Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Chest Hurts

I live in Ferguson Missouri.  I have never put out exactly where I live on here before, but now I feel it's very pertinent.  I have lived within Ferguson city limits for four years, I  shop in it's stores, eat in it's restaurants, visit it's Farmers Market and we play in it's parks.  Now, I am afraid to drive down certain streets, until peace returns.  A few of the stores I frequent have Missouri Highway Patrol standing guard at the doors to keep customers and employees safe.  My community is in crisis.

The whole country and parts of the world are watching Ferguson very closely.  Well, as close as you can through media.  I mean really, are you getting the whole truth from most media sources?  Absolutely not!  There is so much distortion of facts and flat out lies, we may never know what really happened.  God knows, but we may never know.

I am not writing a blog post to give my opinion on the officers innocence or guilt.  I don't know, so I have no opinion.  I am not writing to talk about Michael Brown's innocence or guilt.  I am not writing about right to protest or tear gas and rubber bullets.  I am however writing about how Christians should be responding to this crisis.

Do not mistake my words.  I have opinions, lots of them, on all of happenings (except innocence or guilt of the victim and officer involved) here, I just don't feel the need to share them.  When all this is said and done I may write another post addressing the outcome and then again, I may not.  Time will tell.  As of today, I write because my heart hurts.  My heart hurts for grieving parents, police and a community that is in danger, a community that is battered and a racial divide that effects us all.

The Christian mantras have long been, "we love everyone", "come as you are", "there are no colors in God's eyes" and yet we as Christians say those words, but I'm not sure we believe them.  I say that because at the first sign of an uprising of any kind from any race, some Christians make jokes, spew slanderous words about the race/culture as a whole and will begin to look at anyone from that race with fear and curiosity of what acts of violence that person has perpetrated.  That is NOT how we are to respond!

After 9/11 my uncle, who is Egyptian and his children, who are obviously bi-racial, went through terrible harassment and bullying.  My Uncle has never hurt or threatened anyone, but he was lumped into a group because of his color, his name, his religion and his culture.  

We as Christians get angry when people call us bigots.  We get all righteously indigent, or for some, unrighteously indigent and proclaim loudly that "we don't hate anyone, we just hate the sin."  You will hear this a lot when you bring up abortion or homosexuality.  There are some Christians who are bigots, {they are wrong, by-the-way} but we HATE to be lumped in together, as a whole, because most of us are not.  We also don't like it when we are placed in the same category as "those" zealots that will blow up abortion clinics and protest at fallen soldiers' funerals.  And yet, as much as we abhor being lumped into a one big bigotry or zealot whole, I hear and see Christians doing it all the time, placing everyone of a certain color or religion into one large group, as if the whole race perpetrated a crime against them.  If that is you, please stop calling yourself a Christian.  

Today, people of all different colors and religious beliefs will peacefully protest in Ferguson.  Last night some people who obviously didn't come for peaceful protests fired guns at police, threw various objects to cause injury at police and the law enforcement responded.  Were they all black people?  And yes, I said black people, not every black person is African American.  My husband isn't either, African or American, but is a black man.  I don't know the color, racial decent, or religion of everyone out there in the riot last night in my community.  Do you know who they are?  I do, they are humans and those that participate in unlawful events, they are still human, just now they are also criminals.  

As Christians, this is the creed we should live by, no matter who or what is happening:

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? (1 John 3:15-17 ESV)

It could be that you are afraid of anyone of Arab decent, maybe you despise homosexuals and turn away from them, maybe you have a thing against anyone who doesn't speak English, maybe you hate white people, maybe you have decided that blacks are stupid or you make crude jokes, feel hate toward the black community as a whole and have placed them all in the category of gang banging, drug selling/using, murderous, violent people; I would ask you to stop calling yourself a Christian, you make us all look bad.  

So how should we as Christians respond?  Love people enough to be praying.  I'm not talking about a quick before the meal "bless them", but a some serious time interceding for people.  A grieving mother and family, a policeman and his family in danger with their lives turned upside down (innocent or guilty that is a true statement), law enforcement trying to bring peace to a community, people who are hurt and need to be heard and those who haven't the self-control not to act violently.  Pray.  Love.  Do good.  Don't spread more hate and fear.  Be Christian, ya know, Christ-like.  

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to EVERYONE, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Galations 6:10)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Total Homeschool Mode

So I blogged over here today.

It's about grace and teaching and kids but it's totally applicable to everyone in my and your life.  Truly.

I have a post for here too, but I'm editing it.  Maybe tomorrow it will be up, but I make no promises!  ~Laughter~

Here's just a little funny for you. . .pretty sure they draw my life.  ~Smile~

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A. . . .Selah

I haven't published a blog post this year.  It would be an understatement to say I've been quiet.

It's been quite an eventful almost four months.  Makiah had two surgeries and the process begun last September is complete!  Praise God!  She is doing so well and we are overjoyed!

My last post laid out the Lovelock's 2013 adventure and honestly even when I read it I was slightly overwhelmed.  Don't get me wrong, we totally saw God in it all and felt Him carrying us, but still. . . it was a lot.  So I felt the need to cut back to the basics in my life; time with family, focusing on homeschooling and church and just generally cutting out things that I just could no longer carry because in reality they weren't for me to carry anyway.

A selah, if you will.  I needed to pause and consider.  I needed to think back over everything and consider all the wonder and faith building, teachable moments that came through one medical issue after another.  I needed to pause and consider all the blessings I have that cannot be listed on a list of material assets for an insurance company.  I needed to pause and consider where God was trying to take me.  Yes, just me.  Not the family or the kids or Hubs or even my ministry with Hubs.  Where was God trying to take me and teach me?  And yes I said teach because every and I mean every trial or challenge we face may not be brought (life happens ya know) to us by God but He allows us to walk through it to teach us something.

During the last fifteen months God has taught me many things.  He reminded me that He loves Makiah even more than I do.  He built my faith.  He proved over and over that He and He alone is Jehovah Jireh (Provider),  Jehovah Rapha (Healer) and Jehovah Shalom (Peace)!  All things I already knew, but God is like a cavern of precious gems:  you can go deeper and deeper still and never reach the end of Him and never reach end of His goodness or grace.  I am joyful about what God is doing in me and those around me.  And now I feel ready to write again.

Sometimes in life we need to take a selah.  It's good to sit back and 'pause and consider' our circumstances.  What situations are you in midst of that you need to just stop, sit still for a moment and take in what God is really doing?  You might find that things aren't exactly what they seem.  A sweet friend of mine uses this phrase often, "God is writing our story" and I love that statement.  I love it because it is a statement of faith and surrender~she believes that whatever God does is for her good and she is surrendered (even when she doesn't understand) to that great fact that He's got it!  Somewhere along her life's journey my friend took a selah, to think long and hard about what was happening her in life and she came to the same conclusion that I did:

Life often brings trials and tribulations that bring us to our knees, I'm just thankful that when I'm down there in the thick of it, God is right there with me.  

"You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah"
Psalm 32:7 ESV

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Lovelocks: A Year in Rearview

I wrote this condensed journal of our year while Makiah was in the hospital earlier this month.  At the end of this post you will see a few changes and additional thoughts.  While this is just an overview, believe me as long as it is, it is an overview I wanted to share with you all that despite everything God was in the midst of it all!

I hesitate to write this because the year isn’t quite over and I am almost afraid to see what else might happen, but here goes!

Last year on December 26, Makiah started having symptoms of the stomach flu.  I didn’t think too much of it, I mean it’s just the flu right?  I know what to do to help her through it.  Well, after a week of no change and actually, she just seemingly got worse I took her to the pediatrician.  They ran a few tests; everything came back normal so we continued with the assumption that it was just a really bad virus.  On January 8th I had to bring Makiah to the E.R. because she was weak, pale and now bleeding.  Something was desperately wrong.  She failed the blood pressure test (nearly passed out when she stood up) and was admitted.  The next day they did a colonoscopy and confirmed ulcerative colitis (an auto-immune disease).  I wasn’t even sure what that was, but I knew I didn’t want my daughter to have it.  I learned a lot in a short period of time, none of it good.  She spent a week in the hospital and the next three months on oral steroids. 

Toward the end of January I started having horrible abdominal pain.  After several days I decided that something was wrong and ended up in the ER.  My gallbladder had gone rogue, so out of me it had to go!  The end of February my gall bladder and I parted ways. I spent the better part of February sick and the better part of March recovering.  Makiah was still taking steroids but showing great improvement and it seemed like the oral meds were doing the trick for her UC.

April was a glorious month.  I was finally well again and Makiah got to stop the steroids and got to eat almost normal again.  The last two weeks of April felt like Heaven, no illness, no meds, no pain, no bleeding . . .life was feeling normal for the first time in four months.  (I didn’t know this in April, but April would be the only month that no one was sick in any way!!)

May came with celebrating a 12th birthday with Hello Kitty cake and a trip to the mall with giggly pre-teen girls.  She had so much fun.  A few days later Makiah and Sam took a trip to Indiana to spend the week with Grandma and Grandpa.  Makiah called the next day and said she was bleeding.  A flare!  No way!  So she tried to hang tough, but ended up coming home a couple of days early and ended up in the hospital.  It was a bad flare and she ended up finishing out the month of May in the hospital.  After exactly two weeks inpatient we went home.  Oral steroids and a new medicine added to try and control the flares. 

After being home for a week the pain and the bleeding were back.  So back to the hospital we go for another ten days.  If you lost track its now June 13th.  She had lost nearly twenty pounds and needed blood again.  They put her on TPN (IV nutrition) and made the decision that she was going to need Remicade treatments to keep this disease at bay.  We finally got to go home.  But this time home came with a lot of extra stuff.  Home came with a PICC line, TPN at home eighteen hours per day, IV steroids and nurse visits twice per week. 

The entire month of July was spent out of the hospital, but our house looked a little like a hospital.  She still had the TPN and steroids and developed Cushing’s syndrome from all the steroids.  The absolute highlight of this month and the whole year really is that on July 17th Makiah was filled with the Holy Ghost!!!  Needless to say, we spent a lot of time at home.   She was weak and easily tired.

August 3rd brought great jubilation.  She got her PICC line out, no more TPN or IV steroids.  Just two more weeks of oral steroids and she would be free from them!  We knew that we had done everything we could for that poor colon and we were just praying it would behave itself.  We knew that if she had another flare, there would be no more treatments; it would just mean surgery because it was an unruly colon. On Monday, August 27th Makiah started having pain.  I knew.  Deep down I knew we were going back to the hospital and surgery was the only option left.  On Thursday, the 29th she was due for her Remicade treatment and I called her GI doctor and let them know she was in pain and the bleeding had started again.  We all knew, none of us said it, but we all knew.  They ran the Remicade and drew blood.  Confirmed a flare.  Good thing I had packed a hospital stay bag. 

We went straight from the infusion center to admitting.  Before we had even been assigned a room the surgeon had been called for a consult.  It was a lot to take in, very overwhelming.  Makiah was ready for it; she was just done with the pain, medicine and hospital stays.  So on September 5th she had a total colectomy.  It was a traumatic surgery and a lot to learn about care and so forth and we knew that two more surgeries were coming.  Finally, on September 24th she was discharged with no more steroids, no more colon pain.

The month of October was good in so many ways.  The Cushing’s went away, the weight gain from all the steroids started to fall off of her and life resumed.  She went to sleepovers, homeschool co-op, had fun and was just 12.  It felt good.  I had to keep reminding myself that it was fall.  I kept thinking it was summer because, well, summer had vanished.  Literally.  Makiah wrote a song and gave her testimony at church, so powerful.  At the end of the month the stomach flu hit our home.  Most of us just suffered through it for about eighteen hours and then we felt better.  Makiah, on the other hand quickly dehydrates now because of the ileostomy.  Ten hours into her having the flu she nearly passed out and off to the ER we went.  She was admitted and in a room within two hours, where she spent a week recovering from a twenty-four hour flu.  Discharged on November 2nd.  Crazy!

November was good (excusing the first couple of days), we had more sleepovers and fun homeschool projects and everyone was well.  Yay!  Thanksgiving came and went with much joy and thankfulness for all that God had seen us through.  We scheduled the second surgery, as Makiah continued to recover, for January 10th. 

Here we are today, December 13th.  It’s been a rough week.  I got the stomach flu Monday and immediately began praying a shield over Makiah.  Wednesday night Daniel started vomiting and my heart sank.  Last night Linton and I had a lovely night out with friends at the symphony and on my way to pick up the kids I got the text.  The dreaded text, “Makiah’s belly is hurting badly”.  Before she could even get in the car, she vomited in the parking lot.  She struggled all night long and this morning we made our way to the ER after talking with the surgeon.  I am now sitting bedside to my broth-sipping girl.  A winter storm is bearing down on St. Louis and I am feeling reflective. 

I realize that this account is devoid of a lot of the emotions.  Believe me there has been a lot of emotion this year, but I thought I'd spare you!  It’s also devoid of other fabulously good (like how spiritual my girl is and how she has deeply connected to God) and crazy things that happened (like six flat tires and a couple of other van issues!).  I could seriously write a book about this year alone, the good, the bad, the scary, the fabulous, the peaceful, the shocking and the list continues; but for now this account is long enough. 

When I say it’s been a hard year, I mean it.  There was only one month where there was no illness or surgical recovery for anyone!  And there has not been one month that didn’t include any doctor visits, blood draws or hospital stays.  But surpassing the hardness of this year is the amazing peace and amazing joy God has given our whole family.  We have seen mighty wonders come from all these trials.  And while I know this year isn’t over yet and we are going to send out 2013 with another major surgery, there are a couple of things I know for sure:  God is good all the time and He never changes.  And no matter where I am or what I face, He’s got it firmly in His grasp and I need not fear!

It is the last day of 2013, she would have been in surgery right now, but her body wasn't quite ready so her surgery has been scheduled January 10th.  I'm thankful to be spending the day with my family and spending the evening and stroke of midnight with our church family.  I'm looking forward to amazing things in 2014!

At this point in October she as already improving from the Cushing's, but you can see the change now!

     Daddy's girl!!  December 2013

My sweet and silly Sam (who is looking too old!!) November 2013


          Mama and two of her babies December 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

It's Not Fair

A most popular phrase around my house.

Sometimes my kids say it too.  {Laughter}  Just kidding.  It is probably made most popular by my youngest child.  I think it's his anthem.

The other two have been guilty of saying this, as have I.  But I absolutely hate this phrase, when being said by my kids of course.  {Smile}

Why do I hate this phrase so much?  Well, besides it just being such a whiny thing to say, the fact is that many things in life won't be fair.  It's just the way of life.  Things happen, or don't, and it won't be fair.

One of my children was bemoaning their current state as being unfair the other day and I have to admit I was about to lose it completely.  He had gone on and on about whatever it was and mama was abundantly frustrated.  See this wasn't the first time on this particular day that he had stated, "it's nooooooot fair" through a myriad of tears and arm crossings.  I decided it would be best if I found a quiet place for just a minute before sitting him down for ANOTHER conversation about whatever he thought was wrong.  Yes, I needed a mama time out.  Where did I find such a place?

The bathroom.  Yes, it was the only place that I could escape, lock the door and pray they wouldn't knock.

I leaned against the counter and prayed this very simple prayer, "Lord, please help me to help him so that I don't lose it completely."  I said it in a most calm voice, but on this particular day I was out of words.  The Lord heard me and of course, being the loving God and master teacher that He is, He began to teach me.

I did ask for help didn't I?

I stood in my bathroom, illumination filling me yet again, about how whiny I must sound to my Heavenly Daddy.  How many times in prayer did I run to Him, crying in a loud voice, lip out, arms crossed proclaiming that "THIS IS NOT FAIR GOD, WHY???"  I must have looked just like my son.  I have to imagine that God probably gets a little annoyed with me too.

I know you have heard these things before, but they are probably worth hearing again.

When dealing with our children we explain that life isn't fair and that someone will probably get to do something, have something or go somewhere that we won't get.  We know that in the physical realm looking around at what everyone else is getting/going causes jealousy and discontent.  We teach our children this life lesson, usually multiple times.

Problem is we, in all of our adultness, don't get it.

When life happens, {cars break, illness comes, money is low or nonexistent, different homes cannot be obtained, things aren't moving fast enough for us, or others seem to have the ministry we want, yada, yada, yada} we stick out our lip, and let the Lord know that this is not fair.  Usually followed quickly with a "do you not hear my prayers and see my faithfulness?"

How is it that we comprehend in our brains that things aren't fair, but our heart and spirit sink when the winds of life begin to blow, suddenly our faith falters and we begin to tell God how unfair things are for us.

It's not an issue of fairness, not really.  It's an issue of faith.  Things stop going our way and suddenly we don't believe that God knows where we are and that He no longer cares for us.  Fundamentally, we know this isn't true but in the season of distress. . . .it isn't fair.

In the book of James chapter 1:2, he admonishes us to count it all joy because the testing of our faith produces steadfastness.  Further down he tells us that a double minded man will receive nothing from the Lord and that he is unstable in all his ways.  Ouch!  So the conclusion of the matter is simple. . .

God knows.  He is neither blind or deaf, He knows exactly where you are and what you are facing.  He expects us to count it all joy in times of adversity and trials, so that we may become steadfast, unwavering.  Even when He is silent, even when things are not going the way we think it should, count it all joy. . . be steadfast and let steadfastness work in us it's perfect way, so that we may be lacking in nothing.

It's not fair, we were never promised fair, but God is faithful.  Trust in Him, He will see you through. . . .just don't be a double-minded man.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You Don't Need It

It's late, the hall lights have been dimmed and I'm heading down the hall for a late night walk.  I pass the room next to ours and there stands a young mother, worried expression on her face, one hand on a hip and the other hand on her face.  Behind her you can hear an IV alarming and her nurse call light is flashing.  She is watching like a mama hawk for the next unsuspecting nurse to fix whatever is happening whether it's her nurse or not.  A nurse appears from around the corner, smiles kindly and escorts her back into the room speaking in calm tones.

I grinned as I rounded the corner.  It's her first child, it's a baby (under a year, we passed in the hall the next day) and the baby has never been in the hospital except to be born.  I know all these things to be true, I could tell by the look on her face.  (And yes later, my assumptions were confirmed)  I giggled inside as I took my walk thinking about all of us "veteran" hospital moms.  We look at the IV and if it's something we can do we hit the button, if not we silence the loud beeping and call the nurse and we know they will come.  We wait, usually calmly feet up reading a book.

I'm a veteran hospital mom.  I've earned the badges, I've logged the hours.  I know what it's like to have an infant on the brink of death at birth, a toddler in open heart surgery (twice), countless hospital stays, a code blue in the PICU on my baby and more recently watching my preteen baby suffer in pain and then undergo life altering surgery.  And we're not done.  More surgery and hospital stays to come.

But on this late night walk my mind wandered as I thought of that poor mama who desperately looked as if she needed a hug, the Lord started turning things over in my mind.  Revealing more of me, more of our human nature.

How many times have I been thrown into scary, new, desperate and outcome unknown situations and I, with panic in my heart hit that button??  I stood waiting with fear in my heart wondering when God was going to hear my alarm and come running to it.  And fearing He wasn't coming, I would try to figure out it myself and make this work out right.  (Hahahahahaha, that has NEVER worked out)  I wasn't waiting with faith and patience, I was waiting with fear and doubt wondering why He wasn't responding to my most urgent need RIGHT NOW?!?

The nurse was coming, she heard the IV alarming, she was getting the medicine the baby needed and was coming right back.  But the mama was afraid.  I get it.  I do.  I have been there.  Now, unless something horrific is happening, I keep my feet up in the recliner and wait~knowing she will come as soon as she can.  But I'm not nearly as calm when the hard financial winds toss my ship to and fro or when my faith journey leads onto a dark, narrow path and I would really like just a hint of what is ahead and the answer back is, "it's a faith walk not the Vegas strip.  Trust me."

God knows.  He knows EXACTLY what is going on in my little world.  He sees my storm and He isn't worried.  He knows He has put in me the tools to walk that path and whether this storm until He sees fit for it to subside and yet I seem to always forget. . .and I hit that button.  The panic button.

Instead of taking it to God in prayer and leaving it there I hit the panic button with fear and doubt wondering if He even knows my name and spring into action on my own.  I know better.  I'm a veteran.  I've been in church my whole life, had the Holy Ghost for 28 years and I have countless altars built that stand as a reminder of all He has done.  Veterans should know better.

So what am I saying?  Fear is a real emotion, BUT if we don't stomp it out when it's a baby emotion fire, it grows up to a full blown spirit of fear with roaring blue flames that will burn out all that is good in your life.  I know, I am speaking as one who has been delivered from that big, ugly spirit.  Experience the emotion, pray and leave it in the King of Kings very capable hands and don't hit that button.

As a matter of fact. . . uninstall that button, destroy it and throw the pieces away.  You don't need the button. . . He already knows and is working it out for your good.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Micro Post. Seriously.

Seriously, probably the shortest post ever!  Ha!

I have probably five posts that I am working on, but they just aren't there yet.  And I really, really wanted to get another homeschooling post up.  So that's what I did, a homeschooling post.  ~Smile~

Click on the tab above to go to the homeschooling blog or just click this handy dandy little link and you will go straight to the newest post.  Isn't that helpful of me?  ~Smile~

When I get one of those five posts, publish ready you shall be the first to see it.

Come back in a couple of days to see if my words got 'sorted' out.  In the mean time, have a cup of tea and relax.

Muah!  Blessings!!