Friday, November 15, 2013

I definitely get Job's wife...

What is it about a good story that causes it to stick with us so well? Or a negative one?
I heard from a dear friend recently who told me she was losing her faith. That she had prayed and prayed about a broken marriage and the daily struggles, and God never once gave her what she prayed for. She wanted to quit on God, because He had not helped her...ever.

I tried to encourage her with all that I had seen Him do in her life. But she wouldn't hear it. When I told her I would keep praying for her anyways, she said "Good luck."

I get her.

I held the hand of a sweet little mother who had to say goodbye to a much longed for baby. The joy and excitement that came with being an expectant mother was stripped away by her God, in tears and pain. And as I sat with her and cried...she sighed and said "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name." Job 1:20

And I get her too. 

One story breaks my heart in it's despair. It is so sad to see someone quit when you know the finish line is just around the bend.

The other story breaks my heart in it's beauty. In the complete surrender of a faith that can be tested in suffering and come out with gratitude. 

How much I wish I could respond like the second woman all the time, but far too often I am the "doubter".
Most of us have heard of Job's wife- the Queen of Negativity. The ultimate "Debbie Downer", before SNL made THAT name popular. If you need a refresher, you can read about her here. The first couple of chapters are all you need to get the picture. Her husband was a righteous dude, she was rich, beautiful likely, with a gaggle of grown children who were the best.

And then God decides to prove a point, with her husband as the focus.

I remember the first few times reading that story and kind of scoffing at Job's wife. (Poor gal- no one even remembers her real name.)

I remember mocking her, as if she some how had acted unreasonably in the face of tragedy.

A decade or so later, I get her. Well, a decade and raising two teenagers helped me to "get her".

I think of her story...the wealth, the children, the LIFE that was stripped away. I think of her only recorded words, as she saw her husband sitting there- covered in nasty boils, with nothing but ashes on his head:
“Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you? Curse God and be done with it!” Job 2:9

Pretty harsh...but I get her. 

What's pathetic is I have absolutely nothing to truly complain about. My life is awesome. Yet, if I chip a nail AND get stopped at a red light in the same hour- I'm distraught for the rest of the day. 

We all have our "Job's wife" attitude at times. Thank God, that there are times we can have a "Job" attitude too. I just hope that I can respond more often as Job did. As that sweet little mother did.

When I break that darn nail, or when life is irrevocably altered..."Blessed be His name."

Friday, November 8, 2013

Would you know what to do for my grandygirl?

In light of my dear grand baby and the fact that you might be the difference between me seeing her grow up, this is now your daily Public Service Announcement:

I was reminded this week of why we need to stay educated when it comes to basic life support and knowing how to do CPR. Most of us have heard the basics, but it was concerning to me to hear how much the media pushes "Hands Only CPR", and completely failed to mention that DOES NOT apply to children. Not once do the training videos I looked at, the news broadcasts I saw, mention the fact that AHA newer guidelines on chest compressions as priority did they remind the viewer that this is NOT true for infant/child CPR.

It is likely that someday you will encounter a moment where you could make a difference for someone- you could save their life, just by knowing CPR. And especially for children. (American Heart Association defines child as anyone under 8 years old, or is the size of an average 8 year old) If you wait for someone else to show up, the paramedics to arrive, that little person could be lost.

Statistically, CPR is needed on adults because of cardiac arrest. So when their heart starts "misbehaving", they have about 4 minutes of oxygenated blood circulating in their bodies. So compressions alone, effective deep pumps, can make all the difference.

The concern is that for babies and children, over 90% of the time they need CPR because they are in "respiratory arrest". Either choking, allergic reaction, whatever- but it is rarely their young, healthy little heart that stops. So in reality, by the time that child goes down non-responsive- they have already lost 2 minutes of oxygenated blood, and now their heart is going to go into arrrest.

It is IMPERATIVE that the FIRST thing you do for a child is START CPR. Don't wait and run for the phone. Don't leave them to find help. Don't start crying and jump around screaming. (I am not trying to be heartless, I am dead serious.)

The FIRST THING you do for a child who is down and not breathing, is START CPR. Please. Educate yourself in what to do, and make a difference. In cardiac arrest, after CPR there is a long recovery needed at the hospital. People don't bounce back from the heart crumping out. But in respiratory arrest, which is what happens when someone drowns, chokes, etc- they literally get the CPR they need, and they get up and walk away. It really is just like that. And you can do it with a little education. You can save a life.

Here's a link that explains the difference between child and adult CPR.
 Why CPR matters for children
Thanks for listening to my soap box, now go do something about what your heart is saying before something distracts you. Do it.
I am giving the members of my family a CPR class for Christmas (won't they be excited. )

Links for local classes:
 ( And remember, if you try to dislodge the choking item and it doesn't come out and the child goes unconscious- START CPR.)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

"A little bird told me..."

(You turn your back for a minute...and she's off adventuring!)
November has come crashing in and I can't remember where the last two months have gone. With changes at work, new things to learn, family to love and life to live it's a miracle the animals are still alive and the house isn't totally trashed. Each day just keeps reminding me that every minute needs to be cherished. It all changes so fast.

I was at IHOP the other myself... eating pancakes... and bacon. I don't like IHOP. I actually think it's pretty gross. But it's a place my kids really liked, and I was missing them and being sentimental. Having "grown up kids" is kind of lame sometimes. They have things like college and jobs and their own families which makes them less available to me. What's up with that?
(Bumble Bee B-B!)
Anyways...sitting at IHOP, eating my pancakes gave me a great opportunity to be random and let my mind wander. I heard a sermon that prompted to read Ecclesiastes 10. Great text, really cheerful and encouraging. It says things like "As dead flies give perfume a bad smell so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor."
 Or even more fun: "Even as fools walk along the road, they lack sense and show everyone how stupid they are."

Some of my favorite passages are in Ecclesiastes simply because of how sarcastic it can be. Let's really take it out of context for a minute. Look what verse 19 says and run with it:
 "A feast is made for laughter,
    wine makes life merry,
    and money is the answer for everything."

Woohoo! Did the Bible just tell me to eat everything I want, drink like a sailor and all I have to do is have lots of money to be happy? YESSS.(No, it did NOT say that.)

Like I said, great lunchtime reading for you. In reality and read in CONTEXT, those chapters just kept bringing back the fact that- I have been a "fool" more times than I would like to remember. 
We all have I would say. 
I have made unwise choices (verses 2-3), I've said things I wanted to take back because of "foolish lips" (verse 12), and I have hurt people with those fool hardy choices. In verse 13 it says that our foolish words:
"At the beginning (are folly); at the end they are wicked madness..."
(Who knew Willie from Duck Dynasty would come visit Brielle for Halloween? She wasn't a fan of him. ;)
How tragic when I think about what "wicked madness" my foolishness has caused. Steve and I often say we spent the first half of our lives being ridiculous, we wonder what we will do with the second half. Terrifying thought.

The great thing about that lonely lunch date at IHOP was that after I got done laughing and crying over the sarcasm and my guilty also reminded me that God never leaves us on the "down note" for long. It put into my day the grace God has for all of us. How good is He that he lets us feel the weight of our foolishness, so that it would move us to make live better. To seek and find wisdom through Him. To make amends and to say "I'm sorry". It challenges us to do something- to try, to learn, to grow, to make peace. 
Random wanderings...Ecclesiastes made me sorry for the people I have hurt with my foolishness, and sorry for the fact that being "sorry" sometimes isn't good enough. There are some relationships that just won't be fixed. Yet, Romans 12:18 straight up tells us that we are to:
"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."
(Love these faces!)
How do we live at peace, when we sin and hurt each other? The grief comes in when I see the foolish deeds I have done, and I can't find a way to make it right.
But even then, God provides a way to heal our hearts in the same verse that pushes us to be peacemakers. God finds a way to be gracious to us. He says "if it is possible, as far as it depends on you..."
That leads to the assumption that He knew there would be times that in spite of your best efforts to reconcile, they just aren't gonna have it. And that's ok.
One pastor explained it like this:
"That means there are times where you're going to have to own your part and the reciprocity won't be there."
And it doesn't really matter. How other respond, how it all turns out...doesn't matter as long as you tried "as far as it depends on you."

So random, but it was nice to have time to just be. To eat a pancake and think about whatever God brought to mind and how it all ties together in this crazy thing called life.

Thank you, Lord, that all we can do is our best. Thank you for your humor, and for telling it like it is. Forgive us for being foolish so often, and help us have soft hearts towards you. Show us if we have wronged someone and need to apologize, or if it's time we forgave that other person who hurt us. Turn us from silly fools into a people who are wise beyond our years because we have hidden your word in our hearts.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." Romans 12:1-2