Snow day

A phone call in the wee hours from a robot:

This is an automated call to notify you that school will be closed today due to inclement weather

When you work in the education world, or you are a typical child in school, this is like a bonus gift and worth the disorienting interruption of sleep. But today that call got me thinking differently. I already had two other places to be if not working at the school today, one being on a flight to attend my uncle’s funeral. Since the airline did not make the same call the schools did, my husband made a call to stay home with the kids so I could go. On most snow days I feel bad for him, driving his over-an-hour commute across lake effect snow and routes while the kids and I are kept sheltered. Perhaps it was this upturned scenario that got me thinking about the protection of the snow day call.

Who makes the call

It strikes me that I get a call notifying me that someone else has thought for the safety of kids and others and has deemed it worth closing down in order to keep us safe. I don’t think anyone would refute the inherent good in that decision, but I can’t blame those who are upset that their field trip was cancelled (like my son), or their work plans interrupted, or that they still have to brave the weather and are outside of the protection of this system.

God makes that call all the time. He calls snow days on our plans, and I trust that He often intervenes on Satan’s plots against us. I have marveled often at the way I seem to live in a bubble, surrounded by support and love and protection, having snow days called for me. When I was so sick and weak and a robotic voice jarring my sleep to inform me my kids would be home for the day roused me into a panic full of dread at having to be alert and interactive with them all day, I was still in a very well guarded bubble. In and through my illness I connected with so many people who were “out in the weather” of very rough situations, while I felt safe in my snow day.

Why?

I would ask God all the time. Why me? Why not them? How can I help? Getting well, I asked it again. And again. If having Jesus as Lord and Savior gets you in on the snow day, then, come one everyone, wear your pajamas backwards and flush an ice cube, call him Lord, surrender and come out of the weather! Let Him make the calls for your life.

It is poignant to realize we don’t make the calls ourselves. Hence the surrendering. Our pastor cancelled evening service the other night due to weather. Church took a snow day. I can recall that happening on a Sunday morning once or twice as well. But I recall many more times when my family stopped attending church because my body and my family could not function in that environment of noise, commotion, socialization and movement. We did snow day church at home. After long enough, that became the norm for us, and then even when well enough to go again, it was hard to give up our own control and to want to try rejoining community. The couch was so comfy. But we realized that God was now making a different call for our lives and we needed to go. I heard on the radio during my snowy and slow drive to the airport a blurb about a theologian preaching a hundred years ago against consumerism religion -people favoring the option to stay home and read favorite sermons of favorite preachers rather than join in community at church. The radio spot went on to say that today’s Christian on the couch live-streaming their favorite worship service is practicing this unbiblical kind of consumerism to a great degree. I thanked God again for his grace in how long it took me to be willing to leave my couch and go to church. And for the support and joy and bubble in which the church community sustains me. Like we are all in the snow day together.

As a Christian I must keep asking myself if I am surrendered and living the day God has called for me..and in my work with churches I keep asking that we think about being the Comunity worth getting off the couch for, and being a place less stressful and demanding for all who genuinely struggle to leave the couch. God help us all. He gives a starting point in Galatians 6:

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience. Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:1-10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

https://bible.com/97/gal.6.1-10.msg

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Support

Support.

action adventure climbing daylight

Photo by Riccardo Bresciani on Pexels.com

That can mean so much. It often means something different to one individual than it does to another. In fact, I find that sometimes our relationships are strained because one person’s version of offering support is different from another’s, and each side feel let down, even hurt, by what they sense as a lacking in either support (on the one side) or acknowledgement of support (on the other side). Is support:

  1. emotional availability, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on
  2. financial gift, loan or arrangement making funds available
  3. medicinal, herbal, nutritional, etc.
  4. prayer either together or apart, or both
  5. all of the above
  6. (then there are all the ways it can be expanded to tech, video, audio, etc.)

The Lyme group that seeks to support one another attempts to be option 5 (all of the above), as do most family and friends of Lyme patients. Or people suffering in general, in most circles. Sometimes, however, I find that we tend to try to fix rather than support. My husband has told me “I’m just broken” and yet I cannot try to fix him, or we are both miserable. In my work with faith communities and people with varied abilities, it gets tricky sometimes to navigate supporting people rather than implying something about them is broken and the community is trying to fix them, so they fit in. The real truth is we are all broken (see God’s viewpoint on this in Romans 3:23). Illness needs treatment, and we Lymers talk about herbal supports, immune support, dietary and nutritional support. Even there, we can find many different stances on what sort of things are truly support, what are a waste of time and money. Grief and distress calls for emotional support, prayer support, and simply time spent being with the one in distress – that too has been a common area of conversation in my family and friends lately. The least fun thing to bring up is the need for financial support, most often. Working for two different Christian non-profit organizations has shown me the beauty in “giving people opportunities to support God’s work” by donating money toward our causes. So, why am I so slow to get my own non-profit up and running, to support Lyme patients? I want so badly to be able to send people to the medicinal and nutritional support they need in order to get well, while offering for them a source of the other types of support. Victory Over Lyme.

For that to become a reality, I need prayer support. Wisdom. Patience. Persistence. And time. And, probably, to be at peace with being broken, not having answers, lacking some support at times, and pressing on toward the joy set before me, just as my Support and Savior did.

 

Co-operation

 

Image result for simpatico coffee

At last week’s Lyme Group, meeting at our local fair-trade coffee shop, we discussed the idea of co-owning treatment equipment for Lyme and co-infections. Rife machine, infrared sauna, pH water-adjustment system, or bulk herbs/supplements (like some of these) and the making of homemade tinctures, salves and teas. The cost of the investment could be distributed, as could the use of the equipment. I love this idea of sharing the load, and supporting one another as we all seek treatment. One of the things that seems keep the Lyme community struggling, is how each person is pursuing and gets attached to and grows loyal to one method, technique or system. That is, until we get desperate enough to try anything and everything, and then we find ourselves struggling to know how to balance everything out, knowing what helps and what might interact with other treatment techniques, and if we’re feeling worse because of doing too much at once.

IImage result for community‘ve been thinking a lot about community, between this group, and the two non-profit organizations I work for (South Olive Christian School, and CLC Network). Community and cooperation are what keep us humane. Keep us going. Keep us informed, allow us to be disagreed-with, and learn new ideas and perspectives. Every human needs that, whether we like to admit it or not. I for one, hope and pray we can become more like the community God has intended. He told us, “you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22) -Are we willing to do that? Willing to be built together? Willing to be joined? Willing to share one another’s burdens? Willing to share equipment, time, energy? I think we have work to do to get there. I’d love to hear from other who are willing. 

Come Together

Two evenings ago I left a coffee shop, late for making dinner and a bit harried from a busy day, but extremely excited. A group of women got together with me to talk Lyme. Each of us has a very different starting place, current place, and path. A couple have kids in the lyme-light, others are thinking about their own health, a couple are thinking about both. We vary in our levels of confidence in treatments, diets, information, and in our experience with testing and treatments. However, we all share belief in our God who heals –Jehovah Raffa. We all share a desire to learn more, to share what we know with others, and to live out the promises of a victorious life.

New resources I picked up the trail on…Unlocking Lyme: Best Seller

Unlocking Lyme -a book by Dr. Rawls, with some herbal protocols I’d not tried.

A  diet plan based on lectins in the blood, and eating for your blood-type.

Recipes and updates to the detox diet plan from Lymestop (which come from the Wisconsin Dr., Dr. Ben Erlandson, not from Idaho Doctor, Dr. Tony Smith, though I’m not sure if that’s why they are different. It could also simply be updates have been made in the Lymestop treatment plan). This is not posted online, but I will try to get a hold of it and see if I would be permitted to share it.

We are going to all compare recipes and diet ideas for treating and healing and living, when we next get together. I am so pumped! I’m a dork, I know, but that only confirms to me how God has placed this as a passion in my life, and the encouragement I received from these ladies spurs me to pursue God’s leading in working with and for Lyme patients, as well as advocating for testing that is quick and accurate (and doctors agree on!), which could be done at blood-banks, to protect donated blood from infection, and which would lead to further testing and better treatment. Victory Over Lyme …it’s coming… God is on the move!

I am hopeful this will help my husband, whose health once again includes pain, the causes of which are more and more elusive, leading us right back to Lyme as the prime suspect. Whether this is “Fallout” (as my husband calls it) from having had Lyme, or a new infection, or something else, it is causing me to look back into my “Why Can’t I Get Better?” book and resources like this group of ladies brings together, for things to try.

And one member of the group reminded me again of our role in claiming healing and speaking God’s promises as prayers.The Secret Power of Speaking God's Word   -     By: Joyce Meyer
I shall have to get off the shelf my copy of Joyce Meyers’ “The Secret Power of Speaking God’s Word” and renew my efforts to pray Victory into being! Especially as I continue to get emails and calls from people all over the country who have gotten my name from someone they know, looking for direction. I don’t have any magic, and I don’t even know all that much. But, I know a BIG God who does, and I want to follow Him wherever He is leading…

long and short of it

It’s been too long since I’ve posted. I know. Sorry.

I keep hoping to get a jump start on the non-profit Victory Over Lyme, and life stays too busy to do that.

Then  I get three or four calls in one week from families asking about help, ideas, advice or just conversation about Lyme and related issues. And I get an email or five with links and articles. And this blog and some time on the phone or in a coffee shop with a stack of books for reference is still all I have to offer. In God’s timing, I know there will be more to share.

For now, I want to share this article from the NY Times (https://nyti.ms/2OegB1h). It  is long, but the short of it is that I think it’s worth sharing, despite the evolutionary theories in it, for the thorough look at allergies, tick bites, and the reality of our planet. I once again have a grateful heart for the work of Lymestop in dealing with tick-borne illnesses, and allergies, and realigning the immune system.

Now if only we could realign our world, so we are not destroying ourselves and our communities with what we eat, how we have been industrializing, everyone and everything.

Stop trying to “win” or be the most powerful, richest, most self-satisfying we can be, and allow God’s creation to live in balance, and we might just have a shot at living in this world rather than in fear of it.

Ice, lice, find something nice, and don’t believe everything you think.

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! For I have overcome the world.” It is so easy to read only half of these words from John 16:33. When there are ice-days in April causing schools to close (or worse and scarier reasons for schools to close), and weekends spent treating the entire house for headlice, when everyone seems to be a critic, and even your own thoughts prove false –those are times the first sentence is all that seems to come through.

Even now, as May struggles to shake the cool, wet chill, and pet-, home-, and car-ownership show themselves to be costly in time, energy and resources, as coughs linger with evidence of other “bugs” still effecting the household, and a loved one is clear that he is “near the end” those three simple words deliver hope and a command. But. Take. Heart.

I drove behind a bumper sticker for some time that said “Don’t believe everything you think” and I pondered the phrase with amusement. It’s good advice. My thoughts easily weigh me down. But. Take. Heart. Joint pain, fatigue, immune system not what it once was remind me that Lyme remains part of our lives. But. Take heart! And, not that, as some assert, there is some well of strength in myself or my heart that will overcome the troubles of the world. No, I cannot end at “take heart!” -there is more. “For I [the I AM] have overcome the world”. In that I can take heart. One greater than me has already overcome all that this world troubles itself over.

Truth be told, the first bit of John 16:33 actually starts, “I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace”. Starting there, it gets much easier to find something nice in what is part of our little world. Troubles included. In Christ we have peace. He has overcome. Feel that peace gently washing in, coating the troubles and the heart.

With that, some Fairy Tales lice-preventative shampoo, a lot of homemade household cleaner (and some dish-soap), flexibility of wardrobe and weather-dependent plans, some creative budgeting, and proactive prayer (a term my pastor recently gave me for what I ought to do with troubles and my own thoughts which may or may not be wisely believed), I walk in the promise of my Savior. I have peace in Him. He has overcome the world. Life is good.

Ponderings

I came upon this blog post (What People with Lyme can Learn from the Disability Community) and just need to linger on some statements a moment:

  1. “People with disabilities are a unique minority, a group that any of us can join at any time.” –this is a fascinating statement. Since my work is in equipping communities to fully include persons with disabilities, and I often find myself in a conversation about fairness to various groups of people, this strikes me is poignant. We can separate ourselves from many groups of people, as we may not look like or behave like them. But at some point in our lives, we will all be part of this group. Testament to the philosophy that everyone’s lives are improved by including persons with disabilities (since everyone will at some point be a person with a disability)!
  2. “Learning more about the concept of disability helped me understand the limitations that Lyme disease brings with it. This allowed me to advocate for myself and to overcome the belief that my disease meant I could not be successful” –I have a few thoughts on this.
    1. First, that “successful” needs some defining. Redifining, actually. I am praying daily right now for several people close to me, for whom a “successful life” may never be a viable option. That would be, living independently/alone, working full time with benefits, with the freedom to go where they please in their free time without assistance, and maintain stability in physical health, relationships, location and finances. If that’s success, well, crap. But is it? What is success is rather living in Victory with struggles? Living in Victory with uncertainties, instabilities, in dependence. This is not the fun, the American, or the popular way of living. But this ain’t no Disney princess story. Maybe life is meant to be harder, richer, deeper, and of a different scope. My 96 year old grandfather says he’s had a good life. But he’s still here. IT’s not over yet! My grandmother with dementia feels guilt for not being productive. Other friends and family members are despondent because they “haven’t made it yet” (or made it and lost it). I simply want to say to all: Why do you think you’re here?! Why any of us are here?! And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8). So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of Godnot seeking [your] own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. (I Corinthians 10:23-33) To me, that means, success is bringing glory to God, saving souls, walking humbly with God. If we yet have breath, our job is to praise Him. (Psalm 150:6)
    2. Advocating for yourself is a huge task, and one that some are better at than others. Support for self-advocacy is such a priceless gift. I know I could not advocate for myself, especially in regards to the battle for diagnosis, treatment, assistance, care, help, without the support network I have. For those who are not so gifted in the area of self-advocacy, with Lyme, or with other disabling conditions, who will stand in the gap? Here is where I believe The Church belongs. How? Again, the answer is simple, if difficult: humbly with God.
    3. “The limitations that Lyme disease brings with it.” -This phrase packs a punch. Lyme does bring limitations. Understanding disability indeed opens the eyes of a person to accepting the condition this disease brings to the body and mind. Praise be to God, the spirit is untouched by such diseases unless we give up hope and we let evil overtake our spirits with fear. That kind of disease is far more dangerous, devastating and long-lasting. Spiritual warfare deserves far more treatment than any physical condition, in my opinion. I am still living with limitations on my body and mind brought to me by Lyme, though I consider myself to be healed of Lyme. There are permanent weaknesses in my system, which I must be vigilant to take care of if I am to maintain functional health.
  3. “…you are not defined simply by your symptoms, society may need to change its norms so it can benefit from all that you have to offer, …you are a person first and foremost.” –This phrase too brings me back to the work of CLC Network, pioneering innovative inclusion practices. It also brings me back to how we define ourselves. Lymees (or Lymies, as referred to in the blog post), people with disabilities, and people in general. We are not defined by our collection of symptoms or labels or characteristics (good or bad). We are people, with things to offer to the rest of the world, with praises to offer to our Creator. The more of us that can live from that perspective, the more society will change its norms, and communities will actually benefit from what each person brings. We might just have a shot at seeing “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) -Lord, let it be!