A Lesson of Perseverance

His tears lasted briefly……It was really for only a tiny moment in time. Wiped away clean by gentle movements from the palm of his hand. Inhaling deeply, he paused momentarily and was ready to begin his task again. This Mama will tuck away his perseverance lesson and keep it in her heart. Something for me to chew on and ponder when my heart is worn.

 Faith to the Rescue

Tears came to my eyes as I watched the other little boys in the classroom running around, playing a competitive game of tag. With laughter and giggles spilling out across the play area, the boys chose who was “it.” I watched in awe as they ran, mesmerized by all of the activity. There were other children too, playing with brightly colored toys, happily chatting away, interacting with their peers, and mostly ignoring us adults in the room. Only occasionally asking one of us for a drink or a snack. I looked over and found my little guy Eli huddled in the corner, present but in his own little world. Eli wasn’t playing with any of the toys surrounding him or interacting with the other kids, and this was breaking my heart. His autism diagnosis was still so fresh, and I could feel the tears building up, threatening to spill out of the corners of my eyes. Something had to be done, and FAST! My heart raced rapidly, just as quickly as my body temperature rose. Oh boy! I was entering the danger zone, sensing that full-blown sobs were only moments away. Digging my fingernails into the palms of my hands, I desperately tried to distract my heart from processing the scene unfolding in front of me. Thankfully this time, the panic inside blew over as quickly as it came, and I could smile my way through. For now, the moment was over, and time was moving forward, although peace was far from my heart.

     Arriving home shortly after, my husband Eric met us at the door. He could see that I was visibly distressed as he picked Eli up, and we walked inside. Of course, by the time I set my purse down on the cupboard, the tears were pouring down my cheeks, and I was crying uncontrollably. As I began to try and explain what had unfolded earlier, regret began to enter my heart. This was not how I wanted Eli’s and my day to end, and I certainly didn’t want him to see me again upset. Eric stood silently and listened intently, as he usually did. He comforted me, held me, and asked me one simple question. Did I have faith? Faith that someday Eli was going to something AMAZING. He was going to play! WHAT? Was he not here in this room with me, and had he not just listened to my concerns? Witnessed my tears? What did faith have to do with this? Kids were climbing on the walls today, and I’d barely held it together! What in the world did he mean? Exasperated and unable to process his words, I retreated.

What did Eric know, anyway? Deciding to ignore his wisdom, I bolted into the bathroom and drew a bath, choosing to soothe my aching soul with warm water instead of having faith. The water moved, up and down, just like tiny waves. I watched them intently when Eric popped his head into the bathroom, reminding me about the mustard seed verse. The verse about FAITH. He even had it highlighted on his phone and read it aloud. Annoyance bubbled inside of me as he closed the door. His exit left me pondering my faith. Was it the size of a mustard seed? My faith, just like those tiny waves, was wavering, going up and down. God wasn’t done with this family just yet, and we needed him now more than ever.   

     Later that evening, I pondered Eric’s words. Sometimes, especially in times of sorrow, I’m unable to speak and only able to cry. So often, my faith is so small and as tiny as that mustard seed. Thankfully life wasn’t slowing down anytime soon; it was moving on. Showing us that amazing moments happen because we serve an AMAZING God. Nowadays, my heart soars with happiness when I walk into a room, watching my little boy with his action figures. Moving them around in the air, PLAYING!!!! This is the place where faith has taken our family. A place of beauty and peace, and a place where I’m able to sing, “God is so good, he is so good to me.”

  • A Life Without Limits: Rollin’ Into The Future
  • Debbie Waltz
  • Faith to the Rescue – Guest Blog Post
  • Released Date: April 29, 2022

This Change is For the Good

When I moved back to Michigan fourteen years ago, I would have given anything to own a kitchen table. (Actually, any table, for that matter) In the last few months, I have stored many of my possessions, which makes me glum, including my beautiful oak kitchen table.

This table was my prized possession, and I honestly did love it. Doing my homework before purchasing it, pursuing the internet and researching all of the furniture stores in our area, window shopping in my spare time to look at different options, and saving to

buy it with my own money just before Eric and I married. It meant a lot to me; it was sturdy, extendable, and ready to seat the family for holiday dinner parties. This table was more than just furniture; it was a piece of stability that I believed would anchor our home and marriage. Boy, how wrong could one be!

God was orchestrating a big transition for us, one that was improving the resources available to our youngest son with autism, and this was important to me. We were temporarily moving into a much smaller house, which filled me with sadness; I wasn’t a happy camper. My husband Eric and I discussed moving the table into our rental home, and it just didn’t make sense. The new kitchen in the rental was much smaller than the one we were leaving, and my table would take up too much space.

I was heartbroken (although this wouldn’t affect our decision to move.) It was a done deal, and we knew God was moving our family north, giving us a new place to call home. It was also in God’s perfect timing after all the dramatic changes our family had experienced in recent years.

Seeing how distraught I was, my mom comforted me by quietly reminding me it’s a long way from the mind to the heart, and in this particular circumstance, I understood her sentiments entirely. Even though my mind understood the reasons to move, my heart had trouble catching up.

I had many unanswered questions, even though I was sure this was God’s will for our life. I needed a reminder that we haven’t stepped backward; sometimes, God stretches us before moving us forward to where he wants to grow and develop those deeper roots. I decided to take some time and ponder my mom’s thoughtful words and delight in her wisdom.

It took some time and many tears on my pillow, but acceptance soon followed. The sun came out, and I could see the light of God shining down. Seeing my son improve by leaps and bounds was enough motivation to keep me moving forward, and for this, I am so thankful to God.

Even though we are still getting planted in Midland and trying to grow those roots, we have found a wonderful community here and feel we belong. The boxes are getting unpacked, and the shelving is going up, although my beautiful oak table is still in storage. I’m learning to accept that this change is for the good and stepping out of my comfort zone to enjoy the transformation.

We are embracing the new, and I’m starting to admire my small farmhouse table. It’s cute, easy to clean, and tucks neatly into a kitchen corner. As a mom, it’s a definite win in my book! I’m learning to adjust to our new way of life, something I’ve instilled in my children to do all along. I know God is using this move to mold our family (especially me) to cultivate us so we are ready for the pruning season when the time comes.

Isaiah 5:6
“I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

Homemade with Love and Extra Butter

     Sitting at the kitchen table that morning, I watched Mom bustle around the kitchen, prepping for the family dinner party scheduled for later in the evening. My troubled heart filled with annoyance as she pulled out her old recipe box and set it on the cupboard. She took her time, flipping through some brightly colored cards and asking me what I thought she should make for dinner that night.

                 Like I cared? All I could think about was how ugly her recipe organizer was! Pea-green, plastic, and desperately needing to be tossed into the garbage, or so I thought. Eying the box and rolling my eyes with exasperation, I silently asked, what’s the secret ingredient, mom? You don’t even use the recipe. I was in a phase back then, a not-so-pleasant time in my life, where Mom’s gentle encouragements boiled more frustrations inside me than water, and I was drowning in those flames.

                Thankfully most of the time, she pretended to ignore my hurtful behavior, probably more for my benefit than hers. She effortlessly prepared the meal and danced around the kitchen while cupboards opened and drawers closed, pulling out all the required utensil essentials. Never once stopping her methodical rhythm or missing a beat. She was like an orchestra conductor, swaying a baton meticulously around. Something that I will never forget. Mom was content and at peace, knowing that her kitchen was the heart of our home and that family dinners had good food and laughter. 

    Years have passed, and mom is in the same kitchen, using all her favorite gadgets and, most importantly, still cooking and recreating her famous masterpieces, still using that vintage recipe box. Though now, I have learned to cherish that old box, even searching for one of my own. I love the memories that come with it, all the conversations, and especially the joy.

                 I’m reminded of God’s word as I watch mom make her way around the kitchen now. The verse about rising while it is yet night comes to my mind. It’s beautiful watching someone give of themselves for the sake of others, sometimes rising just before daybreak to ensure she finished her task. Sitting in her kitchen today, I watch and breathe it all in.

                Time may have changed the color of the walls, along with the places where we are seated, but I am still a daughter watching an essential lesson from Mom.

                Mom added a little of this and a little of that to a large mixing bowl. Seasoning and spices, into a bowl, for a recipe that she recreates often. Like the seasons of life, she has a time and a purpose for everything. Mom showed us, kids, that sometimes we have to change how we do things, like with a recipe, adding or substituting the parts that were not part of God’s bigger plan. To rework the parts that were soiled. Over the years, I’ve added spice to the equation when I need to add sugar instead. However, my mom knew and was willing to share that the secret ingredient was always love.

1 Corinthians 16:14-Let all your things be done with charity.

Through Her Words

Our words matter! Discouragement has hit me hard the past few days. Throw in a bit of fear, and I felt upside down and right side up! That was until today, and although it was a Saturday morning and I was working, it was still a fantastic day. I was given the most extraordinary patient; she was kind and gentle.

There was such a peaceful presence throughout our appointment. This was a blessing, especially since I working on a weekend while my husband and son were having fun at a bounce house. The time flew by, and towards the end of our appointment, this sweet lady told me I was an excellent mother to both of my children and that she would pray for us.

This shook me to my core! How did she know I was struggling with this thought and to emphasize my oldest child as well. How did she know that this fear kept me up at night and that I needed her prayers desperately? I know that God was aware and placed it in her heart, and what a prayer it was, so filled with the spirit.

Then and there, I decided to follow her example and openly pray for others. I wanted to be like this lovely lady who walks in her faith and shows such loving kindness, even to someone like me, a stranger mending a broken heart. (A mama who cries into her pillow because she is not able to change the past, one who is only able to walk in faith towards what is to come.)

Ephesians 4:32
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

In the midst of it all

Recently I was given a fantastic opportunity to attend a bible study with two beautiful, kind-hearted Christian ladies. They were wonderful to be around. The time we shared was a precious gift, and I drove home that night cherishing our time and felt a renewed spirit of hope after our discussion.

I woke up this morning, momentarily terrified after a fitful night of sleep. My jaw was clenched, and I was filled with a false sense of disparity after having a bad dream. Thankfully, this time instead of retreating, I was instantly reminded God is my advocate. He is in the background, fighting for our good. He is the one who has given us loving family members and friends to help us, guide us down this path, to provide us with much-needed encouragement along the way. Hold our hands when we need them the most and love us when we are unlovable. He knows our beginning and end, and nothing surprises our God.

I took this picture last week just before an afternoon rain shower. The dark clouds circled in the sky, giving my co-workers and me a glimpse of the storm that was to come. As we looked up, anticipating the rain, and watching the view in awe, for a brief moment, the sun shone through the darkness, reminding me that God was right there in the midst of it all.

I Choose Hope

One summer, our neighbor, Mary, gave Sis a beautiful gift. She noticed Sis’s desire to garden and decided to give her this unique pot with vines to return yearly. This way, Sis could watch them grow, year after year. Sis was very thoughtful with her new task. She watered it daily and watched intently, waiting for the tiny flowers to arrive. Although the green vines were lovely, they did not bloom.
For the last several months, I have struggled in everything and every aspect of life. In my time of grief, I ignored Sis’s pot, abandoning it and all the memories that went along with it. I didn’t water it and even left it on the side of the house that receives absolutely no sun. It was painful to look at, although I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. The vines were long gone and held nothing but old memories and dried dirt. It was lifeless.
Towards the end of July that year, after a period of miserable heat, I felt this tug in my heart, “Move the pot. Move it over with others, and you will see.” I ignored the words and the urging, making a more significant effort to avoid that side of the house altogether.
A few days later, an event in my life forced me to travel toward that side of the house. The place I didn’t want to go and the memories I didn’t like to acknowledge. Walking around the house, I felt the familiar nudge to look down and see. Slightly annoyed, I peered into the pot, fully expecting to see nothing but the cracked, dusty dirt. But today held a different ending. The tiniest green plants in the corner of this pot struggle to push themselves through the dry, hardened soil. I grabbed the jar and held it up, straining my eyes to view this perfect little plant, forcefully trying to grow. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
I felt my Lord near and heard his whisper, “Give it water and watch it grow.” This moment marked a new beginning. One of growth, not just for this tiny plant but for our family. Soon, our Prayers were being answered, and movement began to happen. Doors were opening once closed, and I could see God’s hand working for our good.
A few weeks later, I struggled to get my little guy and our bags into the house as quickly as possible while the rain poured down all around us. Quickly, I reached down to gather our remaining items and absently glanced down at the pot. To my amazement, a beautiful flower budded on the single vine. It was beautiful, and I was reminded again to keep going. Although there is a season for everything, today, I choose hope.