Friday, January 17, 2014
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
You are a jealous God? What do you have to be jealous of?
I am not like you. I don't have anything that you haven't given me.
Oh - wait a minute.
I don't have anything that you haven't given me?
I don't have anything that you haven't given me.
I do not have anything that YOU haven't given me!
Yikes! My home? My husband? My kids? My friends?
My peace...my comfort...my assurance.
Your love! Your grace! Your forgiveness! Your sufficiency! Your redemption!
Should I ask for more? Do I dare? Won't I bother you? What if I ask for the wrong things?
You want me to ask? You want me to seek you? You want me knock on your door repeatedly and make my requests known to you?
And he said to them, "Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within, 'Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything'? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs." -Luke 11:5-8
Seek. Seek Me, the One who loves you more than any other. I have created you. I know you.
Knock. Let your request be made boldly.
Then, dear child of mine, receive what it is I have for you.
Receive? You have more for me?
But Father...sometimes I DO cry out and ask for things from you and you don't answer me! What then? Where are you? I have heard this. I thought you wanted to give good things to me. So...why don't I have the things I am asking you to give me?
Oh yes, I am beginning to see. Please show me more.
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. -Jeremiah 29:12-13
But know that the LORD has set apart the godly for himself; the LORD hears when I call to him
- Psalm 4:3
Friday, September 13, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
The beautiful lyrics of several songs have resonated deeply with me. Over the last year one shared with me by my brother-in-law spoke of our journey to care for many children in foster care. The song was "Kings and Queens" by the new Audio Adrenaline. How deeply it connected with me. To this tune I have cried and sung out loudly in praises and pleas.
Yes - little eyes. Longing to be loved. I've seen them so many times. Haven't you? Has your heart been tugged to love a child who needs you desperately? Haven't you seen all the pictures of the lonely, the hungry and the hurting child? I have too. I heard the drum beating. I knew the promises of God for them. I wanted them to belong and be loved. I wanted to love them. Longed to show the love of Jesus to them. Take care of them. I wanted to be their Savior while I taught them of the Savior.
Wait. What? (I get annoyed with this phrase, but sometimes it just fits.)
I did...I thought they all wanted love and would be so happy to have me step in and be their Savior. At the same time I wanted to point them to the Savior. When we stepped out in faith to serve and love foster children, I found out quickly...they...didn't want...me. They didn't want what I had to offer. They wanted their mom. They wanted their home.
Wow. Now what?
Phew. Deep breath. A cry out in prayer.
Lord - they are YOUR children. YOU love them more than I ever could. YOU have a plan and a purpose for them. YOU desire wholeness and healing in their lives. YOUR plan looks different than mine. YOU have a plan for me, and my family, in all of this. Help us to do YOUR will and serve YOU by serving and loving them - even if they don't want us.
Yeah - that took awhile to really comprehend and it required a new level of completely trusting God in ALL things. In fact, I'm still learning and reminding myself of that very prayer.
Oh man, those images of children needing so much. Children needing love, needing food and clothes, needing a home, needing a family...needing Jesus and Jesus' people. It tugged on my heart so deeply. On the heart of a woman who knew she didn't want to bear any more children. (We had five together in our blended family.) A heart that didn't necessarily want the chaos and the ever present reminder of our human sinful state that comes with raising children, and being responsible for everything in their lives.
But...What if that's what God wanted from me? What about the giftings he has given me in caring for others? What about that little girl I always wanted to adopt, perhaps from India? Could I ever sing "I want to give you all of me" again if I didn't consider that God might call me to minister to children like these? This was something that came to mind before we moved. Then we felt called, we moved, and there were very needy and very hurt children in our care. Many of them.
My heart swelled with love for them and longed to help them heal from their hurts and pain. My heart longed for many Christian homes to open their doors to the children of these broken families where abuse and neglect are so prevalent. Even when they didn't want me, I turned to God because I knew He wanted them. Then their hearts began to change. To heal and to love and be loved.
Yet, in all it wasn't like I'd hoped. The children needed more than I could give. God gave my husband and I a supernatural grace, particularly through the first few months. That helped. But there were many, many other obstacles too. Obstacles that weren't meant to be overcome, but to be given over.
I wrestled with "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I wrestled to find balance between work and physical and spiritual rest. Shouldn't I be able to do this better? Why am I so tired, exhausted, stressed out and feeling terribly overburdened? There were many reasons why, some that I am still figuring out. Yet, I still longed to do all things for Him. But, things were out of balance. Even now I am realizing that "all" things also fits into a reality of the design which God made us. That the reality is that we are human and while we are given supernatural strength, grace etc. to accomplish His purposes, in the end, we aren't the all capable, all sufficient God. We are made IN HIS IMAGE, but not AS HIM. We have limitations that can be stretched, but they are still there. He does not have physical, spiritual or emotional limitations. He is capable of ALL. He is THE ONE we need to look to, to lean on, to trust in. He is the only ONE worthy of imitating.
And there it is again...like Jesus. Only one Savior. Him. Jesus.
Not BE Jesus, but LIKE Jesus. What does that MEAN?
Love, serve, bless, minister, lead TO JESUS.
To me...to be LIKE Jesus means a willingness to love and serve and help as we lay down our lives for others. It also means to seek Him first in all things, like Jesus did. He looked to the Father. He trusted the Father. He cried out to him and sought the Father's will.
To be LIKE Jesus means to trust that His ways look different than our ways. It means laying down my own thoughts of how things can and should happen and trusting Him with His plan instead. It means, that if you find yourself in a place where what you are "doing" is actually causing pain rather than helping others to heal in pain, you might have to back up and lay it again at the feet of Jesus...and trust Him.
NOW - This is the part that really, really gets me in this song.
Oh Lord, my hearts cry continues. Boys and girls experiencing the royalty of being a child of God. That is worth singing out loudly!
Wrapped in your majesty. Yes, Lord. Your majesty is glorious. Wrap your majestic arms around these hurting children. Help them to know the joy of being in your presence.
I hurt for those who are hurting and who need your love and mercy. I will still love the least of these.
Yet as I continue a journey to be more of the woman who have designed me to be, I will love the least of these and I will seek YOU in that journey. My methods of carrying out this love and this desire to share YOUR love with them will look different than it did a year ago, but I trust you Father.
Above all, to be LIKE Jesus means that my life points to the Father in Heaven. To our need for a Savior and that that Savior is not me, but IS Jesus.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Pictures. Words often turn into pictures.
Sometimes these pictures are beautiful and serene. Sometimes they are bits and pieces that begin to fit together like an intricate and beautiful puzzle. And sometimes...they are just pieces...waiting...to be put together...and to become a beautifully completed puzzle. Kind of like us...being fit together in the King's glorious puzzle.
With all of these images, it seems that the outlet for them is often inadequate. My mouth opens and the beautiful linking phrases and intentions come out in pitiful drops of words that fall dreadfully short of the feeling tied to them, the feelings that are resonating in my soul.
Songs. Music. Prose, and sometimes poetry.
These methods lead to a better flow and expression of what wells up inside me. For me, Lyrical Living means that music, or the flow of words in some form or writing, has either touched me in a way that affects how I live or is something that more thoroughly expresses my heart.
Sometimes a song is just so much more than a song. Sometimes words are so much more than just words. They express the picture. They help the pictures to seem more complete and more vibrant somehow. They are beautiful and meaningful.
Somehow, a song I hear or words I see, express my heart deeper and richer than my mouth opened up and just...talking. Some people are great orators. I am not - unless the Spirit is leading my conversation and then I am amazed at myself, because it's not really myself.
When life seems most profoundly lyrical, it is then that my heart is most deeply moved. There is a burning fire for my Lord and my Savior. This fire drives me to a deeper place of knowing my Father in Heaven and trusting Him.
My heart is thankful for the beauty poured forth from others in song and in words.
My heart is thankful for the various means the Lord uses to reach me, love me and draw me closer to Him.
My soul is touched with beautiful images of God's love and mercies, of His might and glory and of the intricate workings He in His sovereignty majestically orchestrates.
My voice is not beautiful in sound, but the heart that pours out praises to Him has beauty beyond compare. May this always be. May my living be lyrical and beautiful for the sake of my King.
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, O Most High;" - Psalm 92:1
"for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy." - Psalm 63:7
Friday, July 19, 2013
I began to read Robert Liparulo's book, "The 13th Tribe". Great. Christian Fiction. Suspense. Page turning adventure.
Then I moved and began a season of extreme busyness by taking care of many children. Great.
But...not so productive when it comes to following through on an agreement to finish a book and review it.
Now I've moved again. Now I can review again. Now I will review a book I finished months ago.
I chose Robert Liparulo's book because I am a fan of Ted Dekker's and have enjoyed his variety of fiction styles. I especially enjoy the pace of each of his books that keeps you wondering and longing to read more. If I was a person to stay up all night...I would read his books all night long. Liparulo's book was recommended by Ted Dekker and seemed to be reminiscent of the suspense, intrigue and thought provoking reading I was used to with Dekker.
The 13th Tribe is definitely a page turner and is full of twists and adventure. Through a supernatural tribe of immortal beings that have been around since the time of Moses, the reader is drawn into a familiar path of mortal desires, longings and failures. Lives that were designed to worship God, that were supposed to love and follow Him, took a path that lead them away from the very love they sought. Their hearts were darkened and unable to see the truths of God right before them.
I found the story very engaging and intriguing. I was touched by the (mortal and immortal) character's searching for God and reminded of the many who are seeking, but become encumbered by personal desires that overshadow their search. They end up down the wrong path leading them to separation from the one person who can fulfill their deepest need.
Personally, I am a bit uncomfortable with the premise of this immortal tribe coming directly from the Bible because it makes me feel like the author is adding something to the Bible. I highly doubt it is the author's intent, nevertheless, it gave me some uneasiness. Yet, I find that the book is not spiritually deep and not intended as a theological allegory, but rather a means to share an interesting story while imparting interesting thought provoking ideas about seeking God and following His path, not our own.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would definitely read another of Liparulo's fiction titles.
Note: This review is based off of a complementary copy of the book from the Booksneeze program with the intent of reading and reviewing it.
My hand is raised. I admit it. I am tired. Now that I've admitted it, I have my own multi-step plan for recovery It began with sleep. It's amazing how our bodies are designed by God to refuel and recharge with simple, restful sleep. Of course, as I was able to start this program, my body cued me in its deep need for more rest by falling prey to illness yet again. As my lungs and body said, "rest more" I decided it was a good time to continue my recovery plan. My next steps included hours of watching mindless shows, hours of reading heart changing non-fiction ("Trusting God" by Jerry Bridges), and hours of reading laughter-inducing light fiction (a hilarious mystery novel about a gray-haired lady with a curious mind realizing that she was "Invisible" and about using said quality to investigate the mysteries around her). I have also spent hours of soaking in God's word, hours of deep prayer and crying out to God, hours of listening to soothing, inspirational music, hours of listening to sermons about prayer and about who I am in Christ and I have especially enjoyed hours with my youngest children to simply meander through the stores with barely an agenda as we just enjoyed being together.
It's been great.
It was a great adventure. It was amazing and exhausting. It brought me to my knees...prostrate before my Lord.
Friday, April 26, 2013
When I heard the word "lice", my brain raced for data to comprehend the situation. The most I knew about lice was that in my elementary school years there was an annual check for this and someone stared at your scalp while using a comb to move your hair around. Sometimes, one or two kids went home that day and everyone wondered if they would get "cooties" from them when they returned. Maybe they lived in nasty dirty homes, I thought. Oh, and let's not forget that while growing up I was frequently reminded not to pick up dirty bird feathers because they might carry "lice" the ever elusive bugs I didn't quite understand. But rest assured, they were nasty and no one wanted anyone near them!
My knowledge of lice today has grown significantly as we had to get rid of these nasty critters in what ended up being six children and three adults, and more than one time. Unfortunately, I became much more familiar with them than I wanted; it even became personal. The first time I had them felt so awfully itchy but the bugs hadn't been found. Then one day I scratched my own head to find one. Later when my husband helped comb my hair and found...too many...I almost fell to the floor sobbing tears of disgust and weariness. For weeks we washed everyone's bed sheets, clothes, towels, pillow cases, mattress covers and anything else they may have come in contact with; we washed in the Sanitary cycle of the washer. My two large tables were stacked over a foot high with laundry to fold on a daily basis. I didn't know what I was doing and wore myself out doing what I could. One thing I knew; I did not and would not use RID, or any other chemical treatment. Despite the fact that I had no medical directive allowing it's use on the children from a physician, I didn't want to use the harsh chemicals directly on the scalp for anyone, let alone these children whose bodies had already been dealing with too many chemicals and malnutrition. Your skin is your largest organ and putting these chemicals on the scalp of these children was not something I was willing to compromise on!
What to do? The first night we tried apple cider vinegar wash, we combed with a comb borrowed from a neighbor who had dealt with lice, we tried hot ironing and we blow dried hair and we used mayonnaise and olive oil. Lice was removed from two boys (from the combing), but the two girls still had it...bad.
We kept combing and combing and combing and finding new tips that seemed to help in the overall crusade against these jumpy critters (yes, they DO jump! I watched them on jump on a pile of JUST CLEANED clothes and almost fell over, again, crying).
Then, we took in another girl who had been dealing with lice for months and we were told that she had undergone her THIRD chemical treatment, at least. This last one supposedly started the scurrying escape of over a hundred creepy crawlies. Hmmm... that's really, really...not good.
So, finally we took steps that eradicated lice from a home with 15 people living in it! Maybe you are dealing with it now or maybe you know of someone who is. I'm going to share the steps that we took that I believe contributed to the final HURRAH moment of feeling lice free! These are all natural methods that we used and I never spent a penny on lice medications or shampoos.
1 COMB, COMB, COMB! We bought lice combs and quite a few of them!
- Not Recommended:
- The cheap plastic ones? Don't bother, they break and they don't work.
- Robi Electric Comb? Personally, I don't think it's worth the money. Sure it's fun to know that the little critters get zapped when hit by the electricity. But, it kept stopping because of dandruff or other things that got in the way. Plus, we found the tines to be too short. It was OK for the boys short hair, but a pain for the girls long hair.
- A good lice egg and nit comb with metal tines. We have the Nit-Comb which is the gray-blue comb with a long handle. They sold these with shorter tines (shown) and longer tines at a local pharmacy. I haven't seen them at any major retailers. We also used a kit of two combs and a little brush from Walgreens or Wal-Mart. This was a kit of combs only and no RID. One had smaller tines than the other so we alternated usage to get big bugs and to get tiny sticky eggs. I've checked online briefly and found one that looks promising called Nit Free Terminator.
2. All the females began pulling hair back tightly into ponytails and/or braids if possible, and then hid the hair under a secured handkerchief head covering. The reason for this was two-fold. One, keeping our own hair tight and covered prevented new bugs from getting onto our scalp. The tight hair makes it hard for them to hold on, from what I understand. But hey, if there is a handkerchief in the way...all the better right? The second reason was to keep whatever was still on our heads from getting on anyone, or anything, else.
3. Wash all towels, clothes and bedding in your Sanitary cycle at home. The hotter the better.
4. COMB again!
5. Natural Hair Spray Bug Killer.
Recently, I made my own mix of apple cider vinegar with several drops of tea tree oil and a little water in a spray bottle. I sprayed this onto our hair to kill what wasn't caught by the combs. My ritual became to spray this prior to combing because the apple cider vinegar is supposed to help loosen eggs and the tea tree oil is supposed to help kill the bugs and growing eggs.
You may want to do this outside, if you can, because the cider vinegar is strong smelling. Also, you may want a more watered down option for young children especially if they have had bugs for awhile and have open wounds. If there are open wounds from the lice eating scalp, or any other reason, the vinegar will burn.
Personally, at nighttime I sprayed my hair, combed it through, then pulled it back into a tight bun and sprayed all over again. With my hair pulled tight I could spray more onto the scalp itself where the bugs would be. Then I used a towel over my pillow to protect the bedding from the oil.
6. COMB again!
7. Tea Tree oil in shampoo. I also added tea tree oil in condition and combed this into our hair overnight but it was hard to really work into the scalp for those of us with longer hair. Recently lice showed up again out of the blue for two of us. We hadn't had it here for months and suddenly it showed up. I switched to the spray at night instead of tea oil conditioner. If you have a sensitive head, you may want to use the tea tree oil in conditioner option instead of spraying. Once the hair is pulled back tightly it is easier to work it onto the scalp itself. I'm not convinced that it is foolproof in killing the bugs, but it does seem to be a very effective part of the solution. Many people swear by it for prevention as well. I prefer it mixed in a carrier like the spray or shampoo or conditioner.
8. COMB again!
Seriously, we combed as often as we could. Combing meant having a bowl of water nearby to drown the critters and remove the eggs off the combs. Sometimes it's hard to identify whether or not you have combed out an egg or if it's dandruff. However, the eggs, which look white on the hair, look like round dark spots between the tines when you hold it up to the light. Grown bugs will be on the comb and you'll want to drown them quickly!
Everyone has different ideas of how to get rid of the bug. Some may say that I did too much and others too little. This is what I chose to do and it worked. So, "to RID or not to RID?" For me, I don't believe RID works. More importantly, I believe the chemicals are highly dangerous neurotoxins and don't belong on the scalp or anywhere near me, let alone the children.
If you should start to feel itchy often at the base of your head or on the crown...have someone check you!
|I chose to NOT RID and still eradicated these nasty things!|
Friday, January 11, 2013