Caregiving From The Heart

I found a book that is excellent for anyone who is currently or who will soon be the caregiver for elderly parent or relative or friend. (Click on the title of his post and it will take you right to to order, or you can purchase it from Barnes and Nobel.)

Although, it never offers advice or "how-to", what it does do is let you know that you are not the only one... others have had your problem and they tell about their thoughts and feelings and some even tell you how they handle those feelings.

After I read the book, I had an opportunity to chat a bit with one of the authors, Roberta Cole. She is an amazing woman, to be sure.

Gina: I want to say that I really enjoyed your book. I am the caregiver for my Mom. She’s going blind, so I identified immediately with these stories! I learned a lot and I am thankful you took the time to put this together! It is good to know that there are other people out there that have experienced the same thing I’m going through… their thoughts and how they’ve come to terms with it.

Let’s talk about this new way of life called Caregiving. It’s only been since the ‘50s that the “family group” has reduced in size to a single family home. That’s not so far in the past that extended families have been living together and taking care of each other. Hasn’t caregiving been around for centuries with the extended family living in a close group? What’s new about it?

Roberta: Yes Gina, that is true! It is less true in the United States than in "old" world countries, however, and much less true now than in the past. Things have changed drastically in terms of a shift to single family households, to far greater incidences of longevity, and certainly to an increased sense of entitlement to self- fulfillment. Many of us are caught between a rock and a hard place.In "Caregiving from the Heart: tales of inspiration" we hear from so many caregivers who are committed to caring for their loved ones but feel squeezed to the max with increased demands on their own lives. There is even a nephew caring for his uncle who is so overwhelmed, working as a high pressure attorney and trying to maintain his own social life, that he has fleshed out an intricate bio that he distributes to people he meets to short circuit the time it would take to get to know them- unbelievable but true! Technology has obliterated boundaries between work and recreation, so that home has become work and work has become home. Caregiving, although more of a necessity than ever, is now more of a conscious choice because there are also many more alternatives in terms of facilities that offer care. The challenges are very real.

Let’s say there’s a person who is the only one in the family who lives close enough to give the care, but just doesn’t want to do it. What kind of advice would you give a person who is a reluctant caregiver?

Roberta: This is a very personal thing. It is difficult to determine what someone should or should not do. I can only say that from my experience,I found that people are turning out in vast numbers to care for loved ones. Many have strained bonds with their care recipients but show up anyway. There is a story of a gay son who was banished from his father's life, but when the time came, he was the one who was there to help. It is a chance to do the right thing, to heal old wounds and to make a difference. Besides, aren't all caregivers "reluctant caregivers" at some point? I would say that knowing boundaries is also important. Do whatever you feel you can and remember... all institutions are not bad. Some provide excellent care. There are also "surrogates" who can provide help.

Okay… let’s talk about surrogates. How does that work in the real world? There were several stories in the book from friends and relatives that provided the care. Are there professional surrogates – not health care or hospice, but companies that provide this? Is this going to be another trend caused by the aging babyboomers? Considering the story today concerning Mrs. Aster and her son’s alleged elder abuse, what would you recommend a family look for in a surrogate?

Roberta: Yes- there are professional surrogates. It could conceivably become more widespread as baby boomers retire distances away from their elder family members. If a family wishes to consider a surrogate- it is important to meet the person, try to obtain any references if they are available and certainly not abdicate all responsibility to the person providing the care. Checking in frequently and noticing any changes in the care recipient is critical.

I heard a story about a fellow who was 79 who went to visit his wife in the nursing home everyday. She had Alzheimer’s and didn’t recognize him any more, yet, he kept going because he loved her and meant it when he promised “in sickness and in health”. That’s commitment! What about keeping love alive when romance isn’t possible?

Roberta: Keeping love alive when romance is not possible is not easy, but spouses with whom I spoke, offerred some suggestions:

A-Hold on to the positive.

B- Try to maintain some of the same activities you did before with a new flexibility

C- Create new activities from chores- cooking etc- whenever possible.

D- Always say "I love You" even when you're not so sure you feel it.

E- Seek respite and support. Keep social networks going.

Nothing here is a magic bullet- these are only some thoughts.

Thank you so much, Roberta, for taking the time to talk to me about this deeply affecting subject. I pray this has helped someone who is facing this challenge. For me, it has been trying, challenging, maddening, joyful, precious and such a blessing to my soul.

Caregiving from the Heart: tales of inspiration
By Roberta Cole and Riki Intner
Elders Academy Press, July 2006
ISBN # 0-9758-7446-2/ PRICE $19.95

Roberta Cole
Caregiving Posted by Picasa

Whisperings of Love William Adolphe Bouguereau

I do not think I will finish the post from yesterday. It is too dark and filled with too many painful memories of my past. I much prefer to be like Paul and stretch forward, forgetting the past and persuing the wonders God has in store for the future. I saw this painting in the New Orleans Museum of Art at City Park when I went to visit my daughter. I fell in love with it and tried to take a picture of it (even though you are not allowed to take pictures inside the museum, only the sculptures outside). Then I found this in the gift shop. I wanted to share it with you.

I look at it and am transported to the Italian villa tucked away on the hillside of the foothills of the Alps. The summer sun presses down on her and warms her skin as it warms her heart. She has just paused in her duties to dream of the young man who will become her husband. Her dress had just a slight stain from the things she has been washing; her hands still red from the effort. Her complexion is clear and her eyes gaze into the future with great hope.

Her work reddened hands will soon be taking care of her own home and because she has been excellently schooled by her mother, she is at peace with the thought.

She is relaxed, but there is a hint of excitement in her pose, her foot poised directly beneath her, ready to bring her up straight. Perhaps she hears a horse in the distance?The smile that dazzeled her young man is just on the verge of breaking forth. Her ear slightly tuned to the cupid's whisper of love. The smile is one that says, "I don't need your persuasion, Cupid, for I love enough in my own heart. Fly away little one and persuade my young man that I am worth far more than rubies and gold. My love is has no bonds, but embraces with arms filled with the warmth of the sun." Posted by Picasa

Christian Men Who Hate Women

Over on, my dear sister in Christ, Julianne, of Family Blueprint, posted an article that sheds some light on something that is truly shocking. I have suffered through this... I have seen friends of mine suffer this, so from my perspective, it may seem more prevalent than it really is. I just want the awareness of this to be heightened! So, thank you Julianne for bringing this to the front burner.

There is a book out by Zondervan Publishers about Christian Men Who Hate Women...Misogynists...

I know this does not apply to many of our brothers in Christ (and I am so grateful to know some of you as truly godly men), so please don't take this wrong if you are not one of these misogynists, just let this go. But for those of you (men or women) who live in denial of what some women go through in a home and keep telling them to just submit and respect their husband and he will come around...that is so wrong in this case.

There are very sick men out there who are dangerous. Sure if a man is what we consider a "good" man in his nature...there is hope that if he gets saved he will be even better, but if he is mentally sick in his perceptions...being sweet, quiet, and submissive just make this type of man more abusive and sinful. These type of sick men are more attracted to conservative Christianity where women are taught to be submissive. They often even seek leadership positions because they thrive on power over others.

We as a body need to WAKE UP and quit telling these women if they are truly godly they will stay in this mess and it will get better. We need to quit thinking these women are martyrs for good, when the children in these homes often grow up with a hatred of God because of what they lived through this type of man, by keeping the mother in that situation. That is not a martyr when we sacrifice the children. We need to support these women and children emotionally, spiritually, and physically. We need to quit enabling this kind of man from continuing to hurt women in the ways the church has encouraged this kind of behavior unknowingly. We need to take our blinders off. I am watching more and more women go through things that the Bible has given a way of escape, but those around them have convinced them godliness is putting up with the constant abuse that destroys the wife and children emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically too. Christian Men Who Hate Women: Healing Hurting Relationships Margaret J. Rinck Zondervan Publishing House, 1990 To read excerpts of the book:

Rinck acknowledges that some men misuse Christianity to dominate or abuse their wives and/ or other women around them. Frequently these men exhibit their misogyny only in private or only to a few women. These men appear to many as the epitome of propriety to those outside this "intimate" circle. Rinck tells us how to recognize these men, suggests how to deal with these men, and tells us that we women are fully human and that no one, man or woman, has God's blessing to treat us as any less than fully human.

1) "Any challenge or objection by his wife is met with rage, temper tantrums, or stony silence. The Christian misogynist (yes, there are such people) often uses distortion of scriptural teaching to keep his partner "in her place." " page 16

2) "The reason is that once the woman changes a particular behavior to please him, another behavior becomes the target. The definition of what is pleasing constantly changes, so that she is kept off balance." page 17

3) "A woman should examine whether her marriage relationship has most of these characteristics:

  1. The man assumes he has the "God-given" right to control how she lives and behaves. Her needs or thoughts are not even considered.
  2. He uses God, the Bible, and church doctrine to support his "right to tell her what to do," and demands that she "submit" unquestioningly to his desires, whims, decisions, or plans. There is no sense of mutuality or loving consideration. It is always his way or nothing.
  3. She finds that she no longer associates with certain friends, groups, or even family members because of her need to keep him happy. Even though these activities or people are important to her, she finds herself preferring to avoid them in order to "keep the peace."
  4. He believes and acts like her opinions, views, feelings, or thoughts have no real value. He may discredit them on principle or specifically because "she is a woman and easily deceived like Eve was." Or, he may give lip-service to respecting her thoughts, but later shoot them down one by one because they "are not logical."
  5. He acts charming and sweet at church and is well-liked at work, yet at home the family has to "walk on eggs" to prevent setting him off. People who do not see him at home find it hard to believe that she is really suffering emotional abuse. He reinforces this feeling whenever she points out the differences between home and church by saying something such as , "Oh, quit exaggerating. I'm not like that!"
  6. When she displeases him and he does not get his way, he yells, threatens, or sulks in angry silence.
  7. She feels confused by his behavior because one day he can be loving, kind, charming, and gentle; the next day he is cruel and full of rage. The switch seems to come without warning.
  8. No matter how much she tries to improve, change, or "grow in the Word," in her relationship with him, she still feels confused, inadequate, guilty, and somehow off balance. She never knows what will set him off next, and no matter how much she prays, he never changes. She almost feels she must be "crazy" and she is sure it is her fault.
  9. He acts possessive and jealous, even of her time with the children. He may even try to restrict her normal church activities because "a woman's place is in the home." If other people, especially other men, notice her or talk to her, he becomes very angry or jealous.
  10. When anything goes wrong in the home or in their relationship, the problem is always her. If she would just be "more submissive" or "more filled with the spirit" or "obey me like a good Christian wife," everything would be fine. He seems blind to any cruelty or misbehavior on his part. He actually sees himself virtuous for "putting up" with a woman like her." pages 20-23

4) "The unique feature of misogynists is that their abusive, nonempathetic grandiosity is directed toward the women in their lives. Misogynists may occasionally exhibit these characteristics toward other people, but the brunt of their disorder is aimed at their wives or girlfriends." page 43

5) "The misogynist is extremely control-oriented; he needs to control and dominate his wife." page 46

6) "He may make sex mechanical (when and where he wants it), refuse to be concerned about her sexual satisfaction, becomes less and less physically affectionate after the wedding, express repulsion or disgust at the idea of romantically touching, or use blame or punishment when her sexual needs differ from his own." page 47

7) "The goal of his emotional and psychological battering is to wear down his wife, to keep her under his control at all costs. Some of the tools of abuse and control are yelling, bullying, threatening, temper tantrums, name calling, constant criticism, verbal attacks, ridiculing the woman's pain, subtle attempts to confuse her and make her doubt her sanity, forgetting things that happened between them, accusations, blaming, and rewriting history. The misogynist uses all these tactics with the overt aim to "teach you a lesson" or "make you a better person." In Christian homes the justification for abuse becomes even more powerful. Often God or the Bible is used to justify the verbal attack as "correction." "If you were a really good Christian wife you'd . . . ," or "I only do this because God gave me the authority to lead you and be your spiritual head." These become stereotyped defenses. If the wife shows anger, fear, or weakness, she is "rebellious," "untrusting," or "immature in the Lord." If she questions her husband's decisions or opinions, she must be disciplined for her own good." page 53

"Codependent women are usually deceived by the occasional "nice" behaviors that their mates exhibit." page 60 - see Dee Graham's Loving to Survive: Sexual Terror, Men's Violence, and Women's Lives (New York University Press, 1994) for a way of explaining women's submissive behavior that does not degrade women by calling us co-dependent. In Loving to Survive, Graham attributes this behavior to "the Societal Stockholm Syndrome," an adaptive behavior that allows women to survive in an hostile environment. She adamantly refuses to acknowledge that such women are codependents. Good book and I agree with her. Although the behavioral responses/ intellectual conclusions that people reach are the same where they are codependents or suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, women who are suffering from the Societal Stockholm Syndrome can be "reprogrammed" to reject a culture that condones abuse and to reject their abusers.

9) ". . . Elaine was a people pleaser and tried desperately to "correct" her behavior so as to please her spouse. Yet each time she tried, it seemed as if the rules had changed." page 60

10) "Learned helplessness is observed in victims of chronic abuse or trauma; these people feel that they have no ability to make choices or influence their destiny." page 61

11) "A child growing up in the kind of environment Ruth Ellen or Mary did or in other dysfunctional families where codependency develops learns some rules:

  1. Your feelings do not matter. Pleasing others and soothing their feelings becomes all-important. Peace is to be maintained at any price.
  2. No one is there to protect you. "If Mom can't protect herself from Dad's abuse, she obviously isn't going to take care of me."
  3. The only way to handle a man's aggression is to give in to it. "Mom stayed married to Dad for thirty years, and he belittled her and treated her mean, so I guess I have to do it too."
  4. The most important thing in life, yet the most painful thing, is to have a man. . .
  5. The way to keep people from abandoning you is to try to be perfect, meet all their needs, ignore your own thoughts and feelings, and, above all, never act as if their mistreatment is that bad." page 69

12) "They end up feeling constantly condemned by their spouses, by Scripture and by God. It never occurs to them to question their husbands' interpretation of Scripture or to decide for themselves whether it is being used appropriately. All too aware of their faults, they see these biblical injunctions as proof that they have failed and that if they would just "do it right," everything would be fine. As we all know, Scripture can and has been used to justify everything from slavery to the Holocaust." page 72

13) "Example: Phillip was separated from his wife for three years, but not divorced, and had an affair with a needy, codependent Christian woman. A Christian himself, he told her that "it was God's will" for them to have sex because "in God's eyes we are already married." She begged him not to do it, but Phillip pressured her and forced himself upon her. Afterward he said he had "no guilt" because "God had created sex and their love was beautiful." "page 74

14) "Many men use this notion of their sanctioned "authority" to commit atrocities against women and children. . . .At a national seminar I attended, one well-known Bible teacher said that even if a woman's husband beat her, she would be better off to "obey God," submit to the beatings, and even die than to leave him to seek relief!" page 75

15) "Even victims of such abuse find it difficult to conceive [that the abuse is real]." page 76

Con't tomorrow...


If anyone is interested, I have posted the first 3 chapters of a book I've written called Running from Shadows. I have been told several things about this endeavor. Everything from it is flat and two dimensional to it is riveting and compelling. Tell me what you think. The link in on my sidebar.




“Yes, LORD?”

“I saw where it was written about you that you are the meekest man upon the whole of the face of the earth. Why did you write this about yourself? Isn’t that being a bit prideful?”

“Well, Father, I would like to recall you to a certain time. Back to the time before the writing of these books of Law You gave us. Back to the time when You called me to a mission.”

“Ah, yes. I remember that day very well. I sat upon a bush and caused it to burn. That was a great attention grabber.”

“Yes, Sir, it was. I was astonished at it.”

“But tell Me, why does this day give you the right to call yourself the meekest man upon the earth to that day?”

“I will tell You. But, first, I want to say, LORD, that I do most deeply recognize that Your Son, Jesus, is ever the meekest man to have ever or will ever live.”

“True. I am delighted that you recognize this. Now… on with your reasoning.”

“Well, Sire, I was much afraid that day.”

“That does not make one meek, Moses.”

“No, it does not. However, I was much afraid that day because You called me to go back to Egypt. You assured me that all who were after to kill me were dead, so it was safe. That was not what made me afraid. I was afraid that those you sent me to, would not believe me. I asked You, who am I to say that sent me?”

“Yes. I told you I AM THAT I AM. I told You to say I AM sent me unto you.”

“Yes, Father. Those words still throw me to my knees. And You also told me Your name. YHWH, the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. You told me of all the afflictions You saw the Egyptians doing to those in slavery. You promised to bring them out of slavery into a land of milk and honey, the land promised to our fathers. You promised that they would listen to my voice and they would follow me out of Egypt to this wonderful Promised Land because of all the smiting to the Egyptians You would do and the wonders You would perform.”

“So what made you afraid, dear Moses? You heard all that I promised. You believed Me.”

“You promised the Egyptians would give us great treasure if we would but ask. You turned the staff into a snake and back into a staff. You made my hand leprous and then cleansed it. And I was watching a burning bush that did not burn. I believed You. Yet, I was afraid because I had no eloquence. I had no voice that was steady, but was so very slow of speech and slow of tongue. You pointed out that it was You who made my mouth and gave me my speech. You commanded me again to go. In Your command you gave me authority through You. Yet, I was still afraid of my own failings and I begged you to send someone else. That’s when You got mad.”

“As I recall, you stirred up My anger quite hot, that day. I had shown you the power at your finger tips. The snake, the turning water to blood as it poured out of the jar. I relented, though, I gave you Aaron, your brother, to go with you. But, it was through you that he would speak. I gave you the words and you gave them to him and he spoke.”

“Yes. That is it.”

“Moses, I want to be sure you understand why I allowed you to keep those words in the book you wrote so long ago. For those words are true. However, I want to be sure you understand why they are true. Explain to Me why.”

“Father, I am not meek because I had no speech or that my failings were huge. I am meek because even though I made you angry, I was teachable. The man after Your own heart wrote, “The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach his way,” in his twenty fifth Psalm. I did not lean upon my own self, but leaned upon You. I did not take authority upon my own self, but took my authority from You. I did not take glory for my own self, but I was showered glory from You. My face glowed when I spoke with You. When Aaron and Miriam spoke against me, You came to my defense. David surely spoke well when he wrote, “The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek Him: Your heart shall live for ever." I give You the praise, the honor, the glory and I bask in the blessings You shower upon me and I am satisfied.”

“You have spoken well, Moses. I AM pleased.”

Can I get a Witness???

Would you believe I'm still working on meekness??? In fact, I haven't even started writing it. I think that God is making me study this so deeply is because He knows I need it. Pride is a stumbling block and something that God hates. I am truly enjoying my journey with Him in this study. Maybe, one day, I'll share it.

For now... Please go to my friend Stan's place, Birds of the Air, and read a most excellent illustration that he's written called, Hall of Faith Revival Meeting.

Self Control II

Continued from yesterday

The sharp crack of the whip caused a momentary silence as the people sought out the source of the sound. That silence after such a deafening roar and then the sharp crack made my ears ring. I never thought the court could get noisier. The women set up such a screeching that my bones rattled. I put my hands over my ears. My head pounded with the clamor and my breath stopped. I wanted out of there but I couldn’t move for fear of being trampled. People scattered like ants on a stomped on hill. I regret to say that was a fascinating pastime in my younger years.

He started in one corner and cracked the whip again. I was so jealous of how He made that sound. I was determined to learn how to do that. He cracked it over the heads of the cattle and they, startled, rearing up and backing away, trampling the feet of their owners, and breaking down the rickety walls of their cages. The sheep split and scurried in a half dozen streams bleating their terror. This sound magnified as it bounced around the stone walls of the court.

Then He drove all the animals from the Temple straight into the streets of Jerusalem. The whip was cracking over their heads like sharp bursts of thunder. The men grabbed at the hems of their garments, pulled them between their legs and tucked them in their girdles. Off they scrambled after their cattle and sheep. It was mayhem. The Man, then laid hold of the tables… one by one the tables were flipped into the air, money tinkled and jangled all about, but the people were too stunned to scrabble through the muck for the coins. Well, the ordinary people were too stunned. The priests and the scribes dropped to hands and knees and searched through the cracks and crevices and all the muck to find each coin. Their hands and clothes became fouled. The stench they stirred up moved me to leave the place, but not before I heard the man shout at the sellers of doves, “Take these things from here! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise.”

He’d said, “My Father’s house.” I knew the instant my gaze met his that this Man was someone so very special. I longed to follow him, to get to know him. Hush, a priest had screwed up courage to approach him.

“What sign do you give us that you have authority to do this?”

The Man turned to the priest, His fury softened a mite, but the priest backed away from him. “Destroy this sanctuary and in three days I will raise it up.”

Bravely, the priest scoffed, “It took forty and six years to build this and do you raise it in three days?”

Jesus. I heard his name whispered in the crowd. Jesus then tossed the whip in the muck and strode from the court. His shoulders wide and his stride firm, confident. I could not help myself. I ran after Him. I had to know this man.

For seven days of the Passover, I stayed close to Him. I drank in His words. I learned more from Him than from all that Rabbi ben Phenias taught. I was so thankful I had learned my scriptures for the Man quoted from them constantly. He spoke of things that I had wondered at and had questioned, and now they were explained. Those around me scoffed. They would throw questions at Him and were angry at His answers. Alas, I had to take mother home to our little hamlet, but I watched and listened for news of this Jesus. When ever He came near, I would hasten to where He was. One day, there was a vast crowd gathered on a hillside. I hurried with my chores that morning so I would not miss His teachings. Mother pressed a basket in my hand before I left, but I barely noticed until that evening.

When he looked down at my young face, his eyes thanked me and blessed me in greater terms than if he had handed me a bag of gold. He acted like I had handed him a gift of great value… like the basket was made of gold and the fish and bread were rubies and diamonds. Even my mother never acted with such gratitude as that when I gave her my few earned coins at the end of the day. Oh, he didn’t do anything except pat my shoulder and look at me. But, glory, this Man was great at saying things without speaking a word!

I watched his hands, big and gentle, break those fish and bread. Then his voice so sweetly blessed the food and God. Mother was completely undone when I brought several baskets of food home with me. I didn’t have to work for a whole week! I wanted to know more about this man. I heard everything he said. I went about gathering information like I was going to report it at school. In fact, I did. After I recited the sayings of Ezekiel, I reported on what I had seen and heard.

Rabbi ben Phenias scoffed, “How could such a small one see prophecy fulfilled in such a small bit of scripture?”

I wavered. I had been so excited to remember what I had seen this man Jesus do with that little bit of food and then to recite the saying, “And I will raise up over them one Shepherd. And He shall feed them. My servant David, He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd.” And especially after I had looked into His eyes; surely this Man was sent by God. I heard Him say so and the miracle could not be done by anyone but from God. But, my mind was young, then. Who was I to question the Rabbi, who had studied the sayings and the scriptures all his life? So, I tucked the thoughts and memory away to be considered one day when I was older, more learned, and more versed in Scripture and the Sayings.

I stored up the things I studied. I did not just recite by rote, I tried to understand what I was learning, then reciting. This God that we worshiped, this God of my father and his father and his father and all the fathers before was magnificent. He was power and might. He fed the children of Israel for forty years. He parted the sea and made the bottom dry ground. He struck down great armies. He made the sun reverse its course for a day so the children of Israel could win a battle. He walked in the fire with the three friends of Daniel. His hand holds the earth and He sits on the circle of the earth. He put each star in place. He lets loose the rain and holds back the waters of the sea. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. He answers the prayers of the lowly. He promised a Shepherd that would feed His flock, who would heal the sick, and make the lame walk and the blind see and the dead walk. His power and might knows no bounds.

I drank in His words like a thirsty man collapsed on the desert floor. I believed Him. He healed the sick, made the lame walk and the blind to see again. I believed Him, but I was too young to follow Him.

Three years passed… more than three. I gathered in all I could hear about this Man. I searched for Him every Passover and was never disappointed. I noted that the priests and scribes grew more agitated at His presence and teaching than a mother bird is agitated at an egg-stealing snake. One time, they fluttered and fussed and picked up stones, and Jesus just melted away right in front of my eyes. He was there and then He was not. I was astounded.

Brothers, today we are talking about what our Brother Paul discusses in his letter to the Galatians. Paul tells us about the fruit of the Spirit. I stand before you, a man of great conviction that Jesus is the Son of God and that He lives today. When you believe Him, He comes to indwell your heart and you, too, can exhibit this fruit. I wanted to give you an eyewitness account of Self-control. On the thirteenth of Nisan, in the year our Lord was crucified, I witnessed such self-control that has never been exhibited to this day. Pardon me… it is difficult for me to contain my grief at the thought of our precious Jesus on the cross… Ah-hemm.

As I was saying, it was the thirteenth of Nisan. I had just poured my drink offering into the silver basin. I saw the poor, dressed in ragged homespun, laboriously counting out their kolbon to pay their Temple taxes to priests dressed in fine linen, dripping in gold chains. I saw the money changers dressed in purples and fine linen miscounting in their exchanging Temple coin for foreign coin. I saw doves wiggle and flutter out of poor women’s hands, flying back into their cages. I saw exorbitant prices paid for lambs that could be bought at home for a few coins. Bullocks brought fortunes to their sellers while the waste from these animals fouled the Temple floor and air. I was sickened at the noise and at the evil that had again pervaded the Lord’s Temple.

The crowd parted for an instant and I looked directly into those eyes again. The white marks of anger were back around his lips, his shoulders were set and his jaw worked his beard. The Man was holding back white, hot fury… again.

I had learned over the past few years that this Man, the Son of God, had the power in his finger tips to consume the whole of the mountain, not just the Temple or the people in it. It was going to be a huge uproar and I wasn’t about to miss one second of it.

I scampered to a corner and settled on a keg to watch.

His feet never once stopped in hesitation. He strode to the corrals and tossed down the rickety walls, driving out the cattle, shooing the sheep and overturning the tables of the money changers. All the while He was shouting, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer.’” He tossed another table into the air, “But you,” He growled the word, “have turned it into den of thieves. You have defiled the Sabbath and this House.”

With one breath from His mouth, He could have consumed them with fire, yet… He did not. He scattered the cattle, He did not kill it. He scattered the people, He did not kill them. Our brother Peter teaches that God does not pour out His wrath upon this people who deserve His wrath because His desire is that all come to Him and to not perish. Our God is holding back His white hot fury so that all those who desire to become His can have that opportunity. Make no mistake, His wrath will be poured out and the earth will melt, make sure you are not one of those caught in the flames. Posted by Picasa

Self Control

There was a man whose feet, I recall, were shod in thin leather sandals, his coat was well worn and his prayer shawl was beautiful in its simplicity. The tzit tzit on his shawl were short, unlike the priests prayers shawls with tassels that dragged behind them as they walked the street.

His face was not handsome like those silly girls at home giggled over, but I have never seen a face so full of peace and kindness as this man’s face except the first time I saw it. That day, I thought no man could forget.

It was almost the Passover. I hurried mother onto the donkey and we set out to make sacrifice and to pay my Temple tax. I had worked and saved for months to pay the half shekel to the Temple for me and the Kolbon, a halfpenny, to the priest who collected the Temple tax. Women did not have to pay this so my labor was not extended to pay for mother. It embarrasses me to say this, but she did not flux anymore so we did not have to purchase the doves to sacrifice either, well enough for my back, I assure you.

I settled mother in a cozy little room in her sister’s house, then I waded through the throng to the Temple gates. I waited my turn in the long line to purchase my ticket for the drink offering. The court was teeming with birds and cattle and people. The sheep were bleating, the cattle lowing and the birds set up a cacophony that the people shouted over. How anyone could worship in this din was beyond my comprehension. I wondered if God could hear me think over this squawking and screeching.

I watched as a frail looking young woman tried to keep hold of her two doves’ sacrifice. One kept fluttering and wiggling until it broke free. It flew around the court of the Gentiles and finally came to rest on top of the very cage it had been extracted from. Horrified, I watched as it scuttled back into the cage. I grabbed the other bird she was struggling with and tied a string around its feet and handed that to her amidst her cries of gratefulness. I broke the line, marched to the head of the dove line and demanded the man give her back the bird that had escaped from her. He was adamant he was not going to do as I bid until another came as confirmation of my witness. Reluctantly and with the slowness of a flower budding, he retrieved the bird and gave it to the woman. I was disgusted at the trick.

I redeemed my purchased ticket for my drink offering, then stood in line at the altar. The silver basin gleamed in the bright sunlight, twinkling and I fancied I saw God grinning at me over the dove incident. Since it came aright, I supposed it was all right to laugh at how that freed dove made the whole crowd duck and cover their heads. I poured my fourth of a hin of wine into the basin and for a moment, the way it swirled in the bottom and then drained onto the altar it looked like free flowing blood, covering the whole. I shivered and went to purchase the single lamb for our Passover.

I gazed at the bullocks in the corner of the court. I longed to be able to purchase one for the Chagiga, tomorrow’s feast. Once again, we must purchase for the feast from a vendor who sold portions instead of wholes. Seven days, the Passover lasted. I sighed, for I would have loved to have sat in the Temple the whole time and learned from the Priests and the Rabbis as they taught the Scriptures. I hungered for it, like a starving man… boy, for I was not yet full grown. One day…

I tossed my half shekel into the trumpet chest for the Temple tax and then put into the greedy hand of the man sitting beside the chest the kolbon, payment for the privilege of paying my tax. If it wouldn’t make my brain hurt, I would have figured up how much that man would have made in a day of collecting the Temple tax. It was more than I could ever hope to make in all my days. I smiled, then. I knew God provided just enough for mother and me and there were no headaches from too much figuring. I was satisfied.

Turning from that table, I glanced up into a pair of eyes that held me rooted to the spot. I thought my heart would not stay in my chest, it leaped in joy so greatly. I knew not who he was, but I greatly desired to know him. His expression softened as he looked at me. He picked me up as if I weighed nothing and set me beside the wall out of the way. I had no idea why he did this until I watched his expression harden as he surveyed the court. I scampered out of His way for the look on His face as He gazed around the court was black enough to cause lightening to strike. He was angry enough at what He saw to call down fire from the sky. Then His gaze roamed over the cattle and the birds and the tables with stacks of money, His mouth hardened into a thin line and His shoulders set; the muscles of His arms flexed and His jaw clenched. The Man was full of wrath.

Amazingly, not one priest or scribe or any member of the Sanhedrin noticed this Man full of fury. I was rooted to my spot in fascination, for I could imagine what was to come next.

He bent over and scooped up some strips of rawhide from the court floor. He up ended a keg and sat down. I was stupefied. What? Where was the thunder and lightening? Where was the purifying flames that would clean out this cesspool that man had created in God’s Holy House? I stole a glance at His face. His jaw worked his beard as His teeth gritted. There were white anger lines around His lips and His eyes flashed a promise of vengeance. My young heart was ready for a good fight and a few bloody noses.

Those eyes never left the noisy business of the court as His fingers deftly fashioned a whip. It took more than an hour for the whip to be shaped. As each minute passed, His expression never softened. I was amazed that no one took notice of Him… not even the owner of the keg upon which He sat.

Then He stood.

I held my breath.

Cheap Security

I am still working on meekness... it is amazing how many humble people there are in the Bible...


Next time you come home for the night and you to to put your car keys away, think of this: It's a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation.
Start keeping your car keys next to your bed on the night stand when you go to bed at night. If you think someone is trying to get into your house, or if you hear a noise outside yor house, just press the panic alarm on your car key chain. Test it as It will go off from most everywhere Inside your house and will keep honking until your battery runs down or until you reset it with the button on the key chain. It works if you park in your driveway or garage.
If your car alarm goes off when someone is trying to break in your house, odds are the burglar or rapist won't stick around.....after a few seconds all the neighbors will be looking out their windows to see who is out there and sure enough the criminal won't want that.
Try it to make sure it works before you rely on it. Just know that you must press the alarm button again to turn it off. And remember to carry your keys while walking to your car in a parking lot. The alarm can work the same way there.....

Dearest Erma

I watched Biography Channel the other day and was fascinated by the Fabulous Erma Bombeck. She passed away. The world suffered a great loss, in my opinion. She forged a path for modern women that actually illustrates the perfect woman in Proverbs 31. I salute her today.


by Erma Bombeck

(written after she found out she was dying from cancer)

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.
I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.
I would have talked less and listened more.
I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.
I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.
I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.
I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.
I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.
I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.
I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.
I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.
Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.
When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."
There would have been more "I love you's" More "I'm sorry's."
But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it .. live it and never give it back.

I will forever be indebted to her for this piece. Because she wrote it, I was able to sit on the floor and play with my girls when the house was a wreck. I took the time to watch their made-up plays and to sit on their beds and chat after the lights went out. I cared about who their friends were and made sure they brought them to my house and weren't going to their house.

I will forever be grateful that God gave me Erma Bombeck to laugh with and to enjoy. I only wish I had found her sooner.

Before we do Faithfulness/Fidelity...

...I want to take a minute to savor something.

I've only been to one wine tasting in my entire life, and that was before I knew I was allergic to wine. Thank goodness, when you taste wine you roll it around in your mouth and then you spit it out. If I had swallowed all that wine, I seriously doubt my head would still be attached to my body. The headache I had was so intense... well, that's another story.

Let's consider something for a moment. Let's roll this around and breathe it and taste it.

In one hand we have God's sovereign will. In the other we have His desiring will. We know about God's desires from Peter who wrote about how God does not desire anyone to perish but for all to come to Him and be saved. That's in 2 Peter 3:9

Therefore there is a perfectness about that desiring will which passes understanding. Is it better to ask that God's will be done or better and more perfect to ask that God's desires be put into our hearts? The Psalmist promises that if we delight in the Lord He will give us the desires of our heart. Isn't it better to ask God to give us His desires?

Instead of just tasting God's desires, swallow them. I do not believe they will be sweet on the tongue but sour in the belly as the little scroll was for John in Revelation. Nor, do I believe that His desires will give us a headache like that wine did to me. I do believe that asking for God's desires in our heart will give us a much greater understanding of Him and will give us a much deeper contentment than ever before experienced.

Perhaps some wise preacher has preached that to you before and you've got it written in your Bible somewhere. I have never heard that before. It was only when my grief was so great that I came to realize how much better it is to be centered in God's will, not my own. How much greater it is to be centered in His desires! That is so huge, it has taken me a week to simply digest it.

So I ask that God put His desires in my heart so that I might be all He desires me to be. I seriously doubt that road will be an easy road to travel. It is probably going to be fraught (isn't that a wonderful word?) fraught with all kinds of danger because Satan hates us to be in God's will... how much more he hates for us to be in God's desires.

Here's to an Awesome God Who reigns from Heaven above with wisdom, power and love, our God is an awesome God.

About Gentleness

Okay... after studying the resouce that lovely and sweet Pia gave me (thank you so very much!) and the Vine's resource that my oh, so precious friend and sister Julianne gave me...

I am convinced the gentleness is so closely akin to kindness that I shall move on to the next one in Fruit of the Spirit which is Fidelity... Faithfulness. Kindness is already written, if you'd like to read it. One day when I have lots of time, I will do a thingy on the sidebar with all the stories I've written. I may even start another blog and give you a few chapters of a book I wrote called Running From Shadows. I would be greatly interested to see what y'all think of that one :)

Okay... on to Fidelity. This one is going to be intense, I think. I have had two husbands who didn't know what the word meant. Jesus name written on His thigh will be Faithful and True.

But... my goal is to write about a person in the Bible about which there is very little or "not much" written who exhibits Fidelity.

Question: What does fidelity mean to you?
Question: Do you know someone barely mentioned in the Bible that exhibits this quality?

What is Gentleness?

Help me out guys...

I'm working on Gentleness and after trying to define it... I can't get my brain wrapped around it.

What is Gentleness?

Discussion of Goodness

After studying seven commentaries, and Josephus’ writings, I discovered there isn’t a lot of information concerning the judiciary system during the time of the Kings of Israel. We just do not have a lot of information about courtly procedures of that time. Half the commentaries called the two women prostitutes and the other half mentioned the Hebrew word for harlot is also wanton and discussed how wanton also means "well-fed". Then two studies mentioned that David's reign was exceptionally godly with little or no patience with ungodly things such as sorcery and prostitution; pointing out, also that it would be highly unlikely that two prostitutes would be given the opportunity to enter the King's Court or come face to face with the King. This line of thought makes incredible sense. Add to that, the woman’s place was hardly in the throne room of the King when it was always the men who sat in the gate judging the doings of the villagers. Therefore, this is the thought process I used to write this story.

What, you may ask, was the Goodness in this story? I don't know that anyone can understand this without having first wanted and desired something with every fiber of their being, been given that desire for a little while and then the thing be taken away. That is only the first half of understanding the Goodness part. The other half is understanding and wanting what is best for another over and above what is best for self.

Consider the mother who had wanted a child for years and finally she is given one. A beautiful gift from God. Then her husband is taken away and then her child. This woman reflected God's love for us in that brief moment she begged Solomon to give the child to the other woman. Some call this selfless love. Jesus said that only One is Good. Only One exhibits selfless Love all the time and has this characteristic. We humans are given the chance to be Good, but how many times do we let self get in the way? Our desires overriding that which is good for another?

It was better the child lived. It was better for him and for her although the complicated part was the child would not be hers to raise but another's whose character was mean and unloving.

God gave up His only Son because it was better for us that He do so. In the course of events here, it really doesn't matter that God knew Jesus would rise again because the agony that He had to suffer before dying was such that only a person tortured could understand. Add to this the foreknowledge which adds much anxiety into the mix and we have a Sacrifice of such great love we cannot fathom the depth and breadth of it.

During the course of this study and writing I found out several things of which it is difficult to share.

Many of us have an academic knowledge of rejection, grief, pain and we sympathize with those enduring the events of loss that cause these feelings and have even felt them ourselves. But there is another dimension to these feelings which we need to understand.

I know what being rejected by someone I love feels like. My exhusband tossed me out of the house without a by your leave. Because the pain of that felt like my soul was split in two, I understand to a puny degree how Jesus felt when He cried, "Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I long to gather you like a hen gathers her chicks, but you would have none of it." That was rejection of love and tenderness and support like no human can offer, yet, in my heart, I can identify with Jesus' feelings and I will endeavor to never cause that feeling in another if I can possibly help it, most especially in my Lord God Almighty.

I know what grief over losing something treasured feels like. For me, grief is almost worse than rejection, although they are kin. Grief pierces the soul, digs a hole and leaves it gapping and bleeding. To be rejected and to lose something treasured is, for a little while, beyond bearing. It crushes the soul. It squeezes out everything else and leaves a pressed flat two dimensional world that has no color, no flavor.

Jesus was rejected by His very own people. Those He loved most, who were closest to him deserted Him in His darkest hour. And yet, He looked past the shame of the cross to the joy beyond. His joy certainly came in the morning. To be able to look beyond the rejection and beyond the grief to know that in a little while the searing pain will pass and in a little more than a while, we will see Jesus in all His glory riding on that white horse with the words emblazoned on His thigh, "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" forever and forever and forever to reign with Him.

That, my siblings, is the joy beyond. We are only here for a little while. So, everytime God gives us the opportunity to "Be Good", let's remember that the sacrifice now brings greater and more perfect joy beyond. God never takes something without giving something greater and more perfect in its place. Ask Job, he knows.

Goodness part deaux

Three days later, I screamed a scream of anguish and outrage. So loud and so long that the neighbors began banging on my door.

My son, my little man, the last gift from my husband was dead at my side. Blue and cold… The world stood still and everything in it. No breath, no heart beat, no city sounds… everything was draped in a death pall. Anguish like no other washed through me, leaving a blackness akin to that of the Dragon’s Dungeons. The Angel of Death had visited my house and left my first born dead. What had I done? People called me wanton for being fat, but that was as my husband wished, too. My eyes closed, I started a keening wail with my little son pressed to my breast. What was despair? It was joy and happiness beside what I was feeling. Darkness had the brightness of the noon day compared to where my heart plummeted. Oh, God, my God, why have you forsaken me? The prophet Job declared Let the day be darkness! Let not God look on it from above, nor let the light shine on it. Oh, God, let the day I was born perish and behold, let that night be barren and no joyful voice rise from it. Bile rose in my throat and I coughed it down.

I opened my eyes to gaze upon that little face that looked so much like my beloved husband and suddenly light returned to the sun. The world began again. My breath returned, my heart beat once again and the city was alive again for the babe in my arms was not my son.

“Agatha!” I screeched marching down the open hall to her room. I pushed on the door to storm into the room but something blocked the door. “Agatha! Give me back my son. You may steal my money while my back is turned but you will not steal my son.” She shrieked an ugly word but would have none with opening the door.

The next few hours I pounded and screamed. I thought I would faint from the anxiety and my throat ached with the force of my screams. Until the guards from across the street forced their way into the fracas. I was so thankful to hear a familiar voice, I called for them to sprout wings and fly up the stairs to knock down the door and rescue my son.

The door splintered and Agatha began a tirade of such utter nonsense that I would have laughed in her face if it concerned anyone else but my son. The wanton would not shut up. Her fat chins, all five of them, kept bobbing with her words and I was bereft of speech. She kept insisting that my child was hers and painted such a black tale of my murdering my own dear son that the guards could not make sense of any of it. One guard hefted my son to his shoulder and went down the stairs.

“Come back here with my son,” I screamed. “Where are you going?”

“Outside where your screeches do not bounce from the walls and ring my ears,” the guard shouted over his shoulder as he pushed through the outside door.

I scrambled after him, nimble even in my girth. Sincerely I pled my case and insanely she pled hers. I did not know this soldier so I could not rely upon his knowledge of my character. Since there was no one in the house to support the truth of my claim, I tried with all my persuasion to urge him to give me my son.

My child was whimpering and I knew that cry. I had heard it every three hours for the past four days. It was his, “I am wet and I am almost hungry,” cry. I tried to take him from the guard to make him more comfortable and to feed him, but the guard pushed my hands away saying, “It won’t hurt him to cry a bit. He may not live the week out anyway.”

Those words constricted my heart. How could I listen to those whimpers and stand it? I breathed a prayer for my son and for me, for I knew not how this tangle would unweave.

Today was the King’s Court day. On this day, any who had a case to be heard could bring it to the King and be heard. Since I had no witnesses in the house to help prove my case, I instantly decided to throw the case before our new king, Solomon. God willing, he would rule justly and fairly and I would get my treasure back. I looked up at the guard.

“Let us to the King’s Court. Today he hears cases and we shall let him discover the truth of the true and rightful mother of this babe.” I tugged at his arm and he fell into step beside me.

“Dinah, this won’t do. I refuse to let you bother the king with this trifling. It is my child not yours.” She waddled behind us, huffing her indignation at each step.

The court was bright and airy; the walls hung with silk from the East in purple hues. It looked like a dazzling cloud. I had time to think about what I would say as we waited for an audience. I determined to be the accuser for the burden of proof lay with the defendant. Agatha was deceitful and quick witted so the best tactic was to take the offensive. I was not a soldier’s wife for nothing. I could see God’s hand in this already. Elohim give me strength of wit and of tongue and guide your son, the king’s judgment. The prayer was all I had time for because the herald called my name.

I rushed to the throne and knelt at Solomon’s feet. They were clean feet. Strange, that I should notice that detail in my distress. His feet were shod in sandals of thick leather and his toes were relaxed. That was a good sign, for it meant that he was ready to listen and was not unsettled about something else. I had learned much about feet when I was a washing girl before I washed my husband’s feet and he lifted my chin to gaze at my face. His was a sweet expression and I will never forget his smile. My son would have that smile and he would bestow it upon some young virgin who would give me grandchildren. My resolve was strengthened in the space of those few seconds. I rose and stood before King Solomon. His face was impassive, but his eyes were alight with anticipation and some other light that seemed more like kindness.

I took a deep breath and rushed into my speech before the King could say a word, nor even Agatha either. “Oh, my lord, I and this woman dwell in the same house. I was delivered of a child with her in the house. On the third day after I was delivered, she, too delivered a son. We were together and there was no one else in the house; it was only we two in the house. During the night as she slept, she rolled over onto her babe and it died. In the middle of the night, she got up and took my son from my side whilst I slept and laid my son onto her bosom and laid her dead son in my arms. When I awakened in the wee hours to give my son suck, I discovered the child was dead. When I considered it, I realized that was not my son that I did bear, but her child that was dead.”

“Nay!” Agatha screeched although the King was but a few feet away, “The living is my son and the dead is your son.” She would have continued except the King spoke.

“The one says, ‘This is my son that lives and your son that is dead.’ The other says: ‘Nay, but your son is dead and my son the living.’” Solomon took only a second’s pause, then said, “Bring me a sword.” The guard stepped forward with his sword drawn.

“Divide the child in two and give half to the one and half to the other.”

Darkness pierced my heart that moment. Nay, it could not be that the King would so divide my son. I would not let that happen. I dropped to my knees placing myself between the sword and my son. “Nay, my lord, in no wise slay the child! Give her the living child.”

Agatha snarled, “Divide it! Let it be neither yours nor mine.”

I pleaded with my eyes for Solomon’s pity. I did not care for the woman raising my son, but where there is breath there is hope. I would that I could gaze upon the face of my son for many years rather than burying him as my husband had been buried. I love my son with every breath of my soul and I would die rather than that sharp blade should hack him in two. I was willing to barter my life for his which was better than my life without him.

Solomon’s lips curled in a half smile and his eyes filled with satisfaction. He leaned back and said, “Give this one the living child, for she is the true mother.”

The very brightness of the sun shone in my face as I picked up my son and gazed upon the exactness of my husband’s countenance. Thank you, Adonai, thank you!



Pain lanced through my back like a spear. Not that I had ever been lanced before, but I have seen it. I saw the look of surprise and then the anguish of pain on the man’s face; it was not pleasant. I have been hit in the lower back before and that was most excruciating. It was a bar brawl. I was waiting tables and serving the drunks because by then there wasn’t a sober mind in the place. But, the pain of that elbow jab into my back must have been the cousin to what it feels like to be speared.

Now this pain was worse that than one. There were numerous spears within shouting distance, but none had found its way into my back. All I had done was bend over to pick up the basket. I sat down on the floor and leaned on the basket instead of picking it up; bearing the pain that nearly cut me in half. This one lasted longer than the last and reached around my large belly. I was terrified.

I confess, I am a large woman. I love to eat and I serve a grand table, which is why so many travelers stay at my inn located close to the barracks. The soldiers often wander over when I’m taking the bread out of the oven so I have always baked more than necessary for the week. It is how I make a living while my husband serves in the King’s army. As I was saying, I am a large woman, but my large belly had little to do with being wantonly fat. My husband loves my softness and my large curves. He says that me being well-fed reflects well on his provision. He had been gone a very long time when he returned from his regular furlough; he closed the inn for a week and we got to know each other again in a most pleasing and satisfying way. That was nine months ago and I was soon going to see a tiny copy of my husband, Adonai willing that all goes well.

This would be our first child. We had tried for years to have a child. We had both prayed and sacrificed to Adonai, but the Lord had not granted our hearts desire until now. I wrote my husband, but he was on duty along the border and not able to return home. However, he assured me that he would be home within the year and because of the child, he would request a home guard position. We prayed the Lord would answer this prayer, for I sorely missed him.

“What are you doing on the floor, Dinah?” Agatha waddled into the hall, her expression cantankerous as usual. “If you expect me to help you, forget it. I can’t bend over to see my sandals, much less pick you up or carry that basket. I am so heavy and the heat is unbearable. When are you going to buy that fan I asked for last week? I am suffocating.” She grumbled and complained every time she opened her mouth. I was sorry that I had ever allowed her to live with me. She had been a constant sore tooth since the day she walked into the inn, except she did help with the chores. Her pregnancy did not affect her as mine did me. She did not get sick, so she had been a blessing for me as she took over the duties of innkeeper as I lay close to the waste bowl all morning long. I was so sick, I did not care if she dipped her hand into the money box. Business was good enough this time of year that I had no worry about money.

The nausea was almost unbearable, but I didn’t care. I looked past that to the joy of holding my first child. I yearned for the smell of him. I longed to put him to my breast and to watch him grow fat from my well-stocked milk, for by then I would have regained my appetite. Oh, that day would be so joyous. I would hold my little one close and would breathe in his scent. I would look at his tiny face and it would look so much like my beloved husband. He would grow up into a stocky and sturdy little boy full of all good mischief. What songs we would sing and what stories I would tell him. If I had a little girl, I would love her no less. I would feel the same because it wasn’t the fact of boy or girl. It was my child of my womb a delightful gift from Adonai and for that it was glorious for not many more years and I would be beyond the age to conceive a child. So I savored the delight of my little family growing in my womb. Little did I know as I hummed about the house during the times I wasn’t sick, of the tragedy soon to raze all my peace and delight.


This morning, an army captain knocked on my door. At that precise moment my world shifted and I was suddenly bereft of any foundation. He handed me a packet on top of which was scrawled a note. Brief… to a knife-edged point. I had never known words to slice into my chest and remove my heart until I looked at those words.

If you have never loved someone with the depth and breadth of your soul and then lost that special someone you could never understand how the world dropped out from under my feet at that moment. My mother lost her second husband to an ox goring him. She had mourned for years, often crying into the night and there were days when she did not eat a morsel. She would often breathe erratically as if her grief had taken her breath and she must suck it back or die. When I would sit by her side to comfort her, she would talk of the good times and the bad. She mentioned then that the only thing she had ever felt that came close to it was when her first husband rejected her; sending her off with a writ of divorcement.

Rejection… abandonment… loss… instill grief so deep and so finely etched into each fiber of the soul that there is no relief from any quarter. It scrapes at the insides leaving lacerations that bleed into the pit of despair which is never filled up.

I clutched at my womb, holding on to the only sweet and wonderful thing I had left. It was then I felt the first twinges of muscle contraction. I knew that the babe was stretching to enter a cold, harsh world. It would be hours yet, before I would see the precious, tiny face screw up and hear that sweet little voice cry, to see that tiny chin quiver in shock at the cold world. It would be hours of pain. I actually welcomed the pain. It was fitting for my body to hurt like my heart was hurting.

I leaned heavily on the basket to get up after the pain left me panting on the floor. Agatha just laughed at me. Soon she would be feeling this same pain and I had to fight off the desire to wish her agony.

“Dinah, here is a stick to help you up. You should consider losing some of that fat.” Agatha held a walking stick toward me just out of my reach. I grunted with the effort to grab the stick. “That’s it, stretch. Come on, now, stretch a bit more.” She giggled at my efforts and I gave up reaching for the stick. “Oh, all right! Here!” She tossed it my way and I grabbed it before it sailed over my head and into one of my cooking pots over the fire.

My labor was two days and a night. I was singing David’s song about joy coming in the morning when my little man entered the world. He was tiny and he was loud. His little face was an exact of my late husband. I rejoiced. I did not have my husband anymore but I would have his last gift to me, our son. I cleaned him up and put him to my breast. He was lusty in his eating and gusty in his cries. While he ate, I contemplated the perfect name for him. We both drifted off to sleep.


Three days later, I screamed a scream of anguish and outrage. So loud and so long that the neighbors began banging on my door.