AN ASTONISHING THING

Jesus Healing the Bling Man“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger, to the delight of all who read her work and hear her speak. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! Amen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Here is an astonishing thing! You do not know where He comes from, and yet He opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but He does listen to One Who worships Him and obeys His will.” John 9:30

 

It’s as if this blind man cannot contain his joy at having his sight restored. Some are saying this cannot be the same man who was so recently blind, begging for alms at the temple doors. “Hey, it’s really me!” he proclaims (v. 11). Later, the religious leaders question him too and he repeats his story. But it is the Sabbath, the leaders cried, so this Jesus must be of Satan because no one who believes in God and heals on the Sabbath (vs. 14-15). And they even bring in the man’s parents, but the story still doesn’t change. “Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind,” he proclaims. “If this (Jesus) were not from God, he could do nothing” (v. 32).

 

I imagine John Newton reading this passage when he penned his beloved hymn, “Amazing Grace.” Newton was an 18th century British slave trader who had a soul reckoning during a violent storm off the coast of Ireland. When the ship miraculously landed safely, Newton took that as a sign from God. His conversion came slowly following such a dramatic event. He eventually renounced his occupation and wrote the pamphlet Thoughts Upon the Slave Trade. “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me,” Newton said, “that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.” His efforts eventually led to the British Parliament outlawing slavery in 1811. Newton wrote many hymns, the most famous one, now known as “Amazing Grace,” in 1779.

 

When John Newton, a cruel and heartless slave trader, thought his end was near, “an astonishing thing” happened. In the words that echo those of the man born blind in Jesus’ time, Newton wrote, “I once was lost but now I’m found, was blind but now I see.” Newton, the same man who took freedom from so many African men, women and children, was moved by God to help end the slave trade in England.

 

Jesus, You can make “an astonishing thing” happen in the lives of those who believe in You! Amen

 

 

MY PERSONAL SOUNDTRACK

Music Notes ColorfulBe filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts. Ephesians 5:18-19

 

I am not one of those people who hears clear messages from God. He doesn’t whisper in my ear very often. But He does speak to me, daily, bringing to my mind the lyrics of Christian—and sometimes secular—songs. Most people get tunes stuck in their heads sometimes—they are called “ear worms,” and there are even scientific studies about why we can’t shake them from our brains. But the lyrics that I hear seem to match the mood I’m in, or the circumstances I’m experiencing at any given time, and I just don’t believe they pop into my head randomly. I’ve been playing drums and singing in various bands since I was a young adult, first professionally and now as a volunteer on our church’s contemporary worship team. I’ve played a lot of different kinds of music and memorized many lyrics, and snippets of those lyrics weave in and out of my conscious awareness and visit me when I’m asleep.

 

Take the tune that’s whirling in my head today: “We Are Refugees” by John Bryant (written for Up With People, an educational organization whose mission is to inspire young people to make a difference in their world). The song’s lyrics speak of those who are forced from their native land because of war, famine, or strife. When I see the news these days about migrants at our southern border, the lyrics of this song pop into my head and move me deeply, bringing me to my knees in prayer. Last winter when I received a diagnosis of melanoma and was facing surgery (which thankfully revealed the cancer had not spread beyond the offending mole), I prayed that God would give me peace and the ability to sleep until the results were in. I sang my favorite hymns at night when I could not think of words to pray: “Blessed Assurance,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” among others. And when I am full of joy, Bret Hesla’s contemporary “Justice Like A Base of Stone” provides me with a true shot of spiritual adrenaline with its message of fairness and equality for all.

 

Lord, You bless me in countless ways, and I especially like my personal soundtrack! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan is the author of three books: Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child; Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian. She holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling from the University of New Mexico and has over thirty years’ experience working with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, war veterans, and other trauma survivors.  Her books may be purchased through her website, www.MegCorrigan.com or from www.amazon.com .

WHAT BACK DOOR?

what back doorI pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:16-18

 

Recently, I was asked to participate in a group about groups. A number of folks apparently stood out as potential leaders for small groups at our church, and the pastor invited us to spend six Wednesday evenings together discussing what small group leadership looked like to us. During one of the initial meetings, the topic of shrinking attendance at all mainstream Christian churches in the United States came up. Someone said, “We need to close the back door so people won’t leave.” I wasn’t sure if that was meant as a joke or not. Perhaps I’m not the person to ask about closing the back door.

 

You see, I’m a “new” Christian. I only accepted Christ as my personal Savior forty-four years ago, when I was twenty-eight, so I don’t consider myself a “life-long” Christian. I didn’t grow up in the church. I never had parents or grandparents or pastors or Sunday school teachers who tried to “raise me right.” I didn’t go through confirmation until I was almost twenty-nine, long after my teenaged-self thought I knew more about life than church could teach me, for heaven’s sake! You see, I’m still excited about church, and I have no intention of leaving, by the back door or the front door or the window. I’m here for the long haul. They are stuck with me, warts and all.

 

So I can’t get into a discussion of “closing the back door” to retain current members or ensure new members stay. All we have to do is get them so excited about Christ that they won’t leave. Ever. If there is anything I will have to say about it, I plan to share my faith in a way that gets other people excited too. God doesn’t want us perfect. He just wants us excited to know Him.

 

Lord, I pray that each member of our church…“may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com   MegCorrigan@comcast.net

POLITICAL PRISONERS

Jerusulem During Christ's LifeIn Him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers—all things have been created through Him and for Him. Colossians 1:15-16

 

Most of us overlook the importance of the occupation of the Romans in Israel during the life of Christ. The Roman emperor Caesar appeared to hold complete power over the citizens of Israel, including the Man Jesus. The Jewish leaders had made their peace with the Romans and were able to direct the activities of their church only at the whim and the will of the Roman emperor and his designated officers. We don’t often consider the political climate during Christ’s life on earth and how that environment impacted his crucifixion. Think about Pilate’s custom of releasing one prisoner at the request of the Jewish people during their Passover celebration. Pilate must have thought he was being such a benevolent leader, to allow a benevolent departure from his iron-handed rule. But Pilate got a real surprise when the Jewish people demanded that he release Barabbas, a known rebel leader, instead of the mild-mannered and clearly innocent Jesus. Pilate answered to Caesar and Caesar believed he alone was god.

 

In the first chapter of Colossians, Paul makes it clear that Caesar was no god. The one true God is Christ, above “thrones or dominions or rulers or powers” (v. 16). Caesar was a fraud, a paper tiger, a puffed-up politician who ruled his empire without mercy or compassion. His empire, too, was phony. When Caesar died, another man took his place.

 

We can embrace many kinds of empires in this world. We can be loyal to politicians, parties, positions and philosophies. We can pledge our allegiance to the darker things of this world, and we can give up meaningful lifestyles for crippling addictions and bad habits and poor judgement. But nothing in this world will ever come close to the power and majesty of the reign of Jesus Christ. He is reality. He bears the full glory of the King of the universe, and He will be with us forever. “In Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17), and He will keep us in His careful care throughout eternity.

 

Lord of the Universe, we thank You that You are above all the powers of the earth and under the earth. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

LIVING WITHOUT FEAR

Courage Not FearThere is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 1 John 4:18

 

When people experience actual or perceived threat of severe harm, their brain chemistry changes. Even in the absence of physical injury, trauma can disrupt memory and mimic real brain damage. Memories of trauma can be kept hidden from one’s consciousness, due to shame or fear; the memory is too much to handle. Or sometimes intrusive images or unpleasant thoughts cause profound anxiety, even if the thoughts are not about the specific trauma. Emotions surrounding the trauma are often experienced more powerfully than everyday feelings. Unresolved trauma memories may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which can include irritability, nightmares, emotional detachment, and heightened startle response. Life after trauma delivers very real symptoms that can last a lifetime if not treated.

 

In the counseling work that I have done with trauma survivors, including war veterans and refugees, and those who have experienced sexual assault and domestic violence, there is never a perfect path to recovery. As a sexual assault survivor myself, my faith in God has been an integral part of my healing. It saddens me when I see others fearful and distrusting of a God Who they feel has abandoned them in their worst hour. While we must meet survivors at the point at which they come to us, and we must allow them each to work through their experiences in their own way, one passage of the Bible appears to have universal appeal to many who have experienced trauma.

 

1 John speaks about love, fear, punishment and perfection: important concepts in working through trauma. Love and fear, he says, are incompatible; we cannot truly experience both at the same time. Love produces boldness, giving us courage to dispel fear. Courage scatters fear, and signals all that frightens us that new ground has been broken. The audacity of moving forward from fear builds more courage and invites more trust and more love. It is the profound and sacred purpose of the church to respond to those who have been traumatized with the love that we know to be from Christ. No other force will ever be stronger than Christ’s love.

 

Lord of Courage and Justice, fill us with Your exquisite, fear-dispelling love today! Amen

 

In the United States, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). The goal of SAAM is to raise public awareness about sexual harassment, abuse, and assault and educate communities on how to prevent it. In April 2020, the I Ask campaign will enter its second year, as we continue to explore the importance of consent in healthy relationships and empower everyone to put it into practice. Please see this weblink for more information:

https://www.nsvrc.org/saam

HITCH YOUR WAGON TO A STAR

Covered WagonThe fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher and poet who greatly influenced society during his lifetime. He and his close friend, Henry David Thoreau, both proposed (among many other ideas) that man’s relationship to nature was of paramount importance. “Philosophically considered,” Emerson said simply, “the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul.” He rejected the idea that God was separate from the world, that He lives in some far away heaven that mortal man cannot see, touch or feel. Emerson’s and Thoreau’s thinking was radical at the time but many of their followers embraced the idea that exposure to nature was inherent to individual peace and tranquility. Many today still believe God is closest when people stay close to nature. Indeed, I find great solace in spending time among this world’s beautiful scenery and wildlife.

 

One of Emerson’s most famous quotes was, “Hitch your wagon to a star.” The saying has been used in all sorts of ways in the two hundred-some years since Emerson wrote it. A simple explanation of his meaning might be for us to “aim high, set our sights on a lofty goal.” Its meaning for me makes me think of aligning ourselves with a lifestyle that closely reflects our most basic values. A good list of the values I hold dear is the “Fruit of the Spirit” set forth by the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:22-23. It is interesting to note that not one of the “fruits” Paul lists— love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—names a particular person, place, object or thing, fame or fortune, or political party. Paul’s list, which embodies all of Christ’s teaching in a few well-chosen words, is about what is inside of us, what gives us integrity. Webster defines “integrity” in two ways: (1) the quality of being honest and fair, and (2) the state of being complete or whole. What better way to maintain our integrity and find wholeness than to live out God’s “spiritual fruits.” Hitch your wagon to the “Morning Star”—a reference to Jesus in Revelation 21—and see the Son shine brightly in your earthly life!

 

Morning Star, let me “hitch” myself to You and soar to great heights! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

GREAT GRATITUDE

Little Girl PrayingSing to the Lord with grateful praise; make music to our God on the harp. Psalm 147:7

 

Writer and television host Ben Stein once said, “Be grateful….It’s the only reliable get-rich-quick scheme.” This is a good reminder for me, not because I have made an exhaustive search of “get-rich-quick schemes,” but because I don’t trust anyone or anybody who tells me I can get rich quick! I’ve certainly had my share of moments when I thought, “Money isn’t everything…but I’d sure like to have some, just to check that premise out!” I’m a creative person, and I appreciate beautiful things: clothes, jewelry, houses, furniture, cars, food, you name it! But I am grateful that I don’t have the kind of money or lifestyle where I can purchase any thing I want any time I want. Getting rich just to get rich seems like an awful waste of time!

 

Instead, tonight I’m thinking of all the things for which I am grateful that don’t cost a lot of money. I’m grateful for this fifteen-year-old computer that still lets me type my devotional posts. I’m grateful for the friend who helped me set up my devotional blog (almost) for free, and I’m certainly grateful that I know how to post on my blog (at my age). I’m grateful every day for the ideas God gives me for my devotions. He has never let me down, when I wrote a blog a day a few years ago, and still now when I write one a week. The snippets of Scripture or quotes from people like Ben Stein have me scrambling to get them down before I forget them. Sometimes all I get down is a word or a phrase, but I’m grateful it’s enough to go back and expand on that idea. The process makes me read things more carefully and notice the world around me more fully than I would if I wasn’t always writing about my world. What a blessing to view everything I see, hear and read as potential material for a special devotional! To think I could be stumbling through this world not noticing all the “little” things that really are not so “little” after all.

 

Lord of All Good Gifts, I’m grateful that I have my senses—seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, feeling, and even caring about the world You have provided around me! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .

MY CLAY JAR

Broken Clay JarBut we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

My “jar”—my body—is falling apart at the seams! To date, I’ve had eleven joint surgeries, three skin cancer surgeries, and miscellaneous other procedures. I have osteoarthritis in multiple joints, hypertension, low potassium, failing eyesight, my memory is not what it used to be, I need to lose some weight, and for some strange reason, I get depressed sometimes. In short, my body is failing me at an alarming rate! But the one thing that does not seem to be failing is my faith in God! In fact, the more that goes wrong, the more I find I rely on God. I have looked to Him to keep me afloat when I am in pain, or facing one of said surgeries, or feeling older in my body than in my mind. He has lifted me from tiny strength to ever-greater strength and assured me that He is with me at every step. He has provided me with a sound mind that allows me to adapt, each and every time, to what will become my “new normal.” And He’s made it clear to me that I have the capacity to flourish in new and unique ways, even if my body cannot perform as it once did.

 

In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul makes it clear that our bodies are frail, but God’s life in us remains powerful. Though we are “hard pressed on every side,” we are “not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed” (v. 8). What joy to know that even when our physical health and even our mental health waxes and wanes, our spiritual health is alive in Christ. In this way, “His life may also be revealed in our mortal body” (v. 11). I delight that I still have faith, this great and precious treasure in my clay jar, so that I may always let the light of Christ shine through me. My human capacity may be limited, but “with God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).

 

How can I show my gratitude, Lord, that You suffered far worse than I can imagine to give me hope for this life and the one to come? Praise Your holy name! Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work. She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com   MegCorrigan@comcast.net

SPILLING THE BEANS

Embarrassed-womanWise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the Child who has been born King of the Jews?”…(Herod) sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the Child; and when you have found Him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay Him homage.” Matthew 2:1-2, 8

 

Have you ever inadvertently said or done something that you should not have? As a young adult, it seemed I frequently found myself talking to someone I felt I could trust, only to hear later that what I said had been repeated to my embarrassment. I learned from those experiences to be more careful with sharing what was on my mind! I’ve also committed some of those egregious faux pas like asking a woman with a large belly when her baby is due, only to find out that was not the reason for her sizeable tummy! And I once stubbornly tried get into a car that looked like mine, turning to see a woman giving me an icy stare while holding her cell phone aloft as if to call the police. These little embarrassments may cause us momentary horror, but we can usually recover from them with time and gentle self-talk.

 

Epiphany brings the arrival of the Wise Men. Did these Eastern Kings who came to find the baby Jesus have any clue that King Herod was less than thrilled at their report about the newborn “king of the Jews?” They didn’t realize that their innocent question about how to find the Child Whose star they had followed was about to set off an international incident with fatal repercussions for all the children under two in the area (Matthew 2:16-18). I’m certain these Wise Men meant no harm; they were mesmerized by the Christ Star and what ancient texts had foretold about Him (v. 6). Herod was a cunning and cruel king and he took advantage of the men from the East. He wanted this new Baby out of his life and his kingdom. But God would prevail: Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt with Mary and Jesus, and the Wise Men were also warned to leave the area without letting Herod know where the Child was (vs. 12-15).

 

Sovereign Lord, we thank You that Your plans are perfect and evil humans cannot change their course. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan tells stories of wisdom, strength, fear, joy and risk-taking. Daughter of a raging alcoholic mother, and survivor of sexual assault at gunpoint, Corrigan has shaken a dismal past and flung herself into the arms of Christ, Who sustains her in her daily walk of grace. She shares with her listeners her incredible story of surviving and thriving through many trials during her seven decades walking this fragile earth. She has been described as a Renaissance Woman, integrating her formal training in psychology and counseling, an enlightening experience as a percussionist for a Polynesian show troupe, and most recently as an inspirational author and blogger. Her exposure to many life experiences has enriched her passion for spreading Christ’s word and helping other trauma survivors. She has a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling and thirty-plus years of experience in the field of counseling and social work.  She lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, with the love of her life, Patrick, and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. www.MegCorrigan.com    MegCorrigan@comcast.net

RESTING GRINCH FACE

grinch1.0A cheerful heart is a good medicine,  but a downcast spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

 

We’ve all met them. They seem to be everywhere during the Christmas season. Some people just can’t get into the mood for Christ’s birth, no matter what anyone says to them. If you wish them a Merry Christmas, they scowl at you or just turn and walk away. They suck the energy right out of the office Christmas party, and they haunt family gatherings. They won’t tell us what’s bothering them, or what has set them off. They aren’t happy about it being Christmas and they are going to try hard to make the rest of us unhappy too.

 

What do we do about people who spend the entire Advent season wearing a “resting Grinch face?” We can try to console them, engage them in a positive conversation about something, anything! Maybe they have bad memories of Christmas past. I know a woman whose parents were divorced whose only childhood memories of Christmas were about being shuffled from one parent’s home to the other, with little time to enjoy or appreciate either side of the family. Others may associate Christ’s birth with their own feelings of inadequacy or shame or guilt. Grieving for the loss of a loved one, a job, one’s health, or a relationship can add to the holiday blues. Some folks are genuinely turned off by the commercialization of this sacred occasion (count me among them!). And still more people dread being alone on Christmas because there isn’t a single person with whom they can plan to spend the holiday.

 

The “resting Grinch faces” of the world need our understanding and compassion, not our judgement. Holiday blues are different from mental illness, but short-term mental health problems can lead to clinical anxiety and depression. One of the best ways to help people who are unhappy during the Holidays is to include them in our lives and our activities. We may need to remain vigilant and be patient. The season is short, but Christ came not to condemn us but to offer us peace and healing. He would want us to keep that uppermost in our minds.

 

Child of Wonder, You came to us when the world was hurting, just as it is now. Help us spread the light of Your love now and all year long. Amen

 

Meg Blaine Corrigan finds ideas for her devotional blogs in everyday places and events, from comic strips to magazines and books, comments on the fly from people she meets, ancient memories of her childhood, and nigglings from God. To date, she has written nearly 700 different devotions, filling one book of daily readings, Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, published in 2015. Meg is working on a second book (Saints TWO) which she had hoped would be completed by now. She posts once a week, which means in seven years, she will have enough entries to fill a second book. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing, so Meg is pacing herself, enjoying spending time with her husband, their four daughters and spouses, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, as well as their rescue dog, Bassett/Beagle mix Ginger. Meg is involved in volunteer work at her church, Christ Lutheran in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, and also with sexual violence/sex trafficking prevention and education. She speaks to groups whenever she if offered the opportunity. She is a voracious reader of other people’s writing, which gives her lots of ideas for more devotional blogs. Read more about her at www.MegCorrigan.com or contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net .