We are excited to kick off this new endeavor on our blog! This month marks the beginning of spotlighting guest writers. Each month an article will be posted by a guest. They will tell their story of God’s faithfulness, wonder, power, and mercy in their life! We at Gentle Whisper Ministries believe in His Word, and that on this earth we are not alone in our struggles. We believe in God’s word where he says:
“Yes, my brother (and sister), please do me this favor for the Lord’s sake. Give me this encouragement in Christ.” Phlm. 20 NLT
“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to your life!
God Amidst Chaos
Chaos. Why does it seem to take chaos for us to see things from God’s perspective? Is it because we put everything in a nice, neat, box? In our minds do we attempt to make the world around us like the Garden of Eden. Only chaos, pain, hardships, and despair, happen only on television?
“Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made.” Gen. 2:8 NLT
If that’s not you then, good for you. But for me, a Christian woman, who loves Jesus, and helps the poor, God showed me a whole other side of life. Amidst chaos.
Over the last 4 years, I’ve journeyed twice from Florida to New York City. The first time, I drove
from Michigan via Niagara Falls to meet my new husbands East Coast family. The trip was well planned out. Ok. We had an agenda. A list of how things were going to go. That should have been the first indication things would change.
“You can make many plans, but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.” Pr. 19:21 NLT
Our agenda included:
- Visit my brother-in-law and his family
- A walk in Central Park
- A stroll in New York City
- A visit to the Intrepid Museum
- Visit my sister-in-law and her family
The agenda was working quite well until, leaving my sister-in-law’s. My brother-in-law had a seizure! With us, in an elevator. Chaos begins to wedge itself in.
The elevator seemed to take its time going down. They never seem to go fast when we want or need them to, but that gave us time to pray. And pray we did! We made our way to the hospital. It was my first experience to an inner city hospital.
Chaos has arrived. What I saw there was unbelievable!
- Drug addicts.
- Old folks wheeled in on stretchers. They appeared to be close to death.
- People running in and out of the bathroom’s doing urine tests.
- Angry patients pulling out IV’s without a nurse.
- Patients parked four deep on gurneys in the hallways.
See chaos!!! And our agenda – gone.
After experiencing all of that in the Emergency Room we had to go to the waiting room. Perhaps there I’ll find peace, and normalcy? Now, I should have mentioned that I grew up in middle-class America, and never had seen anything remotely like what I was seeing now!
“The wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God – his plan was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began…No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” 1 Cor. 2: 7, 9 NLT
But, God being true to his nature, right there in the hospital, in the midst of the chaos reminded me – all these “people” were my brothers and/or sisters in Christ Jesus — just like my blood family. While I tried so hard to distance myself from them, the events taking place before me, and the chaos, I could not escape the fact that we had all come from Adam and Eve. All born into sin and all level at the cross. I began to see them and their problems that day very differently. I began to see that we were all people, created in His image, and saved by His grace. Because I was born in middle America, I was no better.
“He died for everyone.” 2 Cor. 5:15a NLT
Last week, I returned to the “Big Apple” with my husband and my oldest granddaughter who is 12 years old. Once again, I was reminded these thousands of people I passed on the streets and subway stations were relatives.
My family in Christ Jesus included:
- The homeless lying on the sidewalk—my brother.
- The hungry hiding in the staircase—my sister.
- The loud, dirty man staggering through the subway train—my brother.
- The barely-clad at Times Square—my sisters.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal. 3:26 NLT
Even though the scene was different, the story was still the same. The chaos was still there, but God had opened my eyes and given me peace in the chaos. You who are reading this are my brother or sister. Watching the mass of people move through Times Square on a Sunday night from my vantage point atop a tour bus or over the balcony five floors up, or bumping others as we made our way through airports, all reminded me how disconnected we are.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Phil. 2:3 NLT
We sit next to each other but “hide” in our phones. Too busy checking Facebook to make conversation with the stranger, spouse, child, or friend, sitting right next to us. We are becoming this high tech society that spends more time with our devices and less time caring about the human being three inches from us.
And we wonder why we’re apathetic, sit back and let “someone else” fight the battle or ask “how did the Orlando nightclub shooting happen”? It happened because we pass by and are only concerned with how we are affected or we judge the pregnant girl down the block because we think “she’s too young to be pregnant,” or “she already has enough kids.”
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil. 2:4 NLT
God is teaching me to dig into the lives of others, make conversations, and build relationships that really matter, introduce myself to someone “different” than myself. I am anxious to see what treasure God has implanted in them for me to find. Maybe in the process, I’ll care more about others than I do about myself.
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” Phil 2:5 NLT
By Peggy Lopez
©Gentle Whisper Ministries July 2016
The Hidden Miracle
I was recently asked to put an article together about, “How have I experienced God in my life?” The challenge was going to be to narrow things down to a particular incident. I experience Him in many ways, and over time have quite the list. However, what came to my mind was an event that happened that left me stunned – He put out a fire in my attic. A fire that burned and I had no idea it happened. The house I am writing this from should have burned to the ground January 8, 2014.
It happened early in the morning. I heard two pops coming from the attic in the hall next to my bedroom I just thought “ok must be critters up there check soffits in morning” and went back to sleep. Like a normal day, I awoke, and got ready to begin my day. Shortly after I noticed it was chilly in the house. I checked the thermostat, and it read 67 degrees. So I did what any other person would do – I bumped up the heat.
That’s when I began to notice something different. I had turned up the heat, but nothing happened. Before calling anyone I checked the breaker and discovered it was tripped. When I tried to reset it nothing happened. I called my A/C man, and due to his schedule he could not make it out until the next day. So far this day proved to be a lot of activity with no results. Or so I thought.
The next day he arrived and up in the attic he went. After assessing the attic, he came down, looked at me, and said, “you had a fire in your attic!” Please understand, fires in attics do not just go out. A fire in an attic is one of the worst things for a house because they spread like a wild fire! We both stood there in amazement. And then he said, “Your house should not be standing here. It should have burned to the ground. It burned insulation, rafters, and about 18 inches of wires.” I did not know what to think and then before I could utter the words my A/C man looked at me and said, “I am looking at a miracle right here, right now, because God was the only one who could have put that fire out.” With each thought that raced through my mind the one that solidified itself was – every night I pray. I pray that God will take care of my house, and watch over it. This is proof that He does; He did.
“They were convinced by the power of miraculous signs and wonders and by the power of God’s Spirit.” Ro. 15:19a NLT
Reality stood face to face with me reminding me just that week were two homes with attic fires that burned up. Without a shadow of a doubt I know that God was in my attic. In those early morning hours when the flames ignited, it was His breath that blew the flames out. I am forever thankful and have a picture in my living room that says “God Lives Here!”
When you think He’s not there – He is.
“Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mt. 28:20b NLT
When you think He’s not listening – He is.
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases Him.” 1 Jn. 5:14 NLT
When you think He’s not working on your behalf – He is.
“For since the world began, no ear has heard, and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those that wait for him!” Isa. 64:4 NLT
When you think He does not care – He does.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Pe. 5:7 NLT
When you think He can’t forgive you – He did.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short if God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.” Ro. 3:23-24 NLT
God sent His one and only Son JESUS CHRIST to die for me, and for you. For my sins, and for yours. For my salvation, and for yours. So we would have eternal life in Heaven. ” In my house are many mansions if it were not so I would not tell you.” Jn. 14:2
God put out the fire in my house, and I know He will put out whatever fire you face. It may not be literally like mine. But, in our lives fires come up. Trust Him to put it out.
By: Carol Fell, June 2016
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
The Unexpected Highway
I met my husband through EHarmony in 2008. A year later we were married. We felt as though we had finally met our soulmates, and were happily looking forward to our retirement planning in the years to come.
“For we are created in God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Eph. 2:10 NLT
In 2011, the road we had paved, the plans we made, for our years ahead began to bend. It happened in May. My husband, Glen, started to notice some weakness in his right hand, and arm, along with muscle spasms and cramping in his neck. That summer proved to be particularly busy with, a move into a new home, and my son’s wedding in the fall. Over a short time, Glen noticed the symptoms he was experiencing were increasing, and he decided to have it checked out. The fist doctor he saw thought it was nothing serious, and prescribed an over the counter medicine.
In just a couple of months we determined the initial diagnosis was misdiagnosed. His symptoms continued to progress over the next couple of months. We decided to see a neurologist. Like many we attempted to self-diagnose based off an injury he had several years earlier. Isn’t that what we do sometimes? We have an ailment, an ache, a pain, and we jump on WebMD, call friends, or brainstorm to determine what the problem is. However, not only was the initial diagnosis incorrect – ours was too.
As we sat in the neurologist’s office we couldn’t believe our ears! The neurologist believed it was much more serious. His initial thought was that it was either a muscle, or nerve, disease. And then, three letters rolled off the tip of his tongue as a possibility – ALS. At that point everything went numb. Shock, and disbelief, sat in for a while. Over the next several weeks our lives consisted of: visiting other doctors, researching, reading, crying, and hours of praying, and begging God for it not to be ALS.
“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” 1 Pe. 5:7 NLT
Over and over I tried to convince myself it was anything, but ALS. Then the day came that the earth stood still. Glen was in the beginning stages of ALS. It was A.L.S. We were now on an unexpected highway.
The plans we had made for our future were suddenly washed away by our tears. Our minds were like a sponge that held too much water as we tried to absorb all the information that was given. We needed to hear something comforting, so we sought advice from our Pastor. He shared:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher that the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isa. 55: 8-9 NLT
We may not understand it now, but there will be a day when it will be made clear. We have to trust he loves us and his will is for a much greater purpose than ours.
It took a few months to absorb the situation, and then we decided it was time to share the news with our children. Each conversation with the children included a lot of questions, tears, and moments of prayer.
The disease progressed very slowly the first couple of years, just subtle changes every couple of months, and our life continued on. We put our retirement plan on fast forward by doing some things now, versus later. We took a trip to Hawaii, Cancun, sailed away on a few cruises, and a lot of mini-trips. Special memories I wouldn’t trade for the world! I would recommend that to everyone that receives a terminal diagnosis.
We are so blessed that during this time God surrounded us with a wonderful support system through our church, life group, Kiwanis group, and ALS association. Friends we may have never met had it not been for Glen’s diagnosis. God has also blessed us with a blended Family of 5 children, and 11 grandchildren!
“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Th. 5:18 NLT
Over the last year and a half, the disease has rapidly progressed. We also lost few dear friends to ALS in the last couple of months. Glen is now 100% tube fed, respiratory vital capacity is at 18%, and is wheelchair bound. We are thankful that he has been able to maintain his weight, and that we are still able to stay active even though it takes a lot more planning and work. We still take trips, go to baseball games, shopping, and took a cruise in February.
We focus on one day at a time. The future is just that – the future, the unknown. We praise God for the good days, and pray during the bad days. We never take anything, or anyone, for granted. Life is too short.
“Never stop praying.” 1 Th. 5:17 NLT
We do struggle from time to time with our situation, and sometimes even get angry with God. It is then that He shows us – he is walking this journey with us, and it is for a much greater purpose. There will be a day that we will understand, and praise Him for this journey on the unexpected highway.
This is the highway God has us on. Whatever highway He has you on, embrace it. As hard as it may seem. Life is too short. Plans are made one day, and shredded the next.
If you have a loved one in your life with ALS know you are not alone. It may not be ALS you are dealing with, but another terminal disease. Whichever it may be we want you to know there is a God. He has a Son named Jesus, and it is through him we are made right.
The cause dear to my heart is ALS.
The cause dear to God’s heart is us.
“The LORD is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. The LORD is good to everyone. He showers compassion on all his creation.” Ps. 145: 8-9 NLT
By Amy Kubiak, 4/2016
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*picture by wikipedia
When Life Crushes You
If a person would have asked me these questions five years ago –
- Do I believe in God?
- Do I have a relationship with Him?
My tongue would have been the fastest in the Mid-West and shot out like rapid gunfire, “Yes. Yes, I do.” And, continued on with firing, “I love God with all of my heart. I believe He can keep me, and guide me, in every step of my life.” My response would have been honest, but like bullets that spray with no real target, I had no idea where those words would land me in the future.
My words would be put to the test. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever spoke too soon, or held an idea that later on would press into the core of your being?
Life will always present a situation that can challenge our faith, and belief in God. The situation can give way to crushing our foundation to the core. When life handed me that exact situation, I have wondered if there was a God? Is He real? Why would He allow me to go through such a hard situation? One I did not ask for. Although, I really don’t know of anyone that asks for hard times in life.
The situation literally brought me to my knees. While down, I was left with nowhere to look, but up.
If you’re feeling that way, if life has put you in a situation that has dropped you to your knees – let me encourage you.
God is real. He sees, and cares about, every situation that we face.
While on my knees the questions were racing to be reach first place out of my mouth. With the first one of – Why?
- Why would He allow my husband of 10 years to pass away?
- Why would He leave me a single mom of a 10-year-old son?
- Does God not see that my son needs his father?
- Does God not care that I waited 29 years for Him to send me the right man?
- Why would God allow that to happen?
- Did he not see me, struggle all the years before, wanting to be loved by a man?
- Why would God, The God of Love, The God of Peace, allow such hurt and turmoil in my life?
- Why would You hurt my son, and leave him asking “why did God not heal his father, but choose to take him instead?
After the questions, came the re-count. After many years of searching and praying, God brought the man I had waited for. The one who would call me “wife.” Only to be taken. And, without my permission.
So many questions that I may never get a direct answer to. Have you been there? Are you there now? If so, I know exactly how you feel.
“’For My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isa. 55: 8-9 NLT
After I lost my husband I tried hard to fill the void. I dated men, and looked for solace in outside influences to mask the hurt.
- I held internal bleeding in my core.
- I was crushed.
- The loss proved hard for me to see God.
After all, how could God be in something so hurtful? You see, more questions. However, I have come to know Him as a God of love and peace. In the darkest time He:
- Sustained my strength
- Provided my needs
- Stabilized my mind
He will do the same for you. In the time I spent broken and on my knees, the times I had no strength, and when I thought I would just go crazy – He was there. When I had no strength – I had to crawl to Him. When I was broken, like an excellent surgeon He would put me back together with His Word. And, when I thought my mind would leave me, He would give me peace and comfort.
“And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? So don’t worry about these things, saying, “What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.” Mt. 6:30-32
These scriptures illuminated on the pages to reveal His love for me, and my son.
“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.” Jer. 29:11
“Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Pr. 3:5
For me those scriptures mean that I need to stop trying to figure out the why’s. Stop the questions that I may never get an answer to. Instead, I need to trust God, and know that He knew my life would be like this before I was even born.
Even though I am still hurting, and processing, the loss of my husband I am encouraged to know that God knows what plans He has for our lives. He knows that if it was up to me, my husband would still be here, and life would be perfect like the Cinderella story. I don’t believe anyone’s life can be that perfect because how would we be able to grow? What would drive us to our knees leaving us with no other option, but to look up? If it was up to me, I would have asked God to pick a different way for me and my son, to grow and develop a deeper relationship with you. However, that was not His plan. Because truth be told, the way I would have picked would not have held any test. Neither would yours.
- I choose to believe God’s word and trust in him with all of my heart, mind and soul.
- I choose to believe that he knows that plans he has for me!
- I choose to give him my hurts, worries, and struggles.
- I am choosing to rest in him because he is a God of peace.
The more I give Him my worries the more peace I have. When I feel pressure I take deep breaths and release those pressures to The One who can carry them. The more I worship, and read His Word, the more I am encouraged that He who has begun a good work in me will finish it! He is concerned about us, and every area of our lives.
I have stopped trying to handle it alone. I have a God that wants me to trust him when things are too much, and out of control. Let’s circle back to the original question:
- Do I believe in God?
- Do I have a relationship with Him?
My answer: Yes. Yes, I do. And, God wants the same for you. Belief, and a relationship.
Your trial may be different, but the path if you allow it – will lead to Him.
By – Melinda Wade, 3/2016
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*picture by onboardingmag
It is my honor, and greatest joy to introduce this month’s guest. This young writer has brought great joy, trials, tears, fears, and abounding happiness in my life over the years. I have seen her grow, and watched her life evolve over the years. She is a mother of three young children, hard worker, and has recently given her life to Christ. I have wiped tears from her eyes – tears of joy, and tears of sadness. God is a powerful God! As you read her story, and encouragement, if you know of anyone facing a similar situation, please share the article.
Ladies and gentlemen – my daughter, and only one story of how God has worked in her life! May you find encouragement for your own life through her story.
The House that God Built
When life gets tough you may feel like:
- giving up, or
- that you don’t have enough strength to deal with the situation.
Have you ever felt like that?
I have been in plenty of situations where life set me in the middle of a situation, and I felt like I couldn’t handle it. The main one is being a parent while providing for my children. Mom’s perhaps you know what I am talking about. Some days the simple saying “Man, life is TOUGH!” becomes our mantra.
In 2009, my boyfriend, Randy, and I starting dating. I already had my daughter, and we were living at my dad’s house. He was living at his aunt’s house. We decided we wanted to get our own house, so like any young person with a brilliant idea we raced right out and rented. Right. This would be the first house I would call “mine.” I mean, it is the American Dream, right? Whether we rented or owned, it was a dream coming true.
Of course, I thought I knew what I was doing and at the same time my mom was advising me “it’s not a good idea to rent a house from family.” I wasn’t listening. When we went to look at the house before we moved in it was a disaster. It was infested with cock roaches, feces on the carpet, and tile in the bathroom was broke and falling off the wall. Oh, and let’s not forget the mice that resided there. I just ignored all the flaws. RED FLAG. Can you see the issue? I can now, but when our minds are set things get ignored. Have you ever had a red flag that you ignored? Ok, maybe not like mine. But, a red flag? How did it turn out?
I knew that Randy would fix up the house and make it livable for us, and he did. He’s an excellent handyman! We really were happy for about the first year living there, besides all the drama we had to go through. Sometimes when you’re happy and others around you are not, they like to try and bring you down. Yea, that’s what started happening. After my oldest son was born if someone would have asked me about my life my response would have been, “my life is perfect.”
You got it. I spoke too soon. A short time after that, life started handing me things I didn’t want to deal with: relationship issues, stress, and the red flags of the house began to wave with brilliance right in front of me. One time while sitting on our couch I could hear what sounded like a beast scratching at the wall. It sounded like something was about to scratch its way right through! I always thought I would be asleep and get attacked by a huge animal. I probably should stop watching scary movies. Thus the battle began for a couple of years. Isn’t that how life works, we have to deal with things, until the sky opens up bringing blessings and relief?!
The next few years after our youngest son was born things were like living on a fault line. They were unstable. Needless to say we moved out of our “dream home” turned “nightmare.” From there, we moved several times.
- Back in with family
- In a hotel with a kitchenette
- In a camper
In all that time, God provided. If you are going through a rough time and it seems like it will never end. Look for the positives.
- With family – was proof that was not a long term situation
- In the hotel – it was one of the worst winter’s, and we did not have to worry about pipes freezing, or a heat bill. In fact, we wore shorts inside because our place was a balmy 80 degrees.
- In the camper – taught me that I do not need a lot of “stuff” we had just enough and room for it.
Yet, none of that, replaced wanting to have a house to call our own. A place to raise our family. We had plan – again.
- Move to where my mom lived. In another state. With no jobs, or money.
I know. Rest assured, we did not. I realized early on that maybe that plan wasn’t the best at this time.
With all of “my” or “our” plans God had a plan. A much better plan.
Next plan, contact a realtor to see if we could qualify for a home. The first house we looked at and wanted fell through. By then I was trying to decide what in the world we were going to do if I couldn’t buy a house. Have you been there? Anxiety builds, and fear sets in?
This time though by the grace of God, he provided us with a realtor that was very helpful. She worked with us, and set us up with a lender. The first one was not good. But, the bible says “God is faithful,” and he is (2 Th. 3:3). We went to another lender, and between the realtor and her – we finally found a house! The timing couldn’t have been better, right before it started to get into the freezing temperatures I was approved for a house!! I couldn’t believe it! The years of struggle, tears, and fears were becoming a memory of the past.
I called Randy and told him the great news and he started crying at work. It was like a HUGE sense of relief! Our break, the one we’ve been waiting for, was within reach! Then right before Thanksgiving weekend of 2014 we closed on our home, and moved in! How appropriate!
“But he said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Lk. 18:27 ESV
Life was so stressful for six years. I didn’t think I was ever going to see the light. I feel like God was testing me, and I passed the test! I pray to God most days, and thank him for everything he has provided for my family and I, and for helping me stay strong through EVERYTHING.
“For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” Phil. 4:13 NLT
If you are going through a rough time, keep going. Look for the bright side, and in the midst of your struggle, there is always something to Thank God for. Then before you know it – the heavens will burst open, raining down blessings on you!
By Heather Kiehl, 2/2016
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*picture by 123rf