Rumination

worried-girl-413690_1920I sit here and sometimes I can’t believe how bad things have gotten. I haven’t wanted to write because it seems if you share an opinion that does not follow lockstep with the loud verbose “I’m following the science and you are selfish” side you are berated sometimes to the point of not caring to talk to anyone.

It is heartbreaking how much more mean we have become since we put on masks. Oh things were bad before because of who is president, but the minute that we were forced to put on masks the more perfidious we have come to be.

Yes, I said forced to wear masks. We have been forced by science and a media that can’t seem to decide what is the best way to combat this virus, but would very much like us to stay in a fearful state and believe that they are the only ones that are going to save us. Ronald Reagan once said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” He was right. People that I never thought would bow to tyranny are willing to put their convictions, morals and even spiritual beliefs on pause or suspend them all together and it scares me!

I have been called selfish, uncaring, small minded, vicious, told that if I had friends before this I shouldn’t after, told that I should not call myself a Christian, that I care for no one but myself and the list goes on. Some of those were from people I thought were friends. I have to be very careful who I talk to and what I say to them, not because I am telling secrets or that I am bad mouthing anyone….it’s because I have a differing opinion. It hurts my heart and drains my soul. I can’t disagree with anyone I know, because I get called those things or the relationship is damaged, so I become a keyboard warrior with people I don’t know and don’t have any relationship with and even then find myself just walking away because it’s too damaging.

I decided to come here and write out some of my thoughts and the heck with the consequences.

1). Why is it that if lockdowns were so successful that the curve did not flatten much faster? Even with partial compliance it should have effected the virus at a much faster rate than it did.

2.) If masks worked why has there been an uptick in cases? Even with 60% compliance that shouldn’t have happened, or at least to the degree that they would like us to believe that there were.

3). My time is determined here on earth. It is not going to change because a virus has decided to change the way we all live life.

4). We all have a 50/50% chance of getting it; either we will or we won’t.

5). We are teaching our children to be afraid of their own shadows, that fear fuels life.

6). We are teaching our children that being mean and calling each other names is the way to behave.

7). We are teaching our children that violent protests are good. That rioting is ok to get your point across.

8). We are teaching our children that the government should run our lives and that they aren’t there to govern, but to tell us what to do, when to do it and how to do it (wow that was so incredibly frightening to type).

9). I do care about you even if I don’t want to wear a mask. In fact I care more about you than you do about me. I don’t want to force my beliefs on you, but you sure want me to comply with yours. You are scared and I get that and I have no problem if you think the mask makes you safer, go right ahead and wear it. I promise not to sneeze, cough, or spit on you at all. But please be aware that I do pick up things in the store to look at them and I may not have hand sanitized while walking in.

10). I care that you do not want to go where people are, stay home that is the best place for you. There are thousands of podcasts, video teachings, live stream events if you wish to “go to church” or even concerts. I care so much that if I don’t go my mouth may once again run away with me and I will not be kind nor will I be nice next time you impugn my character.

11). Why are we so afraid to use medicines that have shown efficacy in doctor’s practices simply because the president said it worked. (please do not use the argument that it has side effects. So does Tylenol for goodness sakes)?

12) Why is it that my moral character is constantly called into question because I am not willing to put my reliance on people like Dr. Fauci who was found to not be wearing his mask, along with his wife who is a nurse and bioethicist who serves as the head of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, at a baseball game? Or when he told us masks don’t work, or that he has a stake in one of the pharmaceutical companies that makes a medicine that is far more expensive and may help.

There are so many more things I could ask or say, but they all circle back to the some of the others. I don’t go out much anymore because it’s not worth ridicule, viciousness, and fear surrounding me all the time.  I’m tired of trying to speak out, I am tired of trying to fight an uphill battle. However, one thing those that are perpetuating the kind of malevolent behavior or wallowing in fear need to be aware of…..I think there are many more of “me” than there are of “you” and I don’t think you are going to like the outcome come November or when God takes His people home .

 

(any nasty, rude or verbally abusive comments will be removed without warning)

What Were You Expecting?

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So I have been forced this last week and a half to slow down. I had surgery on my toe to replace the joint in my big toe. Yes, they can do it, no I didn’t know it was an option either till just recently. There have been disadvantages to it and advantages too. I learned that I can get wrapped up in nonsense, be it the tv or Facebook or Instagram easily and that naps make it hard for me to fall asleep at night.

What? You were expecting some Brainiac insights into my character, or the world today? Ok well here are a few…..

When you say you are going to pray for someone, do you really do it?
If someone asked you who you were would “child of God” top the list or is it further down than it should be?
Do you truly stand on scripture or do you massage it to fit the “modern day view”?
Do you listen to too many podcasts by teachers who only have a message instead of teaching verse by verse and read too many other things instead of the source material?
Is it more important to you to be the “cool kid” on earth instead of the saint in heaven?
If you stood before God right now and He asked, “My child what did you do with the talents I gave you and the gifts that were yours?” What would you say? What could you say?

We are so much closer to Jesus returning than we ever have been in history, but we are also further from the cross than we need to be to hear, “Well done good and faithful servant.”  I plan to do something about that…I am just not sure what it will look like yet.

Frayed

stress-2061408_1280“I’m Tired I’m worn
My heart is heavy
From the work it takes
To keep on breathing
I’ve made mistakes
I’ve let my hope fail
My soul feels crushed
By the weight of this world…

I know I need to lift my eyes up
But I’m too weak
Life just won’t let up
And I know that you can give me rest
So I cry out with all that I have left”

These two verses from the song Worn by Tenth Avenue North are really about how I have been feeling lately. I seem to keep saying, “I don’t like people…” I add today in there, but it has gotten to the point that it’s not just today.

Even people who normally would be those I would consider friends have either disappointed me or just plain ticked me off.

Just the other day I got caught in the crossfire of a power struggle between two people and got seriously wounded.  I never thought I would be spoken to by this one person in the manner that they spoke to me, and I most certainly did not deserve it. I was trying to simply do what I was told to do. It reminded me of my car accident several years ago, I did everything right, but still wound up with a totaled car and an injury that would later cause me to have surgery.

The funny thing is, this all happened in church. Now I know you cannot expect perfection when you put a bunch of sinners under one roof. It can sometimes look like a refuge camp at Sinner Town with the same attitude of a toddler who hasn’t had a nap. However, for quite awhile now I don’t feel like I can do much right and it makes me not want to step out and serve for fear of snap back.

Yes, I am fragile in the feelings department. Living day to day has become a little harder than I expected. Slowly losing my parents, still trying to raise my adult children, and losing bits and pieces of me with each surgery or malady that comes along, it makes for someone who is easily hurt or angered depending on the day.

But I am tired, I am worn…and I am crying out with all I have left.

People are just messy.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That

quotes-933816_1920I haven’t had any time to sit down and write at all really, as evidenced by this blog. Life seems to be swirling at an unimaginable pace and I am having a hard time keeping up.

My mother is disappearing at a rapid pace. The dementia is evident most days. She is always looking for confirmation from my father when telling a story or relating information. She also asks the same questions many times even in one conversation. It’s hard to watch and difficult to not lose my patience.

My father went in for his third cardio version. I DO NOT like his cardiologist, but he does and refuses to listen to any of our concerns about the treatment he is receiving.  This particular doctor does not like women much, so when my husband asked a question, she began speaking solely to him forgetting that my mother and I were in the room. She also discussed my father’s condition in a waiting room with others present (a clear violation of HIPPA) and then proceeded to tell us she missed the window to see my father’s heart back in sinus rhythm after his last cardio version. Really lady? It was 6 months ago, how big of a window do you need?

My sons are facing challenges in the adult world that I as a mother would like to make go away, but they are grown and I can’t. We always thought that the hardest challenges came while they were in school with their learning difference, but I think this season is much more difficult.

Then there is my mission trip to China on the horizon. I feel totally ill equipped to do what I am being called to do. Wrapping my head and my focus around what is needed to reflect Jesus in my words and deeds and still be able to help teach spoken English at camp is a daunting task to me. Praise God for friends and family that are helping, but I really need the help of the Holy Spirit and divine intervention to get me through.

Isaiah 41:10 
“‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’”

Lost Innocence

Columbine1.jpgNineteen years ago today I was 2,000 physical miles away and what I thought was a lifetime from my graduation in 1984. I was raising two little boys who weren’t quite 4 yet and trying to navigate married with a hefty dose of motherhood. Cell phones were not the huge thing that they are now, but my oh so elegant flip phone rang and my mom was on the other end. I was a bit panicked hearing her voice because we usually only used cell phones for emergencies. She asked me where I was and I said I had been shopping for clothes for the boys as they were growing so fast. She told me to turn on the radio because a shooting had happened at Columbine. That was the day that 13 souls were lost and as an alumni I lost a piece of my innocence.

Yes, I went to Columbine. I graduated in 1984 almost 15 years before two young men went on a rampage and killed 13 people, wounded 20 others and eventually killed themselves. I had only lived in Colorado for 5 years and moved back to Pennsylvania, where I was originally from, two years after graduating. My high school years had a huge impact on my life and I treasured my time at Columbine. In the time it took for those two young men to slaughter those 13, a piece of what I had thought was a safe and comforting place had been taken and as I said my naiveté had been stripped away.

It’s still hard when people talk about what high school they graduated from and they turn to you and you say, “Columbine” and the gasps and the, “THAT Columbine?” is what comes next. Yes, THAT Columbine. The place is not evil. The principle Mr. Frank DeAngelis, the community and the alumni worked diligently to help remove the stain that colored responses when the name was mentioned. April 20th became a day of service, where we were steadfast in stretching out our hands to those who needed to heal and it helped us all in the process.

However, today I am angry. I, like the many other alumni, are angered at the March for Lives movement that have co-opted a day when the Columbine community comes together to heal just a little bit more, for their political and fame garnering agenda.  Parkland Florida students who admittedly were bullies themselves are protesting on the anniversary of Columbine. Let’s be honest it has NOTHING to do with healing or change and everything to do with a political agenda and what will get them the most publicity.

I have to work not to let my anger become vengeful and move from righteous indignation. Go march on Washington DC where any change you want to affect will have to come from, check your true motivations and take a hard look at your heart if you really want things to be different, but don’t take away the modicum of peace that a community has worked for to further your agenda.

 

His Timing

pocket-watch-1637396_1920I am not very good about waiting on God’s timing. I tend towards feeling like it needs to be my timing not His. This is proving to be especially difficult raising support for my mission trip to China.

I prayed hard about this one. The first time I went on a mission trip with my son was 4 years ago and it was to Swaziland. I had felt the pull for missions back then, but told God that I didn’t want to go to Africa. Yeah you guessed it, I went to a little country in Africa. It was an experience I will never forget, but I really needed to rely on God and His timing as we had to raise enough support for TWO people that time.

I felt a call again to the short term mission field last year and my husband and I thought it was for us to go to Swaziland together, but God shut that door pretty definitively early on in the process. The trip to China kept coming up even after the Swaziland door was shut, but in typical fashion for me I ignored it. Then one day at our church the forms to start the process for China were on a table with people answering questions there. My husband picked up a set of forms for himself, so being the dutiful wife that I am, I grabbed a set too. My husband found out that missions would be incredibly difficult for him to get time off for, but he was willing to keep trying, just China this year would not be his trip. I don’t know why really, but I filled out the forms. Then I said to my husband I was going to have to come up with $100 to send it all in. He looked at me with this funny look on his face and said “I still have a $100 from the money your parents gave us for Christmas. I haven’t been able to spend it, now I know why!” So the forms got sent in. I believed that I wasn’t going to be accepted to go on the trip and I was ok with that. Low and behold I got an email shortly after that if I could raise the funds I was going to China to teach English to the Chinese students in their summer camp.

I will be partnering with Bridging the World,  so they set up me support page and I had to move out of my comfort zone and send out support letters. That is one of the worst parts for me (aside from waiting on His timing). I am an introvert at heart who has been forced to be an extrovert. I sent out a bunch of letters and I waited. I would check my page periodically, but not much happening other than the first donation from my other son to help me start off. Then one morning I was praying and I said, “God if I am not supposed to go, can you please shut the door now, because I am really discouraged.” I went down and checked my page and friends of ours had given a substantial amount of money. I was floored! It was almost as if I had said, “Can you do it, God?” and He said, “Watch this!”

I am now down to the wire. I have 75% of my support raised, but I need another $800 before the end of May. There are only about 15 1/2 more weeks before we leave for China. I know that if I am to go the money will come in, but waiting on His timing is not my strong suit as I have said so me catching myself worrying is not unusual lately. My husband has always said, “Worry is a poor excuse for prayer.” I think I am going to be praying A LOT!

Is It All About Me?

ball-and-chain-2624325_1920So many things have been conspiring to keep me from the things that I know I should do and the things that I want to do. Wind storms and snow storms and just life in general in our family. However, there has been one thing that keeps coming up for me, rattling around in my brain and just being a general nuisance.

My husband, not too long ago, said that he felt a calling to be a pastor, that he had been studying as if that was the path he was to take. My first thought was, “No way!” I don’t feel that I am pastor’s wife material. I am not soft-spoken, and I usually plow through things like a bull in a china shop, I am very blunt and I don’t suffer fools gladly. Plus if you hurt my husband I will come at you like a hurricane.

I am still resistant. My husband and I will be married 25 years in May. We have raised two children with special needs and for at least 8 years of our marriage my husband was an alcoholic. He has been sober for 10 years, Praise God, but for most of that 10 years we have worked to repair what the devil took from us. I just really got my husband back in the last three years or so, and I don’t want to give him up. We can now leave our children for a short time and know that the house will still be standing and the dog will still be alive. We have intense discussions about scripture that I never anticipated would be our traveling conversations. We can even be in the same room doing different things and be content to be in each other’s presence. I don’t want to give that up, and right now I can’t see what I might gain if I do give it up.

But then the guilt washes over me. Who am I to stifle his calling? I am reminded of Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Am I a stumbling block? I know I am an obstacle. That is when I become conflicted. Is it truly that I don’t feel the same calling on our lives, or is it all about me?

The conflict becomes worse when I consider the fact that he has been completely supportive of the mission trips I have made and am working towards. He has never stepped in my way unless he knew that it would cause harm to me in any way. Then I reason that these are short-term mission trips, not the rest of our lives. The verses that keep popping into my head, but still have not sunk in are Philippians 2:3-5, ” 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, ” yeah I have a lot of work to do and some serious self-examination. Wish me luck and pray for me.

 

I Am Called Where?

china letter headingIt never occurred to me that the Lord would have me on this path ever again, yet here I am, and I want to share with you the plans that He has for me this summer.

I am going to be participating in a short-term mission trip to China to teach English to Chinese students! The trip is planned for July 26th to August 12th, and to be able to participate I will have to raise $2900. This money will cover all my costs which include air transportation to and from China and all costs for room, board, travel and fees while in China.

This adventure will provide me, Lord willing, with opportunities to share my faith and make friends with the Chinese students so that they will see the Love of Christ through me. We will be teaching each morning and then participating in various activities in the afternoon and evening, which I pray, will open doors and that I, through the strength of the Holy Spirit, will walk boldly through.

Just as this will be a team effort in China, it will also be a team effort here, back home. Myself and the team will most assuredly need prayer as we prepare to travel to China and while we are there. Prayer for opportunities, both spoken and unspoken to share our faith, that we hide ourselves behind the cross and that the Chinese students see Him and not us, that connections will be made to further His cause and that everyone stays healthy and safe. In addition, I will need financial support to walk this path that God has placed me on. You can mail a check made out to my church, Calvary Chapel Chester Springs (217 Dowlin Forge Rd, Exton, PA 19341) with my name, “Elaine Babcock” and “China Missions Trip” in the memo line. There is also an online option at Bridging the World via Paypal. Just look for my name on the left-hand side of the page.

I am so excited to see what the Lord has in store for me and the whole team this summer! In the book of Romans 8:28 it is said, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Thank you for helping me fulfill His purpose as I embark on this journey. I will keep you updated on the status of the trip and how the Lord uses this in my life. God Bless!

Yours in Christ,
Elaine Babcock

Measure and Purpose of a Super Bowl Win

sports-2454766_1920I have been a bit distressed this past week or so. I live in Eagles country. No not the flying type, the football type. I admittedly am not a football fan and I refused to even watch one game this year the moment that some players “took a knee”.  I don’t know many other people who get to protest or show blatant disrespect while on the clock, but that is a whole other kettle of fish.

My distress this week has been many Christians trying to justify the Super Bowl win simply because first Wentz and then Foles were recorded giving glory to God. Do not misunderstand, I think that is wonderful and even more encouraging is that their coach is giving glory to The Creator, but what is distressing to me is the articles and memes that say that they won simply because there are Christians in their midst.

Quoting verses like Isaiah 40:31, Yet those who wait for the Lord Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.” To mount up like eagles is the measure of the strength the Lord gives us and to run and not grow tired and walk and not grow weary is the purpose of the strength. It has NOTHING to do with the Philadelphia Eagles winning the Super Bowl!

I am ecstatic that players and coaches are being bold and proclaiming the Lord on television and in interviews. That is as it should be in a world where debauchery and idol worship is encouraged. However, what would have happened if the Eagles had lost? Would there still be memes and articles justifying the loss? Would the quote from Isaiah still be used? I don’t think the noise would be so deafening proclaiming their spiritual life had they lost.

It reminds me a bit of the “name it claim it” churches. If you pray hard enough then you will get “it”. If you don’t get “it” then you didn’t pray hard enough, your faith isn’t strong enough or someone wasn’t in agreement with your prayers. So would the Eagles not have been Christian enough if they had lost?

As Christians we have a responsibility to not pass along the wrong kind of message. It is awesome that Wentz became a positive influence in the locker room and on the field and that Foles and the Quarterback coach could proclaim the name of Jesus boldly and give glory to God on National television and in interviews. But let’s not use Isaiah as proof that they were destined to win, because they could have just as easily have lost, and yet God would’ve still used it for His glory.

Raising A Generation

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I haven’t been able to write lately. I am not sure why it happened, nor have I found a solution to help the next time it happens. It could very well be because I have so much going on in my head that to try and “put pen to paper” it daunting to say the least, or it could be that I am just lazy…..pick one I won’t be offended.

What spurred me on to write today is something that I lament about since my children were originally raised Catholic till they were at least 11 and then accepted Jesus at a Skillet concert when they had an alter call. That’s not the part I lament about, I regret that while I raised my children to know Jesus they did not accept Him as their Lord and Savior until they were almost in their teens. I see other mothers at church who pride-fully tell you that their children accepted Jesus at 3. The mothers and fathers read article upon article about raising children so that they flourish in their faith as adults, or are so worried that they are being indoctrinated in the ways of the world if they go to public school (and in some instances in private and parochial schools). Then I think all I wanted was for my kids to love Jesus and for me to be an example of someone who took the sacrifice that He made seriously.

I wonder if too much pressure is put on children and then later on we find that we have a generation of prodigals or backsliders. There is nothing wrong with having them learn verses and be able to recite them, or if you home school teaching lessons about stories in the Bible, however I think the panic that is sometimes expressed that one lesson or practice in school or club or group will undo everything that you have taught them so far.

My boys were not necessarily evangelists in the sense that they could preach the gospel chapter and verse to their unsaved friends, but they most assuredly could reach out in a way that worked for them. My one son was a disciple by simply sharing Christian music with his friends. The kids that were listening to Nicki Minaj, Adele and Ed Sheeran were exposed to Skillet, Thousand Foot Krutch, and Need to Breathe. They realized that the music was good even if “that Jesus dude is mentioned” My other son would sit at lunch and read his Bible. He didn’t speak much and never forced anyone to listen to scripture, but by his example he was discipling in the manner that worked for him. The kicker is that my boys attended public school from the time they were 5 till they graduated from High School and very little of what we tried to instill in them was undone in any lesson. I won’t say that clarification wasn’t needed or enforcement of what we believed versus the world, but their faith was not shaken and their resolve was not lessened.

That does not mean that my kids have not made epic mistakes……then again we all have even the saved at an early age (your epicness might not reach the heights of mine or vice versa), but the ability to return “to the fold” was what they knew and what they did. So maybe the key is to lighten up a little, work with their strengths, teach them how to turn a secular teaching into a way to praise God and pray instead of worrying, because worry is a poor excuse for prayer.