Author: Meggie Kornelsen

Ever Thought of Giving Up?

I’ll never forget the day a colleague came into my office and slammed a newspaper article on my desk. She was distraught. Her voice quivered, and she stuttered as she tried to tell me what had made the news. I picked up the newspaper page and as I listened to her recap of the story, I skimmed the article.

Suddenly she stopped. “Are you ok?” she asked.

I couldn’t speak. She asked again, “Are you ok?”

“You look ghostly pale,” she added.

I had to sit down. The news article was on the death of a single mother and her three small children. The young mother had killed each of her children, before she took her own life. (I’ll spare you the details, they’re too horrific.) I stared at the newsprint. It was impossible to comprehend how a mother could do that to her own children.

My colleague grabbed my left shoulder and shook me, trying to get me to speak. I looked up at her and started to cry. I couldn’t control the emotions. I couldn’t stop the tears.

Those three children were the same ages as my children. The mother was only a few years older than I.

How? How could this have happened? Had the people in her circle of influence not seen it coming? Had she been so clever to cover up what was going on inside her? – These were all questions my colleague asked that day. I’m sure there were many more people that had the same questions on their mind.

I know it’s possible to hide the truth from even the closest people in your life. Our lives are totally falling apart, but we can still act and put on a great show.

What a difference Jesus can make in our lives! When we choose him to take over our darkest places in our mind and in our heart, he gives us peace, his strength to overcome, and we gain perspective. He says to his disciples, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NLT)

We are not alone in our trials and sorrows. Jesus is right there, he is with us. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: 

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.” (The Message)

Do you ever think of giving up? Are you stuck and think there’s no way out of your circumstances? There is a way. The way is Jesus himself. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NLT)

No matter how hard it is, don’t give up. Don’t hide it. Talk to a friend or a family member and ask for help. There is always a way out. There really is. No matter what your mind keeps telling you, you are not alone.

By the grace of God I did make it this far. But I never forgot the woman who didn’t. Her story kept me clinging to Jesus more than ever. There were times I barely hung on by the skin of my teeth. God has been faithful, always! He provided all I needed all these years. He redeemed and restored beyond my wildest dreams.

God can do it for you as well. Will you let him into your darkest places of your life? He promises his peace and a light in your darkness. Don’t ever give up!


God comforts us so we can comfort others

It happened suddenly. Bam! Bam! Bam! Within a matter of days each of my children experienced one, and in some cases a few, devastating losses. By association, all six of us entered a season of suffering. It’s one thing when I am personally affected, but it’s a whole other suffering when you see your adult children go through tragedies, and there’s nothing I can do to manipulate, nothing I can do to take it away or even ease their pain.

I’m about 6 months away from those tragic events. It’s still raw.  Read more

“How Can We Live as Easter People?”

It was the early evening of Maundy Thursday. I had come home from the office, picked up my kids from their caregivers and stopped at the grocery store for the ingredients to bake a batch of paska. I parked the car, and we got out to sort the grocery bags in the trunk. Each child received a bag to carry to our apartment on the fourth floor.

I rushed to make the yeast dough. While it rose, I put away the groceries and made simple sandwiches for the girls to eat. I took out the biggest pot I had to boil 3 dozen of eggs for coloring later on. 30 minutes later I looked at my dough, it had barely risen.  I decided to give it a few more minutes. The eggs started to boil, I put the timer on for hard boiled eggs.

The water boiled in the kettle for egg coloring. The kids were chatting at the dining table, I was rushing back and forth, answering their questions, listening to their chatter. Then I remembered my paska dough. Still not much progress. I decided it needed the heat of the oven to rise properly. I said a little prayer and divided the dough among the baking forms. They went into the oven; I set the timer.

The eggs were hard boiled, the kettle had boiled water. I took out the jars, put the “color sheets” in each, a few table spoons of vinegar, and topped it off with boiling water. The kids watched , they were ready, eager with anticipation.  Read more

What if I Lost Everything?

She stood in the middle of the living room. Firefighter #1 was running from the living room to the balcony, arms full of household items and throwing them over the railing of the balcony to the ground five stories below.

Firefighter #2 was checking off a list tucked to a clipboard. The woman craned her head to catch a glimpse of that list. She was shocked to see it was a detailed list of all her earthly possessions. As soon as he had an item checked off, the item magically flipped into the arms of firefighter #1, and off he went to throw the item off the balcony again.

She inched toward the floor-to-ceiling windows and caught a glimpse of the action down below. A number of fire trucks were blocking the entrance to her building, their strobe lights warning everyone danger was close by.

She called her daughter’s name. She heard her slowly shuffle through the hallway.

“What is it, mom?” she asked
“Why wasn’t there a fire alarm?”
“How should I know? Is there a fire? There’s no fire in our place.”
“Then why are these firefighters in here, throwing our stuff over the balcony?” she was frustrated.

She could feel the heat spreading under her feet and the floor buckling right where she stood. What was happening here? The woman stopped firefighter #2 and pressed him for info, “Where is this fire? Why are you both here?”
He looked in disbelief at her, “Didn’t anyone tell you? The fire’s in the apartment below yours?”
“Then why are you going through my things? Why is that even necessary? Why would I lose everything because of a fire a floor below?” She questioned irritated.
“What if your apartment were on fire, right here? What would happen if you did lose everything?” firefighter #2 asked.

She looked around the living room. Most of her things weren’t there anymore. “I have insurance,” she mumbled. “They will pay for replacing what I’ve lost today.”

Photo by Official on Unsplash

I sat up in bed. It had been a dream, vivid and full of details. There was no fire alarm and no firefighters in my apartment. I took a deep breath and tried to calm down.

What triggered this dream? Is it my parents’ and grandparents’ life stories I’m working on these days? Or is it my insurance bill waiting to be paid in a few days?

What would happen if I did lose everything? – This question hung in the air. What would I do? Would I even want to replace everything? Would I want to fill up my apartment with things that were presently there?

I’m in the process of collecting the fifth load for another trip to the thrift store. With each load I get more radical. Especially since I read a statement by Joshua Becker, author of “Clutterfree with Kids,”

“Owning less is better than organizing more.”

I so wish I had started living according to these words much earlier. Cleaning out my house, decluttering and downsizing have forced me to re-evaluate what matters to me most. I do not want to spend more time organizing “stuff.” I’d rather make memories with my children and my precious grandson, or drive out to visit my parents, or spend time with friends.

This radical approach to eliminate nonessential “stuff” is spilling over to other areas of my life. I’ve scaled down my wardrobe to three main colors, and I love it! This decision has saved me countless hours of choosing what to wear. Even shopping has become a breeze since I go only to the racks and shelves that contain my chosen colors. Laundry is incredibly simple, not many colors to sort. Will I always stick to these three colors? I don’t know. But for the time being it has freed up some valuable time and energy to focus on things that need my attention at this stage of my life.

Jesus taught: “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21 (New Living Translation)

I confess, I’m guilty of not following this command. Jesus, remind me daily to evaluate how I use resources you have entrusted to me! I want my life to be more about loving and caring for people around me. I want my thoughts and energy spent on people, not “stuff.”

Eyes blinded by the fog of things
cannot see truth.
Ears deafened by the din of things
cannot hear truth.
Brains bewildered by the whirl of things
cannot think truth.
Hearts deadened by the weight of things
cannot feel truth.
Throats choked by the dust of things
cannot speak truth.
― Harold Bell Wright, The Uncrowned King


From Lent of Denying to Lent of Giving

What if – instead of concentrating on what to give up or deny myself during Lent – I would concentrate on what I give during Lent?

My “Lent program” hasn’t worked for various reasons. I realize it was all about me. I totally missed the point of Lent this year.

In my study of Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church I found two chapters on giving. The words in chapters eight and nine opened my eyes to the wrong path I was on this Lenten season. I decided to switch gears and concentrate on giving instead.

Here is the beauty about giving:

  • Someone is praying during their time of need. I can be the answer to that prayer if I follow God’s calling to give.
  • There was a time in my life where I was on the receiving end. Today I am giving because I received. Just as St. Paul points out to the church in Corinth: the Jerusalem church is in trouble, they need help. One day the church in Corinth might need help, and the Jerusalem church will be there to give out of their abundance.
  • But I can also give forward if I have not experienced a time of need. I don’t know what will happen in a year or two or ten. Since I’m in a position to give today, why not answer a person’s prayer and be generous.
  • Giving creates community. Giving in community creates a shared purpose and focus. We are connected through the act of giving.
  • The receivers will “joyfully express their thanks to God.” (9:12) In addition, “they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.” (9:14) As a church we have sponsored and helped churches in Cuba, and a week ago a team returned from Nicaragua where they worked on a school expansion project. We have heard from people receiving the gifts how they thanked God for it, and how passionately they prayed for our church.
  • “God is the one who provides…” (9:10) When I believe that all I have comes ultimately from Him, I know it’s not for my sole benefit, but to share with others.
  • There is God’s promise of provision in Psalm 112: “Good comes to those who lend money generously and conduct their business fairly… They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to take care for them… They share freely and give generously to those in need.”

If you don’t have a project to give to right now, may I suggest one? Suzie Eller and the Living Free Together Team have joined with Mission India to provide literacy classes for women. Click here for more info and how to give.

If you have time and would like to read what St. Paul writes to the church in Corinth in chapter 8, here it is (New Living Translation):

So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.Since you excel in so many ways—in your faith, your gifted speakers, your knowledge, your enthusiasm, and your love from us—I want you to excel also in this gracious act of giving.

I am not commanding you to do this. But I am testing how genuine your love is by comparing it with the eagerness of the other churches.

You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.

10 Here is my advice: It would be good for you to finish what you started a year ago. Last year you were the first who wanted to give, and you were the first to begin doing it. 11 Now you should finish what you started. Let the eagerness you showed in the beginning be matched now by your giving. Give in proportion to what you have. 12 Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have. 13 Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. 14 Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.

And in chapter 9:

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,

“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
    Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.

11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.

13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!


The Break is Over

I took a long break from blogging. Not because I stopped writing. I filled several journal with thoughts and prayers in 2017. Plus, my diary is bursting at the seams with all my thoughts about last year’s events.

No, I stopped publishing because of pain I was experiencing. Looking back at 2017, I call it the year of loss. And if I’m honest, it was a year of too much loss. Of course, that’s my personal opinion. It’s still too raw to talk about it and I have to respect the privacy of my family.

However, I learned the beauty of a sacrifice. To be precise: the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

I find it easier to complain, to throw myself a pity-party. It takes effort and energy to say, “Stop it,” and then actually do it.

You see, there is a cost associated with a sacrifice. I’m giving something up. I’m offering something to someone. And in my case, I had to decide over and over to offer my sacrifice of thanksgiving to God.

I know, He does not make mistakes. I know, one day we will see how it was all for the best.

But when you’re in the pain, when there doesn’t seem to be relief in sight, that’s when God leans in and accepts my two words, whispered in the dark: “Thank you!”

The choice is mine: I can either drawn in my pain or I can be lifted out of my dark pit by saying these two words over and over, “Thank you!” God listens, He hears, and He does come to the rescue.

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.

Lead me by your truth and teach me.

For you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.”

Psalm 25:4-5 (New Living Translation)



God’s Gift: Peace of Mind and Heart

We lit the second candle, the candle of peace.


Peace is not easy to come by. We see conflict all around us: between countries, within countries, cities, communities… We can shut it out or ignore lack of peace when it’s farther away. But when it’s close to home, or in our homes, we can’t ignore it. We have to face it.

Why does the Christmas season often bring disharmony to the surface? I tend to dismiss a hurtful word or action during the year. But come Christmas I’m more sensitive, I’m less forgiving.

Is it because my days are longer and cramped with activities, events, and fighting my way through shopping malls? Is it my never ending to-do list?

What I need more than anything during Advent is breathing space! Time to spend in prayer and meditation. Time to read God’s Word. When I don’t fill up all those empty spaces with God’s truth, the emptiness I created by running endlessly fills with negative thinking, with sensitivity to words and actions from people around me. My vision is blurred and priorities shift. I lose perspective.

Want to stay healthy and find peace during this Christmas season? Here is some advice from Proverbs:

“A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 NLT

“Better a dry crust eaten in peace than a house filled with feasting—and conflict.” Proverbs 17:1 NLT

And where do you go for peace? Try God and His promises:

“The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” Psalm 29:11

“Those who love your instructions have great peace and do not stumble.” Psalm 119:165

Jesus said, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

As we enter the second week of Advent, it is my prayer that you will find some breathing space and God’s peace.

Happy second Advent!

“I Give You Hope”

All week long I have been thinking about hope. There’s a story I have been reluctant to share. It’s my story of hope, and how hope changed my life.

It was close to 10 pm on that Tuesday night. A night in late autumn, darkness had come early. The streets were wet, reflecting the streetlights and the colors of the changing traffic lights. I was exhausted and discouraged. My body slumped in the front seat of the car underlined my feelings. Tears streamed down my cheeks, at times blurring my vision.

I was on my way to pick up my daughter from work. A daughter who made it so hard to love her, who had chosen to rebel no matter what, who showed less and less respect to her mother.

The pain was excruciating, the rejection cut deep.

“How long will I be able to carry on under this weight of sorrow?” I thought.

In my despair I started praying, out loud, words swallowed by my sobs. I was desperate for some relief, even the smallest would do. A little light in the dark tunnel.

My sobs subsided, quiet filled the car. And then I heard God speak to my heart: “I give you hope!”

“Hope? What hope? Don’t you see my situation here?” I asked.

“I give you hope!” God said again.

“Please, God, I would like something tangible, something like no more fights, no more disrespect, a visible change in my kid. Please, God.”

Then I felt God saying again: “I give you hope. Hope for today, hope for tomorrow, hope for the rest of your life. Meggie, I give you hope.”

I sat still digesting what I just heard.

I wanted change in my daughter and her behavior. God wanted to change me. For two years I had endured the stress and pain of this relationship. Now God decided to step in and give me hope.

As I sat in the car waiting for my daughter to finish her work shift, I was stunned at God’s answer to my prayer. I had not realized how I had – little by little – slipped into despair. God saw my most immediate need, and it wasn’t my daughter’s behavior. It was me. I needed hope.

A pivotal moment. It changed the outlook for my life. It gave me strength and courage to go on, not because I pulled myself up on my own. No, only because there is a source to my hope, and it’s God himself.

Today I pray the words of Apostle Paul: “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:14

May you find your hope in God. May He fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him.

First Advent – Hope and the Source of Hope

First Advent. We lit the candle of hope today.


What does the word “hope” mean to you?

The online Merriam-Webster defines “hope” as follows:

  • to expect with confidence
  • a desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment
  • hope implies little certainty but suggests confidence or assurance in the possibility that what one desires or longs for will happen.

Why do we place so much importance on hope? Have you heard any of the following sayings?

  • When hope is lost, all is lost.
  • Hope is the last to go.
  • When all you have is hope…
  • I hope… (at the beginning of a sentence)

The opposite of hope is despair. Take a look at the synonyms of “despair:”

anguish, desperation, discouragement, gloom, misery, pain, sorrow, dejection, forlornness, tribulation, just to name a few.

Hope rises in importance when reading through these synonyms, doesn’t it? The Bible tells us God and His Word are our source of hope:

“You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope.” Psalm 119:114

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:14

My circumstances might cause me anguish and pain, discourage or deject me, but I still have hope. My hope is not dependent on my circumstances. My hope has a source, an anchor. God himself.

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.” Psalm 39:7

“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and my God!” Psalm 42:11

“Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.” Psalm 25:5

Do I always get it right? No. Do I ever get discouraged? Yes, I do. In those times, I’m reminded of Psalm 94:19:

“When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”

This first week of Advent reminds us of the hope that is available to all of us. We’ve got to go the source though, to God himself.

The Advent story
of hope and mystery,
a kingdom
of this world and the next,
and a king
appearing when we least expect.
Heaven touching earth,
the footsteps of the divine
walking dusty roads
as once they did in Eden,
and a people,
searching for a Saviour,
and walking past
the stable.
Open eyes and hearts,
that this might be
an Advent of hope to the world.*

It is my prayer that you will have confident hope, that you will renew your hope if its flame is weakened, and that you will look to the source of all hope.

Happy First Advent!




Trust in the Storm

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap and
protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Psalm 91:1-4 (New Living Translation)


Storm Front on Eve of Good Friday 5 Jim Crotty via Compfight

I never expected to face so many storms and difficult circumstances during the year of Sabbath that I am certain God asked me to take.

These words from Psalm 91 have been my companion for the past few months. I had to remind myself again and again: God is in control. His timing is best, no matter what my world in me and around me looks like.

I wrote in my journal more than ever, and I kept repeating one phrase more than anything else: God, I trust You!

I trust You when doctor’s and specialist appointments are moved and then moved again. I trust You in this time of waiting.

I trust You when a job situation disappoints and there is patience and diplomacy required.

I trust You when I make mistakes and a trusting relationship has to be rebuilt.

I trust You when what I thought was the right decision does not turn out the way I thought it would. I trust You to be in this situation with me because of your promise.

I trust You when I have so many questions and no or little answers.

I trust You when the storm slows down just enough for you to create a beautiful rainbow. You remind me of your promise, God, and I’m encouraged to stay the course.

I trust You, God, because I find rest in the your shadow. When the heat of the day seems unbearable your shadow provides much needed reprieve.

I trust You with my ‘not enough’ and watch you transform it into just right portion of what I need every day.

I trust You alone to be my refuge, my place of safety where I can be honest and vulnerable knowing I am loved and accepted.

Your faithful promises are my armor and protection. You can be trusted to keep your promises.

You are my God, and I trust you.


Today I am joining Suzie Eller in #livefreeThursday