Sunday, December 13, 2020

The Weary World Rejoices...

 Oh, it’s been a long time. Things are ok. Busy, with a new puppy, trying to stay healthy, and doing some paint crafting for the front of the house. I did this painting a month or so ago, and used a similar technique to finish a larger one for our front yard.

Enjoy the photos! I apologize in advance for the unorganized photos... I’m on my phone and can’t arrange them as I had intended. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving. Is it an oxymoron this year?

So many have gone before in such harder, debilitating, desperate times, with so much more thankfulness in their hearts displayed. So much dependence, and gratitude towards God for all He has provided in the hardest of times. The great old hymns tell of it; hearts bursting with gladness for the great things He has done.

I somehow think it’s our pride, our entitlement, our own selfishness, that makes hearts turn against our Creator and dares us to not find gratitude. How dare we sacrifice our comfort, our traditions, our freedom, to benefit the elderly, the feeble, the unhealthy. No one can take these things away from us, tell us what to do, where we can go. How dare anyone try!

We have not been attacked by an enemy—that in itself would put us on one side and create unity; but we are being attacked from within, which will be humanity’s own destruction.

Heaven is weeping for the lack of discipline we show; for where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control? If we are to be known by our fruits, our world today is lost.

God help us all.

#happythanksgiving #godhelpus #loveoneanother #thanksgiving2020 

Photo by Marina J Bromley

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Great is Thy Faithfulness

 It’s been a while since I’ve just written. It’s been a long while, but here I am, doing it!

I’m always caught off-guard by the intensity of fall colors. It turns an errand or a drive into a colorful, joy-chasing adventure. How many trees do I seemingly overlook every other day of the year? I forget how yellow that tree gets, or that the orange of this tall one around the corner looks neon in the sunlight. I chomp at the bit in October thinking that we have been robbed of Fall’s glory, and then am amazed that there’s still so much color in the middle of November. The South is surprising like that.

This is the tree in front of our house. It was planted by the builders, a maple of unknown variety, and most of the homes on our street have them. Oddly enough, ours is one of the last to change from deep greens to speckles of red, to red and orange fire. I know that I will miss its leaves but can’t wait to see how much it will grow over winters’ stillness—cold winds whistling through its bare branches, then pushing roots deeper into the ground while I wait for new buds to form and push out in Spring’s glory. Someday it will provide shade on the front of our house, sweet relief from summer’s sweltering afternoon sun, but for today it’s a splash of color that brightens my vision and my mood—heavenly confetti that God sprinkles and blows.

In a world that is holding its breath for the year to end, the calendar to flip to a new year filled with hope, I’ll put my trust in God’s truths today, in His mercy never failing, in His love unending, in His joy unstoppable. Join me as we celebrate His power over death and darkness—truly, Great is His Faithfulness ...


Great is Thy faithfulness, 

O God my Father,

There is no shadow of turning with Thee;

Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not

As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see;

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me! (sing with me? Here’s a link for you to enjoy and sing along!)

Where my heart is camping out today in worship...

#marinaskitchentable #greatisthyfaithfulness #fall #leaveschanging

Friday, October 30, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 12

A Caregiver’s Reassurance
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

God wants you to move through this day with a quiet heart,
An inward assurance that He is in control,
A peaceful certainty that your life is in His hands,
A deep trust in His plan and purposes,
A thankful disposition toward all that He allows.

It is important for a caregiver to know that God has not called you to the place of perfect service, but to the place of faithful service; not to the place of work without rest, but to the place of rest in your work; not to the place of making everyone happy, but to the place of pleasing Him.
©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 11

A Caregiver’s Resolve
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

By God’s grace and the strength that the Holy Spirit supplies, I resolve:

  • To look upon this time as a caregiver, whether short or long, as God’s appointment.
  • To consider it an honor to be the extension of His love to someone in need.
  • To do what I do from a thankful heart, with all my heart, as unto to the Lord.
  • To be quick to extend forgiveness to others, and to guard my heart against bitterness or resentment.
  • To maintain a quiet spirit that trusts God fully.
  • To seek those times, whenever possible, to take breaks, be refreshed, and “come aside to rest awhile.”
  • To choose joy, and not lose the gift of laughter.
  • To seek God’s strength in my weakness, to receive His mercies when I have fallen short, to draw upon His grace in my inadequacy, to receive His refreshing when I have grown weary, and to keep the eyes of faith upon Him in all I do.

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 10

Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

God greets you with new mercies…begin there;
He welcomes you to the throne of grace…pray there;
He guides you in the paths of peace…walk there;
He will be your strength…live there;
He will care for you…rest there.

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 9

A Caregiver’s Service
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

God has not called you to the place of perfect service,
but to the place of faithful service…
not to the place of work without rest,
but to the place of rest in your work…
not to the place of making everyone happy,
but to the place of pleasing Him. 

“I will not give up as long as there is strength in His arm, tenderness in His heart, and truth in His promise.”
-William Gurnall

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 8

-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

The following is a special selection of Bible promises to encourage caregivers…

The Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled. Romans 15:4 NLT

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

And as for you, brethren, do not become weary or lose heart in doing right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 AMP

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. Psalm 28:7 NLT

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7 AMP

Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NLT

He lets me rest in green meadows; He leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. Psalm 23:2-3 NLT

Cast your burden on the Lord [releasing the weight of it] and He will sustain you. Psalm 55:22 AMP

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 7

 I Only Need You, Lord…
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

I only need You, Lord, when I rise up and when I sit down; when I go out and when I come in; when I am quiet and when I am active; when I am alone and when I am with others; when I am healthy and when I am ill; when I am up and when I am down; when I am on the go and when I need to wait.

I only need You, Lord, when my lungs need to breathe; when my blood needs to flow, when my body needs to move; when my muscles need to work; when my mind needs to think, when heart needs to love.

I only need You, Lord, for as long as birds need flight, for as long as whales need the sea, for as long as clouds need moisture, for as long as wildflowers need raindrops, for as long as sunflowers need the summer sun.

I only need You, Lord, for this present moment, for the moment when You take me home, for all the moments in-between, and for all the moments ever after.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. -2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV
©2020 Roy Lessin, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 6

The Caregiver’s Blessing…
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

May you have the power to understand…how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:18-20 NLT

#1 God cares for Caregivers.
#2 In weakness I find His strength.
#3 There is grace enough for today.
#4 Love never ends.


©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission, all rights reserved.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 5

The Caregiver’s Song
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

Father, You’re the strength that lifts the burden,
You’re the oil that soothes the pain;
You’re the sunlight when there’s darkness,
You’re the shelter in the rain.
You’re the hand that brings all healing,
You’re the song that calms all fear;
You’re the peace that brings all comfort,
You’re the God who’s always near.

The Lord is my strength and my song; He has given me victory. Psalm 118:15 NLT

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 4

Often our prayers can become pleading for relief, for healing, for comfort, for answers. May our prayers become opportunities to invite the peaceful presence of the Holy Spirit to dwell with us, to ask Jesus, our Great Physician, to provide wisdom and discernment to our medical teams, and to ask God our Father for His will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

The Caregiver’s Prayer
-Roy Lessin, Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

Father, help me, by Your grace, to be a caregiver as You care for us—work through my hands with the touch of compassion, see through my eyes with the clarity of understanding, shine through my countenance with the light of kindness, speak through my voice with the words of comfort and encouragement, minister through my spirit with grace and patience, and give through my heart with the never-ending gift of love. Amen!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say. 2 Thessalonians 2:17 NLT

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 3

Hands To Serve
-Roy Lessin, 
Prayers and Promises for Caregivers

God will work through your hands…
To support someone who is weak…
To raise someone who has fallen…
To uphold someone who is weary…
To wipe a tear…
To hold a hand…
To give a cup of water…
To embrace…
To carry a burden…
To impart a blessing.

©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 2

The Caregiver’s Greatest Need
-Roy Lessin

What is a caregiver’s greatest need?
It is not skill, although it is a good to get all the training possible.
It is not perfection, although it is good to do your very best.
It is not resources, although it is necessary to have the right supplies and aids.
It is not support, although it is important to have help and encouragement.
It is not more time away, although it is important to take breaks, have leisure time, and be refreshed.

The greatest need of a caregiver is love.

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.  1Corinthians 13:13 NJKV

Human love, although sincere and sacrificial, has its limitations and weaknesses. God is the only source of love without limits and whose love does not fail. God’s love flows on when human love has been expended, and the resources of His love will never be depleted.

His love is like a cluster of grapes that brings forth the sweet fruit of joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

God, I am in need of Your unfailing love. Pour forth, through my heart, love’s sweet fruit of kindness, patience, longsuffering, gentleness, and self-control. Be in me the love that never stops hoping, never stops believing, and never comes to an end. Amen!
©2020 Roy Lessin, used with permission. All rights reserved. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Encouragement for Caregivers: Part 1

Several years ago, Roy Lessin wrote a booklet of encouragement for Caregivers. With his permission, I will be bringing his words to you over the next few weeks.

With COVID still looming, flu season approaching, and our daylight depleting, I felt that this would be the perfect time to remind our Caregiving Community of their value and worth. 

You are depended upon EVERY day, but especially now, when we feel that we are limited to our contact and activities outside of our homes, still needing to get our loved-ones to appointments, shuttling kids to school or teaching them at home, and needing to have our families basic needs taken care of (laundry, anyone?), our stamina and self-worth may be running short. 

Whether your caregiving is taking care of your infants and toddlers at home, your aging parents or grandparents in their homes, a limited-ability loved one, or a spouse that has become temporarily (or permanently) disabled, we all need to be reminded that we are not walking this season alone. God is with us. He is for us. He will equip us. It's OK to be weak, because when we are weak, we can allow Him to be strong! He wants to be our strength, and for us to ask Him to do for us what we can not make happen. 

Please enjoy this series especially for you. May it be a blessing to you and your caregiver friends, encouraging and empowering you to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those you care for. 


Prayers and Promises for Caregivers
Discovering God’s Care for Caregivers
-Roy Lessin

Caregiving can mean a short term assignment or a long term commitment. For many, caregiving has come unexpectedly and has changed their plans, challenged their schedules and altered their priorities.

Although different, the needs of a caregiver can often be as great as the needs of the one in their care. To be a caregiver is a reminder that to do good is not always easy; to give sacrificially is not always recognized; and to be available is not always convenient.

Caregivers can grow weary, even in well doing. All Caregivers need strength, patience, support, and encouragement. It is important for the caregiver to know that God cares for them.

(The Lord has been sent)…to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come… To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory. Isaiah 61:1-3 NLT
©2020 Marina J Bromley, Roy Lessin, all rights reserved.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Happy Fall Y'all...

It’s been an odd week. My spirit has been positive and forward-thinking, not dwelling on the past (as in years past). There’s been days to pull me back...the anniversary of my mother’s passing, a late grandmother’s birthday, my own birthday approaching, and soon the anniversary of my father’s death, my first granddaughter’s birthday (and not getting to celebrate with her, again), a time change. I can find all sorts of reasons to push October right off the calendar! And yet here I am, living day to day, pushing myself out of bed on cooler mornings (the hardest thing in the world for me, made harder), and looking ahead to create content, seek God’s Word and His purpose in the words I write, and the colors, and even set myself up and give permission to craft a little bit. What’s up with all that?!?

A few years ago I was stuck in a bad relationship with October. To be honest, it would start in June with the Summer Solstice, my mom’s birthday. As the sunlight began to slip away into late summer’s shadows, my joy would slip away too. By the time October rolled over on my calendar, it would hit me with some of these defining days and I was ready to pull the covers up and hibernate until the Winter Solstice (when the sun would start adding minutes on again). My moods and emotions worked like clockwork, my own Stonehenge.
photo by Marina J Bromley, all rights reserved.
Then one year, for no known reason to me, I decided that I could take it all back. No more depths of despair. I wanted these warm summer days for myself, so I forged a new neuron path in my brain to celebrate the changing of the shadows, the approaching of Fall, and the remembrance of those days that were the anchor to my hibernation. It was not easy, and some days I have to shake the sleep off my mind (it’s become my drug of choice!), but I’m keeping at it!
I don’t know if anyone else can relate to what I’m saying here, but if you understand, I want to walk through this with you! We can overcome the negativity of cooler weather and the shorter days. We can wake up in the dark and stay up in the dark and lead productive lives. We can cheer each other on to plow past the memorial days, and the holidays, and not give an inch to the debilitating weights that seek to hold us back and down. We can be happy, joy-filled even, and have enough to spill over into other people’s lives around us. Let’s do this!
Happy Fall Y’all!

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Balanced and Beautiful in Christ:

"At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior." - Titus 3:3-6 NIV

Growing up in a liberal home in the wild and crazy ‘60s in Southern California, I was surrounded by a lifestyle that was anything but polite and proper. My mother passed away as I entered my teenage years. My father—the only adult left in my home—was born and raised in socialist Holland, so he was far left politically. His mantra was, “If you’re not hurting someone else, and you want to do it, then do it.”
Anytime I did anything illegal or immoral, his response was, “It’s not as bad as what I used to do,” as if he was challenging me to do something worse. Imitating him, I learned to serve myself and worship the most important thing I knew, me. Yet, I sensed that something was missing in our home and in my life.
Despite my intense self-focus, I had no self-worth and was incredibly lonely. By the time I was a young adult, I had no sense of direction, was more than a recreational drug user, and followed people of little scruples, whichever way the wind blew. I recall times that I could have been abducted or worse, yet somehow, I always found my way back home alive. Still, I grew lonelier.
By the time I noticed Christians being strategically placed in my life, I was no longer a teenager. I had not accomplished anything by being in college and had no direction for my future. I was a complete loser in society. I had nothing to offer. I was used, abused, and broken.
But then, God entered my life.
At a time in my life I should have been overlooked, He saw me.
At a time in my life I was lost, He found me.
At a time in my life I was lonely and alone, He showed kindness to me through others who followed Him.
At a time in my life I didn’t want to live, He showed me my worth and gave me a new life in Him.
At a time in my life I thought I was unlovable, He showed me His unending love for me.
At a time in my life I should have been punished, He showed me undeserved mercy.
Because of God’s great love for me, He did what no man could do—love me completely.
Because of God’s great power, He healed me of the addictions and brokenness to which I grew accustomed. Because of His Holy Spirit, I gained a companion and helper who would never leave me. Because of His kindness, He cleaned me and put me on a better path.
How did this all happen? I was at the end of my rope, ready to give up on this life. I cried out to an unknown god, “If there is a God, I need to know You because I cannot continue to live like this!” Then, in the stillness of my room, He met me. He held on to me like no one ever had. He patiently walked with me through all of my bad habits and poor decisions. He forgave me, over and over again. He took my stained and tattered life and washed me new.
It wasn’t because of who I was, as I was unknown.
It wasn’t because of whom I knew, as I was just a face in the crowd.
It wasn’t because of my education, because I had given up on it.
It wasn’t because of my profession, because I went from job to job.
It wasn’t because of my financial investments, as I was broke.
It wasn’t because of my political power, because I had stopped believing the lies of the legislature.
It wasn’t because of my family name, because they gave me bad advice.
It was only because of God and His great love for me that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to earth to live a sinless life, to be persecuted to the point of death on a cross as the punishment for my sins, which were many. Because of His death, burial, and resurrection, I can live with Him eternally. Now, I choose to live for Him every day, until He brings me home.
This first appeared on the Facebook page for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ. Written by Marina Bromley. ©2020 Marina Bromley, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Parents of Missionaries: Parenting and Grieving

I've been wanting to write on grieving for a while now, but words have escaped me. Not that I don't know how to describe my feelings, but that it's an area that God has so greatly redeemed, and is likely not the way the average person would think of dealing with such a strong emotion. 

A few weeks ago I was really depressed, having not seen my daughter or her family for over 18 months. We talk nearly weekly, but sometimes the time sneaks by, or the kids don't want to talk, or I can tell how exhausted everyone is. To be honest, I know the value of a good nap, and sometimes I would rather my daughter rest instead of take time to talk with me. No matter how old our kids are, we still feel like their mom. It can be hard for all of us. Maybe we all need naps sometimes. 

Those long days came and went, and we caught up on correspondence, but I felt a bit lost...we were out of sync and I was feeling disconnected from the life she lives there with her husband and our grandkids. It's bad enough to be 3,993 miles away, but to have a time difference, and a pandemic going on, it was as if different layers kept being added between us. Then the rainy season hit there, flooding ensues, mosquito season kicks in, airports shut down and we are all in lock-down, all over the world. 

It's bad enough when you can't go see your kids regularly, but when you can not go because the country's borders are closed, there's a different type of feeling that comes over me. I don't know that I have felt that before.

I have written about being a parent of a missionary (POM) before, and about how being involved with their work helps me to feel connected to their work. Even though it's a "support role" like praying, giving financially, or running a newsletter, you feel as if you are partnering with them. You are a part of their team. 

We have been a part of the work where they are, in the quiet things (prayer and giving) that are SO essential to the work they do there, but I wanted to do more. I was seeing photos of the areas they were working, places hit by tropical storms and flooding rains, and people losing their homes and all that was inside of them, and I wasn't sure how, but I wanted to help, more than giving and praying. I call this "putting wheels on my grief," meaning that I can DO SOMETHING to help, and that DOING helps the grief go away. It's investing more of me actively, not passively (although prayer and giving are not passive, they are still mental, and not physical). 

I remembered a woman I knew several years ago, who pops in and out of my Facebook feed, and how she had organized people to sew dresses for girls around the world. These are not fancy dresses, but sturdy dresses, in areas where poverty keeps them from having many clothes at all. I knew that these people who have been living below the poverty level in a very poor part of the world, and then lost everything to flooding, would benefit from a new dress for their daughters. As I reached out to her to find out more about the group she has put together, God began to put a plan together on how we could make dresses for the girls in my daughter's home country. I didn't know when the borders would open, but I knew that we could have dresses ready to go when they did open.

Oh, I forgot to mention...I can't sew. OK. I can sew by hand, but not a machine, and I'm not a fast sewer by hand, so I knew somehow that God didn't give me this burden for me to learn to sew, but that He would bring sewers together to sew for dresses for the girls there. I would do what He equipped me to do, administrate.

So a few Facebook posts later, and we've got people offering to sew from California, Missouri, Florida, and Kentucky! Oh, and the connection in Missouri has a "stash" of over 100 dresses that are ready to go to a country as soon as the borders are open! WOWZA!

Sometimes we don't know where our next step will lead, or when we will get to take it. As Stormie Omartian says, "He gives me just enough light for the step I'm on." That's all I knew to do, just take one step—just get people sewing dresses. Most of them are made from men's button-up shirts, but some are made from fabric. People were willing to donate both, and sew them as fast as they could, for some unknown time that we would need them. We didn't know when that day would come, but just knowing that there was a need, and that the need was great, and ongoing, was enough for these generous women to rally together. 

So God gave me my wheels, and although I still miss my kids and grands, it's a different feeling...not really grieving...but not easily defined.

And just how God is, as people are finishing dresses and getting them to me, in the midst of drop-offs and mailing things, the borders open, and their sending church has already put a travel time on their calendar...and they will be hand carrying these dresses to my daughter and her family, and helping to distribute them, along with food and bottled water, chlorine and soap, to these simple people who are slowly learning that Jesus loves them so very much.

In the past 6 months, as I've watched from afar as they go out and meet these people where they are, bring them supplies when they can not get to town (and don't have money to buy anything if they could get to town), I've learned one important thing; as Jesus told people who He was, He met their needs. He fed them. He healed them. He saved them from being stoned. He introduced himself to them and shared the truths of the Gospel, but He always met their needs. It's hard for hungry people to listen. 

I'm so glad God is helping them to be fed...spiritually and physically. And I'm grateful for those who are helping us dress them Jesus' name.
If you want to learn more about dress-making endeavors for your loved one's mission field, check out the page at Official Page for Dress a Girl Around the World. 

If you would like to become a part of our ongoing dressmaking project, please email me at

Boxes of dresses being prayed for before they begin their long journey to me, then to my daughter...

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Happy Book Birthday, Morning Meditations! You're ONE!

 Happy Book Birthday to me!

Looking back I get caught up in how my book didn’t launch the way I’d planned or wanted. Unforeseen things kept popping up at the end, but ultimately it was God’s plan, not mine, and I’m ok with that. It was a learning curve with a publisher (and for the publisher too, I believe, one of their first NF books), and none of it was the way I thought it would go. I can liken it to a premature birth!
All in all the book continues to sell, and folks leave reviews (Amazon, BookBub, Goodreads, etc; if you have read it please feel free to leave one!) and mostly I’m blessed to know that it has encouraged people in their walk with God, because THAT is why I wrote it in the first place.
So Happy Book-Birthing Day! 🥳
Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table: A Devotional Memoir
Ps- I *may* be book-prego again, but I have no idea when I am due...hehe, or what format I may go this time. I’m working with color photography and may do an ebook only using iBooks or another non-print platform... If you have any experience or opinions, please let me know!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Day 28 (Friday)

 Sharing the full chapter for Friday’s devotion...

Day 28 (Friday)

Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir

Morning Prayer

Abba, Father, You are so kind and show me so much love every morning. No matter what is going on in my life, You gently nudge me to remind me that You are with me, walking beside me every step of the day. Thank You for being here, inviting me to abide with You. Help me to clear my mind of today's plans, so I might rest in You now. I want these moments with You to be my most important part of my day. May You be glorified in them. Amen.

Focus Verse

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God's love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. Ephesians 3:16-18 NLT


Is it difficult to imagine how God can love you? I walked in that lie, not believing I was loveable because of my sin and circumstances, and not taking into account the truth of God's great love for us. He created us with intention and knew us before we were created. He loved us before we knew His name. He breathes life into us, knowing we would fail, and yet He chose to give us life, even life everlasting! We are loved SO much by God.

Because I had failed so much at human love, I felt ill-equipped at FALLING in love, and it was hard for me to ascertain BEING in love. My human love failed all the time. It was full of lies, deception, and brokenness. It left me abused, exhausted, and abandoned. It was far from perfect, yet I continued to chase after it as if I were an addict craving an abusive drug. I had so much to learn.

I have come to believe there is a clear difference between FALLING in love and BEING in love. It's as if "falling in love" is totally in your heart and "being in love" is in your head. One is goo-goo eyes and can't catch your breath, but the other is when you know that you know that you know you are loved, and then you choose to love back. It's solid, yet pliable and giving. It makes a way to make it work, no matter what has gone wrong. It's not perfect, but it's forgiving. 

And then there's God's love. Perfect love.

His love cannot be compared to human love, yet it's the source of the qualities found in human love. His love is strengthening, empowering, sanctifying. His love equips us and makes us brave. It reminds us we are never alone. It fills the gap when we are physically alone and allows us to plug into the power of the Holy Spirit, making a way to feel His tangible presence. It comforts us, settles our spirit, and encompasses us. It's within us and around us. His love perfects us as we abide in Him.

His love directs, leads, and protects. It casts a vision for things we could never imagine. It takes us places we would never go and makes us feel as if there is where we have always belonged. It allows us to love and serve others sacrificially. It woos us in the early morning and sings to us at night.

His love inspires us, enables us to do so much more than we thought possible, and allows us to step back, letting Him shine. It's His love that motivates us; He is the source and the solution. All glory goes to Him. 

His love never fails.

A Prayer

Lord, please teach me to abide in Your perfect love. Help me to rest in it, rejoice in it, and hold it close to me when I'm in pain or full of sorrow. Let me never forget it is Your love that brought Jesus to earth, put Him on a cross, dying for my sins, going to a grave, and rising again. Thank You for restoring Him to Your right hand. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit to comfort us, until we are restored and in Your presence. There has never been a greater love. You are pure and perfect love, and I desire to be a reflection of Your love wherever I am. Amen.

Table Talk

Galatians 2:20, 1 Peter 1:22, Romans 8:37-39, 1 Timothy 1:7, Isaiah 54:10, 1 John 4:8-11

Make a list of the God qualities you have experienced and know to be true from scripture. Which qualities do you think you can expect in a human love relationship, whether from a parent to a child, in a friendship, or romantic love? The more time you spend with God, the more you will come to recognize these God-qualities in others who are getting their love from Him. Spending time with Him will also allow you to develop those qualities in yourself, becoming better equipped to love and serve others. Challenge yourself to increase your time with God in a new way!


Morning Mediations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir is available through Amazon, Kindle, and free on Kindle Unlimited.

©2020 Marina J Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Day 25: Morning Meditations at Marina’s Kitchen Table

 Day 25 (Tuesday)

Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir

Morning Prayer

Good morning God. Your presence with me this morning is so precious. Please manifest Yourself around me, turning my eyes and ears towards You. Prepare my heart to hear You, my mind to apply Your Word to my life today. Continue to grow me to be more like Jesus. I love You. Amen.

Focus Verse 

May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord. -2 Peter 1:2 NLT

Table Talk

Romans 6:14, 2 Corinthians 8:7, James 4:6, 1 Peter 4:10, Hebrews 4:16

Write a note to someone who has offended you in the past, even on accident, and extend grace to them. Then tear it up. Write more than one if you need to. Begin to train your brain and your heart to extend grace to others throughout the day.

A Prayer  

Father, thank You for developing discernment within me and growing me to have more faith in You. Help me to understand what it means in my life to "err on the side of grace." Walk with me to learn how to exercise grace to those around me, to extend Your love to them, even if they have hurt my feelings. I pray for wisdom as I put this to work, and also freely receive Your grace towards me. Amen.


You can read the rest of the chapter in Marina Bromley's book, Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir, available through Amazon/Kindle and FREE on Kindle Unlimited.

©2020 Marina J Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, all rights reserved.

Balanced and Beautiful in Christ: Part 6

Romans 12 | Part 6

“Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” - Romans‬ ‭12:19-21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

My dad was divisive, often causing arguments between family members and lying to pit us against each other. He stirred up trouble because he could not control his aging body or the circumstances he was living in. He had married a woman who delighted in the same type of manipulation and lies, and together they were a force not to be reckoned with.

We were never able to get in contact with him or his wife to find out how he was, and he never reached out to us. Occasionally a card mailed would provide a phone call of acknowledgment. For the most part, months would go by without any communication. For 10 years we lived in the same town and I would run into him at the grocery store more often than he would accept a call from me. Several times he was hospitalized without us knowing anything about it.

Years later, on a random winter day, I got a call from my younger sister. On a whim, she was surfing the web and discovered from the Social Security web site that our dad had passed away four months prior. We were astounded. Not only did our step-mother not tell us when our dad was hospitalized, but she failed to tell us that he had passed.

There was no newspaper announcement, no death notice from the hospital or funeral home. It took a little searching to discover that he died in a hospital and had been cremated, but his wife took his ashes and we had no way to contact her. Their home was foreclosed on, a hoarders’ auction was held, and we knew more from our friends in our old hometown who kept us in the loop.

Fast forward a few years, and through events that only God could orchestrate, we end up moving to the same area where his widow is rumored to be living. I’m partly happy to be going to an area so familiar, and partly petrified, not knowing what to do if I ran into her on the street. I prayed fervently as to what my response should be towards her—finding a balance between my justified anger, yet knowing that she is unpredictable. I finally found myself at a place of peace, as the Lord revealed this scripture to me that mirrors today’s focus verse:

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” - Matthew 25:35-36 NIV

I knew that if I saw her I could use this standard of measure. If she was hungry, thirsty, needed clothing, was sick or in prison, I could do the appropriate thing, “as unto the Lord.”

It didn’t take long for God to place me near her—within the first week, I bumped into her at the library. She was as surprised to see me as I was her. There were superficial pleasantries, and when I asked questions more personal, she evaded detailed answers. That was ok. I could see that she was doing alright. She was clean, clothed, and didn’t appear physically ill. She was walking on her own, clearly was not in prison, and when I asked if there was anything she needed she said “no.” I was grateful that God had spoken to my heart this standard of measure to use to define the space between my being very hurt and still needing to have compassion for someone who is mentally ill. I never bumped into her again.

When I read the verse from Romans 12 this morning it impacted me deeply as I replayed all these events from several years ago. I had never been so glad to not pursue revenge. There were family members that were very angry with not being notified of my dad’s passing—but nothing could have changed to have brought him back. Some wanted us to fight for the house, saying that it was “our birthright” to inherit—but despite being a new structure, it was in disrepair, and it held no good memories for me. Some thought that we should have inherited “stuff,” unaware of the deep debt they had been in for years. Others felt that we could have pursued legal steps for the “elder abuse” that was being investigated at the time of his death—but it would have been fruitless. He was an elderly man in poor health, and ultimately he chose to stay in his very bad marriage with an abusive woman.

Do I wish things had gone differently? Absolutely. My dad’s poor decisions cost him many years with his children and grandchildren. Her involvement in manipulating him compounded that.

Today, I’m grateful for the miles and years between us. Still, it’s a good reminder that God knows all things, always, and we don’t have to concern ourselves with revenge.

What we do need to remember are the things He does ask us to do; to forgive, to let God take care of the details for retribution, and that in the spirit of Micah 6:8 to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with Him.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Day 21 (Friday) Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir

Morning Prayer
Good morning, God. Thank You for the rest You have given me. Please allow it to sustain me through this day. Help me to use my moments wisely, and help me to be focused on You right now. You are my Rock and my Salvation. I wait in Your presence and trust in You. Amen.

Focus Verse
Philippians 4:7 NLT
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.


Sometimes His peace eludes me; sometimes it shows up in unexpected places.

I desire His peace, long for it to be as present as the air I breathe. Sometimes I pray for it to be right here, in an uncomfortable or painful place, and I can't feel it. It's then I pray for His will to be done, and find it's been here all along. I just could not find it in my requests. My ways are not always His ways. 

I want others to know His peace, too. To be able to rest in the knowledge of His presence, His place, His priorities. To walk with Him in the valleys and not fear, because His peace is made known. To be assured it's safe to struggle with faith questions, to know He is patient, and that His love for us endures forever.

To know the benefit of the quiet in the midst of the crazy. To feel His stillness in the middle of the frenzy. To rest in His arms in the center of all life's chaos. 

But there's a caveat as we live in Him.

It's only when we choose to live in Him that He can make His peace guard our hearts and minds. Of course, He can make it happen no matter where we are in our faith journey, but we will best recognize His Peace at work in us, around us, through us, when we are residing in Him. His Holy Spirit will permeate us, we will feel His place within us, and we will desire His will over our own.

In many ways, when we choose to live in Him is when we allow Him to reside in us.

Many people know about God. They know who Jesus is. They may have heard about the Holy Spirit, but not understand how, or if, they are all connected. Or perhaps they are clear about who each of these three are. they may be able to discuss the part that each of them play in faith. 

But knowing about them is not the same as knowing them personally. 

When you know them personally, you allow Christ to live in your heart, and He takes up residence there. He instills a part of Himself, and as you spend time with Him in His Word, the Bible, He imparts bits of wisdom. As those seeds take hold, our relationship with Him changes.

As we begin to understand the character of God, the person of Jesus, and the power of the Holy Spirit, then we can more fully understand how He is dwelling in us, just as we are dwelling in Him. Just as we are together.

A Prayer
Father, I long to know You better. Please reveal Yourself to me more. I pray my love for Your Son, Jesus, will continue to grow, and that I will recognize the power of the Holy Spirit at work in my, for me, and through me. God, please undo any confusion, and help me to be sure of my relationship with You. I don't want to know about You, I want to know You personally. Break down barriers and continue to reveal Yourself to me. Amen.

Table Talk
Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 3:18, Colossians 3:10, Ephesians 3:20, 1 John 3:24

Do you know about God, or do you know Him? Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and have you decided to model your life after His? Do you feel the Holy Spirit leading you and guiding you?

If you have never made a statement of faith and would like to know more about becoming a believer in Jesus Christ, please contact a Christian friend or pastor. I'm certain they would be happy to speak with you about what it means to be a Christian and connect you with other believers who can disciple you.

If you are a Christian already, yay! I believe it's important to continue to grow in our relationship with God, our Heavenly Father, Jesus, His only Son, and the Holy Spirit. 

If your heart has grown cold, or distant from God, or if you have always gone to church but have never had a relationship with Him, perhaps today is the day to make a change. Connect with your pastor or contact a friend. I'm sure that another believer would love to help you find a church where you can grow as a Christian and deepen your relationship with God.


You can read more of Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir, by purchasing it through Amazon or Kindle. It is free through Kindle Unlimited.

©2020 Marina J Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, all rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Balanced and Beautiful in Christ: Part 4

 Romans 12 | Part 4

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” - Romans 12:16 NIV

Family. Friendships. Classmates. Marriage. Neighbors. More family. In-laws. Church relationships. Work friendships. Strangers. Future friends.

I could go on and on with the different ages and stages of life and the relationships that embellish them. When we are told to "live in harmony with one another," a simple concept becomes a difficult task!

Some of these relationships we don't give another thought, like our family—we are born into them, and we accept them as they are. We may have favorites, but we work together with a common goal; keeping the home a reasonably peaceful place, making sure the kids are fed and clothed, getting everyone through adolescence, teen years, high school grades. If we are blessed, we have many people that want to speak love, life, and light, into our futures.

Then we fall in love and are faced with another whole dynamic of relationships: IN-LAWS.

I don't know if anyone else ever thought about in-laws, but in my life, this has been one of the most challenging connections to navigate. To pray for my in-laws (and my own parents' relationship with us) was not something I did as a single woman, and when I met my husband, I didn't factor in that I'd be considering all these other people's feelings for the rest of my natural life. Add in grandkids, activities, career moves, vacation time, and all the details of dysfunctional family life, and it was a recipe for disaster, over and over again! Still, we tried hard to make everyone happy by sharing our free time and making memories. We ask for forgiveness, love with a dose of grace, and forgive over and over again.

In Christian circles and small towns, to meet people, find our commonalities, and build relationships was a no-brainer. Mutual respect and love of God made it easy.

Sometimes it is too easy, though, and it can be hard to remember to keep ourselves open to the new people God puts in our paths. It takes a dose of brave to go beyond our comfort zone and reach out to new faces, especially when they are not in the same age, stage, ability, race, or economic bracket as us. We forget that in Kingdom living, He has turned it all upside down. Financial success and good health is not a part of God's equation. The least of these have great value. The last will be first. The Shepherd leaves the herd to find the one lost sheep. Our worth is not based on what we do or achieve, but simply obedience to Him. To love God and love others has great value.

Now with mask-wearing and gathering restrictions in place, we may think that we are off the hook in the area of reaching out, but our ministry to others may have never faced a more urgent need. People are lonely, and more people are facing economic uncertainty than ever before. We have the opportunity, even if we are in need ourselves, to be salt and light, and to speak truth and life into other people's hearts and minds. We do not need to put our health at risk, and we certainly don't want to put others in harm's way, but we can provide encouragement through a kind word, a card or note left on the door or mailed, or even a phone call or text to let people know that we are thinking of them. If it is an option, consider giving gifts of cleaning supplies and non-perishable food items to people directly (safely), or through donating to a local food bank.

God did not make us all the same, but He created us all in His image. Because of God's love for all people, we can celebrate the differences. Because of His patience with us, we can overcome any obstacles. Because of His kindness, we can see the God-flavors He has developed in us, and create new friendships. Because of Jesus.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Day 17 (Monday) Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir

Morning Prayer 

Jesus, I know You are here with me in this moment. Help me to feel Your presence, and to know it is You always by my side. I want to know You in new ways, to let You be my all in all. Thank You for being patient with me as I draw near to You. Amen.

Focus Verse

Psalm 18:1-3

I love you, LORD; you are my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. I called on the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and he saved me from my enemies.


Before I was married, I had the unrealistic expectation that the right man would meet all my needs. Not only would he manage to provide for me (and us, when we had a family) financially, but spiritually and emotionally, too. He would be able to know just what I needed, when I needed it. Maybe even before I needed it. He would complete me. He would always surprise me with little gifts and flowers "just because." I had it all planned out in my mind, and I'm sure I based my vision on all the happily married couples I saw on TV, in magazines, or read about in novels.

But here's the funny thing...I didn't know anyone in real life who had a marriage like that.

When I became a Christian, I kept some of those expectations, and years later, I carried them right into relationships with me. I had the mindset that my best friend would always be there to hold my hand and pray with me when I needed prayer, or my husband would compliment me, meet my every need, and fulfill my every desire.

Sad to say, it took me a while before I realized only Jesus could do what I expected my friends and my husband to do.

Instead of realizing my expectations were tainted, I held a grudge against these people for falling short. It took me a little while to figure this all out and get my reality in line with God's ideas.

Whether you're married or single, man or woman, in your 20's or 80's, there is not another person who can "complete you.." We are not meant to complete each other! We are made to depend on God, and He, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is the only one who can meet our needs.

I know we don't like to be alone. We want companionship and friendship and all the perks of marriage. I promise you, relationships will not fulfill us. God will.

Our spouse will never be able to meet our needs, and it's unrealistic to think we can meet theirs, either. Also, no friendship can handle the pressure of meeting our needs. No job. No career. No hobby. No dream. At some point, we will be caught up in the enemy's lies that we are "so fulfilled," but the reality is any relationship or outside activity is capable of taking us away from the One who CAN meet our needs, satisfy our desires, and complete us. We will hit a wall and have our feet kicked out from underneath us, and then feel like an idiot for spending so much time, money, energy, and emotions on something that didn't live up to all we thought it would. (I speak from experience here.)

What can we do?

No matter our marital status, what our business card or Facebook status lists, our mindset towards Christ is so much less than what He wants it to be. He desires to be our ALL in all. He IS equipped to meet our every need. He wants to spend time with us every moment of every day. He is the only one who is able to fulfill us emotionally, physically, relationally, and spiritually. We have a hole shaped in our hearts that only Jesus can fill, and when we choose Him, He completes us. 

It took me a while to think of Jesus as the one to fill all these roles in my life, but it's wonderful because He is the only one who doesn't let me down. He never disappoints. If my feelings are hurt by some earthly thing, I can run to Him and talk to Him. He is willing to sit with me and let me dump all my emotions on His shoulders. He wants me to come to Him with my disappointments and disillusioned dreams. His patience is unending; His love never fails.

I have found a prayer to meditate on that is especially helpful when things are not going the way I expected them to go. I pray, "Lord, change me. Change them. Or change the circumstances."

I have found, time and time again, that He will ALWAYS answer this prayer! Most of the time, the thing that changed first is ME. He will change my mindset, my desires, my needs, my circumstances. If I am willing to pray this prayer, He WILL answer it! Even if He changes "them" (whoever "them" might be), He will soften my heart or my attitude towards "them" and what really matters.

There are other ways to use this prayer that are equally effective. I have used this as an intercessory prayer on behalf of my husband and his work, and for a friend going through a rough season in life. I have prayed it over my children, their friendships, and their relationships. It's a great prayer when we don't know what the outcome needs to be, but we want to say more than, "Your will be done."

The point is to let God be God. Let Him be all He desires to be, which will then let us be all He wants us to be. As the Psalmist said, let Him be our Lord, our rock, our fortress, our shield, our Savior, and our protection, the one who saves us and is always worthy of our praise.


A Prayer 

Father, forgive me for all the people and things I have put on the throne of my heart. Help me to keep it only for You, and to allow You to meet my needs. Remove the things from my hands and my heart that are crowding You out, and help me to remove the idols, idolatrous relationships, and expectations I have formed against You. Even kingdom things, like ministries and church, can keep me from spending time with You, so please give me discernment as I allow You to purge my heart. Father, change me. Change "them." And change the circumstances of my life, allowing me to be completely fulfilled in You.

Table Talk

Matthew 6:33, Ephesians 3:20, Colossians 3:11, Romans 8:35-39

Identify the things (relationships or activities) you are using to distract you from the ways God wants to fulfill you. Have friends placed pressure on you to be more than what you are capable of? What unrealistic expectations have you put upon those around you? Pray the prayer of "Change me. Change them. Or change the circumstances," and take not how God changes things.


Morning Meditations at Marina's Kitchen Table; A devotional memoir, is available on Amazon/Kindle and is free through Kindle Unlimited. 

©2020 Marina J Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table, all rights reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Romans 12: Parts 2 and 3; Recipes for Good Relationship

 Romans 12 | Part 2

“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” - Romans 12:9-10 NIV
This passage speaks to every age and stage of Christians in the world today. There is no limit to the ways we can describe and demonstrate love, hate, evil, good, devotion, and honor. Every form of society has shown examples of these concepts throughout time, for better or worse.
I think that in our healthy friendships and fellowship, we can best relate to the emotions and feelings that Paul discusses here. When we take them apart we can then make them more in-depth, as being entirely beneficial for the Body of Christ. I want to start with the end of the passage first.
“Honor one another above yourselves.” - When we honor someone above ourselves we consider their ideas out of respect and anticipate their needs over our own. We are making a conscious decision to prefer them. We are placing whatever they need in higher importance over whatever we think we want. We wouldn’t inflict pain, injury, or injustice upon ourselves. We would protect those that we honor at all costs. This is the mindset that we need to have as we honor someone above ourselves.
“Be devoted to one another in love.” - To be devoted in love to another person, we will be committed to them. We are dedicated to our children, our spouse, and maybe our parents or siblings. We are often willing to be devoted to a friendship that has weathered years and miles. If we have built up a loving and trusted relationship in our church family we may be able to say we are devoted to our church. We will serve these people, go the extra mile, and sometimes the extra expense, to be sure that they have their needs met. Our relationship with them is a priority, and we will make and take time to be with them, pray with and for them, and for the things that matter to them. Their priorities become our shared priorities.
“Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” - This is so simply stated, but if you’ve ever had a discussion with people, spanning generations or spiritual maturity, you know that evil and good can mean different things to different people, in different places and times.
If we consider the words that Paul wrote to the Philippians in chapter 4, we can gain a framework for the “good” things. He says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” We can also reference his writings in Galatians 5, where he expands on the fruits of the Spirit, which can be displayed as evidence of maturing faith and “good” in our life. Verses 22-23 read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” These things are all “good,” beneficial for our life to display, and for our church, community, and society to receive from us.
Common sense would tell us that “evil” would simply be the polar opposite of “good.” If we need a reminder of things that would fit under that heading, we might look at the verses preceding the spiritual fruits in Galatians 5 where Paul lists things “in opposition to the Spirit.” I would classify these things as “evil,” although he is careful to include “and the like” at the end, so this list is not inclusive. He writes in verses 19-21, “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Enough said.
“Love must be sincere.” - If I had started with this part of the verse, it would have been more difficult for me to explain. When I take into consideration everything that comes after it (everything you have just read), I think that it builds the framework of what sincere love is. It is a love that is honoring, devoted, preferring others over ourselves. It does not display or think of doing evil to another, and it blesses others with good things. For our love to be sincere, we do it without the expectation of genuine love being returned to us.
As we reflect upon this framework, we can recognize that this is the love that Jesus has for us. His life, death, and resurrection is the perfect example of a life lived sacrificially for us. In all that He did, He reflected His Father’s perfect love for us, and not only for us but for all sinners. This alone should be enough to encourage us to love all people more fully, to serve them on behalf of Jesus, and to be representatives of His hands and feet, whether in our home, neighborhood, church, workplace, community, or world.
Romans 12 | Part 3

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” - Romans 12:15 NIV
In this verse, Paul states clearly and simply how we should react when others exhibit heartfelt emotions. We could easily focus on our feelings right now and make excuses for not sharing others’ joy and sorrow. However, self-focus is not what Paul suggests.
Rejoicing with those who rejoice may be more comfortable. A friend’s family celebrates a long fight against cancer. Weddings take place and babies are born. A business survives a problematic season. A church anniversary or special day may occur. These are all reasons to celebrate. While some may seem superficial, I encourage you: take joy in every little space that shines! Look for ways to celebrate with others.
What about mourning? Can we take time to cry? Can we become still and allow others' pain to touch the tender parts of our hearts and minds? How can we comprehend someone else’s pain? It is an intentional act to sit still and listen, especially when so much demands our attention.
We need to quiet the news, talk-show hosts, YouTube videos, and podcasts so we can listen to downhearted friends facing something we may not have ever encountered. Let us sit still, close our mouths, open our ears, and support others in their troublesome seasons of life. We don’t need to explain what they are going through or share our similar experiences, but simply listen and be quiet with them.
We can ask questions to more fully understand others' feelings, but questions are not required. We can ask how we can pray and invite the Holy Spirit to join us in helping us understand what has led up to this season. It’s also best to stop at that moment and pray with the person, asking if he or she would like to also pray--again, putting the premium on listening. If you’re not sure what to pray, then sit with him or her before God and ask that He would send His Great Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to minister in this time of need. It’s okay to pray, “Lord, I don’t even know what to pray. Please, let us feel Your presence and Your comfort."
In addition to prayer, another way to mourn with others is to do something to help. In my own life, I have had to “put wheels on my grief” and do practical things to help me work through it. Recently, my oldest child and her family moved to Central America to work as missionaries. COVID now prevents us from flying there to visit our 7 grandkids, and we rely on technology to see one another. To help me work through the grief, I make quilts for my grandkids.
Others have also mourned with me in this circumstance by praying, creatively raising funds to support the relief work my family is doing in Central America. My friends weep with me and care for my tender heart.
There is no limit to the various ways we can walk alongside those who are rejoicing or mourning. Let us pray, listen, and see how God leads us in sharing these tender moments with people we care about. May the Holy Spirit also empower and equip us to meet the needs of those by our side as we celebrate and weep with them.
These posts first appeared on the Facebook Group page for Balanced and Beautiful in Christ. You can view that page here. ©2020 Marina Bromley, all rights reserved.