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God Trusted
That your parents
And their parents
And your grandparents’ great, great grandparents
And those people
all the way back to those Cro-Magnon folks
. . .
God trusted them to make you.
. . .
Now, God was around before the beginning
And God will still be around after it all ends.
. . .
And I don’t know if God sat down and created a chart
that Gregor Mendel discovered;
. . .
I don’t know why you or one of your friends
was conceived through
wasn’t wanted
maybe even was wanted.
. . .
(There are many things I don’t know;
and that’s
I say “God only knows”
but maybe other people know and just I don’t.)
. . .
Here’s what I know:
. . .
God trusted your parents
and all those progenitors
to make you
. . .
And it doesn’t matter to me whether your parents wanted you or not.
I know that you are not an accident because
God trusted because
. . .
God wanted you.


To God be the Glory!


© Melissa Pazen, 2017

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!


For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord…

— Romans 8:38-39

Oh, my all-knowing and glorious God,

god_welcomeI’ve just received word that Dick died this morning, just a little while ago. What a road my mind takes. Almighty One, you called the worlds into being and you knew Dick before he was knitted in his mother’s womb. You have called him home to heaven. I don’t understand your ways, dear Lord; my vision is not as all-encompassing as yours.  I can only let go and adore your exquisite plan.  You are amazing!

I praise you for knowing when to call home Dick’s soul. I know his body and his mind had been failing him increasingly and I am grateful that his need to fight for life has ended. I know that he rests in your arms and that his soul takes on abilities that humans do not have. I know that he now has supreme joy.

Lord of Love and Light,

I pray for those who love Dick. While they know he now has no pain, they are left with emotional pain because they will miss him. While this frees time for Lindsey, she would have loved more time with her beloved husband. Their children and grandchildren likely feel gypped for not having more time with Dick when he was brilliant, capable, loving, and funny. This time for them is bittersweet. And they are just sad, feeling their loss.

jesus-reaching-inI pray that you will hold them close, Lord. Hold them and comfort them. Whisper in their ears that they, too, are your beloved children and that your plans for them are for their welfare. Help them to remember the storms that they have already weathered, by your guiding hand. Remind them to be gentle of one another and of themselves, times of loss are stressful and it’s easy to forget to be kind. Remind them that loving Dick formed an incredible bond among them and that nothing can take that away.

Generous Giver,

You gave us Dick and we are grateful. You gave us sunshine so we can walk in the light, with a good ability to see and we are grateful. Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in the mighty name of Jesus,


To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!


Omnipotent One,

lung_cancer_sm_cellI talked yesterday about Carol. I had hoped to visit her tomorrow, but, as you know,she just called to tell me that she doesn’t feel well enough to have visitors.  She can only talk for a few minutes before she’s out of breath and her throat hurts.  I’m so sad this has happened to her.

But God, she called me. I had a chance to talk with her for a little while and I’m grateful, so grateful.

cancer-survivorI’ve been worried, as she continues to cancel via emails that I wouldn’t speak with her again. And now we have and I’ve heard the areas in which she’s healing and I’m reminded that I don’t need to worry, because you are trustworthy.

Thank you. And thank you again. And amen.


To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!

“I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you.” – Revelation 3:20


The only people who knock at the door are people trying to sell siding or windows. Oh, and the the Jehovah’s Witnesses who act in perfect faith and bring us news of a way of faith don’t want to hear.

We live in a day of texting, so we can be least obtrusive when we want to be in contact with one another. Even with the next door neighbor, I text before I run over to drop off the mail left in my box by mistake.

We live in a day of email. The daughter of the neighbor down the street is in Girl Scouts and group blasts everyone on the block asking if we want to place an order for cookies.

We live in a day of isolation. I fall prey to it as much as anyone, maybe more. I simply don’t want to bother people who probably don’t want to hear from me anyway. Or it’s the wrong time to make a call.

But God – God doesn’t care about any of that. God doesn’t text or email or even use the cell phone that’s replaced the old yellow wall phone in the kitchen. If I knew it was God standing at the door, I’d wonder why God didn’t just walk in. Jesus walked through walls after his resurrection, I suspect God’s a phenonenal locksmith. God stands at the door and knocks.


Or maybe God makes the first daffodil bloom, or puts buds on the trees. Maybe God causes a freak micro-blizzard followed by five minutes of sunshine followed by another five minutes of micro-blizzard. Maybe God puts us face-to-face with two friends who are planning to have dinner on Wednesday and invite us to join them.

All of the things God does in the paragraph above have happened to me within the last week. I wonder what God’s done to get your attention. I wonder how many of God’s countless little actions have not gotten my attention. Will you pray with me, please?

Almighty Architect,

You are behind every occurrence in every day. You are the healing of the paper cut and the cancer. You are the energy in the battery that keeps the clock on my desk running. You are the love that created the new baby whose photo is on Facebook. You create the world, over and over. You were there before the world began and you’ll last long after it’s gone. And you never seem to tire of it, because you just keep creating and healing and loving. God you are simply amazing!

Forever Forgiver,

I’ve been walking in more than 40 days of a spiritual desert in the midst of an exceptional spring. You’ve been knocking on my door and I’ve neither answered nor knocked at yours. Forgive me.

Loving Lord,

There are too many to mention who need your visit. I’ve been asked to pray for Thea, again her body is cancerous, even with the amazing medications you’ve created that she takes daily. I’ve been asked to pray for Susan who wears a WonderWoman headband while she sits for five hours of chemotherapy. I can only pray for Carol, whose cancer has returned with such a vengeance that I hope she’ll let me visit. A dream from the other night reminds me to pray for Blair. Sally is having suffering with her husband’s negativity. Rose and Holly still struggle to steer clear of alcohol, even though they know they can’t control their drinking. Loving Lord, every one of these and so many more need your energy, your attention, and some kind of billboard from you to continue to have courage in the face of these troubles. And there’s me, too, Lord. I need to stop trying to carry things on my own, even though my shoulders and neck ache because of the weight of these troubles.

Granting Grandother,

You give and you give. And you give and you give. And while I am grateful for some things, even making lists of them, there are myriad occurrences and items that I don’t realize. Thank you for medical technology and medications. Thank you for hope. Thank you for batteries. Thank you for computers and the internet. Thank you for loving me. And loving me and loving me. Thank you for holding me gently always, leaving it up to me to remember that you are.  Lord, I love you so much!

And I pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be all glory!

Love always,

Melissa Pazen, MSW


39w328 W. Burnham Ln, Geneva, IL  60134

Cell:  773.405.3301

LIVE INSPIRED: think boldly; love unconditionally; behave respectfully; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; live authentically; laugh frequently!


… I sit quietly and look at this image:

And then I feel better.

Astonishing Architect,

bright mountains winterOnly you can bring a morning of exquisite sunshine to a bleak mid-wintery kind of day.  You are the energy and creative force of the universe. You are the word, and the word is love. I fall to my figurative knees in front of you, as I type these words to you. You are more than I could ever imagine.

Loving Light,

dawn of creationI bring my brother, Jim, to you this morning. I thank you for his new job. I pray you will remind him in the darkest of times to lean on your perfect strength and let you guide him. Help him to know that you control all things and that the job for us poor mortals is to appreciate the beauty of how you make all things fit together. Help Jim to relax and look for good, look for the love in Helen’s eye and the good intention in Angela’s movements. Let Jim know that a hug goes a long way for all of us.  Remind him to be loving and kind… even to try it, just for today. And, Lord, let Jim know that we love him.  We simply do.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for a Christmas that was indeed ‘dayenu’, it would have been enough just to have my children with me. It would have been enough just to have Steve’s loving attempts at presents to please me. It would have been enough to make them happy with gifts you inspired me to bestow on them. And yet, You – Lord of all land and below and above – You saw to it that we enjoyed one another’s company and that I got to have my children, now numbering three, tucked in their beds here on Christmas Eve. Thank you for helping me, over the years, to let go of my expectations for great times and find the beauty in the good times, because they become great when viewed in the proper way through the proper lens with the proper focus. Thank you and thank you again. Lord, I love you so much.

Jesus told us that if we would ask in his name, we would receive, that our joy be made full.  And so I ask in Jesus’ name,


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
…A time to kill, and a time to heal

~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

AP_FALL_BACK_TIMERecently, I’ve watched a lot of people deal with loved ones end of life (or the over it).  Today in the US, it’s “Return to God’s Time” as daylight savings time ended at 2 a.m.   (I wasn’t up to count THAT down.)  My garden is brown or frozen because it’s -3ªc or 20ªf outside!  All the lovely blooms are gone and the annuals are too, except for tarragon & rosemary that I haven’t harvested yet.

This all reminds me of the seasonality of all living things.  Rod McKuen called it ‘Seasons in the Son’.  Leslie Bricusse talked about the morning, noon and evening of one’s life in Fill the World with Love in the musical “Good-bye, Mr. Chips”.  I simply wax nostalgic.

I remember my women’s theology group (Monday Night Bible Study or MonNtBS as I irreverently named my e-Mail group), working through the book of Job.  I went into it thinking “God and the Devil playing a game with a man’s life… RIGHT!”  But here’s the thing, I came out of it with a six word answer to many of our theological musings.  “I am God and you’re not.”  

Will you pray with me please?

Everlasting Energy,

You named yourself to our ancestors, “I am”. I can only agree, “Yes, God, YOU ARE.”  Job asked why he was smited and covered with sores. You asked if he was present when you called the world into being and hung the sun and moon.  Of course, Job wasn’t.  But “YOU WERE/ARE/WILL BE”.  Merely the fact of your infinite nature brings me figuratively to my knees while my literal fingers are on this keyboard.  I adore you, God.  You are AMAZING!

Lover of Light,

Perhaps you inspired daylight savings time.  (Wait, did I SAY that?  Of course, YOU DID!).

Responsive Ruler,

Jesus told the disciples that we should ask in his name, that our joy be made full.  I rarely ask for miracles, though.  When my 92 year-old mother-in-law went to the hospital, I thought, “This could be the end.  She’s lived a long time.” Then when she was moved to a rehabilitation center, I thought “Ah, an easier transition to this continuum of care facility.  She’ll move on to the other assisted living centers.”  Now she is home.  I praise you!  Only you could make this happen!

Annamae with Savannah

Responder to our Requests,

YOU ARE.  You answer the desires of our hearts that we dare not articulate — sometimes.  Then there is Mary’s 95 year-old mother, who cannot live unassisted anymore and has been moved to her son’s house, after hospitalization, then skilled nursing care, then home.  She can’t make it without someone strong to lift her. I suspect she’ll either die eventually in another skilled care facility or have hospice care at her son’s house.  So what of her? What should I ask of you?

Mary is sad and harried.  The weight of this is heavy on her shoulders.  God, will you inspire her with your peace?  I pray of thee, surround Mary and her family with your love and a bit of joy through this dark time of the soul.  Remind them, especially my good, good friend that the clouds will lift as they have this bright morning.  That while we go through autumn and winter, that your energy and spirit are always willing to support us, to let us lean on you.

Is this what it will take to get Mary back to church, God?  She has suffered with the guilt of a divorce, but you always forgive the penitent. I know  you still yearn for her; crave her attention.  You want her to worship YOU, not a religious rule that blocks her ability to seek you.  Put it on her heart at just the right time, to go to Mass or a Worship Service.  In your time, may this be done — not mine.  Remind her that communion in any form or any sense is bringing her soul to yours.  Let her commune with you and with other seekers of your kingdom.


Or perhaps, you will use her daughter’s new baby.  Remind Mary that the love is in that new life, too; that her relationship with her own granddaughter and daughter is equally important as her relationship with her mother.  Remind Mary to spend less time on worry and more time on “OPTIMISM” and peace and rest and self-care.  If she runs out of energy to replenish her own body, remind her that she must rebuild herself before she can build or rebuild others, I pray of thee, God.

Yet not my will, but yours, God.  Not in my time, but yours. Not to my glory, but to you be the glory,

Generous Giver,

Thank you for the mouse and the red underscores that help me to correct my mistakes.  Thank you for the ability to confess and apologize when I sin.  Thank you for Samantha Madhosingh’s month of gratitude.  Thank you for Jean Stone who taught me about gratitude even during those dark nights of the soul.  Thank you for the internet.  Thank you for daylong retreats and Rev. Dr. Lillian Daniel and Rev. Merlyn Lawrence and for all the Sisters, Saints & Sinners who went with me.  Thank you for living my life with me and letting me live it for you.  Let me live to bring your kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven.  Let me live according to your will and to love, and to love and to love.

I dare to pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

© Melissa Pazen, 2013

Live Inspired: pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

I’ve just read this:

Dear Family and Friends,

I have GOOD NEWS today!  How joyful I am to e-mail good news about Amy!  This is the first day in 19 days that Doug and I have not gone to the hospital.  Paula and Julie felt that we needed a rest and Paula took off from school and went for us.  She just called and said this is the best day in 3 weeks!  Amy does have strep throat and pneumonia but it is under control with antibiotics. The Ventilation tube is out and her voice is weak but she is sitting up in a chair and asking Paula questions!  She wanted to know where the People Magazines were, where are all the cards Mom always brings and Where are Mom and Dad?  They must be out in the hall! Also Asked for her Pepsi and Paula said that she couldn’t have it yet but she could put some on her lips.  Amy said that she would like that!  She knew that Julie had gone home to take care of her family.  She may be in ICU one more day.  The goal is to get her on 7th floor to rehab floor.  

hands make hearts

We know that we have to be cautious about this turn around but the Lord is answering our prayers. Please all of you continue to pray for AMY JOY.  Thank you so much.

You are wrapping your arms about Amy and us and we feel it!

Love, Jill and Doug

Glorious God,

You are the only God and you are so good to us!  Only you have the power to make new life and to heal.  Only you have the power to whisper sweet words in Paula’s and Julie’s hearts to give their parents ‘a day off’.  Only you can bring us rest. Only you love us so much that we can feel it even if we can’t see you.  You are amazing!

Loving Lord,

Keep making Amy better, please.

Keep healing Susan’s back, please.

Keep Steve healthy, please, and thanks for healing him.

Keep Thea’s cancer markers low, please, and thanks for the end of the chemo!  Never again would be good!

Keep my own white cell count low and hemoglobin normal, please.

Remind me to  lean on you and to rest ever-so-comfortably in your arms… Remind all who read this of that, please.


Everpresent Energy,

Thank you for interesting work.  Thank you for new batteries in cars and new brakes; thank you for safety and the money to pay for repairs.  Thank you for dear friends and dear family members and dear people who smile on the street for no reason.  Thank you  for peace wherever and whenever we find it.  Lord, i love you so much!  And

I pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Professor Mary Luti wrote, in this morning’s StillSpeaking Devotional of the capacity for evil and violence in each of us.

So what  Prof. Luti is saying is “It could have been me.”  “There but for the Grace of God, go I.”  “We’re all more same than different.”   Some of us don’t want to remember that.  Some of us, the moral majority or the “good Christians” or the “practicing Jews” want to think we are no longer capable of such.

And then I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who decided (with others) that it would be best to kill Hitler – to kill the evil one and stop the killing of the innocent ones.  Bonhoeffer’s writings are brilliant.  His theology touches my soul.  Yet he was an attempted murderer.  We’re all more same than different.

Ever-renewing Energy,

What an amazing creator you are.  To have allowed humans to be sentient; thinking, reason, deciding.  To have allowed humans to decide between evil and good; free will.  I don’t care if you made one Adam and one Eve or if we came through evolution or mutation, it’s still very cool what you’ve done.  Maybe you experimented: let me try this – oops, no Sodomites need to be wiped out!  How about this?  Nope, gonna wipe it out with a flood.  (Today in the middle west, millions of worms are being wiped  out due to the amount of  rain we’ve received in the last day!  What will the robins eat?  Maybe soggy worms…  maybe that’s what you wanted…  interesting.)  Maybe you don’t get involved at the micro-level.  Maybe you do.  Maybe you weep when even the least of your plans needs to be crossed off your endless list of possibilities.

Yet, you continue.  Maybe you just can’t help it.  Maybe what you are means you just keep creating.


Maybe you set out to make exactly me, and watch what happened from the time my parents got the right cells together to start me.  Maybe you laugh along with me when the joy can’t be contained anymore.  Maybe you clap when I go to the doctor and am taken off a medication.  That would be pretty nifty.  I would adore you anyway…  just because of what or who you are, but I think I would like you, too.  Maybe I’ll find out some day.  Maybe I won’t.  Maybe I won’t even care.  Maybe it will be like Daisy or Duey when they fall asleep in a ‘down stay’ and then wake up and don’t even remember.  That’d be ok.  Oh, wait, anything you do would be ok with me because it’s you, God.  And you’re amazing.  But this was a  fun little meditation; a little frolic and detour.  And it’s a rainy kind of morning when that kind of musing is entertaining.  To you too?  Amazing!

OK, God, let me get down to it.

All-knowing Architect,

What’s up with Amy again?  Why can’t the Lupus calm itself and let her stay out of the ICU?  So she didn’t have another seizure, that’s great!  But now, she got out of bed and fell?  And then she fell again.  And then they took her back to the ICU.  Please, please, please, be the doctors.  Be the medicine.  Be the technology.  Inspire the whole team of people caring for Amy, please.  Please?

And poor Doug and Jill and Paula and Julie!  Please hold on to them; enfold them in your arms so they feel your love and your strength.  Lord, your sense of time might be very different from ours, and this feels like such a long time!  And Amy gets a little bit better and then something else happens.  How can they not be disappointed and frustrated?  How can they not be crying “again?!?!  Seriously?!?”  And how can they continue to trust and be faithful servants through this?  How can they not be consumed with the question “WHY?”

Please, Lord, be with them.  Nourish them with the memory of Job.  Remind them that it’s not about the why, it’s about the what and the with whom.  Help them to remember to love mercy and seek justice and walk humbly with you.  Help them remember that there will be good days again.  Help them to know your peace.  Give them times of respite, maybe with prayer and meditation.  Help them to take their thinking minds off this for a little while and rest.

I bring Susan to you again, today.  I pray you’ve allowed her the medication to dull the pain from her back injury. Send your warmth and healing energy to her, please Lord.

I pray for Steve, home sick from work with the bug going around.  Give him rest and rebuild his systems. Give him a sunny attitude in the midst of this storm.

And now my mind goes back to Prof. Luti’s devotional from this morning.  It could be any of us.  We could have built pressure cooker bombs and left them near the finish line of a marathon.  Or blown up someone/something in the middle east and just happen to kill people who were walking along and weren’t the targets at all.

Some places have more violence than others.  I remember when Steve and I were talking about a honeymoon and I wanted to go to Ireland and Steve thought it was too dangerous.  And I’m reading Eat Pray Love and in Bali there was horrid violence within the last century and now it’s back to being thought of an idyllic paradise.


Lord, here’s my plan (and I know it’s meager and flawed):  I’m going to live praising you and go where I wish – even in the valley of the shadow of death.  You’ll be with me, I know that.  I’m going to live my life with as much joy as I can muster and as much kindness as I can share.

Continuous Creator,

Wherever I go, you’re there with me.  Whatever I think, you are the source.  Whatever I have, you made.  Thank you for daffodils and forsythia.  Thank you for cold and heat.  Thank you for sun and for darkness.  Thank you for rest and work.  Thank you for friends and love and community.  Thank you for all the things and people that remind me of you.  I love you so much!  And

I pray in Jesus’ name,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

Earlier this week, my study group discussed “Evil, Suffering, and a God of Love” in the series called Living the Questions. Rev. Winnie Varghese (Rector of St. Mark’s-Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City & former Episcopal Chaplain at Columbia University) stated that it is heretical to focus on material good things that God has given to us, thinking this is because something we’ve done.  She said this belief leads us to think bad things happening has some reason in who we are or what we’ve done.

I learned this morning that Amy (who we’ve brought to God in prayer all week) has had three more seizures since yesterday afternoon.  Doctors are running tests.  All of us are on “pray without ceasing” alert!  Will you pray with me please?


Constant Creator, 

You call us continually.  You long for our love.  You make mysteries and marvels.  You are more — more than our minds can imagine!  Amazing!

All glory, laud, and honor to you.  I express my adoration, my praise, my joy.  Hosanna!  You are amazing!

Lord of Light,

I wish I didn’t need to bring Amy to you again!  She loves you Lord; I know she is in a strong and loving relationship with you.  I know you are aware of what is happening and I wish it were not.  I know you are in charge and I am not, Lord.  I know you will make all things ultimately work for the good for Amy.  I know this.  But she’s having physical emergencies, Lord and I hate that.  Amy is such a good person and strives for what’s right and cares for others…  I want her to be just fine.  And that’s not in my sphere of control, Lord.  But I know it’s in your sphere of control, so I bring her to you again.

Heal Amy, Lord, I beg of you.

My carpal tunnel syndrome is strong today, Lord.  I love you and I want to keep talking, but I may have to give my thumbs and fingers a rest.  I know you understand and I know you hear me whether I type or talk out loud or talk inside my head.

Gentle, gracious Grandother,

I have come to believe that I need not focus on the bad things that happen to the good people.  This life and this world will always have bad and good.  There will be times of both and of each.  Lord, I know that I need focus only on you.  I need focus on loving, on serving, on praying.  I need not focus on understanding (even though I love figuring things out) your reasons and the reasons of bad, evil, sin in the universe.  That’s not my concern, not my sphere of control.


So I will dwell with you.  I will continue to ask you to heal my friend.  I will continue to type my side of our conversation and I will love.  I will try to bring your blessing to others.

Generous Giver,

Thank you for doctors. Thank you for hospitals. Thank you for technology. Thank you for medicine. Thank you for nourishment. Thank you for curiosity. Thank you for the will to make things better and the will to improve the condition of the world. Thank you for those who love us.  Thank you for those who support us. Thank you for those who worry about us and cry with us when we suffer.  Lord, I love you so much!

I pray in the Holy Name of Jesus,


To God be the glory!

Melissa Pazen © 2013

Live Inspired:  pray continually; think boldly; dare greatly; love unconditionally; act deliberately, kindly, justly, mercifully and humbly; forgive easily; laugh frequently!

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