Monday, April 18, 2016

A Lion Sanctuary

  After a spending most of the day with a terrible headache and feeling nauseous, I headed off to bed as soon as I got Jellybean's feeding pump set up for the night. It did not take long for sleep to take over but too quickly it disappeared. At a quarter to one, I jolted awake because of my dream. This same dream pops up and disturbs my sleep on occasion.

 There I am living my life doing ordinary things - laundry, cooking, yardwork. So far it sounds kind of boring for a dream, huh? Things change though and it gets a lot more frightening. Lions, ravenous and angry, are stalking me. At first, I find ways to hide but eventually, they find ways to get at me. Before I awoke this time, I was in a car with my husband when we were being pursued all around by several lions. 

  It sounds silly but it is beyond terrifying and I am still awake over an hour later with 1 Peter 5:8 running through my head. 
 "Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."

 This verse has been one that I have studied a lot. Even in these wee hours of morning I find myself pulling up sermons and commentaries. In the beginning of my walk with Christ, I had lots of struggles with wanting to be in control and protect myself. The church I was attending only strengthened my resolve that this was necessary. When we finally left I was of the mindset that there was no one in church that you could be close to and that it was very necessary to keep at a distance. This is how I had lived my live before Christ, too, hiding myself away so I could not be hurt. 

 I am not sure how I thought that meshed with God's Word but it is what I felt. A few years later, Truth started to chip away at the walls I had built and God moved to put me in situations that showed me clearly what a contradiction to His Truth was my thinking. 

  Oddly (or should I say providentially), I just recently found an old journal where I wrote what I entitled, "The Lion Sanctuary" based from 1 Peter 5:8 likening what I was doing to fencing in a yard that has a few lions in it. I discussed how I had spent years putting up walls to keep myself safe only to shockingly realize that I had enclosed myself with something much more dangerous. 

 After reading through 1 Peter 5 tonight and reading sermons on it. One message hit me. You cannot be a lone Christian. God did not design us that way. Look at the pictures He paints of Christianity: a body, a flock. All denote that multiple members are involved. Sadly though I find myself with planks and a hammer in hand today.

 Why would I repeat such a foolish thing?

 The scariest thing in this world is being a sheep without a flock. As a matter of a fact, I am not sure that it is even possible to be one technically. 

 Is this the struggle I will have to wrestle with in my time here on earth? Just yuk! Blaah! Thinking about it makes me sick to my stomach and at the moment, God has not given me a clear answer so I must continue where I am holding fast to Truth and obedience and refusing to give anything to the efforts of building a lion sanctuary. 

 Let me encourage you as well to not hide yourself away. Even if you are feeling hurt by those in your church, it is much better to wrestle with resolving the issues than shutting yourself off. God knows the hidden places of the heart and those lions are not looking to snuggle with you. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

An Immobile Ministry

 Trying to escape when you have a giant stroller loaded with a toddler and all his equipment is difficult. I did make it into the car before I cried all the way home. The message was a struggle. 

 "We are to live missionally and spread the Gospel." 

 A year and a half ago I probably would have amen'd that message all day but things are different. Things are not so simple. Opportunities to share the Gospel are very limited. The most time I get with people is therapist visits and a lot of that time is spent working before they have to rush to their next appointment.

 All the way home after my escape, I snuffled and bawled to God that I was sorry to be so lacking in this area and, worst of all, to find myself in the terrible position of needing help and not being able to give any at all. Things have changed so drastically and I have to figure out how to adjust Biblically. But how?

 For a bit I questioned why I rarely saw families with special needs children out and now I know. It takes effort and help and it is a BIG deal. Honestly, there have been a few days where I wallowed in self-pity. One really ugly day our very pregnant speech therapist showed up and asked how things were and a flood of embarrassing sobs ensued. In your mind as a Christian, you know that your hope is in Christ but exhaustion and emotions well up and there you are being a sniveling idiot. 

 God always hears and listens and answers. Always. Even after idiot moments. On the drive home, God's words came strongly into view, "Jacob have I loved..." That passage in Romans 9 is so comforting to me. Some may find it distressing because it conflicts with their idea of a loving God but to me, it is a beautiful picture of His love. My performance is not what makes God care for me. Jacob was not a man with a lot of loveable traits and he fought God yet God loved him and took the time to bless him. That is amazing! 

 Although my performance is not what makes God love me, what I do should reflect the work He has done in me. Soooo, how do I use this time of incapacity and need? Reflecting on my situation, I can see how families with special need children need ministering and I can start praying on how that can be accomplished. Maybe I will physically be able to do it one day or maybe I can do something behind the scenes. I don't know but prayer is a step out of the wallow pit. 

 Right now I can post things that are working for us. These are resources that might help someone else and open doors for more communication so if you find yourself here and a post on homemade blended formula for g-tube feeding or building a baby wheelchair is not your cup of tea, pass it on or just take a moment to pray for us and that God will use us right where we are at this moment. 

 God is very gracious in granting us ingenuity, compassion, and motivation when we seek it. He is also very good at turning mourning into joy so there I will rest even when I find myself puffy-eyed and feeling worthless and I hope that whatever your trial, you will too. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Kinda Hurts Falling off the Face of the Earth

 It's been a while. I know. Bad blogger! I know. 

 So many things have happened, are happening. 

 Amidst all these things I find myself struggling. Even my dreams reflect the turmoil. The other night I dreamed that I was working in this place that was secluded from the world with only about 50 employees. I was new and they had rituals they developed over time together. Some of these things contradicted my Biblical beliefs but they pressured and prodded me to participate. The panic I had was real because I woke up with my heart pounding and feeling so anxious. 

 I find myself some days praying, "Don't let me be lost!" 

 Yeh...not a place to find yourself as a confessing Christian. I miss church a lot. Some days it just doesn't come together and even when it does, I feel like an outsider. My world is pretty much confined to my house and even there it is reduced to the downstairs and my bedroom and on a rare occasion some parts of the yard. Does it sound like I am complaining??? Hopefully not because I do not mean for it to but that is my reality. 

 God has definitely set me in a challenging place and it makes me contemplate how Paul handled imprisonment. Not that I am comparing my life to being in prison but just the isolation. He did not have a Bible with study notes and apps with Hebrew and Greek dictionaries or sermons accessible from all over the world at any time of the day. He was put into a culture that contradicted his beliefs and he was alone for the most part except for letters. Jesus was enough and sustained him. 

 My mind wants to be like that and it is discouraging when I realize that I am not like that at all. Then again, Paul did not have a home to manage, a husband to care for, dogs, chickens, a chinchilla and a pig plus a toddler with a list of issues that seems to grow and DCS constantly putting pressure on the situation. But then again, God knows all this and Jesus is still more than enough. 

 It ain't easy. Feeling like I have fallen off the face of the earth. Feeling like a stranger in a strange land even in my house  and just feeling feelings that are not always truthful and often sinful. It is just plain hard. 

 The normal-ness of my life is not the norm. An exotic, much-anticipated trip to the park the other day ended too soon with me in the parking lot trying to hide from my friend as she drove off so she would not see that I had vomit all down the front of my shirt and a hysterical toddler. 

 We go places and sometimes have to abandon the agenda because of a strong smell or smoke or loud noise. Most days I talk myself out of trying to leave the house at all.

 My mind is distracted most of the time which lends itself to its own kind of disasters. Recently, I clumsily bumped into racks of magazines and every one fell out of the rack so that it blocked the checkout aisles during a crowded time. I also got a speeding ticket not long ago because I didn't realize my speed or what was the speed limit. My brain had checked out and I was a zombie. 

 Somehow, some way I must find a way to glorify God, persevere, and grow even if I keep falling off the face of the earth. Maybe I'll also find time to write here.