Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

A Note to my Friends who Just Aren’t Feelin’ It.

It’s Christmas Eve.  I have been up since 4:19 this morning.  That’s about an hour too early.  I could have stayed in bed, pretending my body has a bit of common sense.  That’s futile, in my experience.

I might be too excited to sleep. It’s Christmas Eve, you know.  We’ve got chestnuts to roast, and popcorn to string. Well, maybe I would rather read my book and play some ping pong, but still.  It’s a day to enjoy.

I have this buzz in my head.  It’s persistent.  I stopped this morning to acknowledge the buzz; I’ve been hearing it for a week or so now.   I asked God if He’d translate what I’m hearing.   I hope He answered.

I have been thinking hard about my friends and family carrying grief this Holiday Season.  If that is you, then I think the translation of this buzz is meant for you to hear.

I think I’m supposed to say two things:

  1. Tomorrow won’t look like today.
  2. You’re sad, and it’s okay.

My sister, Gail, posted a picture this week of a past Christmas.  She said it was one of her best Christmases.  That Christmas, Gail’s beautiful son, Ryan, was alive.  Ryan was a fun maker.  He was full of joy.

Gail said that she remembers laughing so hard it hurt that Christmas; she has a picture as evidence.  I enjoyed my family too that year.  But, I look at that picture, and I have a different memory.  That  was another Christmas when I faked it.   There have been more Christmases than I want to count when I generally faked having fun, and faked being present.  Grief and sadness keep your mind occupied.

christmas sisters

That Christmas, like so many others, I was wrestling with thoughts of Eddie’s future; trying to make peace with his health that seemed to be in an eternal downward spiral.

One year, on Christmas, Eddie was too sick to take the trip to Iowa to see Scott’s family.  Scott and I made what felt to us like an excruciating decision.  We left Eddie home with my parents for the day while we made a lightening quick trip to drop off presents, hug Scott’s family, and then turned around to come back home.

This decision felt traumatic for Scott and me.  We just had a hard time accepting that this was our son’s life; missing life, really.  It felt like a grave omen.  As we were getting ready to leave for Iowa, I heard Scott sobbing in a corner of the basement.  Scott was grief stricken too. Those were sad days.

That was yesterday.  That isn’t today.  I thank my precious Savior in heaven for showering mercy on this family of mine, and restoring Eddie’s health.  All good things come from HIM.

The fact that our deepest wounds have been healed, does NOT put me in a position of authority to talk about dealing with grief at Christmas.  You may rightfully be thinking, “You don’t know how I feel, Miki.  Your problem is solved.”

You’re right.

That doesn’t change the fact that my heart feels pain for others who have to fake it this Christmas, or any Christmas.  And, I feel compelled to tell you it is okay. YOU are okay.

I want you to know that you are NOT alone.  You are not forgotten.  I prayed for you this morning.  I care about you.  But, I also want to tell you that the God of the universe cares for you too.  I’m not preaching to you.  I’m not interested in converting you.  I just want you to know today, that if you are sad, and you feel hopeless, there is a supernatural hope that can be found through faith.  My faith in Jesus is not my religion.  This faith I have is practical and supernatural., and sustained me  when grief gripped my heart.  This faith of mine yields hope, and that’s what I know you  need.  Hope.  We all need hope.

Hope that a better outcome is ahead.  Hope that we can survive the present.

 

Romans 5:2-6

2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 

 

 

I want you to have hope.   Today is not tomorrow.  You are not stuck here.

If you’re faking it today, it’s okay.  It’s really okay.  I want to tell you that you are brave.  You got up today.  You showed up.  That is enough.

Be kind to yourself.  Thank yourself for moving along.  That’s all you need to do. You just have to take the next step.

I will keep praying for you today.  I will pray that you know you are not alone.  I will pray that you find supernatural hope.  I will pray that you just take the next step, and congratulate yourself when you do.

You are loved.  This is your time and place on this Earth, and your life has meaning.  I pray you feel God’s love for you this Christmas.

Merry Christmas, my friend.

 

Miki

 

 

 

 

Cotton Candy and the Kardashians

I get so mad when my life doesn’t know I’m a blogger.  It’s all crazy and busy, and I’m like, “Excuse me?  I’m a little bit of what you call a blogging genius over here.  Could we make some room for that?  I mean, someone has to save humanity through blogging.  It may as well be me.”

My life doesn’t listen.  It just stays all high speed and wild; never giving me a chance to think.   I crave time to think. I miss it when it’s gone.

I’ve been thinking a lot about humanity lately.  What a complicated, beautiful heap a crazy that is.  I just read one of my new favorite books that made me think about humanity even more.  Have you read, “Hiding Place”?  This book is a biography about Corrie Ten Boom.

Apparently, I am the last Christian on Earth to read this book.  The story is freaking me out.  Whenever I mention it to a Christian friend, they’re all, “Oh, I know.  I read that book 8 years ago.”  Show offs.

Corrie Ten Boom is just this wonderful, amazing, incredible embodiment of strength.  I can’t believe someone like her existed.  It seems impossible.

ten-Boom_Corrie

Corrie Ten Boom was Dutch.  She came from a loving, Christian family.  During World War II, Corrie and her family helped with the Dutch underground network.  They  assisted Jewish people with avoiding concentration camps and death, actually.

Corrie had a secret room built in her own bedroom.  When the Gestapo finally discovered Corrie and her family’s illegal activities, they stormed Corrie’s home. Corrie’s Jewish friends snuck into the secret room, and survived the raid.  Corrie and her family saved their lives.

Corrie and her family were sent to prison, and then Ravensbruck, a concentration camp.  Corrie was in her 50’s when she went to prison. Things got ugly.

This is a beautiful story.  I cannot explain how much Corrie and her family members moved me to want to be better at being human.  I cannot explain how much their faith in Christ renewed fervor in me for things unseen.  If you’re sort of anti-Christian, because Christians act all know-it-ally and holier-than-thou-ee, you’ll like Corrie Ten Boom and her family. They aren’t like that.

Have you read “To Kill a Mockingbird”?  That’s another favorite of mine.  Atticus is the only other character in my history as a reader that has moved me in the way Corrie Ten Boom has.  Too bad Atticus was fictional.  I think Atticus and Corrie Ten Boom should have gotten married.  They’d make extraordinary humans together.  How is that relevant here?  I don’t know why you want to talk about stuff that can’t even happen.  It just seems silly.

Atticus and Corrie Ten boom touched my soul because they both have a super human quality.  Humility.  They have unnatural ability to suffer humiliation with dignity.  In Corrie’s case , she claims her strength is not her own.  In fact, more than once when she’s at the end of what she can bear,  She admits it to us and to herself.  She tells God that she’s just out of strength; If he means for her to keep going, He must sustain her.

Right there.  That is the part when Corrie is revived.  Her strength is renewed. It’s almost like God wants her to get to the end of herself, to see His power to carry her is real.  Not a fairy tale.

Here’s what else I love, love, love about Corrie Ten Boom.  She does not judge.  She’s filled to overflowing with love for humanity. She works feverishly to meet the needs of those around her.  At one point she described celebrating Christmas and Hannakah with her Jewish friends. She spoke with respect of her Jewish friends.  She did not cast herself in a superior light.  It sounded beautiful.

Corrie figured her whole purpose on this Earth was to show Christ’s love.  She talked about it all the time.  But, more importantly, she showed it.  She didn’t try to convince people.  She didn’t engage in debates. I love Corrie.  Did I mention that?

I want to be like Corrie.  I want to know why I am here.  I want to remember that I have been called by Christ to love.   I want to make loving people my mission: Christian people, Jewish people, gay people, heterosexual people, Morman people, atheist people, all people.   That’s the point.

These are the kinds of thoughts I’ve been having.  They’re big thoughts. I was pondering Corrie’s dependence on Christ when I became distracted by Kim Kardashian.  It’s true. Sometimes that’s on at our house.  Olivia discovered this show on Netflix.

Do you know what happens when you are contemplating the love of Christ and saints like Corrie Ten Boom, and you’re yanked from your thoughts with angry voices arguing over a prada purse?  Or you catch sight of a 13-year-old girl showing her sister how to use a stripper pole?  It’s harsh.

It’s like being snuggled up in a warm quilt on a cold day, and having the quilt stripped away and ice water poured on you.  Or, it’s like eating a deliciously sweet apple and biting into a worm.  It’s alarming and abrupt.

I’ve been reading better books lately; books about inspiring people.  I’ve been trying to meditate on more scripture too.  I guess I’ve been doing a little too much of that, because I’m now officially unable to tolerate the Kardashians, or real housewives, or any other screaming, materialistic, self-serving reality TV personalities.

See how far I’ve carried my Corrie Ten Boom lessons?  In my world,  you love everyone expect for the people on reality TV.

I should probably tell Olivia that she isn’t allowed to watch the Kardashians.  But, I’m not going to do that. Not yet.  I think the Kardashians and folks like them are causing us to crave entertainment that is as good for the soul as Cotton Candy is for our body.  Cotton Candy is sweet on impact, but offers no nutrients to sustain us. We eat it because it tastes so good and harmless. But, a diet of cotton candy will make us sick and lethargic. And let’s face it, cotton candy is gonna slowly crowd our organs and skeleton with globs of fat.  Which is really bad, mostly because all those globs of fat will make our butts look big.  Sometimes I just get all caught up in this complicated theology.  It’s hard for the common person to even understand me.

Let me say it this way: Cotton candy offers us nothing but taste. That’s it.  That’s all you get out of it.  Oh, and a big butt.  If you want that, you should eat it.

If you like the Kardashians, I hope you don’t think I’m judging you.  Hah!  I have some ladies over in New Jersey and Orange County who I want to eat cotton candy with all the time.  I have SUCH a hard time saying no to those gals.

I’ve explained my position to Olivia.  Because, I’m Corrie Ten Boom’s protoge, remember?.  Corrie Ten Boom doesn’t judge.  She doesn’t tell other people how to live.  She just follows the path God lays before her, and loves everyone along the way.  Christ’s love through Corrie draws people towards her.  Towards Him.  He changes people through her.  It’s beyond her control. Corries friends are on their own paths. She’s not in charge of changing their direction.

I’ll keep loving Olivia, and eventually she’ll leave the Kardashians, because God is calling her there.  Yes, I’ll have loved her into it, because that’s what I learned from Corrie Ten Boom.  That, or I go bat crap crazy when I hear those Kardashian girls fighting over another dress.  Then, I’ll smash the TV in the driveway.

I’m not very good at this, Corrie.  I think I need to read the book again.

corrie ten boom quote

Hey, Strict Christians, Stop It.

strict teacher

I think you and I both know that I don’t really know what I’m doing here. We’ve established that, right? I like to write. I like to be silly. I like to write silly stories. I especially like to write about my family. I like Jesus. Sometimes I write about that too. Sometimes people read what I write. Sometimes they even like it (love you Mom and Dad). Some people don’t. That’s all I know. So, let’s get that straight, before you go off believing I think I’ve got answers. I don’t. I mostly have questions.

When I have time, I like to read other people’s blogs. I think it might help me figure out what I’m doing. I especially like to read blogs from people who share my faith in Christ.

I read this one Christian blog about bikinis. This author had a humble tone. He was kind of funny too. I bet if I met him, I’d really like him. He thought Christian women have no business wearing bikinis.

I do agree that Americans are way over the top with their supersized food and undersized clothing. We’re just a, “go big or go home” type of culture. That attitude probably doesn’t always serve us well. Moderation is pretty cool.

The last time I went on a tropical vacation, I think my swim suit would have received a Vatican stamp of approval. In fact, it was so modest, I felt sort of outlandish in that environment. So, it’s not like I disagree with this guy based on my personal preferences. Yet, here I am, disagreeing with him.

I don’t want people to tell me what to wear. I really don’t. I have never thought about telling other people what to wear, but I wouldn’t want to do that either.

When I was a freshman in college I went to a sweet little Christian school that was not meant for me. This was a really good school down South. Many humble, Christ-like people graduated from that school. Lives were changed there. They had some rules.

One day I went to the cafeteria for lunch. I was stopped at the entrance. I was told I couldn’t enter the cafeteria because I was wearing a knee length skort. Yep. You’re reading that correctly. I was once a sinner, and wore skorts. You might think that’s just a fashion sin. At that school they thought it was a sin sin.

I was so ill prepared for rules at that age. I remember it took me a decent amount of time just to absorb the information from the dress code enforcer. I stood there at the cafeteria entrance, waiting for him to smile. I thought he might tell me he was joking. I thought he might say he just wanted to see how I would react if he acted in a way that was unreasonable. He didn’t do any of that. He was serious. He was unreasonable.

I didn’t get it. It was such a nice school. Why were they being so weird? At 18-years-old, I had no personal experience with adults trying to micro manage my choices. I was not used to it. I did not like it.

On a spectrum of typical family life, I would compare my upbringing to the Waltons or Little House on the Prairie. We lived pretty innocently. So why don’t I remember having a bunch of rules? I don’t think we had a firm curfew. Nobody told us who we could be friends with, what to eat, drink, who to vote for, or what to wear. Everything my sisters and I knew about our parents confirmed their Christian beliefs. Why weren’t they strict? Isn’t that a hallmark of a Christian household? If it is, it shouldn’t be. Being strict doesn’t work.

That’s saying a lot, isn’t it? I’m usually more diplomatic. Let me rephrase. In my experience and time on this Earth, I have not seen evidence that being strict works. Better?

I can only know the stuff I know. What I know is that I have too many adult friends who went to strict, Christian schools when they were young, or had super strict parents. Now they reject Christianity. I have so many of these friends that I’ve come to a conclusion that there’s a connection between being strict and rebellion. Those adults I know are hurt and bitter. They want nothing to do with Christianity. That makes me sad, because it is my belief that Christianity isn’t what hurt them. Weird people who are strict did.

Did feeling judged for wearing a skort help develop me spiritually? Let me think back. I remember being embarrassed and my feelings were kind of hurt. Nope. It didn’t. I asked my self what good can come from all of that. I still do.

When I was a young mother, a really nice mom gave me a book. She said it was a great read, and would really help me learn how to discipline. I respected this young mom, and I suck at discipline; two good reasons to read the book.

I have never hated a book more in my life; I am talking about real hate. Usually, I work at keeping an open mind. I’m slow to develop strong opinions. I instantly had a strong opinion on this book. My opinion was that it belonged in our trash.

The author and his wife had a lot of children. The author’s philosophy involved breaking the child’s spirit. He compared children to horses. He spanked a lot, with a switch. He described what kind of switch to use. I’m sorry. That’s hard to even write. Did I mention what an awful book it was? Like reading a nightmare.

He said his oldest children were proof that his methods worked. They never questioned him, and they were always, instantly obedient. His methods proved to me that he’d actually scared his kids to death. Congratulations. He calls his methods discipline. I call them something else.

I felt sorry for the children in that book. And there’s nothing funny about adults hitting kids in to submission. But the methods discussed became a joke in our house. I found them so absurd.

When I described what I was reading to my children, their eyes became wide. I think they started behaving better just hearing about this guy. So, I guess he helped me after all. Too bad, I think he is so, so wrong. I’ll keep my naughtier kids with unbroken spirits, thanks anyway weird, strict guy.

My parents were not weird. They were calm and respectful. They gave us room to make mistakes and disagree with them. They heard us. Kids want to be heard. They gave us plenty of work to do, and we couldn’t afford to be spoiled. They never told us what the rules were for being a Christian. Their Christianity was personal. It was a relationship between God and them, and it happened in their hearts.

I’m trying to emulate that combination now that I’m responsible for my own kids. I can’t really know if it’s working, can I? It’s too soon. And you should know that just because I think out loud, in public, doesn’t mean I’m right.

I just know that I won’t be telling my kids that there are rules for being a Christian. I will tell them that being a Christian does not happen from the outside in. It happens from the inside out. It is a condition of your heart. It’s a personal relationship between you and God. Your personal relationship with God will help you make decisions about what you should say, do, eat, drink and wear. We don’t get to decide what God is telling other people about all of those things, and other people don’t get to decide what God is telling us.

I find talk about clothing and spankings tedious, really. I’m sorry for that. I would rather talk to my kids about being kind, faithful, humble, patient, self controlled, and joyful. I’d like to model that too. I want to tell them that they are going to have to determine for themselves whether they believe Jesus has the power to affect their lives. I want to tell them that’s what I believe, and that is what I have experienced. I want to tell them that divine relationship will be a solid foundation for building healthy human relationships and weathering life’s most violent storms.

I want to talk to my kids about all that, but mostly I want to show them. After that, my job is done. Then they get to decide what they want for their hearts on their own, and my job will be to love them no matter what.

I don’t want to try to control people. I’d be terrible at it. I do want to celebrate faith. My Faith is my light house.

A sweet friend sent me this song, listening always helps me celebrate! You might like it too.

Tag Cloud