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.’”

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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!

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

Misinformation in the Information Age

bible-2690295_1920Lately I find myself bristling almost constantly, there is so much misinformation floating out there and my critical spirit is having a field day.

For instance the misinformation that the media puts out there that semi automatic guns need to be banned and that no one needs to have that kind of gun. Well here is the problem, almost every gun out there, pistol or rifle is semi automatic if it loads the bullet into the chamber for you. It still takes a trigger pull to expel the bullet, not like the images that the media tries to portray that has the average Joe with little firearm knowledge thinking that people have machine guns in their possession.

https://science.howstuffworks.com/semi-automatic-weapon-vs-machine-gun.htm

Another piece of misinformation that is floating out there that raises red flags for me, is that essential oils are toxic to animals. The reality is that we use air fresheners and oils that have alcohol and other things in our homes without a thought and yet essential oils becomes the boogie man. Responsible humans don’t take medication with knowing the dosage of the medication and know that if they use too much it is toxic to their system. That is why there are dilution ratios on essential oils for people, children, babies and pets.

https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-for-pets-a-quick-how-to/

I have a critical spirit and I know I need to keep a tight reign on my thoughts and opinions. However, it has served me well when I come across something that does not sound right or sends up a red flag to my conscience, I then set out to prove the idea wrong. Not with opinion pieces or media claptrap, but with real research. Do I like when my original thought is proven wrong? Heck no, that just feels icky and I try not to have that happen often (smile).

This brings me to the misinformation out there about the Bible. The one thing that really makes my skin crawl other than the name it claim it, prosperity gospel and baptismal regeneration is the idea that the Old Testament is not relevant and you need to focus only on the New Testament (ok there are a lot of philosophies that bother me…so sue me). How can you possibly understand the New Testament without the Old? The NT quotes the OT on a pretty consistent basis. In fact Jesus Himself does it when he confronts the Pharisees and Sadducees because the OT text is what they are supposed to be knowledgeable about. The OT contains The Law and explains the reasons for The Law. It opens the door to understanding how some can draw conclusions about eating certain foods, obeying certain church dogma, the lineage of Jesus, how we can still totally mess it all up and God still loves us like Abraham and David and even Lot. It’s hard to ignore and even harder to explain why someone would want to.

We are called to be disciples of The Word as Jesus tells us in Mark 16:15, “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But how can we do that if we have the wrong information? Don’t we just become a noisy gong or clanging cymbal? The Bible is meant to be a WHOLE book. Not taken in pieces to drive a point home. Not taken out of context to satisfy church dogma, but most certainly used as one instruction manual on how to live our lives and why to live it that way.

Raising A Generation

kid-2603859_1920

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.

So Tired

woman-1006102_1920This post contains affiliate links

I don’t think I can adequately describe how tired I am. Yes, I do have some chronic illness in my life, but this tired is not the kind of exhaustion you feel while battling an illness, this is soul wrenching tired.

I am an only child, and no, I was not spoiled, let’s just get that out-of-the-way. If you met my parents you would know that was impossible. Did I get a little bit more if there was extra money? Yes, but that was only because there was just me. Being an only child was not for lack of trying on my parents part. I know they, most particular my mom, wanted more children, but it wasn’t to be. That lead to my parents being older when they had me. By today’s standards they were still young, but my parents are old souls and over 50 years ago 27 (mom) and 31 ( dad) was considered “very mature” for starting to have children. So with the scene set let me tell you why I am so tired.

My mom has dementia. It wasn’t a surprise, yet how can you ever be prepared to know that your mother is slowly losing her capability to reason. At 79 my mom cannot walk without assistance (power chair and walker), she is significantly stooped over, with a heart condition that began back in her youth, and now she sometimes does not comprehend what you said 2 minutes ago. I will admit that I am impatient on my best days, but this is really testing my mettle. Today, I think I hurt things more than I helped while we were discussing scheduled appointments.

My father, who at 82 and still works full-time as an aerospace engineer (I heard that gasp of surprise, yes full time at 82), I think, is in denial. I know he sees and hears what is happening, but to acknowledge it means that reality becomes not, IF, but WHEN. Part of the fear stems from both of them not knowing for sure that they are going to heaven. Before you ask or berate me, I have tried. I have spoken gently, directly, scripturally, and even to the point of being pushy, but my parents are tough nuts to crack (and I wonder why I become intractable at times). Dealing with my father is a whole different issue. It has been heard that while I am the executrix of my parents will,  they have left everything to my two grown sons. I don’t care about any money or things, but to be passed over in favor of my children proves a point that while I was growing up I never quite measured up. I’ve accepted that fact and I even understand a little where it comes from, but it doesn’t make the sting of that knowledge go away. My dad almost refuses to hear me when I ask them to gather their papers, and to file for power of attorney for medical and financial issues. I am not asking to be named as such, but it needs to be done so that the state does not step in when something happens. It’s been an ongoing battle for awhile now.

All of this to say that I am leaning on God and Proverbs 3:5-6,
“5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Yet, this is HARD and it is wearing me out. Consequently I have been dealing with bouts of depression because no path seems straight. I know that God will work this out and in His perfect timing, but even with that knowledge I am exhausted in mind, body and soul.

I think I am also draining myself looking for ways to help alleviate the discouragement. I am a part of the Young Living family and have been trying to come up with combinations to diffuse or put on the back of my neck, but it’s hard to isolate one symptom to try and ease. I have been scouring The Word and most especially the Psalms to give me perspective. King David’s Psalms have been some comfort as his Psalms run the gamut of human emotions which has been my life lately. Each way helps, yet when I am not actively doing them the depression settles in and sometimes takes root for a whole day. Lately it has been coming in waves and since Thanksgiving has been almost crippling at times. I will get past this, but in God’s timing. I feel this is my season of refinement and I am bucking the system.

My husband has been a wonderful support, but I fear that I will wear him out too and that would not be fair. So for now I have to hold on to the scripture I mentioned before and, Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” and Philippians 4:6-7, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” and most especially verse 8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Recipe For Marriage

12524327_1008648415876985_7798880142393794622_nMy husband and I are going on an adventure for the weekend. Not because our marriage needs work, not because we need to get away, but because we want to go and we sincerely enjoy being together. Oh yeah and the fact that the time between Black Friday and New Year is very busy for my husband and I will not see him much, might have a bit to do with it.

We both marvel at how many marriage seminars, weekends and workshops that are dedicated to marriage and yet we don’t attend. That’s not to say that at one point we needed so much more than just one of these marital strengthening events, but we have found our “groove” finally and for us marriage is fairly easy.

We learned how to talk about the hard stuff, that sometimes we need to go to neutral corners before we can discuss something and find a solution, that we need to present a united front in dealing with our children, that our needs as a married couple need to come before that of our children and that our boys are not our whole world, that there are days that one or both of us are just “off” and it’s just better not to make a major decision at this time.

All these things came to us because of a severe trial that found us almost divorced sharing our children every other weekend and nowhere close to having a relationship with Jesus.

I say all this because don’t think that the next seminar, speech, DVD series, weekend is going to be the panacea that will make your marriage great. What it WILL is to take is an honest look into your own heart because we each are the biggest problem in our marriages, a sincere effort on both your parts and faith in Jesus Christ.

Is It Good Doctrine

 

bible-428947_1920As a new believer I was once told that I had to be able to speak in tongues to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. That was some of the most damaging words that anyone could have spoken to a new believer like me, in my opinion, and could have seriously derailed my faith and walk.

There are other beliefs out there that I think could also be just as damaging and could stumble a brother or a sister. It happens when one small piece of scripture is used to build doctrine around. I am not saying that the sincerity or earnestness of those who believe as this, and they are doubtless quite honest and well intentioned in what they claim. However, there is still deception in the thought process.

One of these is the filling of the Holy Spirit only happens if a believer speaks in tongues.  This belief creates a good bit of division in the church. Jesus never once told us that we had to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit within us. We receive the Holy Spirit the moment we believe and the filling of the Holy Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. Jesus told us that He would give us another comforter/helper, John 14:16-17 ” I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” There are no conditions that you must speak in tongues first anywhere in scripture.

Another one that puzzles me is that to complete your salvation you must be baptized. Many think that when Peter tells the Jews, who are asking how they can make their evil deed right, to repent and be baptized in Acts 2 that one must be baptized to be saved. Peter is speaking to the Jews who crucified Jesus and he is telling them that they must repent first and then be baptized since baptism is an outward sign of an inward change. Jews were not known to be baptized, so this was a big deal and a sign to all that they had changed. Further on in the verse it also proves that you don’t have to speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit because Peter says, ” ……. Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Many of these misconceptions come from teaching that takes something so simple and tweaks it to fit man’s ideas. Such as calling out over a person with an ailment, “And by His stripes you will be healed!”  It’s true by His stripes we have been healed because, “But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Jesus paid the price for our salvation and making statements that don’t line up exactly with scripture, but kind of do, can damage a person’s walk and their faith. Lately it looks like we are raising generations of backsliders and I believe that this kind of teaching is a glaring example of why it is happening. Context is everything!

Message From ME

messageYears ago I wrote something similar when Sandy Hook occurred and I have resurrected it at times. Today I revised it after reviewing my post from yesterday.

You have chosen to remove Me from, just about, every place where I can most certainly be of service. You have turned away from Me because you can do so well on your own. However,  when a day comes that tests you or if you are a believer, tests your faith, you ask Me, “Where were You God?” I’ll tell you where I was…..I held the hand of the little girl as she lay in a hospital taking her last breath and whispered to her that everything would be OK and that she would be with Me soon. I wrapped my arms around the mother who lost her only child to a violent act and held her while she cried. I strengthened the resolve and provided a way of escape while a man battled temptation and then I watched and placed a hedge of protection around those who protect you and the freedoms you enjoy, those who will face down evil in a country that is not their own, on a street where they fear the next person they encounter will be the one to end their lives, or who run into a burning building to save the family pet.

Yes, I have watched, my heart breaking as a man who is unstable carry out a horror that resided in his head and I made sure that he took only those whom I needed home. I have watched as a young girl took back her will and made the choice to stick a needle in her arm for the last time, and I cried bitter tears as one of Mine chose to come home before My plan for them was completed.

Now in your infirmities and fear you are finally looking to Me and asking everyone to pray. Why now? Why not yesterday, why not tomorrow? But this panic and want for comfort will fade and again you will only remember Me when it gets hard, or you will rail at Me when you don’t understand My plan.

Evil exists in the world you have created and yet many blame Me for the choices of man, wanting Me to stop what you have done. I have asked many times over that you come to Me of your own free will and yet you refuse. You scoff and complain that I don’t exist, that I should not be allowed in the places I can do the most good. My only Son’s birth shall not be displayed because, “not everyone believes in that stuff,” and forget mentioning Me in mixed company because someone might be offended. Then a reminder of the barbarity of the human race, inhumanity is displayed, or corruption begins to brew, and you ask Me “Where are You?” I am here watching and waiting for you to come to Me and making sure that no matter how bad it gets, you can go on.