Treasures of the Heart III

 © jb katke

Are you still with me? I present to you my third installment of the four Treasures of the Heart series. Portions of this blog come direct from my heart as it is written in my husbands’ journal.

My previous blogs have covered Repairs and Acknowledgement. The next theme that ran consistent through the journal was Spiritual.

Todays’ words may be hard for some to swallow. They stem from a deep spiritual belief that I realize not everyone shares. To put faith in a loving God can be challenging if hard times are experienced. I get that.

When Dave and I married, we did not come from the same religious background. There is a name for that, ‘unequally yoked.’ As I write, I try not to use Christian lingo. But I will share it now because it might ring a bell in your own marital relationship.

Try to imagine two oxen yoked together plowing a field. It is crucial for them to be in step with each other or nothing will be accomplished. It is kind of like that in a marriage. If a husband and wife are not sharing the same goals, they are not working together. Harmony is nowhere to be seen.

Thankfully, in our situation, Dave and I had the same morals growing up. That helps. As the years went by, a series of confrontations occurred in Daves’ life that prompted a spiritual change. Those things don’t happen overnight, but when it does all becomes well in due time.

“Walking around our yard after the rain makes everything so beautiful. This is the day the Lord has made and I am rejoicing in it! I am so happy with what you & God have provided for me.”

I was seeing the everyday backyard with new eyes. Dave had planted some trees and they are growing beautifully. It takes time to grow a tree and likewise to apply a spiritual attitude. When I tuned into God, I was self-conscious to speak about it. So was Dave.

“I think it was a wonderful idea to include prayer requests when we say grace at the dinner table. It was probably difficult for you, but I admire the step you took in leading our family.”

I’m not gonna lie, it takes guts. All the more so if you have trials going on. The previous blog mentioned some issues at his workplace. Sometimes Daves’ job required travel to take further classes in machine maintenance. I never enjoyed his absence.

“I’ve prayed that you might feel Gods’ presence and draw on his power. I know he will keep you safe. You mentioned the possibility of this being a test for future job opportunities. Whatever comes of our future, I hope we can see God working things out.”

He did, we did. This was written later:

“Today I read Psalm 40. There was so much in it that I shouldn’t even try to put it in a nutshell. From it I got, Gods’ ear is opened to us, not to hide our faith, that evil seeks to destroy us-but will be brought to shame, and so much more. God has a plan for you, for us-we don’t have to get uptight over the power people have over you because God has even more power!”

This. As we sat together filling out a form for a job transfer. At best, all I can tell you is being God-conscious is an uncanny feeling. We may feel at the end of our rope, but take heart, God has this.

Until guilt came knocking at the door.

“Honey, you’re so tired tonight. You’ve had a tough two weeks and tonight was no better at Boys Brigade. I feel so guilty when these times happen because I’m reminded that I haven’t prayed for you enough. How can things go right when your mate isn’t doing her job at home? I have let you down. Sometimes I dream of us packing up and going somewhere far away, quit work, and just make woodworking projects and sewing things to sell. Having you home would feel like a daily vacation.”

It would be so easy to give up. Having a faith in God isn’t a religion. It’s a relationship that requires our part as well as God’s part. He has already done his, the rest is up to people to walk in step with his plan. There is that yoke thing again. God did his part by sending his son, Jesus, to earth; it’s what we celebrate at Christmas. Jesus brought a message of hope and a new way to live. By dying on the cross, he made open a way to live with him and God eternally, it’s what we celebrate at Easter.

Like any relationship, it takes two.

Dream On

Are you a dreamer? I’m not speaking of future hopes, but when asleep; do you have dreams? For the most part my dearly beloved doesn’t. The few times he has, he tries very hard to remember them to tell me; but alas, by the time morning comes the dream is gone.

I, on the other hand, have them more frequently than Dave. Mine are considerable longer, very detailed, and memorable. None of them make any sense. I wish I could understand where they come from and if there is any meaning to them.

To name a couple; I had a dream back when Dave and I were dating. I still remember it. I was on some sort of game show; it might have been Lets Make A Deal, because I had a choice of three doors. I think I opted for door number 3, and it was a whopper. I won seven tons of cat food. The dream alone was foolish, but at that time, I had lost my dear cat Boots. He came by his name rightfully; a black tomcat, with four white feet. He was a big boy and a marshmallow at heart. Boots took a liking to one of my slips. When I left it out, he would jump at the opportunity to massage his claws in it and suck as if he were nursing from his momma. He was so well-fed that, when laying out in the sunshine, the blue jays would dive bomb him. He didn’t care. If he had not died, I could have fed him, and every other cat in the state of Michigan for life.

A more recent dream placed me where I am today, the community of Asbury. A couple old ladies uninvited, barged in our home, don’t ask me where they came from, I haven’t a clue. But they completely took over, getting rid of our furnishings. I mean completely; no counters,  cabinets, sinks, appliances, all was removed! They had few things of their own, mostly clothes; and refusing to leave. I screamed. I yelled. I ranted and raved. All to no avail. They would just nonchalantly move into another room in the house to get away from me. If you knew these homes; they pretty much have an escape route in any given room. And Dave? He just shrugged his shoulders, saying we should just make the best of the situation. Excuse me? Yes, I was more than a little mad. So mad I woke up realizing it was just a dream. Except for our clutter, our home was all in place. The least these little old ladies could do is clean up a little bit. Can I dream of that? Nooo.

Dreams run as far back as time exists. I’ve read in the Good Book of Joseph’s dream of future greatness. That didn’t set well with his siblings. Ultimately, he did reach a life of greatness, but the crap he had to go through to get there…no thank you. If you want to read it yourself, you’ll find it in Genesis chapters 37-47. Sorta lengthy, but a roller coaster of a read. In that true story you will read how Joseph also had the ability to interpret dreams. It bode well for one guy, not so much for the other, including a kings dream and the fate of a nation. Ya can’t make this stuff up.

Maybe this recent dream stemmed from the horror of Ukraine our TV brings into our family room. Dreams, whether of future wishes or via our sleep can become a living nightmare that we never imagined. Now that I think about it, maybe I don’t want to know what my dreams mean.

Whatever our future holds, the Good Lord will see us through it if we ask him to.  

Life Behind the Mask






© jb katke

Masks have caused so much controversy. Every voice has legitimate reason why they are for or against them.

Lets’ be honest. People have been living behind masks for years. I’m not talking Halloween either.

Look at the employee that is passed over year after year without that anticipated promotion and pretending it’s no big deal.

Or the battered wife, convinced she can’t live without her husband. So she covers for his abuse with no end in sight. The hurt is real.

How about the couple dreaming of having a family only to learn it’s not going to happen? Time eventually heals for that to be OK.

Consider the people that have worked hard all their life, anticipating all the things retirement will bring? Only to find reality isn’t what they thought.

Here’s a good one. Church goers accused of putting on a good front on Sunday, but living a lie the rest of the week.

The problem today is, we are called upon to wear masks for the protection of self and others. The unthinkable has suddenly made us a health hazard!

Maybe we have been living unhealthy for a long time. Are your meals a balanced diet? Mine aren’t.

Have you read any articles on the benefit of fitness lately? Its’ one thing to know what should be done but quite another to do it. I know.

A voice of reason might say we just need to do what seems right. Even that can’t be trusted because our right could infringe upon another adversely.

What then?

A decent start could be something I already mentioned…try church. You might be surprised to find the people there are like you, not so holy, and looking for hope. Jesus gives us that.

I mean, what have you got to lose? With the worst of the COVID19 pandemic behind us, services are resuming again. Possibly in their front lawn.

Hey, it could be kinda fun! Bring your lawn chair and a cup of coffee.