Darlene Foster's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘prayer

Our tree is decorated and we are gearing up for Christmas, so I want to share a wonderful story by a writer friend of mine. Whatever your beliefs are, it’s a story that never grows old. I love her realistic take on this age-old story.

Christmas Story by Sue Champion

Mary stepped into the night with trepidation. She felt chilled in the evening air. The donkey ride had not exactly been comfortable in her condition but was grateful she did not have to walk.

Horrified when Joseph told her they had to go to Bethlehem to register for the census. She would have given anything to have stayed at home with her mother to have the baby. It was only when Joseph read the scriptures to her, which foretold that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, that she understood it was God’s plan, and she must go with him.

Nevertheless, it was scary being in a strange town with nowhere to stay, knowing her baby was due very soon. Joseph had many relatives in Bethlehem, and he was confident one of them would have a room for them. Most greeted Joseph warmly, but when they saw Mary, they seemed embarrassed and turned the couple away. Of course, they knew Joseph had been betrothed for some time. They had all been to the engagement party, but they also knew that no wedding had taken place.

At last, one cousin had compassion on them and took them in, but was very sorry all his upper rooms in the house were full, as with this census, many travellers wanted accommodation. However, he offered them the lower part of the house where the animals were kept. By this time the couple were grateful for anything and thanking him, they agreed. There were bundles of hay to be used as a bed, and he lent them a couple of thin blankets.

That night the baby came. There was no midwife, only Joseph. No clean towels or hot water, and only one of the animal’s feeding troughs to use as a cot. Yet, when Joseph eventually placed the child on her breast, she felt an astonishing sense of joy and love. The couple looked at each other in helpless wonder, the baby was crying, messy, covered in straw, not unlike a newborn lamb might be. Could this really be the Son of God?

Joseph went outside for some fresh air, looked up, and was amazed to see an unusually bright star right above the house. He then saw some shepherds approaching, and wondered where they had come from. They came right to the door of the room. One of them told Joseph that they had been in the field minding their sheep when an angel of the Lord appeared to them and told them to go worship the child, whom they would find by following the star above. The star now shining above this very house.

Joseph let them in. Mary had used one of the blankets to wrap the child and had laid him in a manger. Joseph gazed at the scene and imagined he saw an angel kneeling next to them. He thought he heard him say, “Fear Not”.

Susan Champion, December 2021

Bio:

Sue Champion spent most of her childhood and a considerable amount of her adult life in Africa. This is reflected in many of her poems, for as anyone who has lived in Africa knows, the continent steals a part of your soul. She only began writing after retiring to Spain, where she joined a writers group and discovered a love of writing, especially poetry.

Sue has written a heartfelt book of poetry called Prayer, Praise and Poetry which can be found on Amazon.uk.com

Amazon.com

and other Amazon sites.

This book is for anyone aged nine to ninety plus. Dip into it at any time of day. Read it quietly or out loud. Let it uplift you. It would also make a great gift.

Here is my review:

A wonderful collection of contemporary poems, written from the heart. Each poem holds its own story and addresses many topical issues. It is a perfect book to pick up and open at random. Every time I do, the page speaks to me. Like when I read, “Storms Never Last.”

The book is divided into sections such as Praise, Our Planet, On a Lighter Note, War, Kids, and Bereavement. It ends with a moving poem, “Tribute to Nelson Mandela” and a lovely piece, “Wild Swans” in honour of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II on her 90th birthday. And finally, “Why Write?” which will ring true to most writers or those who wish to be.

This feel-good book of poems should be on everyone´s night table.

What happens when dreams get interrupted? In 10 seconds, 28 year old Lisa’s life changed and her dreams were put on hold. Please read, in her own words, this inspiring, touching story on how she handled it.

The Power of Prayer

On May 24, 2000, the day after my 28th birthday, my dress caught fire from a candle on the floor. I panicked and ran across the room, fanning the flames. My friends tackled me down and poured water over me. Although the entire incident was under 10 seconds, I sustained 3rd degree burns over 71% of my body. My face and fingers were spared, for which I am continually grateful. Of course, the rest of my body is scarred, but I consider myself very lucky.

I was living in Austin, Texas at the time, but I was visiting San Francisco when the incident occurred. My parents came to me from Ontario (like a miracle! Slavko nor Bonnie had flown in over 20 yrs, a nervous situation for both. To think of my classic, handlebar-moustached, small town barber of a father in San Francisco! ) I was on every life support system, antibiotic, etc. with 15 tubes coming out of me. My poor parents to have to see me this way! I was suspended in an ongoing frightful hallucinogenic haze of drug-induced coma for 6 weeks while the Forces of Life united to preserve Lisa Baltich: the awesome and crazy ingenuity of western medical crisis care (growing new skin and stapling it on!) combined with the immense power of prayer.

I was not consciously aware, then, of my family being there with me. However, they factored into my hallucinations, my psyche. I absolutely knew they were there and from them I drew critical comfort. I’m quite certain I would not have survived without their presence. They experienced many energetic instances, such as my heart racing with panic to frightening levels, whereupon the family joined hands in a circle around me and concentrated on calming me down. They watched the monitor as my heart rate descended to a safe place. I had so many people praying for me! My friends back in Toronto and BC were informed, and began to pray. My friend who meditates told her teacher and the class sent healing energy to me. My Aunt had her online community praying. My father’s customers told their church group. My friends back in Austin who were with me when I was burned, were holding sweat lodges and ceremonies. They were holding benefits to send my cousin Misty to me. My hometown of Welland, Ontario held numerous fundraisers to support my parents in San Fransico for a month.

The power of prayer is not to be underestimated. Although this was a terrible thing to have happen, there is a beauty in the way people pull together, are a part of a spiritual energy and witness to healing events and even some magical details. People were consistently so kind and caring at every turn. I really don’t believe I would have “made it”, survived, without all that Energy on my side. Truly I do feel blessed. I simply cannot imagine going through something like a burn without a support system. I mean people survive the most horrible things imaginable, the world over. It boggles the mind what people endure!

While I was in acute rehab in the hospital, I was approached to sit in on a Hidden Burns support group at the (US based) World Burn Congress put on by The Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. It just so happened to be taking place in San Fransico that year, and I was the first burn survivor to attend while still in hospital! How incredible for me, who had barely had a chance to digest this life-changing challenge, to be welcomed and comforted by this Inspiring Family.

One of the really beautiful things about attending a Burn Survivors Convention (there is also a Canadian based Burn Survivor’s Conference every other year) is the complete abandonment of physical-appearance-baggage we carry around. At first, when I looked upon some of the severely disfigured, I felt so awful for them, what they must go through, and wondered how I might carry on a conversation. Within moments that falls away entirely as the beauty of that individual shines through. Within moments you cease to even see the scars, but only that person. There are hundreds of these survivors, all glowing with the glory of being together, as we understand each other. The feeling of being a part of such a large family is truly special.

Even before I was burned, I was no stranger to body image issues. I was an overweight adolescent, enduring harsh ridicule. When I lost weight I felt I had wrecked my body, with its sagging skin and stretch marks. I could not love or forgive myself. During my 20’s I threw myself into dance and much physical activity. I had finally sculpted a trim and fit body to the best of my ability, and was starting to love and accept myself. Then I got burned, and had the whole ‘carpet pulled out from under me’. My skin was eternally scarred, my hair shaved off, my piercings removed, and I gained a bunch of weight. But I was able to love my body, for surviving. When I was able to get out of the bathtub by myself again, I swore that I would never harbor an ungrateful thought toward my body again! But, as time went on, I focused my negative body image on my weight, and slipped back into that punishing lack of body-love.

It’s an ongoing struggle for all of us, whether we are burned or not, but certainly one of the big lessons I feel comes from this experience is that WE ARE NOT OUR BODIES. It is not important to have a beautiful body. Who we truly are comes from within us. I am never ashamed of my scars.

Recently, I was given another extraordinary opportunity to reconnect with my Burn Family at the 2009 World Burn Congress, and I wish to thank The BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund and The Future Is Mine, who with caring and generosity helped me to attend. In closing I would like to extend a prayer of thanks to the Burn Community at large and to the amazing support network that act as Angels to those who are going through the most trying of times. Blessings to all of you!

By: Lisa Baltich

This amazing story and others like it can be found at http://burnfund.org/our_programs/adult_survivor/survivor_profiles.php


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