The Master Weaver

II Cor 4:16For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. 17For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Sorry that it has been a while since I last posted.  There have been so many things happening.  My work has required many hours beyond the usual with less days off.  In addition, last Monday I received a call to tell me that a very dear friend was in hospice with only days to live.  I had tried many times to reach her; but her phone was turned off and I had no other way of reaching her.  Knowing that she had been battling cancer, I had come to believe she had already gone to be with the Lord with no chance for me to say goodbye.  With this opportunity, I rushed to her side to hold her hand and kiss her cheek one last time.   She was in such agony and on so many pain medications which barely relieved the pain for moments at a time; yet, she recognized me and whispered “I love you” one last time.  She left this world to be with the Lord Wednesday night.  She stood on faith throughout a life plagued with pain and suffering; yet, she was always the one to remind me that God was in Control and had the perfect plan for our lives—no matter what.  Her name is Machelle Luna.  I want to tell you a little about her life in hopes to help you understand this truth and  I dedicate this blog to her and to my belated husband as proof that God is truly the Master Weaver of our lives and for that reason we have no reason for fear or despair in any circumstance of this life because God who is omnipotent has a plan of love for each and every one of our lives that plan is to show forth His grace, mercy, and love to a world so in need of Him. 

Machelle’s gift was prophecy—therefore she strongly stood on truth and justice at whatever cost.  As I have previously told you, my primary gift is mercy.  What a fateful day, that I once more with broken heart stood before her desk at Florida Cardiology with tears streaking down my face.  I knew Machelle by sight only before that day; however, she looked up and saw me there that day and began to listen to my blubbering words.  She reminded me of God’s perfect love and plan.  We talked for quite some time and in that moment a true friendship began that superseded space and time.

Machelle’s life was a shining example of faith in the center of constant trials and tribulations.  She grew up very poor.  Her husband left her with two children to support with no formal education or work skills; yet, she proceeded to face life with one thought in mind which was to provide for her children against all odds.  It was during that time period that she came to find Christ as her Savior and  to rely on Him for everything.  She was one of the few women that I knew who worked as much or more than I did.  Our destinies were intertwined from that day forward with each helping the other through life’s sorrows.  Machelle later lost her job due to manipulating lies of another who had been placed in a position of manager.  This we talked about a lot after that and as the remainder played out.  This manager also professed to be a Christian and had been a very dear friend as well; yet, a Christian who is out of fellowship can prove to be more evil than anyone else.  All of this played out without the true boss knowing and his hands were tied.  The thing that I and Machelle knew was that God’s Master plan was still at work.  For that reason we knew that even this God ordained.  Machelle  always reminded me that this manager who had lost her way before God  needed our continued prayers for her to find her way back to fellowship.  Indeed, we pitied her rather than become angry; because we knew she was living in a world filled with fear and could not feel the peace of God without returning to Him.     Machelle lost her house and came to live with me for three months; but left to go back to Deland where she was from so that her daughter could be near her family and friends.   Shortly thereafter she began to have problems with excessive bleeding and multiple trips to the ER, where she was essentially ignored and despite their noting a large fibroid tumor—this too was ignored.  Of course, she had no insurance.  Despite this Machelle went back to school to become a medical assistant.   Ultimately, I demanded she return to a hospital where I worked and there met an incredible gynecologist who offered to help her, even if he never got a penny for the work.  It was then found that she had stage IV Ovarian and Uterine Cancer.  She completed all but one part of her chemo and none of her radiation therapy because she was placed in a situation of a very tough decision.  The training she had taken would all be worth nothing if she could not return to complete her internship before a certain date.  She chose to return to school that she might complete her training so she could support her family.  She stood on faith that God’s plan would still be best—no matter what His decision.  She did finish and go to work caring for an elderly couple which she loved.  Yet, the cancer returned with a vengeance about a year later with massive tumors of the peritoneum.  Some wanted her to sue the original doctors; but she refused and said that to do that would not be an example of Christ’s forgiveness.  It would also taint the truth that God is in Control.  She always said, “I do not want to look down from heaven and see the bunch of you crying at my funeral; because I will be standing before my Lord and Savior” 

Why does God allow His children to face such sorrow and tribulation in this world? Perhaps that is the question many of you have at this point in this story.  Yet, Machelle and I had both learned in life that our entire lifetime is but a moment compared to eternity and that in the center of  it all our purpose is to glorify Him.  There are many people out there who want to teach a prosperity gospel which brings glory to themselves and not to God.  There are many others who want to teach the false gospel that pain in the life of a believer is a result of sin.  This is also so very far from the truth.  Both of these gospels do not understand that Christ left His throne in heaven to suffer and die to pay the penalty for our sin once and for all that we might be brought into fellowship with Him. Romans 8: 1 “ There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”   Those who have truly seen and savor the truth and magnitude of Christ’s love, we fall before Him in praise even if He offered nothing in return.  We come to understand that many times, it is through those sorrows and pains we come to know Him so intimately that He becomes all that matters.  Have you ever felt joy and peace in the middle of great tribulation?  That is what Machelle had and I have because of Jesus Christ.  It is His peace and joy in the central core of our being that caused and continues to cause  us to triumph with grace—standing firm in faith.  II Timothy 2:  1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.  9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him”  

Another scripture which confirms these truths is found in the writings of Paul the Apostle who suffered beatings and imprisonment for the gospel of Christ.  Romans 5 1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and REJOICE in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 6For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. 12Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 21That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul, pretty well summed it up.  Our purpose as children are to glory God in such a way that we draw others to Him.  If for example my life was filled with no suffering and no sorrow, always blessed with riches would I be able to point you to Christ for your peace and joy?  Indeed, you might believe you want what I have, but you would never see the true source of my joy and peace which is Christ Jesus.  On the other hand, if I find hope in a hopeless situation, peace when trials abound, am able to forgive and love those who harm me, and demonstrate an underlying strength and joy in a sea of broken heartedness—then you might begin to wonder or seek He who is my strength through all of life rather than the riches of this world.  My belated husband was the proof of just that.

Pete grew up in a world of pain and sorrow.  His father was very abusive, because he grew up abused and really did not even know how to be different.  At one point he was placed in an orphanage after his father abandoned his mother.  She went to work and to be able to do so placed Pete and his sister in an orphanage which was run by a group of abusive nuns.  He nearly died of scarlet fever, so his father removed him from the orphanage but continued to raise him with an abusive hand.  His father would place him in the best school, but send him to school dressed in rags with shoes that had holes so that he suffered constant ridicule.  Despite all of his childhood he became a brilliant doctor; yet, plagued by bipolar disease-most likely inherited from his mother who was loving one minute and abusive the next during the times she was with him.  (He never remembered this and dearly loved his mother; but his sister relayed these truths later so that I would further understand.  )   The results of all this also left him as an atheist because he saw nothing that would bring him to seek God. 

When I met Pedro Barba, I fell madly in love with this man who had a heart of gold which seemed to be tainted by a life of sorrow.  It was not until so many years later that I came to realize the magnificance of God’s plan.   Somehow, despite my failing to get it always right and many times not understanding what God was doing, God taught Pete of his unconditional love by continually placing forgiveness and unconditional love in my heart for Pete.  Despite many difficulties, pains and suffering, God revealed to me constantly the Pete He saw.   At one point, we lost everything and things looked very bleak.  That was when Pete first saw a glimpse of the strength and peace that God provided in a believer.  I remember distinctly him saying,  “You have something deep inside that causes you to always forgive and a strength that carries you through everything, I  want what you have”  I told him the truth was I, myself, was very fragile; yet, God provided me with His strength, His hope and His unconditional love.  That was Pete’s first step toward seeking God.  Six months later, he accepted Christ as his Savior merely six months before he died.  I began to understand that God’s plan was perfectly orchestrated.  I learned so much throughout this; most importantly 1.  If God could give this human heart the ability to love unconditionally then how much greater was His unconditional love for me.  2.  There is no suffering too great for the salvation of one soul.  3.  Our entire lifetime is but a blink in time compared to eternity.  

Machelle’s life has always been a testimony of faith and she now stands before Christ sharing in His Glory.  How many people will find Christ because of her life? Only God knows.  Perhaps, you who have stumbled on this website , with a heart filled with pain, need to know this Savior who is so worthy of our Praise, who can fill your heart with strength and joy and peace.  I pray that is the case.  It is for that reason, I write.  I hope that in doing so I point one person toward Christ or cause one faltering Christian to turn there eyes back on to that which is the only hope we have—Jesus Christ.

Let me share with you this poem I wrote which has been true in my life, Machelle’s life, Pete’s life and is true for everyone who knows Christ as their savior.

The Master Weaver

Broken threads my life you found

And with your love each piece you bound

A song of love your lips resound

With gentle hands, each thread you place

Oh could it be, amazing grace

A picture clear, my Savior’s face

What joy divine, could it be true

Each broken thread, you only knew

When woven tight would look like you


The Scarlet threads my broken heart

The deepest sorrows blue impart

Each silver thread of tears that fell

You guide my life with such detail

A brilliant gold, your love divine

My sins were washed, a white sublime

You gently weave with skillful hand

The portrait mine that you have planned


Oh, let me Lord remember this

That I might know with joy and bliss

You did ordain my every tear

That I might learn to never fear

That I might trust the weaver’s hand

And on this hope and promise stand

Your love will always know what’s best

Your cradling arms are where I rest


Broken threads my life you found

And with your love each piece you bound

A song of love your lips resound

With gentle hands, each thread you place

Oh could it be, amazing grace

A picture clear, my Savior’s face

What joy divine, could it be true

Each broken thread, you only knew

When woven tight would look like you


By the way, stay tuned, soon to be posted will be a video to the song version of this poem 

May God bless you with His joy, His peace and His love. 

                                                                          Love,  Effie Darlene Barba

Happy Birthday Alberto

Today as I reflect on all the years I have had the privilege of being a mother to Alberto, I must stand and thank God for this precious gift.  I know I spoke about Alberto in the last post; but I realized that I  had failed to include leadership in the spiritual gifts and I went back to study the wonderful study done by Charles Stanley in his series called “God’s Children Gifted for Ministry”.  It was then that I realized that Alberto’s primary gift was leadership or organization.  His secondary is exhortation, meaning he had to stretch a little to call me last week.  So let me tell you a little about leadership and why I had to admit my error.  This did not change in any way the significance that in my family lies all the gifts; it actually affirms it by including leadership. 

Those with the gift of leadership have the ability to see the big picture  and visualize the completion of any project.   They are then able to see the goal and break it down into smaller goals that lead to that completion.  They believe completely the truth that “All things are possible”   They are motivated to be organized into moving forward.   When they are handed a goal they begin to get started right away toward working to finish the goal and clearly see the steps needed.  The one thing that people with this gift cannot stand is negativity.  They are able to discern which things can be delegated and which they need to do themselves.    They are very focused on the big picture and separate themselves from the  details.  They are willing to take criticism and they move forward toward completion of the big picture.  They are very loyal and they need loyalty from those who are around them.  They are very positive and push past or remove from themselves any negativity or sadness.  They generally sit back and listen carefully to what the goal is, then they step forward to say “ I am willing to take the lead if no one else can”  They live very ordered lives.  Their greatest joy is in seeing the project completed and others enjoying the finished product.   Once they have completed a task, they are quickly ready to move on to a new  goal. They are frequently misunderstood because they are goal oriented and some think of them as being too proud, but the truth is there is an innate humility—they just must move forward toward accomplishing the goal. 

This is truly my son.  God in His omnipotence knew that he formed Alberto for this spiritual gift, so He carefully molded his traits and then throughout his life and presented situations that would guide him to learn the skills needed so that when he accepted Christ as his Savior and received his spiritual gifts-he would be ready to embrace it.   Every minute detail of his life was orchestrated by God. 

I could go back and tell you so many examples of how these traits began to show themselves from even the age of 2.  How he was always able to see the goal and moved toward it.  Even how he always stepped to the forefront to protect Ronald and myself in every situation.  Yet, those stories I will hold tightly in my memory and will not share at this time because for the leader (as he is) it is important to always follow this philosophy as Paul the apostle expressed in Philippians 3 

13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

His infectious smile and refusal to accept or dwell on any negativities make him the true leader that he is.   Check out this video , I think you will find that you must agree.  


Happy Birthday Alberto,   Love you Mom

The JOY of the Lord is Your Strength

I should have written this answer last week when it came; but life has kept me so busy this week.  Perhaps I have been so busy in the fulfillment of joy that I delayed in writing this; but for that very reason it is even more urgent to get the post out there. 

To prevent anyone from not understanding this post; let me give you a little background into the spiritual gifts; without which, this would make no sense at all.  Romans 12

5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness

Within the body of Christ, each believer at the point of salvation is endowed with certain spiritual gifts.  The framework for these gifts was born in us and propagated by our very lives; yet, their full potential cannot be seen until our rebirth and the endowment of the gift by the work of the Holy Spirit. 

Let me give you a brief synopsis of each gift. 

Prophecy is no longer in this age a prophecy into the future.  It is that unique gift to discern the truth from heresy.  Inherent to this is a very clear vision of justice.  The gift carries with it a somewhat black and white view of things.  After all, truth is truth and falsehood is false.  These are the people who define right and wrong clearly with an innate wisdom that rises above most people.  These are the people who speak forth truth and usually speak first.  They rise up against any injustice that they sense.  They have a unique ability to discern untruth and deception and can generally see straight through to the heart of people’s motives and make quick judgments.  Generally they are less concerned with feelings than they are with truth.  They are extremely loyal and find it very painful to be confronted with disloyalty.  They are willing to suffer criticism as long as they are not themselves untrue to the truth to which they cling.  They very firmly stand and know exactly what they believe. 

Ministry is that give of service.  These are the people who will unselfishly give of their time.  Whenever they see a need , they roll their sleeves up and get busy with the task at hand.  They are not looking for the spotlight and are content to keep right on working in the background to make certain the task is completed.  They are very quick to see the needs of others and will in an organized fashion just get to work completing the job.  Their greatest joy is in seeing the job completed.  They love to see the recipient with a lighter load.   No matter how fatigued they are they keep right on working until it is done.

The teacher is just that, they love to instruct and have a gift in teaching others how to grow. They see the truth with a simplicity and are able to break that down to it’s smallest terms to help someone else who is struggling to understand.

Exhortation is that gift of motivating and urging people to full spiritual growth.  They are able to see the potential that lies in the other person and press that person toward being the best that God has for them to be.  They can uniquely see the root of the problem and give very precise steps as to how to deal with the problem and move past it.  They want to see the action take place and continue to encourage the person they are helping  to move through the necessary steps.  They also understand that if you are miserable or going through a difficult hurdle, God is working in your life.  They know that each believer learns from personal experience.  They are happiest once they see the growth take place.  They are very strong.  They encourage the person to go through the steps or face the consequences of what will happen if they don’t. 

Givers are those who know exactly how to be very frugal with their money and things in such a way as to give more away.  They prefer simplicity in their own life so that they may help others more.

Mercy is that gift of unconditional love toward people.  Those with the gift of mercy feel the joy and the distress of others.  They are constantly being drawn toward those who have emotional or mental distress.  Their greatest desire is to remove the pain; rather than to allow the other person to go through it.  They are the most cheerful, loving limb of  God’s body.  They forgive and forgive others of the discretions against themself, always seeing the good hidden deep in the heart of even the most unlikely souls that pass their pathway. 

When working out of the Spirit all of these gifts have there perfect place in the body of Christ; yet, when they get off kilter any one these gifts can cause harm.  Also, whenever they allow the task to take them away from their main focus, which is savoring and glorifying Christ, they can begin to act in a manner nearly opposite of their original gift.  Which brings us to the real heart of the story.

Most  believers have at least one major gift and a secondary gift that sits closely behind it; sometimes creating discord even within one heart unless they remain finely tuned in the spirit.  My primary gift is mercy; with my secondary gift being exhortation.  Mercy tends to get tightly involved emotionally with whatever is going on.   Because mercy wants to immediately go rushing in to fix the situation, she can become very discouraged and distraught when every effort made seems to fail.  That was the point I had reached last week.  I felt like a failure and the sheer emotion of the situation was driving me farther and farther away from the joy.  I could verbalize the truths of exhortations; but could not feel the energy and the joy of Christ. 

Then suddenly, I received a call from Alberto my son.  He saw what was happening and realized I needed a reality check.  You see, Alberto’s primary gift is exhortation with a secondary gift of prophecy.   For him it was clear what needed to be done and so he called and reminded me of the truth of the situation, firmly and strongly.  He reminded me of the work I have done and do for Christ and warned me not to let Satan destroy that work by bringing me down into despair.  All I needed to hear was that truth from him and suddenly the despair lifted and I have been steady and strongly about the tasks of helping mom; yet, maintaining my joy in Christ.  I realized that my becoming miserable would not help her or anyone and that I should not feel guilty for feeling joy and peace while she went through whatever God had ordained or allowed in her life.

Meanwhile, Ronald, my other son had displayed his gifts of primary prophecy and secondary mercy.  He had stood firm in the truth and; yet, gently listened to my sorrow.  That was a great comfort until I could get it together and also played a great role in preparing me for what Alberto had to tell me. 

Melissa, my daughter, who has the gift of ministry primary with teaching secondary had been about the task of calling me each day to reach out and give of her time to make certain I was ok.  She listened to me through it all, cheering me on.  My perfect cheerleader. 

After, my head was back on straight and I realized the magnificent truth of it all—this my family had been endowed with the package of multiple spiritual gifts and that together we are a formidable force against Satan.  That is the reason we are never an army of one.  We must join together with each gift upholding the others.  If one begins to slip, the other reaches in and realigns. 

Most importantly joy was restored and with it strength.  Perhaps there was a reason Paul reminded those with mercy to do it with cheerfulness.  As it says in Nehemiah 8

10Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength

Oh by the way that was the turning point for mom who is now getting better.  Thank all of you for your prayers.

What do I do when I am lost in a sea of craziness?

Father, I need to talk to You a moment.  Oh, Lord God of Heaven and Earth please show me the way to find my way through this darkening storm before I sink into this hole with mom.  I find myself with all the energy gone and wanting to just run into your arms, throw down this sword and rest a little while..  I want to spend my days just sitting and hearing your word or numbly clicking buttons on video games while with the other ear listening for your answer in sermon after sermon.  There is so much work that needs to be done in the house and I feel myself grasping hard to hold onto the hope that I know I have in you.  Still, there are moments that I feel that mom is trying to draw me into the insanity in which she lives.  Am I that much different from her or have I merely hidden and bottled up all the same fears, depressions, and anxieties that have been hers.  In a sense in her diagnosis of bipolar she has the freedom to act out or behave in manners that I could never dare to allow myself—me so tightly held together.  Must get up and go to work, must religiously pay all the bills, follow all the rules, strive ever harder to be the best at work, striving always in search of feeling ok about me.  Just like the song you gave me Lord, I so desperately want to learn to love me like you love me.  I need to see me through your eyes.  You have never failed me in these 50 years that we have walked together.  I need your strength once more, I need Your wisdom to guide me through each thought, I need Your love to fill me to the point of overflowing.  

I think back over all these years and You Lord have been my strength, my hope, my one true friend.  You know Lord that on this earth, I have walked alone beside you—needing your still voice.  I tend to carry my burdens and responsibilities out-just you and me God.  Perhaps because I am afraid that anyone else would criticize me for some of the decisions I have made.  I never was good at holding on to money and have given it away to just about anyone who asked and now I am pressed from all sides.   With all the added expenses from mom; I need you to be that miracle worker and pull me out  and make certain that each bill is paid as it must be—just as you have always done.  Show me where the money should be given and do not let me run ahead of you—together we have always made a great team.  Well, you know this team thing is you doing 100% and me just tagging along; but sounds nice to say team. 

Mom called from the hospital today, Lord and she makes no sense—She asked for my phone number when she had just dialed it; then she asked for the name of the side street because she had to know that in order to call me.  Then, Lord, she kept asking me not to lose her.  The doctor said she is probably coming home this coming Sunday or Monday and so I ask Lord to fill me with Your presence that I might know what to say or do.  I need You and only You Lord to guide my way. 

We have been here before haven’t we?  In the dark of the night I pleaded for Your strength to protect my children, to help me know what to do to keep them safe.  After all my sons’ father was bipolar and undiagnosed formally.  Such a brilliant man with a true heart of gold that got lost in that dark world of the bipolar mind; sometimes, acting more like a monster—the true Dr. Jekyll and Mister  Hyde in living form.  Still, You were always present to guide us through.  He found Christ before His death and that means an eternity was changed because of you.  The years and nights that I cried in my bedroom at night pleading that You show me the way.   I begged of You to let me just walk away from Him; yet, You said no and that You had a plan.  I pleaded for the children’s safety and You said You had that too.  Little did I know that Your plan was to change the eternity of one soul.  So I learned that there was no sacrifice too great to pay for the salvation of one soul; after all is said and done, Christ suffered more than anyone of us could ever imagine.  His worst pain was that moment in which He was separated from You—so He could bare all our guilt, our shame, and our penalty.  It is because of Him I can talk to You tonight.

So what about Your promise to care for the children?  I know of no young men any wiser, kinder, or just than my two sons who both love You with a fervent passion and whose faith puts my best to shame.  So why should I feel discouraged?  I should not have a moment of fret; as I remember, all the times You have stood by faithfully fulfilling each of Your promises to me.  I recall each time that You provided the money miraculously when it was needed at the last second.   So many times You have held and healed this broken heart when it cried out in despair.  So I thank You Lord for your ever present hope and joy. 

This fragile heart sometimes just needs a reminder of all You have done in the past and I thank You for always taking to listen.  Oh, by the way, I found a Psalm of David that pretty much fits this occasion.  I guess He sometimes felt despair; but he knew where to find His joy again.  I could almost hear His desperate cries in Psalm 42 which are turned into a joyous mocking of himself Psalm 43 for having ever felt any moment of fear or doubt.

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Psalm 43

1Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

2For thou art the God of my strength: why dost thou cast me off? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

3O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles.

4Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God


Thank you for including these Psalms in the Bible to let me know it is ok if I falter in my faith; because You have enough faith for both of us; back to that team thing (You 100% and me tagging along).  Keep your loving arms around mom as she walks in this dark valley.  Heal her, Lord from all this fear and anguish. Help me Lord to be the daughter she needs; better yet, just kind of knock my old self out of the way and You do through me–

                                                              Love,  your daughter Effie Darlene Barba

What do we do when we don’t understand His plan?


I find it so utterly amazing how I can one minute see His magnificent Glory in each detail and the next moment my faith can momentarily crash to the ground and I find myself pleading, “Where are you God? I need You.”   That has been my plight for most of my life; yet, I must say that mostly I find the answer quicker than before.   Still it is a question asked by many a believer when sorrow and pain overwhelm or surround us.  Since God is omnipotent, why must I or my loved ones suffer? Is it that I have momentarily taken my eyes off of Him and, just like Peter when walking on the water, I begin to sink into the surrounding storm?  In that case, He did not calm the storm, merely He reached out and held Peter up  Matthew 14  

29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.

30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?

32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased

So, let me do as I have promised and now tell you the story of these events for my life most recently seen.   My mother is bipolar (manic depressive).  This is a disease I have been surrounded with all of my life; yet, still struggle to fully understand.  I do understand the technical diagnosis; after all, I am a Nurse Practitioner and have studied it.   At the same time, I cannot fathom the world that the bipolar lives in.   I have my moments of brief clinical depression or my moments of great highs; but I can still get up each morning, say a prayer, and shake it off.  It has never been to the degree that I cannot deal with it and move on about my job and the duties of that day.  That is the difference with the bipolar who cannot reason himself forward into the day.  All of my life I have had some effects on myself from the bipolar people in my life (my mother and later my late husband).  Those effects left me for a long time struggling and even at moments now believing I had to work harder to be good enough to be loved—always believing that somehow, I had to be a little kinder, a little prettier, and try a little harder just to be good enough to be loved.  That belief has even permeated much of my Christian walk in relationship to God.  It has been a long process that He has steadily, step by step, taught me about His grace and His love toward me.  That would be a part of a completely different story.  The truth is that would span many stories that have been my life. 

My mother lives with me and her illness has been such a part of my life that most of the time I hardly notice it from where she lives; although, most of the time I have only noticed when the words shot like arrows into my already fragile heart.  I guess you could say I saw her illness only as it affected my peace of mind and never took the time to see it though her pain.  About 2 months ago began a journey in our lives that would change all of that.  She was admitted to the hospital for a bowel obstruction and subsequently had a ventral hernia repair.  Not such a big surgery; but she seemed to not recover fully.  For one week after being in the hospital she went to rehab.  She was miserable and pleaded and commanded to come home.  Actually, I was looking forward to a vacation trip to be with my daughter and granddaughter the first week of December; instead, here I was sitting at home with my mother commanding that I wait on her.  I wish I could say that my full Christian faith allowed me to serve with joy and relish in the sacrifice.  Not!  I did the service and never said a word; but deep inside I was angry and hurt.  I relived and walked back through  all the times in my life that I had felt hurt  and rejected by her.  I prayed and I pleaded that God would change my heart; little did I realize that was exactly what He was doing.  As I watched her there was a part of me that pitied her.  She is quite overweight and that combined with her advanced arthritis made it hard to walk.  The effects of her psych meds cause her to constantly stick out her tongue and move her feet.  It was a sad sight.  Still the anger even overwhelmed that.  I thought of how different we were and I would never do this to my children, or would I or perhaps even in their lifetime I have?   It took several weeks for that anger to subside and the remembrance of the fact that it was she who gave me life and she who gave me Jesus Christ.   The memories of past began to fade and then I began to remember the things of love that she had done for me, the sacrifices that had gone unnoticed before and those memories replaced the old ones.  Ok, so I see why God allowed all this to happen because I needed to have my heart sifted a little—so now it is time God to get her back to a resemblance of ok and we go on with our lives.   God; however, was not ready and has a different plan; which brings me nearer to the moment. 

Though I really could not afford it, I hired sitters to be with mom whenever I was not home.  That also meant that I had to stop going to the jail ministry I had been involved in and certainly could not get out to church; but I did have all my wonderful preachers on the internet  (John Piper, Allistair Begg, Charles Stanley, Michael Youssef, and David Jeremiah)   These had been my teachers for many years and I still each morning would listen to God’s word before going to work.  Over the course of the last two months the EMTs have come to know my house well.  5 trips to the hospital later and I finally come to the current question and answer.    On one of the hospital admissions, about two weeks ago, my mother went into a full manic attack.  She was filled and tormented with fear and anxiety with no relief.  It was as though all of life was in complete panic around her; and for the first time in my life—I did not know what to do or how to help, except pray.  She was placed in the psych hospital and her meds were adjusted.  I collapsed in exhaustion and begged God for strength and to feel His joy.  I begged that He would heal her mind and provide His peace.  I know she is His child of that I am certain so I wanted Him to put His arms around her and make her feel safe.  Well, she got some better and came home last Monday.  Still, I knew it wasn’t exactly right; after all the years, I knew something was still wrong.  I hoped and I prayed and I tried to help her as much as I could; but she became more and more frightened until last Thursday night she had to be readmitted to psych.  It was then that my questions began again.  God why?  Why, this woman who has always loved you is now overcome with fear and turmoil?  Friday night, I called Nancy, (a friend from the jail ministry) and she prayed for me and mom.  Saturday morning I awoke with a song in my head and my heart.  God is still in control.  Through every horrendous trial of my life (there had been many) He had always provided a way.  His strength had carried me through each dark hour.  His joy had always overcome my sorrow.  His provision had always met my needs, maybe not everything I thought I wanted, but everything I actually needed was provided.  Even in those moments when my faith was gone, He had remained faithful as His word said  in II Timothy 2: 13If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself

I do not know why mom is suffering so right now; but I do know He is true to His promises and that in the midst of this turmoil He has a plan of good.  This is His promise in Romans 8: 

28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified


Because of Jesus Christ’s gift at Calvary, for mom, for me and for all who believe, love and savor Christ as their savior  we will be glorified.  It has nothing to do with me, it has only everything to do with HIM.  He did it all, I need bring nothing to the table except my sin, my failure and He takes it and changes it for His righteousness and His Glory.   Whatever may seem wrong for the moment, I can rejoice in that fact.  For all that He has done in my life, for all that He is yet to accomplish I praise Him.  My heart leaps with joy, I cannot wait to see what wonderful gift He has in store for mom and me.  I just know He does and I can say like Paul said in Romans 5

1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

                                                              Love, Effie Darlene Barba