Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Becoming Your True You - Names Matter

Hi Friends,

A good friend (thank you, Joanne!) requested that I post this excerpt from WAITING FOR WONDER, Learning to Live on God's Timeline


You Are Not Moe
            Names matter. Knowing who we truly are matters. I was reminded of this truth not long ago on a Friday night at our local women’s homeless shelter. My daughters and I had gone with a small group of women from our church to play and make crafts with the kids at the shelter, just as we did every month. I was in charge of name tags. I love being in charge of name tags.
            I slapped down a dozen blank tags in front of the kids at the shelter.  “All right, everyone, step right up and tell me your name.” My daughter handed me a purple pen. I motioned to a boy of about eight.
            He hesitated, then came forward. “I’m John.”
            I wrote his name, added a smiley face, and placed the sticker carefully on his shirt.
            Next came Juanita, Miguel, Michael, and Ashley.
            Behind them stood a little girl with big brown eyes and two short pigtails. She stuck her fingers in her mouth.
            “What’s your name, princess?”
            She looked at her toes. She shuffled her feet. She wiped her wet hands on her blouse.
            “You know, if you don’t want to tell me, I can always call you Moe.”
            Her gaze shot up.
            “I call everyone Moe if I don’t know their name.”
            Miguel giggled. “I wouldn’t want to be Moe.”
            Juanita wrinkled her nose. “Me, neither.”
            Ashley checked her name tag and made sure it was stuck tight. “My name is Ashley.”
            They stuck out their chests and pointed to their nametags.
            The little girl tried on a tiny smile. “I’m not Moe.”
            “I didn’t think so.”
            “I’m Victoria.”
            “Ah, Victoria. A much better name than Moe for such a nice little girl.” I wrote it on the tag, drew three hearts, and placed the tag on her shirt.
            She grinned, then poked a soggy finger at my sticker-less shirt. “What’s your name?”
            I fake-gasped. “Oh no!”
            All the kids laughed. “You’re Moe!”
            I chuckled and quickly wrote my name on a tag and stuck it on my shirt. “There, that’s much better.”
            After that, with everyone properly named, we all had a great time making bead necklaces, playing with play dough and plastic dinosaurs, and building little relationships right there under the fluorescent lights and in a place no one called home.
            Real relationships require someone who knows who you really are. They require your true name.
Nobody wants to be Moe. We know who we really are only when God calls us by name. We find our true names, our true selves in walking intimately with him.
In Isaiah 43:1, God says, “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” And John 10:3 says of Jesus, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.”
            God knows my name. Jesus calls me specifically and leads me. He calls me to walk whole-heartedly with the God who is enough.
            To God, I am not Moe. I am Beloved. I am Daughter. I am Redeemed. I am Precious. He writes my name not on a paper sticker, but on my heart. So, just like Victoria, I don’t need to suck on my fingers and stare at my feet. Instead, I should wear my “name tag” confidently, knowing that only in him will I find who I really am.

            Because I am known by him.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

When God Delays to Death

Hi Friends,

I'm currently working on the chapter about Jairus and his daughter for my new book, Reaching for Wonder (pre-order HERE). Here's a snippet of what I've been thinking about as I ponder those times in life when we pray on time, have faith, and trust God ... and yet God delays and death comes anyway.

Here are some thoughts from the book:

I’ve written a whole book on learning to wait well. I wrote it because I’m terrible at waiting, and every single thing I’ve learned about doing it well has been learned the hard way. It’s been learned like Jairus learned, through what seemed like unnecessary pain, through God’s delays, through deaths and resurrections.
         The problem is, death is hard. A subsequent resurrection doesn’t make the pain of hearing “your daughter’s dead” any easier. It hurts. It chokes. It tears through our very souls.
         Wouldn’t it be better if God came sooner, before the excruciating grief? Wouldn’t it be better if Jesus arrived before the daughter died? If he walked faster, started sooner, didn’t stop and turn away to talk to the bleeding woman? Or wouldn’t it have been better if Jesus healed Jairus’ daughter from afar as he did for others in the gospels?
         But he didn’t. He could have. But Jesus let that girl die.
         Apparently, our happiness is not so high on Jesus’ list of priorities. If it were, he would never delay. He wouldn’t tell us “don’t be afraid, just believe,” because he would work before we had reason to fear.

         But sometimes God delays. Sometimes he allows death to come even when we’ve had faith, we’ve prayed, we’ve come to him in time. And in the delay, before the promises, before resurrection, before we know what will happen next, he asks us to “just believe" ... and we are faced with a choice between faith and "why bother."
          It's not an easy choice. It's harder when everything around us says he's come too late. 
          But if we can wait to be overwhelmed, if we can walk past the mourners and the mockers, if we can allow Jesus to “throw them all out,” then we may just discover, with Jairus, the surprising wonder of  “too late.”

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Taming the Voices Within

Hi Friends,

I've been working on my next book, Reaching for Wonder (now available for pre-order -- yay!). I just finished the chapter on the man with a legion of demons. It got me thinking about what we do with the voices within. Here are some thoughts ...


Few stories are more fascinating than the tale of a man who held a legion of demons. Sometimes when we speak of demons in the New Testament, people want to argue about whether demons are real or if they are but forms of mental illness. Some want to debate how many demons can fit on the head of pin, or in this case, in one poor man. Others want to focus on the question of whether Christians are immune to possession. But no matter the debates, none of us are immune to the voices in our heads. We all know the whispers that arise in our minds when life turns to dark, painful places. All of us can relate to the pressures of insidious thoughts that are not from God and mean only to destroy us. Thoughts that tell us we’re worthless, hated, unable, unfit, unwanted, abandoned, helpless, hopeless, and no one, even God, can redeem us. Thoughts that drive us to actions we despise and cause us to hurt those around us. Voices that build hate and fury, that break community, crush love, and leave us lonely.
         You know those thoughts. You know the chaos they create within you. I do too.
         They drive us from ourselves and from others. But they cannot dirve us from Jesus. The story of the man with a legion of demons tells us that. So I look to this man with thousands of voices screaming for attention in his head, and I wonder … what is it like to encounter Christ with when the voices are so loud you can no longer hear yourself think, or pray, or believe? Can Jesus reach through the voices within? Can he silence them? And in doing so, will we hear the very voice of God?

         Let’s travel with the demoniac to the very edge of the Sea of Galilee. Let us bring our inner voices, the lies we believe and act on, the fears that eat our souls, and see what happens when those voices encounter the living God.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

How Humbling Yourself in Your Time of Need Changes Everything (Guest Post by Tricia Goyer)

Hi Friends,
I wanted to share this blog post by my longtime friend, Tricia Goyer, whose new book, Walk It Out, will be releasing soon. I found her thoughts helpful and inspiring. I hope you do too!
How humbling yourself in your time of need changes everything - Tricia Goyer

How Humbling Yourself Can Change Everything by Tricia Goyer

The other day I was cooking dinner when my six-year-old son rushed into the kitchen. Beads of sweat slid down his red face. “I’m so hot. You never get me anything to drink.”
I stirred my spaghetti sauce with one hand as I turned to him. “Excuse me?”
His voice rose in a full, high-pitched whine. “You never give me anything to drink!” He waved his hands and dropped to the floor.
I took in a breath and then released in, telling myself to keep my voice steady, calm. “I’d be happy to get you a drink. I just need you to ask.”
He kicked his foot against the floor. “But I want a drink now!”
“I know you do.” I peered down at him. “And as soon as you ask the right way I’m happy to get you some ice-cold water.”
And then my son stood, smiled up at me and asked so sweetly for a drink of water … NOT! 
Instead, he whined and fussed more. Finally, I asked him to leave the kitchen.
You know what? He never did ask. In fact, he didn’t get anything to drink until fifteen minutes later when we were sitting down to dinner. He was so bent on complaining and whining—on feeding his discontent—he didn’t want to release his control in order to ask me for help. I would have gladly given him the drink he requested if only he asked in the right away.
Feeding Our Discontent
I wish I could say this is just a little kid issue, but I’ve been there myself. During my teen years I lived in that storm of discontent. I complained when things didn’t go my way. I worried. I fretted. I fought.
I even took matters into my own hands when I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy at age 15. My own fears and worries led me to a choice I now regret—I had an abortion.
It wasn’t until years later, at age 17 when I was pregnant again, that things took a turn for the better. It’s then I humbled myself and turned to God. By this point I realized the whining, complaining, and acting out wasn’t getting me what I wanted or needed.
At six months along, I wrapped my arms around my growing stomach and prayed, “Lord, if you can do anything with my life, please do.”
God showed up big time. He not own gave me Himself (which is the best!), He has also led me on a journey where radical and wonderful things have happened. This has included marrying a wonderful Christian man, having two more kids, starting a crisis pregnancy center, mentoring teen moms, adopting seven more children, and writing over 70 books!
God didn’t just offer me a cup of cool water when I asked. He opened the floodgates of blessing. But it took me humbling myself and seeking Jesus to meet my needs.
This reminds me of a Scripture I was reading just this morning, “I called on your name, LORD, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: ‘Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.’ You came near when I called you, and you said, ‘Do not fear.’ You, Lord, took up my case; you redeemed my life,” Lamentations 5:55-58.
Mumbling, complaining and griping is easy, but they rob us of having our greatest needs met. Yet when we humble ourselves and turn to God, things will change for the better.
When we call to the Lord, He hears us. When we turn to Him, He comes. When we call to Him, He reminds us that He is present and we have no reason to fear. When we place our needs in His court, Jesus redeems our life.
It took a lot to humble me as a teen—two unplanned pregnancies in fact. Yet I’m thankful that I learned back then that when I turn to God He will meet my needs. He will meet them in more wonderful ways than I ever expected.
You can read more about how God can show up radically in your life in the book Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time.
If you pre-order Walk It Out before October 1, you’ll also receive 30 Days of Prayer as You Walk It Out FREE! Details here: http://www.triciagoyer.com/walk-it-out/