Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘bible’

Corruptible Bodies

My body has let me down. I am disappointed as I reluctantly face the truth that I am not, in fact, invincible. Truth be told, I have let my body down. Rather than treating it as the temple of the most high God, and working to make it healthy and hospitable and useful for as long as possible, I have abused it and taken advantage of it’s meagre resources for selfish ends. Between teenage anorexia, early onset stress and what I now recognise to be both work and coffee addictions, my body has drawn a line in the sand and refused to take another step. I recently wrote about being so tired that I needed to take step back and re-evaluate things. Now, at last, I have received professional medical help.

It is a comfort to have a professional, “official” diagnosis. The words don’t change the thing, but they do acknowledge the realness of the thing, and make me feel less alone and less adrift.

The words that make the thing a thing are severe adrenal fatigue and fibromyalgia. In other words: I am tired all the time, and I hurt all over.

The thing with these syndromes is that they kind of creep up on you, so that at first you barely realise anything is happening at all. You’re just having an “off day”. By the time something is worth reporting to a professional, you’re so used to the body-wide pain and fatigue that it’s indistinguishable from all of the rest of you. Don’t we all feel like this in our thirties? Is this not normal, then?

Apparently not.

So what I have now, besides a name to hang on the door of the box all my symptoms fit into, is a Plan. A planny plan. It involves diet modifications, supplements and exercise. And it involves rest. I will explain it in more detail in future posts. I also have a long list of symptoms, but these, too, can wait for future posts.

For now, it’s just nice to know that I am exhausted to the point of virtual catatonia, and that I am allowed to slow down.

In recent days, every time I open my Bible, read any scriptures online, or hear any sermons preached, they seem to keep coming back to 1 Corinthians 15. Today, when it happened again, I wondered what message I was missing. All of a sudden, it hit me, and a wave of divine grace and comfort washed over me as I understood the words properly, and in a very personal way, for the first time. The passage reads:

“The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body…And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man…So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

What a comfort it is to me to be able to look forward to a time when I will no longer be shackled by allergies, my skin will no longer burn when I touch – well, anything, I will be able to breathe, and run, and rest, and be whole. Even though I haven’t taken care of the body I have as I ought to have done, I can start doing so now, and I can take comfort that something far better awaits.

References:

Doubt. Without it, your faith does not exist.

Red Riding Hood is a deep thinker. She ponders ideas and philosophies, turning them round and round in her beautiful young head until she begins to find the sense, the meaning behind it all.

This is most apparent when it comes to pondering her faith. We feel strongly that it is our duty to teach our children what we believe to be true. If we saw them heading towards certain and imminent death – walking onto a busy highway, for instance – we’d be compelled to stop them, correct them, and show them the right way. The safe way. To save them from certain death. In the same way, it is only right that we teach them what we believe to be the only way to be truly Safe.

Truth first

The truth is like a lion: let it looseHaving said that, we encourage them always to seek the truth. Truth is robust. It cannot be contained. It cannot be ignored. It cannot be denied. It certainly should not be feared. Above all, it must be sought. I encourage my girls to ask questions, to keep digging into all they know, until they are completely satisfied that they have found the truth. And then I encourage them to dig some more. No question is taboo. No answer is too unpalatable to be given.

No matter the cost, we must know the truth. I want to know the truth. I want to believe the truth. It’s not a case of wanting what I believe to be true, although of course I want that. Who wouldn’t want the assurance of knowing that their beliefs are true? And who would wilfully continue to believe something they know to be false, after all?

Quetions are our friends. They lead us to truth. So the girls are never discouraged from asking as many questions as they can think of, to anyone who will take the time answer.

A shaky foundation?

Red Riding Hood has a persistent fear. She is concerned that her faith isn’t real. We’ve covered this ground over and over again, and it’s taken me some time to get to the heart of the problem. This week we had a breakthrough. Even though Red believes in the fundamentals of our faith, sometimes she has doubts. These very doubts provoke the questions of all true truth seekers.

When I understood that, I could address her fears properly for the first time.

The fact is that it is these very doubts that create the need for faith. They justify faith. Without them, all we’d have is knowledge. Knowledge is good and pure, valuable. The Bible tells us that the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. That is the way to pure truth. But faith is a beautiful thing. It brings with it a sense of mystery, an aspect of the divine. Faith sets us apart from the animals. Faith makes us human. It gives us purpose. It gives us hope. Faith gives us the strength to keep going.

Without faith, we are less than we could be. Less than we ought to be.

And if we have no doubt, we cannot have faith. Our doubts define the course of our life’s journey towards truth. But they serve a higher purpose in creating the requirement for a deep, unwavering faith. In these ways they do us a great service.

How about you? Do you ever doubt your faith? Do those doubts make you question the validity of what you hold to be true? I encourage you to recognise those doubts as opportunities for growth. Allow the questions they give rise to to lead you down new paths of enquiry. Embrace the faith that holds you to the truth. And never, ever fear truth. As St Augustine famously said,

“The truth is like a lion. You don’t have to defend it. Let it loose. It will defend itself.”

Freeing Truth

John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

A lot of my friends are lost. They don’t know the life-changing joy and peace that comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. They have very good reasons for rejecting His offer of salvation, and I’m hopeful that as we work through each successive objection, we can reach a level of clarity that finally allows them the freedom to believe in the Truth.

What I find interesting, as we work through the various obstacles people face to believing in God’s Word, is the number of people who are reluctant to share their own beliefs or views, in case they offend me. I find it amusing at best, terribly sad at worst, to think that they’d even be concerned about that. Even if a person’s belief was that all Christians were deserving of death, why would I be offended personally? I’d be concerned for the safety of my family, obviously. Not to mention harbouring doubts about the person’s state of mind if they could think that any group, for any reason, is deserving of such a radical “treatment”.

But offended? No. No, I don’t think so.

You see, I am a truth seeker. I want to know the truth. I don’t want to believe in something because it is popular or comfortable. I want to believe in it because it is true. Why would anyone waste their time and energy believing in something that isn’t true, and can be disproved. Surely that’s a symptom of insanity?

And so, if you can show me the truth beyond any reasonable doubt, why should I not believe that? And if it is true, why should I be offended?

Once upon a time, I was very fat. Granted, I was very pregnant. But I was also eating upwards of two chocolate-smothered donuts every day, and loving every minute of my enormity. I accidentally dyed my hair black and cut it into a very straight bob. And I got mumps. I looked like a giant, solid block with a triangle on the top. So when somebody accused me of being a house, I wasn’t offended. I laughed out loud. It was true! I certainly resembled a very solid and poorly decorated house. It was my own doing, and how could I take offence against the truth?

Now, the Word of God is no donut. I don’t find The Way to be one of ease and comfort, nor particularly popular – with myself or others. But that’s not why I follow it. I follow it because I believe to my very core that it is the RIGHT Way. The ONLY Way. I hear the arguments against our brand of faith – in fact I welcome them in the search of truth – but nothing convinces me that God’s Word isn’t the sources of true Truth. In each case, something key has been left out of the equation. Having said that, I don’t think I’ve finished my search for truth – I don’t think I’ll be finished until I’m dead – so I suppose that anything could happen along the way. But if the God of the Bible continually proves Himself to me (and He does), what shall I do but believe? How could I not?

I know that some churches get it wrong. In fact, I guess most do, because each person gets something different out of the Bible when they read it with their own views and experiences in mind. And I know that can be confusing. But if you disregard all the churches and focus only on the Word, the Truth becomes plain. All the rest is needless frippery.

I believe that there is a God. I believe He created us and wants to speak to us. I believe He has spoken to us, and the Bible is one of only two books in the world that claims to be from Him. It is also the only one that stands the tests of science, history, geography and prophecy.  So I choose to believe that the Bible is the Truth. Based on this belief, I believe that all I need to know about how to live my life can be found in the pages of His precious Word. And the more I dig for Truth, the more I find this to be true.

If I am wrong, of course I’d want to know. I could never be offended by someone trying to help me find the truth, because we’re all on this journey together and should all give each other all the help we can. And in the same way, I will do everything I can to help those I love to find the Truth, as well. If that’s what they want. If not, I’ll pray for them until it is.

Your Reasonable Service

Romans 12: 1-2 “1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

We’re working through a really great, effective discipleship programme at Church at the moment, called “Daily in the Word“.  Once the disciple has been through the introductory pages and made a firm, faith-based commitment to Jesus’ saving gift on the cross, the focus of the course is on getting us grounded and established in God’s Word, spending time with Him each and every day.

For starters, they require you to read and write out just two or three verses each and every day, without fail.

I love my Quiet Times in the Word, and have had periods of intense connection with the Most High on a very regular basis. These have been periods of growth, peace and joy. In the midst of these times, I have wondered how I could ever not spend as much of every day as possible utterly immersed in God’s Word.

Then I’ll miss a day for some or other excellent and understandable reason. I’ll catch up tomorrow. The next thing I know it’s been a week since I opened the Bible and I have a bit of reading to do to stay on track. When I next look, I find myself months down the line with my Bible collecting dust on the bedside table. (Okay, not really, since I use it every day for school, and every week for Church and Sunday School, but it’s all about imagery).

This week I found myself feeling bitter about the demands that were being placed on me as a discipler. (You can see I’m not in the Word daily just by my attitude). I was enumerating my responsibilities to God, defending my slackness in this area: home school, housework, work-work, family needs, exercise, Church responsibilities etc etc … I’m too busy.

There was a gentle, quiet peace in the kitchen and it was as if God said, “I didn’t ask you to do all of those things. I didn’t ask you to do any of those things except your role as mother and wife. And how do you expect to achieve all those things without Me? I’m not asking a lot. Two or three verses a day. Surely that’s the least you can do? Surely you owe it to yourself to feed your soul? I want to speak to you. Let me. It’s a reasonable request.”

When our minds are exhausted and bitter and defeated, wouldn’t it be great if they could be replaced – renewed? That beautiful passage in Romans 12 leapt to mind: “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind … which is your reasonable service”. How are we transformed? By renewing our minds. And how do we renew our minds? Through God’s Word. Is it too much to ask? Nope. It’s our reasonable service: the least we can do.

Storms, calms, highs, lows, deep breaths and stepping back.

After my last post, I took a little time for reflection. It seems necessary in this life to step back and gain some perspective, and some of us need to do this more often than others.

The very next day, we sat down, zoomed through all our school work with no hassles of any kind, and the girls spent the rest of the day exploring their best friend’s wonderful new house and riding bicycles. It was idyllic for them and gave me a chance to evaluate things. I realised that I had expected far too much: we’d already done 30 minutes of maths when we had our altercation, and that was after reading, language, writing and Bible studies. Without a break. No one can be expected to stay focused for that long, especially when the work at hand is boring and repetitive.

I don’t think I was wrong to reiterate the value and importance of focus and concentration, but I do think I pushed too hard. I’m grateful for gracious daughters who forgive and understand (as much as they can) that their parents are human.

We all know the idiom “Calm before the Storm”, but I’d like to introduce (or revisit) “the Low after the High”. This weekend and the few weeks leading up to it have been full of energy and achievement. We’ve had wonderful family devotions, learnt valuable lessons, applied those lessons and seen the fruit of our labours. We have been deeply aware of God’s blessing in our lives on every level, and the activity seemed to culminate in DH preaching one of his most successful sermons on Sunday.

Since then, not so much. There seems to be a slump hanging over the whole family. Moods are low, health is quivering and tempers are short. I was listening to a sermon on the radio recently where the pastor described this very scenario. He gave some Biblical examples of it, too: Peter acknowledges Christ’s deity and messiahship, then denies Him three times! Elijah defeats and destroys 450 prophets of Baal in one of the Bible’s coolest demonstrations of divine power, then runs and hides in the desert from a single (albeit powerful) woman.

It’s comforting to know that we’re not alone in these experiences. Even heroes from the Hall of Faith share them with us, and received their due reward.

It was also interesting to be reminded of Elijah’s trials, since we’re studying this prophet’s life in Konos at the moment. In fact, we’ve just covered that very bit about the prophets of Baal being destroyed and we’re heading towards Elijah’s flight to the desert. When all the messages from all the channels say the same thing, you can be sure God’s got a lesson in there for you. What is this one? Well, I suppose it’s trust.

As I was trying to get through the appropriate amount of educational material today, while juggling some perilously late deadlines, I began to spin into my panic-mode: we’re only studying Elijah. We’re not doing any contemporary history, geography, science … I’m not giving my kids what they need! I’m a terrible mother – and everything else. AAaarrghh!

I took a step back.

I returned to the Konos resource material and saw that we’re about to start a unit full of geography, history and science. I remembered that this week the girls presented some of their own parables: allegories for Christian living today. The metaphors were rich, detailed, accurate and full of scripture. What a blessing! Who really even needs history or geography when you have a living relationship with the One who made and owns the mountains, who was there for all the history?

When I have a chance, I’ll transcribe and share their beautiful parables, but just for today I take comfort in the fact that they are getting what they need: they’re getting Life.

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