Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thoughts on 2011, Autism, Chronic Illness, and Challenges

I cannot say I am sad to see 2011 go. It was a year of great challenges for us. However, God has renewed my vision for those in the midst of suffering. I am even more on fire to encourage those who are hurting or struggling in life. I can truly say God is enough. He has sustained us in this very rough year. He has given us peace in all things. We are truly grateful and stronger for the trials and struggles we have sustained.

Last Christmas we started the journey of discovery that would turn out to be our daughter having Asperger's syndrome which is a type of autism. She is amazingly gifted but we were challenged by many things with her. When we finally understood why she was being challenged we were able to start researching and move forward.

Also, this year my Lyme disease that has been under control for several years came roaring forward again. I found out that I will probably have this for life but there are things we can do to keep it under control. I am trusting God for His healing in it though. Whether He takes it fully away or for a time or never I do trust. He is teaching me to be strong in weakness. It is in my weakness that He is stronger in me. I am learning to be content with that.

Challenges consist of our entire family adjusting to these conditions. It is difficult to live in a family where persistent struggle is the way of life. We have dealt with grieving the loss of dreams, normalcy, control, and anger. We are learning to love one another well. We are being schooled in compassion and long suffering. We are growing closer together through it. We can say that though it was a year marked with much struggle, God has truly been enough and our saving grace to endure it all and learn to live fully the adventure of it all. We can do all things through Him. Truly we can. So welcome 2012. We look forward to the adventure. Hopefully marked with more joy and hope.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.~ Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Natural Colloidial Silver 30ppm for Lyme

Now I am done with the Oil of Oregano. I am so happy to say that for now. I know I have felt bad. That may be a good thing because feeling bad is a good thing with Lyme. It means that those horrible bacteria are being killed off. Not sure how much progress I have made.

I know that my eating has a big part of it as well. And supplements. We went to a Mexican restaurant, my oldest daughters favorite. We got the cheese dip like we always do but I did not eat it. My husband said, is this bad? Do you feel really bad you are not eating this? Are you tempted? Pondering if we should just not get it anymore. I appreciate that.

However, I told him I know how bad I feel when I eat certain things and it is not worth that. I told him I look at it like ingesting poison. It is simply not worth it. I am finding the things I can eat and sticking with them. We don't live to eat after all we eat to live. That has been helping my perspective. I think my body is healing slowly.

I am surprised though because I was losing weight but it has come to a stand still it seems. I know I need to lose more but it is stagnant. Probably because of my lack of exercise but I am not there yet. I can do simple stretches. Just walking from my car to get inside a place is enough exercise for me now. My body cannot take anymore.

This phase of my plan on building my immune system is requiring more rest for me. I am not doing as well with that yet but I am trying to make it a habit. In your sleep is where your body really heals. I am trying to have less stress as well but here where there is constant misunderstanding it is hard. I am trying to let it roll off my shoulders. Mix up a group of people with invisible illnesses and communication problems among it then you are bound to get quarreling. We could use prayer there. We each see our weaknesses and are seeking God to help us fix them.

The silver sounds weird to me but I will start it soon and report how it works. It has no taste or smell so I am very ready for that. I know it at least will taste better. Anything has too. I will take 1tsp/3xday with a 10 oz. glass of water. I am giving my body a couple of days of rest before starting the next one though. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pain is a Gift? Suffering With Christ

I have started to write with the team over at Writer Interrupted. Go check them out! Click the link below. It is my first article for them. Hope you enjoy the ministry and article. I know I do. Gina is great too and her new book is coming out soon! Check it out. Pain is a Gift? Suffering With Christ

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pinterest Tries. Do they really work?

Because I have recently become a bit obsessed with pinterest, I decided I was going to start recording my tries and what actually worked. I thought this would be fun to do for my own records but I hope you enjoy it too!

So far I have tried three things.
First I did this:

I changed it to using bacon instead. Added onions and mushrooms. No cheese. It worked out ok. They were easy little breakfast bites. It was something different I suppose. Still like my quiche in a large 9x13 pan though.

Next I tried,

They were a lot more work than I expected but pretty good. We all liked them. It just takes a little more time and when your joints hurt in your hands saving work is better for me. But they were ok.

Then I tried,

The Kale chips were good with the crunchiness I wanted. I used pecans instead of sesame seeds. They were a little bitter though but that is kale. I crumbled them up in my tuna and ate them that way.

Last I tried,

It worked ok. I have really coarse, thick, curly hair though. So it is natural in its curl. My problem is frizz and tangles when I wake up. I usually sleep in a ponytail anyway. So I tried this. Still a little frizz but it did turn out pretty. I think I would get it more damp next time. I will try again. I love easy! :)

Here is the picture of my hair doing it.
It is pulled back with a clip. Not bad though. Only a little touch up needed.

This is my record so far. I will keep them coming. I realize there are fun things to learn on there but I want the validity of them.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

James Week 8 - Walk it Out

We are experiencing a lot of sibling rivalry here lately. It is enough for me to want to pull my hair out! No one wants to be around arguing and fighting all the time. I keep telling my girls we must get to the heart of the matter. The problem resides in their hearts. This next chapter in James discusses this. He opens the book with this question, " What causes fights and quarrels among you?" (James 4:1a).

Hmmm. The question of all ages. Why are there wars? Why do family members stop speaking? How does this happen? What is the cause? Often we would like to say it is the other person right? However that is far from the truth. Then the Scripture goes on to state this, "Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:1b-3)

Our fighting and quarreling comes from the desires within ourselves. Our heart is deceptive. We desperately want things, things others have, things we are not allowed to have, things that are not good for us. We are jealous of others thinking their life is better than ours. Yet if we only trusted God. He is the one who gives good gifts. He is the one who allows whatever comes into our lives. He is in ultimate control. Yet often we still want our own way.

Quarreling and fighting is a sign of lack of trusting God with our hearts. If we could see it that way and learn to trust then we would be better off. Sometimes when we are in the valley of life it is hard to understand why. Yet God is still in control. He uses every bit of it to make us more like Him if we are trained by it. The solution to our dissatisfaction is to ask God. Sometimes He says no, sometimes He says yes. We just must trust.

The people of this time were a dispersed people. It would have been a hard time to trust God's plan. But James wanted to encourage them. Honestly we know when something like pride is welling up in our hearts if we just pay attention. You start by getting a feeling on the inside of you. It is a yucky feeling. If you stop and recognize that you can take it to God and humble yourself. It will help you see what is truly going on in your heart. Usually the argument you have is about a deeper thing.

A modern day example could be that I share irritated words with my husband because he left the towel on the floor. He does this everyday but this day he also left his shoes in the middle of the hallway causing me to trip. I am angry because I have been inconvenienced and feel unappreciated. This brings out unkind actions and words then an argument begins. No one wants to yield. As it goes on we forget what the argument was really even about. Yet pride keeps it going.

James 4:4-8 goes on to states, "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.  Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."

If we belong to God then we are in a covenant relationship with Him. It is a marriage. We become His and when we start running with things of the world we become His enemy. We are committing spiritual adultery because our hearts are divided. A serious thing! He lives in us and He is jealous for us. He wants us back. Yet He gives us scandalous grace we do not deserve. He is a lover who will never leave us or forsake us even in our horrible ways. He will continue to come after us because He loves us so. Yet He will hold the proud at a distance which in any relationship should be painful enough to cause the offender to return because they miss the one they love.

If you humble yourself before God He will give you grace. As you draw near Him He will draw near you. He will never force this. He waits for your move. Your return. He is faithful. Also, we have the power through His grace to resist the devil. When we do he will flee from us. So this should encourage us to be strong in the Lord and follow hard after Him the one who loves us perfectly.

Then verse 8-10 speak of how we will be filled with sorrow for departing from God. We will be convicted and repent. We are perfectly clean as we take this to the cross. As we are humbling ourselves God will lift us up. He always restores. A forgiving lover. His love is amazing. Run to Him He will never turn you away.

Then verses 11-12 talk about what to do with this strife we feel toward other people. How we handle it is to not speak evil of one another. When we are in right relationship with God we will rightly understand He is the only true judge. He is the one who will make things right. We have no right to judge our brother by taking the place of God or His law.
Finally James goes on to explain that it is arrogance to plan life without the guidance of God. Read verses 13-16.  The point is our life is a short. We don't even know how short it really is. We must seek the wisdom of God as we plan our our days and we must be okay with changes in our plans. God is in control and we must trust Him.  So instead of being arrogant we can say, "If the Lord wills then...."  This kind of boasting with out thinking of God, is evil. We must consider what the Lord would have for us to do.

Then this chapter ends in a convicting way. Just as it began. Verse 17 states, "To him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin." Enduring Word Media Commentary states, "James knows that it is far easier to think about and talk about humility and dependence on God than it is to live it. Yet He makes the mind of God plain: as we know these things we are accountable to do them."

How has any of this challenged you this week?
How can we pray for one another in this? Humility is hard. Yet walking it out is as easy as trusting and submitting to God. Whatever He allows is for our good. We do not need to fight. We need to trust.

Homeschooling and "Normal" - What is Normal Really?


Another fun Pinterest find! I thought it would be fun to share these home school funnies today!

Homeschooling is such a blessing to us. Now that I am dealing with this chronic illness it looks differently than probably the typical home but we make it work. We love each other well, serve one another well, cuddle up and read and work on workbooks and lessons. The days when things are real rough we gather in the king size bed. The work is done, we are comfy, we are close. I worried about typing those words though. I think many people would be against me schooling now. Some have even asked if I would put them back in school because of my illness.

The answer would be if God directed us to then yes. Obviously if I was so bad that I could not teach and instruct my children I would have to do this. But I am not a vegetable. I have my teaching resources and curriculum and can still teach. It is not like the world system but we don't want to be like the world anyway. The children are in a secure and loving learning environment. I think those are good things. Plus they are learning to serve. Things I did not teach them well before this. Most importantly they are getting to see God up close and personal come through and shine in the situation that may seem desperate at times.

Sometimes we try to recreate "the institution of school" in our home school. Why? If that is the case then why are we doing it? So what if we cuddle in the bed and learn together? My children are bright, loving, compassionate kids who love well and consider other peoples needs. Not to get something back but because it is what they have experienced in this life. It is because they have experienced the gospel and because of that love they desire to serve the King. This is the end result we desire.

It is good. God provides. We will survive. It is just a temporary blip of time and things will go back to "normal" whatever that is. That is why I posted the cartoon. That is home schooling at its best! Learning is to be nurtured, fun, and comfortable. In love and at a pace that the individual child needs to really get it. I really know my children and listen to their needs. I can study them this way and meet them where they are at. To me for us there is no better way. Yet we will go where God directs. Each family has to do this. Let's not compare.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Parsley's Home to Yours!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!! We hope this finds you well and hope your Christmas is filled with the awe of our great Savior, the Creator of the world coming down to us as a helpless babe. Don't ever lose the wonder of that. What an amazing Savior who left all His glory and majesty choosing to put flesh on to live a perfect life later to die taking our sin on a cross so we could be right with God. What He has done has made us perfect in Him if we believe. Oh I hope you do. I hope you live for Him. It is the most important thing.

This year for us has been filled with much adventure. It is the perspective we must have to get through it all. We believe God is in control of all things and it is all in His hands. Christmas last year we were snowed into a cabin in the mountains of Gatlinburg. It was then that we finally realized our youngest had autism. After a hard year of research and figuring things out we found out it is called aspergers. It has been wonderful to finally know how to better teach her by understanding how her brain works. It is a blessing that came in disguise to us this year. She is the most precious thing. Now we understand why things are happening the way they are and we are able to be okay. She is bright, energetic, and has a heart of gold.

Our oldest had her first cast this year. Her bestie had hers at the same time! Wow, what other trouble will they get into?! Just kidding. They were not together when it happened. Kaitlyn's was not a break either it was inflammation of her growth plate and the doc said casting it would be best. She does not want one of those again though! She was a trooper with it. She is doing great in school. We joined a homeschool group this year that meets once a week where they take different classes and both girls love this.

They are both in drama. Kaitlyn is doing art and is very gifted in it. They are both self teaching themselves piano, some guitar. Hannah is doing Ballet and Irish dance. Hannah loves building with legos. Kailtyn loves building on a game they have called Minecraft. They are growing so very fast. Time flies!

As for Tony and I, Tony is doing good at work and still teaching at the university. He is content. He is still involved with Christian Gamers. He is serving a lot this year. He is a deacon, doing media ministry, serving me tons because of my illness. He has had so much thrown at him this year but he takes it in stride. He is a great example for us and leads us well.

I am teaching a Sunday School class of ladies at church and I love it. I am teaching ESL also and love that. I have been working with the Awana group as well. In the coop I get to teach writing to a wonderful group of 5th grade girls. All those things are up my alley. I have had to cut back on so much lately because the Lyme disease has resurfaced this year. I do keep writing at the blog and for various ministries around the blogospere.  It has been a rough go but we are trying hard to get it back down by building my immune system. That is changing our lives radically when it comes to food. But I think overall it is a great thing. Overall we are getting to learn one another better, what makes us tick (ha, a pun cuz that is what made me sick in the first place. :)) and how we work together. God is using it all to purge us of the ugly which there is alot of and make us more like Him. He is so good to us and never let's us go.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I Made a Huge Mistake - Lyme - Set Back

Just one choice can do it! A set back is like a blink of the eye. I just infused my body with poison called sugar but I did not know how bad it really was for me until now. So in a twisted way it is a victory. I know to never do it again because I never want to feel this way again.

My joints and muscles just ache all around. My brain is very foggy. I only had one packet. It was all because I wanted a cup of coffee sweetened. I thought I would not like it without it. This choice is causing a painful set back.

Yet these choices happen as you start to feel better, you test the waters. You think if I eat this it probably won't hurt me. Or if I just eat this then I will be okay. Just this once, etc. It is a bad thought process. What I have found to feel the best is to cut all sugar, dairy, or gluten. However, the biggest menaces to my body are white sugar, white flour, and dairy (from cheese and milk). Keeping it at that level is fine and I still feel better.

I however, am feeling a bit rebellious because it is Christmas and the "tradition" is to eat many sugary treats. Not sure why but that is what culture is like. I want to fit into the culture and eat this yummy junk. I just do. I suppose it will take a long while to change my attitude. However, I want to remember how I feel in this moment. That is enough to help me remember not to do it again.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My City I Have Grown to Love - Chattanooga

I just love this picture of the sun setting. Chattanooga is filled with rivers and mountains galore. It is a beautiful, family friendly city. A great place to raise a family. I am thankful that God put us here.

From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. ~Acts 17:26

A Great Smoothie! Part of the Health Journey

Since I have been just throwing things together for smoothies lately, I thought I would make a record of the good smoothies so I do not forget. This one is great! Here I have;
A handful of Cranberries
Two sliced granny smith apples with skin removed
One Kiwi
Two cuties separated
One baby cucumber cut in pieces skin still on
A handful of baby carrots

It is a good balance of fruits and veggies.
I add ice in the bottom and like to add this yogurt.
It is sugar free without any natural substitute which makes me sick. So I love this one!

I also like to add my pro-biotic to it. This one is a powder form with no taste so it works well with the smoothie.
And in any good smoothie you must add liquid so this is a great natural drink I like a lot.

This is what it looks like before blending.
And the finished product.
It is really good! Give it a try. I call it health in a cup. Enjoy!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Love this chart! These are some of the social skills that need to be taught to my child with aspergers. There are so many things we say in our language that really don't make literal sense but somehow as we grow we just understand what it means. No one really teaches it we just pick it up. With Aspergers my daughter is not able to do that so we have to teach these things. It has really made me aware of our speech. If you really paid attention to your words in a given day you would probably see that we say so many things that would be considered slang. I really liked this chart that just named a few for us to go over and learn.

Found this chart also browsing Pinterest! Can you name any other Idioms?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Extreme Anxiety Does Not Help - What Does...


This is my focus while I go to the dentist. I have etched it on my brain. The remedy over and over is thanksgiving and praise. That is how you get rid of this level of anxiety. I am not talking clinical depression but this kind I carry today. My points.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. ~1 Peter 1:7
I mean I really gotta hurl that anxiety and toss it so far away from me. It wants to have me and pull me under. It will if I don't get a handle on it.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.~Philippians 4:7-8
We are to take these things to God, every situation. We are to do it with thanksgiving. It is a discipline to find things to be thankful for in hard times especially in dealing with pain. But we must do it. The promise is we will have that deep rooted peace of God that no one can really understand. We may be falling apart but with peace of God. It is good testimony of His grace. God also as we give these things to Him guards our hearts and minds. So I continue to give it over and over to Him as much as is needed.

Then the next verse tells us what to think about:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. ~Philippians 4:8
Run these kind of thoughts through your mind.

Also Hebrews 12:1-3 always helps me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

So this is how I get through the medical tests and pain! It is extreme mind discipline. And there are so many other Scriptures that God brings to mind as I process but it is necessary so the anxiety does not take over.

Truth is this area did not numb last time at the dentist. The suspicious area is close to the nerve. There is lots of pain now. Poking and prodding does not help that. The unknown is about to be known. What is under the suspicious area is about to be exposed. Who knows what. Yet I am in God's capable hands. Lyme disease can cause much decay and ruckus on all parts of the body. All organs and systems. I have No idea what to expect. I do hope it numbs as they work but if it doesn't it is not the end of the world. I am thankful they will find out. Then we will see what happens.

Either way I will think on these things of Philippians 4:8. Cast off anything that does not line up. Grieve what needs to be grieved and rest in the Father's arms whose love is more than I can even comprehend. Life with Lyme is an adventure. Sometimes I wish I was not on the pioneer end of it. 1000 years from now I am confident they will know what to do for it. Yet then again maybe Jesus would have come back and it won't really matter anyway. Lord, come quickly and help us to be a good witness in the meantime! Draw others to you through our lives.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Homeschool Fun with Multiplication, Advent, and Grammar


Found this on Pinterest! I am loving Pinterest now I understand how to use it!! I am finding some great ideas too. New foods, craft ideas, inspiration, etc. If you need an invite let me know I will send you one. Would love to follow your inspirations too. It is fun. It is also fun to see what makes others tick.

I have not done a home school post for a long while. So here is one. This is what we are working on now. I want to drill the girls these next few weeks to get them to really commit addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts to memory. We have completed their Math grade work for the year so we are now going to do drills. I guess this is school light because it is almost Christmas break. However, we are always learning around here. We find fun ways to make learning fit, even if it is unknowingly to the children. :) Next up is fraction drills. I am taking this time to really hone in on the deficiencies I have seen. Then we will move on to our next Math book. I have it on stand by and there is just a love I have for a new school book. My children carry this same love. Strange huh?

Also a very important part of school now is studying the advent. I am loving this inductive study we found online. You just download the PDF or Doc on the top left of the page. You can print them even if you want they come with coloring sheets. You can find it here. It is so much fun to just see the story come alive again through the eyes of the children. I love the wonder they still posses. I pray to have more of that.

Source: via Angela on Pinterest

I also found this cool chart I want to work on with the girls to help them really understand grammar. Another great Pinterest find.

Those are just a few things we are up too. I really just wanted to share the multiplication chart, advent study and grammar chart! Love those! Hope you do too. Happy Home Schooling!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If You Hear, I am Team Jacob - Don't Judge Me

There is an unsettling statement that keeps coming out of my daughters mouth. "I am team Jacob!" Of course I know what this means. I have heard the whole Twilight saga story. It is pop culture. Seen even some of the movies. They keep me curious. I really don't get the obsession with vampires and werewolves. I just don't get it. I have a friend who loves the books and she tells me about them. They seem to have good back stories to them which I love in character development so I understand that but really they are obsessive and dark. Plus to top it off people have been having seizures watching this latest one is what the news has reported. How crazy right? Anyway, I am not going to hate on you if you like these movies, I just really don't.

Back to my daughter. She keeps saying she is team Jacob. So I ask her, honey what do you mean? She said from that movie, he is the werewolf right not the vampire? She can identify which character he is. She learns this as she is out in public. These characters are out in public all around us, on shirts, posters, cardboard stand ups, movies, dolls, etc. I don't readily see these things they go over my head. Yet because she processes visually and has been seeing this stuff and processing pop culture she all of a sudden says, "I am team Jacob." She has no idea what it means. Except she thinks a werewolf is better. She can debate why. If you hear her say it out in public which she probably will please don't judge me. I don't let her read the books. I don't let her watch the movies. I don't even let her see the previews. She just learns visually so this is what pop culture in our stores is teaching her. Interesting. You cannot shield your children from it unless you stay away from the stores. It is pop culture. It is everywhere.
Another example of this is Justin Bieber. He is everywhere you look. We did not know about this boy until my girl started talking about him. I wondered why she was obsessed about him. Where she heard or saw him. She really did not like him at all. She saw his face everywhere and socially she could not understand it. It is those social things of pop culture she does not understand. Though we had nothing of him around she knew all about him. She picks this up visually from her culture. It is an interesting thing. I know the new trends from her. She sees what I do not. She studies it because she does not understand.

So don't judge what you do not know. I am just happy she is picking up some of the social world. She is interested and trying to learn it. That is what is so interesting about her. That is why I am so sure she is going to do well with aspergers. She knows what she does not understand and is very eager to learn, so much so she takes it on herself to learn it. I love that about her.

A Happy Update About this Oil of Oregano and Lyme

Late last night I got an email from a precious saint and friend. She has decided to walk this with me after I asked her about these naturals. An answer to prayer because I have been afraid to do this alone. My body is extremely sensitive to medicines and herbs. Less is more for me. So going it alone was fearful. I cried out knowing if God gave us peace to do this natural route for round two He somehow would provide.

Well, I am going to call her Doc D. She emails me. This is her opening line, "Here is a plan of attack to eradicate the lyme from your body." She goes on with more but that opening line...Tears. Finally. Someone who is doing some research and helping. No she is not a doctor but has been doing this stuff with her family for many years. She knows it. And most importantly she cares and is a praying woman who follows hard after God. Someone to care. Someone to show Christ like love. This is a breath of fresh air. For I know it is an inconvenience to get into the mess of Lyme and study up on this stuff but she did. I am grateful.

There is answered prayer. A friend to walk it with with knowlege and who will war what I have no strength to do right now. Also she told me the better way to take this oil and this am I did it and it did not burn! I could barely taste it! GLORY!

Now, part of the research tells you to rub it on your spine and soles of feet. So I did that too this am. It is nice like a massage. However, my sweet aspie girl keeps saying I stink. Yes this stuff is powerful. Sorry honey. I know I do stink. Another question, Are you going to take a shower? Well honey not anytime soon, I need this to work okay. Another statement, well I am going to go (trying to leave the kitchen and get out of chores because of smell). No honey I will go away while you finish your chores. SIGH. Always something with this crew.

Hubs suggests I do my next round later today on toast. Hmm. Maybe I will try it that way. I have to do it 3x a day. The problem with the dilutedness and drinking it with 10oz of water is drinking that much water does upset my stomach. So pray I will keep it all down. So glad this is school-lite and we are about to be on break. So glad we started school during summer this year so we are already at our half way point. So thankful for many things. I can see God all over it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Lyme Journey Part Two

I decided since I am officially out of denial and on this road to recovery battling Lyme disease again I will record my journey in words. I must caution you. It will be raw. It will be honest. Sometimes you will not want to read but it will be truth. And above all else how I trust God in this. I believe He is in complete control of it. Fourteen years ago I got Lyme disease then was healed or atleast it went into remission now seven years after that I have had a flare up again. I am sure it is in my entire body. It does not stay in one place, it invades everything. It is even in my spinal fluid. Not cool.

For the time being my husband and I have prayed and decided to do natural anti-biotic treatment on this thing round two. Atleast for 6 months then we will reevaluate. I have been on Oil of Oregano for four day now. So far it is not fun at all. It takes incredibly strong and goes down your throat like a slow burn, think of a strong drink like Bourbon (yes have had it in my former days.) I have tried to mix it with several liquids but the taste is so strong and the burn is unavoidable. As it goes down after a few minutes my heart starts pounding kind of fast. Not sure what that is about and I wait. Sometimes it causes some increased pain in joints. Other times in my skin. My mouth burns some after as well. It is not a fun thing to take I will tell you but if it will kill this bacteria then I will do it. My round is going to be anywhere from 10 to 20 days we will see.

In the meantime, I have significantly cut my wheat/gluten, dairy, and sugar down from my diet. These things suppress the immune system. So it is important I rebuild mine so that my body can fight this. Also I am doing doses of vitamin C and Himalayan salt. Taking Zinc and various vitamins. Don't forget the probiotic. The increased fruits and veggies has really helped too. It just makes your body feel better. I think it is good for anyone really.

Now, I have no idea if this will work but this is the first round and we will see what happens. Currently my biggest problem is walking, pain in joints, all joints, teeth issues, jaw pain, swelling in knees, legs not working properly, brain fog, skin hurting. Think of the flu continually. This is day to day for me. Things that should not take much effort do. I hope to get to exercising but now it is not really that possible. I keep seeing a wheel chair in my future, but I don't think it will be truly. I have to face that fear which should not be one at all. Hubs says he will get me a real cool speedy one if it ever happened. He is so good to me. :)

I wanted to embed this but it would not let me so I am including a video for hope for lyme patients in TN. Our own Gov. B had to go out of state for treatment, sad huh? This is a great small victory for our state now if some docs would rise up and really learn and treat.

Sadly my youngest has aspergers syndrome and it can be linked to Lyme. Here is a story about it on Fox News
I don't want to worry about them. I have two kids. Both birthed during my sickness. I did not know at the time what it was. It went into remission when I was pregnant. If they become symptomatic or we make our trip to my doctor in Missouri we will get them tested. The only Lyme literate lab is Igenix labs. The tests are $475 dollars each and are not covered under insurance. So that is a big cost. Lyme is very expensive for patients. It is a strain on families financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It is a hard road we are on but it is in God we trust. It is Him we cling to and follow. We will go where He leads. I believe I am to surrender this time. I am too weak to fight. I need to do what I need to do and watch God work. He will fight for me, us. I hope the story has a happy ending. But who are we kidding? God stories do for to live is Christ (Happy ending) to die is gain (Happy ending).

I think for now the hardest part is living with people's misunderstandings. I want to be understood. I am not well though I may look it or may be out and about. I am truly dying inside. Today atleast, maybe in a few I will be well again. My hope though is in HIM. However He plays it out. All for His glory and our good. Yet I can't help but laugh because the evil one will think he has won. Any great sinister villain could use this disease that slowly kills a body inside. It is a good weapon of warfare. Slow torture. Slowly killing all you are, yet we are of a different breed. We are of a Heavenly Kingdom, this body is just a jar of clay, we have a new and resurrected body coming. No matter what we have won because we are HIS, we belong to the High King. The sinister villain can wreck some minor havoc but of it is temporary and minor compared to what we have to come. We are more than over comers in HIM.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Birthday Contest Winner is

Ashley!  Congrats! I sent you an email. As soon as I have your address I will get it shipped right out!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Good Story Involves Conflict - How to Develop a Good Character God's Way

From almost the moment of conception I have prayed that my girls would be women who would have gentle and quiet spirits from 1 Peter 3:4 and obedient hearts. Also that they would love the word of God more than life itself. Lofty prayers. But God loves us so much that He delights in these kind of prayers. He answers these kinds of prayers. These are the prayers that are His will and are according to His Scripture.

If He tells us, "Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God" (1 Peter 1:3-4). Then He means this. This is His desire for us. So this is a prayer that will be answered.

However, in our fast food, microwave it please culture I just assumed that my children would pop out of my womb with this quality. Yet that is not how character development happens. God is writing an amazing story through our lives. And the Holy Spirit must work this kind of meekness of spirit into us. It is not something we can do on our own. It takes training. We must receive this training but He works it. So how does He train us in meekness? As I was reading, "As Silver Refined" by Kay Arthur this paragraph really struck me about meekness.

It states, "Meekness is born in stress, in trials, in affliction, in difficulties. Meekness is born in situations that humble you. This meekness that God so highly values in your life will show itself--prove itself--in oppression and pressure and disappointment. It is true for God's people Israel, and it's true for you and me."

Now that is a powerful statement. Meekness in our character is a process. My prayers are being answered through the difficulties we experience. My chronic illness gives my children a chance to humble themselves by having a weak mom when others do not. They are denied many activities others are not. We are dealing with special needs in our house with requires much more patience and understanding. I could go on and on about the opportunity for trials we experience daily. They are opportunity to develop beautiful young ladies answering my prayers.

Now obedience is also learned in a funny way. It is learned through suffering...Hebrews 5:8 states about Jesus, "Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered." Now if Jesus Himself humbled Himself completely and had to learn obedience this way why would be exempt? Look at your sufferings in whatever form as opportunities for a good story. Live your story well. Let your character develop fully into what God is making it into. He sees the end. And it is good. Very good. Don't pray what you are not serious about. You may just get what you asked for. But I can tell you I do not regret a thing. Developing in an exciting story as crazy as it is is worth it if we are becoming more and more like Him in the process. 

Lastly...As we suffer through trials it does drive us into the Word of God. It drives us into the Father's arms. So as we walk through these hard things a natural by product is cherishing and loving His word as we come to know and love HIM. Would love your thoughts on this. Has it changed your perspective?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Birthday Give Away - Refreshment at it's Best

Well, another year has gone by. Time seems to fly as you get older. Where does it go? Life is so short. Enjoy it deeply, Live well, Love without regret, and never be afraid to dance. God delights in you dear one. There is great joy in that. Rejoice!

I celebrate another birthday so we at Refresh My Soul would like to give a gift to you! A type of birthday reversal. Instead of getting we are giving. So, Leave a comment below for one entry and another chance for an entry is leaving one on our Facebook page here. If you tweet the contest and mention @refreshmysoul I will give you yet another entry. I will draw the winner Friday.

Here is what we are giving away. My favorite Devotional, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young and a $10 Starbucks gift card. Hope you win!

Monday, December 5, 2011

God's Beauty Treatment

God's spa treatment is not ideally what we think of when culturally we approach our beauty treatments in a completely different light. Culturally we are concerned about the outward appearance. We concentrate on weight, facial beauty, hair, clothing, etc. We are concerned about things on the outside. Things which can be seen with the eye. However true beauty to God comes from the the things that cannot be seen. It is from the inside, it is the heart. That is what God sees. Beauty treatment and transformation of the heart takes place in a very different way. A main source of this beauty treatment is accomplished through suffering.

Matthew 5:48 tells us "to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Yet this is a type of treatment like going to a spa. It is not a striving for perfection. It is in meaning we are to be brought to completeness. It is a process and we cannot do this on our own. Our Father is perfect and complete and when we are with Him we will be too but until then we are in process. 

In context Matthew 5 is the teaching of Jesus called the Sermon on the Mount. It is really radical because it is counter cultural. It is opposite of what people know and live. Yet it is the way of Christ. When we belong to Him His Spirit resides in us and starts changing us and making us more and more like Him. As He is making us like Him we must start learning to say no to sin while walking in His ways. We walk and learn and grow as we are covered by His grace. It is an amazing thing and this changes us. Just knowing His love for us changes us.

Again here we have the word perfection again. Perfecting comes from trials or troubles. James 1:2-4.
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

Another way to grow in Him is being tried. Endurance training when fully developed will perfect you. One of the ways we are made more like Him. Hebrews 5:8 states, "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered." Think about this, Jesus the incarnate son of God - God Himself in the flesh had to learn obedience through suffering. He was so fully human that this had to happen. This is how obedience is taught. If He fully God and fully man had to learn this way how much more so must we? Suffering should not surprise us. It is God making us more beautiful. Just as a beauty treatment may hurt so this purification may as well. But take heart...

Hebrews 12:6-11states, "For the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.  If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way."

Isn't that great?! We are deeply loved as we are disciplined because God does not want us to remain the same He seems more beauty in us than we dare imagine is there. He has amazing plans for us if we let it train us. Don't ruin His treatment plan in your life, come forth beautiful. And the final result is this,

"These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world" (1 Peter 1:7).

And isn't this the best kind of praise we could want the kind that brings ultimate glory to the Father the one who loves us more than anything else. The One who made a way for us by giving His Son. The One who is our all? I will leave you with hope as you endure this spa treatment. Endure as you reflect on His great love for you. These are His words. Will you believe them by faith?

God will rejoice over you as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride. ~Isaiah 62:5

For the Lord With his love, he will calm all your fears. your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” ~Zephaniah 3:17

Dear One will you trust Him as He makes you more beautiful? He is the One who truly is trust worthy. On the other side of it we will really be able to see more clearly. Let us share that beauty with the world.

Friday, December 2, 2011

James Week 7 - Part Two - Walk It Out

Have you ever thought someone was really wise? What made you think that? Did it prove to be true? This word for wisdom is the some word we were looking at in chapter one when we were told to ask God for wisdom if we needed it and God will give it. Now we get to see what that wisdom that comes from Him will look like. Read verses 13-18 in James 3 now and I am going to work backwards this time on this passage.

First we will look at what Godly wisdom is (v. 17-18):
pure which means pure from carnality, chaste, modest
peace-loving means loving peace
considerate means fair, mild, or gentle/suitable
submissive means easily obeying, compliant.
full of mercy means kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them.
and good fruit means good constitution or nature in acts
impartial means without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty.
sincere means without hypocrisy or unfeigned.
*Definitions taken from Blue Letter Bible Lexicon

Now when you are seeking wisdom if it does not fall into these categories do not listen to it. It is not from God. And don't give advice to someone contrary to this either. There is so much information in this world flying at us. You must prayerfully filter it through these characteristics.

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. The passage ends with this. If we live peaceable lives we will end up with righteousness. Hold on to that. Sometimes it does take a while for the harvest to come but that peace that passes all understanding is constantly in our heart if we trust Him in faith.

Then verses 4-16 speak about the things that are not godly wisdom.
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

How can you identify this kind of wisdom based on this passage?
This is the world's way. Scary huh? This kind of wisdom is even considered demonic. Flee from it. If you feel envy creeping up in your heart RUN! Selfish ambition, RUN! It is only the start of many other evil practices. By all means do not boast about it. Run to God my friend. He is where true security is found.

The passage in v. 13 begins with "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." You will see a wise person by observing them. Not by perfection but by grace. Keep your eyes open and watch then when you need a good human counselor you will know who to seek out.

1-Who has been your most cherished, wise counselor?

2-Have you ever taken a moment to thank them? Do so now. Don't wait til their funeral to do so.

3-The word for selfish ambition translates as electioneering or intriguing for office in the Greek. I find this interesting considering the political campaigns we often see and that will be coming up soon. Let us watch for those candidates who are wise based on their behaviors. Let us filter them through our wisdom filter above.

4-What things need to change in your life now confronted with the word on wisdom?

The Problem With Pain - Imprisioned but Free

I have a love hate relationship with pain. When you are accustomed to living with it as a companion it seems to wear on you. It is like one of those guests that come and eat all your food, won't clean up after themselves and refuse to leave. You plead and beg for it to be taken away but nothing helps. You are stuck, forced companions. The problem is that it is what it is, painful. No one wants to live with that. You cannot live in separate sides of the house. You cannot take a break from one another. When there is no relief you are I say it again stuck.

Until the Great Healer decides otherwise to lift it. Stuck you are. So what do you do?

You have a decision. A choice. You can decide if it you let it make you better or worse. It is a choice. You cannot change your outward circumstances much of the time. It is like a prison sentence. You are locked inside without the key. However, you can respond in a way that will release you while you live behind the bars. Otherwise the whole process you are going through is in vain. God is using it to refine you and make you more like Him. You will emerge more beautiful through it if you let it do its work. That is IF. A choice. You must let it do its work.

God is weaving a great story in your life. An author knows that any great story worth reading has to have its conflicts. This pain is just one of those. There is a Rescuer and it is HIM. When characters go through pain they develop into stronger characters IF they are trained by it. IF.

Take a silly example, Phineas and Ferb's wanna be villain Dr. Doof. He had a bad childhood and was neglected by his parents. We could even use the word abused loosely here. His brother was openly favored by them while he was left to be the lawn gnome in the yard. As they grow his brother becomes major and poor Dr. Doof uses his time plotting to get back at the past. He doesn't let his pain make him better he chooses the path of revenge of taking things in his own hands. In the worlds eyes it may make him look strong but in reality he really is weak. Forgiveness would set him free.

Now look at a real example from the Bible. Acts 16 lets us peer into the life of Paul and Silas when they were thrown into prison for no wrong doing. They first were severely beaten and put in strong lockdown. Now talk about a prison of pain. Yet how do we see them responding? At midnight they are singing hymns and praying. Yes! They are looking to their Savior and Lord. And you know what He did? He shook the prison and broke the chains. Yet they did not run away instead they told the jailer about the Lord.  The jailers entire family all came to know HIM. They were God focused. They kept their eyes on their Savior and HIS power rested on them. He breaks chains in His due time to set us free in time that brings Him supreme glory. Their wounds were still fresh and stung. It still hurt but they were free. In the process we are being refined and made pure and more into His image.

Yet it is a choice. How will we respond to it? The villains of the times responded in the wrong ways. That is what made them evil. They chose the dark places. They refused to respond to God. They let fear reign instead of love. Fear has to control. Love can let go because it knows that God has your best interest at heart. His perfect love casts out fear.

Are you in a prison of some sort? Maybe not even of your own choosing. How will you respond? Your freedom depends on it. Let us know how we can pray for you. We will walk with you through this.

Book Review: Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn Weber

I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher for the purpose of an honest review.

Surprised by Oxford was a great memoir describing God's pursuit of a girl named Caro. It was a really great read. So often people miss God pursuing us. Yet He does this. He is all around us and wants to be involved in the intimate details of our lives.

The author displayed this beautifully. She showed clearly how God is weaving her story together by His own hand. How He is in everything. How He works things out for His glory. It is a unique book because though it was about a girl it was also more about God. It gave a great glimpse at His working in a persons life and I came out knowing Him better and appreciating His artistry better because of it. It helped me be reminded of His own work in my life and the story He is weaving in me for His glory.

It was a good read. I enjoyed it greatly.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Lessons on Friendship

I had a best friend through high school. We spent all our time together. It was an unhealthy relationship I now see because it was exclusive. We hang out with others some but spent most of our time consumed with ourselves and making fun of others. But we were tight. I was secure with her.

Then I started to make some other friends because classes kept us apart. I see it as a God thing now. He was protecting us from co-dependency what is so easy to fall into as a female. I made some good friends but my best friend stayed the same. I then found a boyfriend and that even took us further apart however we were still close. I thought. It was very difficult on her to see me get married. I was not going to let it change our friendship though. It was a hard time. As I made other friends as well she resisted this mostly as I could tell. I did not understand. I was not sure if I was betraying a friend in having other friends. I did not understand friendship.

Then as time went on she got married. Things were good. We had more in common both being married. But then I decided to have children. Though she loved my children it brought distance. She was not interested in children. And then our friendship ended. Circumstantially we lost touch. Our lives took different directions. This left a void in my life.

Facebook has been a good way to reconnect with other friends I had the opportunity to make in high school. I had such good times with them. I am so thankful for that. I am thankful I did not stay exclusive with one friend. So my concept of friendship seems more open. Yet I realize not everyone you think will be there for you when you need them. That is what kind of surprises you. But when trials come you get to see who really will be there for you. Who truly sticks close to you in friendship.

I am so thankful for those people who I know faithfully pray for me, leave me a kind word, text me, call me, bring me a meal, send me a card, drive me places, or clean my house. These are the people that can be counted on and can be called friend. All who serve in their different ways. They are the ones who are there and who intentionally care. I guess that is what friendship is. I am still trying to figure it out.

I do see examples though through the Bible like, Naomi and Ruth. Though the Bible does not specifically say it I bet Naomi played a big part in Ruth's life before Ruth served her so in her hard times. I see this clearly in some friends. Like Naomi I have thrown my pity parties and have had friends watch and pray and stick by me still. They are not afraid of my mess. They love me deeper still. That is real friend ship.

Or I also see the example of Mary and Elizabeth. How they were both going through the same thing bringing children in extreme circumstances in the world. A common goal. Learning from and encouraging one another. I see this in my special needs friends. We spur one another on in these special and sometimes extreme circumstances.

Then I see Jonathan and David. These are covenant friends who are there for the distance. These are the friends who are REALLY there. They will go the distance. They are the few, the proud, the marines of friends God provides. I mean the kind who are there for you when your father is trying to kill your bestie you warn them. That is true lasting friendship. These are the people who would take my kids into their homes when I am no longer around because of our deep and lasting friendship. I have a few of these. I can see. Through trials and time and distance you can see these are really true friends who really stick. A blessing indeed.

On Facebook we have many "friends" but who of those really care about you? Who are intentional? And if you do do you let them know? Otherwise it does not matter anyway. People need to know they are cared about. Don't save it for the funeral. Love deeply and love well. We do such a poor job with this. Let people know. Time is short. We do not have forever.

Any thoughts? I really want to understand friendship better. I am curious as to what it looks like to you.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Life in the Kingdom - Part 8

The princess had been in an ordeal! She felt as if she lost her mind. Literally speaking yet she still had it. Several she knew were chosen to go and live with the King in His palace where no pain or suffering was left. Oh how she yearned to be one of them. She was so jealous. She wanted to be in that place. But it was not her time. So she was left in her suffering, much of the time feeling all alone.

She learned many people do not like to approach suffering. She understood. She was not present all too often. She was driven out of the camp after all she was unclean. She could hardly walk. She was barely in her right mind. How or why would anyone want to be around her? But she craved the community. She wondered where were they?

However the Son of the King came and when He came He abolished the need for others to stay away from suffering of others. In fact He taught others to enter into it. No longer did others have to be cast away from the camp. There was no longer anyone deemed unclean if they were in HIM. Yet so many did not yet believe this. I guess that was the problem. She wondered how did she communicate this? How would people know?

Then the King came to her. She fell to her face. How in the world would the King come to a lowly, unclean, cast out peasant. She was so unworthy. So sinful. Yet He gently lifted her head. He took her chin and lifted it up until their eyes met. Immediately tears filled her eyes. Why was He with her?

He had some things to tell her. Some things she needed to know. Some things that can be said and others that are far too intimate. It would not help you to know because this King is a personal God. He has things to show each of His but they are personal. They speak to the heart of those who are HIS. No one else can understand those kind of intimate things. However, the things He shared that are open are below.

First He told her, "My dear precious child, do not forget ever who you are. You are my child which makes you a princess. You are part of the royal court and no one can ever cast you out. You are completely secure in me. You bare my Name and you are My representative to the world."

But she barely uttered, "oh King, I am so weak. I am unclean. How can I be any of this? I will only fail you. I am afraid."

He replied gently and firmly, "My child I have chosen you before the beginning of time to be Mine. I have a perfect plan. Your life and your circumstances are not a mistake. All things are part of making you more beautiful than you already are. I am making you more like me."

He went on in His unexplainable kindness like none she has ever experienced, "You see you started out a very prideful and independent girl. Not uncommon to those who live in your land. They think they can do things for themselves. They get a thrill out of it. They are too arrogant to accept help. They are strong and they despise weakness. You were trudging down that path. I watched. I was at a distance because I oppose the proud yet I still loved you. Something had to be done. As I wooed you and you responded I answered your prayer to do whatever I had to to make you a reflection of me. It is still in process. I heard you ask to completely kill who you were yet your personality and your make up is who I created you to be, I am not looking for a robot. I created you with a wonderfully complex make up that is part of this plan in time and history. But I will continue to sand and burn off the impurities of you until my reflection is completed."

She was stunned, "How can you let someone hurt like that and remain so alone?"

"My child, I have never left you. I am near the broken hearted. I live with the lowly in spirit. You just have to open your eyes to really see me. I never let the fire get too hot for you to bare. Never. You have to trust this. You have a special place in this suffering. You will really never know the deep affects of it are more far reaching than you can understand. You must just trust This my child is the place of true and deep love that is mature."

Sadly she said, "Will I ever be able to re enter community?"

"Yes that is my plan for you. You are clean in Him. The kingdom you belong to is to minister to you as you have ministered to it. The problem is that often times people get too busy and lose that others focus. They forget others need things especially those in your particular situation. Uncleanliness in their eyes is too messy and they like to not be reminded of it. Remember how people pride themselves on being strong and taking one look at you makes them think of things being of the contrary. So rejoin. Work in the strength I will give you. Love well. Remember Judas was appointed to the twelve with Jesus and he was not of the kingdom. So it is in your kingdom. The wheat and weeds grow together. You will not know all the time who is who but you still must just love. I have given you a gift. You can now see needs that others would not. Your eyes have now been opened. Go love well, be my representative. Reflect me well. Love out of the love that you receive from me."

Still a bit confused she replied, "But how? How have my eyes been open? How have I been given a gift?"

He continued, "I am in control of all things. I have allowed you a constant weakness that no one can really see but me. I know your constant sacrifice in all things that you do. I see this. I take note. Others will not appreciate it. They cannot see. I will strengthen you to do the things I have prepared in advance for you. But you must only do those things. Your strength is limited and can only be drawn on me. In this weakness you get to personally see my power at work in an intimate way. Most miss this. You have compassion you lacked so long ago. You love stronger and better. You have passion for the weak. That is what I want from my children. Help others see. I will open eyes. Keep doing as I lead you. You are my chosen instrument.

You have been given the gift of a disabled child. Again, in a way no one else can understand or see clearly. But it gives you and your family a great compassion for others in similar situations. It helps you know how to pray and serve them. Even in your little strength you can educate others who are strong to do it. I have given you another child another gift with other issues. She is a gifted child, alot like you, again one that many cannot understand. These two together though their thinking and brains are completely different will make them into better people. It is not a mistake. You just do as I say and trust."

About to burst she blurted, "Oh but dear Father, I can barely stand it, why must I stay here. Why can I not come with you?"

Patiently He spoke, "You must stay to serve. I have given you a task to speak on behalf of those who are weak. Represent me well to them. Help them see me in it. Help them know they are chosen for a hard but beautiful task. Greater things are accomplished through it. Help them know to be patient because all will reveal itself in due time. I will come back for you. There is a time but it is not now. Keep your eyes on me child. Rejoin your community and live in your weakness. I will help you. I delight in you and love you. Don't give up. I will never leave or forsake you. You are my child. Go. Do what I have said. Trust."

After that and many other words were exchanged the King left. And off the princess left stronger than before in Him. Thus thwarting the plan the enemy had as he lurked hoping to use these things to destroy what belonged to the King. Now though as she went she was not well in physical body but much better in spirit for He was with her always. She headed in. They welcomed her though they did not understand. She loved still and served them. They did in return for this is covenant relationship. This is what community is to look like. Not perfect but intentional. They learned this together even with weeds among them. The weeds too had their purpose. Yet whatever happens covenant sticks together. Kingdom life is messy but is necessary. It is what the King desires for us and what makes us more like Him. This can only be accomplished together.

Friday, November 25, 2011

James Week 7 - Walk It Out


This is a great song a bit more alternative but about keeping our mouths shut.

"Hey I want you to meet my Sunday School Teacher", she said. Those words always make me feel weird. I am what she says I am but now that person will look at me differently. Do I want that?

I often shudder when I hear or read these opening verses of James 3, "Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly" (James 3:1). Believe me I take this so seriously. When I teach you or write these studies it is a serious thing. It is not something that someone should just wake up one day and decide hmmm maybe I will teach the Bible. :) No instead it has to be something done in great faith knowing that God has given you the gift of teaching through His Spirit.

We all are given gifts to serve one another in. This one is one given me so I take it seriously in fear and trembling like we should whatever gift it is that has been given us by HIM. We do what we do to serve Him well. Not for show or to get rich and famous and sadly at that time many people were rising up to do that very thing. They were receiving glory not God. They wanted the glory for themselves. It can be a strong temptation for a teacher because often you are given an audience but a teacher must remember they are a mere servant and representative for God. That is all. God is the one who gets the glory.

Unfortunately today we see a lot of the same things with teachers. You must be careful that whoever you listen too they are teaching the true and full gospel of Christ. Otherwise they can lead you astray. When you are given influence there is a reason to take it seriously. Here the verse says there will be a stricter judgment. Commentaries reference Luke 12:48 here, "But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."  It is a good parable to take the time to read in context however basically it states you are accountable for what you know. This is not an excuse to be lazy and stop learning either. Those issues are addressed as well throughout Scripture. However, God opens our eyes to things and when He does we are accountable to how we handle those. We must take this seriously.

Now, this first verse is a great lead in to the rest of the chapter because it addresses the tongue. Read James 3:2-12 Even if you are not a teacher you have been given influence with someone. Especially our families. How we speak to others has great impact on them. We must pay close attention to our words.

The next verse says we are perfect if we never stumble in what we say. This is the third time that word perfect is used. Again it means we are whole, and complete. Suffering aids in this process of making us perfect, God's gifts are addressed as perfect, and God's law is addressed as perfect all from James 1. Now we see it again in the context of if we do not stumble in speech we are perfect. I think we all know that this is an impossibility. We say things that are wrong or mean. We are people who do not love well. We do not use words well. We must own up to this. Otherwise if we can control our tongue then we can control everything else about us. No more sin. Interesting isn't it? Maybe it is because Scripture tells us what comes out of our mouth is a direct reflection of what is in our hearts (Luke 6:45). When something is in our heart then it is part of us. The things in our hearts are our beliefs.

v. 3 Says we can control a large horse with a small bit.
v. 4 says we can control a large ship with a small rudder even in strong winds.
v.5 says The tongue is compared to these things. It is a small thing that controls big things by making big speeches.
v.5b-6 speaks of the tongue being like a small spark that can set a forest on fire the tongue is similar. Words do hurt, long after they are spoken. We create tapes in our heads that will replay over and over like on a tape recorder if we let them. It is not true that words do not hurt. They do hurt.

Proverbs 16:24 states, "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."

Proverbs 18:21 states, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

Based on these verses and what we have learned so far have you rightly understood the power of your words? Yes or No? Explain.

How can you improve your use of words? Another key I have learned is your tone of voice. It makes a great difference as well in addressing others. Again, do you really make time for people? Do you really listen? Do you really respond with kindness and love? How can you improve? We all can improve.

The Scriptures go on to state this because they state every kind of creature can be tamed by mankind but no man can tame the tongue. WOW! Can you imagine that? Think of being at Seaworld seeing those killer whales and how they are tamed by men yet we cannot even tame the very thing that we live with daily. In verse 7 it states about the tongue that, "It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison."

Verses 8-12 goes on to state why the tongue is a deadly poison. It states, "Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!"  Then it goes on to compare things that cannot be both.

How have you done this? Have you cursed someone and praised God out of the same mouth? Maybe even a moment after another? I have done this. I know I have come back from having a wonderful praise time in my car all alone then when I arrive home I have just yelled at my kids for something they have done. This should not be. Give an example of this in your own life.

This is all for now. It is a lot to think about. We must take it to heart. Proverbs 4:23 states, "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." How are you doing this? So my prayer for us this week is, "May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Fine Line - I Chose Him

There is a fine line that appears at times in our lives. It is a time of decision. It is a time that can have drastic results. We are all prone to wander as the old hymn states. We know when and we can indeed feel it. Unfortunately many of us are not willing to honestly live being aware of this. We like things comfortable (which is an idol). However, we must be evaluating our hearts. The Bible calls this guarding them.

What road do I take? The question lies in front of us more than we may think. There are simple everyday choices that can easily lead us astray. But when we are more vulnerable these choices can be more drastic. It is a temptation to chose something in our lives that makes us comfortable, approved, or in control yet steer us away from God. These decisions are based on love for something. Either love for idols or love for HIM. We chose one thing or the other.

Today was a really hard day. The air touching my skin hurt. Can you imagine the very air the Creator made to give us life hurting you? Then the rain came down and it felt like knives cutting my skin. Can you even wrap your mind around what that would feel like? Then I had to get two teeth filled with cavities. One of them would not numb. Flat out not receiving the message to numb. There is so much pain in life that at times I want to numb out. I know that is why people get into drugs, alcohol, affairs, overeating, or whatever your choice sin may be. It is much easier to take the painful things of life while numbed out. I would never say I am above falling at anytime. I am a mere human and weak. I could easily fall. However one thing keeps me above water and it is HIS love for me.

My tooth would not numb out and that is what I want for my life. I want to be present. I got three shots then some harder core med that is not used unless they are desperate and through all of that I could still feel it. I had to endure the very present pain. Yet they looked and there was no seen explanation for it. Well, I know it is because my body is weird right now and there is no telling what Lyme can do. It is sad when the specialists have no idea. Honestly I am tired of dealing with all the complications that come with these health challenges. It is hard to live and do what is required and be like this. A time that would be easier numb.

On my drive home I battled very scary thoughts that would end my pain, at least temporary. Desperate times can be dark and scary. Thoughts kept running through my head about things I could run too.

However, He was ever present. He was there,He is not afraid of my pain, my raw honesty. He is near the broken. He brought my thoughts back to HIM and no matter what He will get me through this present trial. So my choice, I chose HIM. What keeps me from running to sin? My love for HIM. My love for Him comes because I know His great love for me.
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