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.

Birth Pangs

earth-405096_1920So we are told in Matthew 28:6-8, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” If these times are the beginnings of  birth pangs then please someone give us an epidural!

I start each day thinking that it can’t get much worse. That somehow overnight the world will have awakened to the depravity and sorrow that it brings upon itself, and each day I am disappointed a little bit more. In the book of Mark 8:36-37, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? 37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” It’s almost as if our souls are leaking out bit by bit and yet some are not even aware or just don’t care.

The church is becoming complicit in letting quite a few things slide too just so that they can say that Jesus is love and they are showing the love of Jesus. We as Christians should be doing as Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” But yet what seems to be happening in churches all over is more of what Paul goes on to tell Timothy is verses 3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Ministry leaders, deacons, elders and in some cases are even allowing or letting slide behaviors and choices that go directly against The Word of God because it’s easier or the church needs to be relevant.

When did we move so far away from God and so close to the fiery pit? We were warned and what makes me sad is we are, even as Christians, choosing to be of this world not just in it. (And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2)

Wounding Reply

SpeechWhat do you do when all you did was try and offer a little comfort and maybe a different perspective on looking at a situation and all you get back is hate and anger? I got a belly full of it today and it was completely undeserved.

A fellow believer mentioned that her parent had cancer and a brain tumor and was going to be having surgery of which he had a 50% chance of survival. I know how it can be so easy to focus on the 50% that means death, my mom was very ill while I was growing up and I lived with the thought that the next heart attack could be her last. That was extremely hard for a young girl to live with. Imagine being 7 years old and your mother falls on the floor unconscious, you try everything you know to revive her, and your father is at work (no cell phones then) over 20 miles away. Or being 4 years old and the only way your mom can play with you is from her hospital bed in the middle of the living room. So I know sorrow, I know being scared and I know hurt, and now I am struggling with the mortality of my parents yet again, but yet I was the target of a really nasty reply to my message of focusing on the 50% chance of living and being concerned about his salvation because if he knows Jesus the battle is already won.

I was called a bully, that I obviously never learned that people go through these feelings in any psychology class. I was accused of finding people’s faults instead of sharing the good news of Christ like a good Christian would. It hurt! I didn’t think I did anything to deserve that emotional vomit. It was as if someone poured acid all over me because they were hurting.

This whole incident has really made me think how it feels when I lash out at those who don’t deserve it. I know we operate in a meat suit and it’s hard not to let emotions get the best of us, but to completely unload on someone who meant nothing but good and certainly no harm…..where is the love in that?

Now I get to lick my wounds, overhaul where my attentions will be today and try make sure that my words follow Colossians 4:6, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.”

Creating A Happy Place

Lately as I said before I haven’t been wanting to write. The world and the people in it have been breaking my heart and I become angry and sad all at once. I know it’s not right to lash out and the sorrow keeps me from saying much also.

So to keep myself busy I have been creating graphics that can be used on blogs, Facebook and Instagram. I am a photographer and decided that I wasn’t all that thrilled with what was out there and I liked my photos better, so I have been designing and producing my own. However, I think there are and will be plenty to go around so, help yourself to a download or two,

My Graphics

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made Part 2

The boysHere I was a new mommy with two baby boys and I had no clue how I was going to do this. I am an only child so I never got to practice on siblings. I did babysit from the time I was 12 years old till I was in my 20’s so I wasn’t unaware of how to take care of a baby, but not a baby that was related to and depended on me for everything and that I couldn’t give back at the end of the night.

There were distinct differences between my guys. DM had a lighter complexion and lighter, curly hair with blue eyes and DT had dark stick straight hair with a much darker complexion and brown eyes. DM was more prone to laugh, ate quickly and was hungry all the time, yet took forever to burp. DT was turtle slow eating, not as happy and would burp like a champ as soon as you sat him up.

We knew something was really different with DT as the days and weeks moved on. He did not want to be cuddled, he got really angry, would stiffen up and lay out like a board, screamed a lot and did not like to go anywhere. The word Autism had entered my mind, but it wasn’t something I really wanted to entertain. I had such a rough pregnancy and then the growth difference I thought maybe I had done something to cause this.

As the boys grew the difference became truly evident. DT reached his milestones except for talking, but he just didn’t like people. DT did not talk till he was 2 years old because he had been tongue-tied and the previous pediatrician had not listened to me thinking I was a panicky mom. I then had both boys tested at that age and we found out that DT had Asperger’s (a form of autism that is no longer considered on the spectrum). My husband worked long hours and I was at home with the two boys, trying to be a good mom and failing miserably and was just told that DT was not “normal”. What had I done wrong? I shoved that question aside even though sometimes today it lingers in the back of my mind and researched how best to aid DT in his life journey.

We got DT help so that he could eventually enter kindergarten alongside of his brother. He was slow to learn things, but praise God he fell into the category of mid-high functioning Asperger’s. He could learn, but at a much slower pace, however his social interactions were awkward and difficult. Then when the boys entered first grade, DM was also diagnosed as having high functioning Asperger’s. I sat across from the teachers and specialists at the school that day as they told us the testing results, not saying a word as the tears streamed down my face. Now I know I had done something wrong while I was pregnant. Maybe I hadn’t completely complied with the rules and regulations that they had imposed on me. Maybe because we had originally thought that we didn’t want children my boys were going to suffer the consequences. I didn’t know how we were going to function as a family and most importantly how I was going to function as a mother. I shoved it aside and plowed into finding a way to aid both boys in their life journey, hoping to help them learn the lessons they needed.

An Asperger’s diagnosis is not the end of the world, it seemed that way, but I was the one who learned the lessons. As time progressed I was taught that it was nothing I did during my pregnancy that made the boys have Asperger’s, I was given the gift of these two boys because I was able to eventually see that it isn’t a disease to be cured, it isn’t a handicap to be pitied, it’s a difference and we all have differences, just some are more evident than others.

I learned that I got to be the mom of two of the most intelligent young men in the areas of music, airplanes, race cars, history and gaming. I learned that social interactions are scary and hard and some people actually need to be taught how to “work a room” or how to say hello to a pretty girl. I learned that my sarcasm is lost on people who only understand concrete concepts. I learned what frustration is really like when an assignment is given and your child not only doesn’t want to do their homework, but refuses to do it. I learned that noodles could kill a fellow because of their texture. But the most important lesson I learned is what love and loyalty look like on the faces of your children.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

2fearfullyandwonderfullyThis is not a story I tell often, the reason is that I get frowns and questions that I can’t exactly answer, so it’s easier to not tell it at all.

I have two grown sons, they are fraternal twins, but they were a work of God from the very beginning. Over 22 years ago I was not feeling well for several days, but we were supposed to travel to Oklahoma in October to help my sister-in-law move back here. We headed out, but food and I were not getting along. We reached our destination packed my SIL up and enjoyed a day or two of visiting. While we were there I got what I thought was my monthly cycle, but it was horrendous cramps and only lasted a day (no details it’s a bit gory) which was unusual for me. We returned home and life resumed its natural progression.

November came; I was fairly regular with my cycle so when it didn’t show up on or even close to my time I went to the drug store. Two EPTs later (I didn’t believe the first one) I realized I was pregnant. My husband and I had pretty much decided that children were not in our future. I was a cervical cancer survivor and wasn’t sure I could have children and we were content just to be us. That old adage, “Man plans, God laughs” most certainly applies to us. At my three-month checkup I said to my ob/gyn, “Are you sure there is only one baby in there because I am already in maternity clothes and I have almost popped?” The doctor assured me that because I did not have any of the markers for a multiple pregnancy that there had to be only one, “Besides we only hear one heartbeat, no matter where we place the Doppler.” Back then they didn’t do ultrasounds early on you waited until your 20th week.

Shortly before I was 20 weeks another doctor in the practice measured my fundus and with wide eyes told me that I was pretty big. She called and got me in with the ultrasound doctor that day. My husband is a former Army Ranger with the 101st Airborne, he was a big bad Army man and at that ultrasound I swore he was going to  pass out, because the untrasound doc decided to play a little joke on us (mostly my husband as I could see the screen better than he could). “Oh look there’s one head, there’s two, oh look, three, oh my maybe four!” My husband went pale white! When the doc saw this he yelled, “No no no there’s only two!” We were having twins! I wanted to punch the first doctor I the nose and say, “See I told you I was awfully big!”

I had a rough time carrying the boys and wound up on complete bedrest for the last 13 weeks of my pregnancy. But the part that we don’t discuss often is that at each ultrasound after 20 weeks the boys measured significantly different. Baby “B” was measuring 3 weeks older than Baby “A”. I delivered at what they assumed was 36 weeks, Baby “A” weighed in at 5lbs even and Baby “B” weighed a whopping 6lbs 14oz. Upon further scrutiny it was found that Baby “B” had been part of a set of twins for which I miscarried one and then became pregnant with Baby “A”.  This is not something that happens often in multiple pregnancies. I always was a bit of an overachiever. Baby “B” had to stay in the NICU for a week, but Baby “A” came home with me on the 4th of July. We had no idea what we were in store for, but He certainly did.

My boys birth story is only one example of God working in their lives. There is so much more to their story and maybe I will be able to tell it as I go.

Why Can’t I?

hands-699486_1920

Tonight I was thinking about why I can’t be a lot of things. For instance I am not naturally empathetic, nor am I one that doles out sympathy easily either. My upbringing did not include a lot of either of those emotive skills, so I have an extreme lack of them.

As I was growing up whenever I was sick I was taught to “suck it up buttercup”. I was never allowed to be ill for very long or languish in bed if I had a fever. Most of this behavior came from my mom. I am positive that she developed this inability to let others just be sick from her family not believing that she was very sick at the time that they were all doting on my aunt who had the same illness. Unfortunately that has manifested in me a surliness when others are ill or are worrying about being ill.

Firstly, worrying about having an illness is akin to telling God, “I can’t trust you.” At least to me it is. That is not to say that if you don’t feel well that you should not pursue with all diligence a diagnosis so that you can put a name to the cruddy way you feel, but to borrow trouble before all the tests are in, before treatment options are discussed, to compare yourself to someone else who had the same thing is, to me, telling God that He has no idea what He is doing and he is letting you suffer this malady for nothing.

Secondly (here is the critical spirit rearing it’s ugly head) there are some to me that like either being ill or having chaos in their lives. I am not saying that I don’t wallow a bit myself here and there. This move that we are making has given me more heartburn and stress than raising my children has in 22 years, and quite a bit of that is my not trusting that it will all work out. However, hanging on to things, wanting to be sick, or creating chaos in your life just makes me cringe and not want to be around you. I can’t be sympathetic, it just doesn’t appear to be in me.

I want to be empathetic, I want to feel their pain, but there are times that I just get angry and cynical because others have suffered, lived with or overcome the same things and yet that does not bring them comfort or assurance. I want to ask God to help me with these two things, but it’s a bit like patience, every time I ask for that, a trial seems to appear to teach me patience. I am a bit afraid of what will show up to teach me empathy and sympathy.

Moving Part 2

boxes-2120367_1920There are so many things that I want to write about, but the fact that we are moving seems to be looming large. When we first decided to start looking we didn’t think that it would almost become a run away train.

It all began as a whim of mine looking at some homes that were being built about 20 minutes from where we live. Right now we live in a 1300 square foot house which we have been in for 17 years. Our boys have always shared a room and our home is a bit closed off. When we bought the house we never thought we would be here 17 years later, but here we are. When we truly examined moving out of the town we lived in it made sense. We have a little bit of debt we could wipe out with the equity, we could get a little larger home and the boys could have their own rooms. Most homes today have open floor plans so we could quite possibly have friends over for dinner. So we forged ahead.

We thought we were prayerfully moving ahead with each step, but so many road blocks appeared it seemed that it would never come to fruition. Our house sold almost immediately, but then came the inspection. The inspector was really nit picky and we wound up having to fix a problem that didn’t really exist and one that did. In the meantime because the buyer drug her feet we lost two other houses that we had put bids in on. So we came down to the wire and we finally settled on a house, but oh boy! The seller of our new home didn’t disclose a seriously potential issue until after we had seen the sellers disclosure form. When we told our realtor that it wasn’t acceptable the seller then came back with all sorts of paperwork, inspections and apologies saying no deception was intended. This was a problem for us because the sellers had also played a game with us about the price of the home wanting far more than the home was worth or other specs in the area were selling for. Everything eventually worked out in the end, but now we are trying to figure out how to move out of our house and into a new house in a months time, settle on the same day and have my husband work 12 hour days along with my inability to lift heavy things. I knw that it will all come together, but this journey has been anything, but easy.

I have learned through all this that I still have the ability to react instead of respond. That just because you think you are praying in His will, you may not be, and the big one that Satan really is looking to take you out any way that he can.

Apparently I have to pond the scripture 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; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” and remember to do Phil. 4:8-9, “.”

 

Revisiting Addiction

myburdenislight.pngI came across an article written addressed to “The Girl Asking Us to Stop Calling Your Drug Addiction A Disease“. The essence of the article was for this girl to stop asking for this and that the author was going to “educate” people on how addiction is in fact a disease.  Mostly, according to the author, because it is incredibly offensive to call addiction a choice not a disease.

My first reaction was, “Oh no let’s not offend the addict! Heaven forbid we should offend them to the point of anger and quite possibly some personal introspection. No we wouldn’t want to do that!” It’s this kind of pussyfooting around that has gotten us to the point where we have an “epidemic” of heroin use, thousands of people with multiple rehab stays and a generation that thinks that drug use is just part of their growing up. The author who is female serves up excuse after excuse for addicts stating that they cannot control themselves and would not choose this life therefore it’s a disease excuse as many others have, ineffectively in my opinion.

Her first volley to try to destroy the argument that addiction is a choice is to quote the National Institute of Drug Abuse stating that drug addiction is, “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.” So let me get this straight, I have to actively seek drugs out and then ingest them to have this disease? Uh huh, ok. It goes on to state that, “It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. ” Hmmm, so I am putting something deliberately in my body and altering my brain chemistry, yet it’s a brain disease? Did NIDA even pay attention to what they were saying?  No child of two comes down with alcoholism or a 4-year-old suddenly is addicted to heroin. Yet those same children can come be found to have cancer, diabetes, MS and the list goes on. In fact I am offended by those who would lump addiction in with these documented diseases that truly were not a choice.

The next few lines in the article speaks about becoming tolerant of your drug of choice so you need more of it to get the same high and it is “seemingly impossible to break the habit.” Now I am not sure if the author was aware of her choice of words, but she demolishes her own argument with the word “habit”. Habit is defined as “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.” A behavior pattern? So you don’t necessarily have this behavior pattern till you CHOOSE it. “Almost involuntary”, we have all heard the saying that almost does not count unless it’s horse shoes or hand grenades. Almost implies that it can be done if one CHOOSES.

I agree with her next supposition that no one wakes up one day and says, “I am going to become an addict” and yes, there are several factors that come into play to create an atmosphere to become an addict, but then she again obliterates her own argument by saying that there has been speculation by psychologists and medical professionals that alcoholism runs in families. I agree with the part of the statement that it can run in families, but the likelihood that it happens in families is because that children grow up to see their parent, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and so on having a glass, or two, or three at dinner, of wine and deciding that it’s acceptable behavior and taking it a bit farther. There is no alcoholism gene, no one is born with Captain Morgan stamped on a gene in their system that creates alcoholism from birth. In that same paragraph the author then goes on to say that, some may find that drinking is a way for them to cope with other issues, such as stress or struggling with mental illness. She’s right, most addicts are looking for an escape from the problems in their world and drugs or alcohol make those problems seem very small or they go away all together. However, a person comes down off their high and the problems are still there which in turn makes the want for escape even more pressing and they indulge in even more of whatever. This is exactly where God comes in if many would just let Him, 1 Corinthians 10:13, “13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” We are all tempted, we all have had many moments of wanting to escape, but the only true escape is in Him.

The author wraps up her article by stating that she wants to stigma of “oh poor me” attitudes to be done with for everyone that addiction has touched. The she goes on to assume that if addiction is a choice and we believe that we would be as heartless to tell a parent whose son or daughter died from an overdose , “well they chose it.” As a Christian woman, heck even as a human I would NEVER say that to a person who has lost a loved one, no matter the circumstances. THAT offends ME!

Her final thoughts are that we need to stop criticizing, bashing, and shame addicts, we should love and support them. I agree wholeheartedly with loving and supporting them, however that does not mean that we let their addiction become ours, or that we are ok with their sin much like we would not be ok if a person were committing adultery or murder or any other sin.

Addiction has been given a pass as a disease and rehabs that medically treat this “disease” haven’t worked so far. This is proven out by the fact that success rates are based on a person remaining indefinitely in a program. If the CDC is reporting that 91 Americans per day die of a heroin overdose, then please tell me what is working in the way that we approach this “disease” because I can’t find it?

Instead of giving addicts another way to justify their addictions, we need to point them to the only ONE who will fill the hole they are so desperately working to stuff with alcohol or drugs. Jesus is our sufficiency. We place so much on ourselves that isn’t ours to carry and then we try to stifle the noise when Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28-30, “28 Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Alcohol and drugs have never given anyone rest, it’s never been a light load to carry, and until we stop excusing the behavior and taking an honest approach to this the load will get heavier and the burden unbearable.

So to the author of the article I hope that I have instilled in you that we most certainly need to love on and support addicts, and point them onto the road of true recovery, but writing them a blank check to explain their addiction isn’t working, but there IS another way.

 

Biblically Incorrect

bible-1960635_1920I am sure you have heard the term Politically Correct and I also sure that you know to counter that is to be Biblically correct, but do you really understand being Biblically incorrect?

To illustrate what I mean I am going to take the scenario of a business person who refuses to bake a cake, take photos, create flower displays etc. for a gay wedding. Now unless you have been living under a rock it has been hard to miss the media attention that many of these cases have been getting; to the bakers in Oregon who lost everything to the one in Colorado whose case is to be heard in the United States Supreme Court. I won’t get into the laws that are at stake here or a discussion on discrimination ( I don’t have that kind of patience), but I feel it’s important to address the Biblical issues that non-believers and believers alike have raised.

The gentleman from Colorado was on a morning TV program with his lawyer and one of the people one the panel thought she was going to bring the hammer down on this by first stating she was raised in the church and then attempting to quote pieces of scripture to make her point. Her arguments were as Christians we are not supposed to judge, and love your neighbor and it’s not our place to judge because God will ultimately judge them. If you want my hackles to be raised that argument is definitely one to make. The way it is couched makes sin ok. Jesus never said not to judge sin, but He does say in John 7:24 to judge righteously, “24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

There are other types of judgment that we, as humans, can get wrapped up in such as hypocritical judgment in which Matthew 7:5 cautions against, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Self righteous judgment is talked about in James 4:6, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” But Jesus never forbade us to judge sin in fact Paul counsels Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:2 to be ready to preach the word and to be ready to point out sin, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.”

Paul continues in the book of 2 Timothy to tell Timothy that he is going to encounter those who will corrupt the gospel with false teaching or what I call Biblical incorrectness, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” Those who will pull out pieces of scripture with no context to make their point and believe that they have come up with a mic drop moment. It’s even being done by those who were “raised in the church” because we have become a soft weak society that wants to turn a blind eye to sin because it’s easier. Good gravy we can’t point out someone else’s sin, because to do that would mean we would have to examine our own hearts and ask forgiveness for our sins. Who wants to do that? It might be uncomfortable, we might need to apologize or set aside our own egos. 

I think that some of the reasons that this kind of attitude exists is because it is uncomfortable to point out sin even in the gentlest of ways. It has been said that holding aloft the standard of righteousness naturally defines unrighteousness and draws the slings and arrows of those who choose sin over godliness. We most assuredly need to be gentle and discreet when we approach another, to rebuke, reprove, or exhort and as Paul says use great patience, however, be prepared to duck the slings and arrows and do not ever leave your shield of faith, let alone the full armor of God, at home because being Biblically correct means you are going to take a few shots.