A God Who Rescues: The Attack and the Prayer

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In my Junior year of college, I had one of the most fearful, and yet awesome experiences of my life.  Awesome because it was the beginning of my understanding of God’s personal love for me.  Fearful, well that you will quickly understand.

Early one Sunday morning, I walked across the University campus on the way to the Student Union where I planned to study before heading off to church.  A man walked briskly ahead of me into the Hall where classes were usually going on, but on Sundays was empty, and he let the door slam right in my face.  I decided he must be having a bad day, and I continued walking through the Hall which was attached to the Student Union. He turned into an empty classroom, presumably to study, and I walked on, thinking about all I planned to do that day.  

Suddenly, I heard the sound of someone running behind me, and then felt an arm go around my waist and a fist fly into my eye.  I struggled to get free from the arm around my waist, and wrestled something out of his hand (later in the struggle I realized it was a table knife).  I yelled for help, but he told me to shut up or he’d hurt me. I believed him so I shut up.

I dropped my backpack to the floor in hopes he would grab my valuables and go; and I crumpled to the ground so he wouldn’t think I was going to try to hurt him, but he did not stop punching me, so I raised myself up again to do something, but I was shoved against the wall, hit again so blood was in my one eye, and my other eye was blinded by the swelling of the first blow, and everything was a blur to me now.  He pulled me into the room he first turned into and began strangling me on the ground and then tying my wrist to a table in the room.The thought that this was really a bad dream and not really happening came to me, and my thinking became clouded and like a swirl, but reality hit and I was again aware this was very real. What was I to do?

The room was unlit, but the morning sun broke through the window, and I was reminded that I never asked God to help me in this. So I did.  I prayed the most heartfelt prayer I have ever prayed and I prayed it out loud, “God help me!” And he did. Out of the chaos of my half-thoughts, God brought the first clear thought through to me.  He reminded me of a woman’s story that I heard on a radio program a few months earlier, and her question to her attacker, “Do you know Jesus?” So I asked my attacker that very question, “Do you know Jesus?”

He waited a second, and then said, “yes.”  That was not the response that I expected and so fumbled for my next words by asking him, “then why are you doing this to me?”

At this point, he began to gather his things, and said, “Just stay there, just stay there, I won’t hurt you.  Don’t leave, just stay there.” He got his stuff together, ran into the hallway, grabbed my backpack, and ran out the door through which we had both entered the building.  When I was sure he was gone, I ran the other way, where I knew there would be people to help. I ran through the Student Union to the Information Desk, where the staff saw me coming and ran to help me as I collapsed at their feet.  They were awesome and helped me through the shock and police report and trip to the hospital for the fractured cheekbone I had received.

Though this was a traumatic experience, it was a turning point in my faith.  My parents were out of the country at the time, or I would have gone home that night of the attack and wouldn’t have pressed on.  In the following days, I had to face my fears head-on. I walked through that very building the next day only to see my blood still on the floor as people nonchalantly walked over it on their way to class.  I went to my classes despite my pain. I took my tests while my brain was still hurting and my eye still swollen. I persevered. I chose not to live in fear, but to trust God to fight for me.  Thankfully, I had an entire faith community come around me and help me through it all, and one truly beautiful best friend who listened to me process a lot.

I saw how I had been trusting in my own strength.  Truly, as soon as I recognized the Lord in the middle of this situation, he rescued me from it.  Take time to read Psalm 71. I believe it. I feel like I own that Psalm! I had been focusing on very foolish things up until this time; this put my life into perspective. Lives are fragile. I began to live my life for God because I suddenly realized how I wanted to be with Him in the end, and there is no certainty as to how soon that will come for us.  I would never have chosen in advance to be attacked, but looking back, I would never change it happening, because the good that God brought from it was so life-changing and so very good for the benefit of my soul.

“Bend low to my whispered cry and save me from all my enemies!  You’re the only place of protection for me.” –Psalm 71:2-3 TPT

Maureen Silveyra

Copyright 2020

Scripture quotations marked TPT are from The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017, 2018 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ThePassionTranslation.com.

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In God’s Lap — Awaken My Spirit

Children typically love to sit in their parent’s lap. My little one who is four is super-active and can be found running all over the place. But it also amazes me, with all that energy, how still he sits in my lap, and for how long he is happy to stay there. What does he […]

via In His Lap — Awaken My Spirit

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Following the Right Voice

Hello, friends! I thought I would let you know that this blog will be continued at awakenmyspirit.blog which will have no ads. If you have liked the content of this blog, please check out and like its continuation on my new site! Check out my latest blog post from the new site.

Awaken My Spirit

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My friend Melissa invited me to meet with her at a restaurant in an area of the city with which I was unacquainted, so I programmed it in to my phone to use the navigation system.  Using its navigation system has always been risky because my phone only has access to data when I am at home on my WIFI; I have had problems with the program losing access to the directions in the middle of a place I did not know, leaving me to fend for myself.  My husband suggested I take his phone instead, to avoid that problem this night.  I happily took his suggestion…and his phone.

As I began my drive, I heard the comforting voice of the GPS navigation lady telling me to turn right.  A few seconds later, I heard the muffled voice of my phone’s GPS navigation lady telling me to go a different direction.  I guess I had…

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Don’t Despise a Tiny Start

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Is there a problem in this world that needs your help?  Is it bigger than you can conquer?

I remember when I heard about the great devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought to the Gulf Coast.  It made me want to do something.  What I wanted to do was pick up and go down for a long time to help people rebuild and recover, but I was only one thirty-year-old woman who didn’t really know anything about disaster relief…at all.  So what could I do?  Where could I start?  I really did not know, so I did nothing.

I sat and did do nothing…until Pastor Ian from my church asked the congregation for volunteers to help out with answering phones to help the Red Cross raise funds for disaster relief for the victims of the hurricane.  That was something I could do.  It was better than doing nothing, so I signed up for answering calls early in the morning along with Ian and another friend, Shannon, from our fellowship group.  We went to the radio station and jotted down payment information for the phone call donations that came in.  After our time was over, Pastor Ian, Shannon and I went to McDonalds for a coffee and breakfast, and a talk that would maybe change the course of all of our lives a bit.

We sat and discussed how satisfying it was to help.  But I still couldn’t shake the idea that I didn’t do much that day, I wanted to do more.  But how?  I expressed this nagging thought to my friends, and they thought about that, too.

A month or two passed.  Surely it was beyond the time I could be helpful there.  Then one day, Pastor Ian announced that they made a connection with churches working down in Mississippi.  These churches had been bringing the needed food in to hurricane survivors and were going to be moving on the colossal task of gutting houses and rebuilding.  Our church was going to send a team down.  I made a deal with God.  I would go down if He would work out my schedule to go.  In another month or two, I gave my notice at work for a different purpose—to move to another state out West.  Before I left, however, I would take a week to fulfill my vow to God to go to Mississippi.  A group from our church would soon be going again to help for a week, and I signed up to go.  My friend Shannon from our church group had already quit his job to go down indefinitely.

When I went down, we all worked very hard.  The devastation was great even several months after the disaster, and the need of people tugged on my heart.  I had planned on moving to South Dakota in another couple of weeks for ministry there, but I ended up taking a longer detour to help with the immediate needs on the Gulf Coast.  The parable of the Good Samaritan came to my mind…how could I pass by the desperate need here to go on to another “call of God”?

I spent half a year serving with awesome people, hundreds coming in every week from all over the United States to help, some there for a little longer than others, and all bringing a lot of hope to a largely devastated group of hurricane survivors.  We gutted, repaired, painted, dry walled and roofed houses and reminded people of the goodness of God.

Is there a need in this world that is knocking on the door of your heart?  Don’t be afraid of its size.  Dream big and don’t despise small starts.  Just do something toward meeting that need.  Answering phones was not how I had envisioned helping, but it planted a seed.  That was the beginning toward doing what was on my heart to do, though the problem of how to get there seemed insurmountable.

A little step can lead to another, and another, until you are actually making an impact on the world around you in the way that you had dreamed.  And others will follow.  The breakthrough you bring will bring others around you who can go beyond that door you’ve pushed through.  Pastor Ian’s connection to the disaster relief in Mississippi brought Shannon through that door– he stayed there helping in disaster relief efforts for a long time.  Eventually Ian’s efforts brought me through as well, not to mention many, many other members of the church who were able to tangibly help bring healing to a hurting place.

In the book of Zechariah, chapter 4 (of the Bible), the prophet Zechariah has a God-given vision of what was happening in the spiritual realms in Jerusalem.  In reality their city was in devastation– they had returned from captivity to rebuild what had been great once and now stood in ruins.  Their leader, Zerubbabel, had laid the foundation of the temple in Jerusalem, but people were feeling overwhelmed with the task ahead.  Could it even be done?  Would what they could do even make a difference in Jerusalem and to the temple?  Then an angel asked Zechariah “Who despises the day of small things?”  Were they despising the little bit they had begun? Possibly—it is easy to do!  God encouraged them; the temple would be rebuilt–even in Zerubabbel’s life time.

How would that happen?  “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty.”  And that is for us, too.  How will we ever accomplish bringing change for good to this world when so much is against us?  Not by might, nor by power.  Just by the Mighty Spirit of our Great God.  That’s all.  Don’t despise the day of small things.

 

–Maureen Silveyra

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A Vegetarian Meal at a King’s Table

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A Letter to Ask Your Forgiveness

Dear Native American/ First Nations Friends, and to those who do not want to call me friend,

I am writing this because I felt that God was saying this was necessary.  There are more wounds than what I will say, but these are the wounds I will address on behalf of Christians in America.

Please forgive my nation.  Forgive us for believing that our culture was superior to your own.  Forgive the Christians in this nation for forcing our culture on you and saying it was God’s way.  For not being wise enough to discern what was our culture from what was God’s way even though we had been shown grace when our peoples first became Christians—this was when the followers of Jesus had the grace to say that the new the European followers of Jesus did not have to obey all of the cultural practices of the Jewish people to worship God—that they should only have to give up and change a few things that related back to their past religions and take on a heavenly culture.  We did not say that to you.

Did we tell you there was a better culture than our own that we should all have to change to follow?  Our Great Heavenly Father’s culture and his ways?  That those ways are love?  Did we forget to say that and show that?  I am so sorry.  Did we fail to understand God’s words in Revelation where all tribes and nations were gathered before God to honor and praise him?  Do all “tribes and nations” mean that we all looked the same and sang him the same songs?  Did we fail to say you can sing your songs to Him your own way?  With your own instruments?  In your own language? In your own clothes or regalia?  I am so very sorry because I believe we have broken our own God’s heart by crushing you with our own vanity—you, a beautiful people whom he made to honor him with their own song, not ours.  Please forgive us.

We have been very unkind brothers and sisters at times.  Please know that our Father God is far, far more loving than his children have represented him to be.  Some of my nation still does not see what we need forgiveness for.  Can you forgive that too?  Can you find it in your heart to love us with a love and forgiveness as great as our God’s?

 

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Hurt in the Church

I love my church family.  Always.  But I have had more than my share of hurtful experiences from the church as well.  Some of the most hurtful people that I have met and known have been leaders in churches (though I have also had my share of wonderful leaders as well!) and I wonder how can that be when we are meant to love each other.  But people are not our God.  God is our God.  So I have kept my eyes on Him at hard times.  My kids fight a lot.  They do not always reflect my values.  But they are still part of my family…I am not kicking anyone out of the family!  That is how it works.  We don’t usually blame mom and dad because our sister hit us.  Blaming God for hurts from Christians isn’t the best way, either.  They are growing and learning just like we are.

What has been your experience in the church?

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Waiting on a Sleeper to Arise

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I have been sitting, biding the time, waiting for my son to finally wake up and realize that he is hungry so that I can feed him and spend time with him.  I am longing to spend time with him–I just love to be with him.  I think that is how God waits for us.  He patiently waits for us to wake up and realize we need spiritual food from him–that we need him to feed us.  And he just loves to spend time with us, just to be with you and me.

Maureen Silveyra 10/19/2012

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God’s “I Love You”

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When my little boy was about 1 ½ years old, he would want something very desperately. Sometimes it was a sweet treat or other times he wanted to go outside and there was a good reason he could not that day. There was always a good reason when he did not get his way, but he was not old enough to understand why. Even if I had explained it, he would not yet comprehend. He would cry and cry and I would cuddle him. Even though I was the one who said “No” to him, he still wanted to be near me. Usually he would cry and cry when he was close to nap time, so I would cuddle with him in bed until he fell asleep with his arms around my neck. Because he would not understand why, all I could do what to tell him, “I love you, so much, baby.” To me, that was all he needed to know right then.

Have you ever talked to God, asking him “Why?” Why is this happening? What should I be doing right now with my life? Why can’t I do that?   And all you hear him say is “I love you.” Have you ever said to him…”Yeah, yeah, I know that already, can’t you give me something more profound?” What if that is the most profound answer? What if “I love you” explains everything you need to know right then? What if we couldn’t handle understanding why at that time? Maybe we aren’t really mature enough to handle the real reason God isn’t answering our questions or why we are enduring something we are going through, or maybe we are asking the wrong question to begin with? What if his “I love you” is the answer that should be enough to calm our questioning souls because we can trust him to be looking out for our good in all situations, just like a mother telling her crying infant (Why can’t I have cookies before I’ve eaten my veggies?) “You’ll be okay, I love you.”

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The Importance of Favor

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“And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:52

What a thought–Jesus growing in favor with God. Did he not already have that from the beginning? Where does favor come from and what does it mean?

I do not think you can take favor away from the idea of relationship. To favor someone is to trust them—to trust their judgment, to trust their character, and most importantly, to trust them with the things you regard as important.

Let’s take a parental look at favor. I have three children, all of whom I love very much. Whether they obey me, are nice, or make good choices or not, I will always love them. However, if one of my children was trustworthy in what I believed was right, made consistently good choices, and cared about what was on my heart—they would find special favor. They might not necessarily find more love. But I could trust them to walk out their lives confident that their choices would be good for them, our family, and others. I could trust them with things of value to me like passwords, keys, maybe eventually bank accounts when I grow very old.

The more I could see their heart was for me and that they had wisdom in these different areas, the more they would have access to my sacred things and have more influence over me. Also, as I trusted them more, they could ask for bigger and bigger things, and I would say “yes” more to these requests because I could trust they would not misuse it.

So, as Jesus grew, he must have proved to God his trustworthiness in human form over the things on God’s heart. And God gave him more influence.

If Jesus needed God’s favor, shouldn’t we seek this as well?  If we have the heart after God our father, wouldn’t we show ourselves trustworthy?  Might he consider our prayers more heavily?

My older son had been asking for his own computer for a long while. As we considered this request, our answer had been “No.”. Why? It was because of his disobedience at that time in a related area. We did not trust him to handle this freedom of having his own computer because he had not yet shown value for our hearts in this, nor had he shown us self-control. Would we ever consider saying “Yes”? We would if we could trust what he would do.

When we pray for thing and ask for things from the Lord, why would he listen and grant our request if we would be untrustworthy with it, or if we did not have his heart in the matter? This is just something to consider. If we were obedient to all that mattered to him, would we find a place of more influence over his heart?

Certainly we would find ourselves in a place to receive greater responsibilities and gifts.  Jesus’ mother Mary found favor with God—enough that he entrusted his Son, the Savior of the world to her care. King David, a man after God’s own heart received kingship over God’s people and a promise that his line would always have a king on the throne. But just having a heart after our heavenly Father or an earthly parent doesn’t automatically mean our requests are granted.

Even if my 2 ½ year old son had my heart for things and was trustworthy and obedient, I still would not give him the keys for my car and let him try to drive it. He has asked me and he has the desire…what is missing? Wisdom and skill (and legality, too). He doesn’t yet have the wisdom and experience to safely use the car even though he might be the most obedient son in the world…which he is not, yet!

“For whoever finds me [wisdom] finds life and receives favor from the LORD” Psalm 8:35 NIV

Along with having God’s heart and being obedient, our wisdom also helps to bring us into the LORD’s favor.  It is interesting to look back at the Luke 2:51-52 verses about the boy Jesus growing in favor with God and man. It connects his obedience to Mary and Joseph after they found him in the temple with growing in wisdom and stature and favor with the LORD.

Let us take Jesus’ example and be children after God’s heart. Let us grow in wisdom so we can be trusted with the “valuable things” of God. Let’s be obedient to his commands so he can trust our actions and see our love for him.  Lord, may we find favor with You.

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