God sent

berta-obitIn 1984, God sent a wonderful man into my life. Earl, a hospital chaplain, introduced me to Jesus. Earl and I married in 1985 and took custody of my daughter. Our first pastorate moved us to a small church in Western Kentucky.

On January 1, 1991, an automobile accident injured my spinal cord at C-4 paralyzing me from my shoulders down. My doctors offered Earl the choice of life or death for me. He recalled his wedding vows and his promise to God and me, “in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, keeping thee only unto her, so long as you both shall live.” He chose life.

Through rehabilitation, God blessed me with the ability to use my arms and I learned how to do many things for myself. Returning home, I succumbed to anger and depression and spent many years shutting out the world with veiled eyes.

Earl gave me a laptop computer in 1993 and encouraged me to journal. I handed out the first copy of my testimony in 1997.

I’m so thankful for a Father who cares and will never hurt me. One who lavishes me with His love and blesses me with His goodness. He who has not only forgiven my sins, and remembers them no more, but has healed my wounds and carved my name in the palm of His hand.

I have filled many positions in local, district and conference levels of the Memphis Conference of the United Methodist Church. I blog at SnapShots: Devotions From Life. I’m currently writing a memoir about this life God has granted my family. I love to tell what Jesus has done for me.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ” (Phil 1:6 NIV).

In Christ,


P.S. Chapter 1 of Berta’s book is available HERE. Is this a project that needs to be completed?

The Season of Spring

Spring delivers new grass in a plethora of shades of green that grow all around us. Even dandelion leaves have their own green color. Tree leaves from the palest to the deepest green grow and their spectrum spreads concealing the limbs that support them.

New life and new beginnings come hand in hand for me.
After my spinal cord injury, my neurosurgeon said I would be bedridden, brain damaged, and ventilator dependent. He then offered my husband a way to let me die comfortably.
While in rehabilitation that spring, I watched treetops bud out and new green leaves burst forth through my second floor window. I received them as a word from God that I would not only live through the injury but I would have a new life.
My new life could not be without Jesus and it didn’t happen quickly. I suffered through guilt, fear, depression, and a gamut of emotional distress before accepting what God had to offer me.
I am C-4 complete quadriplegic. Paralyzed from my shoulders down, God has blessed me with some use of my arms. I wear a splint on my right wrist which holds different tools and gives me some independence in daily living. I use a power wheelchair and have a conversion van.
God calls me daily to be a witness for him. Whether in church, at a mall, or eating in a restaurant, I testify to people. I show my faith by how I dress, how I speak, and how I act. I talk about what Jesus has done for me daily with old friends and new.
I share my testimony to share the new life God gave me when I accepted Jesus and the new life God provided and I accepted after my injury.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
In Christ,

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My Cross

I found an old jewelry box at a yard sale years ago. It lay open with baubles and chains draped over it like a pirate’s treasure chest. While looking through the booty I spotted a shining gold cross. I gently untangled its dark chain and found the price tag. It read “$1.50”. I was elated as I made my purchase.
My joy dissipated on Sunday. I thought, “I’m not good enough to wear this beautiful cross.” Guilt and fear weighed heavy on my mind and the cross lay in my jewelry box.
I went on a Christian retreat three years later where I finally accepted God’s love and forgiveness for this sin-filled, moth-eaten child of God.
I began wearing my cross on Sundays. For eight months, I experienced a freedom that turned my sorrows into joy. I testified at every opportunity no matter where I was.
After my accident, I fell back into feeling unworthy. Paralysis left my body without sensation and uncontrollable. Depression wrapped its tentacles around my heart and soul choking life out of me. 
I came to myself through the immovable love and encouragement of my family and close friends. From then on, I wore that cross daily to remind me that Christ died for me.
I became ill a few years ago and stopped wearing my jewelry, as I didn’t get out of bed much.
One day I wanted to wear my cross. My caregiver and I couldn’t find it. I said, “Well, I hope whoever has it is blessed by it.
That cross can’t be replaced but no one can steal my faith. The empty cross is proof that Jesus lives and my faith is strengthened each time I see one.
In Christ,
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Jesus Great Sacrifice

I began a new life when I married. A sinner became a pastors’ wife. I lived in fear of the church members finding out my “true identity”. As in everything in my life, I wanted to be perfect. Would they judge me for my past? I distanced myself.
Then I met a few Christian women who shared their stories with me. They told me of God’s love for them. They told me God had forgiven their sins. I learned that Jesus had absolutely died for my sins too.
God had offered his only Son, Jesus, as the sacrifice for all sinners – including me.
He was beaten for my sins! He died for my transgressions! He loved me! My wall crumbled as I fell into my Lord’s sweet embrace. His love put my feet on a new path.
So, how did you come to Jesus? Did you give him your all? Are you afraid he can’t love you
Do you know Jesus died for you too?
Easter Sunday is coming, but we have to go through the cross to get there. We will read how Jesus suffered and died – crucified in our place. His death will echo in our spirits.
We will remember our Heavenly Father chose to sacrifice His only Son for all people. Jesus also had a choice. He chose the agony of the cross.
God loves us that much!
On the third day, the stone will be rolled away. “The tomb is empty!” We will celebrate again. “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!”
“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” (John 3:16 NIV).
In Christ,

Watch Your Mouth

As a new Christian, I worked with a young woman who was living her life without boundaries. Much as I had lived mine before I met Jesus. 
Each Monday we talked and laughed over the different situations she had experienced over the weekend. Things I no longer took part in but had not let go.
On a Christian retreat, I was broken. I heard again and again how God desired to forgive all my sins. 
I felt filthy when I thought about my conversations with my coworker. The pleasure I re-lived with each true story. 
I cried, “But God, how can you forgive me? Don’t you know how bad I am?” 
When I finally accepted the forgiveness God offered, I knew I had to apologize to my coworker for encouraging her sinful lifestyle.


As Christians, we should be watchful of our conversations and actions with coworkers. We just might birth a new believer and grow in our own Christian faith.
“From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NRSV).
In Christ,
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Open Doors

Asking for help did not come naturally to me. If I could not do it myself, I did without. After my spinal cord injury and paralysis, I had to depend on others for many things.
When I went shopping, I had to ask, “Would you hold the door for me please?” “Would you set this sweater on my table?” “Would you help me ____?”
God’s word shows us how to let others serve us:
Jesus became the servant when He washed the feet of His disciples. (John 13:4-7)
A woman served Jesus when she washed His feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and poured perfume on them. (Luke 7:38)
His word also tells how to serve those who cannot do for themselves:
Give a glass of cold water to someone who is thirsty. Feed those who hunger. Clothe the naked. Care for the sick. (Matthew 25:38-40)
We show God’s love by serving each other in small ways and large. Opening a door can open the gospel for either person involved. Asking someone for help gives the person an opportunity to serve. Often these times allow conversations to share a word of faith.
Over the twenty-five years since my injury, I have learned humility. Asking for help blesses me because I know God does not want me to face obstacles alone. Allowing others to serve me blesses God’s servants.
Do you need help with anything? Ask God to provide for your need and He will be faithful.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).
In Christ,
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He is the One

The wrappings are gone.
The boxes played with.
The toys are scattered.
The children content.
I sit in my chair.
What did it mean?
Is that all there is?
Now that it’s clean.
Something is missing.
My heart – it aches.
What is wrong with me?
Is it all fake?
The carols I sang.
Was it by rote?
The Father above.
Did He hear each note?
The Christ child – He came.
Did I forget?
To honor His birth.
To worship His breath.
I sit in quiet.
I ponder His birth.
Why did He come?
To this sin-filled earth.
The love of His Father.
Bid Him to come.
To save my soul.
He is the One!

In Christ,

This poem was previously on SnapShots: Devotions from Life

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