Bags are packed. Everyone’s asleep. I’m scouting out menus to find safe resturants and cooking safe travel food.
In my weakness, He is strong.
I’ve read that verse a thousand times. It has penetrated my heart on several occasions. But I often forget the message and live cowering in my weaknesses, hiding them and trying to ignore they are there.
A few weeks ago my weaknesses started screaming at me. They wouldn’t be ignored. Instead of allowing Christ be my strength, I faced despair. I felt defeated and walked in that darkness. The enemy won that battle.
Or so he thought.
Jesus doesn’t leave us defeated. He won The Battle and give us His victories. (1 Corinthians 15:56-58, Luke 9:1-2)
Because I’m stubborn, it takes awhile for the truths to seep in. Jesus placed some women in my path to dispel the words (LIES) I heard and believed.
Gideon had fears. Doubts.
He tested God.
He was not struck down by a lightening bolt.
God met him where he was.
God asked big things of Gideon.
God loved him through it.
God gave him the encouragement he needed.
Just as he does to me,
so I can face my fears, and the things God asks of me.
Even in my weakness.
Then, His light shines through my weakness.
… just keep working. Don’t give up! When I pull one of my crochet pieces out of my bag, the yarn often snags and stitches slip out one – by – one. I usually catch it before too much damage is done. But sometimes row after row falls apart before I realize it.
When life needs to be UnTangled…
That’s how life feels -
One thing snags and goes wrong and it leads to something else, which leads to another thing going wrong, and on and on…
Mix with frustration and attitude
and oh my.
Take it to the one who untangles.
The one who puts our pieces back together.
The first knitter.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them. Psalms 139:13-16
I almost called this School in the Tub.
Because that’s what we did. Until the book fell into the water. Don’t worry, it’s all dry – now.
My daughter has a skin condition. When it flares up, lotion usually does the trick. Not this time. We had to resort to long soaks in the tub. To keep her occupied, I sat with her and read books. I tried to have her read to me, but the book was heavy and it crept lower and lower until it got wet. That was today, let’s back up to last night.
Our night started like this:
“Mom, I have tell you something, but I don’t want to because you’ll make me go to the doctor. It’s my skin condition. I have blisters. But I don’t want you to see.”
What she doesn’t know is that I’ve researched the skin condition more than what’s needed. I’ve seen the pictures. I know the possibilities. She has a very mild form. VERY mild. So mild, most people don’t even know about it. So mild, I’ve never showed her pictures and probably won’t tell her the full name so she won’t google it. When I heard she had blisters, the worst images popped into my head. The worst. Panic crept up my throat and my stomach dropped to my toes.
In the middle of facebook-messaging my friend, I asked her to pray. She gave me words of Jesus to keep me sane.
I asked my daughter to please show me.
Why? It’s her body. She’s at that age. She didn’t want to go to the doctor or use a lotion that would burn.
I don’t blame her.
But I had to make sure she’s OK.
So I brought Daddy into the picture. Or the idea of him.
“We can go in my room or your room. You can show me or you can show me and Daddy.”
I gave her choices so the element of control would be back in her hands.
I repeated my request in a not-gonna-budge tone.
“Ok. Your room with JUST you.”
She sat on the bed with me. I gently looked. And started breathing. It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t that bad.
“How long has it been like this?”
“A loooong time. Since I’ve been my age.” (Ok. That’s almost a year. After more questions I found out it’s only been since the new year. Whew.)
Two months. Two months she’s suffered in silence.
I quickly found the oatmeal bath packet she received from her skin camp. Because it was from camp, she readily agreed to use it. 10:30 at night, I’m running her bath water. I haven’t run a child’s bath water in years. I let her roll up her pants to use her feet to swish it around.
She let me sit with her and read to her. We bonded over an oatmeal soak and books.
Today she asked for another soak. I was invited to sit with her. This time she needed to soak for 40 minutes. I was invited. We did schoolwork. In the tub.
My thoughts wandered to how blessed we are. She can wear clothes that don’t irritate her skin. She doesn’t have to sit in uncomfortable seats all. day. long. If she wants a bath at 10 am or 10 pm, we can do it. It doesn’t keep her home from learning. She can rest when she feels bad. Lotion when she needs it. And mom can stop class to google “bath recipes” when we run out of oatmeal bath packets. And what better lesson than make your own bath remedies?
Oatmeal has anti-itch properties. (Scientific term: avenanthramides) To make your own oatmeal powder, just put some non-instant oats in a blender. When it’s powdery, it’s ready!
Epsom Salt Bath
Epsom Salt is high in magnesium and draws toxins from your body. It also softens the skin. Many athletes use this to loosen tight muscles.
Baking Soda Bath
Baking Soda soothes dry, itchy skin. It also detoxes and has alkalinizing properties. Great for allergic reactions.
Adding Essential oils brings another level of healing. Find what oil works for your need. (peppermint – refreshing, lavender – relaxing and soothing, Elemi – soothing and skin support)
What are your favorite bath recipes?
With the winter weather oppressing much of the nation, and the Winter Olympics keeping us excited, there is celebration in uncomfortable times. Our family celebrates with hot chocolate bars, ice cream, and southern snowflakes. Southern snowflakes?! Yes, we did close our southern cities for ice, or snow, or what many down here call “snice” (mixture of snow and ice – or really, slushy ice, but our kids want snow bad we pretend). Our family has it’s own version.
Recipe for Southern Snowflakes
- Take some packaged, uncooked flour tortillas and cut them into snowflake shapes.
- Fry in hot oil (all the pieces! Don’t you dare throw those cut-outs away!)
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
What is your favorite Winter Celebration idea?
I’ve thought about you many times since we met you in the park. With your hood over your ball cap and ear buds blocking out the world, you allowed us a glimpse of your heart. My husband approached with small talk, which involved fishing. Then we asked if we could pray for you.
When we told you a group from church walked the park to pray for people, your eyes lit up just enough for us to relax. Your words changed to “church speak” and we knew you had a background enough to know the right words. I wonder if you know how much your face and voice changed when you started talking about God. Even the sound of your voice lightened. It felt like your mind realized you know the answers to the questions you’ve asked yourself, but your heart doesn’t yet. Even through your church speak, you let in enough real words for us to see your heart.
Your hurting heart.
A heart closer to rebellion than to relationship.
A heart that hurts others.
Just like any heart has the capacity to do.
You welcomed, invited, and encouraged us to pray for you. We did.
We prayed for your heart. To seek God and end rebellion. We prayed for your marriage. For you to go back to church and develop a strong desire for God.
We are still praying.
And we will continue to pray.
Because, Joe, your hoodie, hat, and ear buds might close out those around you, but they won’t close out God. He loves you and wants a close relationship with you.
Thanks for letting us pray with you, it reminded me just how much we all need Him, and that we already know the answer to the questions we ask. (it’s Jesus!) It also reminded me how easy it is to bless others – even strangers in the park.
If our paths never cross again, I’ll be searching heaven for you one day.
**Please note – This is the hardest thing I’ve done in way too long – walking up to a stranger and asking to pray with him (even though my husband lead that part while I silently prayed). Having my husband as support, with prayers of others helped. It put feet to my faith and challenged me to think about the question, Am I ashamed of the gospel? My eyes were once again opened to see those around me as hurting and needing God. We are not so different after all.**