The Prettiest Mann I Know

October 5, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Mary Sefzik –

Some people come into our lives and quickly go, but others leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. I met such a person my freshman year of high school. I heard about Melissa Mann through a mutual friend and was excited when my Braille teacher, Linda, arranged for us to meet.

Melissa greeted me with a big hug. “I’m so happy to meet you.” Her voice always sounded as if she were smiling.

I felt drawn to this positive, bubbly, blind lady who had overcome so many obstacles: diabetes, two kidney transplants, and multiple heart stints.

Melissa was a shining witness for Christ and the story of her kidney transplant is a testimony in itself. She recounted the day the doctor examined her chart and slammed the door in frustration. He discovered her kidneys were functioning at only eight percent. She should have been on dialysis much earlier. Almost 16 months later her doctor delivered more bad news. Her heart had swollen. Without a new kidney she had six weeks to live. Then a miracle happened. Two small kidneys belonging to a three-year-old child were available. Those kidneys, which Melissa affectionately named, Bert and Ernie, gave her nearly twenty years of life.

Melissa never met a stranger. One evening we were so engrossed in our dinner conversation the waiter couldn’t get a word in edgewise. When Melissa realized he was ready to take our order she said, “I’m Melissa and this is Mary. We’re two blind women who love to talk so if you have something to say just jump right in and say it. We won’t mind.”

Her joy always encouraged me. “Melissa,” I confided one day. “I’m so tired of waiting. I’ve been looking for a job for a year and a half.”

“Mary, at times like these you need to hang on to God. Hold on tight now, and give Him the reins to your life. He promises in His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us.” Tears stung my eyes as she shared this gem of truth.

“Do you know what keeps me going through all of this?” she continued. “As long as Jesus is in my life, everything’s going to be all right. St. Paul says it doesn’t matter whether I live or die because I’ll be with Jesus whatever happens. And those of us who are believers, we’ll be together forever. Sure that time when we’re apart will be tough. We’ll miss each other, but honey, we’ll all be together forever in the end.”

Melissa is with her Savior now enjoying a new glorified body. I know I will see her again in heaven. Until then I will strive to leave my own set of Christ-honoring footprints on the lives of those around me.

Paid In Full

August 10, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Mary Sefzik –

I recently bought a new iPhone, and along with this tech toy came a bill. As a blind person, writing and mailing a check was not my first choice. I decided to try paying online. I created an account, logged in, and entered all my information—only to be met with an error message. I tried again but was greeted by the same unknown error. I went on to Option No. 2—paying by phone. Entering numbers quickly as a beginning touch screen user was not going to happen. My frustration level increased as an automated voice kept repeating “I’m sorry, I don’t understand you.”

With tears rolling down my cheeks, I launched the AT&T app on my phone. This time I was told my user name and password did not match their records. I screamed. Why did something that should be so simple turn out to be so hard? I took a deep breath and tried again—focusing all my brain power on entering the correct letters. Finally, Success! I received a text message saying my payment had been processed. Another tech battle won.

Paying bills is a necessary part of life but there is one bill we can never pay—the debt of our sin. All the money on earth couldn’t pay this debt. There is only one payment option and thankfully it is a one-time payment. And the payment process is easy. No need to create an account with a secure password containing at least one capital letter and one number. No pesky capchas to solve or security questions to answer. All the fields have been filled in for you. Every sin you’ve committed in the past or will commit in the future has been paid for in full by Jesus’ death on the cross. No multi-page agreement here.

All you have to do is accept His terms. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, believe Jesus defeated death by dying on the cross and rising from the dead, and accept Him as your Savior and the Boss of your life. Your one-time acceptance of these three simple terms grants you eternal life in heaven and strength to meet the daily trials of earthly life. This promise is secure—unaffected by company mergers or computer hackers. Your confirmation number is John 3:16 NIV “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Act now. This is a limited time offer. Today is the day of salvation.

You’re Out

June 20, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Mary Sefzik  –

I was never much of a sports watcher until the Texas Rangers made their first appearance in the World Series in 2010. Dad wanted me to join him in engaging in America’s favorite pastime so we watched the last several innings together. We counted down the outs hoping for victory.

Since I am blind, I can follow the action better by listening to the games on the radio. I prefer to come in during the last several innings—usually the most exciting part of the game. A recent Friday night game really captured my attention and taught me a lesson about life.

It was the bottom of the eighth. The Rangers were at bat and the bases were loaded. The batter swung on the first pitch and missed—strike one. The crowd booed. Pitches two and three were balls and were met with cheers. The next pitch was a strike, followed by another ball. The count had gone full-three balls, two strikes. The crowd was on its feet. The next pitch came and the batter fouled it back. The runners were in position ready to move. The batter swung and finally made contact with the ball. The crowd cheered, the runners took off, but the joy was short-lived. The ball landed in reach of an opposing team member who scooped it up and tagged the batter out. The inning was over and the scoring opportunity was lost.

Life can be like that sometimes. You are given an opportunity, but despite your best efforts you still strike out. A job is eliminated because of economic troubles, retirement savings are lost in a stock market crash, a new home is damaged by a spring tornado. Or maybe you blank out on the most important test of the semester, or the sale you thought was a done deal fell through at the last minute. How do you handle those times when you strike out of the game of life? Some will boo while others smile at your failures. Fear of another humiliating strike out threatens to keep you sidelined for the rest of the season. Each day you are given represents another chance to try and get back in the game. Grab your glove and get in line. Today an opportunity might be pitched to you which only you can nail. This may be the day you knock it out of the park. The bases are loaded. Let’s play ball!

Mosquito People

May 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Mary Sefzik –

 

Mosquitos—one of the most annoying summertime pests. They can make a meal off of you before you have time to devour your slice of juicy watermelon. By the end of the evening your legs are covered with those tell-tale itchy welts—summertime souvenirs. The constant urge to scratch becomes all-consuming. The more you scratch the hotter and redder those bites become. You question whether an evening outside was worth the itchy aftermath.

Some people are like mosquitos. They lite, they bite, and they leave you to deal with the after effects. They barge into your life uninvited spouting a slew of stinging remarks.

“You’ll never get it right.”

“That’s the worst thing I’ve ever heard.”

“You can’t do this job.”

Then they leave and go about the rest of their day as if nothing ever happened. But you are left with a big red welt of emotional hurt—damaged pride, less confidence in your abilities, fear of trying something new because that stinging reminder makes you believe you’ll just fail. Again.

You may go about the rest of your day with a smile on your face but the red welt from the mosquito encounter lingers just below the surface. The temptation to scratch the bite by replaying the venomous comments in your mind is all-consuming. The next time you encounter that person you’re ready. When they bite, you swat back with unkind words of your own.

How should you handle the mosquito people in your life? Like the insects, they are unavoidable. Just as you can protect yourself from the insect variety by wearing bug repellent, there are some methods you can use to lessen the sting of the bites from the people variety.

When a mosquito person is fast approaching instead of getting your swatting hand ready, shield yourself from the stings by saying a quick prayer. “Lord, control my tongue and help me take the good to heart and not let the bad ruin my day.”

After the encounter, doctor the sting by quoting scripture. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters” (Colossians 3:23 NIV), or “‘I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future'” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Keep in mind God has a plan for every creature He creates—even the mosquitos.

Prayer: Be Lord of my tongue today and help my words be constructive instead of stinging. Teach me to handle criticism in a way which honors You.

 

Moving Day

May 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Mary Sefzik –

 

In my Father’s house are many mansions…. I go to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:2 KJV).

A perfect place prepared especially for me. What a welcomed thought. As a person with a disability, I long to have a house created with my specific needs in mind. A place where I feel at home, no adaptations necessary.

I am in the process of moving into my first home and have an ever-growing list of things which need to be adapted so I can live comfortably and safely in my new environment. Put braille labels on the thermostat, microwave, dishwasher and oven. Have a security system installed. Learn multiple routes into and out of my home. The list seems endless, and I wish I could just snap my fingers and have the home of my dreams.

God, the creator of all architects is building a home for me beyond my imagination. It will truly be move-in ready—no leaky faucets to replace, utilities to activate or mountains of paperwork to sign.

The pride of acquiring a new earthly home is only a glimpse of what I’ll experience when I see my new heavenly home. My list of projects will be shorter and much more enjoyable—host a dinner party for my favorite historical figures or spend an evening singing praises to my Heavenly Father with musicians I admire.

Just as my earthly father supervises the repairs being made to my new town home, I picture my Father in Heaven lovingly crafting my eternal dwelling place. The closing date is unknown but the closing costs were paid in full when I accepted Christ’s death as payment for my sin, giving me the free gift of eternal life.

Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of my homes—both earthly and eternal. Help me rejoice in each phase of the moving process and leave all  the frustrating loose ends in Your capable hands.

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