Thursday, May 19, 2011

Going Through the Motions

This might hurt, it's not safe
But I know that I've gotta make a change
I don't care if I break,
At least I'll be feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of life

I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

No regrets, not this time
I'm gonna let my heart defeat my mind
Let Your love make me whole
I think I'm finally feeling something
'Cause just okay is not enough
Help me fight through the nothingness of this life

'Cause I don't wanna go through the motions
I don't wanna go one more day
without Your all consuming passion inside of me
I don't wanna spend my whole life asking,
"What if I had given everything,
instead of going through the motions?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Medical Junk

I absolutely hate to go to the doctor.  Period.  I avoid medical junk at all costs and I always dread anything that has to do with going to the doctor, dental work, etc.  Part of it probably had to do with the fact that my parents were required to take us all to the doctor and dentist every summer while we were in the dorm and I always had 4 or 5 cavities to take care of...ugh.  And then I remember that one doctor my Mom took me to in 8th grade who caustically informed me that I was obese. 

I've seen obese and in 8th grade I was NOT obese...a wee bit chubby, maybe, but not anything close to obese.  But that stuck with me and now I have quite a lot of anxiety about going to any doctor who is basically required to inform me that I am overweight...yeah, well, tell me something I don't know!  sigh.  I'm working on it, but it seems as if the best thing I can do right now for my physical health is to take care of my emotional health first.  I've already noticed a huge change in my attitudes toward food and I'm sure it will get even better once I can focus more clearly on that issue. 

Most people do not understand my attitudes about medical attention (or the lack thereof) and probably wonder about it, especially at times when they might think I actually really do need to go to the now, when I've been feeling like I have something of a kidney infection for a few days now.  The question always comes from those who find out I've not been feeling well, "Have you gone to the doctor?" and they look puzzled when they find out I haven't and probably don't plan to, either!
And it's not just that I dislike going to the doctor, but I do believe that it is so much better for me to try to get over things on my own, if at all possible.  I took so much antibiotics when I was younger, I really do try to do everything possible to get well with more natural means first if I can.  I would be willing to take antibiotics for this infection if I have to, but taking antibiotics can also bring up issues all on its own, such as yeast infections, I really hope I don't have to resort to that. 

So anyway, we have all these medical requirements and forms to fill out now that we're joining Pioneers and it's kinda depressing.  Miguel and I need physicals and an HIV test and then the kids need some tests as well.  I've been thinking about my physical and about which doctor I will go it better to have a male or a female doctor?  I think it depends...I'd almost prefer to go see a dr. of either gender as long as I didn't know them well and probably wouldn't ever see them again!  lol  It's kind of unnerving to ask a dr. friend to inspect you all over and then run into them at church or that's been on my mind lately...

And the kids are way behind on their vaccines...I went through a time of real anxiety and stress about their physical health and the effects of vaccines on newborns, so I did not allow them to get many vaccines until they were a little older.  Which put them way behind and yes, we get a lot of flack about that now.  I still don't know exactly how I feel about vaccinations, but I do know that it relieved a lot of anxiety for me when I needed it to have made the decision not to vaccinate them as newborns.  But now that they are older, we do need to continue building on the vaccines that they have had. 

So this afternoon we informed the kids of their upcoming vaccination appointment (this Thursday morning, on Gracia's birthday, of all days!) and they were all whining and groaning about it until Miguel offered to pay them 2 bucks for each vaccination they get without fighting it.  Now they (well, the older three, that is...Jkaile is still rather oblivious and I'm sure he will not be cooperative with getting vaccines, big bucks or no!) are rather excited about the whole thing and are hoping to get a lot of shots!  That's a bit weird...especially since the last time they all four made quite the parade of crying, wailing children trooping back through the waiting room on the way out, much to the consternation of all the other kids waiting their we'll see how well this present enthusiasm for shots holds up when actually faced with the needles! 

And then Micah said, "Hey, and do we get to do the pee test, too!  Cuz that's awesome!  You get to pee into a little cup and then give it to the nurse.  And they never say thank-you!"  I wish I could get that excited about a urine test...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Girl Named Dirty

They found her in the garbage dump on the edge of town and rescued her from the city of darkness.* The servants of the King cleaned her up, fed and clothed her and yet for all of the care she received, the girl named Dirty still seemed to prefer to live outside with the pigs. 

One night the girl named Dirty crept close to the Celebration fires, the place where the subjects of the King celebrated Kingdom living.  Dirty watched from a distance as ordinary people passed through the great ring of fire and were transformed into their real selves...princes, princesses, the Captain of the Guard, dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies of the King.  There was music and dancing and delicious food inside the Celebration fire and she couldn't imagine what it would be like to feel so happy. 

She longed to join them, but she was afraid.  The girl named Dirty was afraid of the fire...afraid it might hurt.  But she was mostly afraid that when she passed through the fire, she would be exactly who she was now, a girl named Dirty. 

She felt something touch her and she turned to see a old man beside her.  The hand on her shoulder felt warm and his eyes were kind as he asked her if she was joining the Celebration that night.  She shrank back from his touch as the fear rose up inside her again.  The old man invited her to go with him through the ring of fire, but Dirty refused.  She watched in amazement and wonder as the old man walked through the Celebration Fire and was welcomed by all as the King himself!  And then she felt shame, remembering that the King had invited her to go with him and she had refused...would he ever invite her back again? 

The girl named Dirty remembered the King's invitation however, and eventually found the courage to step through the cleansing circle of fire.  It did hurt a little but her love for the King impelled her and she emerged on the other side as a true Princess, daughter of the King...complete with radiant clothing and a delicate crown on her head.  And best of all, she was clean, both on the inside and the outside. 

Every time I read this story as a child, it would bring strong emotions and feelings to the surface...I soon avoided reading that story entirely in order to avoid the pain and that became a pattern in my life.  I would do just about anything to avoid the pain inside.  I knew how the girl named Dirty felt...I didn't like it that I felt like her story felt like my story and yet I had covered up the hurt so well I didn't really even know why that was. 

I just knew that I felt dirty, bad, unlovable and unwanted...I tried to cover it up with laughter and bounce and fun and masks, but in those moments of quiet solitude, the voices were there with their sinister tones, " are are are are want too are too are not are worthless...there is no hope...if your friends knew who you really were, they would never like are are guilty and you will never be free of that..." 

The King invited and yet I was too afraid to trust, too afraid to believe...too afraid that nothing would change even if I did...too afraid of stepping into His Kingdom only to be revealed to be nothing more than a worthless, dirty reject in the midst of the children of the King.  And so I watched from a distance, the smell of smoke on my clothes, as it were, but never getting close enough to actually be warmed by the fire...putting my hope in eternity but having no hope for a fulfilling and joyful life here on this earth.  Able to trust God for eternal salvation, but not for earthly redemption.   Believing that God loved me enough to save my eternal soul, but that He probably didn't like me very much in the meantime...

And so the King allowed me to live, always inviting but never forcing, until I came to a desperate place of need...where the desire to be free became greater than the ability to hide the pain and I made a choice to believe.  It was as if I stepped into the fire...and while the fire was holy and cleansing and good, it was still fire and it still hurt.  But it was a good hurt and it was a healing hurt and I am very glad that the King never stopped inviting...and there He was on the other side, waiting for me to step into my beautiful robes and my lovely crown amidst the cheers of my fellow Kingdom-dwellers. 

Most days I may look the same as I always have...but if you notice that I walk a little taller, have a little more confidence and if you see that sparkle in my's because inside I know who I am...I believe...I'm a daughter of the King...

Every once in a while those old voices might come back for a second or two, but mostly they are drowned out by the shouts of Who I Am in Christ...

  • I am God's Child (Jn. 1:12)
  • I am Christ's Friend (Jn. 15:15)
  • I have been justified (Rom. 5:1)
  • I am united with the Lord, one spirit (I Cor. 6:17)
  • I am bought with a price; I belong to God (I Cor. 6:19-20)
  • I am a saint (Eph. 1:1)
  • I have been adopted as God's child (Eph. 1:5)
  • I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
  • I have been redeemed and forgiven (Col. 1:14)
  • I am complete in Christ (Col. 2:10)
  • I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:1-2)
  • I am assured all works together for good (Rom 8:28)
  • I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
  • I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39)
  • I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor. 1:21-22)
  • I am hidden with Christ Jesus in God (Col. 3:3)
  • I am confident that the good work God has begun in me will be perfected (Phil. 1:6)
  • I am a citizen of heaven (Phil. 3:20)
  • I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7)
  • I can find grace and mercy in time of need (Heb. 4:16)
  • I am born of God; the evil one cannot touch me (1 Jn. 5:18)
  • I am the salt and light of the earth (Matt. 5:13-14)
  • I am a branch of the true vine; a channel of His life (Jn. 15:1, 5)
  • I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (Jn. 15:16)
  • I am a personal witness of Christ's (Acts 1:8)
  • I am God's temple (I Cor. 3:16)
  • I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
  • I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm (Eph. 2:6)
  • I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
  • I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
*story used from Tales of the Kingdom by David and Karen Mains.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

This has been a wonderful Mother's Day...I have lazed around all day and have done absolutely nothing productive.  Miguel has pampered me from start to finish on this day and is even getting the kids in bed for me so that I can hang out with my computer...I'm sure I'll have to kick butt tomorrow to make up for all this inaction today. 

My Mother's Day flowers

I also was the proud recipient of a jar of olives, a pack of gum, breakfast and OJ in bed, a cookie from the baby shower they had next door yesterday (that Gracia ate for me), 100 kisses from Jkaile (he's really into kissing these days!), a toy compass from Chikfila, and an old red pen.  I am truly blessed! 

I thought a lot about my own Mom today...mostly because she is traveling these days.  She just spent 3 weeks on a consultant trip to Colombia and is now in Ecuador visiting my two sisters who work there.  I confess to being a wee bit jealous...who wouldn't want to enjoy the beautiful scenery plus spending time with family?!  I got to skype a little with her tonight...incredible what technology can do these days!

One of my all-time favorite pictures of my Mom is this one, that I think really represents her well.  That beautiful smile and a heart that has loved these precious people for several decades now...she had just given a life-saving injection to this little baby, a first in this tribe.  I have to say that I admire her dedication and commitment to God, because all she ever aspired to be was a wife and mother and yet she has become so much more than that! 

I'm kind of far away from my other mother as well, my mother-in-law Delia...but thanks to good telephone service, we were able to hear her voice, at least for a little while.  I am very thankful for her life and her dedication to serving God...especially how she brought Miguel up to be the godly man that he is!

Miguel's parents, Angel and Delia

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Growing Up

I've been doing a lot of growing up lately.  I know, I know...I look like a grown up woman on the outside, but so often I still feel like a little child sometimes.  I get into certain situations and all of a sudden, I'm back into that 'one-down/one-up' relationship with other adults that characterizes the relationships that children under adult authority have.

We were all born as a little person in a big person's world and our job as children is to become a big person over time.  This happens for some people, but not for all of us, apparently.  Becoming a big person, an adult, means that the child moves out of the 'one-down/one-up' relationship role into a peer relationship to other adults.  Becoming an adult is assuming the authority position of life, which is an important part of living out of the image of God. 

This topic in particular really touches my heart deeply because I really relate to this...for some reason it is really hard for me to see myself as a grown up in this world...particularly in the mission community.  This probably has something to do with growing up as an MK and then returning to missions, who knows.  Maybe it's kind of like even though we're grown-up people with children of our own, how we still sometimes tend to fall back into our former childhood roles the minute we step through our parents' doors? 

Anyway, I have struggled to feel like a grown-up in many of my relationships, particularly in this area of people-pleasing...I know this is a common struggle because I hear people around me who struggle with this, too.  It's one thing to say that we should be 'God-pleasers' and stop being 'man-pleasers', but how, exactly, do I DO that?  I have tried to break this cycle, but it's hard and so often I feel the guilt about making this or that decision creep back into my mind, even after I resolutely decided that I wasn't going to let what other people think affect me.  I end up thinking more about what other people are going to think than about what God thinks.   

And this has held me has held me back from growing up mentally and has held me back from finding out what it means to truly live in grace and offer that same grace back to has held me back from developing and owning my own thoughts, feelings, has held me back from sensing God's will in my life because I was more 'in tune' with others' opinions of me than I was to hearing His voice.  And that is a shame because I should have 'grown up' a long time ago!

But it's never too late to start, so here I go...I'm growing up and it feels good.  A little, no a lot, scary, but it does feel good.  I will admit to a certain trepidation, knowing that at some point there will be consequences of other people disagreeing with me and there might be unkind words, or worse...but I don't want to risk losing out on something really awesome in my relationship with God by letting my fear of what others think control me.

People-pleasing really does keep me from seeing what is truth from God, "How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God?" (John 5:44).  I don't want my tendency towards people-pleasing to cloud my relationship with my God...I want His messages to come through loud and clear!

Listen to this verse in John 12:42-43..."Many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God."  These rulers believed in Jesus but were too afraid to step out in faith, trusting that God could provide for them even if they were put out of the synagogue...they missed out big time because they loved the approval of men more than that approval of God.  Ouch.  I don't want to be like that.  When I stand before the throne of God after my last breath of earthly life, I want to hear for myself that I have met with the approval from that moment, I think that whatever disapproval I might suffer here on earth at the hands of those who don't approve of me and how I live out God's calling on my life will be as nothing.  I'm deciding right now that it will be worth it.

So how do I get there?  Well, for me I am learning that it has to do with understanding what it means to do the authoritative work of adulthood*...and this means that I can't be always out to get the approval of other adults.  That's what children do and children can't do an adult's job.  So, seeking and finding approval from God and not trying to please others is an important aspect of growing into adulthood.

Adults make decisions, have opinions, establish values that are not subject to approval or disapproval from parents or parental figures, and recognize that they are accountable for the consequences of the things that they think, feel and do*.  Basically, it means that it is a process of gaining authority over my know what I believe, think through things for myself, made decisions, that I don't depend on the approval of others for survival and that I have expertise in one or more areas.  Those who spend time around me will then get a sense from me that I am authoritative...that I have become an adult.  And once I have become an adult, I can submit to the authority of God by choice, not out of any sense of duty or because 'that's what you do to be spiritual'.

This doesn't mean that I don't respect the offices of authority that are in the church, but it means that I don't view leaders as somehow being 'above me'...we are all equal adults in this family of God; all equal brothers and sisters under the fatherhood of God.  Because I am an adult, however, and I have taken ownership of my life, I can freely give up my rights and serve others in submission because submitting to my equal brothers or sisters in their God-given offices is actually submitting to God and not to men.

Mark 12:14 says..."Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity.  You aren't swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth."  Jesus did not fear men and neither did he need their approval as parent Jesus was free to speak the truth to others and then let them worry about whether they liked it or not.  

I think I want to be like Jesus...a woman of integrity who teaches the way of God in accordance with the truth.  I can think of no higher calling. 

*Some thoughts and quotes used from Changes that Heal by Dr. Henry Cloud...