This Much


As I was walking along the road to Calvary

I saw Jesus along the way

I asked Him, “Jesus, how much do You love me?”

And this is what I heard Him say:


“I love you this much, this much,” He cried

As they nailed Him to the cross

When He was crucified

“I love you this much, this much,” He cried

Then He stretched out His arms and He died.


As I was looking upon that cruel tree

I thought of Jesus’ goodness and grace,

I thought, Jesus, how much You must have loved me

For I know that I, I should have taken Your place.


But You loved me this much,

“This much,” You cried

As they nailed You to the cross

When You were crucified


You loved me this much,

“This much,” You cried

Then You stretched out Your arms and You died.


Then I lay weeping

At the feet of Jesus

And I saw angels come to stand by His side

I stood upon my feet

And looked up to the sky

And with my hands stretched toward Heaven, I cried:


“I love You this much,”

“This much,” I cried

And for You, Lord, I would be willing to die

“I love You this much,”

“This much,” I cried

And for You, Lord, I would be willing to die


Yes for You, Lord, I would be willing to die.

How Much Did it Cost?

To the tune of “How Much is that Doggie in the window”:














A few years ago I had the privilege of being on a worship team over a weekend with an unbelievably anointed man of God as the leader. During one of our practices he told the following story. I want to share it with you today because it has never left me and I believe it is relevant not only to worshippers but to all Christians.



“I have a friend who is kind of a hippy. Not the way out there type but just a little on the naturalist side of things. He is also a devoted and God fearing Christian. One day he was out for a drive in the country and came across a field of wildflowers. As he was driving by he began to feel God’s very familiar voice in his spirit say ‘silk flowers.’ A little confused at first he dismissed the voice and continued on his way. Again the voice came, ‘silk flowers.’ This time he felt the need to correct God and remind Him that these were not silk flowers, they were wildflowers. He drove on in silence and once more the voice of God came and said, ‘silk flowers.’ Well, this time he got it. He pulled over and began to pray and ask God what he was trying to tell him. He got out of his car and began to walk through the field of flowers and as he did little details began to jump out at him. He saw one with wilted petals, another had a broken stem, some had torn leaves and still others had been completely crushed and broken. He continued to walk through the field and another thing began to stand out to him, he was completely overcome by the beautiful aroma that these wildflowers produced. Then it all came together. God had been speaking to him about silk flowers to get him to see a point. Silk flowers are perfect, you know the ones. They cost a small fortune at a craft store. These flowers are designed to be the epitome of each specimen. They have no flaws, no broken stems, no wilted petals, no missing leaves. They are the best of the best and beautiful to look at. But these perfect flowers lack one thing, they have no aroma. And yet these wildflowers with all of their imperfections offer an aroma that is second to none.”


You see, our worship and spiritual life are very much the same thing. We can strive for outward perfection, we can cover up every one of our flaws and shortcomings but in doing so we lose our aroma to God. But when we come to Him with all of our flaws exposed and lift them up before Him with open hands our worship becomes a pleasing fragrance to Him. God already knows our hearts, He already knows that you are broken, wounded, confused, lost, scared, or any number of the things we try to hide from Him. You are not alone in feeling these things and it is not a secret from God so come to Him willingly with these things. Share your deepest thoughts with Him, share your insecurities.


I am reminded of the story of Mary when she anoints the feet of Jesus with perfume. In order for her to do what she did she completely exposed herself. Every eye in the room would have been on her as she made her way to Jesus and bowed at His feet. She became vulnerable and received criticism for her offering. But when she opened the box and poured it out on His feet the Bible says that the fragrance filled the whole house. Not just the room that she was in, but the WHOLE house. Can you imagine what would happen if you allow yourself the same vulnerability? Now I’m not saying to shout your business from the rooftops, but to bring ALL of these things to God. Lay them at His feet, offer them to Him. Surrender in humility. When you come to God in humility and offer all of yourself to Him you may be surprised at just how far the fragrance extends. Stop hiding your imperfections, instead, use them to worship God. Be a wildflower.

Stop Hiding Behind the Pulpit

Why do we hide our true identity as men, husbands and fathers behind our church pulpit? Do we lack self-esteem? Is there a reputation to protect? Or is it that we fear that if the reality was to come out about our lack of, it would devastate our manhood?

Very often in our churches we are surrounded by godly men or what we are taught to know as godly men. Men who pray, sing, minister, preach and teach. They are great men at church, always smiling, hugging, shaking hands and sitting with their family in the same row. Wow! That’s how I want my family to be. I want to be that man. We are taught that men of God are selected or chosen for ministry by our churches if they pray a lot, if when they preach the Sheetrock from the walls shake or when they sing the “glory” of God descends upon the people.

We are used to seeing that the resume of a great leader, great minister consists of outward occurrences.  Notice that I used the word occurrences. Things must happen that we see in order to know for sure that God has chosen that person for ministry.  But is there not a deeper requirement for ministry? Have we really overlooked the true requirement of ministry? Why? Is it overlooked on purpose? What is this deeper requirement?

Let us focus on a very commonly preached story, the children of Eli. Now Eli was the High Priest during the time of 1 Samuel.  We quickly focus on the horrible way his children, the very ministers of the altar, conducted themselves.  In a manner that dishonored the very name of God.  They took their position as Priests and abused it (still common in today’s church). Now what was more impacting was the discipline that the High Priest Eli had with his children. According to 1Sa 3:13  For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.

The High Priest Eli did not in any way or form discipline his children. Yet, he accepted the sacrifices of all the people of Israel for their sins, he was tasked with speaking and teaching the Law of God to Israel, he was separated and anointed to be the very representation of God on earth. What is very interesting about the story is not what Eli’s sons were doing, it was not the lack of correction that Eli had, It was what was going on during the time Eli was conducting his children in this horrible manner.

The bible says in 1Sa 3:1 and the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those daysthere was no open vision.

Now the word precious here in this verse is not used in the context that the Word of God was amazing or great, which it always is, however it is used in the context that the Word of the Lord was not being taught as much as it was supposed to. Now the latter part of this verse states “there was no open vision”. The Lord did not speak very much during this time according to this verse. The prophets were not prophesying. There was NO voice of God during this time. This teaches that the importance cannot be only placed on anything that I can do outwardly but there is an underlining requirement which is found in 1Ti 3:5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) This verse is self-explanatory. It is located in the very book we are urged to study and live.  Yet, can there be a reason why this is ignored or covered up.

The story of Eli shows a shocking correlation between a failed house hold and ministry. Bad minister at home = bad minister at church. 1 Timothy 3:5 says it clearer. If we chose to ignore this we are only fooling ourselves and weakening the church. Healthy Father, Man and Husband will reflect on your role as a minister in any capacity. Take heed father, husband and man of God. Let us not be fooled. Let us not ignore our most important ministry and task on earth, Our Family.

We ask God so many times “Lord I want a ministry, Lord I want to minister”.  And the Lord says you have a ministry, it is located under your roof. Healthy Home, Healthy Church. What do you focus on more in your church Pastor?

Peace and Blessings,

Minister Joshua Luis Amaro



If I could see inside my heart
And if I had a shopping cart
I would follow the pitter patter and
I’d try to pick things that really matter.

First, I’d see if there was love
That’s a gift right from above.
Next I’d look for a box of happiness
That’s the 2nd thing on my shopping list.

Third, I’d try to look for peace
So all the troubles inside would cease.
Gentleness would be next to find
And oh, I would also look for a way to be kind.

A good dose of meekness will surely follow
For I’m sure I have many words to swallow.
Of course, that would lead to self-control
Well, now I’m really on a roll!

Long suffering is kind of hard to find
You have to look between the lines
Goodness and faith will be added and then
I can check them all off with a flick of my pen.

These are the things that everyone needs
These are the things on which hearts should feed.
But the best thing of all; the thing of great cost
Is what the Savior did for me on the cross!!



Mimi was getting ready to teach a class to the kids in the church on the Israelites getting out of Egypt.  Of course, she started to daydream about what that would be like and well….one thing led to another and her thoughts took over.


There she was sitting around the campfire with all of her grandkids.  They were eating roasted lamb.  Some of the kids didn’t like lamb, but Mimi made them eat it.  They had already painted the doorposts of the house and were ready to go at the drop of a hat.


“Don’t pack anything,” Mimi had told them.  “We have to be ready to go as soon as Moses tells us to move.”


That night when they were going to bed fully clothed, the call came.


“Get up!!  Get up!!!” yelled Mimi as she ran like a madwoman from room to room.  Jake and Nathan sprang up in bed.  They were disoriented at first, but then they remembered to grab their bags of gold and silver that they got from the Egyptians (as Moses had asked them to do) and they were on their way.


Alexa and Giana were running to catch up to Mimi who looked like she was in a marathon race or something!  Mimi looked behind her and counted.  Up in the back came Rebecca.  Yep, there are five there.  Good.  She kept on running.


Soon they came to the Red Sea and heard the horses and chariots behind them.  “The Egyptians are coming in their chariots!” yelled Rebecca.


“What’s a ‘chariot’? asked Giana.  Alexa explained that it was like a car, but lots older and it was driven by horses.  Giana’s eyes got big.  “Horses can drive cars?” she asked in amazement.


“Never mind, I’ll tell you later,” said Alexa.


“We have bigger things to worry about now,” said Rebecca as she looked behind her and in front of her.  Egyptians were coming at a fast rate of speed behind them and the Red Sea was in front of her.


“I can’t swim!” said Giana, knowing she would have to go into the sea to get away.  She started crying.


“Don’t cry,” said Jake as he put his arm around her.  “You can hang on to me.”


Just then a cloud came between them and the Egyptians and they couldn’t see them any more.


“Hey!  Where did they go?” asked Nate.


“Who cares?” said Mimi.  “As long as we get away from them, we’ll be ok.”


“I think we should start praying,” said Mommy.


“Good idea,” said Pere as he gathered the family around them and began to pray.


Soon, an answer to their prayers was in sight.  Pere’s jaw dropped as he watched Moses put out his stick.  He heard the wind blow.  He saw it push the sea into two walls with a path in between.  Then he saw the wind dry up the ground!”


Everyone was just standing there, not daring to believe their eyes!


“Cool!” yelled Rebecca.


“Yeah, cool!” yelled Jake.


They walked over on the other side on DRY ground!!!


Then they watched the last Hebrew come across just as the cloud went away and the Egyptians were all drowned in the sea.


Everyone started jumping for joy.  Everyone started giving praise to God and dancing.  It was then that Mimi noticed that Rebecca had on a short skirt, halter top and 6” heels!!!  WHAT????


Rebecca saw Mimi’s gaze and knew that she did not like her choice of clothing or shoes.  “But Mimi,” she started to say.  “Everyone is wearing these!  I can just get more clothes tomorrow and I promise I’ll get some sneakers.”


Little did she know she would be walking around in those same shoes for 40 years.  And there were no malls to buy more clothes and no money either.  Whatever would they do?


She would have to take care of that later.  Right now, she loaded the kids on the camels and they started on their journey.


It was hot and dry in the desert.  After two days of traveling, from the back seat of the camel, came the question that drives every parent CRAZY:  “Are we there yet?”


“Um….does it look like we are there?” asked Mimi.


“I don’t know,” whined Alexa.  “It all looks the same to me.  Just dirt and sun, lots of sun and lots of dirt!”


After 30 days of traveling, it sure looked the same all right and Mimi was sure that they had passed by the same sagebrush bush at least 3 times, but Mimi was really good at getting lost.  That’s what she does best.  If there’s a wrong way to turn, she will turn there.  Never fails!  And Mimi had not been able to pack her GPS either.  But then again, all it ever said to her was “Turn around when possible!” so I guess that wasn’t the answer anyway.  No, they would just have to trust Moses’ leading.


The next day, Giana got up and came over to the table made of rocks.


“Hi, Mimi,” she said.


“Good morning, sweetheart,” answered Mimi.


“What’s for breakfast?” asked Giana.


Oh no!  Not again, thought Mimi.  She asks that every single day!!!


“Manna,” said Mimi softly.


“Oh,” answered Giana just as softly.





“What are we having for lunch?”


“Manna” answered Mimi.




Mimi knew the next question would be ‘What’s for dinner?”  So she automatically said, “Manna.”


Giana shrugged and ate her manna.


The other kids got up and some of them asked the same question.  This went on for (believe it or not!) 40 whole years.  Every single day.  Mimi wished she had brought her tape recorder so she could just press the button that got stuck on the word ‘manna’.  Really, you think they would have gotten tired of getting the same answer, right?


Well, they did.  Everyone started complaining that they wanted meat.  So Moses prayed and a bunch of quail fell from the sky.  Plop!  Onto the ground, ready to cook.  At first everyone was so excited.  Except Pere.  He didn’t like the quail.  But eventually, he imagined it was chicken and he was happy.


Everyone in the camp started complaining again.  “I wish we had leeks and garlic to go with our meal!”


“Whose leaking?” asked Alexa.


Mimi explained that leeks were like an onion only milder.


“Ew!  Not me,” said Giana and Jake.  “I don’t like leeks and I hate garlic too!  I want my manna plain.”


“One plain manna coming right up,” said Mimi.


“Hey!” yelled Giana.  “You gave Alexa a bigger piece of manna than you gave me!”  She started to pout. “That’s not fair! You love Alexa more than you love me!  Hmmmmphhhh!!!”


Mimi sat the kids down that night.  She was upset that everyone in the camp was complaining about the food.  She wanted the kids to know that was not ok.


She started her story and explained that there are three things that happened in the camp that God does not like.


  1. Comparing – when people are upset, they start comparing… getting a smaller piece of manna than someone else.
  2. This leads to complaining – “that’s not fair!”
  3. Finally, the last step is criticizing those in charge – (You love Alexa more than me.)


Giana felt bad.  She got up and gave her manna to Alexa.  Alexa hugged her.  “What a good sister you are!” said Alexa.


All of the kids prayed that night that they would not compare, complain or criticize even if everyone else in the camp was doing it.


They were surprised when all of the adults, including Mimi, said that at one time or another, they had done the same.  They had times when they had the problem with the ‘three Cs” too.


“Group hug!” yelled Daddy.


Everyone gave a big hug to everyone and now there were big smiles all around.


“Now,” said Mimi.  “I think we are ready to end this 40 year thing.  I think we’ve all learned what God wanted us to learn.  What do you think?


“YAY!!!” yelled everyone in unison.


And that’s how it all happened…..way back in Egypt.  (Well, in Mimi’s thoughts, that is!)


(*Note: This is not my original idea.  Got it from a devotional by Tracie Miles and turned into a Mimi story!)



“Time for bed,” Mom yelled from the kitchen.

“Aw….,” said Rebecca, Jake and Nate at the same time.


They were having fun playing a board game with Mimi and Pepere and really didn’t want to go to bed.  But being the OBEDIENT children that they are (ahem)…they went off to brush their teeth.


When they were done they begged Mimi for a bedtime story.  They sat on the sofa and waited anxiously for her to begin.


Mimi scoured the living room for something to use for her story.  Her eyes spotted Mommy’s old sock monkey sitting on a bookshelf – a reminder of a childhood favorite.  She went over to the sock monkey and picked it up.  She looked at it lovingly and had a flashback of her little girl hugging it tightly every night as she drifted off to sleep.


She sat down holding the sock monkey on her lap as she began her tale.


“Once upon a time”, she began, “there was a dull, brown piece of fabric that would sit quietly on the shelf in a fabric store each day, desperately longing for someone to notice him. From his place on the dusty shelf, he had a bird’s eye view of all the beautiful fabrics that he felt were so much better than he was.


He admired the fabrics of bright orange and pink polka dots that would one day be made  into a frilly dress for a little girl; the fabrics with beautiful stripes that would make wonderful curtains for beautiful homes; the fabrics with tassels and shimmering coins dangling from their edges; and all of the ‘fun fabrics’, decorated with colorful cartoon characters.


But he was just a boring old piece of brown fabric. Nothing special. Nothing elegant. Nothing valuable. Old. Outdated. Worthless.  Certainly nothing worthy of being transformed into anything new and wonderful.


One spring day, an old woman wandered into the store. The brown piece of fabric could tell she was a seamstress by the wrinkled tape measure around her neck and the rusty thimble on her finger.


As she moved around the store, continually brushing wisps of white hair from her face, she seemed to be searching for something special. Suddenly, her eyes fell upon the little piece of brown fabric tucked shyly away in the corner.


He dared to think that maybe, just maybe, she would see something special in him.

As the woman drew closer, his heart began to race. She gently picked him up and headed towards the cash register, adding buttons, fabric scraps, and thread into her hands along the way.


When the seamstress returned home, she started to sew.  Mimi watched her in amazement.  Wow, she thought, she sure goes fast!  I wonder what she is making.


Gradually, the old seamstress transformed the piece of old brown fabric into an adorable new sock monkey, to be loved and cherished by her grandchildren. He would make a difference in the hearts of children for many generations, she thought.


The little piece of brown fabric, who thought he had no purpose, was made into something new in the hands of the seamstress. Although he felt worthless at one time, she looked beyond what he was; beyond his old life as a scrap of fabric. She saw him as something new, and helped him discover his value and hidden beauty.”


Mimi thought for a moment and said, “You know, kids, God gently reminds me how I once felt just like that old piece of brown fabric sitting on the shelf. Ashamed, overlooked, unimportant, and not as great as others. I didn’t see how anything about me or my past – any of the old stuff – could be valuable. I felt like a scrap of leftover material.

He helped me remember that I have been transformed by Him, and although I spent most of life not seeing my hidden potential, He always had a plan and a purpose for me.

Just like that little piece of brown fabric, which was transformed from something old into something new, we are new creations in Christ.”


Mimi looked at Rebecca, Jake and Nate and added, “Remember, God sees your value and hidden potential. And He wants to help you see it, too.  Let’s pray.  The kids bowed their head as Mimi prayed, “Dear Lord, help me remember that I became a new creation when I accepted You as my Savior, and that my value is in You and You alone. Thank You for Your promise of having a plan and a purpose just for me. Help me to embrace the plans You have for me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”


“Thanks, Mimi.  That was a good story, and a good lesson too!” said Rebecca.  Jake and Nate nodded.  They hugged Mimi and went off to bed.  Rebecca turned around and came back.  She gently took the sock monkey from Mimi’s hand and hugged it tight as she brought it to bed with her.  Mimi and Mommy looked at each other and smiled.


“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)




It was summer.  It was hot.  Mimi had taken the kids to the beach, not because she liked the beach….oh no….but because she loved her grandkids and THEY liked the beach.


The kids were all anxious to get into the ocean and play in the sand.  Mimi had put her blanket far away from the shore.  She was so afraid of sharks and jellyfish and creepy things in the sand.  All the way there, she had told the kids over and over again about how they needed to keep close to her and not to go more than ankle deep in the water.  She didn’t want to scare them, but she didn’t want to be scared either!


First, she gave all of them some suntan lotion.  “Jake and Alexa,” she said, “Make sure you put a lot on you.  You have fair skin.  I don’t want you to burn.  It hurts.”


“Okay, Mimi,” they said.  “Can you put some on our backs?” asked Alexa when she was done slathering the front of her.  There were white streaks of lotion around her eyes and on her nose.  There was a glob of it in her hair.  Mimi didn’t even take it off.  Better to have too much than not enough, she reasoned.  Then she gave the tubes to Rebecca, Nathan and Giana.  Giana needed just a little bit of help to get the back of her neck.


“Can we go now, Mimi?” asked Giana.


“Please, please, please?

” the rest chimed in as they jumped up and down with folded hands.


Mimi laughed.  “Ok, but remember what I said!  Watch out that you don’t go too far out, that you look down when you are walking in the water and if you play in the sand and something starts crawling out, get out of there!”


Rebecca smiled.  “Mimi, you’re so scared of EVERYTHING!  We’ll be ok.”


Mimi reluctantly let them go.  She kept a very watchful eye on all of them.  As a matter of fact, keeping up with five kids running here and there gave her a headache.  Her eyes were darting back and forth following Alexa and Giana who were building a sand castle and running into the water every time a wave crashed to shore.


But it was a peaceful afternoon after all.  No kids got swallowed by a whale or gored by a shark, no crabs got a hold of their hands when they were digging in the sand, no one had to rescue anyone.  So in Mimi’s book, that was a FIRST!  She never went anywhere without SOMETHING happening!


When Mimi thought the kids had had enough of sea and sand and they looked a little tired, she motioned for them to come to her.


“Can we go now?  Has everyone had enough?” she asked.


Nathan wanted to stay a little longer, but he finally gave in and said he was ready.


As they were leaving, Mimi told the kids to put on their shoes.  The sand had gotten very hot from the noonday heat.  All of the kids had flip flops except Giana.  She had sneakers with laces.  (It took Mimi quite a while to convince her not to wear her princess shoes!)


Mimi was not watching her.  She was busy with the other kids and was also packing up everything.  All the picnic basket items were all over, and the shovels and pails, the towels, etc., had to be picked up.


Giana was just learning how to tie her shoes and she forgot she had already tied one knot and tied another one on top of it.  When she realized it, she tried to get it out herself.  She thought the way to get a knot out of her shoe was to pull hard.  She gritted her teeth and grunted as she struggled to pull as hard as possible.  Now the knot was very small.  She tried again, but decided she better give it to Mimi.  Mimi could undo anything….almost.


“Here, Mimi, fix my shoe please,” she said as she handed Mimi the sneaker.


“Giana!  What did you do to this knot?  It’s so tangled I can’t see which end is where!”


“I tried to fix it Mimi.  I pulled and pulled, but it just got more messed up.”


“I see that,” said Mimi.  “You should have given it to me right away.  I could have fixed it then.”


All of the kids sat down to wait for Mimi to get the knot out.  She worked at it for some time to no avail.  The kids started to get bored and hot.


“Can we please go back in the water?” asked Rebecca.


Mimi felt bad for them.  She figured it would be quite a while before that knot came out so she told them to take off their shoes and go ahead.


“Yay!!” they all shouted.


Where they got the energy to go back out there again was beyond Mimi.


Waves were getting big as the tide was coming in.  Mimi didn’t notice.  She was so engrossed in that knot.


Suddenly, she heard the whistle of the lifeguard.  Her heart started racing wildly.  Was it one of her grandkids?  Quickly she stood up and started to count.  “One, two, where’s three?  Oh, there he is.  Four, four, four, four, oh oh where’s five?”  Mimi was so scared she forgot who five was and started screaming, “Five, five where are you?”


She raced up and down the shore yelling, “Number five!  Number five!!”


People were looking at her.  They thought it was such a strange name for a child.  Why would you call a child ‘Five’?  They thought.  Boy, some of them said to themselves, I’ll freak out if she starts yelling for 35!


Mimi forced herself to concentrate.  Which one is missing? She asked herself.  I’ll start with the oldest.  There’s Rebecca, and Jake is with her.  Nathan, where’s Nathan?  Oh, he’s on the side of that rock.  There’s Alexa.  Aha!  It’s Giana!  She started to yell, “Giana, Giana!!  Everyone was looking at her again.  They wondered if ‘Five’ was related to ‘Giana’.  They got up to help Mimi look.


Meanwhile, Giana had gone back to the blanket.  She was still trying to take that knot out.  Mimi didn’t think to look there.  She was looking in the water.  When she heard everyone calling her name, she ran up to Mimi who was now ankle deep in water.  Mimi was trembling.  She could just imagine what might be slithering along her leg right now.  NO!  She would not let her imagination take control.  Not this time.  This was too important to freak out about sea stuff.


Giana tapped Mimi on the shoulder.  Mimi screamed and dove into the water and kept swimming as fast as she could.  Giana just stared at her.  “Mimi! It’s just me, Giana” she called out.  But Mimi was already out of earshot.  No one (including Mimi) knew she could swim that fast!


Rebecca thought Mimi should enter the swimming competition.  She would surely win a prize.


Alexa saw Mimi and started yelling with Giana.  “MIMI!!!  Giana is safe.  Come back. She is the one that touched you.  It wasn’t a fish!”


Finally, Mimi heard the kids and saw Giana.  Relief showed on her face.  She waved to them.  It was then that she realized that she was way out over her head.  How could this have happened? She thought.


Giana called out to her.  “Mimi, you’re not supposed to go more than ankle deep!”


Just then a snorkler popped his head up right next to Mimi’s shoulder.  Mimi screamed and made it back to shore in record time!


“Mimi, you’re naughty!” yelled Giana.  “You went too far out.  You scared us!”


“Sorry, honey!” said Mimi.  “Don’t worry.  It certainly WON’T happen again!”


Mimi went back to untying the knot in Giana’s shoe.  Again, she said, “Why didn’t you bring me this as soon as you knew you had a knot?”


“Because I tried to do it myself,” said Giana again.


Mimi finally got the knot out and put Giana’s shoes on.  They trudged back to the car and hopped in.


On the way home, Mimi told the kids that she had an object lesson for them.  They loved Mimi’s object lessons.


“When Giana gave me her shoe, she had already made a mess of the knot.  That’s because she pulled against it and made it tighter.  She tried to fix it herself.  Mimi asked her why she didn’t bring it to her right away, remember?”


“Yes,” said Jake.


“Well, that’s like us.  Sometimes we make a mess of our lives.  Sometimes we try to “fix” it ourselves by pulling against God instead of bringing the problem to Him first.  Then we bring Him our mess and beg Him to “fix the knot” we’ve made. We must remember to come to God every day and tell him our problems right away so He can fix them before we make a bigger mess.  Don’t be afraid to tell God your problems.  He’s great at fixing things.”


Nathan looked at Mimi.  He thought about what she had said.  “Well, I’m going to pray that He fixes you, Mimi!  I don’t want you to be scared any more of the ocean because I like coming here.”


“Good idea,” said Mimi smiling.  That day, everyone learned something!

Stay in the Race


By Teri Couture

Mimi was at work one day when one of her co-workers came to her with a chart.  She told Mimi she was wondering if Mimi would like to run in a race for a worthy charity.


Mimi laughed.  “Um…no!” said Mimi, thinking her running days were over when she had her back, knee and shoulder operated on.  The woman looked at her like that was not an option.


“Please sign here,” said the woman.


Mimi didn’t read the document.  She just figured it was to confirm that Mimi was not running, but the woman got mixed up and gave Mimi the wrong paper to sign.


The day before the race, Mimi got a package at work.  She was really excited because she rarely got packages.  She thought of all the wonderful things it could be.  Maybe her bosses had gotten together and bought her a nice gift for all of her hard work.  So she tore into the package, but when she looked inside, there was a t-shirt that said, “Running for a Cause.”  Mimi figured there must be some mistake.  She went to the woman’s desk that had asked her to sign the document and gave her the t-shirt.  She explained about the apparent mistake.


“This must belong to someone else,” said Mimi.


“No,” said the woman looking at her notes.  She gave the t-shirt back to Mimi.  “There’s no error.  I have you marked down for running the 5-mile race.”  Mimi stared at her.  “NOT ME!” said Mimi with a laugh.  “You definitely have the wrong person.”


The woman shuffled through some papers.  “Here it is.  Is this your signature?” she asked.


“Well yes, but….” started Mimi.


“Then you have to run.  We already picked a handicapped child to run with you.  You can’t back out now” was the woman’s explanation.


Mimi didn’t want to hurt the woman’s feelings.  She certainly didn’t want to disappoint a handicapped child.  But there was NO WAY that Mimi could run five feet, let alone five miles!  Mimi silently asked God to show her what to do.  He didn’t answer Mimi’s request, so she did nothing.  She walked away still holding the t-shirt.


“Well, God.  It’s You, me and the child,” said Mimi.  “Are you sure you want me to do this?”  There was no answer.  Mimi took that as a ‘yes’.


Mimi fasted and prayed for days before the race.  She was not ready for this.  She was not in any condition to run, but she showed up with the t-shirt on when the race began.  She kept thinking that God would change His mind and cause something to happen.  She had prayed for rain, but it was bright and sunny.  She had prayed for no one to show up, but the place was teeming with well-wishers lining up outside.


When Mimi got to the long line where runners were, she saw the woman that had given her the t-shirt.  She started to explain that this was a huge mistake, but just then, her “partner” appeared.  It was a beautiful little girl with long blonde hair and big blue eyes.  She had braces on both legs and walked slowly and with a lot of effort.  Mimi felt bad for her.  She felt ashamed that she had complained about her neck, back and knee.  She determined to get in the race and encourage the little girl.


“Hi!” said the girl cheerily.  “I’m Alice and I am going to run this race with you!”


“Hi, Alice.  Nice to meet you,” said Mimi.  “We will do it together!”


They lined up at the starting point.  Alice looked at Mimi.  She looked worried.  “What’s the matter, Alice?” asked Mimi.


“Well, I’m afraid we may not be able to go very fast,” she said almost crying.  “My legs don’t always do what I want them to.”


“Neither do mine!” agreed Mimi.  Mimi put her arm around Alice.  “Then we’ll walk if we have to and if you get tired, we’ll stop.”


“Okay,” said Alice, still sounding unsure of herself.


The gun went off and before they knew it, and adults and children were off and running, some running well, others moving along with walkers or crutches as fast as they could go.  But Alice and Mimi seemed to crawl.  Mimi’s knee was aching before they even went around the track once.  Alice was trying as hard as she could to keep up with Mimi, but she kept losing her balance.  Mimi had to keep catching her and setting her upright.


Finally Alice started crying.  They were all so far ahead of her.  This was no use.  She sat down right on the track and started sobbing.


“Are you ok?” asked Mimi.  “Did you hurt yourself?  Should I get the ambulance?”


“No, I’m ok” answered Alice through sobs.  “It’s just that we will never catch up at this rate.”


Mimi sat down next to Alice.  “Alice, we can’t quit.  We need to keep going.  It’s not about winning the race, it’s about finishing.  You can do this.  I can do this.  We just have to take one step at a time.  Even if it takes all day, we need to stay in the race, ok?”


Alice was encouraged.  She stood up and tried again.  Mimi kept on encouraging her.  “You can do it, Alice.  Don’t’ worry about everyone else.”


Alice watched as couples passed her more than once.  She knew it would take a very long time for her to complete the 5 miles.  Mimi even wondered to herself if she would still be running at nighttime.


They both encouraged each other.  Finally, Mimi stopped.  She was so out of breathe that she thought one more step would literally kill her.  “I’m sorry, Alice.  You will have to go on without me.   I just can’t do it,” sobbed Mimi.


“Oh, yes you can!”  cried Alice.  Alice put Mimi’s hand over her shoulder and pulled her up.  What a brave thing for Alice to do!


She let Mimi lean on her for the last round.  Everyone had long finished the race.  Mimi figured that everyone had probably gone home by now.  It was too bad there would be no one to cheer for them when they finally reached the finish line.  But to Mimi’s surprise, when she got within view of the finish line, she saw that hundreds of people were still waiting for them.  They started screaming and cheering when they saw Mimi and Alice.  “You can do it!  Stay in the race,” yelled one old woman.


Soon, everyone was chanting what the old woman had started.  “Keep up the pace!  Stay in the race!”  This chant did not stop until Mimi and Alice proudly stepped over the finish line.  Mimi hugged Alice and both of them fell to the ground exhausted.


Alice was so happy, there were tears in her eyes.  “WE DID IT!” she shouted.  She leaned over and gave Mimi the biggest, longest hug ever!


Mimi’s heart swelled with love for Alice.  “You are a very brave little girl,” she said.  Don’t let anyone tell you that you have a handicap, because you DON’T.  If you can stay in a race and not give up and even help ME finish, you are stronger than anyone in that crowd!”


Alice smiled.  “Thanks, Mimi – for reminding me to keep in the race and for coming with me.  It was such fun.  I’ll remember this race and I’ll remember you – forever!”


Mimi looked up to God.  Silently she thanked God for not answering her prayers because this was worth it all.  STAY IN THE RACE – You’ll get there!!


What child is this?



By Teri Couture
Copyright® 2004

What child is this
That came into my life
To stir up happiness
Amidst all the strife

What child is this
Who wipes all my tears
And when He is close
Conquers my fears

What child grows older
But keeps getting better
What child is this
That breaks every fetter

What child is this
Grown into a man
Who makes me say
“With Him all things I can”

He gave up His life
A great child indeed
He died on the cross
So I could be freed

What child is this
That from this world should part
He is the child
That still lives in my heart

What child is this
Why it’s Jesus, God’s lamb
And I can say with great faith
Now His child I am