“It is easier to Raise boys than to Fix Men!” unknown
Yesterday, on Mother’s Day, I was blessed to attend a worship service with my dear friend here in England. As we have still not found a church home, she invited me to come along to her church. Those of you who know me well know my tendency to stay away from places I do not find necessarily line up with my own beliefs doctrinally. Now, I am by no means looking to compromise, I however also realize that there is no such thing as a “perfect church” and we never know where God would have us to serve until we try them all. With that said, there were some doctrinal-theological differences and they were some that I can not back down on. However, God was still in our midst and I wanted to share with you something that did touch me.
At the end of the service, the preacher broke us up into smaller groups around the building. She had us take a LARGE sheet of paper and write as many description names of God and Jesus that we could think of. Randomly throughout the paper we just wrote down the names of our God. After about 5 minutes or so, she asked the worship minister to begin playing softly and as he did, she asked for the congregation to begin saying aloud all the names we had written on the papers. Immediately, I had a vision of what Heaven will be like. For ten minutes across the entire building you heard instruments and the Body of Christ saying.. “Lord you are…. Wonderful, Counselor, The Almighty, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, The Way the Truth and The Light, I AM, the Everlasting Father, The Great Shepherd, Jehovah… and on and on…. How amazing it was!
I wondered to myself if this may be a taste of what heaven will be like. Against the popular belief of my childhood denomination, I do not believe the focus of heaven will be streets of gold and pearly gates.. The focus of heaven will be the lifelong ability to sing and shout words of Praise and Adoration to our King! Can you imagine it?
It was a very teachable moment for me as well. Too many times, I focus too much on the doctrine and theology part of finding a church and God used that moment as a gentle reminder of the common ground we do share. He reminded me that we will be hand and hand with people that may not line up where we do doctrinally. And while there are still some issues too major for me to join a church on, I do believe that we have a DUTY to love and fellowship across denominational lines. After all, when we see our Savior face to face, all those earthly doctrinal issues will fade away, and we will stand, with hearts of devotion, bound by the Blood of Calvary and spend eternity in worship of our REDEEMER! Oh what a day it will be!
a state of mind in which one’s desires are confined to his lot whatever it may be (1 Tim. 6:6; 2 Cor. 9:8). It is opposed to envy (James 3:16), avarice (H eb. 13:5), ambition (Prov. 13:10), anxiety (Matt. 6:25, 34), and repining (1 Cor. 10:10). It arises from the inward disposi tion, and is the offspring of humility, and of an intelligent consideration of the rectitude and benignity of divine providence (Ps. 96:1, 2; 145), the greatness of the divine promises (2 Pet. 1:4), and our own unworthiness (Gen. 32:10); as well as from the view the gospel opens up to us of rest and peace hereafter (Rom. 5:2).
“We may pass voilets looking for roses. We may pass contentment looking for victory.” unknown
I must admit my failure in the area of contentment since coming to England. And it has only been within the last few months that God has really done a work in my spirit regarding this. I have spent so much time missing what I had, searching something similar, and reaching for the comfort and security I cherished in America that I was missing what God has in store for me in England. Is it hard.. YES! Is it hard to let go of what I loved for so long.. YES! But this I know.. If I do not learn to be content with where he has me that I will never find joy and happiness while I am here. I HAVE to trust that his plan far exceeds what I could create for myself. I need to stop seeking and stop creating what I had and instead I need to rest in HIM and in the knowledge that he has something beautiful for me here!
Lord, forgive my UNBELIEF! Forgive my planning and my making and my longing for the past. Thank you for allowing me the years at Barksdale that you used to transform my life but help me today to remember that you are still HERE and you are still working in me just in different ways. Calm my soul Father and guide me into peaceful pastures that are growing flowers of contentment. Envelope me with YOU God and surround me with your presence! Lord, may I seek only to bloom where you have planted me and not seek to grow elsewhere. I want to grow under your nourishment and your sun. Thank you Lord for showing me my lack of contentment. I repent where I have hoped for anything other than being in your presence where I am.. right now.. in this moment. May I long to bloom and sway and bask in the rays of your goodness! Amen!
Ok so apparently the new media buzz word is “transparency.” Oh, he promised he would have a transparent govt. Blah Blah Blah. Now, while I agree that our President may have have fibbed (a lot in fact) during the campaign season, I can not help but think about how often we do the same thing. I just wonder if all those “Christians” griping about government transparency have checked their own hearts first.
The definition of transparent is to be see-through. In fact, one of the definitions I found said this, “The more transparent a piece of paper, then the more the writing on the back or following pages shows through.” So, tonight, I pose the question… Are you transparent? Is the light of Christ showing through you? Are we opening ourselves up clearly for everyone to see who we profess we are? I just wonder how many times we act one way in public and another way at home. I think before all the Christians get into an uproar over the transparency of the President and our government that maybe we should try calling for a transparent walk with Christ. One in which Christ can be seen through us. If he truly is the essence of our being as we claim vocally, is he being seen through us in our actions in our daily lives? If not, do we really think we are fooling anyone? Oh, we may fool those around us but guess what. Psalms 139:13 says, “For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” You may be able to lack transparency with the people around you but the bottom line… Your creator is not fooled by your “behind closed doors” behavior. The Bible says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked…” (Gal 6:7) If we, as Christians, want to take a stand for something, this is what we should be standing for. We need to hold one another accountable that our words and our deeds would be transparent with the light of Christ! Let’s check our own hearts before we run off at the mouth about the sins of everyone in the government. I get passionate, I get heated when it comes to these drastic, terrible things that are happening in Washington, but I am more passionate about the fact that we have a lack of transparency in Christianity. A bunch of people in “campaign” mode making promises of a life they do not lead and meanwhile they are cheapening and tarnishing the Cross that set me free.
So let’s talk about transparency…. Let’s talk about you and me!
Tonight I was lying in bed and I could not get to sleep. I was going over my day in my mind. I left earlier this morning to head out to Thetford about 29 miles from our house for a hair appointment. When I left it was freezing cold but surprisingly enough, the roads were pretty clear. There was a light snow dusting the fields and small little snow piles along the sides of the roads but it was generally pretty safe driving conditions. Being from South Louisiana, we never had to learn how to drive in snowy or icy weather. In fact, I would venture to say that I have NEVER driven in roads that were covered with anything other than rain. Because of this, I tend to be a little apprehensive about driving in the least amount of snow or ice here in England. English roads are just by definition and statistics are much more dangerous place to drive, even in the hottest months of the year. They say, in fact, that the most dangerous thing you will do in England, is drive. As I was sitting at the salon having my hair done, the snow began falling. Lightly at first and then quickly began really coming down. With every flake that hit the ground I felt myself worrying a little more about my trip back home. I was sitting in this salon chair fretting and panicing over a road that I could not even see. Tonight I was thinking about how much of life is like that.
How often do we set out on our journey with the car facing the road in the direction of Christ. We keep our eyes peeled on the road (Christ) driving defensively but optimistically in our perfect driving conditions under his umbrella of protection. Then the weather starts to change and our perfect little trip starts to get threatened. As the clouds loom overhead, we start looking around us to see if the other cars are affected. We start trying to drive like the others and make sure we are keeping up with the traffic and not standing out as a poor driver. Then, the snow and the ice come. We get a little nervous and we place our eyes directly on the road (Christ) in order for him to protect us. We think that if we have our eyes on the road we will be safe. But sometimes, no matter how well we are watching the road, we hit a patch of black ice. Something we could not see coming. The car begins to spin out of our control and we are helpless to correct the situation. We make excuses about our careful driving and focus all of our attention on what we were doing right and how this should NOT have happened. We even turn to pop pscyhology and we wonder if the tires or the brakes were loved enough by the owner of the car. What could have prevented this. In all actuality, Nothing could have. No amount of fretting over weather conditions or measuring your driving to the other people on the road or preparation of the vehicle could have prevented this small patch of black ice which is now spinning your trip out of control. And then, as the car begins to slow and you start to face the road once again, you realize that the entire time you were spinning, you were still ON THE ROAD (in Christ). Just because you hit a patch of ice does not mean that he forsake you or that the enemy has taken hold. You see, the journey has already been planned and the road has been carefully built. There is no black ice or potholes that were not placed there purposefully-in order to make you focus harder on the road.
Matthew 7: 13-14 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
Well it has been awhile again. Things have been hectic here. I had a couple of months of stomach sickness and then just as I began to get well, Logan and I both were sick with some sort of flu like bug. My poor Logan pie has had his share of trama this year but to make matters worse, his sickness turned into pneumonia. But I am glad to report that we are all feeling much better now, just in time for the Christmas season.
I must admit it so different to do all these holidays alone but God has been so good. Thanksgiving was great and we had a wonderful family time with just us. Although, it was really hard when as we sat down to eat, Aaron took a bite of turkey and with tears streaming down his face said, “I wish I was eating this at Grammy’s house.” So we all had our moment of tears and then the day continued. We have so much to be thankful for that it is hard to focus on the other things.
Now it is December and we are marching toward Christmas. I must admit that part of me is enjoying less holiday hullabaloo. The opportunity to keep the focus where it should be has been a great blessing for me. I must also say, though, that it has been great to get a new package every couple of days in the mail. The kid in me will never stop liking that.
I just thought I would put some pictures up for some of you that are not on Facebook. These are just random shots that I thought you would enjoy. If you are wondering why I have not been exploring England lately then the answer is… SICKNESS and WEATHER. It is cold and rainy pretty much every day. I am going to have to get over it and get out anyway but having to walk everywhere here, is not condusive to exploring in the rain.
Hope you all enjoy the pictures.
On November 3, 2009 after many prayers answered by our Mighty God, Logan had his cataract removed from his right eye. About the beginning of September he was diagnosed with cataracts in both eyes with the right being the most severe. Finding out that we would have to go through the NHS (National Health System) here in Britain was troubling. Most Brits wait for a LONG time for appointments here and even longer for surgeries. I have a neighbor in fact that had a serious gall bladder surgery that was cancelled and rescheduled three times and was finally done 8 weeks after being first diagnosed as needing emergency removal. By nature, the Brits are not in a hurry for anything. They are a very laid back and casual group of folks. The doctors were concerned for Logan’s long term vision if the cataract removal did not happen quickly. All of my fellow saints hit to their knees as people from across the globe were praying for an appointment. Prayer warriors in South Louisiana, North Louisiana, Indiana, North Carolina, England, Thailand, and many other places were united in prayer over a tiny little cataract that was impairing the vision of my 3 year old. But we serve a BIG GOD, that cares for even the littlest thing. God heard the cries of his people! An appointment was made and this journey began. Every time something needed to be done to get to the next stage of the process… God moved each paper into the next hand. It began happening so fast in fact, that I felt like I could see his hands physically moving things along.
And then the day was here… Surgery day. Questions loomed in my mind about what the hospital atmosphere would be like with socialized healthcare. I had been sick with stomach issues for a few weeks prior to the surgery and I had prayed that on surgery day I would be well enough to care for my child. God showed up again. I woke up that morning feeling awful and throughout most of the day I was pretty sick, but each time I thought I could not make it, my little blackberry would go off and another person was sending me encouraging words. Boy does God know what he is doing or what! He did not make me well. He did not miraculously heal me but he did get me through each and every minute of that day! Looking back, I can see that had I been miraculously well, I may not have focused so much on him and trusted so completely in him for every breath I drew that day. He gets all the Glory for getting me through. I serve a GREAT BIG GOD!
Ok, so we get to the hospital at 11am as instructed. We were put in a childrens eye outpatient ward. Basically like an American ER where there are curtains around beds. It feels like it is about 100 degrees in there. Literally… it was hard to breath it was so hot. Heat was blaring through the vents and it was so stuffy (not great for my upset stomach) (We later found out that they raise the temperature on the kids wards so they do not get cold) There was a TV on a little arm thing (which the kids thought was really neat) and we were informed that television for kids was indeed free. John and I were a little taken aback by that.. Like what.. why wouldn’t it be. After a little more research we realized that you are charged by channel you watch. (The healthcare may be free but NOTHING else is) If someone calls your little cubicle and you answer the phone, you are charged for each time you answer it. We settled Logan into his bed and he began coloring and Aaron began working on some school work. A couple of hours went by, and still nothing. At about 1:30pm, the doctor came and talked to us again about the actual surgery and then informed us that we would be the 3rd afternoon case which should be at 3:ish. By this time, the kids were starting to get a little restless, especially Logan who was starting to ask about eating and drinking.
At about 2pm they started putting drops in his eyes.. Ahh.. progress.. We had been there for 3 hours and they were finally at least touching him. About 2:30 they dressed him into a gown and informed me that I would be escorting him into surgery until he went to sleep. WHAT??? Ok, calm down.. A little different than the American way of keeping the overprotective mother out of the way but hey.. maybe it would be good to be with him. We went into this little cubby hole outside of the actual O.R. (theater-as it is called here) and they let me hold his hand. It felt even hotter in there.. They placed the gas on him and I got to hold his hand and whisper into his ear as he drifted off to sleep. The smell of the gas was not helping my sickness but God made up for that by allowing me to hold onto Logan through what had to be a very scary time for him.
They gave me a beeper and told me to go and have some lunch and they would page me when he was out of theater. So reluctantly we went downstairs to eat. Now eating that was another strange thing. We have been in England for 8 months now and we have yet to see anything that resembles an American mall. Most places are more like the old main streets in small towns are compact along the roads like in New York. They do not really do the whole, multiple stores inside one building. Until… the hospital.. yep. that’s right. The closest thing to a mall is in the hospital. Complete with multiple clothing stores (where people were shopping while lugging around their IV) , home goods stores, gift stores, and much much more. They even have a food court. We went into the food court where John and Aaron opted for some good old English food…uhh.. not really.. they got Burger King. We had a quick bite to eat and then let Aaron buy his brother a balloon and stuffed animal and then went back upstairs as we were told it would only be about 25-35 minutes. An hour goes by and still no word. I started feeling poorly again and I was weak and dizzy as well. Finally they tell us to come back to meet him in recovery.
What??? In recovery??? Ok. So all three of us go into recovery. Again it was HOT! (I am used to freezing in hospitals) He was not even out of the anesthesia yet. They rolled him into the little curtain in that area and said ok, let us know if you need anything.. WHAT??? What do I do when he wakes up?? I am used to him going through recovery with trained professionals and then having him brought back to me, awake, alert and calm… Oh but that was not in the cards here. He looked so very peaceful, I reached down and gently stroked his arm and suddenly.. He jumped up and began yelling at the top of his lungs! OUCH OUCH OUCH OUCH!!! Startled I tried to calm him. I tried to comfort him and NOTHING would help. I rubbed his arm, his leg, I prayed over him, I prayed on him.. I could not calm him down. The dizziness was worsening and he was getting louder. I kept praying.. God, please do not let me pass out or vomit on my child who just came out of surgery. I repeated it over and over and then I would pray for him to calm down and settle. The nurse finally overheard the commotion and decided to offer some assistance. She offered some pain meds. YES.. Please! But she returned with some liquid motrin and he was having NO part of drinking medicine in this state. By this time, he is out of the bed and stomping on the ground that he hurt. He wanted to make sure we knew what he was saying. I picked him up and tried to hold him tightly like a baby and whisper to calm him but no go.. He was flailing around and kicking and I almost dropped him from my own weakness. John decided to take him (having more strength) and we decided it best to take Aaron out of the situation. I was beginning to see the fear in his eyes as he watched Logan behave this way. I was so very sick at this point and was of no use to him anyway. So Aaron and I left to find a window we could open or some where we could get some air (did I mention it was HOT in there). I walked out of the room, holding Aaron’s hands, praying quietly as tears rolled down my cheeks. I felt like I was such a failure. How could I not be in there with him? How could I be though? We found a quaint little garden and we ducked out there and we walked around and found a little bench. Aaron and I prayed together and I felt the wind filling me up with strength again. As we headed back upstairs, I felt dizzy again but literally began receiving little notes of encouragement every minute or so. Aaron and I went back to the original room and waited. I kept calling John in recovery to check on Logan and they had finally after about 35 minutes decided to give him something in his IV line. He was finally calmed and resting again.
Aaron and I kept praying. At about 5:00pm they brought him back from recovery. He was a little sleeping angel. I fought the urge to touch him (I was not about to rewake a giant). He slept until about 5:30 and then finally woke up. He opened his eyes and smiled as bright as can be… “HIIIII Bubba!” He was so happy and had no clue about what had happened before. They came and told us they would bring him a snack and he ate every bit of a sandwich, some crisps (chips), and a blueberry muffin. They told us they had ordered his meds to take home with us and that he could dress back into his clothes. So we dressed him and we all sat around waiting for the medicine. And we waited.. and waited.. and waited.. and waited… and finally at about 7:30 we got the medicine and were free to leave. It took 2 hours to get 4 bottles of drops from the Chemist (Pharmacy) to us. We were so ready to go. I was feeling pretty badly and Logan and Aaron had now endured about 5 hours in that little cubicle waiting. We headed back to the multi-story car park (parking garage) and drove the 30 minutes home.
God was with us! From the beginning of the diagnosis to now, he has not wavered! We serve a BIG God! Little Logan Pie had a Great Big Cataract and all though a doctor removed it, the GREAT PHYSICIAN was in control of every single detail! He is Sovereign and His plan will succeed!
Well that is our little story. I am attaching some pictures of the surgery day. Surgery on the left eye will not be for another 2-3 months.
Well I have not posted in a really long time. Life here in England has been very chaotic. The enemy has been firing his fiery darts as fast as he can release them. As soon as one storm has passed the other is just overhead. But God is so faithful and his love is steadfast and unconditional. Even in those moments when I do not feel him here, I still know that he is. I am so thankful to be a child of his! Moments when there seems to be no clear direction in my life, I still know that I can lean. “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” That is my mantra lately. Just a quick update on things on this side of the ocean.
Logan had his first surgery on Tuesday, November 3. They removed his cataract from his right eye and replaced it with a clear lens. He is recovering well and not complaining at all with pain. We will return to the doctor on Monday for a follow up and will begin doing patching of the left eye in order to strengthen the muscles in the right.
I am still battling some strange stomach illness. It seems to be on some kind of 3 day cycle. I am seriously ill for 1 day then the next it is about half a day and then I fill better for 1.5 days then it all starts over again. I am hoping to go to the doctor sometime soon and pray that I will get a better doctor that will at least run some blood work and try and figure this out.
We are starting to get really home sick. I am especially. I have been too sick over the last month to even continue trying churches. I am praying that maybe this Sunday I will be well enough to try another one. I am craving a gathering of like minded believers and the Word being preached. I know how much of a difference it will make in my attitude.
Aaron is doing great with second grade, even though with the illness we are behind schedule. He is reading really well and he continues to astonish me daily. One of the many blessings of homeschooling is the ability to learn or relearn alongside of him. When I see a particular interest in him that we can take 30 minutes or so and research that particular thing and learn more about it. I am truly blessed to be able to share this learning journey with my kids. Aaron is also a Cub Scout now and he is really enjoying that. He is playing indoor soccer, taking piano lessons, and he takes an art class with a local British artist. His schedule sounds full but keep in mind all the rain and darkness and you will realize that we need things to get us out of the house.
Well I guess that it is all for now. I will try to post some pics another day of the surgery stay and of Aaron in his uniforms. Until then. Cheers Mate!