What is it in us that wants to rewrite history? I suspect some of it is money driven.
In my teen and early adult years, I was a bit of a hoarder. I was hoarding before hoarding was cool. I saved my college text books. All of them. They were heavy and hard to lug around. In the fall, my mom drove my textbooks down from storage in Colorado. Our oldest son Keegan is taking an Africana Studies class this semester and needed a book called Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl. Can you imagine my joy when I pulled out that old book and gleefully presented it to my son? Over the top I tell you. Me and the Mister were gonna save $17.46 on a text book, clearly paying for all those years of carting the books back and forth between AZ and CO.
But just like that it was over. My book, wasn’t the right edition and was therefore not allowed to be used. The authors even added 140 pages to my edition. What? Slavery in the 1800’s has changed so much in the past 20 years that a third of the book was added? Well I’ll be. I had no idea history was so different. Makes me wonder what all I don’t know.
Now there is the matter of me going back to school for nursing. Some of the schools won’t accept my science classes because they say I took them too long ago. Seriously? Biology has changed so much that I need to retake it? Cells don’t divide the same way anymore? Meiosis and Mitosis are thing of the late 1980’s?
I know the picture above looks like a lozenge or a filled in lifesaver candy, but I’m pretty sure a blood cell is still a blood cell.
Well I just can’t wait. Tell me all about how chromosomes and ribosomes and nucleus’ have changed.
Or could you just want me to write another check?
I’ll let you know after I take the classes. You should probably hold your breath.
History is apparently not what we thought it was.
Even so, I shall look with joy to the future.
What is freeing you?
In these trying times, it’s easy to recall the ties that bind. Politics, guns, money, war, jobs, resolutions, health and family obligations. If you let them, that is, if you so choose, each one will choke the life right out of you.
In an effort to be intentionally peaceful, I think of not who I want to be, but who God is asking me to be. He allows me to make a choice and to immediately live out an answer, by simply doing the next right thing.
It frees me to realize that I don’t have to worry as much about my attitude toward others, as I do about my disposition before God. Sometimes I get those backwards.
I’m free in knowing that when I stand in the light of God’s love, my attitude toward others will follow. But, if I choose to focus on others before God, I stop short of all He calls me to be. I forfeit the good gifts He so freely gives.
Patience is a good gift He gives. Lately I’ve seen patience as small as a mustard seed, pay off in the form of a forest.
Patience and mustard seeds and godly disposition free me and they’ll do the same for you.
If you so choose.
I spent my last day in clinicals climbing in and out of isolation gowns. MRSA, C. diFF and HIV patients required that I wear a clean, full gown, gloves and a mask in each patient room. If we forgot an item, we had to take everything off, go get the item and then start the process all over again.
The MRSA and C. diff patients cannot have visitors. MRSA is a very serious antibiotic resistant staph germ and C. diff is a bacteria that causes severe intestinal problems, both of which are highly contagious.
So we were it for them today. It’s easy to get depressed when your only contact is with a masked woman who looks like a walking banana. I tried to be ever- so- kind with my eyes.
Then I came home and read Rev. Billy Graham’s daughter’s timely prayer request for her husband. He has MRSA and is in the fight of his life. He cannot have visitors and his only contact is with the medical staff.
It gave me pause and made me realize we’d all do well to remember that every patient is someone’s son-in-law, someone’s mother, daughter, someone’s little boy, baby girl, mother-in-law, father, aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent.
We just might be the only love they see.
Here is Anne Graham Lotz prayer request:
Please Pray for Danny LotzBilly Graham’s daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, has been a good friend to the Christian Writers Guild, having spoken twice at our annual conference and being a real encouragement to me personally.
Her husband has suffered from Type 1 diabetes for years. Today she says:
We’re in the fight of our lives.
Dan has a MRSA staph–the very worst and most contagious kind. They just did an ultrasound of his arm, and his stent is leaking. They will have to repeat surgery they did last Thursday. None of this is good. And our entire family–especially me–is now at risk.
He is on isolation, so no visitors to perk him up. The head of nutrition for the hospital just came in, put on her gown and gloves, then held his hand and prayed a very powerful prayer for his healing! The little nursing assistant who bathed him and pricked his finger for his blood sugar came in, put on her gown and gloves, then held his hand while I read this morning’s Daily Light–which, as usual, is exactly God’s Word to us. So God is here. But we need urgent prayer.
that he can overcome the infection. And if not, that God will take him quickly and painlessly.
that God will comfort his heart and give him peace. He is afraid.
that God’s presence will fill this room for all who enter.
that no one, including me, will get this infection.
This poem was one Mother (Ruth Bell Graham) wrote in the flyleaf of my Bible when I was a girl. Amazing how the words have come back to my mind:
Trusting Him when dark doubts assail us
Trusting Him when our strength is small
Trusting Him when to simply trust Him
is the hardest thing of all.
Trust Him then through tears or sunshine
All our cares upon Him cast.
Till the storms of life are over
And the trusting days are past.
Time for a much needed update. I’m 50% done with my accelerated nursing assistant program. It’s going very well, I even have an A, but the written final is in less than 48 hours. I’m thinking my mom is pretty proud, we didn’t see too many A’s in the formative college years.
It’s been a huge adjustment for our family; going to school eight hours a day and then doing ten chapters of homework and studying for quizzes most evenings. But each one of my men have largely contributed to making my dreams come true; my grateful heart is full.
We covered a huge textbook in 36 hours of class time. But it’s actually clicking for me. This is the way I think, medical terms make sense due to my love of words and writing, I read so much faster than I did 22 years ago and life experience has taught me much more than I would have realized, had I not gone back to school.
So naturally I reflected on all I’m thankful for this past Thursday. First I’m eternally grateful for each friend and family member God has blessed me with. I learn to love from each one and am a better person because of the people He chose to put in my life. Second, I’m grateful for opportunity. I cannot believe that I get to go to school. I sit in wonder every day at the golden chance to be educated in caring for all of God’s people.
The culture would have me believe I should sacrifice something to “pay back” all I’ve been given. But would I give my first born for this opportunity? Never.
What about my pinky toe? See some women are giving their pinky toes for the opportunity for their shoes to fit better. Seriously. Don’t they need them for balance? Do they have phantom limb pain (there’s my new medical training in action)? Can she afford shoes after the medical bills hobble in? Is she offered a discount on pedicures for only having 8 toes?
Look at the picture above. Does she have pinky toes? We’ll never know.
Anyway, I don’t think God is calling me to give up something because I’m grateful. He isn’t looking to be repaid.
I do believe He wants me to express my thankful heart, but He’s just fine with this little piggy staying home.
So we got big day tomorrow folks. I’m beginning an accelerated nursing assistant program. Come Christmas and God willing, I will be a CNA. This is a continuation of a dream and a calling God has placed in my heart, after working in the hospital on our medical mission trip this past July.
Here are 5 bonuses for returning to school:
I get to pack my lunch. Got ahold of these little babies today: LUNCHBLOX. Only thing better would be if they came in pink.
Speaking of pink, I have to bring my stethoscope and it is of course, the most beautiful pink you’ve ever seen in your whole life.
I’ll probably be the oldest person in the class. Everyone will look to me as the fascinating non-pierced,least hip, non-tatted dinosaur that I am.
I got new school supplies. A suh weet lime green notebook and some cool pens.
The number one best thing about it, is that I have the honor of learning how to care for God’s people in a new way.
I can’t wait to be a student again.
As a child I wanted to be something awesome for Halloween. I knew if I had the right costume, people would like me. I thought I wanted to be Sleeping Beauty, but a girl at school was. She finally got her kiss and so much more nine months later. So I dressed up as Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley. The precise opposite of a princess, which didn’t win any popularity contests, as dressing up like a boy is never a good look for me. I quit costumes the next time October 31 rolled around. It probably didn’t help that I got the Mumps that year; there was no trick-or-treating for me anyway.
That didn’t stop me however from constructing a mask, which I wore 24/7. I didn’t want the world to know that underneath my cool exterior, I was an abandoned daughter looking for daddy in every man I knew, and even in some I didn’t.
Many moons and Halloweens later, I hit rock bottom face first and shattered my mask. I floundered for awhile trying to figure out who I was and battling the desire to stay hidden.
God won the war and I gave up masks and costumes for good.
I don’t begrudge anyone, good, clean October 31 fun. And I love seeing the brilliant use of imagination in every costume.
But when you come to my door, you’ll get the real deal; scary or not.
Back in May, I had a dream come true when I won a scholarship to a writer’s retreat. In Italy. They gave one prize and I was to leave this Wednesday. For 12 days I would see Paris, consume decadent food and wine, and live, laugh, write and love in Liguria, Italy. I had reserved a gorgeous room on the edge of a cliff in an Italian Villa. Heaven.
But, and there’s always a huge but isn’t there? If you remember back to this post,I had some interesting medical problems the day before I left for Mexico. While I was on the mission trip, I received an email from my doctor explaining my benign condition and told to make an appointment to talk about the options. I filed that email and put it in the “someday I’ll call them maybe” category.
Suffice it to say that although the condition is benign, it’s had it’s way with me. I’ve had a couple weeks where I felt kind of okay and the rest have been a battle to function. I wondered how I would trip around Europe; eating, praying and loving, when I couldn’t get out of bed. So I made the dreaded call and subsequently even showed up for the appointment.
Italy is now a thing of the past and incredibly, a chance trip in the future. And now I have surgery in December, one week before Christmas, which really, is what every woman wants. Am I right ladies? Sorry guys, I can’t prepare a turkey or even a honey baked ham. Decorations? Don’t think so. But opening presents? Sure, I wouldn’t want to get rusty on my love language.
What astounds me though is that God equips me for all things. This includes and is not limited to the ability to find joy in serving in difficult circumstances and in times where I’m not doing what I had planned. I always thought being joyful was up to me, and it’s a choice to be sure, but it is God who fuels me to experience joy.
Instead of the Italian coast, we venture as a family to a nearby pacific beach. The same beach house where we took our son Mason to the hospital when his appendix was going awry. We know the way to the two nearest hospitals and more importantly we know the only way to joy.
I’m trusting and choosing to find joy in all things. Italy will be there when I’m healthy again, so I’ll do my part to make sure I am!
What about you? How do you find joy when your dreams are put on hold?
Today I have Susan Cottrell weighing in with an excerpt from her upcoming book. I’ve written before about how men need to have their heart question answered and Susan agrees. I’m grateful she has taken the time to share her thoughts and I highly recommend her new book.
Susan Cottrell is a writer, speaker and teacher. Married 25 years, she and Rob have five (nearly) grown children. Susan homeschooled for some twenty years… until she ran out of energy! She is set to release her newly expanded book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too. Her second book, The Marriage Renovation, is soon to be published. She loves to lead retreats and seminars, teaching women, couples and teens about the freedom for which Christ has set them free (Galatians 5:1). She loves to travel, watch old movies and eat chocolate. Contact her directly at FreedHearts.org.
The following excerpt is from Susan’s upcoming book: How Not to Lose Your Teen: Raising Kids who Love God and You Too.
Men and Boys
Men are more vulnerable than we realize, and I believe that inside every man is a little boy who needs to know he’s enough. Boys need to hear, regularly and authentically, that they have what it takes to be a man. Whether your son is an athlete, a pianist, a writer or anything else, he needs constant affirmation that God has equipped him fully as a man, and God will faithfully complete the good work He began in him (Philippians 1:6). Dads especially need to engage with their sons – affirming, including and accepting them as the person God designed them to be.
Mom’s job is to let their boys grow up, let them separate, encourage them to take risks and trust them to become men. Tell them you know they can do it. Hold the crown above their head and let them grow into it.
I failed at this when my family was at a rock-climbing wall at the fair. Our David, barely four, wanted to climb. I immediately decided $5 was too much to pay for him to climb two feet and then quit. I foolishly told Rob that Dave was too little and could not do it. He said, “I can do it, Mom.” Rob paid the money and David did climb – all the way to the top. And when he got down, he said, “See Mom? I knew I could do it.” Risking my son’s view of his manhood is not worth $5.
Not only do our boys need to believe they have what it takes to be men and to succeed, they also need to understand that their job is to love and protect the women in their lives – mothers, wives, sisters, daughters. They need to esteem girls, encourage them, treat them with dignity, and not use them for their own pleasure. If boys would treat the girls in their lives as they hope their future wives are being treated, what a sweet impact that would make in our culture. Dads can lead their boys this way, by their own example of kindness and respect.
I learned disdain for men growing up, from my father who was constantly disappointed in my brothers for not reaching his impossible standards. God had to break that old paradigm so His love could prevail. I had to surrender to Him, to let Him do His great healing work in me. But He did. It’s what He does best!
Thank you again Susan. These short paragraphs are packed with great thoughts on what every man needs.
Question: What have you done lately to help the men in your life believe they have what it takes?