This blog is where I can pour out my heart with my longing for God.

Posts tagged ‘motherhood’

Our Miracle of Healing! Pt. I–The Sickness Begins

(This story is much too long to share in one blog post, so I have divided it into parts. Be warned that it deals with a sickness that was so severe I must occasionally delve into graphic descriptions of the symptoms. This is necessary for the telling of the story.)

Me holding newborn Abigail, with Chelsea far left, Meghann far right and Elijah in front--about 6 months before the mysterious sickness struck.

Me holding newborn Abigail, with Chelsea far left, Meghann far right and Elijah in front–about 6 months before the mysterious sickness struck.

My life seemed to be going just fine when the sickness struck back in the fall of 1998. On Tuesday, October 6, our family went to the Dixie Classic Fair in Winston-Salem, N.C.—enjoying the rides, the food, the petting zoo and more. Wednesday found us tired but satisfied, ready to forge ahead with normal life.

It was the next day that our world flipped upside down, propelling us into a catastrophic free-fall that would forever change our lives.

On Thursday, October 8, I spent a lot of time in our basement, working to clear out clutter. By late afternoon, I ran my hand across my forehead and headed upstairs. I told my husband, Keith, “I’m calling it quits today because suddenly I don’t feel so great. I’m achy and feverish.

In the wee hours of the morning, I woke up, feeling nauseated and queasy. I determined to fight it off mentally, feeling sure I would be able to do that since stomach viruses rarely affect me. (Note: I did not understand faith for healing back then the way I do now, or I would’ve prayed, stood on His Word and claimed His promises for healing.)

It was only a few hours later that Elijah Blue, my 2 1/2-year-old son, woke up screaming with his stomach hurting. We rushed him to the potty where he simply had a case of diarrhea. Throughout the next day, his problem seemed to clear up, as did mine. “We’re simply tired,” I rationalized. But later that night after a supper of pizza, Elijah threw up, although his appetite had been great during the meal.

Another night’s sleep was disrupted shortly before dawn on Saturday when Meghann, my 11-year-old daughter, began to throw up. “Oh well,” I thought. “This stomach virus is going to work its way through the whole family, I guess.” (Note: We do not have to receive such negative thoughts! I know that now.) At this point, we were all certain that it was simply a stomach bug….until Sunday morning.

When Elijah woke up before daylight on Sunday, again he was screaming in pain and had to be rushed to the potty where he began to throw up. This was extremely puzzling to me. He had never in his almost three years had a stomach virus that made him throw up. Only once before had he ever thrown up, and that was due to a high fever from a respiratory infection.

“Okay,” I reasoned. “He has somehow reinfected himself.” So I took extra precautions, washing his bed linens in hot water, sterilizing everything he touched. Keith went to church without us that morning, asking special prayer for Elijah. That night, I attended service without the rest of them; I felt better but not up to par.

By now the pattern was set—never a night’s sleep for anyone! In the predawn hours of Monday, my 8-year-old daughter, Chelsea, was up vomiting. Still, I assumed this was a regular bug that was just passing slowly through the family. Keith and 6-month-old Abigail were feeling fine, although Keith had a sense of dread that he was surely next. He was the one of us most susceptible to stomach viruses.

Tuesday, October 12, was a blessed day for my family. Although we were all very tired and strangely weak, the day passed with no vomiting and just light diarrhea for the four of us affected. The girls even went to dance class and then on to the county 4-H Talent Show in Danbury. (In retrospect, I believe God intervened and gave us that Tuesday free of sickness because the girls had looked forward to the talent show for an entire year. They both performed and placed well, with Meghann being chosen as one of the two best acts overall to go to the District competition.)

Since we had been on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast) for the past few days, we gobbled up some refreshments after the talent show. We were starving for real food again!

The blessed Tuesday was soon over, and as Wednesday crept in, I heard bare feet hit the floor in the girls’ bedroom. Sure enough, Megh and Chels were flying to the bathroom, holding bowls to their mouths. They fought over our one toilet all night, alternating with bouts of diarrhea and a bit of vomiting. All too soon, I heard that familiar scream from Elijah’s bedroom as he erupted with vomiting all over his bed. I, too, felt queasy but managed not to throw up.

By this time, I was worried. Perhaps the girls had reinfected themselves as I had assumed Elijah had done over the weekend. But Elijah reinfecting himself for the third time? I didn’t think so. I racked my brain to think if we had eaten something at the fair that would’ve led to food poisoning. The problem was that we had all eaten from different booths. I, especially, had eaten nothing in common with the children.

Nonetheless, I researched food poisoning on the Internet. Everything I read told me we should’ve gotten sick all at the same time and shortly after eating the infected food.

As we faced the daylight hours on Wednesday, the nausea was gone, and we recovered. But again, I missed church on Wednesday night, staying home with the kids and sending a request for prayer.

Thursday was a better day, and Friday, too. We were unable to do any heavy activities or go anywhere much, but the vomiting had ceased. The diarrhea was sporadic. The BRAT diet had long lost its appeal. I thought if I saw another bowl of rice, I’d jump off the roof!

So I cooked a big supper on Friday night—pintos, cornbread, mashed potatoes. We ate good portions, but no one overloaded. The curious thing about this sickness was that the appetite was not diminished. With a normal stomach virus, food makes one queasy even by thinking about it. Not so, in this case. We wanted food continuously, even immediately after throwing up.

I crawled into bed late Friday night, excited about the coming day. An old-timers’ softball game that I had organized for my dad was scheduled to take place. I had dreamed of doing it for years and had worked feverishly for the past three months to put it together. To see my dad play softball once more with his old team from the 1970’s was something I was yearning to experience.

At 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, nausea awakened me. For the first few hours, I simply ran back and forth to the bathroom with extreme diarrhea. Soon I was arguing over the toilet with Megh, who had gotten up shortly after me and casually vomited all over the bathroom floor.

Before long, Elijah woke up screaming. I knew this thing was really bad when I finally gave up the fight and threw up—something that had only happened a handful of times in my entire life. Since having a mild stomach virus at the age of 11, I had only thrown up one time since from a sickness-related cause. This time was especially severe. I felt such heart palpitations that I began to worry I was going to quite literally have a heart attack.

With the help of my parents, I was chauffeured to the ball field where I was able to watch the first few games before I had to be driven home. Mama assured me that out in the open air, I wouldn’t infect anyone else. I didn’t say anything to her, but I was almost positive now that we weren’t going to infect anyone; this thing wasn’t contagious and I knew it.

This strange sickness had an all-too-familiar pattern by now. We would be sick in the night, spend the next day recovering, have one or two fair but weak days before waking up sick in the night again. Would it never end? I began to wonder.

That Saturday night, I was supposed to go to our annual Richardson family reunion in Walnut Cove. I felt an especial urge to attend, because of a dream I had had the previous year. I had dreamed that I was at a picnic shelter at a park with many relatives around. As I walked and talked with them, I was fingering a pair of glasses in my right pocket. I knew that I was supposed to be wearing those glasses, but instead I just walked and reminisced with my cousins. The only cousin I remember specifically in the dream was one who attends the Richardson reunion.

Suddenly I heard glass breaking, and I felt the glasses in my pocket shatter beyond repair. My heart was burdened with such a sense of guilt and shame, and immediately I repented to God that I hadn’t put on those glasses when I was supposed to. Immediately—in a single second—with my hand still in my pocket, I felt the glass splinters re-form into a perfect set of glasses once more. It was a total miracle.

In the dream, I couldn’t see the faces of my cousins, but I could hear their dear voices calling to me—almost as if we were children again, calling each other to come and play. I reached into my pocket and put the glasses on. They were thick, Coke-bottle-lensed glasses that made my surroundings go blurry. I couldn’t see well enough to distinguish objects even a few feet in front of me, but when I looked up at the sky, everything snapped into distinct focus.

The sky was brilliantly blue, and suddenly I realized that I was seeing colors in a way I had never seen them before. I began to rise into that breathtakingly beautiful panorama. I could see snowcapped mountains to the west. The buoyant feeling was like nothing I had ever felt before. Then I woke up.

God spoke to me later about the dream and told me that at the time of the reunion, He would set my eyes upon Him. Not focus, but SET.

I was desperate to go to the reunion, especially since my mom had called to tell me that for the first time ever, it would be held at a picnic shelter at a local park rather than the usual place. And of my great-grandparents’ 11 children whose descendants rotate annually to host the reunion, THIS was the year that the branch of the family hosting it would be the one that included the only cousin I clearly remember in the dream. And I had dreamed the dream LONG before these decisions were made. It was too uncanny.

As it turned out, I was too sick to go to the reunion, but I see now that it didn’t matter. The timing was what was important. This sickness was one of the most important things that had ever happened in my life. It would truly SET my eyes upon Jesus.

TO BE CONTINUED…..See Pt. II at https://timesofrefreshingontheoldpaths.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/our-miracle-of-healing-pt-ii-going-downhill-fast/

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An Abortion Story–well, sort of but not really

abortion--beating heart“We now know when life begins because the test-tube baby proves that life begins with conception. What do you have in the dish? An egg and a sperm. What do you add to it to get a baby? Nothing.” (Former Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop)

Today, on the 42nd anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision to legalize abortion, I don’t want to get into an argument about this controversial issue. But since it is a subject I am intensely interested in, I feel the need to speak out–in love always.

Last night at the church I pastor, The Well, we studied the Biblical view of when life begins. We concluded that the Bible leaves no doubt on this subject. Of course, we read the typical Scriptures in Isaiah and Jeremiah; both of these men of God wrote that God had ordained them to be prophets in their mothers’ wombs, and yea, even BEFORE conception.

“Before I was born the Lord called me; from my mother’s womb he has spoken my name. . .” Isaiah 49:1

“Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1: 4-5

Once I got home from church, got the kids in bed and kicked my feet up on the reclining couch, I had some down-time to really ponder the aforementioned verses. They reminded me of my own experience with pregnancy in the case of my third-born child, Elijah Blue. If I was even tempted to accept the idea that life does not begin at conception, what happened to me in that pregnancy would convince me otherwise.

Megh and Chels at Easter 1993

Those two little daughters who were also appointed and anointed of the Lord!

You see, back then, I had gone through a long stretch of infertility. Although I already had two healthy, beautiful daughters, I did not feel complete in my childbearing experience. So every month when the evidence came that I was not pregnant, I would weep in utter discouragement–year after year.

One night in the fall of 1994, I was at my church during a particularly anointed service. As the congregation sang, “Look What the Lord Has Done,” I was praising the Lord with abandon–not even thinking of my troubles or anything negative. Suddenly, I heard the Lord’s voice clearly. He simply said, “Look what I have done.” It was so shocking that I stopped singing abruptly and stood stock-still. I knew that He was talking about my childbearing situation.

A bit puzzled, I looked down at my young daughters sitting on the pew and thought, “Oh, okay–He’s telling me to be content with the children I have.” But immediately that thought was supernaturally struck down, and everything became as clear as Waterford crystal to my amazed mind.

He was telling me I would bear another child.

I know what you’re thinking: He used past tense in His Word to me. Yes, He did. But without a doubt, I knew He was instructing me to stop worrying and trust Him, because to Him–it was already done. He doesn’t exist in time as we do. He sees the future as if it’s already “a done deal.” I was to change my attitude and begin to praise Him for the coming baby because it was already COMPLETED in His mind.

Oh, the rapture that hit me at that moment of revelation! I began to weep with joy and praise Him with a heart of thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that I didn’t get pregnant the next month or the next or the next. No more tears every 28 days. God’s promises are “yea and amen.”

About six months later, I went back to my bedroom for a time of prayer. My “prayer closet” was behind my door at the heat duct so I could be warm in winter. Although this was a spring day, still I knelt behind that closed door out of habit. After a short time of prayer, suddenly I had an experience that I had never had before and have never had since. Out of the blue, a strong anointing flowed through my being as though it were warm, soothing oil. My entire body went tinglingly, numbingly aglow. (I can’t explain the feeling of pinpricks of glowing anointing all over me; I have felt the anointing many times since then, but never again like that.)

Immediately, I knew I was pregnant. No audible voice, no still, small voice–just an unshakeable inner knowledge. I had had no clue–no missed menstrual cycle or symptoms. The 28th day of my cycle wasn’t even close yet. But I knew that I knew that I knew that I was with child.

As I basked and almost dared not breathe in that “glow,” I at last heard God’s voice down deep within. He asked me if I was willing to bear a son (yes, the sex was specified) that would have a very special call of God on his life. Without even thinking, I cried out, “YES!”–weeping with joy.

me and elijah--baby

Elijah Blue has arrived!

Sure enough, I was a few weeks pregnant with Elijah at that time but hadn’t even considered the possibility nor suspected it when I innocently knelt to pray that day. He was born December 17, 1995, and was, from the first, very cognizant of the Spirit of the Lord. Still, I pretty much kept my mouth shut about what had happened during that spring prayer session. I wanted Elijah to exercise his free will, as to his walk with God. I didn’t want to influence him in any way.

In other words, I didn’t want to affect what God could do very well without me.

So although I did train Elijah up in the Word and in prayer, at the same time he grew up as any other normal kid–sports, schooling, dance classes, youth groups. As a homeschool mom, I also prepped him for the typical educational path–do college-prep classes, take the SAT, win a scholarship if possible, go four years to a university, get a good job, live a good life. I even offered to send him to public high school so he could have a better chance in the sports world, but he made the decision to stay at home.

In the past year, my son has begun to move more and more in the power and anointing of God. With some hesitation (fearing my disappointment), he recently confessed to me that he doesn’t necessarily feel he is supposed to attend a typical four-year university. He instinctively and urgently feels a different path for his life–a headlong commitment to Christian ministry/service.

I’m embarrassed to say that when he first told me, my pride rose up, tempting me to urge him to go the normal route that he had been educated in preparation for. How would he succeed in life without that college degree? Were all of those years of pushing the college-prep agenda wasted? Wouldn’t he make such a great leader on a college campus? What if he could walk on to play baseball for a college team?

DSCN5656

Elijah opening up the STOKES STOKED Youth Rally at Lions Park in Walnut Cove on Aug. 30, 2014.

But before I opened my mouth to say a word, my gut instincts kicked in. They reminded me of that day long ago in my prayer closet. Hadn’t I known all along deep down that he wouldn’t take the well-worn path but rather the one less traveled by? Didn’t I feel with absolute certainty in my spirit that he was absolutely correct about what he was feeling?

yy--DSCN1839

Elijah and I on the evening of his induction into the NC 4-H Honor Club.

DSCN5650

Elijah and I, with our friend James, getting ready for the opening blast of the STOKED STOKED Youth Rally on Aug. 30, 2014.

I have thus had to say, “God’s will be done.” And now an intense joy fills my heart each time I think of my son working side by side with me in my hometown of Walnut Cove, as he has indicated he feels to do.

So what does this have to do with abortion? It has a lot to do with the “uncertainty” of when life begins–a critical component of the abortion argument.

The evidence is clear now that God indeed ordained this path for Elijah even before he was formed in my womb. God told me he was coming six months before he was conceived. God told me he was in my womb when he was probably too small to be seen with the naked eye. God told me what his future held–a call to minister. So I cannot believe that the egg/sperm mixture in a womb is a “fetus” that we can choose to either keep or terminate; it is a living child already.

If you don’t subscribe to the Bible, this probably sounds like baloney to you. I understand that. I truly love you just the same because I don’t get mad at people who don’t agree with me; how un-Christian is that?

But if you DO have a Biblical worldview, please consider my point. When I was two weeks pregnant, Elijah was NOT just a nonviable mass that I could choose to have suctioned out of me with an electric vacuum pump if I felt I couldn’t handle a third child. If God was already telling me what Elijah was predestined to do, then that two-week-old “mass” floating around in my uterus was already a PERSON with a future and potential.

Based on my experience, as well as the Bible, I have no doubt of one critical fact in the abortion argument:

Life begins at conception, although in the mind of God, it actually starts BEFORE THAT.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. . .My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13-16

children are rewards

Daffodils make good prayer partners

My outdoor sanctuary just up the road

It is late at night. The kids are all in bed at last. My tired body notifies me of the strain of the day that demanded of me more than I could do. The feeling of being behind is almost stifling to me now. I vegetate on the couch, staring at a blank TV.

But this picture is where I want to be–sitting on the wooden benches in my outdoor sanctuary up the street where daffodils wave in the late afternoon sunlight, beckoning me to join them in worshiping the Son.

Daffodils make good prayer partners.

They don’t say a word but simply worship their Creator with beauty and elegance–cheerful faces absorbing the rays. They bloom vibrantly for a short while and then are gone.

Sort of like us here on Earth.

How could I know that this week would be so full of things I MUST do? The celebration of Purim (but I love teaching Bible classes at the local library on how the Jewish holidays are still symbolically important for Christians!) just happened to coincide this year with our regular second Thursday 4-H meeting (but I’m the volunteer leader who loves 4-H and my family volunteered for the March program because we Irish dance and love Ireland!) which just happened to be sandwiched in between two days of my son’s high school baseball games (but I adore baseball and am the team’s scorekeeper and blogger for the website!) which just happened to be scheduled right when our 104-year-old local historian/genealogist would pass away (but who knew that would happen at this time?) which would mean I would be asked to write the feature story for the local newspaper in his memory (but he was my mentor and friend and I am honored to write the story about him because I am following in his footsteps and will miss him!) on top of my duties of running a nonprofit Christian ministry in town (but I live for this and love to study God’s Word for our church service in a few days!) which reminds me that I have to finish the paperwork for our 501(c)3 status (but I HAVE to do that soon so that we can move into our building which won’t be given to us until we are certified!) and I also have to go to the Social Security office and wait hours to have my name changed (but our church needs a bank account and they won’t open the account until we have an EIN which we can’t get until my name matches my Social Security number!) which reminds me that I didn’t order my son’s bat online tonight (but the boy needs a bat of his own so he can quit borrowing other boys’ bats!) which jogs my memory to fill out the paperwork for Little League for all three kids (but we breathe baseball and are ready to play!) and all of this is stressing me out to the point that I have already forgotten the many other things on my LONG to-do list and the many people whose emails and Facebook messages I haven’t answered because my brain slots are filled up and the gray fog of denial has settled in between my ears.

But daffodils make good prayer partners.

My daughter Chelsea took this picture in the park near her home in Tobaccoville.

And they don’t demand anything of me as I sit on the wooden bench and gaze at the beauty of the burgeoning spring all around me. And the gales of March whip my hair around and somehow help clear out the fog in my brain. And the birds serenade me with trills and songs of serenity that make my to-do list seem rather unimportant at the moment. And the lack of computer, TV or cell phone gives me a freedom to breathe deeply again and take stock of what’s really important.

Yep, that’s where I want to be. But it’s midnight, and I’m here on the couch as the silence of the all-are-abed house is punctuated by the never-ending ticking duel between the living room clock and the kitchen clock.

If Robert Frost were here, I would ask him if this is how he felt when he penned, “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

The lateness of the hour arouses guilt in me; I can hear my hubster saying when he walks in from his third shift job tomorrow morning, “You didn’t stay up past midnight again, did you?” As of right now exactly (the clock just struck 12), I must mournfully answer, “Yes.”

Sometimes staying up late is the only way a busy mother can find quiet time to think, meditate, pray, sort out the promises she still has to keep, and dream. . .dream of the the outdoor sanctuary just up the road where the wooden benches sit peacefully and where nodding daffodils make good prayer partners.

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