Monday, March 29, 2010

Good news

David has finally turned a corner with the pneumonia he has had ever since his wisdom tooth extraction.

If you have a kid getting wisdom teeth out, and he comes down with a mild cold the morning of the surgery, take my advice: cancel the surgery. I am not kidding.

Anyway, a friend of mine gave us some powerful liquid vitamins, which seemed to help quite a lot. She also gave us a very good probiotic for him to take, given that he had been on something like five courses of antibiotics, and the current course is for twenty days.

Another friend of mine counseled us regarding natural health. She encouraged us to continue the probiotic and to take more and more each week until his body is literally flooded with it. She also instructed him to eat the juice and pulp of 1/2 a lemon in 8 oz. of water sweetened with stevia, every day. This alkalinizes the body, which seems strange, because lemon is an acid, but it alkalinizes the body system to make it a hostile environment for viruses and bacterium. She has David inhaling peppermint essential oil (which he doesn't seem to mind at all) and told him to cut all white flour and sugar out of his diet. She also explained why all this stuff works, but I won't get into that here.

I noticed today that David was no longer violently hacking up mucus morning and evening. He seems more energetic (probably due to the vitamins) and also less congested. The last time I put my ear on his back and listened to his chest, it was so alarming, I have been afraid to do it again, but I think I might try listening again tonight. Now my biggest angst is over whether I should have him finish all twenty days of this antibiotic. I don't think antibiotics are good for you. I think fourteen days should be quite sufficient.

Except for the fact that our insurance is denying coverage for the allergy and asthma doctor, I am feeling pretty relieved about this whole situation.

I'm so relieved, in fact, that I am thinking of other people I would like to introduce to my natural health friend, people who have serious health issues of their own.

I was thinking about how eager I am to share this good news with friends who could benefit, who could maybe have wonderful deliverance from symptoms that they suffer, and I thought, "Why am I not eager like this to share about Jesus with people who need to be saved from sin and death and eternity in hell?"

The answer came to me straightaway. I don't feel eager to share with people about Jesus, because by and large the people who need Jesus don't know that they need Him. My friends know that they are sick and suffering, so they would be eager to hear about natural help for their health problems. But people living apart from the Lord often have no awareness of their problem, and they generally don't appreciate being told that they have one.

So... how do you bring good news about a Savior to a world that has no idea that it needs salvation?

I'm not sure what the answer is. However, I don't generally think it's very effective to get into people's faces and tell them that they need a Savior. That is pretty much on the same plane as approaching an obese person and saying, "I have a diet plan that would work just great for you! You will lose weight, look better, feel better and live longer if you follow my diet plan! Can I tell you about it?" And all the person really hears is, "This woman thinks I'm fat." When we approach non-believers with the plan of salvation, all they hear is, "This person thinks I'm a lousy sinner." And even if they know it's true, they really are lousy sinners, they can't receive the message because of the bad feelings that arise within them.

At the same time, there is no purpose for salvation if people don't understand that they are in danger and need saving.

I really think it lies with the Holy Spirit. He touches hearts. He draws people into the Kingdom. We don't. Jesus said, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment..." (John 16:7-8). So you see, awakening people to their sinful nature is not our job. It is the Holy Spirit's job.

We are useful. We can love people, feed them, listen to them, and even tell them about the Lord. But we can never draw them. That is a process begun by the Holy Spirit alone. He will draw them in His time and in His way. Ephesians 2:10 says that we are created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. We will be involved with the process. God has us here on earth in order that we may be His hands to the world. He laid it all out in advance; He knows in advance who will be saved, and He knows in advance whom He has tasked with bringing the message of salvation to each one. Colossians 1:24 says that we complete in our flesh what was lacking in Christ's afflictions, which means that we are the carriers of grace, messengers left in the world to work through the power of the Spirit to bring people into the Kingdom through the story of Jesus' perfect and complete work on the cross.

Colossians 1:29 says, "To this end I labor, struggling with all His energy which so powerfully works in me." We cannot do this alone. The Holy Spirit's power in our lives is absolutely critical to the worth of anything we ever do.

So, I think, the most important thing is to nurture our relationship with the Holy Spirit, our sensitivity to His leading, and our faith in God's promises. Our lives will be truly effective for Him when they are utterly bound up in Him and totally dependent on Him. John 15:5 says, "If a man abides in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing."

We need to nurture our relationship with Him first, feast on Him first, bask in His beautiful glory first. The Lord needs to be first. He can handle all the rest. He softens the heart before we arrive, and He births the new Christian into eternal life. We just stand by, pray, share some scriptures, and watch in amazement at what the Lord can do.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Still sluggish

I'm not sure what it is.

No, really, I have no idea.

I tried sleeping, but it didn't help at all. I was still tired. Still pookey.

I tried exercising. The weather was beautiful fairly recently, warm and sunny, and I took advantage of it and went walking a number of times. It just made me tired.

My head is fuzzy and my eyes hurt. Reading hurts. Also, I can't concentrate.

I really can't concentrate. I can't remember to do anything. Shawn reminded me that I had laundry in the washer today, and I was very thankful that he spurred me on to remember to put it in the dryer.

I can barely finish thinking a thought before I forget it. Rather scary, it is, in fact.

I miss being able to focus. I really, really miss it. Blech. Additionally, I am tired of having to keep going back to Wegman's to get the things I forgot the last time. I think I went there 7 or 8 times last week; I know there were a couple of days when I had to go twice.

Maybe I've just been reading too many books about ADD.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I tried to write something, and I just deleted it.

On purpose.

Because it was boring. I mean, it was even more boring than usual.

I hope my brain will start to work again some day.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Brain dead

I am praying for my brain to come back.

I'm not sure what happened.

Stress? Fatigue? Burn out? Fear? Trauma?

I got to a point where I just couldn't focus. I can't focus. When I try to focus, I get a headache, not a migraine, but a dull, thudding sensation in my head. And then my eyes burn and my thoughts wander uncontrollably.

Today was beautiful, gorgeous, an unbelievable March day in Syracuse. The sky was blue, the sun was bright, and it was about 63 degrees. I took David, Laura and Jonathan to Beaver Lake and we hiked the Lake Loop trail. Laura was taking pictures, and DJ and Jon were brother-bonding with walking sticks and a Frisbee. So I took off on my own and wandered into a time of praying and talking to God under the bare branches and all the bright sunshine that filters through them before they grow leaves. It was the first time I have felt balanced and focused in ages.

Ideas used to come to me, things I wanted to write about. I am in a dry spell: a dry, dull ache in the head-neck-shoulder kind of spell.

I did have a thought, while I was walking and looking at nature and communing with the Lord.

Often I feel guilty, because I am an introvert and I don't go out and tell people about Jesus. I don't even have any desire to "go out" and tell people about Jesus. I would love to chat with people about Jesus, people I know, over coffee, calmly. I would love for them to ask me questions and for me to be able to page through my Bible and help them find answers. I'd even be plenty willing to share life experiences with people, to open my heart to them and discuss the deep private things together. But I have absolutely no desire to "go out" and find random people to tell. And I don't like the idea of manipulating conversations toward religious matters when I am with people who don't know Jesus. I want to be able to wait for the Spirit to direct their hearts to ask about Him.

This is not the style of sharing the gospel that is necessarily encouraged these days. Modern evangelical Christianity is sort of a system for extroverts, and I am an introvert, so I often feel like I don't fit in, and I usually feel guilty in my spare time.

Today as I was walking and praying, I was also thinking about my kids, probably because I was praying for them. Thinking about Laura led me to think about her photography, and how she was at that very same time working on a photography assignment. I looked at the sights around me and tried to see them through a photographer's eye; I looked for things I thought she might notice and photograph. In so doing, it came to my attention that there was a lot of the same. The same bare trees, the same twiggy branches, the same small pieces of leaf on the ground. Although the sights I saw were varied in some senses, the colors and textures and backgrounds were remarkably similar; I thought Laura might struggle to come up with an interesting collection of pictures.

The thought occurred to me that God created the earth with cycles and seasons. There are times of blossom and times of decaying leaves; times of bright sun and times of darkness; times of cold and times of heat; times when we are asleep and times when we are awake. It occurred to me that God does not judge me for not witnessing in every season of my life, every moment of every day. Just as physical life has times when we work and times when we rest, times when the ground produces and times when it lies fallow, times when the animals explore, hunt, mate, and times when they hibernate, so it is with spiritual life. In our spiritual lives, we sometimes produce and sometimes we rest in between production, and that is fine. It is all part of the Lord's plan.

I used to be haunted by Ephesians 5:15-16, "So be careful how you live. Don't live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days." The point is not that we must constantly be drumming up opportunities to talk about Jesus with people. The point is that we must constantly live like children of God, serving and loving Him, and looking forward to seeing Jesus in all His glory. If we focus on His glory, He will take care of providing the right opportunities at the right times. 1 Peter 3:15 says, "Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks you about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it." Always be ready to explain to someone who asks. I think it is often best just to wait until the Spirit prompts someone to ask; that's the safest way to avoid throwing your pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6).

Colossians 4:5-6 says, "Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Again, making the most of opportunities is related to living wisely, living virtuously, living out our faith in such a way that our differences are apparent and cause people to question us: "Why do you have peace at a time like this?" or "Why didn't you get angry?" or "How could you be kind to a person like that?" We are called to live in such a way that our behavior provokes questions and then we are to be ready to give the right response to explain the hope that we have.

It isn't about memorizing a smooth system to explain the salvation plan. It's about real people who are truly redeemed, loving a real God who gave His Son for us, learning and living out the true Word of God. It's about a real Spirit who comes to dwell within us and change us. And because it is all real, alive and true, it will ebb and flow like all the rest of God's creation, and there will be times of activity and times of rest.

"...a time to be quiet and a time to speak." (Ecclesiastes 3:7b)