My Sweet Valentine…

Something beautiful happened on Valentine’s Day. I spent an intimate afternoon with the Lord visiting Filoli Gardens, a historical house and English gardens, in Woodside near my home.  It has always been a special place to go and spend quiet time in reflection and in the Word, a  tradition of mine to go on Valentine’s Day.

So Valentine’s morning I picked up my red Zip Car, because red equals love, and drove

The Tea House at Filoli Gardens

over to Filoli.  It was a beautiful sunny day, early spring weather, and I noticed the daffodils were in bloom as I arrived.  I took the time to admire the watercolor art exhibit and found my way to the Tea House, a cool reflective building in the middle of the gardens.

The former owners used to have tea here and play cards. It has breathtaking views of the lily ponds and fountains found throughout the gardens.  A welcoming antique chaise lounge beckoned me. I sat quietly with my bible on my lap, taking in the smell of the jasmine and watching a small hummingbird fly back and forth as he had lost his way.

I opened my bible and asked the Lord to direct me.  He gave me one beautiful Psalm after another, talking of His love and faithfulness, of His protection and deliverance, of being my Husband and my Maker, all the while infusing His love into my heart.

I closed my eyes and prayed, seeing Him in the Spirit, kneel down next to me and take my hand in His.  He kissed my hand gently and love for Him flowed through my heart. Lord I love you so much, I adore you, you are the lover of my soul, my husband  (Isaiah 54:5). Thank you for loving me.  Soon I got up to dance with Him, dressed as Cinderella at the Ball, He as Prince Charming.  We waltzed our way out unto the patio and onto the grass, all the while twirling around and around.  Did you know Jesus loves to dance?  Because He does.

I got lost in the moment, until a guest walked in announcing the time. I opened my eyes.  I quickly asked the Lord if there was something else he wanted to say to me or surprise me with this Valentine’s day.           I want to give you a new beginning Miriam, to remove the reproach of your sexual abuse and past, to take the spiritual burden off your shoulders and the shackles from around your neck. (Isaiah 58:6) In a vision, I saw Him removing them and standing at the edge of the sea, throwing the burdens and shackles in.  I joined Him by the water’s edge, putting my arm around Him and leaning into Him. Yes, Lord, I am ready to move on from having my identity being as an incest survivor, to being simply your child, the daughter of the King.

My heart felt so light, because carrying that burden around for so long had taken its toll on me.  Everything in my life, my art ministry, my book, my relationships, had all evolved around my past. How I had overcome. How I was now helping others overcome. But now it was time for me.  To take a break and find a new path with a new freedom in Him.

How would I define myself now, if not author, artist, advocate, prayer warrior, healer, minister of the gospel and most importantly, blogger?!  How about friend, sister, Jewish believer in Jesus, future wife, mother and homemaker?  All my dreams for the future.  So I started.  I lit the Sabbath candles tonight, promising the Lord to honor the Sabbath like I used to….spending the day in rest, honoring Him in worship and time in nature, no worries, fretting or Facebook.  I remembered the promise of keeping Sabbath in Isaiah 58: 13-14:

“If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the Lord honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
14 Then you shall delight yourself in the Lord;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Yes. I wanted to delight in Him and have Him give me the desires of my heart (Psalm 37:4).

To return to my Jewish roots by taking a trip back to Israel where I had served Him as a missionary in the 1990s.

Hiking the Jesus Trail, Israel

To hike the Jesus Trail, a 40 mile road that leads from Nazareth to Capernaum, where Jesus lived and ministered along the Sea of Galilee.

To cook a new recipe every week preparing myself for that Jewish believing husband I am waiting on.

To dust off my sewing machine and make my wedding quilt for my Chuppah (Jewish Canopy).

To get back on Weight Watches online, avoiding white flour, sugar, potatoes and diet coke to lose the weight I need so I can look pretty in my wedding dress when that day arrives.

To blog just for the fun of it, with no goal in mind!

To bike along new areas of seashore I haven’t visited before.

To Just Be Me.

I am excited about this time of new beginnings, of seeing myself healed and free of past labels and disabilities, a whole person in Jesus, ready to follow Him on this new adventure, with Him by my side. Yes, I love Him. He is my sweet Valentine. And always will be. No matter who I marry!

Stay tuned!

What is your secret dream? Leave me a reply.

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A Childhood Christmas Revisited

Yes, I know you are saying “Christmas already Miriam?”  But yes, it is only 5 weeks away and as we begin to celebrate the miracle of our dear Savior’s birth over 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, I would like to share an article I wrote and was published by my local women’s writers group.  This group is a sanctuary for me, where we write to prompts that our leader lovingly prepares.

My story reflects on my Christmas time as a child in the 1960s. I believed in Jesus as a young girl and knew that He was the reason we celebrated the season. My story also reflects on my Christmas time as an adult when I knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior. I invite you to discover both the magic and the miracle of Christmas in your hearts this season as you receive the ultimate gift of Christmas, Jesus.

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The prompt that day was “What was your favorite possession as a child?

My Favorite Possession as a Child – By Miriam Sarzotti

I turned the page excitedly of the Sears Christmas Catalog.  It was Christmas time and I wanted an Easy Bake Oven.  I was five years old and had seen it advertised on TV many times.

Easy Bake Oven circa 1966

Christmas morning I threw off the covers to see what “Santa” had left for me under the tree.  Sure enough, there it was, all bright yellow and shiny, sitting under my stocking.  It had four tin pans and cookie and cake mixes to bake.  That day I mixed my first mix, a pink sugary cookie. I slid the pan in and then slid another pan after it to ‘push’ it out into the cooling rack.  Amazement!  The cookies were cooked all by a light bulb.  The smell of heated plastic and sugar filled my nostrils. The cookies were soft and mushy tasting.  I was proud to be a cook and baker just like my mother.

Soon the mixes ran out so we ordered some more.  I waited patiently at the mailbox each day for them to arrive. I was soon to learn the frustration of this toy, not being so ‘easy’ to bake with.  Many times the pan fell off the track and dumped its contents into the bottom of the oven. My dad would have to take the screws off the back and fish out the tray.  I would start over, carefully trying to keep the tray on the tracks.

I remember one rainy day waiting for my friend Joan, who lived down the hill, to come play with me and my oven.  I was so excited!  I felt like the neighborhood princess to have such a toy to share.

Sadly, I outgrew my oven and it got lost in my possessions somewhere. Two Christmases ago I wanted to give the ‘little girl in me’ a childhood Christmas as a healing for my soul.  I logged on to EBAY and searched for the oven.  Surprised I found quite a few for sale.  I began nervously to bid on a yellow one with its original box and four pans.  On no, someone was bidding against me!  As the minutes round down, I made one last bid of $40.  Aha!  My strategy worked and I was the proud owner of a retro easy bake oven.

My EBAY find, just like my original yellow one, under the tree

my EBAY find, yes, my first one was yellow too!

I placed my oven under the tree, expectantly waiting to open it on Christmas Eve.  My ‘little girl in me’ was so excited to have presents under the tree just for her.

My tree

That Christmas Eve, I excitedly got out my oven and plugged it in. It was very hot to touch and I wondered if it would blow up!  Was it this hot as a child, I pondered, trying to remember.  Did they let us kids play with things like this in the 1960s?  I was afraid the plug was too old and it was malfunctioning.

Putting these thoughts aside, I marveled again how a light bulb could cook a cake.  I had also bid on some cake mixes, so I carefully slid in the tray. It was bent slightly from age and use, but I was able to get it through the oven.  Boy did that cake taste good!  Memories flooded my brain as I shared my cake with Jesus, whom I knew was fondly looking on. (By the way He liked it too!)

Me in front of Castle at Disneyland in the rain!

A few days later, I flew down to Los Angeles to Disneyland  to give ‘my little girl’ a very special Christmas.  After spending the day with CInderella and riding the fairyland train, I flew back home content. A miracle had taken place.  My heart was healed.

Cinderella and her Prince photo at Disneyland

After the holiday ended and the excitement died down, I put the boxed oven back in the storage closet, one day planning to give it to my own daughter to play with.  By then, it really will be an antique, but one that will always bring a smile to my face and put a little bit of Christmas cheer in my heart. I’ll remember the miracle the Lord did for me that Christmas and be reminded why we celebrate Christmas after all.

 

What is your favorite toy or memory of Christmas?  Was Jesus part of it?

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