Wednesday, July 06, 2016

No Camping Zone

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m not a big fan of camping. It’s not that camping is a bad or evil activity it’s just that it’s done outdoors. I’ve always felt that the “great outdoors” was overrated. Whether you’re on a beach (where it’s hot, sandy and your skin can burn to a crisp) or in the woods (where most horror movies take place).

Fresh air and beautiful view, unfortunately, comes with wild animals, mosquitos and lots of walking up and down mountains. I understand that many people love that kind of thing, but not this girl. Sleeping in tents on the ground when at any moment a bear can come tearing through the tent to eat me . . . yeah, that sounds like a great time. My idea of “roughing” it is no room service.

Call me crazy, but I’m a big fan of indoor plumbing. There is nothing like the sweet sound of water rushing through pipes. Technology rocks! Wi-Fi, electricity, warm comfortable bed, showers, kitchen appliances and my laptop are all the comforts that I enjoy. So I’m spoiled. I’m okay with that.

A friend of mine recently posted the above cartoon. It suits me perfectly – If “camping” means my hotel room faces the woods, then yeah, I’ll go camping.

The only exception I made was when I went to “Burning Man.” That was a special situation.

When my thoughts turn to camping, I think about John 15:4 - "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me." My husband, Tom, says that camping is the opposite of "abide" which means to set up permanent residence. I guess I'm a permanent residence kind of gal.

All you out there, who are big fans of camping, don’t get angry with me. I’ve tried camping and it just wasn’t for me, but the rest of you have at it. As for me, it’s a – No Camping Zone.


© Nadine Zawacki 2016

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Love the Forgotten Verb

A verb is defined as a word used to describe an action, state, or occurrence. I’m going to touch on the part of the verb that is described as an action. Love in action is amazing. There are different types of love that exist but nothing is more powerful than when love is in action.

I’m the first to admit that I’m not always great at love in the form of action. I find I love better when God is involved. Love never fails. What fails every time is hate, betrayal, criticism, gossip and judgment. I have been guilty of every one of those things in my life I’m sorry to say, but my heart has slowly changed through the years. Am I perfect at this? By all means – no, but I’m better at it than I used to be.

Words have such power in them, especially when being spoken to others. Hateful words spread like cancer and kill everything in its wake. I know because I’ve been guilty of that.

I learned this lesson during the time we lived in West Virginia. Tom and I and a few of the people from our church went to a conference. It was at this conference that I felt the conviction my hateful words towards others. I felt that God wanted me to apologize to four people that I had spoken bad things about behind their backs. The first person was at this conference with us, so I went to her and apologized. When we returned home I called the next person on the list and apologized to her. The next two were a couple and as I started to dial their number, I stopped cold. I felt the conviction of God again and this time, I heard a still small voice . . . I had spoken very badly about these two behind their backs and God wanted me to apologize to their face. I had sworn that I would never have these two people in my house so God wanted me to invite them over. After about an hour of deep prayer, I called. They were not far from my house and said that they can come right now. It was the hardest thing I ever done, but I did it. I could tell by their faces that it touched them deeply. A weight lifted from my heart. I never wanted to do that again.

Love is a powerful tool. Light and darkness cannot exist at the same time neither can love and hate. It’s easy to hate or dislike or judge someone. It’s harder to love them.

Forgive me God for the times I choose to hate rather than love. Help to love more in action and talk less with my words.

This is just a portion of what I’ve learned lately it’s not the complete story of love.



© Nadine Zawacki, 2016

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

My Mind vs. My Heart

My mom recently passed away. She was ninety years old, had Alzheimer’s, a bad heart and diabetes. My mind knew that I could get a call at anytime that she was gone. She developed a brain bleed and the doctor told us that she would not recover. I discussed it with my family and the best thing to do was to wait here in Canada. It’s about a fifteen-hour drive and we didn’t know how long it would take. So I waited. My mind prepared.

My heart betrayed me. When I got the call, I wept. I felt overwhelmed. Since that time I had moments when I would cry out of the blue. I could be fine one minute and the next I’m hysterical. I’m not a crier. I especially don’t like to do that in public. Both my children flew in from the West Coast for the funeral. They were such a huge comfort to me. Tom has been my rock. I don’t know what I would do without them.

It doesn’t matter how old you are or how much your mind is prepared for such an event the heart takes control. I’m grateful for family and friends who have expressed love in many ways. It’s been priceless to me. I know in time, it gets better, at least, that’s what my mind tells me.

I choose to remember the good times. She was a great lady. She was kind, considerate and a compassionate woman. She was a talented seamstress who made my daughter and me so many beautiful clothes. Funny thing was I didn’t ask her to make a new dress; she would simply take my measurements and make me the latest style. I loved her laugh. Thanks to my kids who taped a visit with her five years ago, I have her laughter recorded and can watch our interaction with her when I miss her. She loved to feed people (I guess that’s where I get it from) and always made you feel at home.

Thank you, Lord, for giving me such a loving mom. I know she’s with you now and one day we’ll be together again. I love my Mom and will hold her dearly in both my mind and my heart.


© Nadine Zawacki 2016

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Other Love Chapter

On Sunday, as I listened to my husband’s sermon on John 13, it spoke to me. I have to confess that I enjoy Tom’s sermons because he speaks to my heart.

Most people consider 1 Corinthians 13 to be the love chapter in the bible. Then I would have to say that John 13 is the other love chapter. 1 Corinthians describes love: Love patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 

I feel that John 13 demonstrates love through Jesus’ actions. This was his last night with his closest friends and what he did first was wash all their feet (even the feet of Judas who would betray him and Peter who would deny him). He didn’t kick them out or displayed anger. He loved them.

Jesus said in verses 34- 35: A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another. Jesus spoke to his disciples in a very profound way because in the Hebrew mindset to say “a new command I give you,” Jesus could have easily said Commandant #11.

This touched me. It’s better to love than to be right. How does it feel to be wrong? It feels like being right. When you discover your wrong is different because then you may feel embarrassed or sorry for your wrongness. Maturity is an ongoing process until the day I meet my maker. I learn things as I mature. I discover that I can be wrong and my opinions may change. So if being right comes at the price of love then the price is too high.

Sometimes God brings people in my life to help me practice love and sometimes He brings me into theirs to help them practice. I have a theory that can’t be proven and it’s my own opinion, but here it goes: I feel that if I can’t love someone here on earth that God will put us in the same section of heaven until eternity. So I try not to take any chances with people that annoy me. J

There was so much richness in Tom’s sermon on John 13 (give in three parts). Most of the above was inspired by his message. If you want to check it out, you can here

© Nadine and Tom Zawacki 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Decisions

I was thinking the other day about forgiveness. I realized for me forgiveness is not a question of “if.” Of course, I will forgive the person who hurt me. The decision about forgiveness was already made in my mind. The “if” is a given but the “when” or “how often” has the question mark attached.

There are times and situations forgiveness comes quickly. Other times not so much. The deeper the wound the longer it takes to come that conclusion for me. I find it especially hard to forgive when it happens to Tom or my kids. I want to forgive that person for the hurt, but when I watch the outcome of their hurt in someone that means the world to me, it’s not easy. 

I’ve learned to make a point of forgiving people because it’s not for their benefit that I forgive; it’s for my benefit – my spiritual, emotional and physical benefit. It takes too much out of me to stay angry. Anyone can have a bad day. They can say something they don’t mean or say it in a way that’s harsh or disrespectful. I get that. They may never ask for me to forgive them, but that’s not the point of forgiveness. It doesn’t require action from them – because let’s face it sometimes that’s just never going to happen.

It requires action from me, for me, to benefit me. So today, I choose to forgive, which doesn’t mean I trust that person or persons, but I forgive them. (I’m not saying here that to forgive someone means you stay in a relationship with them. Some relationships are toxic.)

There is freedom in forgiveness for me. It helps me to move forward instead of being tied to something in the past that can hold me back. Forgiveness is a process, but the first step is a decision, at least for me.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Hope

I’m about to admit something, so please don’t judge me. I watch “Girl Meets World.” It’s a show based on the original show “Boy Meets World.” It’s a Disney show so the acting is campy, the kids are adorable and each show ends in a lesson. I watched last night’s episode this morning while I ate breakfast. What I didn’t expect was to weep by the end of the episode titled, “Girl Meets Hurricane.”

The lesson was on hope. One little girl who always hoped for the best and her friend who didn’t dare to hope because life lets her down – every time. Watching the episode unfold struck me in a way I hadn’t expected.

I usually don’t cry after watching a 20-minute sitcom. Hope was missing and I hadn’t realized it was gone.

Nadine means hope. I’m someone who usually hopes for the best in situations. Because of my faith in God, hope was something that I held onto in tough times. It was part of my DNA. It’s a best friend who comforted me in bad times.

Hope is a powerful tool. Proverbs 13:12 says this:

When hope’s dream seems to drag on and on, the delay can be depressing. But when at last your dream comes true, life’s sweetness will satisfy your soul. (The Passion Translation)

Since hope is part of my DNA, it hadn’t really gone away completely, I just wasn’t using it. It doesn’t matter what I’m hoping for, it matters that I don’t give up.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

One Woman’s Weed is One Little Boy’s Flower


Last Sunday after church, one of the little boys picked me a “flower.” It was a dandelion weed. I said thank you and then placed it on the bench beside me. I got up to leave and honestly, I just forgot about it. He called out to let me know that I left my “flower” on the bench. I picked it up and thanked him. It just made me smile.

This sweet boy wanted me to have a flower and the adult me knew it wasn’t a flower. Of course, I took it anyway. His heart was pure and precious. I realized at that moment what Jesus meant when he said in Matthew 18:3; Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

That innocence and ability to look at a weed and see only a flower is priceless. That’s what God does with us. As an adult, I lost that. I know that it is a weed and it plays havoc with my lawn. I know a lot of things and sometimes that gets in the way my seeing the innocence and purity in life. My own earthly wisdom gets in the way.

In times when hope and faith are needed, that’s when innocence and purity comes into play. I’ve prayed and seen mountains move and I’ve prayed and seen nothing happen. Why? I don’t know. But today I pray, I can see people, the way this little see weeds. Thank you Lord for a sweet lesson from a sweet boy.

© Nadine Zawacki 2015