Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Storm of Life



Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

This weekend was painful. My husband decided to give himself a concussion as well as assess his skin’s capacity to handle needlework on two separate occasions. After long hours in the emergency room and a few more in the urgent care clinic, I brought him home with a dozen stitches, funky vision, and a wicked headache.
As I watched the man I loved late into the night, I praised the Lord. My husband was alive. He still had his eyesight. So many things could have gone so much worse. The Almighty had not only delivered my wonderful man from a horrible fate but had seen me through a long, emotional weekend.
Thank you, Lord for showing me Your wonderful provision and glorious love. You have once again given me the power and strength to withstand the storms of life. You are my rock, my fortress, my deliverer. In You, I will find salvation and joy. Amen.

In Christ,

Renee

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Music in the Air: A Joyful Noise

© Stubblefieldphoto 

Psalm 98:4 “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.”

Have you ever sat in church and listened to the soaring notes of the choir as they sing “How Great Thou Art?” What about a soloist’s rendition of “He’s Alive?” Chills race down your spine before you brush the tears from your face. The glory of the Lord shines in His house, right?
Then there’s the one standing in the pew behind you. You know the person I’m talking about. Off-key Bobbie Sue and her “angelic” daughter who belongs in children’s church. She always belts out the hymns and praise songs at the top of her lungs, with her daughter keeping time with a methodical kick to your back rest. At least you don’t have to worry about straying from the beat, huh?
Directly to your right, across the aisle, is the church mouse. The music starts and her head lands in the hymnal (or bulletin as the case may be). A whisper pours forth from the shy soul. But do you think the Lord hears her praise?
Outside, the wind is howling. The windows shudder and quake with its ferocity. The door even vibrates a tune of its own. The old church creaks and groans with the pressure of the storm. The building adds its own voice of praise to the Lord. Everything on earth give praise, right?
Then silence descends on the congregation for prayer. Suddenly, the song of a bird sounds through the sanctuary. It echoes off the stained glass and the pipes of the organ. Everyone looks around at each other, and then to the rafters.
High above, close to the ceiling, sits a mockingbird. Instead of rounding up his elders or deacons to shoo it out the door, the pastor gestures the people to have a seat. And for the rest of the hour, God’s expert imitator and performer lifted beautiful music to his creator. Quite becoming, don’t you think?
So what kind of noise do you make? Yes, I said make. Not watch. You see, sometimes I get so caught up with what others are doing. I get wrapped up in their lives that I forget about my own.
Instead of worrying about whether or not Bobbie Sue can carry a tune in a bucket, I should be praising the Lord with her. After all, I’m not an opera singer for goodness sake. No more complaining about her annoying daughter keeping time on my back and praise the Father that I don’t have to! If the mouse wants to whisper to the Lord, so be it. God hears all things. Even this old, creaky church. Praise God, we have a place to worship. So many don’t.
Now, I see an old church and listen to its various musical tones.  I hear the sounds of the elements as a symphony lifting to the Father. And whenever I’m outside, I listen to the birds and thank the Lord for the music in the air. I even find myself whistling along. Oh, what a joyful noise.

In Christ,

Renee

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Guest: The Test of Trials


WHY DOES GOD GIVE ME SO MANY TRIALS?

I teach a five-week English Composition class online for a small Midwestern college. As a way to get to know my new students, I have them write a short introduction that not only allows me to see the skill sets I’ll be working with, but lets me get to know them. The thing I am surprised at the most is the ability they have to share their most intimate and personal thoughts, all because they are not face-to-face with either fellow students or instructors.
I have watched as students encourage other students that are almost illiterate. I hear touching stories of deployments, divorce, alcoholism, and abuse, a subject that is personal to me. I’m moved by the way these students reach out and not only ask for help, but offer it. In this class, I have found that I am so much more than an instructor who corrects grammar and punctuation. I am a friend, a mentor, a guide and a protector.
The beauty of this job is that I realize the place of authority God has put me in. I didn’t “fall” into this position. I was “put” here by the very hand of my Savior. You see, as a child I was abused by my father. No one saw what was happening to me. The silent disease was going on behind the doors of a respectable house. It would be years before I was able to escape the effects of that abuse.
I wrote about that dark place in my fictionalized book, Run, River Currents. 
It’s not a pretty story and not for the faint of heart. It took many, many years for the small seed of precious hope God had planted in me through the words and actions of my godly grandfather to come to fruition. I carried the burden and shame of what my father had done to me into a marriage. I brought up a son fighting my own urges to physically abuse him.
But God prevailed and here I am, listening to the heartaches of others and sharing the same hope God had planted in me. In my life I’ve dealt with many of the situations these young people are facing today. I can offer a bit of wisdom now only because I’ve learned to seek help from God’s Word and in prayer. I am able, even in a secular college, to empathize, to listen, to encourage and to help, all because God had a plan to use my pain and mistakes for his glory.
Are you wondering why you are going through some tough situation right now? Look ahead. Your painful trials may lift someone from despair in the future.
Beloved, do not think it is strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” I Peter 4:12-13

Ginger

About the Author:


Ginger Marcinkowski spent many summers traveling between her home state of Maine and her grandparents’ home in New Brunswick, Canada. The sweet memories gave her the love for the deep Canadian forests and the mighty Tobique River—the setting for Run, River Currents. The novel was a semi-finalist in the 2012 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest and received an Honorable mention in the 2012 New England Book Festival.


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