Even If (part 2)

Part two of Even If…

After learning my daughter’s recent celiac test results came back positive, I’ve thought about how Satan could have a heyday with this, because before I knew that, I’d celebrated with a blog post (last week) on how McKenzie was better, her blood work was great the second time, and we were out of the woods praising God for healing…but then in the days since, the outcome has changed, so do we still have reason to celebrate and praise Him?

Absolutely!!

Do I still believe God can totally heal McKenzie, or that the positive test results may have shown up as a fluke deal, and that when we go to our next appointment to see the GI doctor later this month they’ll tell us she’s completely fine and to go back home?

Absolutely!!

BUT even if it’s not in God’s plan, even if our circumstances don’t change, even if McKenzie is fully diagnosed with “silly yak” disease we’re going to praise God regardless, and our faith is going to remain solid—because God is still God, He’s in control, and His ways and plans our better than ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

‘Even if.’

It’s the words of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel chapter three as King Nebuchadnezzar threatened their lives with a roaring fire if they didn’t bow down and worship his gold statue.

Remaining true to the Lord, the three men refused to serve any such false god, and when Nebuchadnezzar taunted them, they proclaimed their faith even bolder: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

The men held onto an “even if” kind of faith, while their lives lied at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar’s hot orders.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were securely tied up and banished to the scorching furnace, while maintaining their loyalty to God.

But in amazement, the king noticed not just three men walking around in the fire, but four men, unharmed and unbound, and he declared the fourth man looked like ‘a son of the gods.’

King Nebuchadnezzar called the men out and he saw that their bodies hadn’t been touched by the fire and their clothing was completely intact, and he praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and acknowledged the power of God.

I have to tell you, last month when McKenzie started really looking ill, I had this mama-instinct we weren’t dealing with the flu. She needed to see a doctor, and as we sat waiting in the clinic at the start of all this—before any blood had been drawn, before any tests had been ran—my girl asked me to read her the Bible story of Queen Ester. So as we waited for the doctor to come in, we read about Ester’s bravery, and courage, and her very own “even if” faith, not knowing how much it would mean to us in the weeks to come.

When those first blood test results came back abnormal, concerns were present, and someone threw out an ugly six letter word that starts with ‘c’ and isn’t celiac and that’s why I was a hot mess.

I was struggling to carry an “even if” faith. But because I know I’m weak without God, I clung to Him through prayer and encouragement in His word, nevertheless…and strength came.

What good would faith be if all our prayers were answered immediately, on the spot?

God provides safety and an opportunity for our faith to build when the emotional fire rages around us, and He’ll carry us out if we obediently allow Him to, but it may not always look the way we planned. Even if our faith is smoldering in a bed of hot ashes, God is able to ignite that very glow and turn it into purpose, for His glory.

Knowing God makes it easy to love Him; loving God makes it easy to trust Him.  -a.m. witt

My daughter’s future may include celiac disease, but even if it does—our faith will remain strong and our hope will stand firm because of Jesus’ faithfulness to us along the way!

Romans 8:28—And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Even If it’s ‘Silly Yak’ (part 1)

Last week I posted with the celebration of my daughter’s second blood test coming back “normal” after previously learning that the first test was abnormal, with iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss as the key concerns. I blogged about how worried I’d felt over my girl during that time of waiting before we could see the pediatrician to find out what was going on. I struggled in trusting God yet I remained in His word and in prayer. And then after we met with the pediatrician and later received a call saying the blood work came back normal with the second testing I felt like I could finally breathe again.

Here’s what I didn’t mention in that blog post though, because it was never a possibility in my mind, I’d already mentally crossed it off..the pediatrician we saw last week suggested we run an additional test for celiac disease which would take a few extra days to get results back. Meanwhile during that waiting period I had blogged celebrating God’s work of healing with the thought of a clean health status for my girl because the blood results were now good.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the celiac disease term, if not, here’s a quick run down: celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barely) leads to damage in the small intestine and difficulty digesting food. If left untreated it can also lead to other autoimmune disorders and complications…and in the state of California someone probably thinks it causes cancer—that’s my own thought though. (I was born in California so I’m justifying that comment.)

So last Friday the pediatrician called with a spoiler alert—McKenzie’s celiac test results had come back and they were positive…sidenote: Did you know that when you use talk-to-text on your phone to say celiac it’s more than likely going to translate as ‘silly yak’ or ‘silly act’? Just a little random, useless knowledge for you!!

When I got the call I was surprised, but handled the news rather well, thinking about how we already have a head start on this deal. I eat gluten-free, although I stumble every now and then.

In fact I was on quite a gluten-free roll at the beginning of the year but then about four weeks in I caved to some dollar chicken nuggets from Burger King. A month ago I succumbed to a strawberry donut from a family owned bakery in town, it was much-needed after a rough day of subbing. And birthday cake, don’t get me started…It happens!! But for the most part I stay on track, and now my little Mc can join me.

I’ll simply stock up on more gluten-free products and purchase double the produce so her and I can satisfy our dietary needs. We’ll get creative in the kitchen together and explore new recipes while sipping lemon-flavored ice water and snacking on handfuls of popcorn.

1 Thessalonians 5:11—Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I’m just not intimidated by the word celiac and I won’t allow it to define my girl. I’m actually seeing it as somewhat of a blessing. We now have a potential answer as to why her tummy bothers her so often, and I’ve also learned that iron-deficiency anemia and weight loss are two side effects of celiac disease. Her being sick so often just makes sense now, and although it’s a chronic sickness, it’s definitely a manageable one for us.

Mc’s already taking interest in some new foods, so she may very soon ditch her longtime nickname “Picky Micky” (she earned it years ago for obvious reasons.) The other night at supper she looked at me and said, “alright mom I’ll have some broccoli, but it has to have ranch, and I’m not eating it because I like it, I’m eating it because I want to grow!”

…I’ll take that mindset!!!

We have an upcoming appointment for McKenzie at the end of the month where the doctor will decide if they need to do an endoscopy, the final procedure that confirms or rules out celiac disease. She’s still eating gluten foods for now, this way the biopsy will have an accurate reading, but she’s also expanding her palate these days with a wider variety of healthy foods that don’t contain gluten as she knows it’ll help her feel better and get stronger.

Now for the devotional part of this post…which I’ll post tomorrow, for the sake of your eyes and your time.

But I’ll leave you with a ridiculously yummy gluten-free recipe and some scripture encouragement, McKenzie’s favorite Bible verse: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. —Jeremiah 29:11

Grilled Chicken with Avocado and Mango recipe

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When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It

This isn’t the post I intended on writing this week, but when I see God working it prompts me to write and share!

My younger daughter, McKenzie, had been sick the past few weeks off and on…headaches, fevers, tummy aches…

The first time it happened I chalked it up to nothing other than the flu and when it showed up a few weeks later I thought ‘ok here we go again.’ After a few days though, when no other family members were getting sick, I began to worry. I loaded my girl up Friday morning and took her into the clinic and asked to have blood work done.

Poor girl, but a mama just knows.248B519C-E29A-4D80-AA81-DAD2BE5532DE

The blood tests came back with abnormal results and the physician grew concerned and referred us to a pediatrician a few hours away…the biggest concerns were weight loss and iron-deficiency anemia. They needed to know what was causing this. Our appointment with the pediatrician was set up for Monday afternoon.

Goodness, I don’t do well with waiting and wondering but I’m fantastic at worrying!! It was an incredibly looooong weekend and the anticipation of that appointment was killing me. Honestly I bet I gained a hundred new gray hairs over worrying and would probably be a perfect candidate to join the “Golden Girls” if they were still casting members, not only because of the gray hair but my dramatic flair too!!

While my girl was experiencing flu-like symptoms I was sick with my own: panic attacks, trouble breathing, pacing…I was a big, hot mess! I think that’s what my husband was getting at when he finally said, ‘Alicia, I don’t understand you; you’re such a strong person, but the minute trouble comes you let Satan right in and you don’t trust God!’ 

Ouch!

He didn’t say it with any sympathy either, it was just short, not sweet, to the point, and just what I needed to hear! But it didn’t change my frame of mind at the time either. Continue reading “When Our Head and Heart Just Don’t Feel It”

Be Strong and Courageous

My husband and I are adding to our family…

again…

in August! 

And I’m having mixed feelings.

Just to clear the record, I should mention, this won’t be our very own child…instead we’ve accepted the offer of hosting a foreign exchange student next school year. When this was first planned I was fairly excited, but then I quickly determined I’d rather bury my face until June of 2020…

March has been a rough month for our family and maybe that’s the reason for my recent, negative approach about this whole thing.

It was a long and cold Winter, and Spring hasn’t really sprung in the midwest (even though the technical date is here)…so we wait in anticipation of warmer temperatures and lively shades of green to make their grand entry into our part of the world.

With that, I’ve had stir-crazy kids with wild attitudes, who are seriously overdue for some outdoor play time.

The end of the month brought sad news as we lost my husband’s grandpa. He was such a sweet man—thirteen children he and Grandma Beverly have so you can imagine their numerous grandchildren as well. He always knew each of the grandkids by name and wanted to take them home as his own whenever he saw them at family gatherings. Grandpa Witt will definitely be missed by all of us.

During his last days he was really suffering, but we all knew he was Heaven-bound whenever God would call him home—now he’s pain free and with Jesus, which makes it so much easier to grieve.

So why am I bent out of shape about this new (and hopefully sweet) young gal coming to live with us for a whole school year??? Well it has nothing to do with her and everything to do with me, and my family, and our sass-tudes!!!

Selfish sounding, I know, but…

Here I am, not even four weeks past my “lemur-post”, which included that little lesson on self-control and ‘gently’ handling one another’s differences..and umm, I’ve already failed in following that lesson more times than I can count since hitting publish on that particular post!😔

As my kids’ attitudes have flared this past month, with arguing and competing against one another, so has Mama’s. I’m exhausted. I’d like to say I can just Martha Stewart everything and deal calmly and rationally with their disagreements but I’ve carried an unruly tone in my voice when lecturing them.

I get disappointed by their behavior, then more disappointed by my response in dealing with it, and honestly I’m afraid we’re going to frighten this poor Russian girl off…I have it all mapped out in my mind—she’ll spend a few weeks here, determine we’re nuts, we’ll fail to show her an amazing Jesus, she’ll secretly pack her bags and then drag them across a few corn fields to the nearby rural airport and take the first little puddle jumper over to DIA, heading back to Russia in a mess of tears and an extra baggage fee of regret!!

So there you have it, I’m worried that we’re gonna scare her off before she even gets a chance to know us. Continue reading “Be Strong and Courageous”

Error 101…

Oftentimes after I hit publish for a blog-post I’ll go back and read through the published copy which has been sent out to anyone who follows my blog; and the post is also available to anyone who may be interested in that particular blog-topic…

More often than not, I’ll read not too far in, and the grammatical errors begin to stand out like a vegan at a steakhouse…and I’m like how in the world did I miss that one?!! 

I miss-spell simple words, confuse commas and parentheses, and inaccurately use ‘their’ when I meant to use ‘there’ (that one’s a frequent flyer). I once wrote loves-truck instead of love-struck (huge difference when you’re trying to make your point about two young love-birds on Valentine’s Day). And last week my husband pointed out that I had typed Bid in my post instead of Big when I was supposed to be referring to ‘Big Daddy Weave’. When I notice or become aware of this type of thing, I immediately scroll through attempting to make everything right…and…well… “perfect”.

A fellow blogger, Ann, over at Seeking Divine Perspective wrote a post a few months ago she called What the-?!? where she writes about the time someone read her blog and asked if the name of her blog was supposed to read ‘Seeking Divine Perpsective’ or ‘Seeking Divine Perspective’. (Some of you will have to take a double or triple look to find that error, I never noticed until she wrote about it).

For over a year she’d been blogging under the name ‘Seeking Divine Perpsective’, where the p and s were flip-flopped in the word “perspective”. As a retired English teacher, at first she was greatly appalled that she hadn’t noticed, but very soon the Lord spoke to her heart and reminded her that imperfection happens, yet there’s an incredible amount of goodness to be thankful for and rejoice over, nevertheless.

Her “perspective” over life is beautiful and she brings it out through the words in her blog-posts as she aims to glorify God…regardless of a misspelled blog title, which I believe has been corrected now.😉

Honestly I could beat myself up over the many errors on my own blog posts and make a “bid” deal about something harmless, but if I choose to do that then Satan’s just getting the best of me—and the worry, fear, and anxiety would quickly escalate to other areas of my life…

Satan longs to seep into our struggles and tell us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not strong enough…

Not Enough.

Such a powerful word…when we allow Satan to lie, crush our joy, and use that word (enough) to label us we’re brought down negatively, but allowing Jesus to use it over us—it changes everything…our whole “perpsective” changes…it no longer matters how it looks on the outside. Through God’s word we learn that we are MORE than enough—errors and all! God offers mercy and grace over our imperfection through a Perfect Jesus.

Romans 5:8 says, ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’

Instead of pushing repeat for Error 101 lessons, I need the reminder of truth from Psalm 139:14, “Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.”

For so long, in my quiet prayers, I was guilty of pleading, saying: “God help me to get over my past, help me to not beat myself up, help me to not allow Satan to get the best of me, all of my mess-ups are too much…but here recently I’ve changed that prayer, thanking God for the life He’s given me, and the things I’ve learned along the way, and for what He’s doing these days—in and through me…for His Purpose…and now, I’m not near as distracted and annoyed by my inevitable flaws.

He’s an amazing and wonderful God…the best part of my life and the reason I am who I am today!! I’m so thankful He loves me unconditionally…mistakes and all!

Romans 8:38-39 says ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’

John 3:16 ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’

Come As You Are

Last month during worship-time at our church, the praise team asked the congregation, “if you could only sing (or listen) to one song for the rest of your life what would it be?” We were then supposed to simultaneously speak out the title of the song. I heard someone say Revelation Song, another said Jesus Loves Me, while others stood temporarily speechless.

I was one of the mute ones…

That’s a loaded question and it would take me more than a two-second prompt to come up with a reasonable answer. In the days following, I’ve thought a lot about it.

There’s so much good music out there and the idea of narrowing my choice to one song overwhelms me in a thought-provoking way. To really constrict it down I think a person has to self-evaluate, consider what season of life they’re in, and then select what speaks and resonates within their heart.

Years ago (as an early teen) I probably would’ve chosen something from Janis Joplin. I loved her raspy voice, and belting out Me and Bobby McGee to the top of my lungs always felt so powerful. Continue reading “Come As You Are”

A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?

I’m assuming my kids are no different and share a common enthusiasm with other like-minded boys and girls—the electronic obsession!!??

These kids of mine would eat, drink, and sleep electronics if my husband and I allowed it, but thankfully for the sake of healthy living we’ve put a cap on their amount of exposure.

As a family we circled up in the living room about a year ago to hash out a plan or schedule for electronic time. That might sound over the top, but seriously it was necessary and has actually been pretty beneficial.

Here’s what we came up with: Continue reading “A Quick Fix or a Worth the Wait Blessing?”