Care for the Heart

Jesus is the key to broken hearts.

Sitting across the table from a young mom, I listened to as she shared her story of shock, pain and grief. A twenty-four-hour whirlwind that forever changed her life. I recognized that no words spoken by me would ‘fix’ her situation. While my nearly untouched coffee became cold, my heart was beating with a desire to turn back the clock and rewrite her story with a different outcome. But life doesn’t work that way no matter how much we may desire it.

After pouring out in detail the events she walked through less than a year prior, she shared the journey she has been on since. Disillusionment. Grasping for understanding. She keeps life turning for her family while balancing her own emotions – and still grasping the reality of what happened. Listening to this young woman as a friend, my heart ached for her with each detail. Listening to her as a pastor, it brought so much more depth of understanding to the need I see for the body of Christ to create ‘safe places’ for the broken hearts around us.

Safe haven. That should be a great definition of the body of Christ. Yet reality often reminds us that the body of Christ is made up of humans that sometimes miss the mark.

Like when tragic events happen.

Too often we have a heart that just wants to see the other person healed. To see their situation turn around and make sense. In our true concern and desire to help, we go into autopilot with our words and actions. We grasp at the first thought that comes to mind as we desperately want to bring comfort. After all, we know all the Christian idioms, right?

“God has a plan.”

“It was their time.”

“He would not give you more than you can handle.”

“It must have been in His will.”

Sound familiar? Words that have meaning as they stand alone. Yet these words can also sound empty even as we speak them. Why? When words are spoken in autopilot mode and not Spirit breathed, they become as ‘sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.’ Each of these statements have truth. But unless they are ‘God breathed‘ for that time, place and person, they will fall to the floor empty. Those empty words can even pierce a heart with pain.

We are admonished to be ‘quick to listen and slow to speak.’ What would the body of Christ look like if we listened to each other completely? All the way. Allowing the story to flow freely and having our minds completely engaged with the conversation. Undistracted by our cellular devices or even our own running thoughts.

Although it was over twenty years ago, I can still hear the ‘comforting’ words of a dear friend after my miscarriage. “You are not the first person to have lost a child.” And as she walked away, I picked up my bleeding heart. That was an obvious statement. Yet I was grasping with more than the grief of losing my baby. Our church had been in the middle of a revival. Miracles had been happening. And we had chosen to delay the DNC in order to stand and believe for God’s healing touch. Now, I was not only grieving but facing the disappointment of not having my prayer answered. Not having the miracle others were seeing. What action gave me the most comfort? The friend who just came. The one who just was. No words needed. Just their presence. That action showed me their love for me was bigger than their need to help me.

Sometimes we are not ready to answer questions. Instead, we sneak in a church service late and sit in the back in hopes to hide. We are not ready for the questions or comments. The group of loved ones surrounding us for prayer can be smothering if we are not ready. So how do others that really love you know when to run to you and when to just sit and pray for you? When they take time to pause and listen to the Spirit’s whispered voice.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11

In this month where our society celebrates love, let’s examine our hearts. Do we love each other enough to stop, breath in the Spirit, listen to His counsel, and speak slowly? When reading the stories of Jesus, He doesn’t seem to be in a rush when He is giving answers. He didn’t even rush to Mary and Martha when their brother died. But He always did what His Father showed Him to do in a situation. Remember the the accusing crowd that brought an adulterous woman to Christ for judgement? He didn’t rush to answer but breathed in His Father’s thoughts, starting writing in the dirt, and made one comment. The crowd turned away. The situation diffused. All because He operated WITH His Father and the Spirit.

May we continue to grow in being Jesus with skin on!

Treasure the Gift

I still remember the first Christmas spent around my mother-in-law. The joy of celebrating the birth of her Savior was contagious. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that she did not rush to take down the decorations or tree. She savored every aspect of celebrating Christ’s birth and was in no rush to put away it’s representation. She taught me to relish the season longer.

Often the gifts given at Christmas represent sacrifice in one form or another. The hours spent earning money to purchase gifts. The time to shop and wrap. Time to travel. Planning. Cooking. It all represents something we choose to give. We choose to give to others because we want them to know our love for them and to know they are special in our lives. But too often we watch others tear into a package, smile at what is inside, thank the giver, then toss the gift aside to rush to their next wrapped treasure. The sacrifice of the giver is at most a fleeting thought. And the giver is often left wondering why they went to such great efforts.

Are we guilty of the same actions with our heavenly Gift? We enjoy our nativities and Christmas plays. The Carol’s are sung and family surrounds us. But come December 26th we are ready to move on to the next holiday celebration and pack up the meaning of the nativity with each painted figurine and place the box on the shelf. And state that we had a good Christmas.

A good Christmas. What is that really? Hopefully it is the fact of grasping the truth that it is not about trees and lights, presents or candles. It’s about a Gift of love that remains past tossed wrappings and precious memories. It lasts eternal.

Treasure the gift! Let it continue to wrap it’s warmth around you and carry you into this next year. It’s value is eternal.

He Became

“And the Word was made flesh……”

God. The Creator. The One that spoke and worlds were made. The Uncreated One. He named the stars. He holds the universe together. He spins galaxies around. He has always existed. Everything exists because of Him. He can hold EVERYTHING in the palm of His hand.

And……HE CAME!!

He didn’t just arrive. He came. With a purpose. With a mission. For a reason. For ME!

HE CAME!

Just let your mind stay there for a moment. Picture the universe. Even though what is out there is far from what our human mind can comprehend, we have NASA telescopes, such as the Hubble, that allows us to glimpse into the world of space and time.

What beauty! And He created it all with His breath! He speaks and it becomes. And HE CAME!

And HE BECAME!! He changed His own form and became one of us. Human. Growing inside a woman. This Creator who had formed everything in existence, who is Spirit and not flesh, became flesh.

The God who formed galaxies formed me in my mother’s womb. Every detail He planed out and formed. The One who details stars detailed my very being. And HE CAME! He chose to come! He chose. The amazing Being that created all things chose to change Himself. He chose to BECOME embryo. A fetus. No one created the Creator. He always was. Time was never without Him.

This weekend while running around town, I sat in a parking lot and wept as this realization hit me. And yet I am still trying to grasp the magnitude of this truth. He who is so big that He breathes and worlds formed, changed His entire being into a small, minute embryo, grew to fetus, baby, man. And all for me. And you.

As I look at this sonogram pic of our grandson that was taken not too long before his birth, I try to grasp the truth again. I try to picture this magnificent, heavenly God who is big enough to look out across the universe and galaxies, who creates worlds and stars with breath, chose to change His entire status and become human………FOR ME!! Such love!! And that is the true peace and joy of this season…….HE BECAME!!

And that is the true peace and joy of this season…….HE BECAME!!


A Swaddled Gift

“And this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12

Such a familiar passage. And yet it actually speaks a different language. It was a language the shepherds understood. And the angles knew the shepherds could recognize the deeper meaning when they heard of Jesus’ birth that night. The message spoke of things both present and future. And as we so often find in Scripture, there was much more significant meaning to those words than most of us in our modern, western world understand. So let’s break it down.

Location of Christ’s birth was Bethlehem. The hills around Bethlehem were home to thousands of lambs. These were not just any lambs. Hundreds of these lambs were used for the daily and annual sacrifices. With two lambs per day in the span of one year, Bethlehem probably saw the birth of over 770 sacrificial lambs, plus hundreds more for Passover and other feasts. In that day, when someone said, “Bethlehem,” the person hearing this heard, “sacrificial lambs.” Knowing that King David was from Bethlehem, we understand that this would have been the same area he would have raised sheep.

Watching over the flocks in Bethlehem were not just any shepherds. In order for a lamb to be deemed as a sacrificial lamb, the shepherds had to be trained for this holy act. These shepherds were priests who probably had these duties designated to them from their youth. They understood the instructions given in the law of Moses about the qualifications of lambs offered on the altar. And it was their responsibility to daily keep watch over these flocks. During lambing season, these priests took the sheep to this manger which was called Migdal Edar, or “watch tower of the flock.” Micah foretold that the daughter of Zion would see the Messiah come from Migdal Edar. (Micah 4:8) This watch tower was the station where shepherds brought the flocks designated for Temple worship.

Swaddled. Christ was swaddled. But what was so important about swaddling that the angels gave this detail to the shepherds? Again, it was their language. Swaddling was a practice they used for preparing the sacrificial lambs. At birth, two lambs were placed in a double-hewn depression of a limestone rock known as a manger…. in Bethlehem….at the tower. Here they wrapped swaddling cloths around the lambs to prevent them from thrashing around in order to keep them from ‘spot or wrinkle.’ When the angels spoke the words, “swaddling cloths, lying in a manger,” those shepherd priests knew that a baby was just born in the birthplace of sacrificial lambs and was wrapped up as a sign of having no spot or wrinkle – prepared to give His life in sacrifice for all.

In my mind’s eye, I see each strip representing a piece of the entire story. It all tied in that night with His death, His resurrection, our life in Him, and His coming return! How like our God, the very Artistic Creator, to use common, every day imagery to paint a brilliant story that is woven with so much love!

It was all there that night. Both the present and the future. The present events were very real. A woman travailed in pain to bring forth a baby. And a baby was swaddled to become the future sacrifice. It was God’s gift of love given to us that day, wrapped in torn strips of cloth, held tenderly by a young woman who would one day shed tears on a hill of death. This place where shepherds raised lambs, The Shepherd of our souls was born. It was all very present that night. And it is still present today. No matter where we are today, His swaddled gift of love still speaks of future hope. And it is still wrapped in love for all who hear the message and go seek for this gift.

Let’s do that today! Embrace His wrapped up gift of love!

It really is such JOY!

Never Alone

Many times in life we feel alone. Whether we are just dealing with our own emotions or if the truth is we are in a desert place in life, it has left us needing a voice of encouragement. When we find ourselves in need of that person in the flesh to help us think things through clearly but we have no one at our side, we still have One constant in life. Our Father. 

Moses was on the backside of a desert when God called him. He gave his reasons why it was impossible to obey. But God reassured him.

Ex 4:12 “Now go! I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say.”

Mentoring is about being there for each other. It’s teaching life lessons one on one and walking the visions out together. But when life’s road takes a different path than what out thoughts had painted in our minds, there is still that Mentor of our souls who is with us. He will teach us. Sometimes His teaching will come from our time spent with Him. Other times He will place in front of us tools for us to learn from. There have been many times in life where I was unsure how to accomplish a task before me. But then I saw someone else doing the same thing and I watched from a distance, took notes, and asked my heavenly Mentor how to adapt those tools for my personal task at hand.

We are to be walking in this life together. We should be actively involved in mentoring. But more importantly, we should always remember Who is to be our most important mentor of our hearts and souls. Our Father. Abba. God with us! Always our constant voice of encouragement. Take time to listen for Him today.

Destiny’s Voice










Each of us has different giftings. And each has a different calling. That is why Paul taught about the various roles within the body of Christ. Some are pastors. Some teachers. Prophets. Apostles. Some are given to hospitality. Each are valuable.



While raising our kids, we had to realize that how we disciplined each individually did not always look the same. They each had a different personality and responded to our means of correction in a different way. God created us individually.



When speaking into the lives of those around us, we need to be able to recognize THEIR individual calling. It might not look like our own. When that happens, it is important to affirm THEIR gift and who they are. Don’t try to fit others into our specific God designed box. Pause and ask God to show you how special they are to Him. Celebrate who they are called to be.

Make it Simple

I am loving being a Nonna. And I treasure time with my little ones…..and treasure their lives. When my husband, Raphael Anzivino, showed me this picture of my granddaughter in the middle of the neighborhood girls, the first thought that came was, “and a little child shall lead them.”

Jesus was the Child born to lead His people. Yet the concept is still the same and ties to us having ‘faith as a child.’ Children take things at face value. Children are wet cement that will be molded by our words and actions. Children are often more sensitive to those around them and sense hurt, danger or joy.

Too often we complicate things when mentoring. Truth is, our actions and words still can mold a life or situation. Each life is important enough for me to treasure just as I do my grandkids. I don’t complicate time with the kids. Let’s not complicate how we mentor those we are influencing in life. Paint a simple picture. Just do life together.