Wednesday, April 10, 2013

H is for Horrible, Homestead, and Honesty

Yes, I jumped from C to H. Fellow A to Z bloggers, I have to announce that my challenge for this year is over. My H words will tell the story.

First: Horrible.

I have had a crippling cold the past week that has kept me on the couch, feeling too horrible to do anything. My throat hurt like I was swallowing knives. I had to blow my nose so much that my skin in that area and around my upper lip was cracking and bleeding. I had a headache from the sinus pressure. No matter how much water I drank, I could not get hydrated. And I was exhausted. It takes a lot of misery from a cold before I turn to pharmaceuticals... but this time I actually took some OTC cold medicines! Those who know me well know just how significant that is. But even NyQuil didn't put a dent in my symptoms. Natural remedies to ease symptoms and shorten the duration of my cold also didn't seem to help. But slowly I am bouncing back.

So that's what derailed me from the Challenge.

Second: Homestead.

This is really exciting news. My husband and I just signed a contract on a new house! Not just any house, though. A house on 5 acres in the country. Unrestricted land - some cleared, some wooded. We can have all manner of animals (plans so far include chickens and bees) and plant lots of gardens. Truly a homestead, not just a house.

Third: Honesty.

I try to do too much. It's just my personality. Moving out of the constraints of the city into the freedom and fresh air of the Virginia mountains is a huge step. And buying a house and getting moved in general is always a lot of work. This month I'm also preparing to give a purity workshop to some teens at my church, which is also a lot of work. It finally came down to being honest before the Lord and with myself. I can't do everything, and other things need to take priority right now. The most obvious time drain to cut was the A to Z Challenge.

A huge thanks to all the people who have commented on my posts, on this blog and my other blog. And even more thanks to the people who have visited my daughter's blog. She is continuing the challenge, and always has fun, insightful, and wise things to say, even if her grammar and spelling get muscled out by the creative side of her brain. If you haven't visited Growing Up Victoria, pop over there and say hello.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


My prayer each day is that God will give me that strength I need for that day. Today I also need courage. To move on. To do what his will is. There is so much going on in life. And on top of my the physical issues I deal with regularly, I've also been sick with whatever yuck my community is passing around - on and off for weeks.

So today I'm just praying for the courage to continue to press forward. In this challenge, and in life.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. ~ Romans 5:3-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. ~ James 1:2-4

My grandmother lived with my mother during the late stages of Alzheimer's, and I remember my mom explaining to my children why their great-grandmother acted the way she did. 

"Something in her brain is broken," my mom told them, trying to get them to understand the bizarre and sometimes mean behavior my grandmother displayed.

Then the day came when I got the news that Grandma has passed away in the night. I dropped the kids at a friend's house and went to my mom's. We gently washed Grandma's body and redressed it, getting her ready for the funeral home to come pick her up. I'm crying now writing this, because I miss her, but also because it was a profound experience. The thing that struck me most that day was that she was finally at peace from all the demons her broken body plagued her with. 

As a person living with chronic illness, and almost daily pain, there are days when I long for the relief that moving on from this world will bring. The healing of my brokenness. There are many Christian platitudes that seek to bring comfort to the broken.

Suffering makes you grow spiritually. 
God will give you strength for today. 
Your witness will bring glory to the Lord.

You've probably heard all these and more. But they aren't really just platitudes are they? They seem like it when people say them all the time, and when you are weary from a constant physical battle. But they are based on God's Word. They are based on the love of God, which we have access to through Christ's own broken body. 

So, let's grasp hold of these truths right now - even if just for a moment, or an hour, or a day. God knows that we will all struggle to lean on him for comfort. But today let's believe the platitudes. Let's meditate on the same old scripture and ask God to make it new to us and real in our lives. 

Lord, give us strength for this day, and use our suffering to grow us and use us in this world. Help us to look afresh at the truths of your word, and take them to heart, not dismiss them as just platitudes. Amen.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." ~ Galatians 4:6

I often sleep in while my kids get up and get going on their breakfast and school work. But this morning, I feel the warm presence of my son in bed next to me. He's feeling bad. Sore throat, stuffy nose, tired. He'll be fine, and he'll go about his day. But right now, he tightens in beside me so I can wrap my arms around him and make him feel better. If not physically, at least emotionally. It's what parents do - we kiss the boo boos and give out the hugs. Our kids climb into our laps so we can make them feel better. 

There are so many days that I find myself wanting to crawl into the lap of God. I want him to kiss whatever is hurting me that day, and give me strength in his hug. And why not? The term Abba means father, but not just the title father that Jesus uses so many times to refer to his Father in heaven. In the context, it's an intimate title, like a child calling out to her daddy. And God wants us to relate to him as children - to come to him for what we need, cry in his arms, and ask him for help. He is God, yes, and deserving of all respect and glory. But he is also a daddy that invites us to snuggle up and let him comfort us. 

On the really bad days, I cry out to God as King of the universe. The One who has the power to move mountains and do miraculous things in my body. On my good days, I thank him for the respite from my suffering. But it's those days in between - the kind of days that most of my days are - that I can forget that my daddy in heaven does care about me, and he loves for me to call on him and get a quick spiritual hug. Because that's what parents do. And through the blood of Christ, we are adopted children of God. 

Do you ever forget that you can relate to God as your Abba? 

Lord God, help us to remember that we have a father in heaven that cares about every little physical and emotional bump and bruise. Help us to come to you as little children, crying out "Abba, Father." And help each person reading this to lean on your strength to get through whatever challenges this day brings. Amen.