I hate it when people tell me, “I told you so.” I remember as a kid I would get hopping mad when this phrase would come out. I don’t think I fully understood why this phrase would make me so angry back then. Now as an adult I understand some of the emotions behind this phrase.
You warn your child not to touch a hot iron, and of course they do. Out comes the phrase, “I told you so” as you are running a little hand under cold water, assessing if your day will include a run to the doctor. Fear of harm for your child, anger that you were not listened to, disappointment that the bad thing happened as you predicted, and well, pride that you were right.
I hated this phrase so much as a child that I made a conscious effort not to say this with my children and husband. Even though this is a phrase I try not to utter, my family will tell you I say it with my face. They call it the smug face.
It is a bit of a joke in my house, but the smug face had the same impact on my kids as the words did on me as a child. Even though I made a conscious effort not to use the words, “I told you so,” the attitude and emotions behind the words still came out.
What a contrast to Jesus, who also uttered the words, “I told you so.”
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In this chapter, Jesus is having a close moment with His disciples, and He is talking to them about things that are going to happen. They are confused and at times sad during this conversation. They are like children who can’t see all that is coming. But here is the difference between my smug face and Jesus’ “I told you so:” Jesus uses the phrase before the events. The smug face comes out after the events.
Jesus is not using this phrase out of the emotions of disappointment at not being obeyed. Nor is He speaking out of pride that He is right. He tells His disciples so that they may have peace.
When have I ever used the words, “I told you so” to give peace?
Jesus knew I would face trouble. He knew that in our lives we would face sickness, financial issues, government unrest, even death. But He told me so I could have peace. The troubles I face are connected to this world, and, until I reach heaven, I will face trouble. I have been dwelling on John 16 for weeks now, as we are all trying to navigate the COVID19 world. It seems every day there is some new change or disaster. There is so much information, but what is true and what is false? I am like the disciples that night, confused and wondering what is going on. That’s when I choose to remember this virus and the various responses we are undertaking are all known to Jesus. He knew this day, He could understand my pain and fear. He knew and He told me so. In His Service, Bonnie
Last Tuesday, I received a text message from my daughter; she and her fiancé made the tough decision to postpone their May wedding. “Due to local restrictions and health concerns, we’ve made the decision to reschedule our wedding to a later date this year. We want to keep our friends and family safe and take the difficult decision around whether or not to travel in the next couple of months out of your hands."
As I thought about what to write for this week’s blog, it seemed important to find something positive. I found this wonderful post, written by Deborah Kur and posted on The Times of Israel. She experienced a situation similar to mine: the wedding will happen; she just won’t be there.
She writes, “As part of a greater whole, I can’t just think of my needs. The pull between head and heart is so difficult. Hopefully, we will all be able to weather this time of crisis from a place of integrity and calmness. Lifestyles have totally changed in the past few days and are probably going to keep changing, so here are some tips to keep healthy at this time:
Tips and daily practices:
Meditate and pray daily. Focus your mind and raise your consciousness.
Work with fears as they arise, but don’t let them overwhelm you.
Focus on opportunities, not end-of-the-world scenarios. Ask yourself, “How can this situation cause positive changes that we and the world might need anyway?”
Be a positive example and support to others. When we feel inspired, we will have a ripple effect on those we are spending time with.
Think of small acts of kindness you can do for others out there. Be creative!
Try to sleep at least eight hours every night.
Get regular exercise–outdoors, if possible.
Eat a balanced and healthy diet, including fruit and veggies and drink plenty of water.
Keep remembering to wash hands and follow the guidelines from the health authorities.
Look for the opportunities of what can be done at home.
Learn something new; this is stimulating. Platforms like COURSERA.COM offer free university courses. Keep stimulated!
Gardening is a tranquil activity, and connecting to the earth is grounding. If you can be outside, walk barefoot on the grass, or–even better–the beach. It’s Spring!
Spend time within contemplating; it can help us to emerge more peaceful and clear about our purpose not just in our own lives, but our role within humanity and inhabitants of our beautiful planet as well.
Have deeper, longer conversations with people you love.
Out of struggle and tragedy something new can be born. What will your role in this rebirth be? Let’s look at this Coronavirus pandemic as a wake-up call as we unite to better serve each other and our planet.
My daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law’s decision, whilst it made me sad in the moment, also reminded me of how proud I am of them. They will reschedule. The wedding will take place.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25
In His Service, Janet P.S. Think physical distancing to combat the virus. This is NOT social isolation. Call a friend!
“I know you’d want to know that Jesse passed away this morning,” read the text message from my ex-husband, Keith. It started me on a long trip down memory lane last week. And, it eventually reminded me that God has a plan to prosper us.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Jesse and his wife, Eva, were the first friends we made when we moved to Alaska back in 1972. We were all young and invincible—until we suddenly realized we weren’t.
Keith and Jesse met as co-working “tire-busters” at the J.C. Penney auto shop in Anchorage. I went from being a maid at the Anchorage Westward Hotel to insurance report editor, and Eva was a lightning-fast key-punch operator. We rode our motorcycles together, broke bread together, stayed up through the long nights playing pool at area bars with another “tire-buster” friend, Joe. We enjoyed our carefree youth together.
Eventually, Jesse was able to land a job in construction of the North Slope’s Alaska Pipeline by lying about how he could drive heavy equipment. A quick learner, he was soon driving oil-fueling rigs to equipment up and down the haul road for 9-week stretches of time away from home. He was making big bucks on the Slope working as a Teamster. Keith became an Alaska State Trooper, making in a month what Jesse made in a week. We continued having lots of fun together on Jesse’s 2-week breaks at home. Everything changed on March 7, 1977.
On that day, Jesse and Joe drove up to our home in Trapper Creek for a day of outdoor fun with us. Keith and I often rode our Yamaha 440 snowmachines for hours through vast expanses of rural woods, trails, farms, and backroads in that part of Interior Alaska. That particular day, though, Jesse and I decided to cross-country ski with our cameras while Keith and Joe tore around through the deep snow on the snowmachines. They hunted us down after an hour or so to tell us they thought we might like to photograph them taking some jumps up the lip of a nearby gravel pit. Sounded exciting, and we skied off to position ourselves for great shots. After watching them make a half-dozen jumps in the deep snow, we could see that they always landed in the same spot. Feeling safe, Jesse crouched between their landing spots so he could shoot up at the undercarriage as they careened up and over. I positioned myself at the lip, signaling to Jesse when they arrived at the lip so he could get ready for the perfect picture. Okay, in retrospect, it’s easy to see how innocent and stupid we were….
Anyway, Jesse got some great shots in the first couple of leaps. But, then, Joe’s machine inexplicably veered off-course up the lip and struck Jesse. When I reached him, Jesse was immobile and face-down in the deep snow. I knew basic treatment as I had just one week left before finishing my EMT-I certification. As carefully as we could, we flipped his limp body over, and I started CPR protocol with deep breaths. Thank God that Jesse started breathing again, as his diaphragm had been temporarily paralyzed along with the lower half of his body. I’ve relived that day enumerable times, including: the Army’s Jolly-Green Giant flying into that gravel pit to safely transport Jesse to the hospital in Anchorage, our shock as we drove down to pick up Eva and deliver the awful news that Jesse was badly injured and couldn’t feel his legs, the long wait in the hospital….
But I told you this was a reminder that God has a plan to prosper us. It is. And He does.
After an excruciating year of healing, Jesse spent the rest of his life paralyzed from the waist down. For a reason he didn’t understand—since he was a young, healthy man, Jesse had recently purchased 100% medical coverage from the Teamsters. They ended up paying for all his medical and rehabilitation expenses, also providing him with a lifetime stipend. He wisely used their support to attend college until he earned his PhD. After years of intense study and work, Jesse became a world-renowned neuro-biologist specializing in research on regeneration of neural tissue. He traveled around the world speaking with other scientists on the topic, hoping to find a way to regenerate nerves. He also became well-known with physical therapy specialists for his mobility inventions for paralyzed people. He contributed to great advancements in care for physically challenged people. For example, he taught from what he called his “stand-up machine,” which had a built-in lectern and easy movement with hand controls. He could get out into the “tuley-puckers” on his hand-cranked ATV, because he knew he wasn’t the only paralyzed person who missed getting out into the woods. He purposefully didn’t design it with a battery, because he wanted people to feel that independence in their lives again and didn’t want anyone to be trapped in the woods with a dead battery. Now you see this type of equipment with regularity; they were rare as hen’s teeth back then. He worked to change access and laws for wheelchair-bound people. He also had a 20-year career of inspiring and teaching medical students at the University of Alaska while he continued his research work. Jesse was an amazing man!
From tire-buster to world-renowned scientist. God knows the plans He has for us. Before his accident, Jesse had never expressed an interest in medicine, in inventing, in reaching out to help others.
Jeremiah 1:5 tells us that the Word of the Lord came to him, saying, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart.” I think Jesse was also set apart like this.
I wrote this blog before the pandemic of COVID-19 coronavirus was declared. God offers encouraging words in this situation as well as ones that fit Jesse’s life.
Jesus has some uplifting words for us: “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27, and “ “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
My friend Jesse met his life’s challenges in a manner that I pray we all can: with hope and a drive to better ourselves and to help our fellow man. We can meet this pandemic challenge and other challenges in our lives if we keep God’s plans in our hearts: to give us hope and a future.
1 Peter 1:6 says to, “Be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”
Since moving to the area from Montana, I’ve enjoyed the weather here, for the most part. We don’t experience the subzero temperatures or have to endure the deep freezes that seem to linger forever in Montana. I have to admit the long periods of gray skies, rain or snow, and short days here in the winter have been a challenge for me. No matter how much I try to stay positive, dreary days can also make me feel dreary.
On the other hand, when sunshine peeks through the clouds and I feel the warm rays on my skin, my mood changes immediately. I find myself trying to soak up all the warmth the sun can give me and I feel rejuvenated.
I’ve already started planning what I want to put in my flower garden. One of the flowers that I hope to grow this year is one that I had in my garden in Montana: the Painted Daisy. I received this plant as a gift from my mother’s neighbor. She had a beautiful garden that would come back each year and last all season. The plant start she gave me prospered wonderfully in my garden and was one of my favorite flowers. I wish that I had taken a start from that plant when I left Montana, because I cannot find it in any of the nurseries around here. I finally found some seeds and have already started them indoors, hoping they will be ready for me to plant in the spring.Watching everything bloom in the spring after a dreary winter reminds me of the beautiful changes that God works in our hearts.
2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (ESV)
Colossians 3:10, “…and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (ESV) 2 Corinthians 5:18-20: “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (ESV)
I’m thankful that God takes our hearts that can be like winter’s soil, hard and frozen, and renew them by His Word to bring forth something beautiful and new.
Many times inspiration is visual, as it is in this sculpture. Truly, a photo is worth a thousand words! When my grandmother passed away a few years ago, I noticed that my mother had made this her background photo on her computer screen. As she looked at the photo every day, it provided the much needed comfort she desired at the time.
The original life-size sculpture of “Come Unto Me” by Jerry Anderson was unveiled 20 years ago with expectations of being a comfort to grieving families experiencing the loss of a loved one. Taking more than a year to make, the original bronze monument stands in the grand foyer of the Spilsbury Mortuary in St. George, Utah. It has become a scenic attraction in addition to a comfort to many families at a most tender time of their lives.
The portrayal of an aged woman’s body, returning to it’s symbolic prime, portrays the spiritual journey from mortality to immortality and into the arms of our savior; an eternal destiny, that all mankind lives eternally.
Looking back over the past few years, it makes sense that my mother would find comfort from this beautiful image. I hope to one day visit St. George where I can experience the “Come Unto Me” life-size sculpture which has brought comfort and has lifted the hearts of many!
Jesus said, “In my father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way I am going.” “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” “Because I live, you will live also.” John 14:2-6, 19