Sunday Teacher

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© jb katke

My Sunday teacher in high school was nice enough, a well-meaning lady. Mrs. Newman taught from the Bible what God’s marriage plan looked like. In a variety of ways, she got the consistent message across. She may have referenced a stack of Bibles; it’s just that she didn’t understand.

If she could have met the boy I was dating, I’m certain she would have taken her words back. I mean, my boyfriend was a really nice guy, there was nothing to dislike about him. Ok, he didn’t go to a church like mine, but still…

Mrs. Newman had to be in her forties, what could she possibly know about boys and dating? She was married, but still, she was so old-fashioned. She was teaching ancient stuff. How could any of that be of importance today?

One of her favorite bones to pick was to be equally yoked. What was that? I envisioned a male and female with this wood yoke around their necks pulling a cart. They would walk in unison. Ok, I got it; but like we would hardly be doing that!

“Be of the same faith.” Whatever for, it can’t be that important?

She had quite a list of other things to consider when we were dating boys:

“There are a lot of fish in the sea, make sure he is respectful of you.” Yeah, yeah, I know. He is

“Don’t spend too much time with each other.” Uh-oh, we have become exclusive. Not really hanging with our friends. We couldn’t get enough of each other.

Let me clarify that, he had friends, but not so much me. My neighborhood was full of old people, no kids to be had.

When you go out together, make it a group date with friends.” That’s fine if your friends had dates too, ours did not.

“No sex.” I knooww, what do you take me for?

There were others that I dismissed as well.

But I had moved on. Time has shown me there was truth in her words Wisdom comes with age!

I learned having the same religion makes it easier to be on the same page with each other. Fortunately, I found out his love and respect for his mom carried over to me as well.  If I believed in luck, I would say that was a lucky break. I know better.

Twenty years later, attending a women’s conference, I saw Mrs. Newman. At break time we happened to sit at the same table with our refreshment.

It was so long ago, would she even remember me?

No matter, I looked upon this encounter as a divine appointment. I introduced myself and she claimed to have remembered me.

With pleasure I told her of my husband. I married that high school sweetheart, and yes, we had some ups and downs. But we reached a happily ever after marriage.

There is no doubt in my mind God had his hand on our relationship. Twenty-twenty hindsight tells me it could have been much different for us.

There are no guarantees in a marriage certificate. In his book, God mentions, if we do life his way, things will go well with us. We are living proof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Flower

 

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Rose accused me of having frog eyes.

I hope my introduction of Rose will do her justice. Her life was like a flower to me. Did I ever let her know that? No, and it hurts my heart that I’m so lousy at maintaining friendships.

She and her husband Hank were neighbors of my husband. We were going together when I first met them. Often, when we had no money for a real date, we walked two doors down to visit with them.

Hank and Rose mentored us when mentoring wasn’t cool. They may or may not have realized how much we gleaned from them. It took years before I realized it myself.

Together they showed us what family life was all about. They were a blended family but Hank took her family as his, and likewise, his family became Roses. I know no details of their life beforehand and refuse to speculate. There is an advantage to take life where it’s at and move forward because the past is history.

Rose was perpetually involved in some project. Always revolving around family. Although she may have been contemplating a needlework sampler for the two of us. I saw the same pattern she did and ordered it to make myself. That’s when she called me frog eyes.

Even so, both of them took time to chat with us teenagers. They made relationship a priority. We weren’t part of the ‘in crowd’ of party-goers, drinkers, or doing drugs. Instead these precious neighbors were more our speed.

She shared the secret of how to get a husband to do a chore for her. Rose had repeatedly asked Hank to paint their iron stair rail, but he never quite found the time for it. One Saturday morning she laid out newspaper on the carpeted steps and proceeded to open the paint can.

“What are you doing?” Hank inquired.

“I could see how busy you’ve been, so I decided I could probably do this myself.”

“Here, give me the brush, I’ll take over.”

Mission accomplished.

I use the analogy of a flower because a flower brings beauty into any place.  It improves whatever is close by it and that is what Rose did for me. She showed me the impact a loving wife can have to her husband, her home and her family.

Whatever brought her to mind I cannot say, but I googled her and learned of her death. This I can say, whatever her age, she always seemed young. She embraced the computer age and became adept in the cyber world, putting me to shame.

Just as a flower fades with time, apparently so did Rose. Alzheimer’s is a frustrating death that is torturous for loved ones to witness.

While I don’t know her spiritual life, she reminds me much of Jesus. Rose and Jesus prioritized people. Both of them saw the good in others and showed their care.

Goodbye Rose, I love you and hope to see you later.

 

Moses Encounter With God

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 I’ve taken this from Exodus 3 and felt it was too good to keep to myself. In light of the current world-wide Coronavirus crisis I’m hoping it means as much to you as it does for me. It might help to read it from the Bible first.

Verse 2 God appears suddenly-Sometimes where we least expect to see Him

Verses 3&4 He catches our attention-When our mind & body is always busy God will use whatever it takes to get us focused back on Him.

Verse 5 He is Holy-How we see God is crucial to our relationship together.

Verse 6 God has a history-We have heard of Him before and still speaks to those who listen.

Verse 7 God sees, hears & is aware –Sometimes we may wonder, but if scripture is truth then there is a reason for what is going on right now.

Verse 8 He rescues & leads-Acknowledge the good results of what we had no control over as his rescue.  He purposely uses the people in life for our benefit.

Verse 10 He sends-We may find ourselves in places or situations we would never have voluntarily gone.

Verse 11 Mankind reeks with insecurity-How do you see yourself?  Are you willing to help others in crisis times?

Verse 12 God is with you and knows the future-This gives us hope & a reason to continue on, if for no other reason than to see how God works things out.

Verse 14 God is who He has always been-It’s the same guy, the One who created life itself all the way to where we are today.

Verse 15 God is known through all the generations-You have heard of Him, it’s our responsibility to tell others about him.

Verse 16 He watches over you-As bad as things seem, they could always be worse.

Verse 17 God promises a better future-Take that as a fact from Someone who knows.

Verse 19 God is the Supreme Motivator-To comply with his will avoids him having to apply heavy pressure to reach us.

Verse 20 God strikes at the heart with His miracles-He can and will amaze you in ways you never imagined.

Verse 21 He will see to it that His will is done-With or without help from you and I.

Verse 22 God provides-He gives us what we need when we need it; in ways we would never thought of.

These recent days have brought the uncertainty of life home. Literally. Instead of panicing, lets join together and see how our future will unfold. Keep in mind, God is still on his throne.

 

 

 

Back to School Shopping

Back to School Ad

Mothers with children in tow were milling everywhere.  The wails of the boy could be heard above the din of the shoppers.

“Momma, nooo!

Small children, too young to be involved in the clothing hunt ran amuck between display racks.

The young boys voice rose in volume, “But I don’t want to!”

Mom’s response was unintelligible.

Long lines to the fitting room ran out into the store as shoppers waited impatiently for their turn to try selections on.

By now the little guy is sobbing, “Please don’t make me!”

This time the mothers impatient voice could be heard, “I’ll stand right here blocking everyone from seeing you.” 

Surely, this mom wasn’t making her son undress out in public? What was she thinking?

My Heart Aches

Each new school year, this memory comes back to haunt me. My heart aches for this little guy who has now reached manhood.

I wonder what his relationship is with his mother now? How marred is his adulthood from this childhood experience? Home is the place of learning respect, in giving and receiving.

The Old Creed

Respect is a small word with huge implications. Sensitivity to others is key, in-home or out. An old creed from my past is worth keeping in mind.  Do unto others as you would have done to you. 

Sixty Years Later

Meet my cousin Diane. What a lady!

She is a modern day survivor. None of us would wish for the childhood she had.

Diane’s mom was a troubled soul. Back in the day she suffered mental issues that are now treatable. We owe my aunt much, due to the experimental treatments she endured.

Drama lived in Diane’s childhood home, leaving her bitter memories. My aunt was committed to a mental institution where she lived out her remaining years.

Diane was sent to an orphanage. Upon her return home, she and her father didn’t get along well.

Society didn’t make life easy for a single father. While still a minor, Diane left home. Society didn’t make life easy for a teenager on her own either.

New and Improved

Diane married, striving for the normal family she had never known.

The two of us had lost touch with each other long ago. But through my husband’s Ancestry page, she located me/us.

This summer we had made a return trip to Michigan, taking the opportunity to meet Diane.

Her first words reflected my own feelings, “I’m so nervous!”

We learned for seventeen years we lived forty-five minutes from each other, never knowing it. There is so much to catch up on.

A Mystery

It’s a mystery why life takes us places we never imagined. Maybe we wouldn’t have appreciated our family ties if they were normal. What is normal anyway, but a setting on our washer?

God’s reasons are beyond our way of thinking. Two things I can say with certainty:

The Lord carried Diane through tough times, and she came out fine. And both of us have been blessed with a restored relationship.

Restoration, that’s what He is all about. Okay, so three things.