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Confused Christians

I was speaking with my father the other day and I mentioned to him that I felt like Christians today were confused. What do I mean by that? Well, we are not on the same page. We are confused about the approach to take with others. We are confused about what is right and wrong. So what does the Bible say about confusion? Let’s check!

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches 1 Corinthians 14:33″

Right there, the Bible says that confusion is not of God. He is clear in his word. It’s not God that creates the confusion, but his adversary.  Satan!  However, we as Christians fall prey to God’s enemy because we fail to  shield with the weapon that we have been provided . Yes, God gave us a weapon. The Bible! Rather than reading the Bible and taking it as a whole, we allow outsiders to pick out parts and distort the true meaning of what is being said. We believe people who have no relationship with Christ. Whose goal is to disprove what we believe in favor of what they desire to be the truth. Why do we do that? Why do we allow our view of God to be determined by people who have no view of God or a distorted one? First of all,can someone determine what a book is about by reading one line in it? For instance, there is a verse in the New Testament that if taken as literally as it sounds, could be viewed as canabalism.

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.” John 6:56

Is Jesus asking people to literally eat of his flesh and drink of his blood? Absolutely not! Jesus refers to himself as the “bread of life.” He wants people to soak up what he is saying to them so that they may have eternal life.In other words, his ways. There is a deeper meaning to that verse that Chrisians understand. However, what tends to happen is a non-christian with an objective to find fault in the word will cherry pick that verse out and tell people “The Bible says to eat flesh. I wont follow something that tells people to eat flesh!” Someone will hear them and say “Those Christians are disgusting. How can they be a part of something that tells people to eat flesh?” Then it is the game of telephone. No one is actually going in and looking for the true meaning. They are searching for something to discredit and reaffirm what THEY believe. The fact of the matter is, people want to live in their sin. They are constantly finding excuses to do so. So much so that they will exploit and remain ignorant to the true meaning of the word, rather than to research it for themselves. I cannot tell you how many posts I have read on social networking sites that mock the Bible. What I see though is not truth. I see verses of the Bible taken completely out of context. I would say that the portion of the Bible exploited the most would be the chapter Leviticus. In the book of Exodus, God gave Moses 10 commandments for his people. Why did he give them commandments? Because these were the things that would cause his people harm. Stealing, killing, infidelity, wanting what others have, worshipping false God’s. How can worshipping a false God be harmful you might ask. Well, false God’s do not hear your prayers. They are man made objects. God hears your prayers. He can do something. He can deliver people from their troubles if they allow him. So praying to something that cannot deliver you can be harmful. He gave these commandments to set “HIS” people apart from those who served his adversary, Satan. What happens when someone is murdered or cheated on, stolen from? Destruction! Interesting, because the Bible says that

“The thief (SATAN) comes to steal and kill and DESTROY.” John 10:10

So anything that destroys must stem from none other than “the theif.” So God created these laws and asked his people to abide by them so that they would not be destroyed. There’s that word again. However, we also see in Exodus that God’s people rebelled. When you live outside of God’s will, there are consequences. However, know that living outside of his will is a choice that YOU have made. Even so, God still created ways for us to be forgiven of our sins starting in the Old Testament. He asked for sacrifices and did not accept those that were done shipshod (half-hearted). If he said the sacrifice was to be a goat, it had to be one without blemish. So people will look at that and say “Well, God asked for sacrifices of goats then, but he doesn’t now. So let’s disregard that part of the Bible” They missed it! It is true that God does not ask us to sacrifice goats. Why? Because when his son Jesus came to earth, he died to cover our sins so that we would no longer have to sacrifice animals. Jesus IS the sacrifice. During his life on earth, he was without blemish just as the goats/lambs sacrificed in the Old Testament. So instead of sacrificing a goat every time we sin, God had Jesus come to cover ALL sins as long as you repent of the sin. That is all he asks us to do is apologize and turn away from the sin. So the principle still stands that we needed a sacrifice. God’s love for us is so grand that he does not want to see any of us destroyed. So he made things a little easier for us. He never said “You can go ahead and do whatever you want now.” No! He recognized that we struggle with sin. He recognized that we needed his grace and gave it to us through a Savior. So no, we do not disregard the Old Testament. We look and see WHY God asked his people to do those things. In many cases, he asked them to do things that would set them apart from followers of evil.
In conclusion, if you look through the Bible unbiased, you will find the answers you are looking for. IF and only if you are searching for the truth. If not, than you will do like many others and cherry pick the answer that suits what you want to believe is true.

So getting back to the “confusion.” Stop relying on what others says to determine your views. Read what the Bible says. Do your own unbiased research. Don’t just take my word for it, but find out on your own. If you really believe something to be right, than what harm could research do? On the contrary, if it proves you are wrong, than just consider that a new light is shining in a once dark area of your life. The saying that not everyone can be right rings true. However, someone IS right. Find out if that someone is you. My preacher at church said something that really struck a cord with me. He said to “Remember that not everyone is as seasoned in their walk as others.” He also reminded me that I might be the person who is not seasoned. I might be the person who needs corrected. Allow it! Allow others to correct you. Yes we all want to be right, but sometimes we’re just not! Let God correct you using your brother. We are all working towards the same goal here. Don’t let “correction” divide us. It’s Biblical.

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2

 

Last Sunday, I sat in church listening to a sermon from Pastor Bianca which just recently struck a chord with me. It’s funny how you can listen to something and the words not even hit you until a week later. She said “You don’t know what people are going through…..” She spoke about a time when she had a miscarriage and she was sitting in a restaurant thinking, no one in here knows what I am going through right now. Isn’t that the truth? I could relate to this story very easily because I myself have had 2 miscarriages. The first one happened my senior year of high school while the second one happened after I had Gabbie. She wasn’t even a year old by the time I was pregnant again. However, I remember that feeling that Pastor Bianca was speaking about. I wanted people to understand my hurt. I wanted people to talk to. I wanted someone to care that I was broken.

I was watching television one day and remember a man saying how “Everyone has a story.” When you watch movies like “Spiderman,” you see someone who goes through a hurtful time in their life which leads them on a path to their “destination.” Peter Parker’s uncle is killed, so he wants to seek out justice and goes after every villain on the streets in search of the one who killed his uncle. This is a fiction story, however, it is not very farfetched. If we looked at someone’s life from beginning until present, it would not be difficult to see why they have chosen a certain path. The problem is, we don’t get the story. We can see the product, but we don’t know what it’s made of.

I was recently speaking with a family member of mine about difficult people. I have always been the type of person to just write someone out of my life if they cause me any turmoil. It is easier just to not deal with that person. I used to avoid folks with difficult personalities like the plague. So I was speaking with this family member and she explained to me how she worked with a woman that had a VERY difficult personality. This woman was always in a bad mood and took it out on those around her. So one day, my family member said a prayer and asked Jesus to help her see this woman the way he does. She realized that there was something going on to make this woman so moody….Something she couldn’t see herself. So the next time she was around this woman, she said “I know we have had our problems, but is there anything I could help you with.” The woman was so happy that my family member asked. She apologized for her bad behavior and explained that she had just been going through a lot.

There are so many approaches we can take with people in life.We can choose to get angry and go off which has always been my approach. OR, we could choose to dig a little bit and find out what the product is made of. I used to have a job as a case manager for a halfway facility. I worked with client’s coming out of prison and those who were on their way if they didn’t make it through our program. Although I cannot speak on individual cases, I can say that this job taught me a lot about judging the book by it’s cover. Part of my job was to sit down and interview each client and find out the bits and pieces of their life. I found that in MANY cases, my client’s had been abused either physically, sexually or verbally as children by a parental figure. Some of them attempted suicide because of the abuse. The harsh cold reality for many of them was realizing that although they were no longer behind bars (FREE!), the world rejected them. As their case manager, it was my job to earn their trust. It’s difficult to counsel someone when they keep you at a distance, so I had to create a place where they felt understood and accepted. Initially starting the job I was very scared.I viewed these people in the same way the majority of society did. However, as I started interviewing each of my client’s, my heart was in a different place. I didn’t see these men as hardened criminals….I saw them as broken. They weren’t born with hard shells around them. The shells were created over time as they faced different hurts in their lives.This is not me defending them or their actions as adults. This is me saying that I had a certain perspective about people that changed once I got to know them. Once I learned their story, I could see why they were on a destructive path.

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I was in a position through my job that I could get an insight about people that your average Joe on the street does not have access to. This is the position that Jesus was in when he was on this earth. He was the case manager. He had everyone’s file and knew the story behind each person he spoke with. He ate dinner with the tax collector…..spoke with a Samaritan woman at a well although he was a Jew and it was forbidden…..healed a sick person on the Sabbath day. Did he compromise what he believed when he met with these folks….NOPE. Just the same, he didn’t shun them. Instead, he showed them a love that they had not experienced in this world. He could see every disgusting thing about these people and STILL did not reject them. In fact….when a woman was called out for adultery and was going to be stoned, Jesus said “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her (John 8:7 KJV).” People were so busy looking at this woman’s sin that they forgot those of their own. Maybe because they didn’t regard their own sins as being that bad.

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The point is, Jesus had insight! Since Jesus had this insight, he loved those who were considered unlovable. He knew everyone’s makeup. If we had the insight that Jesus has, would we be so cruel towards each other?  I will never sacrifice my beliefs to accommodate the culture around me. Just the same, I will not sacrifice my love for people because they don’t agree with my beliefs. In standing up for what I believe…I refuse to stand on others. I refuse to exalt myself above others because I feel I am in the right. Recently a verse was pointed out at church and it goes as follows: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves (Philippians 2:3). God doesn’t look at one stone as more precious than another. Jesus came for the lamb that is lost….not the one that is already found. Remember that. We are all important….we all have a story.

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I remember being a little girl and having such a love of people. I didn’t want to hurt them, or be hurt by them. I never understood why people hurt others. I felt so deeply for others that I would worry about them constantly. I felt like I could save them all. If I could just be kind, than I could make a world of difference to a person who was treated badly.  I looked at my words as weapons. I knew they could be destructive to someone’s life if I didn’t guard them. At what point did I stop being this way? At what point did the world harden the heart that God made soft. I wasn’t born this way. I was born with love for all people. As I grew up I realized that I couldn’t save everyone, so I stopped trying. I realized that if I was too open with people, they could use my openness to hurt me. So I stopped being open to those who didn’t earn my trust. I realized that no matter how kind I was to others, they would still be unkind to me. So I stopped being kind. I retaliated against evil with evil. I came to a point where I realized that the young, innocent girl that was so loved by many was now loathed. That young girl grew up to push people away instead of pulling them towards her. It hurts to look at myself. It hurts to see what I have become. I became the product of this world. A world that says to protect yourself and let others look out for themselves. Once I turned away from God, I stopped being what he created me to be. LOVE….ACCEPTANCE….TRUST….TRUTH. I became the world. I  became the one who hurts others. I became the one I was trying so hard to protect others from. I want to love others like a child. I want to have an unconditional love for everyone that God created. I don’t want to see my brothers and sisters as my foes. I want to see them as my blood in Christ. We are one in Christ!Image

Painting by Akiane Kramarik

Keep on climbing….

If I had to describe marriage using a metaphor, I would say it is like a mountain climb. You start the climb with the best of intentions. So you’re climbing along, the sun is shining…..birds are chirping…things are going great. Then all of a sudden you look yonder and see storm clouds rolling in. “Wait a sec…not what I planned or was hoping for.” Well, you knew there was a chance of rain during your climb, but you hoped you would be the lucky one it didn’t happen to. However, here it is about to roll over your head. Isn’t that the way it goes in marriage? You have heard about everyone else’s problems, but those problems will never be your problems because you are SPECIAL! 🙂  You have the choice at this point to either stop climbing, or push through. Usually during the first storm, the choice is to push. However, after many storms, you are left wondering if this climb was even worth it. You forget why you started the climb to begin with because all you can focus on now is the fact that you are sick of fighting against the weather. You are wet….muddy and just want to give up. At this point, many people do give up. Some people will push through many storms while others will give up at the first loss of footing.  Why do they give up? One reason is a fear of falling and having to start the climb again. Another reason is just being tired and worn out.  People want to conquer the challenges of life without too much trouble. People will take on the challenge of a mountain climb….but only if it stays sunny. Only under their own terms will people carry out a challenge to the end. However, some people have very unrealistic terms. The fact of the matter is, you can plan a perfect climb by preparing and having all your gear. However, you cannot predict or control the weather.

So some folks might read that and ask “Why try? If there are going to be storms and I have no control than why should I make the effort?” What they fail to realize is that there is one who controls the storms. God! God has always had the power to control the weather, but no one has asked him to do so. Instead, people deal with the storms on their own which ultimately wears them down. Or, they run from the storms.

Marriage is full of many storms. However, it is not necessary for couples to face any storms alone. God says “I have control of the weather if you would only ask me for help. I can calm the storm. So if you find that you are in a marriage with difficulties, don’t try to conquer those challenges on your own. Don’t run from them. Say “God, I am climbing this mountain and the storm clouds are rolling in. I need you to push them away. If you can’t push them away, than at least shelter me while they pass by.”  Every mountain has a peak. It’s a beautiful sight when you reach the top and look down at everything you have accomplished. You and your partner can look back at all the times you slipped and smile because you never stopped going. When you do reach the top, never forget to thank God. Don’t forget the times when he turned rain into sunshine.

Well, I am excited today to once again wake up and have the opportunity to write for my Lord. This is a luxury that many Christians take advantage of. Waking up! Some folks did not wake up this morning. I remember when I was about 8 years old; there was a gas leak in the apartment my family lived in. They say natural gas is odorless; however, I smelled something odd and alerted my parents.  I have always had a very sensitive nose. If anything in my own place smells “odd,” I have no problem with getting down on the floor and sniffing around for a good while until I find the source. Well, that night my nose saved my family’s life. I should say God saved my family’s life because he gave me this nose for a reason. Although I probably would have gone to heaven at that point, God was not done with me yet. He had something he wanted to do with my life. Would you believe that as an adult I once again sniffed out a natural gas leak at another home I was living in? It was a gas leak outside that was seeping into my children’s window due to the roots of the plant life in our yard breaking through the line. Or so I was told. That is two times God saved my life with this Toucan Sam nose of mine. He must really have a great purpose for me. He has a great purpose for all of us!

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A lot of times people feel abandoned by God. Or maybe they have let sin into their life and it has placed a barrier between them and God. This happened to me as well. There was a point where I was not living my life for God and became completely numb. This has happened on more than one occasion unfortunately. However, God went the extra mile to show me that although I had moved, he was still where he had always been. I was standing in church with my aunt feeling sorrow. My sorrow was from the numbness I felt towards God. I thought he had given up on me at this point. As I listened to the message that was preached, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the lady sitting next to me kept looking over like she wanted to say something. She had this look on her face like something had come over her. Indeed it did. That something was the Holy Spirit. I cannot remember her exact words, but the message was clear. God wanted me to know that he had not given up on me.  He knew my pain at that moment and used this woman that I had never met to tell me this. She could never understand how badly I needed to hear those words. I had believed a lie. Satan is the master of lies and he had numbed me to the point that I could no longer feel for God. However, God unthawed me at that moment and gave me hope. He loves me! He really loves me! He didn’t have to go the extra mile to reach me, but he did. He could have waited for me to come to him, but he reached out. That is how much he loves us. God has no pride. We as humans will stop talking to those who offend us (GUILTY) and wait for them to come apologize or make the first move. However, God does not work that way. He wants so badly for us to be a part of his kingdom that he is willing to take a step towards us rather than waiting. Amen to the loving God we serve.

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If you read this blog and it speaks to your heart, know that it is not by coincidence.  I have done some terrible things in my life. I have hurt people that I love which was the greatest shame for me. Everyday Satan whispers in my ear that I cannot have that relationship back with God. He reminds me every day of things I have done and puts doubt in me. However, God keeps speaking to me and through me. Even Jesus, the most perfect person to ever walk this earth was confronted with Satan’s lies. I look at it this way; the moments you are under attack are those moments when you are doing something right. Why should Satan attack those he already has a grasp on? It’s those he is losing that he comes after with full force. It’s those who can do the most to enhance God’s kingdom that he takes the most interest in. A pastor at my church described Satan best when he said that he is “like” a lion. He is not a lion, because if he were, he would devour you. However, he does not have that power. He stated “He is like a kitten with a megaphone.” We hear “RAWWWWRRR” and become frightened, when his power is really that of a wee whittle kitty (Pastor Jamal of Chapel Hill).

God has given each one of us unique gifts to use for his glory. He doesn’t bless us so we can bless ourselves. Many people play the lottery and say that they will give a large portion of money to charity if they win. Whether they will or not, God only knows. However, I have heard many people say “Why is it that the people who will do good deeds with the money never win?” I wondered that myself for a long time. Then came the answer! If you read the scripture you will find a quote from Jesus saying “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Why is it so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? Think about it. When do people call on God the most? In times of need! As people gain money and worldly success, they become more dependent on that money for happiness and less dependent on God, if at all. God can work better with someone who is humble and broken. A preacher at a church I used to attend said that his favorite place to preach was at funerals…..Broken and humble hearts. People were more willing to listen because they were hurting and looking for comfort. God sees the big picture that we are incapable of seeing. He knows what we have in store and nothing on this earth can compare to it. He asks us not to place such a big emphasis on worldly things which is like trying to grasp hold of the wind (Eccles).

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God has a great purpose for us and this life is only a whisper. Once it is over, there is no chance to do it again. You must make the most of the time you have been given. Any moment you waste is a moment you are accountable for. So much suffering exists in this world and each one of us can have an impact on someone’s life. The best way to show others God’s love is to love them when they are not so loveable. That is a hard thing to do, but what God calls us to do. Don’t waste your time listening to Satan’s lies. Seek out God now as if tomorrow will never come. Seek him out as if you may not wake up tomorrow morning. Be thankful that he has given you another day….another chance.

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I remember being a little girl and having what I would call a “healthy fear of God.” This seemed to be a fear my own children were lacking and I was becoming concerned. From the age of 5, I was well aware of the consequences of a lie. Not only was it wrong in the sight of God, but it would earn me a good swat! However, I took “no lying” to an entirely different level. “Veronica, were you just picking your nose?” my mother asked.

“Yes mom, I did. I don’t want to lie.” Yes, that’s right….honest Abe! There was nothing I wouldn’t tell my parents for fear of offending the Lord if I withheld information. I remember standing in the kitchen with my mom and grandmother telling them about my first breakup. I was in kindergarten. “I had to break up with one of my boyfriends. I didn’t think it was right having two.” I remember how stunned my grandmother was that I had said these words.

“She’s honest.” she said. As a mother, I can imagine all of the laughter my own mom had held in as I acknowledged each one of my 5 year old crimes. I didn’t even understand what Heaven truly entailed at that age. In my mind I visualized fluffy clouds and streets made of gold. I would have wings and a cheerio floating over my head. However, it sounded better to me than the ladder. As I grew older, that fear would subside a bit and I would see it’s affects on my own children.

The past five years of my life have probably been the busiest. I graduated from college, had my third child and moved all the way across the country, started a job…..only to quit that job and move down south!  However, in the time that I was doing ALL of these things, God was never included. I didn’t have time for him. Therefore my life became chaotic and in shambles. My marriage was a mess and my children were now becoming a product of all of that chaos. Worst of all, they were lying to me! Lying was like breathing air to these little monsters! They were lying because they feared the punishment if I knew the truth, but not the punishment from God for not telling it. “Gabbie, did you hit your sister?”

“No!”

“Then why does she have a big red hand print on her arm?”

“I don’t know!”

“Are you lying to me?”

“No…”

“Stand in the corner.” Clearly the evidence was enough; yet, as a parent I wanted her to tell me the truth. I wanted her to realize that lying and hurting her sister was wrong. Still, as a mother I was no living example of how a person should live their life. As I grew older, I grew further away from God. Lying became much easier for me as a new feeling of numbness set in. So how could I expect my children to live a life that I myself was not living? Something had to change and that something was me. What a tough pill to swallow as a parent.

I had recently rededicated my life to God. I asked him to take the numbness away and help me lead my family to him. However, one of my greatest failures in parenting came recently when my child mimicked something she had heard from a movie I had allowed her to watch. Then again, she could have heard it from me as my husband and I were not trying very hard to filter our language. It was late at night and the girls were supposed to be in bed. Nevertheless, they were fighting as usual. Gabrielle was trying to go to sleep but her sister would not quit talking. I was sitting on the computer when Gabrielle walked into my room and said “Mommy, Christina just said a bad word to me!”

“What did she say Gabbie?” I asked.

“She said she was going to kick my (edit#$%^&).” It was that moment you see in the movie “A Christmas Story” where Ralphie has a slip of the tongue in front of his dad. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I thought.

“Christina! You come here.” I said.

“I don’t wanna come here.” She said. So I then proceeded to walk into her bedroom and probe her about “the word.”

“Did you tell your sister that you were going to…..”

“No! She’s lying!”

“Christina, you better tell me the truth!” I said angrily.

“I didn’t mean it! I’m sorry….I’m sorry!” she yelled with tears coming out of her eyes. At that moment I realized that this was my fault. My kids were a product of me and their words reflected my parenting. I had her stand with her nose to the wall as punishment and then sent her to bed. When I walked back into the room my husband was laughing. “I can’t believe she said that!” he laughed. He was trying to do so quietly though because he didn’t want her thinking it was funny or ok. I knew why she had done it though. She didn’t have that same understanding that I had as a child. It wasn’t the punishment of my parents I feared the most, but disappointing God by disappointing them. I had not instilled that in her.

So finally discussion day came. I sat with my girls and read passage after passage out of the Bible about obeying your parents. I wanted them to understand that I am not just asking them to obey us because it is pleasing to me, but because it pleases God. I also explained to them that I knew they were lying when they did so and that they would be in less trouble if they told me the truth than if I caught them in a lie.  A little time had passed and I had finally seen the positive results of that discussion. Gabbie had not told me the truth about something. However, I knew in the back of my mind that she hadn’t. The difference from every other time she had lied was that this time I didn’t have to drag it out of her. She came to me and said “Mommy, I didn’t tell you the truth.” She could never understand how much that meant to me. She finally understood and I as a parent put an imprint in my child’s life that was positive. There are still many more years to come, but I finally felt as though my parenting had taken a step in the right direction.

Amen…………….

“But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Matthew 15:18

Yesterday I found myself having one of those moments where I was ready to crawl into a corner, lie in the fetal position and suck my thumb for a good while. What was going on? My life felt so chaotic. My oldest daughter was working on her homework and kept saying “Mommy, I need your help with this.”

“Gabrielle, read the directions honey. You know how to do this.” Lately I had become increasingly irritated with Gabrielle and her homework mishaps. I felt myself going into micromanage mode. “Why do you write so neatly here, but not here?” I would probe her. Then of course there was the day before when I had told her to fill in the correct missing letters for each word…..AR, OR and IR. The word was “Forty,” but as I reviewed Gabbie’s homework I noticed that she put “Farty.” When I pointed it out, she laughed which then lead me to laugh. She knew exactly what she had done. How do I get this child to take her homework seriously? I thought. She had not been working to her potential in school and I was frustrated to see her making the same mistakes over and over again. I remember the day her teacher sent some old assignments home. On one of the assignments Gabbie was supposed to write her teacher’s name, Mrs. Humes. Well, instead she wrote “Mrs. Humps.” I had been questioning if I was doing enough. Am I a bad parent?

I have to make dinner. I thought to myself. Pot pies it is! I feel like having a VERY simple meal tonight. At this point I was waiting on my husband to walk in the door with my younger child Christina. He took her to the doctor’s to get her shots. However, she did not go out the door with this knowledge. Some might say that is cruel, however, they have not had to deal with the super human strength my children obtain when they hear the word “shot.”

At the age of 4, Gabrielle was experiencing some bone marrow issues in her leg and needed her blood drawn. It’s hard enough to get this child through a shot. I thought to myself. Having her actually sit still with a needle hanging out of her arm long enough for the nurse to get what she needed was just not going to happen. However, like every mother I had high hopes. I will just hold her down. Or better yet, her daddy will hold her down! Yes, he is much stronger. Doomsday had arrived. I sat in the waiting room very pregnant with my son Logan and holding on to my daughter Christina who was at the age where she wanted to explore every ounce of territory she could walk on. Lord, give me strength! Nick had already taken Gabrielle back and I was waiting to see any sign of life from the back room. Finally, Nick walks out with a very distraught child in his arms. The next thing I see is Gabbie’s hand come across her daddy’s face. SMACK! I could tell my husband was very angry. “You stop that!” he scolded her. She wanted down and was ready to make a break for it. “She smacked the nurse.” he said to me. He further explained that the nurse had gone to stick the needle in Gabrielle’s arm and she smacked the nurse’s hand and told her “no.”

“So did they get the blood?” I eagerly asked.

“Not all of it.” he said. I was very disappointed. This meant we would be making another trip back only to go through this horror once again. I just couldn’t understand how these two adults could not hold down a 4 year old. However, it wasn’t even two adults that had tried to hold her down. From the back room, I see a very large, male staff member walk out. His description is very similar to that of Michael Clarke Duncan of “The Green Mile.” Wait a second. That guy was back there too? I thought to myself. She had fought them all off, including him. Was she possessed? Where was this strength coming from? The last time I saw a display of strength like this from her was when I took her to the dentist.

So now here I sat, three years later waiting for my younger daughter Christina to come in and give me the look of death and betrayal. I wonder if she will even want to talk to me. I thought. Then I heard the door open and up the stairs my little Christina ran. I picked her up and looked into her little sad, brown eyes. I waited for her to say something and out of her mouth came the words “I have to pee!”

“Ok. Go ahead.” I said. So when she got done, I was given the horror story.

“They poked me in my legs!” I saw her Band-Aids when she had pulled down her pants. Then I asked my husband Nick for the report.

“How did it go?”

“Well, when we got there, I told her that she was getting shots. I laid it out to her. She said ok. They gave her the first two shots in the one leg and she did fine. When they got to the second leg, she did cry.” he said. I felt the warm tears filling up my eyes. “Oh, don’t cry babe. She is fine.” he said. Indeed she was. She was running around later that night pulling off her Band-Aids and showing her sister the battle wounds.

“Look Gabbie! That’s my blood on the Band-Aid.” she said. I couldn’t help but laugh. I got the kids their pot pies, but was feeling very rushed at this point. Gabbie needed to get her homework done. I had a Bible study group to attend at 7:00pm. I needed all of the kids to be fed. Logan, my youngest child, had been running around the house making as much noise as possible. He grabbed his sisters chocolate milk and ran up the stairs shouting “It’s mine! It’s mine.” I grabbed the milk from him as drops splashed the floor and gave it back to his sister.  I picked him up to carry him upstairs with his legs and arms flailing about. I set him free, only for him to run back down the stairs and do donuts around the kitchen and living room area. I’ll put him in his chair. I thought. That I did!

“Sit here and let me get you your pie.” I said. He was really happy to hear the word “pie.” I knew in my head how disappointed he would be when he saw that this pie was filled with carrots and chicken, not apples or cherries. I went upstairs and sat down to read my cousin Nicole Swort’s latest blog titled “Digging for Laughter.” At that moment, God really spoke to my heart about my children. Here I sat so irritated with my very wound up child and my cousin was going through the same battle thousands of miles away. It’s not just me. So I then go to check on my son to see if he has made any progress eating his pot pie. I notice that he had poured his orange juice into the pie shell. He hadn’t eaten a bite. I couldn’t even get angry. I just turned my head and laughed. It was as though he was trying to send me the message that the only pies he would be eating around these parts is those with fruit in them…..hence the orange juice.

This morning I got my little Gabrielle ready for school. I wrapped myself up in her giant monkey blanket and sat on the front porch watching her as she stood and waited for the bus across the street. I felt myself having an emotional moment. I thought back to the days when she was a curly haired, fat little babe who would drop her stuffed animals to the ground outside of her crib so she could hoist herself over and land on them in an attempt to escape confinement. It didn’t seem like that long ago. It wasn’t that long ago! I have been so hard on her. Here I was trying to make sure that she was living up to the standards of this world, when God’s standards were what really mattered. At that moment, I said a little prayer. “Keep your hands on my child Lord. Make her what YOU want her to be.” I had finally realized that I was stressing too much about the small stuff. God will take care of my child. He will give her strengths in the areas he wants her to have them. My child can pass every test this world has to give her, but at the end of the day, she does not belong to this world. She belongs to God. So now as a mother, my job is to prepare her and all of my children for his tests. My eyes were open.

Amen…….   

“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:26