As we were coming off of a wonderful birthday celebration for my oldest son, who just turned thirteen over the weekend, there was a routine CT scan and doctor's appointment with my surgical oncologist that was awaiting me Monday morning.
More than comforting was what I read the night before my check up, of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah and son of King Asa, who put his trust in the Lord as his enemies decided to attack. Love what the Spirit of the Lord instructed him and the people of Judah through Jahaziel saying, "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed . . . for the battle is not yours but God's" and "You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf . . . the Lord will be with you."
Then in an unusual start to battle, the king appointed singers to go before the army, singing to the Lord and praising Him and giving thanks. Read 2 Chronicles, chapters 19 and 20 to see the events that followed, for it is quite awesome!
So when Monday morning rolled around, I put on some praise music by Paul Wilbur in the car for the ride down and thanked Him for all He had brought me through over the years.
Stopping at a red light at the top of the exit ramp, a dragonfly came up to my windshield and hovered all around in front of me. I hadn't seen one in awhile and so excitedly thought, hey little dragonfly! It seemed to dance around for me and then took off just as the light turned green. I proceeded to the hospital singing. This would prove to be much more meaningful later!
Going up to the radiology check in desk, I saw this card facing up at me from the base of the computer. This made me smile indeed and made my heart happy as I read this little love note from Him.
As I sat in the waiting room, I noticed the people around me and often wonder what their experience has been and how they are feeling. I always get the sense that people want to connect more but don't know how, at least that is how I feel. In a row facing perpendicular to mine, was a painfully thin man in his early seventies who glanced over occasionally and smiled. I wanted to say something more than, "hello" but everyone is so quiet and so I just watched an episode and a half of Property Brothers and glanced back to him and smiled several times. All the while, wondering if I should just get up and start a conversation with him.
Then I hear the nurse call out, "Christina" and I go back to get ready for my abdominal and pelvic CT scan. (Decided this time to give thanks for the barium shakes and surprisingly the banana smoothies weren't bad at all!) The nurse and I had a deep conversation and she talked about the Charleston shootings and Bill Cosby and how sad the news had been. I shared with her about my husband's shofar outreach and she said her husband had felt led to buy a big horn but didn't know why. We had a quick connection and then it was time for my scan. Again, God gave me an awesome conversation with another radiology team member, who encouraged me greatly and I hope I did the same for him. It felt so good to connect and converse with the people around me, worrying less about staying in my comfort zone.
Once upstairs, I had the privilege of talking with two Greek Orthodox nuns, one of whom was the Mother Superior and a patient herself who shared the same surgeon along with me. They were very sweet and kind and then I started up a conversation with a Muslim female medical student who was from Syria. She was very happy to talk as she was waiting for a doctor to return from lunch and told me that she watched many American movies but her favorite was Gone With The Wind and that was one of the reasons she wanted to come to Georgia for college. (Never, would I have guessed that.) She wished me well as the nurse called me back and I thanked her for chatting with me. She smiled really big!
After chatting with the nurse, there's always that time where you just sit and wait for the doctor. My surgeon was booked up with twenty nine patients that day, so I thought about all the wonderful and interesting people I met that morning. Then I looked up and my jaw dropped. Painted on the ceiling tile was a dragonfly! I laughed out loud and thought . . Wow, God you are so awesome! It was another moment where I felt strongly that God was saying, "I've got you!"
Had a short but sweet visit with my doctor who was doing his best to see all his many patients. He said it would be a couple of days before my results would be back in. As I left, I got to chat with Ms. Barbara, who runs the check in desk. She was the one who came out from behind her desk two years ago and hugged me like my mother would have,
after I started crying and couldn't rein in the tears, right there in the waiting room. Now, I smile big when I see her and always tell her how I always remembered her kindness that day.
While waiting in line for my lab work, I met Jan, an older lady in a wheelchair, and Angel, a young lady in a baseball cap sitting with her girlfriend, and got to chat with them. Then upon leaving, about an hour later, saw Jan again, who smiled and grabbed my hand and said excitedly, "Guess what? My doctor said he didn't need to see me for another six months!" She was by herself, like me, but we had each other to encourage. Total strangers but with a special bond and I was so happy that I walked over to her when she first smiled at me!
UPDATE: My doctor called several times today and had to leave the results on voicemail due to issues with my phone placing calls directly into voicemail instead of ringing. This may have worked out for a reason because I could replay the message over and over again to better understand. Here's the message, "So your scan looks fine. There are some very non specific lymph nodes that are slightly enlarged in the distal part of the small intestine, that I don't know if they're just the way they are or whether they are related to the neuroendocrine tumor you had in your small bowel. So we are getting what is called an Octreotide scan and so they will be calling you about that and after we look at that scan. I'll let you know if there's anything else we need to do."
This I know for sure, Jesus loves me, He's got me and I'll just keep singing!
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In life, I started with only an inkling of my parents' love and understanding of what they put up with until that glorious day when my husband and I received the title of mother and father. Along the many wonderful, joyous times filled with laughter, big smiles, hugs and kisses, there are the extremely challenging times filled with ear shattering temper tantrums, nerve grinding whinny complaints and boundary pushing that causes one's eye to twitch. Our first son, pictured below, was the type of child who was eager to please. His kindergarten teacher once joked, "Um, if you're thinking about having another don't, cause this one is your easy child." We laughed but weren't too concerned, as we weren't sure if we would even have another child.
I experienced postpartum weeks after the birth of this son and really struggled with horrible thoughts. Truthfully, I was afraid to have another child, not wanting to go through that experience again. The one verse that really helped me during that dark time was 2 Timothy 1:7 which says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." I would say that verse over and over again, out loud, when I would have an attack on my mind. That verse literally saved us.
Eight years after our first son was born, we were blessed with another son, who as you can see in the picture below is just full of energy and brings different challenges. When he was two, we experienced a home invasion (thankfully, we weren't home) then he fell while crawling over his crib and broke his right arm. My husband lost his job and our oldest fractured the growth plate in his heel at a friend's birthday laser tag party. After that, I was taken to the emergency room and months later had an eight and a half hour cancer surgery. It was a whirlwind of a time and both our boys had a hard time understanding what was happening.
God really showed up for our family in amazing ways. He led my husband to a new and better job with insurance that came on the day I had to go to the emergency room. I experienced God's provision and love throughout my two week hospital stay and the months and years to follow. Even though I learned to slow down and not hold on to anxious thoughts, I still struggled from time to time with staying cool as you can see from my face in the pictures below.
Love the family pictures that show the reality of what was really happening behind the scenes. At this particular moment I'm getting really frustrated while my husband is trying to hide his laughter.
These pictures really capture the range of emotions while parenting. I laugh as I recognize my mother's frustrated facial expressions now on my own face. I now have a new appreciation of all she put up with from me and how she was able to learn patience with me and herself as she made her way through maternal waters.
At last, the frustration fades and the joys of parenting return and I learn to, as my friend, Julia (mother of five) says, "embrace the chaos!"
I am reminded through parenting of God's great love and patience. I understand His heart now more than ever before after knowing what it's like to love someone created in your own image who warms your heart but whom also talks back and doesn't always listen to sound advice.
So may all you moms out there stay focused on Him, keep pointing your children towards Him and stay cool!
Check out www.4realmoms.com for more encouragement!
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Felt like a dinosaur, while taking my son to see Jurassic World and explaining I saw the original, Jurassic Park, as an adult over twenty years ago.
Though I went into the theater feeling like I already knew the basic script . . . people brought to a remote island to witness the latest DNA research, ohs and ahs, then someone speaks up and says aloud, "this might not be a good idea!" with a dramatic close up, then dinosaurs start chasing, secondary actors are eaten, BURP, then a spectacular ending before the lawsuits start flying AND all this with romance thrown in . . . it fully delivered with new elements of surprise and a cast that worked well together.
During the movie, I found some concepts very intriguing. These are just some of the thoughts and questions that ran through my mind.
1) The age of the earth was stated at 65 and then 75 million, so which exactly is it? I always thought an answer of 63.5 (not that I agree) would at the very least seem more scientific.
2) In the beginning, which came first, the dinosaur or the egg?
3) With all the work that goes into getting an egg to hatch (teams of scientists, perfectly stabilized conditions, most of the DNA code already provided) is it really logical to think that all the male and female animal kinds of the earth just all appeared via evolution and were able to procreate successfully all these years without an intelligent designer?
4) Not really a spoiler, but look away if you must. In the movie, people in leadership roles have to make moral decisions (which is always awkward when you put all your dinosaur eggs in the basket of evolution) to destroy the out of control, dangerous members of their creation. This is done to protect other members that were created, secondary to protecting their own species, which evolved, again awkward. So my thought on this is why do some people question God's right to do with His creation as He sees fit?
5) In the movie there is dinosaur trainer, this would indicate that the audience understands, at least on a subconscious level, that man was given dominion over the animals.
6) Who and what benefits when mass groups of people don't know that they were created and where does the moral code originate?
7) I think I will take a break.
Just some Jurassic food for thought.
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So I had the Leslie Gore song, Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows playing in my head as I was thinking about how to share my thoughts on a very sensitive topic in our culture today. I originally posted this picture on my facebook page while at the beach during the same week the breaking news on Bruce Jenner's introduction of Caitlyn and the Duggar sisters' interview. A lot has been on everyone's minds lately concerning sexuality and God and I wanted to share a guest post from my husband, Scott, because I think he does a really nice job of explaining why Christians hold certain views and how to share that with the LGBT community in a thoughtful way. Here are just a few things that might be helpful to anyone reading the following post to know about us and where we are coming from, and they are . . .
1) I, myself, struggled with same sex attraction and only a handful of people knew that until now. Looking back, I think it was because I saw pornographic images of females at an early age and it kind of flipped a switch, so to speak. It took years to get those images out of my thought patterns and I still have to be careful as to what I let myself see.
2) We have people we love dearly, that identify themselves as gay and so in no way do we want to hurt them.
3) After I was engaged to Scott, I asked him what he thought about God and who he thought Jesus was. He believed in a generic type god and that Jesus was a good teacher and historical figure, but not the Son of God.
4) I called of off our engagement because I felt God was leading me to do so, and that changed our future for the better.
5) I grew up in a Christian environment, but had never read the Bible all the way through until my mid thirties. I have now read it five times and pray for the help of the Holy Spirit to help me understand and to apply what I am reading. My husband, Scott, who had a life changing encounter, has read the Bible at least ten times from beginning to end and so it is with great love that we want to share what is so significant for everyone to understand.
So here is my husband's post and I hope this helps you wherever you find yourself on this hot topic.
Genesis 9:13 "I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth."
Open letter to all my friends and family that support the LGBT movement.
In the spirit of gentleness and humility I feel the need to express my position on these issues with love and respect.
First let me say that I love all people and love diversity. It has been wonderful living in Gwinnett County with its multitude of immigrants from around the world. I have made great friends with many diverse backgrounds. Over the years I have had many homosexual friends who I love and care deeply about. It’s not out of hate or the traditions of men that I stand opposed to the agenda of redefining marriage. Please let me explain my position…
As many of you know, in 2003, I had a life changing event occur when I made my profession of faith in Jesus, got baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. The words of the Bible became alive and its instructions brought on radical transformation in my life such as no longer being held captive to ungodly behavior. I’ve been set free from the sin of not forgiving and bitterness toward others, pornography, southern pride and a long list of other sins. So knowing firsthand the transforming power of God’s word I must hold to its teaching above all else.
There are many misconceptions regarding the Bible and its teaching on same sex relationships and unfortunately there have been many in the church community with the wrong attitudes and approach to this subject. The following is my attempt to bring some clarity and understanding from a Biblical prospective on the issue.
The overall message of the Bible is one of liberation and freedom. The children of Israel were held in bondage, as slaves in Egypt. God frees them and brings them out but they had to walk in the wilderness 40 years with many trials and temptations before they could enter into the promise land. Jesus comes into the world to set people free from the bondage of sin. After being set free from sin people still have to live their lives with many trials and temptations before entering into Heaven.
If someone struggles with the temptation of same sex attraction it is not a sin. Just like any other temptation, it is only sin when acted upon. I know that many people who struggle with same sex attraction believe that they were born that way. The fact is that we were all born into a fallen world where we have within us from birth or have develop over time thought patterns that lead to sinful actions. In my own life, I practiced a long list of sinful behavior before coming to Christ. Now with God’s help I’ve been set free from practicing those sins over and over again. I still have temptations but with God’s grace He helps me overcome them.
Whenever the Bible addresses the subject of homosexuality it is always negative. There is not a single example of a homosexual relationship in the Bible that is viewed as acceptable.
Jesus confirmed the definition of marriage in Mark 10:6-8 ‘But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two but one flesh.’
Heterosexual relationships are actually secondary to the fact that God requires holiness above all. We see examples in the Bible of those who remain celibate because of their devotion to God.
Matthew 19:12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it."
Jesus never affirmed people in their sin but He came to save us from our sin. As Dr. Michael Brown has stated, "He practiced transformational inclusion not affirmational inclusion". The message is 'come as you are and be transformed by the love of God and be set free from sin, no longer a slave to sin.'
Jesus said to the women caught in adultery ..."Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."John 8:11
The following verses show the seriousness and the eternal consequences of living a lifestyle out of God’s will.
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1Corinthians 6:9-11
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Galatians 5:19-21
Jesus Said: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' Matthew 7:21-23
These verses address the issue of continuing with actions that are outside of God’s will. The consequence for this is exclusion from the kingdom of God. Thankfully, He doesn’t leave us without help. There are countless numbers of heterosexuals and homosexuals alike that have been able to turn their backs on lifestyles that were outside of God’s will. His promise to those who fully commit themselves to Him is that He will always provide a way of escape from any temptation that comes (1Corinthians 10:13). His grace that brings salvation will teach us to deny ungodliness and live righteously (Titus 2:11). He gives the Holy Spirit to those who obey Him and it leads and guides us into all truth (Acts 5:32, John 16:13).
There is a common misunderstanding regarding God’s laws. God chose the Jewish people to be his special people set apart from all the other nations. He gave them unique ceremonial laws related to the way they should eat, dress and do business as well as many other traditions. Most of these laws are not for all people for all times. God’s moral laws, like the ones related to sexual behavior are upheld in the New Testament and in some cases elevated to a higher standard by Jesus. So to criticize a Christian for being against the breaking of a moral law while he eats shellfish or has a shirt of mixed linen is a misunderstanding of the biblical text and teaching.
God never commands us to do something that we are not able to do. Change is possible with God’s help. This is my biblical understanding of this subject after much study. I know you can find all kinds of support and affirmation for same sex relationships from our society, media and even many churches. However, is it ok with God?
It’s not out of hate that I stand in opposition to same sex marriage but out of love for the homosexual and heterosexual alike. God offers a better way and is willing to help anyone who calls upon his name. We have all sinned and have not lived up to God’s standard but He forgives and transforms when you are committed to Jesus.
If you truly believe in diversity and equality for all than you must be willing to include Christians otherwise you are not showing love and inclusion but doing exactly what you stand against.
Jesus died for homosexual and heterosexual alike and He grants eternal life to all who commit their life to Him.
Christina is an
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