Bad Words

“Megan said the “B” word!”

I could not imagine that my sweet, little kindergarten student actually said the “B” word, so I probed a little further. It turned out that the word in question was “bra”. Not a dirty word to most of society, but to this little one it was scandalous.

The “D” word entered our house on 9-17-13. It isn’t a dirty word to most of society, but it rocked our world. Scandalous doesn’t even begin to describe it. Diabetes.

Diabetes seemed so inoculous,  so ordinary, so mundane, until it was declared by a doctor upon my husband. Suddenly its meaning changed to  kidney failure, blindness, amputation, stroke, heart disease, death. It was shocking and unexpected. It stopped us in our tracks, and only now after nearly two months are we starting to fall out of the funnel cloud.

Matt and I already were losing weight and exercising, doing all of the things we should be doing to stay healthy, but diabetes happened anyway. We learned about carbohydrates and how many are acceptable for him to have. We learned about insulin and how to give him a shot in the stomach. We discovered that most people have diabetes 5-10 years before they ever even know it. We learned about all of the bad side-effects of diabetes and recommitted ourselves to living healthfully.

Matt’s glucose levels have stabilized enough now to come off of the insulin. He watches carefully how many carbs he eats and at what time he eats them. He is continuing to lose weight. We feel like we have been given a second chance.

But, a couple weeks ago, Matt left town to attend a conference. Travel, the conference schedule, and restaurant food meant that his numbers began to escalate. Time to refocus and reassess. We learned something new: you don’t recover from diabetes. It stays with you for the rest of your life.

There is another word that holds little meaning to most of the world, but to a Christian it is disheartening. The word is “SIN”. Sin often seems inoculous, ordinary, and mundane. It is disheartening because it is so deceptive, like diabetes. It sneaks into your life without your notice. It hides little secrets under the rug. It tells you it resides across the street, not at your house.

But then the Great Physician makes his diagnosis and offers a second chance. Although sin can kill you just as easily as diabetes, there is also a way to escape its grasp. Sin is a lifelong predicament, but should you find yourself lulled back into complacency toward it, you will be offered another chance at obedience as soon as you refocus and recommit.

Instinct is Insanity

Isabelle is an innocent, yellow lab who lives down the road from us. She has a great family, is friendly, and stays in a kennel that I walk by daily. She is also the bane of my existence right now; you see, Isabelle is in heat.008

Captain our 1 1/2 year old beagle is desperate to get to her, though he doesn’t know why. He can smell her fertility clock half a mile away, and he can’t stand it. He whines constantly, a high-pitched, complaining, whine of desperation and frustration. He whines to be let outside, then whines to come back in. He can’t sleep at night, is restless all day, and is misbehaving at an alarming rate. Instinct is driving him insane.

Last night we headed to bed around 10:00, but Captain couldn’t relax. At 11:00, I arose with him and let him out. When coyotes started howling and running our way five minutes later, we headed inside to safety. But still Captain was dissatisfied. I took him to the livingroom, so that at least Matt could sleep, and settled myself on the couch. A while later, there was Captain again, sidling up to the couch, begging for comfort. He was shaking, trembling, definitely upset; “Make it stop, Mom,” he seemed to beg.

Humans live by instinct too. Day by day they go through their lives trying to figure out why they can’t find satisfaction. Eating whatever they desire, sleeping with whomever seems good at the time, clawing their way to the top of society’s ladder, all of these things should bring happiness and contentment. But instead, most people pace the floor at night unable to rest or relax. Dissatisfied and discontent, they plod through each day trying to hide their trembling from all of the other discontented people.

Captain’s frustration will end in about four more days, but only to return again when the next female’s alarm goes off. There is no way for me to explain to him what is going on and why. Thankfully, we are not left alone to our instincts. God has told us what and why. He has explained the enemy and his threats.

When you hear that old coyote start howling and running your way, why not throw open the door to the Master? Push yourself up to him and beg him to make it stop. “Please, Daddy, save me from myself!”

MY SON

Our dog, Captain, is standing beside me with his toes stretched up onto the edge of the dining room table. He wants a bite of the crab salad and crackers that I am snacking on, but I keep pushing him down and scolding, “No!”  Grabbing hold of his collar, I reinforce my command. He grimaces, huffs, and then walks around my chair to try a different angle.

Amos and Captain
Amos and Captain

We have had Captain for nearly a year, and he often reminds me of my second son, Amos. Amos and Captain both don’t believe in asking permission but in offering an apology after the fact. Both are very energetic and easily distracted by bugs and things along the side of the road. Amos is very tenacious when challenged, and Captain is extremely persistent in trying to solve a challenge as well. In Amos’s case it means discovering new ways to complete an art or writing assignment, for Captain it means discovering another way to pull the chain out of the ground so he can chase a chicken.

Both dog and boy are cuddly, wanting petting and hugs at all times. Both enjoy the outdoors, being with friends, and eating a good steak, though Captain only gets the bones.

But that is the difference. Amos gets the steak. Amos is allowed to share my crab salad and crackers. Amos is my son.  He can sit on the couch, even lie in my bed. Amos can get a snack whenever he wants. He calls me “Mom”. He belongs in the family. He is loved beyond measure.Not on the bed!

No matter what happens to Captain, he will never be allowed on the couch, to eat the whole steak, or to sit at the table with the rest of the family. He is a dog, not a son.

God didn’t choose us to be his pets. He doesn’t keep us on a leash, feed us on the floor, or push us away from the couch. God welcomes us as his children, well-loved and well-cared for, petted, hugged, and very much cherished.

 

“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” John 1:12

Jonathan and Captain
Jonathan and Captain

Changes Are Coming

flying geeseA couple of weeks ago I was walking through the corn fields when a flock of geese honked their flight above me. About 30 wild geese dotted the sky with their familiar “V”. Heading south for warmer climes, they bid farewell to summer. A day or two later another flock called over my head, and now a daily goose gathering proceeds along the migration route over our house toward food, water,  and warmth.

I count the geese as they pass overhead. Most groups now range from 30-50 geese, each passing along the route marked by many generations of geese ago. My memory tells me that this migration is coming earlier this year than in years past. Noting the changing colors of the trees, I am certain that the geese have sped up the process this year. Usually the trees here don’t change for another month or more.

I don’t know what tells the geese to move along in larger and larger groups, but I do know the processes that change chlorophyll. I know colder nights, changes in sunlight, and leaves’ length of time on the branches all combine to mark the beginning of autumn. Some of the changes are scientific, and some of them are instinctual.

This is the year change begins in our home. Our older child is a Senior in high school. He has a job, attends college part-time, and does his own laundry. He has his own bank account and recently purchased some of his own clothing. This week we go to visit a college that interests him for next year.

I see the changes. I know what causes them. Some are scientific, and some are instinctual. The bigger question is not how or why the changes occur, but how will I react to them? Are the changes a call of goodbye to summer, or are they a happy hello to autumn?

I like cooler nights with open windows and chirping crickets. I enjoy the warm kitchen smells of pumpkin muffins and pots of soup. Wrapped in a warm, fuzzy sweater, I wrap my hands around a hot cup of peppermint tea and know that each change brings a certain continuity to the world.

Just like the generations of geese that migrated before, young men have always grown and gone away, only to return home next spring.

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecc 3:1 ASV

Declaring Nude Day

Declaring Nude Day

Today is Thursday, Laundry Day. Most days of the week have a particular routine to them. Mondays I teach all day, Tuesdays I write, Saturdays I walk and relax, and Thursdays I do laundry. Recently I declared the family should have Nude Day, and they should have it most of the summer. I’m tired of washing clothes, drying clothes, folding clothes, putting away clothes, and then starting all over again. I never seem to finish. Honestly, I never will finish.

Police arrests aside, I really don’t think I would like Nude Day. I get cold too easily. I have fat in some places I don’t want you to see. And, truthfully, I don’t really want to see what you’ve got under your clothes, either! Clothes are a good thing, even though they are a lot of work.

God provided another set of clothes for each of us. Clothes that are Clorox clean and line-dried fresh. Clothes that hide all the ugly scars, stretch marks, and results of dark chocolate sinful disobedience. These are clothes that transform each of us from everyday people to gorgeous celebrities.

That’s what this site is all about. It is what I am about. It is what God wants us to be about. He wants us to peel off the clothes we were born into and replace them with the clothes he teaches us how to sew. It takes a long time, and the new clothes get soiled along the way. Sometimes stitches come loose, yarn unravels, and buttons fall off.

But we keep on going back, Laundry Day after Laundry Day. And God is always there by the washer with a pair of scissors and a spool of thread in his hands. He measures out how much grace-filled thread we need for mending, how many scoops of ultra-whitening detergent is required, and he carefully begins to teach us how to do the laundry.

I guess Laundry Day isn’t a bad thing after all.

“And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good: bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, dirty talk.

“Don’t lie to one another. You’re done with that old life. It’s like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you’ve stripped off and put in the fire. Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. . . .

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3The Message

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