Rina Gratz

WHO IS YOUR FAMILY & WHERE ARE YOU FROM? 

With a nod to George Ella Lyon, Kentucky writer and teacher…. 

I am from sugarcane and sweltering heat

From rice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert 

I am from skirt hems that kiss the knees 

That bent reverently on Sundays and at bedtime. 

I am from serial-sneezing Victorina and the son 

She bribed with five cents to stay behind. 

I am from Paz, serene like her name, 

And Teresita who felt her Mama’s protection from the soldiers. 

I am from the yellow juices dribbling down my arm 

As I bite into this most divine, tender, and sweet fruit. 

I am from chasing after sirens, 

From Sikorsky helicopters and military court martials

to identifying arteries, veins, and muscles. 

From My Big Fat Jewish Catholic Wedding 

To menorahs and Christmas trees. 

I am from 24-hour plane rides halfway around the world, 

And unauthorized toddlers barging into first class. 

I am from sage on the stage to guide on the side. 

I am from broken and lost to beauty from ashes. 

I am from pride and self-reliance to radically rescued daughter 

Who will never recover. 

 

DO YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE BIBLE VERSE? 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

It’s as if Jesus is directly speaking to me saying, ‘Hey Rina, rest easy. Be still and know that I am God and you are my most precious creation, but you are not God. You don’t have to know all the plans I have for you right now because I do! One day at a time, invite me to walk with you. My love is enough. Just know that your best is what I desire.’ I love that! 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FLOWER? 

I love ALL flowers, though I cannot grow them to save my life. My passion is orchestrating them into beautiful arrangements. They are like these gorgeous, sweet kisses from God and looking at them gives me so much joy. But my favorite flower has to be the orchid. I grew up with them, so they remind me of tropical rainforests. They are so widespread with thousands of unique species, and they thrive all over the world.

WHAT ENCOURAGES YOU PERSONALLY? 

When I can get out of my own self-absorption and be a blessing to others instead. Hearing God’s word in a whole new way because of circumstances in my life and of those I love. Hugs from my boys. Parallel crossword-solving with my hubby. Breakthroughs in relationships. A good night’s sleep. 

SHARE SOME OF THE JOURNEY THAT LED TO THIS CURRENT SEASON OF LIFE. 

God has poured tremendously into our lives for a very long time. It took a long time for him to convince me that I am ready for the work that he has planned for me because he will equip me, and not because I have somehow gotten myself qualified. 

He has also told me that he has made me to be an encourager. I’m excited about that because I love people and hope is much-needed these days. 

WHAT IN LIFE KEEPS YOU BUSY? DO YOU EVER STRUGGLE WITH BEING TOO BUSY? 

Work, work, work. All the time! It’s gotten better, but I’m a work in progress for sure! 

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU PAUSE AND RELAX? 

Guilty pleasures: HGTV, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, hugging my boys (when they still let me). Have full-on conversations with Jesus. (Hey this is the way HE wired me!) 

Sometimes I have to be forced to pause and relax, like in a yurt in the middle of the Red River Gorge. That was fun! 

IF YOU HAD ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD BE ON YOUR “TO-DO” LIST? 

A Mark 2:1-12 ministry. I am passionate about helping to bring the wounded (hey that’s all of us, in one way or another) to the feet of Jesus. It’s how he met me where I was and invited me into right relationship with him, once and for all. Others had the courage to carry me on the mat to him first.

David McKinley