A Loaf Of Zucchini Bread

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_49A9018Written by: Cindy Morrone

Going with one of our daughters to the hair dresser last week, I was delighted to see an elderly customer, hand her hair dresser a loaf of zucchini bread.  Her hair dresser remarked on what a wonderful lady she is. We marveled at this woman’s kindness and how we do not see this often.  Someone showing their appreciation with gifts.

The yearning in my belly rose once again to the surface that day.

I wanted and needed someone to show me such kindness.

For a plethora of personal reasons, I longed for tangible loving. Something I could see, hear and touch.

On a particular difficult morning, I received her message. She had something for me and could she drop it off after work?

This lovely had no idea what I had been going through and I did not disclose this yearning to her.

I had to my Jesus though.

In my constant prayers, I asked Him to fill my needs, to comfort me, and to heal me.  Not only did He hear my prayer but He asked someone else on my behalf, to deliver a gift of kindness.

Unbelievable!!

When she came to my door she said she felt silly bringing me a loaf of zucchini bread.  Yes, I said zucchini bread!  She explained that she had made several and when praying about who to give a loaf to, my name (Yes, MY name!!) came to her mind.

At my door, I tried to awkwardly share how much this meant to me.  And she started to express that although she felt silly, it was more important for her to be obedient.  She didn’t know why or how important this act was and she didn’t need to know.

She said, “I did feel a little silly, but it’s more silly to be disobedient to God! Thank you God for leading and guiding us!! I pray God will bless you and use you today!! I probably won’t know how much it meant to you but God did and I want to be used by Him!”

Unbelievable!!

How often do we let our feelings of silliness get in the way of being the hands and feet of Jesus? Maybe we think the act of kindness too little, too inexpensive, too ordinary.  Maybe because we don’t know the reason behind the call to action our feet stop.

The way I see it, there were (at least) 3 Gospel Truths at work in this act of kindness towards me:

  • The Lord heard my prayers and answered them. “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.” Jerimiah 29:12
  • There is opportunity to serve and come alongside others. Jesus, Himself being our ultimate Servant. ‘When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord’, and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”’ John 13:12-15
  • Saying Yes! and doing is necessary to deliver tangible love. This lovely was ready, willing and obedient to deliver this act of kindness to me.  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it various forms.”  1 Peter 4:10

Thank you, lovely, Julie MacIntosh-Hough!! Again, you’ll probably never know how much your gift truly blessed me (and yet, you did it anyway)

 

Running On Empty? What Do You Do?  The Choice is Ours.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I had several prescheduled appointments to make.  Time was tight but I had arranged each stop strategically so it would all work out.

I didn’t make room for error.

At the appointed time, we got into our van, turned it on and immediately I noticed that in order to do what I had to do and get back home, I would need gas or we’d be stranded.

I didn’t have time to get gas before all the scheduled appointments so I prayed that the van would get us through.

The warning sign didn’t come on until after the first appointment, about an hour away from home.  I pushed through the next appointment and the next, and then started to drive home.

Recently a close friend asked me, “Does it get any easier saying good-bye?” She knew we had just lost our precious foster baby to her forever home and was concerned about how I was coping.

My immediate answer was, “No.”  After a brief reflection, I answered, “Well, in some ways its easier and in some ways its harder.”

Knowing the pain to come, I knew the things I could do to help ease the pain.  Finish her life book, meet up with friends, exercise and not over extend myself during this time of grieving.

When you know difficulty is coming, you can somewhat brace yourself.  You prepare for the storm and you put in place those things you know have helped in the past.

But no thing can prepare me for the depth of this storm.  And it’s when I try to press on in my own strength, thinking those things in themselves will completely heal my pain that I find myself running on empty.  I can’t just stop at the next gas station and fill up.

I need to account for my human error.

It’s only in my intimate and deep dependency on my Jesus that I make it through.

Devotions and prayer become my refuge.  The Word my anchor.

Scriptures like this, hold true;

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:8

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12: 9&10

And in my prayers, I don’t just hope that I’ll make it through, I know for certain that I will.

Running On Empty? What Do You Do?  The Choice is Ours.

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I had several prescheduled appointments to make.  Time was tight but I had arranged each stop strategically so it would all work out.

I didn’t make room for error.

At the appointed time, we got into our van, turned it on and immediately I noticed that in order to do what I had to do and get back home, I would need gas or we’d be stranded.

I didn’t have time to get gas before all the scheduled appointments so I prayed that the van would get us through.

The warning sign didn’t come on until after the first appointment, about an hour away from home.  I pushed through the next appointment and the next, and then started to drive home.

Recently a close friend asked me, “Does it get any easier saying good-bye?” She knew we had just lost our precious foster baby to her forever home and was concerned about how I was coping.

My immediate answer was, “No.”  After a brief reflection, I answered, “Well, in some ways its easier and in some ways its harder.”

Knowing the pain to come, I knew the things I could do to help ease the pain.  Finish her life book, meet up with friends, exercise and not over extend myself during this time of grieving.

When you know difficulty is coming, you can somewhat brace yourself.  You prepare for the storm and you put in place those things you know have helped in the past.

But no thing can prepare me for the depth of this storm.  And it’s when I try to press on in my own strength, thinking those things in themselves will completely heal my pain that I find myself running on empty.  I can’t just stop at the next gas station and fill up.

I need to account for my human error.

It’s only in my intimate and deep dependency on my Jesus that I make it through.

Devotions and prayer become my refuge.  The Word my anchor.

Scriptures like this, hold true;

“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  James 4:8

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.’ 2 Corinthians 12: 9&10

 

 

And in my prayers, I don’t just hope that I’ll make it through, I know for certain that I will.

Considering Only the Cost……

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Sitting on our front porch watching the vehicle leave with our precious one to bring her to her forever home, I watched as my daughters cried.  We had spent over 9 months loving and helping to care for her.  No longer with us, she will be forever in our hearts.

My heart desperately ached for answers to many questions; one being, “Is this ok for our daughters?”

Was it ok to expose them to such heartache and hurt?  Was it ok to expect them to love on and care for another that was known to be with us for only a time?

My husband and I parent our daughters closely. We are hands on kinda parents and consider their safety of the upmost importance.   We even strive to come alongside them and as best we can help them navigate through the tribulations they experience.  We pray over them and ask others to pray for them.  We seek wise counsel when needed.

And yet, here we are a foster family.  We have intentionally asked them to love and let go even though it hurts desperately.

As we sat on the porch comforting one another my husband spoke up.  He said, “Yes, it hurts so much right now but what if we had never met her?  What if we had never had the opportunity to have her in our lives, help care for her and know her?  We would have missed out on so much.”

When he spoke, in the very back recesses of my mind, I found the words, “Tis’ better to have loved and lost; Than never to have loved at all.”

Not remembering how I knew these words, I started to research, finding that these words were written by the British poet, Alfred, Lord Tennyson in his poem, “In Memoriam A.H.H.” Lord Tennyson penned these words as he grieved over the loss of a beloved friend.

And I couldn’t agree with him more!!

It is better to have loved and lost her, than to have never loved her at all!! It’s better for me, my husband and our daughters. Our lives are beyond enriched!!

Love comes at a cost.  If you’ve loved only for a quick second for all the wrong reasons; you’d have to agree.  Love comes at a cost.

But what we’d miss if we don’t open ourselves up to loving and caring for others.  What we’d miss if we only consider the cost.

Please, don’t just take my word for it.  Open the Bible and see the ultimate love exchange when God did not spare His One and only Son.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”  Matthew 16:24 & 25

Dear Bride-To-Be

Written by: Cindy Morrone

When he asked me to marry him, I instantly knew what it felt like to be chosen.  Chosen to be loved for a lifetime.

It was a cold winter night and the planned proposal was thrown aside.  He could no longer wait.  As we talked about our future with a pine-tree lined driveway, a white picket fence and two children playing in the yard, he reached for the ring and popped the question!

After a long engagement, I graduated from university and we were married in that same year.  That was over 20 years ago!

As I reflect on our marriage, I have some things I’d like to share.

Dear Bride-To-Be,

When we were first married and for some time afterwards, I misdirected my dependence on my husband.

I looked to him to fix everything—my broken-down car, house repairs, finances and my emotional well-being.

I looked to him to have a good time, to take away my fears and heal my hurts.

He, being my main squeeze was my everything.

And it was for a time in newlywed bliss.

I blame it on ignorance.  I blame it on relationships depicted in the movies.  I blame it on remaining childhood hurts.

I blame it on not knowing how God intended marriage.

Blame aside, through these 20 plus years, I’ve learned that my wonderful, amazing, passionate husband cannot and is not meant to fix my everything.

I misdirected my dependence on him.

As a result, I placed undue burden on him and our marriage and was still left unfixed.

It isn’t his place; it is God’s place.

As awesome as he is (and he is!); God is The Awesome One!!

I was (and this is a word we no longer use very often) idolizing my hubster.

This Truth goes way back to the 10 commandments (again, not considered as often) shared with the Israelites; God’s chosen people in their journey to freedom from slavery.

“You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.” Exodus 20:4

We have learned that when we go to the Lord instead of depending on each other, we become healthier and stronger as individuals and in our marriage.

When we can listen, hold a hand and wipe a tear and then bring each other’s requests to God in prayer that our marriage stays strong.

When we follow the greatest commandment, Jesus replied:”’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:37 our marriage thrives in unity.

I am so happy for you Bride-To-Be!!! This is such an exciting time in your life.  It is amazing that someone has chosen you to love for a lifetime!! Enjoy the moment and hold onto the promises made.  Let God be your first; your everything and He will bless you and your Groom-To-Be beyond anything told in a fairytale.

Sincerely, Dependent on Him; not him

Is Any Prayer Too Small?

Written by: Cindy Morrone

My daughter is having her wisdom teeth out today.  It is the beginning of the end of a very long journey of orthodontics and impending jaw surgery for her.  (Yes, while I wait, I am writing.  This wasn’t my planned post for this week but it seems writing is an incredible coping outlet for me.)

We are absolutely confident in her oral surgeon; he is one of the very best.  We know countless others have had this procedure including us, her parents, and that it is very common.

So, as I have been praying for her, I also wonder is this ‘big’ enough to pray for and to ask for prayer for her?  I mean there are things that others are dealing with that are so much more serious; life threatening even.

I have prayed for parking spots.  I have prayed for needed grocery items to be on sale.  I have prayed during times of constipation.  (Humour is also a coping help—lol!)

Does God have time for these little prayers?  Does He care about them as much as others? Isn’t He just too busy to concern Himself with such small matters?  Matters that competent surgeons can handle with ease?  Matters that modern technology and convenience have already taken care of.  Matters that in the grand scheme of things are small in comparison; preemptive even.

Not leaning on my own understanding of all things God, I turn to the Word.

I recall Scriptures about prayers that encourage me; urge me to pray even for this. For her.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit,” apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

…I can do nothing apart from Jesus

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6&7

…in every and by petition

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”  1 Thessalonians 5:16

…pray continually

And even for those times when we don’t know how or what to say, the Holy Spirit does…

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

 

Thank you to all those who hold up our family in prayer for big and small matters.  We are so grateful!!

Drowning In Redundancy

Written by: Cindy Morrone

“Mommie, mommie, mommie, MOOMMMiiiiieeee!” X a million times a day X two little ones.

I can remember how, at times, I would be so frustrated in hearing my name called all throughout the day; all day when they were little!!

At times, I’d forget.

I’d forget how and how long it took to become a Mommie.

7 years of infertility, a failed adoption, a lifetime of barrenness.

We can hear things over and over again and read things over and over again and yet, we can forget their significance.

It’s only when we are reminded to stop and look and listen, that these timeless truths can help bear our burdens once again.

I was reminded of this; this very week.

Fast forward a few years and now those little ones are not so little anymore.  Mommie has changed to Mom.

Now being a foster family for a few years it is time once again to say good-bye to a precious one.  Another that has a forever place in my Mama heart.

The loss wants to overwhelm and attempts to hide the blessings of this very day.

Loss tends to do that.  As I consider the cost; the gain goes unnoticed.

Yes, I’ve heard these Scriptures before.  Over and over again. Redundancy turned unessential.

But wait; stop and read them one more time; letting their burden carrying capability unfold.

 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow.  What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14

Wherever you may find yourself this very day, notice.  See what your blessings are. Hold them tight and hold them dear for we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Be in the moment. Love those in your today. Cherish the every day moments.

Blessings to you and yours.

Picking Our Battles

Written by: Cindy Morrone

Fight or flight.

All throughout the Bible, there are examples of how God’s people reacted when a conflict arose.  Sometimes they entered into the battle and fought and sometimes they didn’t.

All around us are reasons to take up a cause.  Injustice, neglect, abuse, discrimination and the like. We see it all over our news and social media.

For me, it is the issues surrounding child welfare that I am most passionate about.  What are you passionate about?

And when a conflict arises I pick my battles.

Sometimes I fight. Like Joshua and his army conquering the enemy for the Promised Land, clinging to and armed with God’s instructions, “Be strong and very courageous.  Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7

Sometimes I don’t.  Like King Jehoshaphat, I heed a similar direction, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ’Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s” 2 Chronicles 20:15 “You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:17

My engagement in the battle is not based on my passion; for that never seems to change for me.

Knowing which action to take is directed by God’s instructions to me in that specific situation.

Clearly discerning God’s direction is guided by Scripture, like those below and not acted on until I experience His Peace about the direction:

  • “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  Romans 12 17 & 18
  • “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise.” Proverbs 19:20
  • “Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.” 1 Corinthians 12:8

Victories can be lost when we choose to fight battles we are not supposed to and be silent when we should be shouting our battle cry.

Thankful for Unanswered Prayers

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I couldn’t have said this a few weeks ago; that I was thankful for an unanswered prayer.

We had been praying long and hard for provision.

We’ve heard the many stories of how our God provides.  The manna and quail that fell from heaven.  The water that poured out of a rock.

And we too prayed that provision would fall from the sky.  When that didn’t happen, we prayed that someone would be the hands and feet of Jesus and provide for us. When that didn’t happen, we continued to pray.

We’d experienced answered prayers before.  Some immediate like the manna and water.  Some by the grace of others.

But these prayers went unanswered…….at least not yet; at least not in a way we anticipated.

Instead, a greater answer came.

Like the Chinese proverb; “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

The answer to this prayer for us was not in the answer but in the process.

God had so much more for us, than the answer.  He had a way to show us that we could apply to any and all of our problems.

Here is what we learned:

To be humble and recognize that we can’t do this on our own; we need help. We need God’s help.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

To seek God above seeking an answer.  Drawing nearer to Him; deeper to Him, He will reveal Himself in mighty ways and the answers will come and as we wait for them to come there will be Peace.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Trust His timing. Don’t give up.  Don’t believe in hopelessness.  Do not become discouraged.  God has this.  God has you!!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9

He will give us awe-inspiring solutions that are not only for us but to share with others in need.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8&9

Praying blessing to you and yours as you journey to answered prayer.