Each time one of my children departed for college, I had this burning sense that I had not told them everything they would need to know to navigate the world on their own. I am sure that in the last weeks before leaving, they were annoyed by my incessant instructions about their budget, time management, where to make friends, how to find a church, and on and on. Somewhat similarly, before my dad’s passing, he kept reminding my sister and me to care for my mother, including how to help with her finances, their house and his legacy of World War II photographs. He wanted the assurance that he had told us everything we would need to know before he left this world.Read More
As I reported last month, Graham Jacob is my first grandchild. (Thanks to those who have asked about my grandmother name. I have chosen “Nonnie,” a sweet and meaningful tribute, I thought, to my Italian great-grandmother’s name.)Read More
I woke up early Friday morning and turned on the television. The first image that appeared was a reporter standing in what appeared to be sunlight. The winds were calm. The bottom of the screen identified his location as somewhere in South Carolina. My first thought was that the storm must have passed, but then I heard him say that he was standing in the “eye” of the storm. Since I have often heard that being in the eye of a storm is a metaphor for our spiritual life in Christ—we can experience the peace that surpasses all understanding while a storm rages around us— I did some research. I wanted to know how well the metaphor actually works in my own life. The National Hurricane Center defines the eye as follows:
Eyewall / Wall Cloud:
An organized band or ring of cumulonimbus clouds that surround the eye, or light-wind center of a tropical cyclone. Eyewall and wall cloud are used synonymously.
As a hurricane moves, the eyewall approaches. The most intense part of the hurricane with the highest wind speeds is the eyewall.
Another site I read said that the eye is the calm between two bad events—the worst, however, is to come.
As I thought about the eye of the hurricane, I realized that those experiencing the calm had to first experience part of the storm. This has been true with my own storms. God has allowed them for just that purpose—so that I would enter into His presence (the eye) by prayer and Scripture. The greatest peace I have experienced has always been when I have turned to Him during a storm. But I have to confess—once in the eye, it has often been difficult for me to remain at peace. While those in the eye of Florence might have enjoyed the moment of quiet, didn’t they also live with grave expectation that the hurricane was moving and the wall would inevitably approach them—the worst was yet to come? But what if they could have moved with the eye? I don’t know if it is even possible to move with an actual hurricane so as to remain in the eye, but certainly God has given us the means to do this in our spiritual storms. Anxiety and fear arise when we allow ourselves to depart from God, and we look at the outlying storm rather than at Him. Even when the worst of storms surround us, He provides refuge if we follow Him through prayer, His Word and then obedience.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2
Some of you probably saw the picture below that circulated on Facebook prior to Florence making landfall. The image reminded me that despite the sophistication of science and meteorology, no person can predict the weather with absolute certainty. While scientific advances in predicting weather patterns have grown over the decades, each natural disaster reminds me that our knowledge will always fall short. But there is One who does know all things. He is the only one I can be certain of. And He is the only One that can give me peace through any type of storm--He alone provides refuge. He is my eye in the storm.
Postscript: The storms we face are real, both physical and spiritual. The effects of Florence were devastating. I continue to pray for all those who lost family or property. As followers of the One who is certain, it is also my prayer that we will become His hands and feet, walking beside those who have suffered the effects of the storms.
This morning I sent my husband this simple text, “No!!!!!!” He replied, “That is the first text I have ever gotten with six exclamation points.” I may have overreacted, but I was attempting to stop him from waking up my sleep-deprived daughter, her husband, and their new baby. Admittedly, however, I have been known to overuse this form of punctuation. It seems to me that “Thanks” communicates much less appreciation than “Thanks!” or certainly, “Thanks!!!”Read More
Some time ago my husband reconnected with an old friend of ours from law school. His friend wrote:
“I see the long list of your impressive professional achievements. No surprise to me of course. Your faith is even more impressive from an outsider looking in. I've become an avid reader. It seems to me that the great writers and thinkers all want to answer the same question, one your faith answers for you: Why are we here?"Read More
A few years ago my husband, brother-in-law, and I were traveling to upstate New York for a wedding. We chose our flight based on the usual criteria—scheduled arrival time and cost. Our economical choice required us to drive from Northern Virginia to Philadelphia and from there take a non-stop flight to our destination. The flight was originally delayed due to bad weather—not the airline’s fault as all flights were delayed. But then a series of events snowballed.Read More
For the past nine months, I have looked forward to the day I would become a grandmother. As the due date for my daughter fast approached I prepared my blog entry so that it would be complete before my daughter went into labor. I decided to reflect on waiting. How do we wait? How do we wait and not be anxious? I looked at lots of Scripture, but have now decided to delay my thoughts for another week. Why? I became a grandmother on Sunday for the first time. My days of waiting are over, and I now just want to reflect on the awesomeness of this event—not only did a beautiful new life come into the world (a baby boy), but I saw my daughter hold her own child!Read More
One morning in Ethiopia, the women’s team broke into smaller groups to make home visits to bring clothes and supplies. Guides from the ministry led us through these visits -- I mentioned them several blogs ago—a remarkable group devoted to helping HIV-positive individuals. Our team made two visits. The first was to a gentleman, and the second was to a woman and her eighteen-year old daughter. All three had been diagnosed with HIV (the daughter was born with it). After our bus let us off, we found the remaining journey on foot to both residences challenging. We balanced on rocks and waded through mud. The walks, however, were worth the effort.Read More
Over the years I have had many opportunities to participate in an overseas mission trip, and just as readily, I have had many reasons to refrain. As mentioned in my blog before my Ethiopia trip this summer, I felt God called me on this particular trip. In the past, I had always felt that someone else would be better for whichever trip was in question. I could help financially, and send someone who was younger, stronger, bolder in their witness, more courageous, could speak the language—in essence would be far better equipped than me.Read More
One afternoon I was sitting with two beautiful young women at an orphanage in Ethiopia. They were trying to teach me their language, Amharic. They were quite amused that I had absolutely no ability to replicate the sounds of their language. One of the translators was nearby, and so I called her over to help me steer the conversation away from myself to them. (I can only take so much teasing, even in a foreign language!) “What is your story?” I asked them.Read More
I just returned from Ethiopia yesterday. Thank you for your prayers! God’s presence was felt along the way, and many prayers were answered in ways far beyond our expectations. The trip was amazing and I appreciate now more than ever that we serve a great and mighty God. I definitely need time to process all the lessons I learned, but I will try to put some of them into words over the next few weeks. I know blogs are supposed to be short and concise, so this will be a personal challenge.Read More
In less than three weeks I am leaving on a missions trip to Ethiopia. There are over two hundred individuals from my church, both men and women, who are going to the capital city of Addis Ababa to serve in various ways. While I am not the oldest going, I am definitely amongst the oldest! Many have asked me why now and why this trip. I have asked myself the same question. Do I feel that as a Christian this is a box I need to check?Read More
I grew up in the 70’s when the fight for women’s rights was at its peak. My college was one-third women, and my law school was about one-quarter women. I felt strongly that there should be equality for men and women in the workplace which would naturally include equal opportunities, as well as equal pay for equal jobs. I still support those values, and I am grateful that both my schools now have a more equal gender ratio. But in God’s Kingdom equality does not necessarily mean that women and men are called to do the same things. Sometimes they are, but sometimes they are not. Sometimes, God calls us to service because we are uniquely made as women—or uniquely made as men. It is comforting to realize that our value to God is not determined by how we measure up to a man, but how we obediently use our gifts as a woman.Read More
I will become a grandmother for the first time this coming August. I am so excited! But one surprising question has caused me an inordinate amount of stress—what do I want to be called by said grandchild? A few friends, who are also becoming grandmothers, posted on Facebook a very humorous Youtube video about this very dilemma. I could relate to the woman on camera who changed her mind multiple times and obsessed about her specific grandmother title. For example, I don’t want to appear too fuddy-duddy (although perhaps saying fuddy-duddy makes me fuddy-duddy). I don’t want to pick an exclusively southern term for grandmothers, after all, I am originally from New York. I also want to pick a name that the baby can easily pronounce and not butcher into something truly odd. Admittedly, the name has to be something our children will agree to, but I also want it to be somewhat hip! Now this may not sound like a significant issue, but as I reflected, I realized the novelty in all of this—that we grandmothers (and grandfathers) get to pick a name for ourselves. After all, our first names had been assigned at birth. We had no choice in the matter. Of course we could have changed them as adults, or we could have adopted nicknames, but not without considerable paperwork or explanation. For the most part, we have been stuck with our given names. I have always thought that names reflect character. In some sense, as grandparents, we get to choose a bit of our identity—at least to our grandchildren!Read More
I have high cholesterol. While arguably one bagel won’t hurt me, my collective choices of what I eat have negative consequences. When I choose to forgo exercise for a period of time, my bone density is adversely affected. (The aging process is not always fun!) But my choices not only affect my health, but all areas of my life. Every time I take on one activity, I don’t have time for another. And over the years, some decisions have had very significant consequences. For example, in choosing to relocate to Virginia, my husband and I lost relationships with some individuals whom we cared for, but gained others. The truth is, we must always weigh our options, consider the consequences, and balance the costs involved with any decision. But perhaps no greater decision faces us than the one illustrated by two women in Scripture—Orpah and Ruth. Theirs is a picture of the free choice that God gives every individual.Read More
“When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters” Genesis 5:21-13.
This verse has always made me smile. It seems that Enoch walked with God after he became a father. Enoch knew that something had to change in his life after having children. He began to seek God’s wisdom. I wonder how many parents have begun to walk with God when their children became teens. I was never more aware of my need for wisdom than when I was raising teenagers. Faced with the realization that we needed more of God’s help, several friends and I decided to faithfully pray together for our high schoolers. We had been in prayer groups while our children were in elementary school, but our prayers took on a greater urgency as they got older. What did we pray for? Mostly, wisdom and discernment.Read More
Admittedly, Facebook offers a few benefits. One was highlighted to me the other day. I am still grasping the craziness of it all.
I was watching television with my husband when I received a bing on my phone indicating a Facebook message had come in. I don’t receive very many, so I opened it immediately. It read:
Hi Carole, I’m looking for my big sister from Lafayette College when I was a young girl. I’m not sure but I think you may be her. I am volunteering and in the board of directors for big brothers and big sisters and it made me think of you. I just wanted to say hello and thank you for your time when I was younger. I hope you are living a wonderful and fulfilled life. You made an impact on my life and I am going well. I hope you are the right Carole Orzio.Read More
When I first came to a believing knowledge of Jesus Christ I was concerned with my newfound purpose. I had come to understand that God created all men and women to worship Him, to know Him, and to reflect His Glory to the world. But why two genders? Was I, were women somehow “less than” men?Read More
Last fall, I shared in my blog a story about my dad. As I was reading through the Psalms this past week, I felt led to expand on that story. Specifically, I was reading my dad’s favorite Psalm, and it hits me in the heart every time.Read More
Some time ago I was researching “root canals” on Google, I came across this cartoon:
“Read my Bible, I would rather have a root canal!”
Well, clearly the writer of this cartoon had never had a root canal. The reason I was doing this research was because I was in excruciating pain after the second of my two root canals. I can testify that I would much rather read my Bible!Read More