Sunday, March 05, 2023

The Iceberg Melts


Tom and I recently went to see the movie, “Jesus Revolution.” It tells the story of how tens of thousands of “hippies” came to fall in love with Jesus. It was very good and moving story. In watching it, I was reminded how I came to fall in love with Jesus.

I grew up in the Catholic church. As I teenager, I went to the “folk mass” (they played live with music with guitars). I was attracted to music – all types. Music always moved something in me. When I started dating Tom he was in a Christian Rock band called, “Sonseed.” He played percussion instruments and as a young 16-year-old that was very attractive. It was at one of the concerts that the band played that I said yes to Jesus in a way that was different than my just going to church on Sunday.

Believe it or not, I wasn’t the nicest of girls growing up. When I was very young kids tried to bully me, but I decided that I would turn the tables and bully first. I apologize to all the kids I bullied at a young age. I just didn’t know who I was so I became whoever I needed to be at the moment.

Back to the concert. When the preacher got up to speak, he said, “Jesus loved me and he didn’t expect me to change to ask Him into my heart. He just wanted me to ask.”

Mind blown at 17 years old. It’s been quite a journey. I hit a rough patch in the last several years. I never stop loving God, I just moved away from Him and put up a very thick brick wall around my heart. In recent months, the iceberg that was my heart started to melt and soften.

I realized that Jesus never moved. He was always there, steady, waiting for me to come back. He still loved me just as I am. I love that about Him.

I want to love as Jesus loved. No expectation, no demands, and not asking someone to change for me. I don’t think I ever did that, but I want to love better. Jesus loved the people. People inside and outside of church can learn from that kind of love. I can learn from that kind of love.

Be patient with me as I step back into the water. I know I am not perfect, but I know that I am loved. That is a good place to start.


© Nadine Zawacki 2023

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Chipped Heart

Anyone who knows me, knows l how much I love my husband, Tom. He’s a good man with a good heart. He’s kind, loving and a caring man. He has battled cancer twice before and it’s been 11 years since the last battle.

This is what I’ve learned about cancer – it’s like a terrorist. It causes fear in the hearts in those who hear the words, “I’m sorry to say, but you have cancer.” I’ve learned while fighting cancer that you enjoy the good days, endure the bad days, but no matter what – you keep moving forward.

In the past 11 years we didn’t think about it very much except when there was a check up, a blood test, or a scan. The terror lies dormant, threatening to strike anytime. You breathe easy when you receive the all clear. But now, it has come back for a third time.

Tom and I both work in a hematology and oncology clinic. I work as a front office assistant and Tom helps find funding to help cancer patients with their bills. There are over a hundred people that work here. The clinic helps many patients as they navigate their worst days.

So, what’s up with the picture above? What does it have to do with cancer? I was checking in a new patient for his appointment. I asked for his paperwork and he handed me back a couple of forms that I didn’t need. Since they had some of his personal information on it, I asked if he wanted it back and he replied that he didn’t. I assured him I would place it in my shred bin. He then precedes to hand me the heart pictured above. He simply said, “Here’s something that doesn’t fit in a shred bin.” I thanked him for his thoughtfulness. On closer examination, I noticed that the heart had a chip in it, and it immediately spoke to me. It was like God was trying to tell me that He knew that my heart was broken, but He held it in His hands. He was in control. It gave me hope. I certainly can use hope right now. God used a stranger to speak to my heart at time when I needed it the most.

My hope is that this is the final time we battle cancer. The last time Tom has to go through treatments. I may not know what the details are or how Tom’s body will react to treatment, but I know this . . . God has this. He has placed so many people in our lives to help us through this battle. I’m truly grateful that if cancer had to come back, it came back now, while working at a clinic extremely equipped to give Tom the best care possible.

© Nadine Zawacki, Jan. 15, 2020

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Dancing Queen

After having my second complete knee replacement surgery a month ago, I find myself discouraged. The second operation eight weeks after the first one was rougher than expected. I had trouble with pain control and just when I was getting better, I’ve had trouble this past week with stomach issues. Food has not been my friend. Thank God I have extra reserves to get by. J Tired of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to watch, “Mama Mia, Here We Go Again.”

A little background. I grew up in the seventies and I loved the singing group, “ABBA.” I loved to dance and they had great dancing music. My favorite song, “Dancing Queen.” I would dance and dance all around the house.

It’s rare for a sequel to exceed the original, but this one did for me. I found myself getting caught up in the story and the music. Such fun. When they sang my favorite song, I cranked it up and danced in my bed. Believe me, it was a sight to be seen.

I realized that even though my knees hurt still and I have good and bad days, it doesn’t change the fact that they are better than before surgery. There is hope that as time passes, my knees will get better. My Physical Therapist and doctor both stated that I’m doing well and on track.

But here’s the thing, my mind is slow to believe and slow to accept. I looked at my two very scarred legs and that’s all I can see. At times, it feels like the pain overrides the blessings to come.  

This movie showed me something. As the music filled the air, it filled my heart. God reminded me that I’m still a “Dancing Queen.” He created me to dance and to laugh and be filled with hope. My name, Nadine, means hope. When my hope gets attack, who I am is dented, but God made me hopeful. That’s what I am. I’m hopeful that my knees will continue to get better. I will be a “Dancing Queen,” again.

Thank you, Lord for using ABBA music to fill my heart and soul with hope and encouragement.

© Nadine Zawacki, 2019

Monday, August 27, 2018

No Esta Aqui

I work at a medical clinic with over ninety employees. It’s been a change being a part of a big organization. I work the front desk with five other lovely ladies. A couple of them speak Spanish, so when we get a phone call from Spanish-speaking patients, one of the ladies takes the call.

One day, I asked one of the ladies if she was available to take a Spanish-speaking call. Her response to me was, “No esta aqui.” (Loosely translated, not here.)” I replied, “You esta aqui,” which made her laugh. I butcher the Spanish language on a daily basis. I love hearing the ladies speak Spanish. It sounds like music

My journey the last several years has been a difficult one. Living in Canada was challenging. It wasn’t just the winter with eighteen feet of snow, but the people were cold. We never pastored a church before that had such hard, stubborn people that were at times disrespectful and unkind towards my husband. Granted there were some very wonderful people we met on the island of PEI. On a whole it was a bad experience for me.

I love living back in the U.S. I don’t ever want to live anywhere else again. Since we moved back to the states, I’ve kept God at bay. I’ve had no interest in going to church. To be honest, I’m still at that place. Lately, God’s been drawing me closer even though my response is, “No esta aqui.”

I don’t want to push Him away, but I just can’t help myself. No matter how much I’ve pushed, He hasn’t gone anywhere. “He’s esta aqui.” Now my Spanish is not accurate but the sentiment is accurate. God is here. He hasn’t gone anywhere. He was in Canada and now He’s here in Washington.

I’ve been a pastor’s wife for over 30 years. It’s taken its toll, but I won’t let the haters win. I love God and I love His people, but some of them are harder than others to love. That’s just my feelings at this time. I’ve loved before and I will love again. I’ve forgiven those who hurt us, but the memory of the hurt will take a littler longer.

© Nadine Zawacki 08/28/18

Monday, May 29, 2017

Take Courage

It’s been a long time since I sat at my laptop and started to write. When my heart hurts, it’s hard to flow creatively. It’s difficult to see beyond my pain. Last year was a difficult year for me. In the beginning of the year, I lost my Mom. She was 90 years old and she was ill, but my heart is having a hard healing from the lost.

If that was the only thing that happened last year, I might be able to deal with it. But my brother got ill and was in the hospital. Tom had trouble with his heart. I was struggling with back trouble and I had a hard time walking. My back still troubles me from time to time. My cousin past away and my heart didn’t stand a chance.

But in the darkness came joy, my daughter got engaged to a wonderful man whom we love. They are getting married this year and my heart couldn’t be more thrilled. It is something I prayed for since she was a little girl – that she would find a man who would love her, be good to her and fill her heart. God answered that prayer.

There is a worship song written by Kristene DiMarco, Jeremy Riddle and Joel Taylor (CCLI# 7074837) that speaks to me. It encourages me. Here are the lyrics.

Slow down take time, breathe in He said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind, always higher than mine
And He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart, stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting; He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope, as your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing, He’s never failing

Sing praise my soul, find strength in joy
Let His words lead you on
Do not forget, His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun

You who hold the stars, who call them each by name
Will surely keep Your promise to me
That I will rise in Your victory.

I find the hardest place to be is in a place where you’re in a hallway. What I mean by that is one door of opportunity has closed and you’re waiting for another door to open. It’s this place where God is in the waiting. Whether it is dealing with a death, or health problems, or anything it is life brings your way; “the waiting” is difficult.

This song reminds me that God is in “the waiting.” He never fails and the best thing I can do is to “hold onto my hope.”

So help me Lord, to hold onto hope and trust in You. You never fail and you are with me even in the toughest of time.

© Nadine Zawacki 2017

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