... Even the worst heartaches can become heartstrings to God's hope, comfort, encouragement, joy, peace and love...

Welcome! As a fan of the cartoon character Maxine, I enjoy her witty remarks. But when I
read my blogs & other writing to her, she's not very responsive- even when I'm wearing my bunny slippers like hers! She just doesn't get it!
Although she's funnier than I am, I do pray that this site will bring encouragement to your day! I'd love to hear from you! Unlike Maxine, you can leave me a message via the Comments. Shalom, Connie


Friday, December 19, 2014

At the Well

The walk to the well is usually a time of catching up on the village news, but I left early this morning so I wouldn’t meet the others. As Mary’s pregnancy is more evident, the barbed remarks have increased. This morning, of all mornings, I just couldn’t face them. My tears won’t stop. I am afraid for Mary. It is too close to her time to be traveling all the way to Bethlehem.

Yes, I know Joseph will take care of her, Lord, but couldn’t you have delayed the census a little while? Is this old lady’s request too much for you, Almighty G-d? Would it have too hard to have Mary’s needs considered? After all, she sings with great joy that you have chosen her. Yet you let her travel? Have mercy, G-d on this old woman. Forgive my arrogance. I just love my granddaughter and fear for her and the baby she’ll soon deliver. Lord, can you give me a sign… a little one perhaps? To show me that Mary is well?

The tears continued to flow, as I neared the well.

Oy, at least I can draw the water without the other woman smiling while looking at one another with their “I know the real story” expressions. I don’t even understand… how could they?

“Woman, why are you weeping?”

Frightened, I turned to see a Roman soldier looking down at me.

What does one say to a Roman? He knows nothing about women’s trials or the promised Messiah.

“Forgive an old lady, Sir. I am worried about my granddaughter traveling all the way to Bethlehem for the census.”

“So you weep? I thought you Jews trusted your god to take care of everything!” He turned and marched off laughing.

I sank to my knees and wept bitterly.

My G-d, forgive me. A sign… I ask for a sign and you send me a Roman soldier. Oy, after all these years, this old woman still doubts . . . still doesn’t put all her trust in you. Forgive this old woman once again. You alone know why Mary must make this journey. Why she is with child that’s not Joseph’s; and yet he trusts you and takes her into his home. My G-d, my G-d, help this old woman to understand . . . to trust in you in all things. Until the Messiah comes, I am your servant.

Little did I know that as I wept at the well, Mary, too, was weeping as she knelt in the hay before the manger that cradled her newborn baby. A son, as G-d had said. To be named Jesus, as Joseph had been told. Yes, Mary wept with both joy and fear as she pondered all that was and was to come.

This great-grandmother will not live to see this little one grow into a man. But I will serve the Lord faithfully all my remaining days, as I promised that quiet morning by at the well.

~ ~ ~

This writer spent the birthday of the Messiah at home alone . . . also in tears. Illness kept me from my family and I wept for understanding… for the loss of memory-building moments with my grandchildren and son.
I, too, asked for a sign that God was with me for it didn’t feel that way. No Roman soldier appeared. No sign… just the loneliness, and the feeling of being rejected.

The next day, I asked the Lord, “What was I suppose to learn throughout the day of tears?” He gave me the story of the anxious great-grandmother, who, even though she loved the Lord, struggled with the unknown. Her fears were real. For Jesus, who left His throne to be born frail and helpless in a stable, and came to deliver the news of hope and forgiveness, was rejected and despised. What loneliness He must have felt as He hung upon the cross for us!

Like that great-grandmother, I knelt at the Well of Living Water and prayed, "My G-d, forgive me. After all these years, this old woman still doubts . . . still doesn’t place all her trust in you. Forgive this old woman once again. My G-d, help this woman to trust in you in all circumstances and for all things. And until the Messiah comes again, I am your servant."

Christmas 2009

Monday, December 15, 2014

Guest Post

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Lonely or Alone

“…Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often.” (Luke 2:19 NLT)

Like Mary, I was in a strange town; I had lost my job, and my family would be out of state for Christmas. Instead of jingle bells I was hearing bill collectors ringing my phone. Depression was keeping me in bed or watching TV so I could turn off reality. It didn’t work.

Then I remembered a story about two men breaking into the apartment of an old lady. It was dark and they were not expecting her to be home, but there she was. They tied her to a chair while searching for jewelry and Christmas gifts. She insisted that there were none; and tried to explain that she had made the choice not to have Christmas so she wouldn’t be lonely and sad.

I, too, had a choice to make. I could be alone or I could be lonely and miserable.

If you are alone or having difficulties this Christmas season, I want to know that Mary, Jesus’ mother, knew loneliness that first Christmas Day even with Joseph at her side. She had delivered the holy infant Son of God miles away from family and would not be able to return to her home in Nazareth for several years. Everything she and Joseph planned was null and void once the census was announced. The cradle Joseph had lovingly craved in his workshop couldn’t go to Bethlehem. Nor could the specially woven basket and layette Mary made… only basics could be taken with them.

Mary knew she had the responsibility of raising God’s Son¾a task she could never discuss at the well with local MOPS ladies. As devoted a father Joseph probably was, the burden still fell upon Mary, who would eventually be kneeling at the foot of the cross when Jesus died.

When we think of Mary, our perspective changes. Christmas, often, doesn’t measure up to our expectations. For others, they are too busy to enjoy the celebration. Yet we can make a choice based on what we have rather than on what we want.

I’ve now retired and live near the beautiful snow-topped Cascade Mountains. I often am alone for Christmas, but each year I mix my traditions:
              baking cookies to share,
              knitting gifts,
              writing letters to far away friends,
              attending a Christmas Eve service,
              listening to my favorite carols and the Messiah,
              reading Christmas mysteries,
              watching Christmas movies
with new ways to re-tune my heart in preparation for Jesus’ birthday. This year I’m creating a Jessie Tree (Jesus Family Tree) and reading a coordinating devotional each day. And I am writing to encourage you!

Regardless of circumstances, we must remember that Christmas isn’t about stuff. It’s our heart relationship with the Lover of our Soul. As long as we are celebrating with Jesus, we are never alone and never lonely.

ã 2014 Constance Gilbert

Friday, December 05, 2014

As Long as There Is Christmas

By Jack Zavada (with permission to use)

      The first few lights glow brightly, as you watch the season start.
      You know you should be happy, but don't feel it in your heart.

      Instead you think about a time when someone laughed with you,
      and the love you shared then filled your soul But too soon it was 

      So Christmas comes with sadness, and a yearning deep inside,
      a thirst for love and peace and hope that will not be denied.

      Late one night you hear a voice, so soft and without blame...
      then you realize He's calling your name.

      "I know you hurt and loneliness, the heartache that you bear,
      I listen and I cry with you through every single prayer.

      "I promised in the manger and fulfilled it on the cross.
      I built a home that's filled with love for all those who are lost.

      "So let me come and heal your heart and give you rest within.
      For my way is kind and gentle and will bring you joy again."

      His words still echo through the years, a vow that He made true,
      "As long as there's a Christmas, I will be in love with you."

Friday, October 24, 2014


My computer is dying & I have no idea when I'll return to post again.
Praying for a new computer...can't write without one. Until then may blessings abound in your life as you draw nearer to the Lord.


Monday, August 25, 2014

Escape Route

This was a unique reminder for me. Maybe for you also?


If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and is entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.


The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, but it cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash. 


A bumblebee, if dropped into an open glass tumbler, will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself. –


In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up! That's the answer, the escape route and the solution to any problem... just look up! –

Sorrow looks back, 
Worry looks around, 
But faith looks up! 

Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, and trust in our Creator, who loves us.
 [Author unknown]

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Spiritual Whitespace

Sometimes we need to sit on the shelf for a while in order to rest and be refilled.

Bonnie Gray's new book speaks of spiritual whitespace; and I have been studying the Israelites as they leave the Sinai desert. They, too, needed to rest physically and spiritually during their desert time.

However, whether we are on the shelf or in the desert or whitespace, we humans seem to find issues to grumble about.

The Israelites received food and water supernaturally everyday, but what did they want? Garlic and onions! God certainly could have flavored their manna with onion and garlic, but He knew their hearts... they were actually being rebellious. Then they demanded meat. He granted that complaint by sending quail... LOTS of quail. Those that ate it died.Gotta watch what you ask for, right?!

I am guilty also. Health issues place me on the shelf quite often. I mumble and grumble and complain rather than asking the right question, "Lord, what is Your plan for me while on this shelf?" Sometimes it is to simply rest. Other times, it is to let my brain wander creatively in preparation for writing later. Often it is for reading and studying scripture... to refill me, to give me a new perception, to prepare me for what is to come, or to remind me to draw closer to the Lover of My Soul.

Selah...think on this

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Ahah Moment

I was sorting through some old documents and realized that I needed to clean house more often. Then a phrase caught my eye about God's timing.

After pondering it for a few moments, I understood that God and I cannot go forward until I have done the last thing He told me.

Selah, think on this...

Thursday, May 15, 2014


My diagnosis, confirmed by an echo-cardiogram, of diastolic dysfunction means that my heart doesn't complete the resting phase before the next beat begins. It's broken... well, not working up to par. 

But I have had a broken heart: when my dreams of being a missionary nurse in India never came true, when my husband died, when I packed the tiny pink clothes of the baby I never got to hold, when I was wrongly accused of inadequate nursing care, when I couldn't run and play with my grandson or hold my grand-daughter. I am sure you, too, can list times when your heart was breaking.

During a period of depression, I was unable to talk with God.  Circumstances were out of my control. My anxiety about the future was at an all time high. I didn't think anyone cared - not even God. A phone call changed my life.

She wasn't what I would call a friend; just an acquaintance. But she called that bleak, heartbreaking day saying, "God impressed upon me to call you. Look up Romans 8:26-27 and know He cares." Then silence.

The silence was broken by the dial tone; I hung up the phone to get my Bible. It was then that I knew David's words were true. God was near!

I turned to the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12) and followed Jesus' instructions to rejoice and be glad! My heartaches were still there; but heartaches divided are much easier to  handle. The Holy Spirit was taking my needs before God the Father and Jesus, His Son. So do the math,,,      

I only had to bear 1/4th of that heavy burden.

I tend to picture heartaches like dandelions that have gone to seed- their white puffy heads just waiting for a breeze or a child to blow them away. Those tiny hairlike parachutes carry the seeds of my heartaches to be planted in God's love garden.
Heartaches into heartstrings connecting me to my Heavenly Father. Yes, He is near. He cares. He divides the heartaches and multiplies the joys.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Pain Is a Gift


Many things have been on my heart, but health issues including a surgery has kept them within me. It is time to share those thoughts and to write the book I've been setting aside for too long.

With surgery comes pain and, in my case, was preceded by pain that was making daily life difficult and sleep nearly impossible. Thankfully, now my pain is from of stretching muscles and tendons as I return to using my left arm and shoulder. Life is easier now. Once again I have learned that...

Pain Is Never Wasted by God

Pain comes in all sizes and shapes. It's physical, mental, emotional and/or spiritual. We all can relate to pain in some way. My granddaughter's owies are fixed with a mama's kiss and an ice pack or a Band-Aide®. An anti-inflammatory relieves many people's aches and pains. Don't you wish it was that easy for emotional pain?

I've just been through months of physical pain. These events have taught me a few things: that pride keeps me from asking for needed help; who, of my friends, are truly caring; that prayer is essential to healing; and that I'd be in worse shape without the pain.

Where there's physical pain, there is also emotional and mental “side effects.”  Like my feelings of lost control, the emotions of gratefulness for help received, anger with myself for not asking for assistance, and the frustration of not being able to do things as usual. One minute I'm appreciative of the relief of medications and friend's help, next I'm having a pity-party.  Am I unique or do others respond the same way? As a nurse, I can truly say that pain yields many responses. 

It takes more than just medicine to treat pain effectively. With the simple, short-lived pain of a scraped knee, the combination of a mama's kiss and that Band-Aide® works. For more severe pain other measures are needed; like a cast to rest the fractured area,  crutches to maintain mobility, extra protein to promote healing, or the reassurance from the doctor that all will be well.

Philip Yancey's book, Pain: the Gift Nobody Wants carries a warning on the cover: Life without pain could really hurt you. It is the story of Dr. Paul Brand's work with leprosy. The lack of pain is what causes the loss of body parts in leprosy. Think about it. You cut your finger or stub your toe and you immediately stop what your doing. Pain is obeyed. You move the vacuum cleaner so it won't be in the way again. You cleanse and place a dressing over a cut to stop infection.  And pain lingers in our mind. It has the potential to protect us from a repeat occurrence, to warn us of possible trouble so we can prevent it― stomach discomfort before an ulcer, or to cripple us― never vacuuming because last time you stubbed your toe om the vacuum. [smile]

Scripture also tells us that pain is a gift. It is a teacher, a preparer, a strengthener and more. How we use it is our choice though. It can teach us tolerance and understanding. It can prepare us to be more compassionate and responsive. It can bring us closer to the Lord.

One of those recent painful nights, my pain medication wasn't working as well and I was unable to sleep. I had tried changing positions, using ice, willing my brain to overlook it . . . Why is it that we always try to fix things ourselves?

I knew others were praying for me, but I wasn't. Finally, I called out to God. Within 20 minutes my pain had decreased enough for me to rest, to sleep, to heal. Part of that healing was drawing closer to my Lord, the Great Physician. In the days to follow, I spent precious hours in conversation with Him, reading scripture and other books to lift me up spiritually.

Whether physical or emotional pain, God never wastes our pain. Steve Shores* put it this way: “...affliction will be turned into an obedient creation, whose joy will be to weave skeins of glory in which I will be wrapped as in a splendid robe.”

Can you picture that comforting robe surrounding you like a cocoon, a giant hug, a mama's kiss? Can you feel it? God is always there to hold us, to strengthen us, to instruct us for His work. The ultimate result is the joy and glory that will last an eternity.

Emotion honestly faced before a loving God becomes worship because feelings show us either blessedness (joy, gladness, triumph, hope) or our neediness (anger, grief, sadness,fear).”*

When I took my pain to Him, it truly was a sweet time of worship, of learning, of giving God control, of knowing, in a deeper way, how much He loves me.  
Whether your pain is physical, emotional, or spiritual, it will not be wasted. God will use it! And you can have the blessed opportunity to worship Him with openness, honesty, and gratitude. As you rest in He―who wonderfully and perfectly knit you together, who knew your name before it was given, who will meet your every need, and who loves you as you are―you will be filled to overflowing with His hope and joy.