconditional love for me.

God knew that I needed positive male role models in my life. I had been mistreated by the one who had given me life. The one whose job it was to raise me and to teach me how a woman is supposed to be treated.

I’ll be forever grateful for these two men.

We have one more stop on this part of the river before we change course. This last stop shows you how I cope with the stresses and joys of daily life. When I want to “escape” and not drown, I will listen to music. The music I listen to changes daily. Somedays I want to rock out to the familiar P!nk songs while other days I am in a more Christian mood. I can’t sing, play an instrument, or dance but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy music and admire those who are musically talented. It’s just something that I was not gifted with from God.

To be continued . . .

Posted in book, faith

Out of the River, Onto the Raft – My Two Dads – Part 1

Purpose in Life – Rewritten

I’ve divided the rest of the book into 5 parts: An All About Me, Meet my Mom of the Last 3 Years, Unveiling the Mirror of My Life, My Relationship with my Mom before August 2016, and Lessons I Learned Along the Way.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”
Psalm 103:13

Throughout my life, God has brought people to me who would change my life path. I would be approaching a fork in the road called life and a person would be there to tell me which way I should go.

Two people stepped up and taught me what a dad is supposed to be like. They took over being the dad I never had for the first ten years of life. I mean I had a father, but he was never a dad to me. He gave me life but didn’t love me enough not to abuse me and make my life a living hell.

If these two men didn’t come in my life and stay, I would have probably had taken a much harder path in life. I wouldn’t be the wife, mother, and teacher that I am now.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old, they will not turn from it.”
Proverbs 22:6

Grandpa

My maternal grandpa welcomed us into his house. He built us a bed that we slept in for our first years in Ohio. He continued working to assure we were taken care of and drove us around so that we could experience life. Something that I continue to enjoy even 16 years after his death.

He taught me about the importance of vocabulary. He loved reading Reader’s Digest, especially the word power. Whenever he had a new magazine, he would have me try to take the word power quiz so that I could expand my vocabulary. I wasn’t that good at the word power quizzes. Now that I’m an adult, I understand the importance of having a vast vocabulary.

Grandpa taught me about faith. When he was 19 years old, he was a tail gunner in World War II. He carried a heart Bible in his pocket throughout his tour in Europe. His faith continued for the remainder of his life. How Great Thou Art was his favorite hymn. He instilled in me the importance of having faith and believing in a higher power.

Grandpa also taught me how a marriage worked. He was married to my grandma for 56 years before his death. She was his one true love.

He also taught me the power of just listening. You don’t always have to speak. There are times that I wish I learned that lesson better, but other times I have realized how important it is to listen.

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.”
Proverbs 17:27

Grandpa took the road less traveled. He was forever driving different ways whenever we went out. I inherited that skill. When I call The Goofy One and say, “I’m pulling a grandpa,” he knows that means that I’m not taking the usual route to somewhere. I know about 10 different ways to work.

He was also a big believer in education. While in college, he told me that it was okay to get married, but you need to make sure you graduate from college first. I kind of didn’t listen, because I got married a month before graduating from college. My degree is in my maiden name even though I was a Gasho by that point.

He loved his coffee and chocolate. How I wish I could sit down with him right now while drinking a cup of coffee and eating some chocolate.

Most of all of Grandpa was my hero. He listened to me and took me out of a bad situation so that I could have a better life. He sacrificed having an empty nest so that my family could recover from the trauma of my childhood. Thank you, grandpa. I love you and will forever be grateful for you changing my life.

To be continued . . .

Posted in book, faith

Out of the River, Onto the Raft – My Faith Journey

Purpose in Life – Rewritten

I’ve divided the rest of the book into 5 parts: An All About Me, Meet my Mom of the Last 3 Years, Unveiling the Mirror of My Life, My Relationship with my Mom before August 2016, and Lessons I Learned Along the Way.

When I originally wrote about my faith in God, I wrote in a linear fashion because that is how life is – minutes, days, weeks, months, and then years. But is that how our faith is, does it go in a straight line one moment after another or are there rapids we must overcome? Those rapids might cause our faith to go off course.

I can tell you that I always went to church as a child. Or at least from what I remember. My paternal grandpa was a United Methodist Church pastor and baptized me within a week of my birth. My mom would talk about the different churches we attended while in Pennsylvania but honestly, I can’t remember any one of them. I was either too young or traumatized.

It wasn’t until we moved to Ohio that I can remember the whole going to church and the expectation that I attend on a regular basis even after staying out all night at prom. We first attended church at my mom’s childhood church. I remember the experiences I had at that church: music “tour” trips and being in plays. Even though it felt like home, it wasn’t really my church home.

Then in 1987, we moved across town away from that church. I mean we could have still attended but God had other plans. In the new area where I lived was a church and as soon as I saw it, I told my mom, “I want to attend a service here.”

She obliged and quickly I was in the confirmation class. Within 6 months of attending the church, I was standing up in front of the church becoming a member. I had just broken my leg a couple months prior and was expected to help with the communion on confirmation Sunday. With the help of God, I did not drop the communion tray. At that moment, my faith journey really began.

You see within a year or so of attending the church, I met a person who would truly help me with my faith. He didn’t realize it at that time, but his constant loving of me as though as a daughter really helped me grow as a person and as did my faith. He saw through my human fallacies and shakable faith to see me as someone that had a purpose in life.

For the next seven years, I faithfully attended that church and was active in youth group, clowns for Christ, and attended several mission trips helping those who were misfortunate and needed our help.

Then life happened. Just like there is a bend in a river where you can quickly change course, my life did that. In 1995, I was accepted to be part of the Disney College Program. While on the program, my relationship with God was not priority. It was not going to be that way until I met my husband 2 years later. However, God never forgot me. HE had my back even though I was flapping around like a fish out of the water trying to discover who I was as a person.

Then I met my husband and well I started going back to church on a more regular basis. God was bringing me back to his fold. As I mentioned before, he will find the one lost sheep. HE was searching for me and found me.

“Here, Traci.”

“Who is this from?” I asked myself as I looked at the card. No one had signed the card.

When I asked people, who gave me the money, no one was willing to confess that they had given me the money. They wanted to remain anonymous.

At the time I was given that envelope, I was a struggling college student at that time with limited income. During the previous quarter, I had worked myself to the bone in both classwork and at work. On this day, I had been back to my church for college Sunday. I was handed that envelope after I had talked about my dreams of completing my college degree and eventually becoming a teacher. I never spoke of my worries about not being able to pay for college. God had seen my struggle and even though I had limped away from a relationship with him, he saw to it that I was provided for but still I didn’t realize how much God really loved me.

Also, during that time, I had been estranged from my grandparents. We didn’t agree about many things which caused a divide. It was a rapid in my ever-changing life at that time. God used my husband to reconnect my grandparents and myself.

In the late 90s, I had many rapids in my life. So many river bends were occurring as my life kept changing. Even though I didn’t seek God first with my problems, he planted seeds of my spiritual gift which is a strong faith that my end goal would be accomplished which was my teaching degree.

“. . . if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20

After my husband and I were dating for a year, I joined his church and 6 months after that we were married. He had also been brought up in the church, so we continued the tradition of going to church every Sunday. We attended the church that he had grown up in and eventually brought our sons there.

During that time, I was complacent with my relationship with God. I knew I loved him but a lot of me going to church was ritualistic and not of building a relationship with HIM.

Then in 2010, a political issue caused a giant crack in the church we had been attending – his childhood church. People we called our church family turned their back on us and still to this day won’t talk to us.

It was decided on a nippy March evening in a golf course clubhouse that we were going to be part a group of people gathering to form a new church. We took a leap of faith as we changed course with our church. Those people who gathered had the faith of a mustard seed. Ten years later, my family still attends that church.

During all these years, I have had challenges that could have rocked my faith. However, my faith as small as a mustard seed has seen me through those challenges. The road of my life has been full of rocks and thorny plants, but no matter what, God has been by my side. He has never forsaken or forgotten me even with my faith has been shaken and gone off course.

God gives ever Christian spiritual gifts. Mine happens to be the gift of exhortation which is spiritual encouragement. It is my belief that God wants me to write so that I can encourage people.

To be honest, I had the foundations of my faith started at my church I attended as a teenager, but it was not until the Coronavirus pandemic that my faith began to flourish. It took 20 plus years of me discovering who I was as a person before I could fully embrace who I am in the eyes of the Lord.

As we continue to float down the river, we are going to meet the two men who would help with the laying of the foundation of my faith. I’m proud to call them my father figures. Without either of them, I believe I would have hit even more rapids and would have fallen off my raft and drowned in the human existence of life. My relationship with God would have floated even further away from me.

To be continued . . .

Posted in book, faith

Out of the River, Onto the Raft – Purpose in Life Rewritten

My “Heart” Bible

I’ve divided the rest of the book into 5 parts: An All About Me, Meet my Mom of the Last 3 Years, Unveiling the Mirror of My Life, My Relationship with my Mom before August 2016, and Lessons I Learned Along the Way.

After I shared “My Purpose in Life,” I realized how stilted it sounded to me. I really didn’t like how I originally wrote that part of the book. I still wanted to keep the content but needed to change it up. At 3 something in the morning, I awoke to a realization of how I was going to write it. So this morning, I rewrote it.

As we drove down I-35 towards the school, we would listen to Notorious B.IG.’s Hypnotize on repeat. It was the spring of ’97 and I was finally starting my first phase towards becoming a teacher. My college decided to pilot a program where you would take all of your education classes and observation of a classroom in one school building. They wanted the students who were studying elementary education to be totally immersed in the school environment.

As the class sat in the musty basement of the older building, I shared some of my story which was too difficult for some of my classmates to understand. This was way before teachers really thought about trauma informed teaching.

At the end of the quarter, I was called into the professor’s office. Not knowing the purpose of the meeting, I felt as though I was going on a roller coaster: sweaty palms, erratic heartbeat, and a flip-flopping stomach.

After he demanded I sit down, he informed me that my classmates couldn’t handle hearing about my past and didn’t know how to talk to me.

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You;” Psalm 9:10

When I shared MY story, I was trusting the fact though they could speak to me as another person. The only difference is I had trauma in my past. But that trauma did not define who I was a person. It was my passion to why I was becoming a teacher. You see 12 years prior; I had escaped from an abusive father. I wanted to be at least ONE student’s hero. I wanted them to see that you can become someone even after someone took away your dignity and left you feeling as though you were nothing. I knew I couldn’t save ALL of my students, but ONE is better than none.

Instead of being understanding, I became a student in trouble with the principal because I shared MY story.

It was at that time that I quit telling people about my past because I couldn’t trust people with MY story. What I didn’t know is that God was laying the foundation for his purpose for my life.

At that time, I felt as though God had forsaken me. You see while in college, I rarely went to church because of working or studying. I didn’t seek a relationship with him, but he never left my side.

“For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
Psalm 9:10.

In September 2019, God whispered in my ear and said, “It is time to tell your story.”

What I didn’t know was that my mom was going to be gone with the month. He knew her plans for her life. HE also knew I couldn’t heal from her death without sharing my story. Not only was I to heal from her death, I was to create a legacy for others. One of encouragement and resilience. I don’t know who I’m going to help by sharing MY story. I just have to get out of the boat and just trust him. He knows his purpose for my life.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29: 11.

Now I have been given inklings to what his plans for me. I have heard him whisper to me to, “Write.”

I dream of new towns with people I have never met. I’ve created blog posts in my mind. I invent stories about people I have seen out and about. But have never just written because I get caught up in the restraints of grammar. Or the worry about would people really want to read what I have written. I just need to trust the process and allow my fingers to dance across my keyboard or fill the notebook pages with my words. God will touch the hearts of those who read the words I have written.

“Plans to prosper you and not harm you,” Jeremiah 29:11

As I write, I’m becoming less Instagram fake and more my authentic self. Life is messy. We may hit the rapids of life, but we need to remember that means we are truly living.

I need to trust God when he keeps telling me, “Write. You need to write and share YOUR story. No one can tell it but you. Your writing is going to be your legacy and help someone you’ve never met before. Listen to me. Trust me.”

“Plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

If I could go back in time, I would have told that professor, “You talk to me like a person. I’m no different than you. I just have a trauma that is invisible. The experience makes up my personality and character but does not define me now and not in the future. In fact, it may make me a better teacher because I have had some similar experiences as some of the teachers.”

One key information that I left out was that in the previous November, 11 years after we left him, my father succumbed to his brain tumor that had hindered him for almost 30 years. Right before his death, I had made the decision to go and see him one more time and tell him, “You don’t have power over me anymore.”

God had other plans for me. I was not to go to Pittsburgh.

I had felt free from my father’s chains and instead someone else put new chains on me. What I didn’t know was God was laying the foundation for me so I could find my purpose in life. And for that I’m thankful. It was not the season of my life to share MY story.

“To everything, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven;” Ecclesiastes 3:1

To be continued . . .