Fellow Americans, Even If You Don’t Vote for Donald Trump, Can You Forgive Him?

Before the last election, I noticed a strange phenomenon that I hadn’t observed before.  I had been used to people praising their favored candidate and criticizing the opposing candidate.  Politics could be hard to debate without arguments.   However, when Donald Trump arrived on the scene, I was surprised by how some people reacted to any mention of his name or any post about him on social media with unfettered hatred. 

There was so much anger expressed that logical conversations seemed impossible.  I wondered why.

                It seemed as those people who hated Trump had been personally offended by him.  It was as if they had invited Donald Trump to dinner in their home and he had insulted their cooking and spit in their faces.  It was as if they had met Donald in the school yard and he had pinned them to the asphalt and humiliated them in front of the other kids. 

                “How can they be so offended at a man they have never met?” I asked myself over and over for the past four years.  The answer began to come as I caught a news-show or talk-show in a doctor’s waiting room, or as I watched a clip of late night television or a video on the internet. 

The media was offended at Donald Trump. 

They would express their disgust and distain for him in a way that evoked a deep emotional response in the audience. The American people were being constantly and consistently conditioned to be offended at the man.  It didn’t matter if the media would tell lies, because if they said it often enough it seemed like the truth.  It didn’t matter if they exaggerated certain facts, left out other facts, and just plain made things up.  It didn’t matter if they took a sound bite out of an entire speech and put a different spin on it. (Click here for just one example of this practice called “journalistic malfeasance.”) 

The media created a thousand different hooks to catch a moral and compassionate person. If a person took the bait, it would keep them tied to the negative words or images that were displayed.  They were caught in offense; hook, line, and sinker. 

                In 2018, the Media Research Center reported that 92% of all mainstream media coverage of Trump was negative.  And it hasn’t let up.  It has gotten worse and worse. 

I had realized many years ago, long before Trump ran for president, not to waste my time on mainstream media, the news or TV shows, Hollywood and most of what came out of Hollywood. 

Why?  Because it filled my head with negative thoughts, glorified violent and immoral images, and presented lies as facts.  Most people in the media did not live lives that I wanted to emulate, and as the saying goes, “You become what you behold.”  I decided that there were much better things to behold such as Jesus, the Bible, good literature, and men and women who had characters that I could trust. I never got hooked by the offense that the media and the left had been generating. I simply didn’t give them the time of day.

Perhaps you feel justified in your dislike for Donald Trump.  That is fine.  You don’t have to like him.  You don’t have to vote for him.  But if you hold on to offense, it hurts you, not Trump.  Offense is just unforgiveness.  We all have the opportunity to get offended many times each day.  It can happen in an instant.

My little daughter will come to me with tears in her eyes, telling a pitiful story of the injustices inflicted upon her by an older sibling. I am immediately offended at my older child, thinking, “How could they do something like that?” Once I hear the older child’s side of the story, usually my offense dissipates as I realize that both children were at fault. I am trying to skip the entire offense process to simply listen and ask God for discernment.

Some things don’t bother us and other offenses we hold on to for hours, days, months, even years.  But WE get to decide how long we want to be in bondage to unforgiveness.  Perhaps the person who offended us really did or said something bad.  Or perhaps we just couldn’t see the situation from the other person’s perspective. Perhaps Donald Trump has done or said things that were bad.  Or perhaps it is a matter of your perspective.  Either way, you don’t have to stay in bondage to that. 

You can forgive him. 

You NEED to forgive him if you want to live a happy and healthy life.

Many health care professionals, neuroscientists, and doctors agree that 95% of disease has a mental/emotional component.  One of the worst choices for your mental and physical health is unforgiveness.  It is like a cancer, eating away at your insides. 

You NEED to forgive him if you want to be forgiven of your own wrong doings. 

Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you..” 

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Matt 7:2 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

You NEED to forgive him so that you won’t be blinded by deception. 

What we are witnessing in this country is a large group of people who can no longer discern right from wrong, truth from lies. When I asked God why many in the church no longer defend the Bible or Life or the freedoms of the Constitution, I felt God answered,

“They listened to voices that were not mine.  Those voices stirred up offense.  Some people have been harboring and feeding that offense for four years, and now they are blind.”

About week later Wanda Alger posted a new article and she said this,

“Offenses blind us to the truth and give a distorted view of reality. There are those within the body of Christ who are convinced they are pursuing a righteous cause when, in fact, their cause is rooted in offense, both personal and corporate. Unfortunately, bitter roots only open the door to deception and defilement (see Hebrews 12:15). We must keep our own hearts clear of offense and pray for those who revile us.”

                I asked my friends who didn’t support Trump to tell me why.  I expected them to explain how his policies have been bad for America or point out specific parts of his platform that they didn’t agree with.  Instead I received descriptions of how the man had offended them with his pride, criticism of others, lack of intelligence, promotion of violence and division, and mean words.  They called him things like narcissist, liar, and cheater. They didn’t consider him fit to lead our country.  That is fine.  That is their opinion.  But their offensive is hurting them, and I pray they can let it go.

         Are you offended at Donald Trump?

                Did the title of this article irk you?

                Does the sight of Donald Trump cause anger or disgust to well up within you?

                Do you call Donald Trump demeaning names?

                Do you find yourself wishing harm on him or rejoicing when something bad happens to him or his family?

                Do you get angry when discussing him?

                Do you find the need to tell Trump supporters how awful their chosen candidate is?

                It might be possible that you need to forgive him.

                You don’t need to like him.

                You don’t need to vote for him.

                Just forgive him.

                You could honor his position as President and pray for him!  You might just get a different perspective! 

What does the Bible Tell us about the Unborn Human?

Luke 1:41-44:

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

The Greek word used to describe Elizabeth’s unborn baby is the same word used in Luke 2:12 and 2:16 to describe the newborn baby Jesus and in Luke 18:15 to describe the babies that the people were bringing to Jesus to touch.

The Bible makes no differentiation between a baby in the womb and a baby that has been born. 

Elizabeth also called Mary the mother of her Lord.  Mary quickly went to see Elizabeth when she received the news from the angel that she would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit.  She was most likely in her first trimester.  The Jesus inside of her was referred to as Lord, the same word for Lord that was used hundreds of times in the New Testament to describe the man Jesus.

The Bible makes no differentiation between Jesus in his fetus form and Jesus in his full grown man form.

Exodus 21:22-24

“If men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she gives birth prematurely, yet there is no injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman’s husband may demand of him, and he shall pay as the judges decide. But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise.”

Old Testament Law also viewed the unborn as a life. Striking a pregnant woman was a punishable offense.  If there was injury to her or the baby as a result, then it was a life for a life.  In Num. 35:9-15 there is a law that says anyone who kills someone accidentally may flee to a refugee city.  The life for life penalty was not in place. 

So accidental injury to a pregnant woman or unborn baby was a more serious offense to God than other accidental deaths. Accidentally causing the death of an unborn child carried the same weight as intentional murder.

There are other scriptures that show God’s special care of pregnant women, babies, and children.

Is 40:11

“He [the Lord] tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

Matt 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Luke 17:2

“It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.”

The formation of a human is not just the result of biological forces. God is present in the womb, crafting the new life Himself.

Psalm 139:13-14

“For You formed my inward parts;

You wove me in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

God has a destiny for each child before they are born.

Jer 1:5 “And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Gal 1:15 “But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace…”

Scriptures Affirm the Purpose and Destiny of a Life Exists even before Conception.

Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”

Eph 1:4-5 4 “For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will,…”

Romans 9:10-12“Not only that, but Rebecca’s children were conceived by one man, our father Isaac. Yet before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, in order that God’s plan of election might stand, not by works but by Him who calls, she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.”

The Bible is clear. Abortion is the murder of a life that God created, the ending of a purpose and destiny, and violates God’s special favor on pregnant women and little ones.

My Experiences with the Realities of Abortion

As a young teen I was asked if I supported legalized abortion, and I said no.  Then I was asked about cases when the mother had been raped.  My answer was, “Well, in that case it wasn’t her fault, so she should be allowed to get an abortion if she wants to.”  I didn’t understand what abortion really was, what it entailed, or what it meant for the baby or for the mother. 

                At age 14, I had an incredible salvation experience where Jesus came into my heart, the scales fell off my eyes, and the entire world looked different to me. I started going to a non-denominational church, reading the Bible with awe and wonder, and learning to hear God’s voice. 

                After high school I spent a year with Youth With A Mission doing their Discipleship Training School and their School of Evangelism.  I learned so much about God, the Bible, marriage, families, education, homeschooling, and abortion.  We had a teacher, Bev Kline, who ran a ministry for pregnant women in crisis.  They offered support, counseling, and a home to live in.  This incredible woman told our class her story. She had had two abortions and spent many years under incredible pain and guilt.  She found healing through Jesus and now spent her life extending that healing to others.  She tried to talk to women considering abortion, to spare them the heartache she went through.  Bev helped many women keep their babies and see them thrive in their new lives as single mothers. She helped others lovingly give their babies up for adoption.

She had found a purpose and passion in life and was filled with peace and joy.  But she never forgot the birthdays of the two children she had aborted and looked forward to meeting them in heaven someday. Bev is still loving women by running Living Alternatives.

                During that time I saw pictures of the small humans that had burns all over their tiny bodies because of saline injection abortions.  I saw pictures of tiny legs ripped from a tiny torsos by forceps during an abortion. Abortion was becoming real to me. Here are some similar images.

Here is a link with many images of babies post abortion and explanations of the different types of abortions. Please be aware these images are very disturbing.

The reality of abortion is extreme cruelty to the most vulnerable humans among us, not the “evacuation of fetal tissue.”

                We also had another teacher who started a pro-life group.  He explained how abortion was the same to God as the sacrificing of children to idols in the Bible. Some ancient cultures had this practice.  Israel had a period of leaving the LORD and worshiping the idol Molech, and/or Baal who required that children be burned in fire to appease his wrath.

“They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built high places to Baal on which to burn their children in the fire as offerings to Baal— something I never commanded or mentioned, nor did it even enter My mind. So behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter.…”

Jer 19:4-6

In America today we are too educated and sophisticated for idols made of metal or stone. Now our idols are called Selfishness, Convenience, Greed, and Fear and THOUSANDS of babies a day are being sacrificed to these idols.

This teacher also explained to us the procedure called “Partial Birth Abortion” which was legal in some states.  

“Partial-Birth Abortion (Brain Suction) – 4 to 9 months of pregnancy

Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s leg with forceps. The baby’s leg is pulled out into the birth canal. The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except for the head. The abortionist jams scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the hole. The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child’s brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.”

Wisconsinrighttolife.org

There was no difference between this baby and the baby whose mother wanted to keep him – no different in form or biological structure, no different in value to God.  The only difference was location. The baby who was still partially in the womb could be legally murdered. These babies feel the pain of abortion at least by 20 weeks but probably much sooner.  Here is the scientific proof. https://illinoisrighttolife.org/yes-an-unborn-baby-can-feel-pain-in-an-abortion-heres-the-scientific-proof/

In the girls dorm at YWAM there were no TVs, computers, or phones. So I picked up a huge book about the origins of Planned Parenthood and read the entire thing (I think it was 400 pages long!) I learned that the founder, Margaret Sanger, despised both blacks and Christians.  She lived a very promiscuous lifestyle.  She felt that abortion was the answer to society’s woes: to set women free from traditional morals and of course those burdensome babies.  She also said that abortion would be very useful in controlling the populations of the pesky lower forms of humans, mainly the Negros.  As she began to market her idea, she used the slogan, “Every child a wanted child” and promised that a utopian society would surely follow. 

As we can all see now, Margaret Sanger was a very false prophet.

Planned Parenthood started entering the schools and providing “sex education” which was supposed to help prevent unwanted pregnancies.  Teenage pregnancies began to skyrocket, and it turned out the “sex ed” was actually creating more clients for her abortion clinics.

I knew a woman who had an abortion when she was young. It left emotional and physical scars so that later when she got married, she could not get pregnant. After much struggle and help from health care professionals, she was able to bring one miracle son into the world. She developed an abstinence based sex-ed course. She was invited into many schools.

I also learned from that book that 80% of women who had an abortion reported negative side effects, many long term.

It was becoming clear to me that abortion was devastating to the mother as well.

I have since learned that women who lose their baby before 20 weeks, whether through miscarriage or abortion, have a much higher risk of breast cancer and that risk goes up with each baby that is lost.  On the flip side, for every month a women nurses a baby, her risk for breast cancer goes down.  I have virtually no breast cancer risk after nursing my 10 babies.  What does this tell me?  God created our bodies to work a certain way and when we violate His design, there are negative consequences.

There are so many documented complications following abortion from increases in many kinds of cancer, poor general health, problems with future pregnancies, and on and on. The most concerning is the death rate in the year after abortion.

“According to the best record based study of deaths following pregnancy and abortion, a 1997 government funded study in Finland, women who abort are approximately four times more likely to die in the following year than women who carry their pregnancies to term. In addition, women who carry to term are only half as likely to die as women who were not pregnant”

afterabortion.org

What do you know?  Pregnancy is actually good for women because God’s creation is good and He loves women.  Pregnancy taken to the birth of a full term baby can actually protect a woman from DYING!

A year after YWAM, Chris and I got married and started having babies. We were learning first hand how our babies were being fearfully and wonderfully made by God who was knitting them together in my womb and bringing them through astonishing developments week by week. This was not a clump of cell. This was a miracle!

                In quick succession I had a girl and two baby boys.  My fourth pregnancy produced a beautiful baby girl, Ashlyn, who was diagnoses with a rare chromosomal disorder.  Soon we realized that she was developmentally delayed and had unexpected abnormalities in her body.  Yet she is such a vital part of our family.  Most children like her never make it out of the womb alive.  80% of Down syndrome Babies are aborted in America. In some countries it is close to 100%.

I met a friend a few years later who took a special interest in Ashlyn. She even organized a fundraiser to help get Ashlyn the special therapy she needed.  One day she told me her story.  She was close to her due date with baby number 3 when the doctors realized that her child had some sort of problem, likely chromosomal in nature.  They urged her to abort.  Abortions in the third trimester were not legal in our state, so she and her husband traveled to another state.  The abortion was preformed and she got a picture of her dead daughter.  She and her husband had since divorced.  Her older daughter was practicing self -harm.

I listened to my sweet friend and I heard a torture that I have never experienced in all the hardship of caring for a child who is physically and mentally handicapped.  I wouldn’t wish that type of pain on anyone.

In the last year I have watched the movie, “Unplanned”, story of Abby Johnson who went from Planned Parenthood’s Employee of the year to a Pro-Life advocate. Please read her book or watch her movie. It explains so much about what it is like inside the abortion industry and what it is like to have an abortion.  The turning point for Abby was when she was called in to assist with an abortion for the first time.  It was her job to hold the ultrasound probe so the doctor could see the baby in order to suction it out.

  When the suction tube came near the small baby, Abby saw it recoil and move out of the way.  It tried to find a safe place but the little body could not escape.

                “Beam me up Scotty,” said the doctor as the baby was ripped from the womb and ended up in a bloody heap in the machine.

                Just a few weeks ago I was able to attend a Kick Off Rally for our local chapter of 40 Days of Life, the Pro-Life organization that helped Abby get out of the abortion industry.  I met many precious Catholics who have been standing and praying in front of our city’s Planned Parenthood since 2006. They have pictures and stories of the babies and mothers they have saved from abortion.  I was able to tour Little Bee, a mobile ultrasound unit by Undefeated Courage.  They park in front of Planned Parenthoods in the area and offer free ultrasounds for pregnant women.  Planned Parenthood always does an ultrasound for any client wanting an abortion, but only to determine price.  The client is never allowed to see her baby moving on the screen, never allowed to notice the beating heart. 

Four out of five women who receive an ultrasound on a mobile unit decide to keep her baby.  She can plainly see that what is in her womb is a human child, HER human child.

                I also learned about Rachel’s Vineyard, a local ministry that helps women heal from abortion.  Their pamphlet reads, “One in Four Women will become a victim of abortion by the age of 45.” 

Interesting, I had never thought of it that way.  But now I understand why the woman is a victim too. She is being lied to by her culture, celebrities, media, lawmakers, educators, and her health care providers.  Most of all she is being lied to by Planned Parenthood counselors who are trained to sell a product. They only product they have to sell is abortion.  The pain, grief, guilt, and negative side effects are downplayed or never mentioned.  Her baby is referred to as “the pregnancy”, “contents of the uterus”, or “fetal tissue.” She is never told that her baby is a real human baby, a life worth living, and a life worth saving. 

She is never told that when God gives a woman a baby, it is His way of showing His favor and giving her His highest blessing. She is never told that babies are always a blessing and never a curse, that the child in her womb may become the best thing in her life.

                I love to talk about pregnancy, labor, birth, and everything to do with babies and motherhood.  It is my great passion in life!  Women sense this and seem to open up to me.  I have heard so many stories over the years!  Many times I have heard a woman say,

“I wish I would have had more children.”

“I don’t know why I didn’t have more children.” 

“I wanted more children.”

                I have never once heard a woman say,

“I have too many children.” 

“I never should have keep this child of mine.”

America, Are We Just a Bunch of Germophobes?

No one would want to be accused of being a homophobe or a xenophobe today! Yet being a germophobe has rapidly become so popular and politically correct that you could be persecuted if you are not “a person who has an abnormal fear of germs or contamination.”

                This germaphobia that has come over the world is being instituted by “the world system.” We know this is not the Kingdom of God, nor does it operate with the wisdom of God.  The wisdom of man dominates. Since the fall, the wisdom of man has been short sighted and selfish, usually touting “the greater good” while hiding selfish, harmful agendas. 

                A good example of this wisdom of man is the “germ theory” made famous by Louis Pasteur.  This theory blames germs for every disease and calls for the eradication of the germ to cure the disease.  Germ Theory Versus Terrain: The Wrong Side Won the Day states that,

“Both at the time and thereafter, the public and most fellow scientists found germ theory easy to embrace, perceiving Pasteur’s model of life and health to be not only ‘superficially plausible’ but also ‘financially exploitable.’ In fact, most of the big-name pharmaceutical companies that we know today got their start in Pasteur’s era, often by merging with chemical firms, united in their goal of developing and selling synthetic products to ‘selectively kill or immobilize parasites, bacteria, and other invasive disease-causing microbes.'”   

                A lot of people feel that pharmaceuticals are the wonder of our modern age with the United States being one of the top consumers.  Yet the US is at the top of the list for degenerative diseases as well. It appears drugs have made us sicker rather than healthier.

Winkey Pratney warned that the Babylon in Revelations (who deceived all the nations by her sorcery), is in fact the pharmaceutical companies. In his book, Fire on the Horizon, he stated,

 According to Scripture the power of Babylon is pharmakia, the word translated “sorceries” or “witchcraft,” the thing that gives this principality its world power.  It is that which people have used from the first roots of rebellion as a substitute for the power and wisdom and provision of the living God.  It is the word from which we derive the words “pharmacy” and “pharmaceutical.” What is the great economy at the end of the world? The one we have now: The power of Babylon is drugs…Legal pharmakia alone is the biggest industry on earth, a multitrillion-dollar business unlike any other in human history.

                I read Fire on the Horizon years ago.  At the time, I told myself to remember this book because it contained a recipe for something that I believed would one day save my life or my loved one’s life. It was a recipe for Master Tonic, a natural anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal remedy.  This was included in the first Chapter titled “Outbreak” with headings such as “AIDS, Ebola, and the Coming Plagues of the Twenty-First Century”. In his twenty-year-old prophecy that is coming true today, Winkie warned of super-bugs that would be resistant to drug treatment. Yet, treatments like Master Tonic that came from the wisdom of God, are still effective.

He also warned that, “every biblical mention of drugs is in a context of despair, mourning, grief and danger.  They are never connected to healing.”

                The Germ Theory article also states,

“Many of the disease phenomena making news headlines these days underscore the deficiencies of the pharmaceutical model and reveal challenges that are the direct result of our take-no-prisoners assault on germs. For example, dangerous superbugs23,24 are emerging—largely due to overuse of “anti-everything” drugs such as antibiotics and antifungals—and are ushering in a potential return “to a world in which infectious diseases drastically shorten lives.”25 Some have estimated that drug-resistant pathogens will become a bigger killer than cancer by 2050.25  If the medical community were honest, it would be forced to admit that the model of disease that catapulted Pasteur to fame has played itself out and is pushing us to disability and death.”

It is time to move away from the Germ Theory that gives drugs their allure and power and explore another theory.

                The Terrain Theory was developed around the same time by Antoine Béchamp.  Béchamp’s various discoveries led him to conclude that our bodies are, in effect, “miniecosystems.”

When an individual’s internal ecosystem becomes weakened—whether due to poor nutrition, toxicity, or other factors—it changes the function of the microbes that are naturally present in the body, producing disease.

“In other words, microorganisms only become pathogenic after environmental factors cause the host’s cellular ‘terrain’ to deteriorate.”

                Most of the world is adhering to the germ theory which leads us to believe that the COVID-19 virus is the enemy and must be destroyed at any cost.  Anyone who might be a potential carrier of the virus is also a threat and must be controlled. 

The problem with this approach is that it does not address the actual problem – why do some people get sick from COVID-19?  Why do other people barely show any symptoms? Why do some suffer greatly?  Why do some die after being infected?  The answer to these questions is – it all depends on the health of each person’s inner ecosystem.

The answer to the COVID pandemic is to heal the body.  The answer to any disease is to rediscover God’s wisdom for what brings the human body the most abundant health and life. 

The answer certainly is not social distancing or isolation.  It is not hospitals and medications.

                I have read that 7 hugs a day make a person less likely to contract a virial infection.  Living in community with close relationships with multigenerational family and friends (which includes physical touch) builds your immune system and leads to long life.

                So while the CDC is issuing all types of warnings to keep you away from the dreaded germ and the media is working people into a frenzy of panic and paranoia, they should be educating all of us on true health and life. 

This would help every person at every age in every country establish and maintain good heath for a lifetime, not just until the pandemic is over.  It would protect you from chronic conditions and degenerative diseases as well. It would give you the life that God always intended for you to have without fear.

This video called, “A Bigger Problem is Coming: I promise it is not what you think.” details how the current recommendations to avoid infection (the New Normal) are actually making people sicker.

Instead of striving for a New Normal, we should be reading articles such as Top 10 Ways to Boost the Immune System Naturally.

Hey, I understand what is happening, I used to be a germophobe! 

I loved everything clean and sanitized.  When I only had one child, I could keep up with sanitizing all the toys and wiping down everything in the house with bleach water.  I could keep my precious baby Areli from playing in the dirt or putting things in her mouth.  I could take the time to wipe off every book that we brought home from the library.

                After I had four more children, I had to let go of control. 

It was an extraordinary day when I remembered to have the children wash their hands before they ate. They played in the dirt outside, and I don’t know WHAT they put in their mouths!  However, we had begun to eat healthier foods and stopped vaccinating.  I noticed that the children were healthier than Areli had been at their age. They didn’t get sick as often and when they did, they recovered quickly. 

Now I have 10 children, and we continue to get sick less and less. 

Nothing in our home gets sanitized anymore, but I am constantly learning about how to get rid of the toxic and obtain more of the health and life. And guess who has the strongest immune system of them all? Ashlyn!  My special needs daughter who is missing a piece of her 6th chromosome, who is still crawling on hands and knees at age 16 and rarely washes her hands!  Other children like her are on medications and have been hospitalized multiple times for respiratory infections that just won’t let go.  Not Ashlyn!  Even when the rest of our family is sick, she is still healthy.  Why?  I think it was because I did everything I could to build her immune system naturally.

  And all the dirt and germs she has encountered just made her stronger.

                I read a study that proved that children in large families have less asthma.  Another study found that children in large families have less allergies.  They are exposed to more at a younger age and grow stronger.

                Cleanliness is still dear to my heart, but it is not the chemical, antigerm kind.  It is the fresh air, sunshine, essential oil kind of clean.  The Jewish people avoided many plagues throughout history because of the sanitary laws outlined in their Holy Scriptures.  The United States is pretty good with most of these things. Clean, filtered water is always important as is good bathroom facilities and a separation from anything unclean such a human waste or dead bodies.  It is also good to separate from anyone with an infectious disease, of course, but I am not afraid of the germs that they are carrying.

                The Maker’s Diet is a wonderful book by Jordan Rubin who studied why the Jews were so healthy and outlines a healthy diet and toxin free lifestyle based on what he found. Other good resources for finding God’s wisdom for health is thehealthyhomeeconimist.org and westonaprice.org. They both adhere to the wisdom of ancient societies that experienced no degenerative diseases.

In the Old Testament if you touched the unclean, you became unclean as well.  But in the New Testament, when Jesus touched the leper, it was the leper who became free of his infectious disease!  We carry that same resurrection life inside of us if we are His followers!

                The LORD is Jehovah-Rophe, the Lord who heals you. Blessing Your Spirit book states,

 “He said, ‘If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His eyes, if you pay attention to His commands and keep all His decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.’

The context of the name Jehovah-Rophe is not about healing the sick but staying healthy by following the principles that God gave Israel. This is preventive health through getting clean and staying clean.”

                They are talking about following God and His wisdom:

eating clean food

living in a clean home

keeping our bodies, souls, and spirits clean from sin.

This means putting what is good and pure into our mouths, into our bodies, on our skin, and into our minds (through our eyes and ears). This is a struggle in a toxic world, but His grace is with us and His blood covers us and forgives us.

What promises belong to us if we believe in Him?

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and do not forget all His kind deeds— He who forgives all your iniquities, and heals all your diseases,” Ps 103:2-3

“I will say to the LORD, “[You are] my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.” He is the one who will rescue you from hunters’ traps and from deadly plagues.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge. His truth is your shield and armor. You do not need to fear terrors of the night, arrows that fly during the day, plagues that roam the dark, epidemics that strike at noon. No harm will come to you. No sickness will come near your house. He will put his angels in charge of you to protect you in all your ways.” Ps 91:2-6,10-11

These are just a few of His promises for us!  Let us trust Him in confidence and know that germs are just a small but integral part of this world that He holds in His loving hands.

2020 is Still Going to be a Great Year!

Chris and I both felt excitement as the New Year 2020 was approaching.  We had more hope for the future than we had experienced for several years. 

Chris kept saying, “This will be a good and blessed New Year!”

               I was hearing the same message in my own heart and from others in the body of Christ.  Brian Simmons visited our church at the end of January, and his wife said that 2020 was going to be a year of redemption and a year of “a flying eagle company.”

                I loved that word!  I have been searching the skies for eagles for the past two years.  In February our family took a day trip to Gifford Pinchot State Park.  It was 55 degrees, sunny, and beautiful.  The children were fishing, playing on the playground, and throwing football.  I was sitting in the sunshine with my eyes closed, letting my mind wander.  I began to wonder what 2020 had in store for us.  Would Ashlyn get surgery to correct her scoliosis?  Would it go well for her? Would we be able to take a family vacation?  Would we experience prosperity this year?  Or would an unexpected tragedy befall us?  I didn’t know, but I felt safe in God’s hands.  Peace surrounded me.

                I stood and opened my eyes and there it was! 

A bald eagle was flying right above us in the perfectly blue sky. It was so close.

http://Photo by Frank Cone from Pexels

                It was my eighth eagle sighting.  Eight is the number of new beginnings.  That same week, God had given me three different chapters of Isaiah to read.  These are the verses that jumped out.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up: do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland…” Is 43:18-19

“From now on I will tell you of new things, of hidden things unknown to you.They are created now, and not long ago; you have not heard of them before today.” Is 48:6-7

“Pay close attention now: I am creating new heavens and a new earth. All the earlier troubles, chaos, and pain are things of the past, to be forgotten. Look ahead with joy. Anticipate what I’m creating: I’ll create Jerusalem as sheer joy, create my people as pure delight.” Is 65:17-18 (MSG)

                LOOK AHEAD WITH JOY, God said!

                All that has happened since February is something new and unexpected.  I never anticipated this “pandemic” or how governments and people would respond to it. Yet I am still looking ahead with joy.

                Our lives have been restricted.  Many businesses had to shut down and many people can no longer work.  We can’t gather or attend church in person.  Yet necessity is the mother of invention, and I see inventions and innovations coming out of this time. 

I see new perspectives, new systems and new ways of doing things.  Businesses, our economy and our country could emerge from this crisis better and stronger than ever. 

                Most of us are told to stay in our homes with our families.  Forced to be with our families: to eat together, talk together, work together, and experience every moment of every day together – wow!  What a novel idea for most modern families!

I love having 9 of my children home with me every day.  Reason # 1002 to have lots of children: you will never be lonely, isolated, or bored during a pandemic.  Reason #1003: you have an instant party to celebrate any birthday or special day that might come around. (Reasons #1-1001 will have to be the subject of another article since they are too numerous and too wondrous to discuss here.)

Families are getting closer and stronger.

We are no longer taking our families for granted. They are our support network, our community, our church, and our greatest mission field.  The family is God’s glory center, and it is the foundation for His next move, His next awakening, His next revival.

It seems as though our enemy has us trapped, yet all the enemy’s plans will be used by God to destroy him (Ps 54:5).  Darkness is being exposed and the light is shining brighter than ever. 2020 is the year of clear vision and things are starting to come into focus. 

It is becoming very evident who trusts in the Lord and who doesn’t.

“There is no peace for the wicked.” Is 48:22

“One who trusts (in Jesus) will not panic.” Is 28:16

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.” Pr 28:1

Many non-believers and believers alike are realizing that they need to repent.  Many people are seeking peace and seeking God.

Many Christians are moving out of the ordinary into something new…a baptism of fire!  We are letting go of comfort and happiness and pursuing the kingdom.  We are moving away from self-preservation and learning about the wisdom of the cross; to lay down our lives to gain true life, to surrender ourselves to obtain true liberty.

I am praying along with Lou Engle that God would pour out his Spirit on us.

It will be something that only God can do and something we have never seen before!

How glorious for multitudes to turn to Jesus!

How earth-shaking when every Jesus follower confidently declares,

The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim FREEDOM for the prisoners and recovery of SIGHT for the blind.” Luke 4:18

And then not just say it, but actually do it!

As I was formulating this article in my mind, I randomly opened up my Bible to the second chapter of Joel.  The entire book is just perfect for this time in history.  What God highlighted to me was His response to his people after their fast. Tens of thousands of people all over the world have just finished a 40 day fast. Perhaps God is saying this to us right now.

“I am sending you grain, new wine and oil, enough to satisfy you fully…Rejoice in the Lord your God, for he has given you autumn rains in abundance…the threshing floors will be filled with grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and oil.  I will repay you for the years the locust have eaten…

And afterwards I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”

The Hunted Becomes the Hunter

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Sometimes living in this world overwhelms me.  One of those times happened recently.  Concerns and fears were pressing in on me, and I was trying to hide.  I realized that I had spent most of my life avoiding any person or situation that I thought would hurt me. In my mind’s eye, I could see myself.  I was a pitiful, little field mouse.  I was running from one hiding spot to another, not wanting to be in the open field.  I knew that if I ventured there, the powerful birds of prey would pick me off.  I felt like a victim, too small to fight back, too lowly to be confident.  I felt ashamed of all that I was not.  The snakes of shame were hissing reminders of what I was – a pesky, dirty, little rodent.

                Then I felt the slightest breeze of the Spirit.  The picture in my mind flipped.  I rose from the ground and began to ride the wind.  I was an eagle.

I WAS THE BIRD OF PREY.

I saw that pesky vermin running on the ground. 

THAT WAS MY ENEMY.

The enemy was so small, yet I could spot him from a mile away.  I could easily hunt him and swoop down to finish him off.  And all the shame?  Those filthy snakes of shame?  Those were my food!

The Hunted had become the Hunter!

                How glorious it felt to fly above the ground!  How freeing and beautiful it was to be who God had made me to be!  How wonderful to not be afraid!  Then I remembered a passage of the book I had been reading by Rick Joyner, “The Valley.” In this prophetic allegory, a group of sojourners were making their way to the Mountain of God.  They had to pass through the Valley of the Shadow of Death in order to get there.  Elijah had come to give them guidance.

“You do not defeat an enemy by just getting past him.  You defeat fear by growing in faith.  You defeat despair by growing in hope.  You defeat death by growing in life.  True life is only lived by those who no longer live for themselves, but for The King, and do all things for His sake and for those He gave His life for.

                “This valley is here to help you find true life…but to find that path, your goal must be greater than getting through the valley.  You must resolve to seek out and destroy the enemies that are in it,” Elijah continued…

                Finally Charles spoke up:

                “This would be a radical change of not just our strategy, but my understanding of our purpose.  So the path of life is found by seeking the enemy?  And then to be on the offensive and attacking?  I am sure most of us were thinking we needed to do all we could to avoid the enemy, to just get through it.  I thought finding the path of life was done by seeking the path of life, not fighting.”

                “To do His will is the path of life for everyone.  This is His will for you here.  This valley has a high purpose, and part of it is to prepare you for the rest of your journey to the mountain, and then to be of use to The King in the great battle to come.  You must become true warriors, and no true warriors seeks to avoid the enemy…

                “In this valley lie your greatest fears.  They are your greatest threats and your greatest challenges.  That gives the potential to be the place of your greatest victories…

                “The Lord created this valley, but men made it the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  So He uses it to seal in His people who they are called to be – warriors that do not kill, but impart life. They do not wound, but heal.  They do not oppress, but set captives free.”

                The enemies that I am to hunt and destroy are fear, doubt, and shame (just to name a few) in myself and others.  But when I flap my great wings, I will bring the wind of healing and refreshing to people.  People are not my enemies.

                A few days later I randomly opened my Bible and started reading Esther 8.  Again I found an example of divine reversal.

The Hunted becomes the Hunter!

                The King had given Haman permission to draft a law that authorized the enemies of the Jews to rise up and kill them.  The King didn’t realize that his lovely queen was a Jew.  Her people were facing utter annihilation.  The queen went to the king and in one moment, with one decision of the king, the entire picture flipped.  He allowed Mordechai to draft a law that permitted the Jews to strike back.  Fear of the Jews fell on all the other people.  Just the day before Esther was praying for the courage to reveal that she was a Jew.  But in that day:

“In every province and in every city to which the edict of the king came, there was joy and gladness among the Jews, with feasting and celebrating. And many people of other nationalities became Jews because fear of the Jews had seized them.” (Esther 8:17)

                Esther was bold, and she and her people fasted and prayed.  But it was God who gave them victory over their enemies.  I went back to reading Psalm 18.  I had been reading it for a few weeks and I just wasn’t getting it.  Why did I keep returning to it? What did God want to tell me?  Finally it became clear.  God was taking me from being the prey to being the predator.

The Hunted becomes the Hunter!

34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes. (NIV)

                As I was pondering all these things in my heart during the next week, I encountered this scripture on Facebook and then Pandora.

Psalm 2 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Why do the nations gather together?
Why do their people devise useless plots?
    Kings take their stands.
    Rulers make plans together
        against the Lord and against his Messiah by saying,
            “Let’s break apart their chains
                and shake off their ropes.”

The one enthroned in heaven laughs.
The Lord makes fun of them.

As soon as I picture God up on His throne, laughing at my enemies, I am up there in the sky with Him.  I can see how small and weak the enemy is compared to my God.  I can see the joy on His face, the fire in His eyes.  He isn’t worried.  Not about the mice or the snakes.  Not about me either.  He is laughing because He knows all that there is to know. He sees all that can be seen.

He is laughing because He sees His eagles rise and begin to hunt.

(Recently David Lebo released a prophecy confirming all of this.  “I am setting My Eagles Free.”)

This is a New Season!

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There is a new season that I believe God is leading us all into. He is whispering in our ears, He is wooing us with His love, He is drawing us to follow Him out of the desert.  The desert season was full of disappointment and wounds.  It was full of waiting and hope deferred.  Yet God was saying through one of His prophets (Sue Roby), “The Delay is in your favor.”  I tried to hold on to that thought, to continue to believe that all would work out for the good…but I let some of my faith slip away.

A few months ago another prophet (Tony Brazelton) came proclaiming, “The Delay is over!”  My spirit leapt when I heard it. Could it really be time?  The time I had been praying for?  Yet the fear of disappointment almost choked this new hope to death.

In September God gave me two scriptures to read, Isaiah 65 and Psalm 144.  These same scriptures had been a source of strength during the lowest point in our lives as a family.

Is 65 had been God’s way of announcing to me that I was pregnant, back in 2010.  Verse 9 says, “I will bring forth descendants from Jacob, and from Judah those who will possess my mountains; my chosen people will inherit them, and there will my servants live.”

I was happy to be pregnant and to feel the presence of a fresh new spirit within me.  I didn’t even need to take a pregnancy test.  Yet also I was ashamed.  Ashamed that I was pregnant for the fourth time in 5 years.  Ashamed that we still lived in a two bedroom townhouse and had to go to the health clinic for lower income families in Colorado Springs.  Ashamed that we struggled to pay our bills and had to set up a nursery for our baby in our walk-in closet.

The baby girl was due in January.  Right before Christmas Chris was laid off from his job.  We didn’t know what we would do.  We tried to enjoy Christmas as the debts grew.  I had a difficult time with Ashlyn’s birth which I wrote about in Birth Story Part 3.  Yet when she was born I was filled with peace and bliss.  My perfect baby girl!  God was so good!

The very next day the doctor informed us (devoid of compassion) that something was definitely wrong with our baby, but they didn’t know what.  Then began the many tests and scans.  Problems were found in her lungs, diaphragm, and heart.  We didn’t know what was going on.  We asked our church to pray and the only word they had for us was that this was my fault, that I was being too prideful.  I asked God if they were right.

That is when God gave me Ps. 144.  I felt peace flood my soul as I read:

“Then our sons in their youth will be like well-nurtured plants, and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace.  Our barns will be filled with every kind of provision. Our sheep will increase by thousands, by tens of thousands in our fields; our oxen will draw heavy loads. There will be no breaching of walls, no going into captivity, no cry of distress in our streets.”

Amazingly Ashlyn was cleared and was released to go home after just two days, a perfectly healthy baby girl!

ashlynA perfect baby girl…until the results of the Chromosomal analysis came back.  A part of her 6th chromosome was missing but no one knew what that meant.  No one had ever seen this before.  We began this journey of parenting a special child, one who didn’t grow and develop like the other children.  One who had to wear a brace for a dislocated hip and a patch for strabismus in her eyes.  A child who needed physical therapy to learn to sit up and occupational therapy to learn to drink from a cup.

This is when Is. 65 became even more meaningful.  God had brought her forth and had told me that she was destined to take mountains.  She was not a mistake!

By April Chris still hadn’t found a full time job.  Our church kicked us out and shunned us.  Our mortgage and second mortgage were threatening to foreclose.  Our townhome association was threatening to take us to court.  Ps 144 didn’t appear to be true for us.

Yet God worked His miracles, one at a time.  He gave Chris a new job, sold our townhouse, brought us home to Pennsylvania, led us out of debt, and blessed Ashlyn with supernatural health.  More financial struggles, hardships with the children, and failed business ventures followed.  But we were home in the land of our inheritance.  We had friends, family, and a church that loved us!

When I started reading Is. 65 and Ps. 144 again this September, I was reminded of the encouragement I had received from them years ago.  Yet, I didn’t really want to delve into them, to relive the pain we had been through.  I kinda thought, “I know these verses inside and out.  I’ve been there and done that and I DON’T want to do it again.  Can’t I read something else?”

But I felt God saying, “Take another look.”

I discovered that these words, written thousands of years ago, were perfectly tailored for my life.  Not just my life back in 2010, but my life in 2017 and beyond.  I received revelations that I was not able to receive back then.  That our church in Colorado was not pleasing to God, but HE HAD BROUGHT US OUT OF IT to possess His Mountains.  Not because of anything we had done but because His faithfulness, He saved us from that situation and now we are taking mountains for His Kingdom.

Then I saw all the promises that God had for His servants (Is. 65, verse 13).  We will eat, drink, rejoice, and never be put to shame!  This has happened in our lives.

Then I read a verse that I had never noticed before, verse 16b.

“For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes.”

If God can forget the past, why couldn’t I?  I felt Him saying to me, “I am bringing you into something new, something you haven’t seen before.  You don’t have to interpret current events through your past experiences.  You don’t have to look into the future through the lens of the past.  I am going to give you a new perspective.”

I had been gaining a different perspective, an aerial view like that of an eagle.  I didn’t want my thinking to be clouded by people’s opinions, ever changing circumstances, or the dark clouds of depression.  I wanted to be seated with Christ in heavenly places, to see things from his Eternal perspective.  God was telling me that I was meant to be an eagle.   I was trying to fly, but I really needed some help.

I asked God to let me see a real eagle, and He answered my prayer just weeks later on our family vacation up north.  See my previous articles, “A Hawk, A Vulture, and an Eagle Part 1 and Part 2.”  I felt elated!  I felt inspired!  I felt ready to fly!

Of course vacation has to end and normal life has to begin again.  Could I see an eagle during the course of my daily routine? Chances were no.

I have made a weekly trek to a farm for years now.  At first I never noticed the birds flying in the sky.  Not because they were not there, but because I was not looking.  After God started speaking to me about being an eagle, I began to search the skies.  I loved watching all the birds – the swallows, the robins, the wrens, the sparrows, and even the crows.  They looked so free.  Even better that those birds were the large birds that flew high above the rest.  I felt inspired by their flight…until I realized that they were vultures.

Months I spent searching the sky for eagles only to see vultures, buzzards, and more vultures!  Ahggggggg!  At the end of October I made this trip for the 20 zillionth time.  I saw a large bird swooping down over the highway.  Another vulture, I said to myself.  Still, when I got close enough I turned my eyes away from the highway and up to the sky just long enough to see…

A bald eagle!  I saw the brilliant white head and the powerful straight wings!  I was not expecting that at all!  An eagle in my own neck of the woods!  In the midst of my normal routine!

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This seemed very significant so I asked God if there was something He wanted to tell me.  Immediately I heard this verse on my Bible CD:

“‘The One who is coming will come.  He will not be late.  The person who is right with me will have life because of his faith.  But if he turns back with fear, I will not be please with him.’

But we are not those who turn back and are lost.  We are people who have faith and are saved.” Hebrews 10:35-39 (ICB)

Fear has been my normal reaction to many things, so normal I hardly realize that I am choosing fear over faith.  But I am not one who turns back!  I am one who believes!  I will choose faith!

I heard God say to me, “I want you to be ready to see eagles where in the past only the vultures flew.”

Oh Nards!

You know when something unexpectedly horrible happens and your immediate response is to let out a loud expletive?  Well, mine is, “Holy CRAP!”

I don’t mean to say it.  It just comes out.  My teenage son is quite offended by it and constantly reminds me that, “crap is NOT holy, Mom!”  I heard Bill Johnson say that if we really understood the holiness of God, we would never pair the word “holy” with the word, “crap.”

My young children sometimes exclaim, “Holy Crap!” when they are upset about something, and I admit that it sounds very uncouth and disrespectful…and they learned it from listening to me!

Ok, point taken!  This is not what should be slipping out of my mouth at inopportune times.  I should have better sentiments in my heart to express.

That same teenage son began to say, “Oh nards!” He would say it very loudly with a smile on his face because it is such a humorous phrase.

I adopted “nards!” as my “swear” word of choice.  Whenever something annoying or dreadful happened, I would exclaim, “OH NARDS!”  It was so fun to say and so funny to hear that I would burst out laughing.  I would amuse myself to the point that the disaster no longer seemed so disastrous.  (As Joseph Garlington says, “If it’s going to be funny later, it’s funny now.”) The children would begin laughing as well.  My husband would chuckle at me and shake his head, wondering what had gotten in to me.

I continued this, “Oh nards!” business for months before I thought, “Perhaps there is some significance to this word that God would want to speak to me about.”

I looked up “nards” on Google and found that it is short for spikenard, a plant used for medicinal purposes.  It is antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory.

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It is also the star of that beautiful Bible story in John 12 when Mary pours the pure nard on the feet of Jesus and the entire house was filled the fragrance of the perfume. The story (or perhaps a very similar but separate story) is also told in Matt 26.

Now while Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table.  But when the disciples saw it, they were angry and said, “Why this waste?  For this ointment could have been sold for a large sum, and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? She has performed a good service for me.  For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me.  By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial.  Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

It was clear that Mary loved Jesus deeply and wanted to demonstrate her gratitude and worship.  Perhaps she had planned this act, weighing what it would cost her to do so and judging that the cost was worth it.  Or perhaps she was so overcome with emotion that she impulsively grabbed her most precious possession and poured it out.  Either way, she deeply touched Jesus and ministered to Him just days before His crucifixion.  She had made a choice to lavish her love on Him despite what it cost her.

When the unexpected happens in my life and I shout out, “OH NARDS!” it is not quite the same as Mary.  When the child drops dinner on the floor or the teenager leaves the bathroom a mess or UPS has Chris work his 3rd 14 hour day, this is not my choice.  These circumstances have been forced upon me, and I have the right to be angry!

Don’t I?

What if I would make the choice to accept the circumstances with joy and worship God anyway?  Then perhaps my, “OH NARDS!” could be turned into the alabaster jar of Mary, ministering to Jesus with my love.

I read one article on the internet that spoke about the extravagant amount of nard that was poured out, probably 11 oz.  Anyone who uses essential oils knows how strong they are.  A few drops is all you need.  The fragrance of 11 oz. would have been enough to be noticed for quite a distance around the house.  If Jesus was to wash in a pool right afterwards, a thousand people could wash after him and leave with the expensive aroma.

Imagine all of that nard being absorbed into Jesus’ skin.  He must have smelled like spikenard for days!  Jesus did say that Mary was preparing him for his burial.  I always thought he was just speaking about the symbolic of the use of herbs in burial customs.  Days later when he was betrayed, arrested, abandoned, beaten, put on trial, ridiculed, whipped, and crucified…

I bet Jesus still carried the aroma of spikenard!  In His darkness hours, He smelled like perfume.  All who came in contact with this simple, poor man from Nazareth would catch a whiff of this very expensive oil.  As the people watched Him take the accusations without fear or anger, they could smell Him.  As they watched Him patiently endure suffering, they noticed the unusual aroma.  It was the fragrance of a King, not a common man.  It was a heavenly smell in the midst of tragic circumstances.

This smell of pure nard would forever be imprinted on their brains as the smell of the most unusual trial and execution they had ever seen.  For the rest of their lives, whenever they would catch a whiff of it, they would remember.  Maybe God could even bring them to the place of faith, recognizing the King and Savior Jesus in the form of a beaten and bloodied criminal.

When I encounter trials that make me want to cry out in disgust, “Why all this waste?!!”  perhaps I should worship instead.

When my husband is suffering with an excruciating headache for a week, unable to work or participate in much of normal life, my mind starts to say;

“Why couldn’t this have been a vacation from work to enjoy camping as a family?  We won’t get to take that vacation now.  Our budget only works if Chris is working.  How long will it be before he can start working again…days, weeks, months?  We are not even sure what is causing the pain or how to get rid of it.  I hate to see him suffering! What a waste!”

I have come to know God better than that.  Nothing is wasted in His kingdom.  He can use any circumstance for our good and for our promotion.  I can trust Him and worship Him in this.

For all of us, this pure nard should remind us that in the midst of suffering, we can love and worship.  And when we worship we release the distinctive aroma of our King…and the atmosphere of heaven.

OH NARDS!

I Want My Life to Mean Something

photo toilet

I just had to go to the bathroom!  However, on my way there I needed to yell out the window at a boy chasing a ball into the street.

“Calvin, I told you that you are not allowed in the street.  You have to play inside now!”

Then I had to stop to referee a fight between two other children.

“If this is Courage’s toy, you have to ask him before you take it!  And Courage, do not scream and cry.  Just say, ‘This is my toy.  Give it back to me please.’  You don’t get anything you want when you scream and cry.”

I feel like I have given this little lesson about five hundred and sixty-four times.  Why don’t they remember! I still need to use the restroom (it is getting quite urgent!) yet I cannot stop myself from picking the kitchen towel off the floor which I had already done twice that morning.

“We dry our dishes with this towel, people!” I think to myself.  I notice peanut butter on the otherwise white cabinet door.  I encounter shoes and the grungiest socks known to man thrown about the living room floor.

“Cooper!  Put these in the laundry room!” I call out in desperation, knowing that I will probably have to hunt him down and ask him again later.

I pass Ashlyn’s walking track.  She is supposed to be doing her walking exercises right now; building her muscles, organizing her brain, and increasing her balance.  She is laying on the sofa, nursing some sores on her feet.  I wonder to myself if all the therapy that I have done with her was in vain.  She can’t wear her braces if the skin on her feet break down.  And she can’t walk if she doesn’t wear her braces.

I get into the bathroom and shut and lock the door.  A moment of peace.  A quiet space.  Ahhhhhh…I can sit down for a moment.  WHAT IS THIS!!!!! PEE ON THE TOILET AGAIN!! I just wiped this toilet one hour ago, and the hour before that!

In the relative quiet of my stinky, dirty bathroom I am close to tears.

“Is this my life?  Working hard to clean a house that never stays that way?  Toiling to teach my children lessons that they never seem to learn.  Worried about not doing enough therapy with Ashlyn while simultaneously worrying about doing TOO MUCH therapy with Ashlyn.  I want my life to mean something,” I pray to God. “How can I know if my life is making a difference when I see so little good fruit?”

I just love it when I have a really productive day; wrote a blog article, organized an entire room, cleaned out the attic, or created a delicious meal with an abundance of bright colors and fresh ingredients.  But what happens when day after day goes by with no real progress of any kind.  Moms deal with this phenomena all the time.  We pour ourselves out, go to bed late, get up early, work hard; and when we stop to look around…it appears as though we have gotten absolutely nothing accomplished whatsoever!

I have been feeling the frustration and discontent that thousands of women have experienced.  We feel unnoticed, unimportant, and meaningless.  This has pushed many women to abandon their high calling as a wife and mother to pour themselves into other pursuits…just to feel worthy and fulfilled.

I KNOW that I have the most important career in the world.  I KNOW that my life is making a difference in this life and in the next.

It just doesn’t FEEL that way most of the time.

“God, help me to see things the way you do.  I need some encouragement here!”  I have prayed.

God is answering as He always does.  It may take a lifetime to understand all that He is saying and to unravel my own thoughts and ideas.  But I think I am making some progress.

I have been listening to the Bible on CD.  Listening to a cast of characters reading the Bible as though it were actually happening has helped me to see the stories in a different light.  It seems more real and more relevant.  Plus it is a different version than what I have read before, and it brings a new dimension to many verses.

As I look at the Bible as a whole; the story of God’s relationship with mankind, there is a common thread that I hadn’t noticed before.  God always had a plan.  He was always confident that this plan would work.  Very few humans actually understood His plan or knowingly helped God work out His plan.  The major events in the Bible were orchestrated and accomplished by God, not man.  Many times God worked through people and with people but most of the time He moved DESPITE people.

All the amazing events in Acts happened because of God.  The disciples didn’t get together after the resurrection and have an intensive strategic planning meeting to figure out how they would acquire the Holy Spirit or how they would add 3,000 people to their number in one day.  They didn’t go to college to learn the cutting edge strategies for converting the Jews and then the Gentiles to the Way.  (They didn’t even know that the Gentiles COULD be saved until God showed them.)

All the disciples did was wait on God and obey whatever He told them to do.  Many times they saw miracles, but more often they encountered opposition and persecution.  Often it appeared as though they were accomplishing nothing at all as the churches they planted fell into deceptions and wrong teachings.  Yet look at how their lives have affected the entire world!

When I look across all of human history, the person who had the most powerful participation in bringing God’s salvation to the earth was Mary.  This is just my opinion but you have to admit, she played a pretty big role.

But what did she actually do?

She BELIEVED what the Angel told her was true.

She SUBMITTED to God’s wonderful plan.

She MOTHERED Jesus.

Could I be as powerful in the course of human history as Mary if I just believe, submit, and mother?

If I could just BELIEVE every word God tells me.

If I could just joyfully SUBMIT, YEILD, and SURRENDER to God’s best for me.

If I could just MOTHER – love, nourish, carry, teach, serve, and protect each child God gives to me.

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Even Mary lost her most influential place of mothering for a while.  Maybe she didn’t agree with what Jesus was doing because it seemed too controversial or too dangerous.  Perhaps she was too weighed down with the concerns of her other children and life in general.  When she and her other sons went to see Jesus while He was teaching a large group, He didn’t go out to them.

He said, “Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?”  He pointed to His disciples and said, “These are my mother and my brothers. Whoever hears the words of God and does them is my mother and brothers.”

If I had been Mary, I would have been devastated by His words.  Then I would have gotten really mad!  “Listen mister, I said yes to carrying you in my womb even though it sullied my reputation and messed up my life.  I gave birth to you and nursed you and took care of you during all the hard times!  None of these guys here know what the angel said to me.  They don’t know what Anna or Simeon said about you.  They didn’t see you take your first steps or nurse you through sickness.  How could you say that they are your mother!”

Yet she must have realized that Jesus was never wrong.  He was never disrespectful or vengeful or mean for meanness sake.  All His words were true…every time. Mary must have repented before God for not hearing His words and obeying them during this crucial time in Jesus’ ministry, because she was there with disciples in the upper room.

What this story tells me is that anyone, anywhere at anytime can have Mary’s impact if they simply hear God’s voice and obey.  To hear God’s voice we must love Him, wait on Him, spend time with Him, read His words over and over.  To obey Him is always to love because He is love.

In essence – to BELIEVE

TO SUBMIT

TO MOTHER

To live this kind of life takes faith to believe without seeing.

To live this kind of life is so much harder than just checking items off a to-do list.

To live this kind of life is something I am sure that I can’t do on my own.

To live this kind of life is the POWER and GLORY of my motherhood; to watch God take my little, seemingly insignificant acts of love and obedience and turn them into something

EARTH SHAKING

ETERNITY CHANGING

BEYOND MY IMAGINATION IMPORTANT

A Grumpy Mommy Morning

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We have all had them.  Grumpy mornings when we wish we were still under the covers.  Grumpy mornings when everything seems to be going wrong.

I used to have grumpy mornings on a regular basis, when I was rudely awakened way too early with the knowledge that I had a very long day of caring for little people ahead of me.

In recent years, however, I felt more confident, more capable.  With the help of my older children, I was able to face each morning with a level head and even some joy.  I became too confident and let my two most helpful children (Areli and Cadin) volunteer to help with Kidz Kamp at our church.  They were gone early in the morning, my husband was at work, and that left me…alone…with a three month baby, a loud and demanding two year old, a special needs girl who acts like a quirky three year old, three wild and crazy boys, and a teenager asleep in his bed.  This teenager who used to be an early riser and the instigator of most of my grumpy mommy mornings, now seemed to be able to sleep indefinitely.

I tried to take care of the needs of the younger children while enlisting the wild boys to help me prepare breakfast.  The younger children were all uncooperative and whiney, and the wild boys were…wild!  They seemed to ignore all that I said to them.  Instead of helping, they were tearing around the house creating messes and conflicts.

Before I knew it, I was in the midst of a Grumpy Mommy morning unlike I had experienced in years!  I ended up yelling and fuming, ranting and raving.  I didn’t understand why my children didn’t understand…I was doing all of this for them.  The diapering and nursing and dressing and cleaning and cooking!  All of this effort was for them!  Why couldn’t they help me just a little bit?

Later in the day I had the peace and quiet to think.  Why did I have such a horrible morning?  Was it really my children?  Were they really so awful?

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Or was it my attitude?  If I was really doing everything I did to serve them, why was I so angry with them?

I realized that the work I was doing and getting stressed out about was not really for them.  They didn’t really care if their faces were clean or that their clothes matched or that they had a super healthy breakfast.  I was doing all of those things to make myself feel better.  I was doing everything I thought a good mother should do, trying to get it all done so that I could feel accomplished and satisfied with my mothering.  Then I could get on to the things that I really wanted to do.

I was angry because their childish behavior was interfering with MY plans.  They were messing up MY schedule.  I hadn’t thought about the emotions or thoughts of each child that morning.  Maybe one child had woken up with a scary dream.  Maybe another child was so excited about Kidz Kamp that he couldn’t calm down.  Maybe the other child was so nervous about Kidz Kamp that he was trying to forget his worries. Perhaps another child was feeling overlooked and was just trying to get my attention.  I hadn’t even considered what was going on in their hearts.

I stopped to contemplate what each one of them might want most in the morning upon waking.  I concluded that their deepest heart’s desire, even if they couldn’t articulate it, would be to have a mommy who would greet them with joy.  A mommy who would listen and not just give orders.   A mommy who speaks kind words instead of yelling.

How could I possibly be that kind of mommy?  How could I even begin to meet each child’s unexpressed needs each morning?

All I could come up with was the fact that I definitely could not.  Only if I was abiding in Christ and had His love and thoughts towards my children could I be that kind of mommy.

How could abide in Christ when I got woken up before I could have a quiet time?  How could my mind be full of His thoughts when I couldn’t crack my Bible to read a single scripture?  How could I have His love for my children when I hadn’t even stopped to notice His love for me?

This has become the question that I MUST HAVE an answer to.

“LORD, just how do I seek you in the midst of this life that you have given me?”

I am not totally sure how to get time by myself on a daily basis.  I am not sure how to meet with other Christians and get to church meetings more often for encouragement.  But here is what I have come up with so far.

Whenever grumpy thoughts start to invade my mind, I make a huge effort to replace them with a thankful thought and find something to praise God for.

I write scriptures on notecards and post them on my bathroom mirror.   Whenever I see them, I read them and memorize them.  As I read them, I feel hope returning to my soul.   I try to meditate on them throughout the day.

I recite memorized scriptures while I am nursing.  I used to be able to read the Bible or other encouraging books while I nursed but now Annalise nurses too fast and is too active for that.  As I speak the truth out loud, I feel my heart taking courage.

I listen for His voice in the midst of the noise.  Sometimes I hear it in the voice of my six year old.  Sometimes I hear it in my baby’s cries.

Instead of begging Him to help me through this crazy day, I THANK Him for the help He most certainly IS giving me and WILL give me.

I listen to worship music while I am preparing meals and sing along.  I am caught up in His goodness as I chop vegetables.  I smile when my children tell me that I should have been a singer, and I try to be loving when they interrupt me for some silly reason.

I listen to the Bible on CD while I am driving.  It transforms the time I spend running errands into an encounter with truth and love.  I have noticed things about Jesus and the Bible I have never noticed before.  I have cried and repented and praised Him for His mercy while running to the grocery store.

When I get the chance, usually on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I write down what He has been speaking to me throughout the week.  Then I read my journal over and over again while I eat breakfast the next week. I am reminded of the earth-shaking revelations that have so easily slipped my mind.

I fall asleep recounting all the good things God did for me throughout the day.  I surrender all that I am, and all that I am not.  I rest in the arms of Jesus until some little person needs me.

Being a good mom is not made up of things that I do or the schedule that I keep, but who I am.  Only an active, growing relationship with Jesus will make me like Him and banish the Grumpy Mommy Mornings.  So let us all seek Him, no matter what.