Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What's in a Name? It Makes Things Worse...Right?

  My hackles were slightly raised, as yet another person referred to my jellybean as a girl but this time it went further. Sure his name could be for a girl and, yes, he does have beautiful eyelashes but he is dressed like a boy. True, his button-down shirt is plaid with pink in it but it is still boyish. These experiences are so common that I normally just let it pass but when a person continues on and on and gets in his face telling him "what a beautiful girl" he is, it is wearisome so I gently corrected her. She was defensive about it and accusingly said, "Well, his shirt has pink in it." Ah, not a battle with eternal value but why did she get so upset when I called it like it was????

 At our appointment that day, the neurologist gave me some encouraging news. Jellybean is not completely missing his right cerebellum as I was previously told. He is just missing a small part of the right side and otherwise, his brain looks good. Then he said more. Just one more thing. "There's not much more I can do but you need to be followed by the Cerebral Palsy clinic from now on." The words hit my ears and sunk in like a lead pellet, a slow, heavy sinking into my mind. Of course, I should not be surprised. Cerebral Palsy is common in premature babies, especially ones with brain trauma. Why did it seem worse now with a name? 

 Think of it in terms of sin. Don't we like to cover sin  up by disguising it and hiding its name. A lie is just merely kidding around or joking. Lust is just doing what makes us happy or satisfying our appetite. Pride is strong-willed or confidence. It is easier to swallow and keep repeating if does not sound like sin. 

  The truth is that giving sin a nickname does not change the fact that it is an offense to holy God.  One day we shall stand face to face with the Lord of all and there will be no way to diminish what is really there. 

  Knowing what you are dealing with does not actually make it worse; it just opens the door to more specific prayer, more resources, more ways others can come alongside you, more awareness of what God will see you through.  God sees the sin in its ugly reality and its ugly effects and He still was willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us. So call it what it is, face things as they really are, then live to glorify God. 

 Recently, I revisited a wonderful blog I follow and found verses from Ezekiel that I think speak more than adequately to this topic:
Ezekiel 16:2-8   Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem: “Your birth and your nativity are from the land of Canaan; your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.As for your nativity, on the day you were born your navel cord was not cut, nor were you washed in water to cleanse you; you were not rubbed with salt nor wrapped in swaddling cloths.No eye pitied you, to do any of these things for you, to have compassion on you; but you were thrown out into the open field, when you yourself were loathed on the day you were born.And when I passed by you and saw you struggling in your own blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ Yes, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’  I made you thrive like a plant in the field; and you grew, matured, and became very beautiful. Your breasts were formed, your hair grew, but you were naked and bare. When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Colorful Random Thoughts

 Why God? Why God? Why?

 Is not that the question that drives disbelief and faithlessness? 

 That was a rhetorical question...aren't all blog questions rhetorical though???

 I know the answer to the question anyway. Every time I examine myself when it arises and realize that it rears is ugly head whenever I do not like my circumstances. Oh yes, that kind of immaturity still exists in my faith. 

 Today as I sang praise songs at the top of my lungs on the way to another doctor appointment with jellybean, I started thinking about Noah and the flood. Many sermons exist that discuss the idea of the ark being a picture of Christ but what about the water flooding the earth as a picture of Christ. It washed away the sin in the world and doesn't Jesus do that? 

 As I drove on, I saw a rainbow flag over a dance club and those always make me want to yell, "The rainbow is God's." Although today a new thought struck me. Why was the rainbow adopted as a symbol for the homosexual community? Interesting question, so why?

 God used the rainbow as a promise that He would not destroy the world with a flood again but that was after He wiped out the sin and depravity that had overrun the earth. Could it be that using the rainbow is a way to try and throw God's promise back in His face? 

 Ok, ok, I know people doing it are not thinking of it that way but subconsciously and in the scheme of the enemy it makes sense to me. 

 The other thought I had was how awesome it is that every example of God punishing sin in the Old Testament has a match in the New Testament in Christ. The obvious one is the Passover but my mind wandered back further to the Garden of Eden and the eating of the forbidden fruit. Just look in the New Testament though, Jesus is the fruit that we can "taste and see" as the words of the Psalmist say. Instead of death, He brings life. Instead of opening our eyes to evil, He reveals holiness and righteousness. And, we are not told to question God as the serpent did to Adam and Eve in the Old Testament but see that He is really good. 

 Don't you just love that about God? He has had purpose in every thing and used it all to put His plan of love into motion and, yes, that means that He does still include correcting us because that is what a good father does. What a blessing and it seems waving a rainbow flag is a lovely thing to do when we are doing it to remember what a gracious, awesome God there is that gives us breath and life and meaning and grace and a chance for reconciliation. He is worthy to be praised and that always strengthens my faith and quiets my doubt. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

plain jane and captive

 Yes, it has been a while and long periods of silence are not really conducive to producing a popular blog. Then again, being popular is not something with which I am acquainted. Growing up, my mother told me several times that I am just a plain Jane and it is something I have come to realize is ok. Being plain Jane is like plain yogurt, it is not fancy or exciting or anyone's favorite on its own BUT it is a base for something better to be built. Add some granola or chocolate chips or pineapple and wow!

 Unfortunately, this plain Jane kept looking in the wrong places for its definition, for glory. It is completely obvious that there has to be more than just me. Thankfully, God scooped me up and He has taken this plain Jane to all kinds of places and used me in all kinds of ways. Sure, I fouled parts up at times but He knew and kept working, sculpting, softening and He still does the same today. Sometimes I have sense enough to recognize when He is using me.

 I see it right now, at the moment.

 This little boy who is missing a small piece of his brain and how he was put with this plain Jane who has learned some great lessons from an amazing nephew with 2 brain disorders and has an awesome resource in an experienced sister and has a foothold in persevering through challenge watching her daughter's drive to overcome illness. But more than anything, God has richly blessed my heart with this little guy.

 Yeh, I whined and wallowed about the hospital stays every month and the frustrations of dealing with his mother but I learned...uh, am learning. The lesson was hard to swallow and I am still processing it fully. This plain Jane was a captive to negativity and no true believer should be captive to anything but God. My bondage was...or, to complaining and losing sight of contentment. Plenty of reasons exist to be grateful and content. 

 Since April, my precious daughter graduated high school (I am no longer a home school mom, which is actually a sad part). Jellybean has been in the hospital two more times which included more tests and a surgery but he is doing better and blooming into a spunky little boy. 

 One blessing started out as frustration and fear. We had a meeting with foster care review for his case. It was going to be necessary for me to stand up and advocate for Jellybean. His lawyer does not even know what he looks like much less his medical issues and his DCS worker is too overloaded to keep up with everything. 

 Let me admit, I was scared. His mother has a past of being physically confrontational. At first, I prayed that she would not show up but then I realized that it was not the right prayer. The right prayer was that God would be glorified so I switched my prayer to Isaiah 26, specifically verse 3: "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." She did not show up and I did speak and it went just the way God desired it to go. Their recommendation was not exactly what I wanted but it was a small step in a positive direction and I will surrender my desire for God's plan any day.  

 Faith can bring clarity in all situations. God's plan falls under His righteousness, justness, love, and holiness. I cannot fathom what all that means but I can trust that He knows what He's doing even if I  do not understand it all. It is not a cause for doubt or worry. I understand that God is way bigger  than our comprehension and that is comforting. If I could wrap my mind around His ways, I am pretty sure I would tremble in my boots because after all, I am just a plain Jane. Because of that I will remain captive to my Lord alone, plain and not always simple.