The Season of Spring


Spring delivers new grass in a plethora of shades of green that grow all around us. Even dandelion leaves have their own green color. Tree leaves from the palest to the deepest green grow and their spectrum spreads concealing the limbs that support them.

New life and new beginnings come hand in hand for me.
After my spinal cord injury, my neurosurgeon said I would be bedridden, brain damaged, and ventilator dependent. He then offered my husband a way to let me die comfortably.
While in rehabilitation that spring, I watched treetops bud out and new green leaves burst forth through my second floor window. I received them as a word from God that I would not only live through the injury but I would have a new life.
My new life could not be without Jesus and it didn’t happen quickly. I suffered through guilt, fear, depression, and a gamut of emotional distress before accepting what God had to offer me.
I am C-4 complete quadriplegic. Paralyzed from my shoulders down, God has blessed me with some use of my arms. I wear a splint on my right wrist which holds different tools and gives me some independence in daily living. I use a power wheelchair and have a conversion van.
God calls me daily to be a witness for him. Whether in church, at a mall, or eating in a restaurant, I testify to people. I show my faith by how I dress, how I speak, and how I act. I talk about what Jesus has done for me daily with old friends and new.
I share my testimony to share the new life God gave me when I accepted Jesus and the new life God provided and I accepted after my injury.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
In Christ,
Berta

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My Cross


I found an old jewelry box at a yard sale years ago. It lay open with baubles and chains draped over it like a pirate’s treasure chest. While looking through the booty I spotted a shining gold cross. I gently untangled its dark chain and found the price tag. It read “$1.50”. I was elated as I made my purchase.
My joy dissipated on Sunday. I thought, “I’m not good enough to wear this beautiful cross.” Guilt and fear weighed heavy on my mind and the cross lay in my jewelry box.
I went on a Christian retreat three years later where I finally accepted God’s love and forgiveness for this sin-filled, moth-eaten child of God.
I began wearing my cross on Sundays. For eight months, I experienced a freedom that turned my sorrows into joy. I testified at every opportunity no matter where I was.
After my accident, I fell back into feeling unworthy. Paralysis left my body without sensation and uncontrollable. Depression wrapped its tentacles around my heart and soul choking life out of me. 
I came to myself through the immovable love and encouragement of my family and close friends. From then on, I wore that cross daily to remind me that Christ died for me.
I became ill a few years ago and stopped wearing my jewelry, as I didn’t get out of bed much.
One day I wanted to wear my cross. My caregiver and I couldn’t find it. I said, “Well, I hope whoever has it is blessed by it.
That cross can’t be replaced but no one can steal my faith. The empty cross is proof that Jesus lives and my faith is strengthened each time I see one.
In Christ,
Berta
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Jesus Great Sacrifice


I began a new life when I married. A sinner became a pastors’ wife. I lived in fear of the church members finding out my “true identity”. As in everything in my life, I wanted to be perfect. Would they judge me for my past? I distanced myself.
Then I met a few Christian women who shared their stories with me. They told me of God’s love for them. They told me God had forgiven their sins. I learned that Jesus had absolutely died for my sins too.
God had offered his only Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for all sinners – including me.
He was beaten for my sins! He died for my transgressions! He loved me! My wall crumbled as I fell into my Lord’s sweet embrace. His love put my feet on a new path.
So, how did you come to Jesus? Did you give him your all? Are you afraid he can’t love you
Do you know Jesus died for you too?
Easter Sunday is coming, but we have to go through the cross to get there. We will read how Jesus suffered and died – crucified in our place. His death will echo in our spirits.
We will remember our Heavenly Father chose to sacrifice His only Son for all people. Jesus also had a choice. He chose the agony of the cross.
God loves us that much!
On the third day, the stone will be rolled away. “The tomb is empty!” We will celebrate again. “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!”
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta

Watch Your Mouth


As a new Christian, I worked with a young woman who was living her life without boundaries. Much as I had lived mine before I met Jesus. 
Each Monday we talked and laughed over the different situations she had experienced over the weekend. Things I no longer took part in but had not let go.
On a Christian retreat, I was broken. I heard again and again how God desired to forgive all my sins. 
I felt filthy when I thought about my conversations with my coworker. The pleasure I re-lived with each true story. 
I cried, “But God, how can you forgive me? Don’t you know how bad I am?” 
When I finally accepted the forgiveness God offered, I knew I had to apologize to my coworker for encouraging her sinful lifestyle.

 

As Christians, we should be watchful of our conversations and actions with coworkers. We just might birth a new believer and grow in our own Christian faith.
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NRSV).
In Christ,
Berta
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Open Doors


Asking for help did not come naturally to me. If I could not do it myself, I did without. After my spinal cord injury and paralysis, I had to depend on others for many things.
When I went shopping, I had to ask, “Would you hold the door for me please?” “Would you set this sweater on my table?” “Would you help me ____?”
God’s word shows us how to let others serve us:
Jesus became the servant when He washed the feet of His disciples. (John 13:4-7)
A woman served Jesus when she washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:38)
His word also tells how to serve those who cannot do for themselves:
Give a glass of cold water to someone who is thirsty. Feed those who hunger. Clothe the naked. Care for the sick. (Matthew 25:38-40)
We show God’s love by serving each other in small ways and large. Opening a door can open the gospel for either person involved. Asking someone for help gives the person an opportunity to serve. Often these times allow conversations to share a word of faith.
Over the twenty-five years since my injury, I have learned humility. Asking for help blesses me because I know God does not want me to face obstacles alone. Allowing others to serve me blesses God’s servants.
Do you need help with anything? Ask God to provide for your need and He will be faithful.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta
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He is the One


The wrappings are gone.
The boxes played with.
The toys are scattered.
The children content.
I sit in my chair.
What did it mean?
Is that all there is?
Now that it’s clean.
Something is missing.
My heart – it aches.
What is wrong with me?
Is it all fake?
The carols I sang.
Was it by rote?
The Father above.
Did He hear each note?
The Christ child – He came.
Did I forget?
To honor His birth.
To worship His breath.
I sit in quiet.
I ponder His birth.
Why did He come?
To this sin-filled earth.
The love of His Father.
Bid Him to come.
To save my soul.
He is the One!

In Christ,
Berta

This poem was previously on SnapShots: Devotions from Life

"Heaven’s Loss"

He gave up glory on His majestic throne to come to earth, fully man yet fully God.
He was acknowledged as the Christ while still in a virgin’s womb.
Born in a stable. Laid in a manger. Serenated by angels. Gifted by kings.
This wasn’t the beginning. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1 KJV).
Earl and I have the print above, “Heaven’s Loss”, by Ron DiCianni. 
Focusing on the Christ Child lying in a manger, the archangel leans over Him as to have one last look.
His humanity was for our sake. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10 KJV).
I am overwhelmed by Gods’ goodness. Though I deserve nothing I have everything. In His mercy and grace and by His life, death, and resurrection I have eternal life without guilt or shame.
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).
My prayer is that you too know Him and His love.
In Christ,
Berta

Nothing Before

When my nephew, Michael, was four years old, he asked his mother if he could call me. When we got on the telephone, he began to ask questions:

“Aunt Berta, was I a baby when you had the wreck, because I don’t remember it?”
“No, It happened before you were born, Michael,” I reply.
“Aunt Berta, do your hands work?”
 “No, baby.”
“Well, your one hand works.”
“No, my hands don’t work, Michael.”
“Aunt Berta, can I drive your chair?”
“No baby.”
“Can I ride in your van when we come there?”
“Yes, you can.”
“Aunt Berta, will you ride in our car when God heals you?”
“Yes, Michael.”
As I tried to explain to Michael that my accident happened before he was born, he couldn’t understand. You see to him everything started when he was born and there was nothing before.
It’s that way with God. When you repent of your sins, die to self and give your life to Christ you are “born again” and God only sees your new self. 
Nothing before.
“He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:10-12).
In Christ,
Berta
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What That Word Means


An elementary school classmate invited me to Vacation Bible School at her church. In class, when I was asked to read from the Bible I stuttered. A girl beside me giggled. My face grew hot and I felt ignorant. The teacher asked another girl to read.
Later, one of the girls told me, “You can’t be baptized until you’ve been saved three times.” I didn’t know what I needed “saved” from, so I just sang the songs, played the games and ate homemade ice cream.
According to Wikipedia, Salvation is stated as the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences and is only possible through Jesus Christ. His life, death and resurrection is the once-for-all sacrifice that atoned for the sin of humanity.
Jesus, who was beaten, flogged, spit on, slapped, mocked and so much more, took it all upon His body for every man, woman and child in all of His Father’s creation.
Does that mean He did it for me? Still, what was He saving me from?
I finally grasped my need for salvation many years later. The sins in my life were many and their roots had grown deep into my soul. I didn’t want anyone to know the terrible things I’d done. I fought to keep my composure. To hide my shame.
Jesus didn’t leave me alone. He continued to woo me through His disciples already in my life.
I remember the moment I understood salvation and the reality of Hell. Floodgates opened and Jesus blood washed through me cleansing my soul of sin. I became a new person then and there.
God didn’t make me perfect in my salvation. He showed me the Truth and invited me to be one of His children. To strive for perfection.
Do you remember your moment? There are people all around you who need to hear the Good News, to feel God’s love and be redeemed by Jesus’ blood. Will you give them the joy of Jesus love and salvation? Ask God for opportunities to tell people about Him.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings” (Psalm 40:1,2 KJV).
In Christ,
Berta
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No Visible Support


I remember a visit from my mother’s brother when I was a small child. Uncle Don flew his small airplane all the way from his home in southern California to a small airpark near our home in central Illinois.

As Uncle Don prepared his airplane to take me flying one afternoon, he went through all the safety checks. Before starting the engine, he yelled out the tiny window, “Clear!” Though we were alone at the airpark, my uncle still followed the rules to warn any bystanders of the danger from the propeller.
Flying over my little town, I saw my mother waving up at me from Main Street. She looked so little. I waived back in large swooping waves thinking she would see me better.
We waved with the airplane too. Uncle Don tilted us right and then left and back again. He leveled the plane and the airflow from the propeller continued to push us forward – to glide through the air.
As I grew in Christ, I realized a lesson God had taught me then. The plane, my uncle, and I had no visible signs of support. Uncle Don understood the physics of flight. He had learned how to control the airplane. He trusted knowledge.
For me in that time, I trusted my uncle.

 
Today I know God lifted me, a small child, into the unknown and unbelievable skyway. He not only defied gravity and amazed my little girl-self, He planted a seed of trust in Him that would grow in my spirit and strengthen my faith.

I trust God to guide me in His way. He is my strength and my shield. (Psalm 28:7 NIV).
“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good” (Psalm 25:1, 4-5 NIV).
In Christ,
Berta

The picture I chose to share here is of my older sister, Debbi, and me waiting for Uncle Don to complete his pre-flight safety protocol the day of my first flight.
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