Mommy is sick?

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Recently, because I wrote about having Hashimotos on my blog… a woman reached out to me on social media.  She was newly diagnosed and looking for guidance on resources and information.  The family and I were out and about, and I was texting her from the passenger seat.  My husband was curious as to who I was texting, and I explained the situation:  “It is a woman recently diagnosed with Hashimotos, and she is asking me questions.”

My youngest piped up from the backseat:  “What is Hashimotos?”

I responded casually, as if she knew:  “It is the disease mommy has, it’s what I take my medicine for everyday.”

And then, in the tiniest voice:  “Mommy is sick?”

In that moment, I realized I had never explained to my kids that I was sick.  They knew I took medication every day, understanding that it helped me.  But, that was it.  I thought they knew, but apparently not.

I was also in a unique position because of the timing, my Father in Law had just passed away a couple of weeks earlier.  I knew that I had to tread cautiously, because I didn’t want her to panic and think I was dying.  At the same time, I didn’t want to just brush it under the carpet… since apparently as vocal as I am about it publicly, I’m not so much at home.

“Hashimotos is a disease that mommy has.  It is what makes mommy really tired, and have days where I don’t feel really well.  It is why mommy will forget things sometimes.  I take medicine every day to help me feel better and have as good of a day as possible. “

I felt like this was a good enough answer for a nine year old, and she seemed appeased by it.  As I reflect on that conversation, I realize how important it is that we are talking to our family about what is happening with our health.  Not in a way that scares our small children, but helps them become aware of what we struggle with each day.  We don’t want them to worry, or because we are managing our illness… we don’t think it’s worth mentioning.

But, one day… it might.  When our children are filling out new patient forms at the doctor, this information may be important or a clue into what is wrong with their health.  Family health history is SO important, and we can’t take for granted that we will be there to answer those questions for them when they are 20, 30, 40, 50+ years old.

There are some instances where it may be best to not tell our children, I recognize that we all know our own children best.   What I would recommend is keeping a document with your health info (diagnosis, medications, reactions to medications, procedures, etc… and be sure to include your age at the time of diagnosis/treatment).  If your parents, in-laws, grandparents, etc are still alive… ask them too.  If you have adopted, and the adoption is open, ask the biological parents for as much info as possible.  This could be invaluable as your children walk their own journey of health.

#Write31Days Challenge – Post 27 – God on My Mind

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Some days are just tough, mentally we are at our max capacity.  Our stress levels are high, our emotions are running wild, and our energy is running empty. 

Then there are the days that are just, busy.  It’s not that you are overwhelmed emotionally or even physically, but it just seems like every second of your day has been claimed by some thing or some one.

On days likes these it can be hard to put in some serious Bible Study, we either don’t have the time or the energy to put the mental energy into study.  Our prayers may be short and sweet lists, or even the sigh we exhale as we say “God help me!” as we drop our sobbing eyes into our hands.

Speaking for myself,  I know that when it comes to spiritual practices …. I have good days & bad.  There are days I can accomplish in depth study, first thing in the morning, that will carry me throughout the day.  I also have days where I am on the go, all day long, and it isn’t until those final moments I am putting my head to the pillow that I can stop and pray.

Over the years, I have learned a few tips to help keep God on my mind throughout the day.  I may not getting in 30 minutes of Bible Study or even 5 minutes of dedicated prayer time. 

  • Play worship music on the radio while in the car picking up the kids, or while bustling around the house cleaning.  Often Christian radio stations will read verses throughout the day, replay Pastor’s sermons, or interview of Bible teachers that are worth listening to as well.  Audiobooks and Podcasts are other great options.
  • Pray as you clean, over what you are cleaning.  Be thankful for indoor plumbing as you clean your toilet.  Pray over your children as you fold their laundry.  Pray for your husband’s safety while working, as you prepare to make that doctor’s appointment for him.  Volunteering at the church?  Pray on your drive for the church, the Pastor, or the ministry you are serving on.  In the Parent Pick Up line at your child’s school, pray for the school.  At the gym?  Pray for your health.  At the grocery, pray for those who are going hungry.  As you pay your mortgage online, give thanks for your home and pray for the homeless. 
  • Pray throughout your day.  Instead of sitting down in the morning going through a lengthy prayer session, instead pray throughout the day as thinks pop into your head.
  • Display scripture on walls of your house, either in picture frames or using wall decals. These can be life verses or family mission verses.  Even if you don’t have time to study your Bible that morning, you can focus your eyes on those as you move about your home.  Then can also be fun verses like the ones I have for certain rooms of the house.  In my kitchen the verse on the wall is Psalm 107:9, and in the bathroom is verse Psalm 24:4.  
  • Now this one may make you giggle a bit, however in our old house … I got really creative.   We placed a white board right across from the toilet in our guest bathroom.  Every week I would write a new piece of scripture.  We kept no magazines or newspapers in there, so the only reading material our guests had was from the Word.  We referred to it as “Coming the Throne” (I am convinced God has a sense of humor).
  • Use uninterrupted times to really speak to God.  I find that I am most vulnerable when I am totally alone, away from the noise of the house.  Some of my greatest conversations with God have taken place in the shower, or by turning off the car radio and just speaking with the Lord. 
  • Bring your Bible or Bible Study with you to waiting rooms at doctor’s offices, or even when you are lunching with a friend – particularly if you are generally a person who arrives early.
  • Turn your lunch dates with friends into something more than gossip sessions, and make that your Bible Study time.

All of that said, I would also suggest doing what you can to reduce some of the hectic activity from your life.  Lysa TerKeurst has a great book “The Best Yes” that really helps you take a hold of your life, so that you can carve out time for God, not be overwhelmed by your schedule, and learn to give your best to the things that are most important.

And finally, should you find yourself in a space where you are struggling emotionally or physically with life… please, PLEASE…. see your doctor.  There are many disorders that steal our minds, energy, drive, and make us feel like we simply CAN’T.  Have your primary care doctor rule out physical ailments, and if you need to see a Christian Counselor who can help with the mental aspects.  There is nothing wrong with seeking help or using medication to get you through, and a good Christian counselor can help you do so while leaning on the truth of God’s love.

#Write31Days – Post 20 – Subjective Value

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If you know me well, then you know where I stand on the subject of abortion.  I have always considered it a non-option, the baby is a life, and ending a pregnancy is ending that life.

You will also know that I don’t take this subject lightly, or to hyperbole.  I recognize that for most women who walk into an abortion clinic… this wasn’t an easy choice.

I don’t know what the circumstances were that led to their pregnancy.

Nor am I aware of the circumstances that led them to believe this was the best choice.

I am keenly aware that for many people the “best choice” is not one they are necessarily happy with.

I have made a point that I will never shame a person who has walked that road.  I can only speak against the industry itself, the society that has led many to believe that this is not only ok… but in many cases their “only choice”.   Society, even parents, have pressured teens to have an abortion in order to avoid shame.   Some churches will scream against abortion, as they tear down the women who get pregnant out of wedlock.  It leaves some thinking there is no other choice.

When I was in high school,  I know of three particular girls who got pregnant.  The first two were kicked out of their homes, one was kicked out of her church, and the third had an abortion.  At the time, I understood the choice the third girl made… because I saw what happened to the other two girls.

Let’s face it, with our judgment and condemnation we have never made it easy for the unwed mother.

But, let me clue you into something…  A BABY IS NEVER A SIN.

Yes, the act of having sex outside of marriage is not part of God’s plan, it is sin.   The resulting baby, is not.  It is a blessing.  Until we can take the shame off of pregnancy, women will go to abortion clinics to avoid shaming themselves and their families.

Until we can take the shame off of pregnancy, babies will not be considered a blessing.  Even those babies who were planned for, or the parents were excited about conceiving are shamed.

“You know how that happens, right?”

“Don’t you think two is enough?”

When we had our third daughter a family member actually said “She’s really pretty, but tell Gena she can stop now.”

Which brings me to “subjective value” and what taking an economics class taught me about abortion, and babies.

In economics the value of an item is based on how desired that item is.  The more people who want a particular item, the higher it’s value… thus the higher it’s price.

The interesting thing about that value is that it is totally subjective, and we don’t even need to be able to explain WHY we value one item over another.

I’ve always found it interesting that the value of a baby, among society as a whole, is not based on the baby’s  actual value at all.  Few are looking at the intrinsic value, or long term value of what that child will bring to the world. Instead the value of a baby is totally subjective.

It is why we can say, “sorry you lost your baby” when someone has a miscarriage.  However, call it a “lump of cells” when the baby is aborted.  The difference is value.  The “baby” was wanted by parents.  The “lump of cells” was not.

You would never hear ANY person (no matter their abortion beliefs) tell a grieving mother… “sorry you lost your lump of cells”.  NO!  Because, despite their personal beliefs… they know this woman WANTED this baby, and she is grieved over losing it.

You can have a baby of the exact same gestational age… but if a mom delivers the baby at home, and discards it in a trash can… she is a monster.  However, if that very same morning she went to an abortion clinic, we talk of her rights.

Value is subjective to the person making the decision.  What is more important to the person, this baby or whatever motivated them to consider abortion?

Not every abortion is “selfish” in the sense that they are doing it for their own gain.  Many women look at the world they would bring that child into and see it is as unsuitable.  We have failed to fully educate on the options available other than abortion, as a whole, in many communities.  More so, we have failed to remove the shame and stigma on the unwed mothers.  Even more importantly, we have failed to shape people’s idea of children to a place where their “subjective value” of life is one to be protected at all cost.

If we want stop abortion, we need to affect the subjective value of babies.  Society needs to not only stop shaming the unwed mother, but also needs to change it’s opinions of children.  When we value and celebrate every child, we value and celebrate every baby.  When we value and celebrate every baby, we will make abortion moot.

Women need to know that it is ok to put their career on hold, to stay home… without being condemned by their contemporaries.

Women need to know that it is ok to have a career and be a mother… without being judged by those who choose to stay home.

We need to make sure that as we are discussing abstinence, that we are also not just pushing against abortion… we also discuss the beauty the gift of adoption can be.

Parents should make sure that our children know that we may disappointed by their choices, but we are not disappointed in them.  Our disappointment should never cause shame that results in an abortion.

Society should stand behind the single women who have chosen life, and the church should be doing whatever we can to help them succeed.