Family Vaca!

Gabe has been improving so much lately.  We’ve got so much to be grateful for.  But with the up and down nature of topical steroid withdrawal, we don’t take it for granted, because we know he could flare again.

(Yes, we dance in public!)

I’m just very, very thankful.

We have a family vacation planned for later this week and we are tentatively on track.  Up until today we have been debating having my husband stay home with Gabe.  But we really need a vacation.  Gabe really needs it.

And thankfully, he has been improving by leaps and bounds.

Friends, could you please pray that we would be able to all go and that God would keep Gabe healthy during the trip?  Please pray for Gabe to have a wonderful trip and forget about his condition for the period of time.  Thank you! 35645578_10160622787290074_285025338411450368_n

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Educated Beyond Obedience

I’ll be completely honest, I’ve barely read my Bible lately.  We went through a time when Gabe was waking up all night long and I wasn’t about to get up early to get that time in.  I’ve just totally fallen out of it.  And now our schedule is shredded like confetti and tossed into the sky, now that school is out.

I’ve been leaning really heavily on podcast (don’t you love them?!) for spiritual nourishment.  The past couple days I’ve listened to some sermons by Francis Chan.  Now, if you want to get real uncomfortable and challenged- this is the guy for you.  I’ve even had moments of wondering if I should even listen.  Seriously.

“The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.  But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked…..” Luke 12:47-48

Strong, strong words from scripture.  This was a parable so I don’t think it literally means we are going to physically beaten at judgement.  I think it’s an illustration that knowing God’s will does not put us at any advantage if we aren’t willing to act on it.  In fact, if we “know better” but ignore what we know- we will be all the more culpable.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22

It’s such a frightening thought to me.  I realized, listening to the sermon- that I am so completely selfish.  So driven to get my own needs met.  I am so prone to deceive myself.  I realize how easily it is to slip out of God’s will and not even realize it.  We are masters at deceiving ourselves.  We give God lip service.  We crack open his Word here and there.  Maybe we even have a fish decal on our car.  All of this matters so very little.  

“God, I know I am so very prone to self-deception and selfishness.  Please shine your light into my heart so I can see the truth of where I’m at.  And thank you that you love me anyways.  Lord, I pray that you would help me to truly live for you.  That my heart would beat for you.  That I would really care about the lost.  That I would live for eternal things.  I know that the things I think will make me happy, won’t and can’t.  Only in you is true joy and peace found.  In Jesus name, Amen.” 

Motherhood on the Altar

Thank you to all of you who have followed Gabe’s story and progress.  We went through a very rough patch this spring.  It was very tough, not going to lie.  He had staph infections all over his body and his chest was basically an open wound for weeks on end.  The staph was so bad that even three different antibiotics didn’t touch it.

We’ve tried some new treatments and he is actually making huge improvements!  His chest is 90% healed up and the general infected areas are about 60% better.  We’ve been using this antimicrobial spray and it’s really helped a lot.  Gabe is getting back a higher quality of life.  There’s of course other treatments we are doing so it’s hard to know how much each thing is helping individually, but we are just happy he is getting better.

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Michael, Gabe and Shiloh

They are all out of school now so we are adjusting to that!  It’s tough for me because I’m big on peace and quiet and my kids are decidedly not. 

Before school ended we had Shiloh’s first big IEP (individualized education plan).  I had basically all year to sort through coming to terms with the fact that her issues went beyond “quirky” and that she would need special help in school.  “Autism presents itself differently in girls.  It can go undiagnosed because autistic girls are better able to blend in….” the school psychologist told me gently.

I had many night this past year to process all this as I was getting concerned calls from her teacher.  I spent many hours lying awake at night trying to figure out how to fix it, where went wrong, what had happened… really struggling to come to terms with it.  It was really hard but I had all those months to process it before hearing that the team that examined Shiloh had come to the conclusion that she needed extra help at school, a lot of extra help, and that she would receive it under the heading of autism spectrum disorder.

Her teacher from this year included this note on her final reports and she is absolutely right.  Whatever Shiloh is up against, we are her parents and we love her.  She may be incredibly naughty, mischievous and a hand full (to say the least) but she is also very sweet, joyful, caring.

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My Little Lamb

As a mother the temptation is always to blame yourself when your kid has issues or is struggling.  It’s really hard to take yourself off the hook.  To forgive yourself for mistakes you made.  To realize that it was never going to be a pain free ride because you were bringing children into a very imperfect and pain-riddled world.

Motherhood is something you need to put on the altar.  All you can do is your best.  You’re not in control.  You just have to trust that Jesus is in control, loves your kids like crazy, and has a plan.  A good plan.

Strength for the Caregiver

Last night was really tough.

My husband is gone on a work trip so I am left alone to manage Gabe’s night time wakings.  Last night he did not sleep a wink all night long.  I caught a few hours, interrupted, between him calling for me.  He finally passed out early this morning after moving to our recliner downstairs.

After my other two kids left for school I prayed and just wept.  Damn this horrible disease.  It’s not fair what it’s taken from him.  It’s not fair the heavy burden it is on our family.  Other people are out and about with their kids and I’m stuck at home trying to make what is not ok, ok and bearable.

It’s just tough and draining and exhausting in every way.

I’m sure other caregivers can relate.  So often your needs and wants are back-burnered (or even left to go cold all together) as the needs of your child or loved one take over.

He’s missed out on a lot.  It’s true.  But I know what also is true is that we have invested so much in this little guy.  Man, just the hours spent next to his bath, talking about everything.  Answering his thousands of questions.  

More often than not, the conversation naturally turns towards spiritual things.  We discuss Bible stories and theology, angels and demons.  He just has an insatiable appetite for knowledge.  His heart is so tender towards the things of God.  We often talk about what it’ll be like when Jesus comes back.

Would he be so spiritually hungry if he hadn’t had to go through all this suffering?  I don’t know.  But I do know that this trial has stretched me to grow.  I do know that on the other side of this thing we will be blown away by the goodness and faithfulness of our God.

I do know that God has entrusted me with this amazing little boy.  I do know that things are being worked out in heavenly places, things we don’t yet understand.  Our little tub side talks are building our faith and will become part of our testimony.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6

and… 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Cor. 1:4

 

The Greatest Thing

As I was vacuuming this morning I felt like the Holy Spirit brought a powerful but simple message to my heart.  Yes, my spiritual time may or not be while I am vacuuming.  I have a super fluffy golden retriever and now we added a kitty to the mix, so the vacuum and I are currently best friends. 20180603_083443

But anyhoos, the thought that kept coming back to me is this- The absolute greatest gift we can bring to the World is to let Jesus shine out through us.

I know we’re fond of saying #blankiseverything.  You know; a day at the beach, a new song, even a favorite nail polish.  But truly Jesus is everything.  The Universe shouts his praise.  The stars proclaim his glory.  Jesus is the only one worthy of our praise, our adulation, our very lives.  So powerful and mighty but so close.

I am awed and so blown away that he wants to show up in this planet through me.  I am saved to the max but still here to become, from glory to glory, more like him.  Every day is a day to know him more, to be transformed in his presence, and then bring that presence to a hurting world.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Cor. 3:18

“Oh Jesus, how I love you.  My prayer for myself and those reading is that we would be swept up into your amazing presence.  That we would know that we are never alone.  You are the friend that sticks closer than a brother.  You are the Alpha and the Omega, Beginning and the End.  The exalted one.  Perfect.  You are love.  Please help us to yield to you our lives, our hearts, our everything….because YOU are everything.  We pray that you would shine through us so that the World would truly see you in us.  Thank you for this awesome privilege, to be your living Temple.  We love you, Jesus.  Amen” 

Grace for the Inexcusable

I know I’m way late in the game here in posting my thoughts on the Roseanne Barr twitter diaster, but I guess I’ve been mulling on it.  Of course my initial reaction was to cringe at what she said.  It really was terrible.  Inexcusable.

But it wasn’t long until my heart just felt sad for Roseanne.  Not Roseanne the celebrity, or Roseanne the icon, or even Roseanne the public personality.  But who she really is.  A human being with vulnerabilities and flaws just like the rest of us.  I can’t even imagine what it feels like to have the entire World watch you royally screw up and become the object of public scorn.

I’d imagine her regret over the incident was probably very genuine.

Whether it really was just an ambien-fueled, regrettable, but unintentional post or whether she really did mean it in some insidious way- how do we, as christians, respond?

I’m fairly in touch with my own sin and shortcomings.  Lest I forget, my ugly nature rears it’s ugly head again.  I know I need a savior.  I know the muddled mess I am apart from Him.  I know the same sin nature that fuels racism simmers at times in my own heart.  She needs grace.  I need grace.  We all do.

We can’t just join the clammering crowd, stones in hand, screaming for justice- when we are just as guilty.

One incidence from scripture that jumps out at me is the story of the woman caught in adultery.  She had done the inexcusable and the penalty was death.

Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,”Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:11 

My thoughts on the scenario is that we have to be so careful not to become pharisaical in our own righteousness.  We need to remember what we were saved from.  We need to live with a sense of humility.  We need to intercede instead of throwing harsh judgement.  Jesus didn’t just die to save us from little sins.  He died to cover the worst of humanity with his precious, atoning blood.

Sinfulness is our natural condition, people.  It’s only by grace that we are lifted out of our slimy pits and set on the high ground.  How then, can we, look down on others?  Your sin may not look my sin but it’s all sin.  It’s like a cancer eating away at our soul and every single member of our human race is infected and it’s terminal.  We don’t scream at them about their cancer.  We humbly hold out the cure.  Image result for hand extended

 

Signs of the Times

The World it is a ‘changin’.

Today I was browsing through the girls section at Target while I waited on a prescription.  I was pretty disappointed in the offerings.  The shirts were cute, bright, colorful but just about every single one of them carried thinly disguised political messages and worldliness not appropriate for children.

I’m not a prude.

But when I cam across this shirt, complete with “save the world” and a sexy cut-out over the chest area I was straight-up appalled.  31753187_10160441488800074_4613049361306222592_nThis shirt was a small in the girl’s section.  The size my daughter wears.  She is five years old, people.

What is the World coming to?

I’m not one to boycott but c’mon, Target.  This is blatant sexualizing of our young girls.  This is evil.

Just like the frog in the slowly heating water, there are forces seeking to desensitize us to the advancing forces of evil in our culture.

A few weeks ago I was in the waiting room at the dentist office when I flipped through a People magazine.  I haven’t looked through one in a few years.  And I was shook, as the kids are saying nowadays.  There were certain messages and agendas being pushed on every other page.  It isn’t a just a shallow celeb gossip magazine anymore, it’s a delivery system for propaganda.

The point of all this being; our culture is becoming increasingly hostile to the beliefs held by people of faith.  In the future, we will not be able to quietly walk the line.  We’re going to become increasingly counter cultural.  We’re going to have to take our stand with the Word as culture becomes increasingly antagonistic towards it’s ancient wisdom.

Children need to be protected.

Sexuality is not merely a vehicle for our own physical gratification.

We’re going to have to draw a line somewhere.  Whatever that means for us, however we feel led.  I’m still very much a “Jesus loves you” type of believer but I also know that there is a coming judgement.  I also believe that we are heading into a tailspin that will signal the end of days.  At least, for Earth as we know it.

We need to interpret the signs of the times, as Jesus said.

In Luke 21 Jesus talks about an increase in wars and natural disasters and the persecution believers will face-  “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.  And so you will bear testimony to me.  But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  Everyone will hate you because of me.  But not a hair of your head will perish.  Stand firm, and you will win life.”.. “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”Luke 21:12-19, 25-28

Does that fill anyone else with a sense of urgency?  I get goosebumps and I must admit that even as a little girl I had the sense that I would have to face these days.  Of course, Jesus said that no one would know the time or the hour.  However,  we can and should be wise and alert to the times.  Even if this doesn’t happen in our lifetimes it can’t hurt to live with a sense of expectancy and keep short accounts with our God.

“Dear Lord, help us to be lights shining ever brighter in this increasingly darkened culture.  Help us to kind and gracious but in no way compromising.  Grant us wisdom.  Give us your peace.  Thanks you that you won the victory and we have nothing to fear.  In Jesus name, Amen.”