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

KEEPING OUR TANKS FULL

gaspumpI will praise the Lord, Who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:7-8

 

My husband and I are on a road trip, to escape the cold weather in our home state of Minnesota. We are taking mostly back roads, on our way to Gulf Shores, Alabama. Since we aren’t near any major highways, we are on the lookout for smaller, clean gas stations with reasonably priced fuel. We won’t take a chance on letting our tank approach empty since we are not sure where we might find the next gas station. This is also true of our own personal energy tanks: we want to make sure we have something to eat before we get too cranky, and we want to find a decent motel with a comfortable bed to lay our heads down before we become so exhausted we are a danger to each other and our dog.

 

Why is it that we can think so rationally about what we need to make our cars operate properly, to keep our stomachs full and our physical bodies rested—but we often abandon our efforts to stay spiritually nourished when we are away from home? In our defense, we bring along two daily devotional booklets, and we each have a Bible “app” on our phones. We read these devotions every day and we always pray before meals. But we will be on the road for the two Sundays we are on the trip, so church is out. So how can we remain spiritually fed while we are travelling?

 

The Psalmist says that the Lord is always with us; He gives us instructions, even when we sleep (Psalm 16:7). I have a choice, as we are driving down these beautiful, rolling, back country roads: I can ponder the problems in my everyday life, and all the sorrow and sadness in this world, or I can say as the Psalmist does, “my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure” (v. 9) I can praise God for this wonderful trip and the peace it is giving my husband and me.

 

Thank You, God! The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance! (v. 6) 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 .

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 .

CRY ME A RIVER

Tears_Macro_Female_face-1200x628-FacebookYou keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8 NLT

 

According to Wikipedia, “Tears are a clear liquid secreted by the lacrimal glands (tear gland) found in the eyes of all land mammals (except for goats and rabbits). Their functions include lubricating the eyes (basal tears), removing irritants (reflex tears), and aiding the immune system.” The American Academy of Pediatrics says that babies “cry” a lot, but they don’t produce tears until they are seven or eight months old. Women cry on average almost twice as often as men, but this may be due to societal acceptance of women who shed tears over men. In fact, the Latin name for “cry baby,” or someone who tears up frequently, is lachrimist, and can refer to either gender.

 

Crying can be good for you, because it releases oxytocin and endorphins, chemicals that make us feel better. I am not typically a crier, but when I get started, it’s hard to stop. And the littlest things can choke me up, like a Hallmark card commercial, or a sweet animal video, or just some random kid in the neighborhood doing something caring for another kid or (better yet) an adult.

 

Christians have often called this earthly life a “valley of tears.” Even though we believe in a gracious and loving God, and we place our hope in His ability to lift us up from the woes of this present life, we also grieve and feel sorrow and hurt throughout our worldly journey. And although we may often feel like our pain is of no consequence to those around us, not one twinge of discomfort escapes God’s watchful eye. Psalm 121:4 says God “neither sleeps nor slumbers,” but He keeps watch over us at all times. The image in Psalm 56:8 of God caring enough to collect each of sorrow-(and joy-)filled tears in a bottle is of great comfort to me. It reminds me that, though my weeping may not seem productive to me, God values those experiences as much as he does my greatest earthly successes. So go ahead, cry a river! God will still love you!

 

God of Tender Mercies, You treasure my tears enough to preserve them in a heavenly bottle. I am humbled and grateful for Your love and concern. Amen

 

Alone on a Colorado mountain, Meg Corrigan faced the unthinkable, a situation that almost ended her life. Hear the details of her astounding rescue from the hands of a gun-wielding attacker and how she walked off that mountain. Hers is a story of tragedy turned holy, a journey of sorrow and healing, a powerful message of hope in the darkest hour. In her memoir, Then I Am Strong: Moving From My Mother’s Daughter to God’s Child, Meg credits her resilience to the grace of God. She is also the author of Perils of a Polynesian Percussionist, tales based on her years as a drummer in a Hawaiian show band; and Saints With Slingshots: Daily Devotions for the Slightly Tarnished But Perpetually Forgiven Christian, released this month. Meg is a retired college counselor, author, speaker, trainer and sexual assault survivor. She speaks to churches, civic groups, college students, mental health professionals and law enforcement personnel, as well as youth in juvenile facilities. Corrigan lives in Lake Elmo, Minnesota with her husband, Patrick and their formerly disenfranchised rescue dog Ginger. She loves to coax seemingly dead plants out of the soil in her yard. The couple have four daughters, ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Contact her at MegCorrigan@comcast.net or www.MegCorrigan.com .

GRAMBULANCE

ambulance “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

 

Do you have (or had) a grandmother or grandfather to whom you turned for comfort in tough times? I never knew any of my grandparents. But I know many folks who remember at least one grandma or grandpa always being there to listen, to give hugs, to spend undistracted time with them when they were young. In our modern society, grandparents may move to senior housing rather than live with relatives. Families live far and wide today, making daily contact with older relatives impossible. But if you were or are one of the lucky ones, to have frequent contact with elder family members who care about you, you are blessed with a wealth of wisdom and problem-solving ability developed over many years. Although your parents care about you too, they are often caught up in keeping you safe and out of trouble—plus they are usually busy with work or other life activities. Your grandparents can, in many ways, provide you with some of the most honest and accurate information about life that you are able to get—and they love doing that!

 

As a grandmother and a great-grandmother myself, I’ve tried to be that special resource person to my grandkids. In fact, I even coined a word to describe what an active grandparent can be. Grambulance, a combination of the words “gramma” or “grampa” and “ambulance,” describes the special relationships young people have with their older family members. Like an ambulance, a grandparent is often available as soon as you need them. You can call or text them and they can often answer right away. They are filled with “equipment” to help you survive a broken heart or a bad grade or even your parents’ arguments or separation or divorce. Grandparents have seen and heard and done a lot in their lives, and they’ve learned how to handle tough situations. They also shepherded your own parents through some of the same crises you are now encountering; and experience is an excellent teacher. “Grambulances” may not have lights and sirens, but they are a rolling source of emergency measures to help you whenever you need them.

 

Lord, help us to see the wisdom in our older relatives! They love us as You do and are there to help us! 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 .